By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s boys volleyball team began the 2014 season by losing its first four matches, but league wins April 9 at home against Orange Glen and April 11 at Valley Center gave the Bulldogs a winning record for the first time this season.
With the two victories, Ramona has an overall record of 8-7 and a Valley League record of 3-1. The April 23 league match at San Pasqual will conclude the first round of league play.
“It’s good to get above .500 and it’s nice to have a winning record in league,” said coach Jeff Klauda.
Ramona swept Orange Glen in 25-8, 25-9 and 25-11 games.
“It was nice to see the guys actually stay focused through the entire match,” Klauda said. “Everyone did a pretty good job all around. We served pretty tough, we passed well, took some decent swings.”
During Ramona’s April 7 and 8 practices Klauda and assistant coach Connie Halfaker focused on identifying opposing offenses so that the Bulldog blockers could position themselves. Orange Glen was the victim of the players’ application of that in a match.
“The guys did a great job getting everybody up,” Klauda said.
Klauda explained that the Bulldogs didn’t wait for the other team’s third contact before placing themselves in a position for a block.
“We kind of read and responded, which was nice to see,” he said.
Ramona’s setter, Isaiah Spieker, had 23 assists against the Patriots and also had six serving aces. Trevor Johnson led the team with six kills. Davis Windes, Levi Vermeulen and Jake McLaughlin each had five kills. Cody Kealy and Lance Stickney had three kills apiece.
McLaughlin is usually Ramona’s libero. The Bulldogs’ varsity roster consists of 10 players, limiting Klauda’s ability to rest his starters in a lopsided match, but backup libero Taylor Holas enabled McLaughlin to play outside hitter against the Patriots. McLaughlin’s five kills were the result of 10 swings.
Ramona started the match at Valley Center with a 26-24 victory.
“We were down most of the game,” said Klauda.
The Bulldogs completed the sweep with 25-13 and 25-19 wins over the Jaguars.
“We actually didn’t play particularly well,” Klauda said. “The game was very subdued. It was unsettling, actually.”
Spieker had 36 assists against Valley Center. Kealy had 12 kills in 22 swings, Stickney had 10 kills, and Windes and Johnson each had eight kills. Johnson also added three blocks.
“We didn’t play super great,” Klauda said. “But it was enough.”
Ramona’s 3-1 league record places the Bulldogs a game behind Escondido for the standings lead.
“We can actually still have a shot at winning the league,” Klauda said. “We can’t afford to lose to anybody.”