Ramona High School’s girls volleyball team began Valley League play with a three-game loss at home Sept. 22 against Mount Carmel but followed that loss with a three-game win Sept. 24 at San Marcos.
“It speaks to the character of the girls that they were willing to look at what we were missing,” Coach Connie Halfaker said of the team’s adjustment to the loss. “They’re able to translate it and put it into a match in very short order.”
Since the Palm Desert Tournament Sept. 19 did not consist of regulation-length matches, Ramona’s seven matches that day do not count in the Bulldogs’ overall record. The Bulldogs won five matches, lost one, and split one during the tournament, and two of those wins were against Mount Carmel.
The Sundevils won the match which counted in the league and overall records, taking 25-22, 25-23, and 25-22 games against the Bulldogs.
“Disappointing after having been able to come out on the winning side on Saturday,” Halfaker said. “We were just a fraction off our first step on defense. We just didn’t look as sharp moving our feet.”
In the first game the Bulldogs had the opportunity to tie the game at 10 points apiece before missing a serve, and a subsequent Sundevil run of points was beyond Ramona’s ability to come back.
“When we missed our serves, it was at very inopportune moments for us,” Halfaker said. “We did everything else well as the match pushed on. “It could have gone either way.”
Halfaker noted that her players discovered that what they didn’t do in the league match made the difference between the Tuesday loss and the Saturday wins.
“It was a good lesson to see for the girls,” Halfaker said. “We can’t be even a step off when we play the top teams. Everybody has to be firing on all cylinders.”
The Bulldog players tested their application of such lessons during the 25-16, 25-22, 25-19 win over San Marcos. Ramona trailed 21-13 in the second game.
“One of their servers just kind of got our number,” Halfaker said.
Eventually the Bulldogs obtained a sideout.
“Jaycee Arthur went back and just served a string,” Halfaker said.
Halfaker contrasted that match to the Mount Carmel loss.
“We didn’t miss pressure serves,” she said.
The closeness of the final game reflects the use of reserves.
“It was a real team win, and we were looking a lot sharper on our touches and made some brilliant defensive plays,” Halfaker said.
The victory over the Knights was also the first win which counted in Ramona’s overall record, giving the Bulldogs a 1-3 official mark for the season as well as a 1-1 record in Valley League play.