The end of the on-court season for Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team occurred May 19 when La Jolla High School swept the Bulldogs in the CIF Division III semifinal match at La Jolla.
The Vikings’ 25-18, 25-18, 25-21 win sent La Jolla to the CIF finals against Cathedral Catholic.
“I think our guys played at a high level throughout,” said La Jolla coach Dave Jones. “Our guys really stepped up from our match against Mar Vista.”
(La Jolla defeated Mar Vista in four games during those two teams’ quarterfinal match.)
“Ramona has some really good individual players,” Jones said. “Our team is our strength. We’re a little more solid all the way around.”
Ramona coach Jeff Klauda doesn’t contest that remark.
“I think their strength is their teamwork,” Klauda said of La Jolla. “They’re a solid team all the way around. They don’t have any holes.”
The trip to the CIF Division III finals was the fourth in a row for the Vikings, who won the 2008 and 2009 Division III championships.
“They’re going to make you earn whatever you get,” Klauda said of La Jolla. “They’re not going to overpower you, but they’re not going to make mistakes.”
Ramona was La Jolla’s opponent in the 2008 title match, but none of the 2010 Bulldog players were on the varsity during Ramona’s participation in the finals.
“I think the big difference was the maturity level of the teams,” Klauda said.
Senior Ian Nowakowski and sophomore Garrett Adelman were Ramona’s only two starters who were on the varsity in 2009, when the Bulldogs were ousted in the CIF quarterfinals. Ramona’s two other senior starters, Garrett Vizcarra and Brad Behnke, were not on the varsity last year. Ramona utilized two junior starters and two sophomore starters for the 2010 season.
“That was the first big game for any of those guys,” Klauda said of the semifinal match at La Jolla.
“We played pretty good defense. We blocked pretty well,” Klauda said. “Our serve-receive was atrocious.”
Runs of points were responsible for La Jolla’s margins of victory.
“We were still in the game,” Klauda said.
The Vikings utilized a run of six points at the end of the first game to secure that victory. Ramona had a 16-10 lead in the second game before La Jolla went on a run of points to take the lead.
“The majority of it was just serve-receive breakdowns,” Klauda said.
La Jolla took an early lead in the third game, but the Bulldogs began a comeback attempt and were within one or two points during the later stages of the game before the final La Jolla scoring run.
“The guys never quit,” Klauda said. “We didn’t play well, but they didn’t quit.”
Billy White led the Bulldogs with six kills while Nowakowski and Luis Nunez had five kills apiece. Kenny Lawler and Adelman had four blocks apiece while Vizcarra added three blocks. White also led the team with eight digs while Behnke and Nowakowski had six apiece.
“It was a tough way to go out,” Klauda said.
Ramona ended the season with a 23-12 record, including a 6-2 Valley League record which gave the Bulldogs second in the conference standings.
“They have a lot that they should be proud of,” Klauda said.