By Joe Naiman
During the week prior to Spring Break, Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team played two five-game matches.
The Bulldogs defeated La Jolla on March 26 and lost to Valley Center in a March 28 Valley League contest. Both matches were at home.
The match against La Jolla saw Ramona take 25-17 victories in the first and third games while the Vikings had 25-17 triumphs in games two and four.
“Every game was the exact same score,” said coach Jeff Klauda.
If a fifth game is necessary, it is played to 15 points contingent upon one team being ahead by at least 2 points. The Bulldogs prevailed by a 15-13 margin in that deciding game.
Klauda said his team played well. “We played hard on offense. Our serve-receive was all right.”
Ramona’s normal starting setter, Isaiah Spieker, was not all right; he had strained a hip flexor muscle during the previous week’s La Jolla Tournament and missed the match against the Vikings. Jake McLaughlin, who is normally Ramona’s libero, played setter and had 29 assists against La Jolla along with five kills.
“He had some really smart and timely dumps, particularly in games three and five,” Klauda said.
Josh Plunkett, who is an outside hitter when everybody is healthy, played libero while Davis Windes took Plunkett’s place as an outside hitter. Windes had 10 kills in 22 swings and only two hitting errors.
“He had a very good match for us,” Klauda said.
Josh Spieker, Ramona’s other outside hitter, had 14 kills in 41 swings.
“We just didn’t have a very high kill percentage,” Klauda said.
“The second game we made more hitting errors than we normally would and we missed a handful of serves,” said Klauda. “Played really well in games three and four. We were able to make a few adjustments on Clay (6-foot, 7-inch senior Clay Jones, who first earned all-division honors two years ago as a sophomore) in game five.”
The Bulldogs had a 14-11 lead in the fifth game before the Vikings scored twice, but a Ramona sideout secured the match.
The Bulldogs won the first game against Valley Center by a 25-22 score.
“We actually had a huge lead,” Klauda said. “They started creeping back in.”
Josh Spieker had nine kills in the first game with only one hitting error.
“Josh Spieker came out on fire in that first game,” said the coach.
Ramona’s middle blockers, Lance Stickney and Reed Hallams, each had three kills in game one.
The Jaguars won by a 25-15 margin in the next game.
“Did not play well at all in game two,” Klauda said.
Ramona took a 2-1 lead with a 25-19 victory in the third game.
“We hit much cleaner. We didn’t make nearly as many hitting errors,” said Klauda.
“Game four was a little bit tighter,” Klauda said. “Valley Center started to play better.”
The fourth game was tied at 23 points apiece before a Jaguars sideout and a subsequent point gave Valley Center a 25-23 win.
Valley Center scored the first 5 points of the fifth game and eventually took a 15-7 victory.
“We couldn’t put a ball away to start the game,” Klauda said.
“We weren’t swinging to win. We were swinging to not make a mistake,” said the coach. “It was kind of a good learning experience for the guys.”
The loss to Valley Center gave Ramona a record of 0-2 in Valley League play along with an 11-8 overall season figure. The Bulldogs will play in the Scripps Ranch Invitational tournament on Friday and Saturday.