Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team ended its season with a five-game loss to Scripps Ranch High School May 22 in the quarterfinals of the CIF Division II playoffs.
The loss left Ramona with a 15-17 overall season record, including a 5-5 statistic in Valley League play which tied the Bulldogs for third in the conference standings. The loss to Scripps Ranch was also Ramona’s third consecutive defeat.
Ramona beat Oceanside in three games May 8 in the Bulldogs’ final regular-season home match. That would also prove to be Ramona’s final victory of the year.
The May 13 game at Valley Center was a 25-19, 33-31, 24-26, 20-25, 15-13 Jaguar win. Ramona middle blocker Greg Gallagher played through the match despite a sore shoulder which kept him from playing in the 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 loss at Mount Carmel the following day.
Ramona earned the fourth seed in the CIF Division II playoffs, giving the Bulldogs a first-round bye and a quarterfinal home match against the winner of Scripps Ranch and West Hills.
Scripps Ranch, the Division II fifth seed, advanced to the semifinals against top-seeded Mount Carmel with the win over Ramona.
“We didn’t play bad,” Coach Jeff Klauda said. “But we didn’t really play well, either. We had chances to put them away really early, really fast, and just didn’t get it done.”
Ramona saw a large lead in the first game disappear, and the Falcons took a 26-24 triumph in that initial contest.
“When they get a comeback like that, they get pretty fired up and excited,” Klauda said.
Ramona was still able to manage a 25-16 victory in the second game and a 25-23 win in the third game. Ramona led for most of the fourth game before Scripps Ranch pulled out a 25-23 victory.
“We had our chances again,” Klauda said. “Our serve-receive was not so crisp. This was probably the worst we serve-received since the first time we played Valley Center.”
(The first Valley Center match was played April 24 at Ramona; the Jaguars won in five games.)
The Falcons advanced with a 15-11 victory in the fifth game.
“We didn’t play terrible in the fifth game,” Klauda said. “They (Scripps Ranch) played their best ball of the night.”
Klauda was disappointed that the home crowd witnessed a Bulldog loss but was pleased with the turnout.
“There was probably the best crowd that we’ve ever seen at a home game,” he said. “That was pretty neat to see.”
Last year the Bulldogs reached the CIF Division III finals.
“It’s been a rough season for the guys,” Klauda said.
On the fourth play in the first match, Adrian Papps rolled his ankle and saw limited action afterwards. Papps was one of six senior players this year for the Bulldogs, who will also lose Trevor Adelman, Bryan Allen, Stuart Corbett, Greg Gallagher, and Alex McLaughlin.
The 2008 team included seniors Alex Nau, Chris Nelson, and Stephen Spieker.
“These are the guys who brought this program up to what it is,” Klauda said. “They’re the ones who are responsible for turning the program around.”
Injuries and illnesses forced several other players to miss games or play at less than full strength. In addition to this year’s Division II classification, changes also included the North County Conference realignment which added Mount Carmel to the Valley League.
Ramona lost its first four matches of the season before winning 15 of the next 25 matches.
“They’ve got a lot to be proud of. They accomplished a lot,” Klauda said of the team’s season.