By Joe Naiman
Last year West Hills High School’s girls volleyball team was in Division I for CIF playoff purposes. This year the Wolf Pack was moved to Division II, where it earned the sixth seed in the CIF playoffs and a first-round home game Nov. 9 against Ramona.
West Hills advanced to the quarterfinals with a 25-13, 25-11, 25-19 victory over the Bulldogs, whose season ended with a 10-19 record.
“We had spots of playing well but really did not do well,” said Coach Connie Halfaker. “The girls kept their fire and kept pushing and kept giving everything they had. We were not real successful with ball control.”
Ramona was winless in Palomar League play. West Hills was undefeated in Grossmont North League competition.
“They should have beaten us according to the seeding,” Halfaker said. “We were expecting it to be by a much closer margin....They (Wolf Pack) played almost mistake-free. We had to be able to earn everything we got ‘cause they weren’t giving anything away.”
The top two Division II seeds were La Costa Canyon and Bonita Vista. Both were moved down from Division I for 2011-12, while fourth-seeded Canyon Crest was moved up from Division III.
The Bulldogs had their lowest seeding in recent years as well as their first playoff-opening loss in recent seasons.
“We knew what we needed to do and we just were not controlling the ball like we needed to to generate our offense,” Halfaker said.
Ramona’s past playoff eliminations have occurred during quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches.
“Unless you win the finals, you’re always disappointed in the playoffs,” said Halfaker, who guided Ramona to the 2009 CIF championship. “Yes, you lose that last game and you’re disappointed, but it can’t define the season.”
Halfaker noted that the season also consisted of her players improving on their skills, speed, understanding and confidence.
“We just had too much else that was positive,” she said.