By Joe Naiman
At the post-season banquet for Ramona High School’s boys volleyball, Senior outside hitter Josh Spieker was voted both the Most Valuable Player and as the Best Attacker.
“It was a well-deserved honor,” coach Jeff Klauda said.
The banquet was held at South Mission Beach and activities included a beach party, barbecued food, and informal volleyball competition as well as the presentation of awards.
“The guys said they wanted to do the beach again,” said Klauda.
The players selected first, second, and third choices for each award with corresponding points given to the recipients for each ballot on which they appeared.
Klauda noted that Spieker’s Most Valuable Player attributes included leadership as well as his offensive skills.
“He took ownership and control of the team emotionally,” Klauda said. The coach added that Spieker’s on-court contributions weren’t limited to offense.
“He was also one of our best serve-receive players,” Klauda said.
The Best Defensive Player award was given to junior Jake McLaughlin, who was primarily the Bulldogs’ libero and also played setter. McLaughlin had been a setter on the Bulldogs’ junior varsity before making his debut as a libero this year.
“It was a position that was completely new to him,” Klauda said.
Junior middle blocker Levi Vermeulen complemented his 2011 junior varsity Most Improved award with the 2013 varsity Most Improved honor. Vermeulen played one game at middle blocker as a freshman. In 2012 he was on the swim team rather than in the volleyball program. This year Vermeulen started at middle blocker when absences deprived the Bulldogs of one of the regular starters.
“He was actually able to step in and play and start a few games,” Klauda said.
What was originally called the Spirit Award is now the Sean Hogan Award, which is named after a 2008 graduate who was on the team. The criteria includes character as well as spirit, and junior middle blocker Lance Stickney was the 2013 recipient selected by the players.
“I can’t think of a better representative from this year’s team than Lance,” Klauda said.
The coaching staff determined that senior outside hitter Josh Plunkett would take home the Bulldog Award.
“He was always so coachable,” Klauda said.
The coach added that Plunkett maintained a positive attitude regardless of whether he or his team was struggling.
“He was the ultimate team player,” Klauda said. “He always put the team above himself.”
Four junior varsity awards were also presented. Matt Gregg, a sophomore who did not play volleyball as a freshman, received both the Bulldog Award and Most Improved honors. Sophomore Dylon Hitt was the Best Offensive Player and sophomore Taylor Holas received Best Defensive Player recognition.