Late corner kick call dooms boys soccer in playoffs
By Joe Naiman
With the CIF Division II playoff quarterfinal game Feb. 23 between Ramona High School and La Costa Canyon High School tied at a goal apiece late in regulation, the assistant referee ruled that a ball out of bounds behind the goal Ramona was defending was last touched by a La Costa Canyon player. The assistant referee thus awarded Ramona a goal kick.
The head referee overturned that decision and awarded La Costa Canyon a corner kick. A header off that corner kick went into the net with about 90 seconds remaining and gave the Mavericks a 2-1 victory on Ramona’s pitch.
“You don’t like a referee to decide who’s going to win the game, but he did,” said coach Michael Jordan.
Ramona was given the third seed in the CIF Division II playoffs, resulting in a first-round bye and a quarterfinal home match. La Costa Canyon was seeded sixth and advanced to the quarterfinals with a first-round win over Oceanside.
Although the game was Ramona’s first since Feb. 14, the Bulldogs had been practicing between the regular-season finale and the playoff match.
“We had some really good practices,” said Jordan.
“We came out great,” Jordan said of the playoff game. “We really legitimately should have had two goals in the first five minutes.”
The Bulldogs had six shots on frame during the first half while the Mavericks had two. Each team scored once in the first 40 minutes of play. Midway in the first half, Alex Medina was brought down from behind in the penalty box, and Morgan Schmidt placed the ensuing penalty kick into the net.
The Mavericks also scored their first goal off a corner kick.
“We didn’t clear the ball all the way,” Jordan said.
The loose ball was recovered by La Costa Canyon, and a shot was taken about 25 yards from the net.
“I don’t know how it got through the scrum of people, but it did,” Jordan said.
Most of the second half was scoreless.
“Second half we didn’t have quite as many opportunities,” Jordan said.
The closest Ramona came to scoring was when Schmidt bent a free kick around a wall of defenders. La Costa Canyon’s goalkeeper dove and deflected the ball wide of the net.
Medina was fouled several times in the second half.
“Alex was being fouled everywhere on the field except in the box,” Jordan said. “They weren’t going to let him beat them.”
After the assistant referee awarded Ramona the goal kick, Ramona defender Kiko Valencia was positioning the ball before the call was overruled.
“The boys deserved better than that,” Jordan said.
“The boys played really hard,” said the coach.
Ramona finished the season with a 20-3-3 record.
“The boys took it hard,” Jordan said. “We felt like we had unfinished business.”
Ramona was also deprived of the Valley League championship despite an 8-1-1 league record.
“In the end I was very proud of the boys for the entire season,” said Jordan.
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