By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s girls volleyball team not only won its first two Valley League matches Oct. 2 at Valley Center and Oct. 4 at home against Oceanside, but the Bulldogs also won the silver division championship in the Oct. 5-6 Scripps Ranch Tournament.
The Bulldogs’ seven wins in eight matches over the five-day period gave Ramona a 12-4 overall season record along with a 2-0 league statistic.
“It was a very nice week,” said Ramona coach Connie Halfaker.
The three-game win against Valley Center was by 25-19, 25-12, and 25-18 scores.
“We played very well,” Halfaker said. “It was pretty amazing.”
Christina Barrameda, Kelsie Whitten, and Abby Roulier each had seven kills while Callie Guasti and Jennah Hickle had six kills apiece.
“It was a very balanced match for us. Our offense was spread out among everybody really evenly,” Halfaker said. “That’s always nice because it keeps the opponent confused.”
Hickle led the Bulldogs with 14 digs while Julie Vorhes had 12.
“Defensively we played very well,” Halfaker said.
Barrameda had five serving aces and Whitten had three.
“We served tough. We did everything very aggressively,” Halfaker said.
Setter Mikayla Derochie had 34 assists.
“They were focused,” Halfaker said. “It was very, very businesslike.”
The low point of the week occurred near the end of practice Oct. 3 when Derochie injured her ankle.
“It’s very difficult to play with a replacement setter,” Halfaker said.
Senior Cassidy Shields is a utility player for the Bulldogs and became Ramona’s setter after Derochie’s injury. Shields was a setter as a sophomore on Ramona’s 2010 junior varsity team, and last year she was an outside hitter on the JV team. The Bulldogs extended practice by about 45 minutes so that the players could work with Shields.
“We didn’t skip a beat going against Oceanside,” Halfaker said.
The league win against Oceanside was the first of three matches in three days against the Pirates. The contest at Ramona’s gym was a 25-17, 25-18, 24-14 victory for the Bulldogs.
Shields had 38 assists against Oceanside.
“Just really did a fabulous job,” Halfaker said.
Hickle and Barrameda each had nine kills apiece, Whitten added eight kills, and Roulier recorded seven kills.
“That was very balanced,” Halfaker said.
Vorhes had 10 digs and Hickle contributed nine. Barrameda had four aces with Whitten adding three.
“With the ability to really be focused in when they need to be determined, it was going to go their way,” Halfaker said.
Ramona played its Scripps Ranch Tournament pool play matches at Escondido High School. The Bulldogs opened pool play with a 25-7, 25-21 win over Clairemont.
“Game one we were just absolutely like a machine,” Halfaker said. “They were just playing.”
Halfaker credits the Chieftains’ adjustments in the second game, along with Ramona’s focus on obtaining experience for substitutes, with the closer score.
“Clairemont started playing better,” she said.
Ramona then played Escondido, who took a pair of 25-22 victories and eventually won first place in the pool.
“We played very, very well,” Halfaker said. “We felt very good about it.”
While Shields was able to fill in for Derochie with regard to setter distribution duties, the 5-foot-6-inch Shields was not able to match her Escondido counterparts when the rotation made her lack of height vulnerable to Cougar plays.
“The difference was fairly evident with her rotating to the front row,” Halfaker said.
Halfaker can’t fault Shields for that. “She was a very, very valiant warrior, fought hard,” Halfaker said.
Pool play concluded with a crossover match, and Oceanside was the second-finishing team in the site’s other pool. Ramona concluded the evening with 25-20 and 25-22 victories over the Pirates.
“Oceanside played a little bit better,” Halfaker said.
Halfaker also noted some Ramona fatigue during that 8 p.m. match.
“We had just played very, very hard against Escondido,” she said.
Although the scores were relatively close, Halfaker didn’t feel threatened.
“They always kept a cushion,” she said. “Very happy with the team’s play in general all the way across.”
Ramona’s Oct. 6 matches were at Westview High School. The first one, against Coronado, would determine whether Ramona would compete in the silver division or the bronze division. Four of Ramona’s players took the Scholastic Aptitude Test that morning; two of those arrived during warmups prior to the match against Coronado while Hickle and Whitten joined Derochie in missing the contest against the Islanders.
“The girls that were playing did a great job,” Halfaker said. “When they needed to, they pulled everything together.”
Ramona’s 25-19 victory in the first game was countered by Coronado’s 25-19 triumph in game two. Ramona won the third and deciding game by a 15-4 score.
The win put Ramona into the silver division, and a three-hour break between that match and the semifinal against Mt. Carmel allowed Hickle and Whitten to arrive. Ramona advanced to the finals with a 25-18, 25-17 win over the Sundevils.
“Played very, very well against them,” Halfaker said.
The silver division championship match was against Oceanside, and Ramona defeated the Pirates for the third time in three days. The Bulldogs took 25-21 and 25-16 games over Oceanside, who had advanced to the finals with wins over Helix and Grossmont.
“It was nice,” Halfaker said.
“They were very consistent all day long,” noted Halfaker. “They just went about business as usual and did a fantastic job.”
Two Bulldogs were named to the silver division all-tournament team. Hickle received the most votes, making her the division’s most valuable player. Barrameda also received all-tournament honors.
“That was really nice that they were honored,” Halfaker said. “I was really pleased for them.”
Ramona has a league meet at Orange Glen on Thursday, Oct. 11.