Although Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team lost to Mount Carmel at home April 29, they not only became the first team to win at least one game in Valley League play against the Sundevils but won two games in the five-game loss.
The Bulldogs subsequently beat Orange Glen on the road May 1 in three games, giving Ramona a 4-2 league record for the 2009 season and a 14-13 overall mark.
Although Mount Carmel’s subsequent win against Valley Center gave the Sundevils a 6-0 record in league competition, Ramona’s loss was disappointing to Coach Jeff Klauda and his players because the Bulldogs won the first two games.
“It’s a pretty rough loss, especially when you’re that close to beating the No. 5 team in the county,” Klauda said.
Ramona took 25-21 victories in each of the first two games.
“The guys were fired up going in,” Klauda said. “The first game we came out and we played pretty well.”
The second game saw the Bulldogs commit only three hitting errors, all by outside hitter Stuart Corbett, who also contributed five kills in that game.
“We played by far our best game of the year so far,” Klauda said. “We served very tough and our defense was awesome.”
Despite missing school and practice April 27 due to illness and watching practice April 28 during his recovery, Greg Gallagher had four blocks in the match, all in the second game. Two of those blocks were solo blocks while two were assisted blocks.
Bryan Allen added a solo block during the second game, his only solo block of the match in addition to five assisted blocks, and Corbett and Ian Nowakowski each had a solo block during the second game.
“Our block came up really big,” Klauda said.
Allan had four serving aces in the match, two in the first game and two in the second game.
“For the most part we were just keeping the ball in place, keeping it alive,” Klauda said.
The skills of top-ranked teams include the ability to come back from a deficit, and the Sundevils began their comeback with a 25-10 victory in the third game.
“I don’t think they hit a ball out of bounds or made a serving error the whole game,” Klauda said.
Ramona, on the other hand, had eight hitting errors in the third game. The Bulldogs also had a problem with one of the Mount Carmel players who was beginning to blossom during the match.
“Their middle blocker, Jaime Ferguson, just started to take over the match,” Klauda said. “We absolutely could not stop him.”
Mount Carmel won the fourth game by a 25-17 score to set up the firth and deciding game. The Bulldogs led by 8-6 and 10-9 margins before struggling in a rotation and losing 15-10.
“Just couldn’t put the ball away,” Klauda said.
The closeness of the match was encouraging.
“We know we can play with them,” Klauda said.
The Bulldogs will close out the regular season at Mount Carmel May 15. The teams also both play in Division II for CIF playoff purposes.
“Hopefully we’ll see them a third time,” Klauda said.
Corbett led the Bulldogs with 16 kills. Garrett Adelman had 30 assists and Trevor Adelman had 20 digs.
Four of Ramona’s five first-round league matches went to the maximum five games, but the Bulldogs required only three games in the 25-12, 25-17, 25-23 win at Orange Glen to begin the second round of league play.
“Played very well, kept the pressure on them,” Klauda said.
The Patriots had taken Ramona to five games in the league opener April 15 and were also the only team to defeat the Bulldogs in Valley League competition last year.
“It was good to get in there and win in three,” Klauda said.
The safe lead allowed Ramona to practice new plays during the third game.
“The guys did play a good three games. It’s not that we let off,” Klauda said.
Corbett led the Bulldogs with 14 kills. Gallagher’s 12 swings produced 10 kills and no hitting errors. Allen had seven kills and two hitting errors along with three blocks, all in the first game, while Corbett added two solo blocks. Nowakowski’s six swings produced four kills. Garrett Adelman had 33 assists while Trevor Adelman led the team with 19 digs.
“It was just a nice team effort,” Klauda said. “They had no answer for our middles.”
The Bulldogs will honor their seniors tomorrow when they host Oceanside.