By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team played league matches on consecutive days April 13-14, losing in five games at Mount Carmel and defeating Poway on the road in four games. The Bulldogs then won their April 15 Scripps Ranch Tournament pool matches to take first place in their pool.
Ramona faced two Palomar League rivals on the second day of the tournament, losing to both to give the Bulldogs an overall season record of 12-9 along with a 2-4 figure during league competition.
“Hopefully we can kind of learn from this past weekend,” said Ramona coach Jeff Klauda.
“We played everyone there tough.”
The week also included a San Diego Union-Tribune feature story on Ramona senior Billy White that focused on White’s unexplained medical condition.
Parents of players with similar experiences have noted diagnoses and subsequent corrective solutions for their children, and, although such surgery or medication would not aid White during this season, the information is likely to be of long-term benefit.
White did not play in the first game of Ramona’s loss to Mount Carmel.
“If we don’t have Billy, we don’t have a large guy who can get us a sideout or block,” Klauda said. “It just changes the way we play when he’s not in there.”
The Sundevils won the first game by a 25-20 score.
“Our serve-receive was okay, but we were making mistakes on transition,” Klauda said.
“We made a lot of hitting errors.”
White participated in the second game, a 25-19 Mount Carmel victory.
“He came out and he played real well,” Klauda said.
Ramona then won 25-21 and 25-23 games to even the match.
“Our defense started to pick up. We started serving tougher,” Klauda said.
Mount Carmel’s 15-9 triumph in the final game gave the Sundevils the match.
“Mount Carmel just made more plays when they needed to,” Klauda said.
Kenny Lawler and Travis May led the Bulldogs with five blocks apiece against Mount Carmel.
Ramona’s only previous league win was also against Poway even though the Titans are ranked among the top five in the county for all divisions. Ramona’s second win over Poway saw the Titans take the first game by a 25-18 score before Ramona obtained 25-22, 25-16, and 25-20 victories.
“We seemed to focus and really get up for Poway,” Klauda said. “We didn’t miss a whole lot of serves.”
White led the Bulldogs with 14 kills and added nine digs. Luis Nunez had nine kills and 10 digs while Lawler contributed seven kills and five blocks. Caleb Nelson led the team with 23 digs, and Garrett Adelman had 38 assists.
Ramona was seeded first in its Scripps Ranch Tournament pool and played its April 15 matches at Mira Mesa High School. The Bulldogs opened with a 25-20, 25-18 win over Helix.
“We honestly did not play real well,” Klauda said. “I was not happy with the way we played.”
Opposite hitter Thomas Pacheco led the Bulldogs with five kills, and Pacheco only had one hitting error.
The Bulldogs’ second pool play game was against Mission Hills.
“We just weren’t playing well,” Klauda said.
That ended when one of the Grizzlies’ players allegedly made a derogatory comment about Ramona.
“From there on we just kind of rolled through,” Klauda said.
The Bulldogs’ 25-21, 25-18 victory saw White pace the team with eight kills, Nunez contributed seven kills, and Lawler executed four kills and five blocks.
Mar Vista was seeded second in the pool, and Ramona’s 25-13, 25-20 victory gave the Bulldogs the pool championship.
“We were able to focus,” Klauda said. “We kept on rolling and played very, very well.”
The margin in the first game allowed White to be rested. Nunez and Pacheco led the team with five kills apiece. Mar Vista, like Ramona, is in Division III for CIF playoff purposes.
“That was a big win,” Klauda said.
Four Palomar League teams—Ramona, Poway, Rancho Bernardo and Westview—played in the Scripps Ranch Tournament, and each won its pool.
“It just kind of goes to show how tough our league is,” Klauda said. “The Palomar League is just ridiculously good.”
Ramona played its April 16 matches at Scripps Ranch High School, beginning with a bracket seeding match against Westview.
The Bulldogs trailed by an 11-3 margin in the first game when Klauda called a timeout.
“They just did a tremendous job of turning around,” Klauda said.
Ramona led by 22-20 and 24-21 margins before the Wolverines scored the final five points for a 26-24 victory. The Bulldogs responded with a 26-24 win in the second game.
“Game two was real nip and tuck most of the way,” Klauda said.
The Wolverines won the match with a 15-4 triumph in the third game.
“It wasn’t quite that bad,” Klauda said. “We just lost all those really long rallies.” A bye after the seeding round gave Ramona a four-hour break between that match and the Bulldogs’ quarterfinal against Poway.
“We felt pretty good going into the game,” Klauda said. “In the first game we played extremely well.”
Ramona defeated Poway by a 25-20 score to open the match.
“We were blocking real well,” Klauda said. “We only had a handful of hitting errors.”
The Titans evened the match with a 25-19 victory in game two.
“We just gave up a string of points,” Klauda said.
Runs of points cost Ramona in the third game, a 15-12 contest which ended in Poway’s favor.
“Poway was siding out real well, and we weren’t able to put together a string of points ourselves,” Klauda said.
The other three Palomar League teams in the tournament all reached the semifinals.
Carlsbad, the only semifinalist from another league, defeated Westview to reach the finals while Rancho Bernardo defeated Poway. The Broncos then defeated Carlsbad in a three-game championship match.
“It was a pretty good tournament,” Klauda said. The Bulldogs will follow Spring Break with an April 27 home match against Rancho Bernardo.