By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team started its participation in the CIF Division III playoffs May 13 with a three-game win over Montgomery.
The 25-19, 25-18, 25-14 home win earned the Bulldogs a home semifinal match against La Jolla that was played Tuesday night after this issue of the Sentinel went to press. The winner of that match will play in Saturday’s CIF finals at Canyon Crest High School.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” said Coach Jeff Klauda.
Ramona’s second seed in the Division III playoffs earned the Bulldogs a first-round bye, so Ramona had four days of practice between the May 7 playoff seeding and selection meeting and the second-round match against Montgomery. Ramona had a night practice on May 12, the day before the game.
“They could get used to playing at that time of day,” Klauda said.
That differed from the afternoon practices in which students went directly from their final class to the gym, and part of the reason Klauda and assistant coach Connie Halfaker scheduled the night practice was so that the players could prepare for the break between school and the match. Two of Ramona’s players had an excessive dinner which affected them during the night’s practice.
“That’s why we do these run-throughs,” Klauda said.That mistake wasn’t repeated prior to the playoff match. “They came in with a better idea of what they had to do,” Klauda said.
Ramona had three senior starters in 2010, so the playoff match was the first in a starting role for many of the Bulldogs.
“The first two games we played OK, but we weren’t quite playing at the level we had in practice,” Klauda said.
Klauda attributed that to nervousness.
“Even when they were jittery, they were still okay,” he said. “Luckily Montgomery didn’t play super fast ball.”
The Bulldogs had a 24-14 lead in the first game before the Aztecs closed the gap with a run of five points.
“As the game went on the boys got more warmed up,” Klauda said.
Billy White led the Bulldogs with nine kills, Kenny Lawler had eight kills, Luis Nunez contributed seven kills, Travis May produced six kills, and Thomas Pacheco’s swings resulted in four kills.
“Much more balanced attack,” Klauda said. “The more balanced we can be, the harder it is to pick up and key on any one guy.”
Setter Garrett Adelman had 33 assists while also leading the team with three blocks. White and May had two blocks apiece and Lawler had one block.
The win improved Ramona’s season record to 17-14. “We’ve been playing pretty darn well,” Klauda said.