By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School boys volleyball coach Jeff Klauda thought there were two teams in the county that could beat the Bulldogs — even if Ramona played perfectly.
One of those was Otay Ranch, and the other was Westview. Otay Ranch was in Division I for CIF playoffs, but Westview was the top Division II seed and became Ramona’s semifinal opponent on May 17.
“We did what we wanted. We made them earn it,” Klauda said of the Bulldogs’ three-game loss to Westview in the semifinals.
Ramona and Westview were also Palomar League opponents, and on May 1 the Bulldogs lost to Westview in three games. Klauda said eliminating the mistakes in that match was his goal for the playoff contest on the Wolverines’ court.
“I just wanted us to play better than we did last time,” he said.
Ramona met Klauda’s goal in the playoff match.
“They went out and they played well,” Klauda said. “The guys played hard. T they showed a lot of heart and a lot of effort. They did everything that we asked them to.”
Klauda was realistic about Ramona’s chances against Westview, which entered the match with a 32-2 season record. The Wolverines advanced to the Division II finals with a 25-15, 25-19, 25-14 victory at Ramona’s expense.
Although Westview earned most of the points, several followed long rallies.
Westview subsequently won the CIF championship with a four-game win over La Costa Canyon in the finals. Ramona settled for its third consecutive trip to the CIF semifinals.
“This group of seniors had a nice little run there,” Klauda said.
Seniors Travis May, Garrett Adelman, and Kenny Lawler shared the team lead with four kills apiece along with sophomore Matt Lawler, who received his medical release to play the morning of the semifinal. Lawler, who last played April 24, had four kills in seven swings and one hitting error in the match against Westview.
Adelman also led the team with 14 assists and eight digs. Senior Caleb Nelson had seven digs in his final high school match while senior Jake Hitt closed out his high school career with five digs.
The Bulldogs had defeated Mt. Carmel in the Division II quarterfinals to earn the right to play the Wolverines in the semifinals. Ramona’s final season record was 22-18, including a 5-5 Palomar League figure.