By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s girls volleyball team swept Mt. Carmel in the Oct. 3 match on the Sundevils’ court before the Bulldogs lost their Valley League opener Oct. 4 at Mission Vista in four games.
Ramona defeated Mt. Carmel by 25-23, 28-26, and 25-23 scores. In the first game the Bulldogs had a 24-20 advantage before the Sundevils scored the next 3 points. In the other two games Ramona came from behind.
“In game two we went down because we were missing serves,” said Coach Connie Halfaker. “But we tied it up with serves.”
Mt. Carmel had a 22-17 lead in the second game before the Bulldogs knotted the score at 23-23 and eventually obtained the 2-point margin for the win.
“They all had confidence,” Halfaker said of her players.
In the third game, the Sundevils had an early 9-point lead.
“Inched our way back and played on through,” said the coach.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re down. They play the same. They don’t get worried. They don’t have concern,” Halfaker said of her players. “They believe in themselves and each other.”
The Sundevils turned out to be the team that struggled with adjustments.
“We’re taking advantage of the opponents when we cause trouble for them and they can’t run their offense,” Halfaker said.
Ramona setter Sammy Shupe was able to utilize several offensive options. Callie Guasti led the Bulldogs with eight kills while Natalie Seol and Robyn Arthur had seven kills apiece.
“That’s pretty nice. Sammy did a really good job of spreading the offense around,” said Halfaker.
Shupe also led the team with two serving aces. Christina Barrameda had 20 digs and Guasti was Ramona’s block leader with four.
The win gave Ramona a 7-2 season record, but the loss to Mission Vista changed that record to 7-3.
“It was the first time I’ve seen the girls not keep up to start with,” Halfaker said.
“Mission Vista has a girl who hits very fast,” she noted. “The ball is released out of her contact and comes fast, so we were half a step behind in every aspect.”
Halfaker also noted that the Timberwolves have a strong libero.
“They had the advantage on both ends, on offense and defense,” she said.
After a 25-18 loss in the first game, Halfaker changed the Bulldogs’ lineup to emphasize defense rather than offense. Ramona’s play improved midway in game two, although the Timberwolves ended that contest on the winning end of the 25-17 score. Ramona prevented a sweep with a 27-25 triumph in the third game, but Mission Vista sealed the match with a 25-16 victory.
“Game four we were making a lot of errors,” Halfaker said.
Although the loss gave Ramona a Valley League record of 0-1, each league team plays each other twice during the league season.
“We are excited to take another crack at them,” Halfaker said of Mission Vista.
The Bulldogs will play in the Scripps Ranch tournament Friday and Saturday.