Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team took the third seed into the CIF Division III playoffs.
The May 8 playoff selection and seeding meeting gave Cathedral Catholic the top Division III seed while seeding La Jolla second, Ramona third, and San Marcos fourth. The Bulldogs, who closed out their regular season with a May 6 win over San Marcos, have a first-round bye in the 12-team playoffs and will host the winner of the first-round match between Canyon Crest and Kearny in Saturday’s quarterfinal. If Ramona and La Jolla both win on Saturday, the Bulldogs will play a semifinal match Wednesday at La Jolla.
The 25-18, 28-26, 25-17 win over San Marcos gave Ramona a final regular-season record of 22-11, including a 6-2 Valley League record that gave the Bulldogs second in the conference standings.
“It was actually probably one of our better games, one of our better matches,” said Ramona coach Jeff Klauda.
“It was nice to finish out the regular season and play one of your better matches of the year.”
The May 6 home match was also Senior Night for the Bulldogs, although the playoff seeding meant that the regular-season finale wouldn’t be Ramona’s final home game. The Bulldogs have five seniors on their roster: Brad Behnke, Chris Garcia, Ian Nowakowski, Garrett Vizcarra, and Zach Winder.
Vizcarra had eight recorded blocks against San Marcos, including three in the second game and four in the third game. He also blocked additional balls which were covered and thus do not go into the scorebook as blocks.
“He was just on fire,” Klauda said.
Billy White and Kenny Lawler added two blocks apiece while Nowakowski and Garrett Adelman each had one block.
“We blocked really well,” Klauda said.
Nowakowski’s 31 swings produced 15 kills and four hitting errors.
White had a stiff neck prior to the game but was able to produce 14 kills from his 17 swings with only two errors.
“He played with a stiff neck, but you would not have been able to tell,” Klauda said.
Behnke led the team with ten digs while Nowakowski contributed six digs. Adelman led the team with 37 assists.
“We played all around just a great game. Didn’t make many mistakes at all,” Klauda said.
In the second game the Knights led 22-20 at one point.
“It was pretty much just a serve-receive breakdown,” Klauda said.
“We weren’t making hitting errors. We weren’t making a bunch of dumb, silly plays,” Klauda said. “The guys kind of straightened it out at the end of the game.”
Ramona entered the match with a 5-2 league record while the Knights took a 4-3 record into the contest, so a San Marcos win would have created a tie for second place. The Knights also likely would have earned the higher playoff seeding if the two teams had split their matches with San Marcos winning the later match as well as a tournament match between the two teams.
“That was huge,” Klauda said of beating the Knights.
San Marcos’ final 4-4 league record gave the Knights third in the standings. Mount Carmel won the league championship with an 8-0 league record and did not even lose a game in league play; the Bulldogs’ 29-27 loss in the second game of the April 22 match was the only overscore against the Sundevils in league competition and was also the only game in which Mount Carmel’s opponent had game point. No other team scored more than 22 points in a league game against the Sundevils.
Ramona’s April 20 league match at San Marcos was a 25-23, 25-23, 32-34, 25-21 win for the Bulldogs. The two teams also faced each other April 24 during the West Coast Challenge tournament, where the Knights took a 25-23, 24-26, 15-12 victory at Ramona’s expense.