By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s girls volleyball team opened its season Sept. 8 with the Watsonville Tournament and won its pool.
The Bulldogs played five matches in the one-day tournament intended to provide Ramona’s girls with both on-court experience and team bonding activity. The team flew to Northern California on Sept. 7 and returned the night of Sept. 9, spending the morning of Sept. 9 at the Santa Cruz boardwalk.
The 24-team tournament consisted of six four-team pools, and Ramona received the top seed in its pool. The Bulldogs opened play with a 25-18, 25-16 victory over Monta Vista High School of Cupertino.
“That actually was a much closer match than the scores show,” said Coach Connie Halfaker. “The girls competed really well. Game one they just came out ready to go.”
Ramona’s next pool match was a 25-11, 25-17 victory over Gonzales High School. The Bulldogs closed out pool play with a three-game win over Notre Dame High School of San Jose.
“That was an absolute dogfight,” Halfaker said.
Notre Dame took the first game by a 25-13 score.
“Came out really slow,” Halfaker said. “Got in a big hole early.”
Ramona responded with a 25-16 victory in the second game.
“We were really hitting the stride coming in,” Halfaker said.
The Bulldogs had a 14-11 lead in the third game before the Regents tied the game by scoring the next three points. Ramona prevailed on the next 2 points for a 16-14 victory.
“The girls made a decision on what this team was going to be about,” Halfaker said.
The tournament then created six new four-team brackets for the playoffs. Ramona was seeded third in the platinum bracket, the highest of the six brackets. South San Francisco was seeded second in that bracket, and Ramona lost to the Warriors by 25-18 and 25-23 scores.
“Just a really hard-fought match,” Halfaker said.
The second game was tied at 23 points apiece before the Warriors closed out the match with 2 points.
“Could have gone either way,” Halfaker said.
Westmont High School of Campbell is also called the Warriors. Westmont took the first game of the consolation match by a 25-17 margin, but Ramona won game two by a 25-21 score.
The third game was tied at 8 points apiece before Westmont allowed no further scoring in the Warriors’ 15-8 victory.
“We were playing well, but they got really hot,” Halfaker said.
Halfaker was pleased with Ramona’s performance in the tournament.
“We were right there every step of the way,” she said. “Kids were using skills for the first time, new skills that they’re developing.”
Halfaker was pleased that the Bulldogs retained their physical and mental abilities through the conclusion of the fifth match and 13th game of the day.
“The kids were fit and handled it beautifully,” Halfaker said. “To play five two-out-of-three matches in one day truly is remarkable.”
Ramona’s first game against San Diego Section competition will take place Thursday at El Camino High School.