Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team won its first Valley League match of the 2009 season April 15 at home against Orange Glen.
The Bulldogs played a total of six matches during the week, winning three of five matches at the Scripps Ranch tournament April 17-18 to give Ramona an overall season record of 11-11.
“We had a pretty tough week,” said Ramona coach Jeff Klauda.
On April 14 the Bulldogs learned that outside hitter Adrian Papps will be out for the season.
“That’s a huge hole,” Klauda said.
Papps was one of the team captains and was considered one of the team’s senior leaders.
“I feel bad for him. I feel worse for his teammates,” Klauda said.
Mesa College has expressed interest in having Papps on the Olympians team next year, but he will not close out his high school career on the court.
“At this point we’re just worried about him,” Klauda said. “He lived for volleyball. He loved it.”
Alex McLaughlin has been moved to outside hitter while returning varsity player Stuart Corbett will be Ramona’s other starting outside hitter.
“It puts a lot of pressure on Stuart Corbett to step up,” Klauda said.
Ian Nowakowski will be Ramona’s starting opposite hitter, and Luis Nunez will take over in the back row and is also available as an outside hitter if needed.
“Everyone on our team is there for a reason. They’re good volleyball players,” Klauda said.
Those players showed their worthiness of being on the varsity team when the Bulldogs defeated Orange Glen in five games. The Patriots took a 25-15 win in the first game.
“Came out really flat and just got pounded in the first game,” Klauda said.
Ramona evened the match with a 25-20 win in game two before the Patriots won the third game by a 25-23 score to regain the advantage. Ramona forced a fifth game with a 25-21 win in game four.
“We were struggling on the outside,” Klauda said. “We had been living off of our outsides.”
Nagging injuries have affected Corbett’s jumping abilities, and after McLaughlin hit the floor in the first game against Orange Glen he didn’t mention his shoulder pain to Klauda until after the match but the injury impaired his ability. During the five games of the match Corbett had 25 swings, six kills, and six hitting errors while McLaughlin’s 14 swings resulted in six kills and four errors.
“It wasn’t just us struggling. They did a good job of shutting us down,” Klauda said.