By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s girls volleyball team won Valley League matches Oct. 9 at home against Mission Vista and Oct. 11 at Orange Glen.
The two wins gave the Bulldogs a six-match winning streak, a 4-0 league record, and a 14-4 overall season win-loss statistic.
Ramona took a 25-21, 24-26, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Mission Vista.
“They weren’t as close as the scores looked,” said Ramona coach Connie Halfaker. “We were not playing great. In fact, I would say we were playing our least effective defense in games one and two.”
Ramona had a 17-12 lead in the second game before the Timberwolves came back for the victory.
“Our serving was riddled with errors, service errors, in the first couple of games,” Halfaker said.
“Mission Vista was a good defensive team,” said Halfaker. “Their serve-receive was really good, so they were able to utilize their offensive strategy pretty much all night.”
The Bulldog players picked up on that.
“They started playing defense,” Halfaker said. “By game four we actually were pretty well in command.”
The transition wasn’t immediate.
“Midway through game three we were playing determined defense but were struggling to click,” Halfaker said.
Julie Vorhes led the Bulldogs with 17 digs.
“Julie absolutely stepped up the defense,” said Halfaker.
Jennah Hickle and Christina Barrameda each added nine digs. Abby Roulier and Kelsie Whitten shared the team lead with two blocks apiece.
Ramona played both matches without first-string setter Mikayla Derochie, who injured her ankle during practice on Oct. 3. Derochie participated in limited practice Oct. 12. Cassidy Shields has taken over as the Bulldogs’ setter in Derochie’s absence.
“She hung in very, very well,” Halfaker said of Shields. “We are just really, really proud of her.”
Shields had 38 assists against the Timberwolves. Hickle and Roulier each had nine kills. Barrameda had four serving aces while Roulier had three.
Ramona’s problems against Mission Vista also included Hickle straining her hip flexor muscle, so both Hickle and Derochie missed the match against Orange Glen. Halfaker also rested Whitten for part of that three-game match, which Ramona won by 25-13, 25-14, and 25-15 margins.
“It was a really nice opportunity to give some starters a little bit of a rest,” Halfaker said. “Just a really good team win. Everybody that was healthy contributed.”
Whitten had nine aces, and the Bulldogs gained a total of 22 points on her serves. Barrameda led the team with six kills while Roulier added five kills. Roulier, Shields, and Laurel Kerner led the team with a block apiece.
Middle blocker Callie Guasti had three kills in six swings and no hitting errors. Kerner, who was Ramona’s other middle blocker, had three kills in three swings.
“It’s nice to get your middles, when you can get them the ball, to be that effective,” Halfaker said.
The Bulldogs travel to Valley Center for a league match Thursday, and will spend Friday and Saturday at the Southern California Invitational tournament.