Bulldog spikers win pool at Scripps Ranch

   Ramona High School’s girls volleyball team won its pool at the Scripps Ranch Tournament and reached the tournament quarterfinals before a three-game loss to Eastlake.

   Including a Valley League win Sept. 29 at home against Orange Glen, the Bulldogs won five of seven matches during the week to give Ramona a 6-5 overall mark for the season as well as a 2-1 record in Valley League play.

   The Bulldogs put together a five-match winning streak prior to their seeding round loss to Scripps Ranch in the tournament.

   The Bulldogs swept the match against Orange Glen, winning by scores of 25-4, 25-9 and 25-14.  

   “Our goal for that match was to make sure we had our game plan in mind,” said Coach Connie Halfaker. “Our goal was to play our game at our pace and we did, so that was a positive thing to see. We really did maintain our focus and our game plan regardless of the opponent, regardless of the score.”

   The large margins of victory against the Patriots enabled Halfaker to utilize substitutes and also to use starters in different positions.  

   “We had quite a lot of flexibility to be able to have kids in positions they don’t typically play,” she said. “It keeps them fresh.”

   Putting players at different positions also gives them first-hand experience on how regulars at those positions interact with players at other positions.

   The Scripps Ranch Tournament began with three pool play matches Oct. 2. The Bulldogs opened against Mount Miguel and swept the best-of-three match by scores of 25-4 and 25-2.  Ramona’s second pool play match was a 25-11, 25-18 victory over University City.

   Ramona’s final pool play match required three games for the Bulldogs to beat Great Oak.  

   “They were actually a very strong program, but we were really playing well,” Halfaker said.  “We were just really clicking well.”

   Ramona took a 25-9 win in the first game, but the Wolf Pack came back for a 25-17 victory in game two.  

   “They were not about to go down without a fight,” Halfaker said of the Temecula opposition.

   Halfaker noted that the Wolf Pack players include junior setter Hayley Crone, who has given an oral commitment to play for USC.

   The split of the first two games sent the match to a third game to 15 points, and Ramona completed pool play with a 15-10 victory.  

   “In game three it was kind of point by point,” Halfaker said. “All of a sudden we just kicked it in and pulled ahead.”

   The seeding round matches were between teams with equal pool play positions, so Ramona played pool play winner Scripps Ranch in the teams’ first Oct. 3 game. The Falcons took a pair of 25-17 victories.  

   “Scripps Ranch is very fast, very balanced, and they were just making us move faster than we were ready to go that early in the morning,” Halfaker said.

Ramona led during part of game two.  

   “Then they kicked it into a different gear,” Halfaker said. “They were moving the ball around on offense.”

   Ramona’s first elimination match was against Gahr High School, and the Torrance team won the first game by a 25-22 score.  

   “Made a lot of errors.  Helped them out quite a bit,” Halfaker said.

   The Bulldogs evened the match with a 25-12 victory.  

   “In game two we got a little more solid,” Halfaker said.

   Ramona won the third game by a 17-15 margin.  

   “We were still kind of hit and miss. Serving was a big problem for us,” Halfaker said.

   The victory over Gahr put Ramona into the quarterfinals against Eastlake.  

   “They were a very good defensive team and didn’t let you get by with anything,” Halfaker said of the Titans.

   Eastlake won the first game by a 25-21 margin while Ramona took the second game by an identical score.  The third game went to an overscore before the Titans pulled out an 18-16 victory.  

   “We definitely had our opportunities to win game three,” Halfaker said.

   “We were just a little bit off,” Halfaker said. “We just weren’t sharp enough.  We have to be able to make our serves.  We have to be able to get everything under control, and we didn’t.”

   Halfaker noted that her players made unnecessary errors in the final Oct. 3 game, but she also noted that her players fared well under adversity.  

   “They pulled together real well as a team,” she said.  “They never gave up on each other. They never gave up on their ability.”

   Ramona’s overall record doesn’t include the Palm Desert Tournament, since those were not regulation-length matches, but in that tournament the Bulldogs won five matches, lost one, and split one. Halfaker noted her team’s ability to learn from mistakes during a match and incorporate the lessons in ensuing practices and subsequent matches.  

   “We can bring that forward,” she said.

   
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