Water Dawgs’ win streak reaches eight before tournament loss
By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s boys water polo team extended its winning streak to eight games before a loss in the Vellenkamp Tournament in Orange County.
Ramona’s seventh consecutive win was an Oct. 9 Valley League match at Army-Navy, and the Bulldogs won their first game of the Oct. 12-13 Vellenkamp Tournament before losing their next three and concluding the tournament with a victory.
The game against Army-Navy was Ramona’s first against the Warriors since Donnie Williams has coached the Bulldogs. Ramona led 5-1 after the first quarter, 7-2 at halftime, and 10-2 after three periods before the game ended with the Bulldogs on the favorable side of the 13-5 score.
Ramona goalie Isaac Gross made 11 saves during the three quarters he was in the nets. Williams’ efforts to avoid running up the score included having his players work on tougher shots, and he also moved players to different positions. Gross played in the field during the fourth quarter while Matteo Franchello took over in goal. Franchello made two saves against the Warriors.
Franchello also scored three goals, as did Karl Schwettman. Ryan Hall, Jesse Reiling, and Thomas Abbott each had two goals against Army-Navy while Cory Davison scored once. The Bulldogs took a total of 27 shots.
Ramona converted only three of 10 extra-player opportunities.
“We struggled a little bit in that tight pool for some reason, even though it’s similar to ours,” Williams said.
The Bulldogs made their only five-meter penalty shot in Army-Navy’s shallow-deep pool.
Ramona had 16 steals against the Warriors. Reiling and Gross had three apiece, two steals apiece were recorded by Franchello, Austin Benke, Garrett Klem, and Vinnie Talento, and Abbott and Davison each had one steal.
“We were able to control them defensively,” Williams said.
All five of Ramona’s Vellenkamp Tournament games were played at Sonora High School in La Habra. The first three of those were against San Diego Section teams. The 11-9 win over Steele Canyon to open the tournament gave Ramona two wins over the Cougars for the year, as a non-league match Sept. 25 ended with a 10-9 Ramona triumph.
The first quarter of the tournament game was tied at two goals apiece, but Ramona had a 6-3 halftime lead.
“We did push it up,” Williams said.
The Cougars narrowed the deficit to 8-6 by the end of the third period and 8-7 early in the fourth quarter.
“They didn’t give up on us,” Williams said.
Ramona scored the next two goals for a 10-7 lead and had an 11-8 lead before Steele Canyon scored at the buzzer.
“I think we finished on a few more shots than we had in the past,” Williams said.
The Bulldogs’ other Oct. 12 game was an 18-12 loss to Scripps Ranch.
“We got down in a hole early,” said Williams.
The Falcons had a 6-3 lead after one period.
“The guys fought back,” Williams said. “They started understanding what was going on.”
Scripps Ranch led 8-5 at halftime, but Ramona reduced the deficit to 11-10 by the end of the third quarter. “It was a great big comeback for us,” Williams said.
In water polo an ejection, or exclusion, is a 20-second penalty in which a team must play short-handed unless a goal is scored against them during that penalty period. A player with three ejections is majored, or removed from the game. During the fourth quarter, four Ramona players were majored.
“It pretty much turned the tide of the game,” Williams said. “Up until that point I thought it was a real good game for us.”
Williams took 12 players to the tournament, and in the absence of a penalty seven players from each team are in the pool, so the four ejections gave Ramona only one bench player.
“The middle two quarters of the game were very well done by our guys,” Williams said.
When Grossmont and Ramona played in a pre-season scrimmage, the Bulldogs didn’t score until the third period.
The Foothillers were Ramona’s first Oct. 13 opponent. The Bulldogs scored the first goal. Grossmont led 3-2 after one period, but Ramona tied the game early in the second quarter.
Grossmont scored the next four goals for a 7-3 halftime lead.
“That second quarter kind of hurt us a little bit,” Williams said.
Grossmont eventually prevailed by a 12-7 margin.
“That’s better than last time,” Williams said. “That’s not a bad loss for us.”
Servite High School of Anaheim was Ramona’s next opponent.
“They were a good young team,” Williams said of the Friars.
Ramona had a 3-1 lead before Servite scored the final three goals of the first quarter.
“They were really good on their man-up,” Williams said.
Servite had a 6-4 lead before Ramona scored the final goal of the first half. The Friars led 8-7 after three periods and won the game by a 10-8 score.
“You could see the fatigue,” Williams said of his players. “We had opportunities to finish our shots but just missed.”
Ramona’s 2:30 game against Beaumont was the Bulldogs’ fifth in a 24-hour period.
The Cougars fell victim to Ramona’s offensive and defensive success. The 14-5 game included a 3-0 first-quarter lead, an 8-2 halftime score, and an 11-3 score entering the final period.
“Our guys were playing solid,” Williams said.
The league win gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 Valley League mark while the Bulldogs ended the tournament with an overall 13-7 record.
- Water Dawgs win three at Vellenkamp Tournament
- Water Dawgs continue winning streak with victories over Pirates, Broncos
- Water Dawgs open 2010 with win over Patriots, loss to Ravens
- Water Dawgs win two of three at San Diego Open
- Water Dawgs reach finals of East County Invite
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