By Joe Naiman
Although Ramona High School’s girls volleyball team began the Sept. 14 Watsonville Tournament with two losses in three matches, the Bulldogs won their remaining two matches in the tournament to win the Silver Division consolation championship.
The 3-2 tournament record, along with a season-opening victory Sept. 11 at home against Escondido, gave the Bulldogs a 4-2 record.
Ramona began its season with a 25-17, 17-25, 25-14, 25-19 victory over the Cougars.
“We played virtually mentally mistake-free and that translated into physically mistake-free,” said Coach Connie Halfaker.
Ramona’s 86 swings resulted in 58 kills and only seven hitting errors.
“You will beat teams when you play that mistake-free,” Halfaker said.
“They just made a lot of right choices. When plays were broken they did the right thing,” said Halfaker. “They did not panic and get flustered.”
That was evident when Escondido took a 7-0 lead in the fourth game.
“They never even looked at the score. They just took care of what was going on,” Halfaker said.
The Bulldogs outscored the Cougars by a 25-12 margin for the remainder of the game and match.
“It was very well done,” Halfaker said.
Callie Guasti led the Bulldogs with 16 kills against Escondido while Robyn Arthur added 11 kills. Christina Barrameda had 23 digs and three serving aces. Freshman setter Sammy Shupe began her high school career with 42 assists. Freshman middle blocker Natalie Seol recorded two blocks in her high school debut.
Halfaker utilizes out-of-town tournaments for team bonding, and the Bulldogs flew into Watsonville the morning of Sept. 13 before playing five Sept. 14 matches. The first of Ramona’s two pool play matches was a 25-14, 25-12 victory over Anzar High School. Ramona settled for second in the pool, and bracket play in the Silver Division, after a 25-21, 29-27 loss to Hillsdale High School, which finished third in the tournament as well as first in the pool.
“We fought. It was a very, very good match,” Halfaker said.
Leland High School took a 17-25, 25-21, 15-10 victory over Ramona to relegate the Bulldogs to the Silver Division consolation bracket.
“This was the only time that the team dropped focus,” Halfaker said. “All of a sudden the switch went off.”
In the consolation semifinal match between Ramona and Santa Cruz High School, the Cardinals won the first game by a 25-19 score.
“We had kind of started to get ourselves on track towards the end of that game,” Halfaker said.
Ramona forced a third game with a 25-11 victory in game two, but the Cardinals made their own adjustments.
“Then they got their game back and it was a dogfight in game three,” Halfaker said.
Ramona prevailed in the deciding contest by a 15-13 margin.
Ramona’s consolation finals opponent was Seaside High School. The Bulldogs opened the match with a 25-12 victory.
“We just rolled,” said Halfaker.
The Spartans also lost the second game, but by a 25-21 score.
“They picked their game up a little bit,” Halfaker said.
The Bulldogs followed their volleyball activity with a social trip to Watsonville’s Boardwalk.
Halfaker noted that she was happy with how the Bulldogs played in the tournament.
“More happy with the development throughout the day. To a player, each girl learned as they went along. We learned as a team as we went along,” she said. “To see that happen was quite exciting.”