Ramona High girls water polo wins Valley League championship
By Joe Naiman
For the second consecutive year, Ramona High School’s girls water polo team went undefeated in Valley League play and won the league championship.
“League champion, that’s huge,” said coach Donnie Williams.
A 13-6 victory Feb. 12 at Del Norte High School concluded the Bulldogs’ league season.
“It was a good win,” Williams said. “Started off pretty strong.”
The Bulldogs opened the scoring. The Nighthawks tied the game with a goal, but Ramona had the next five scores to take the lead for the remainder of the game. A Del Norte goal created a 6-2 score at the end of the first quarter, and the Bulldogs increased their lead to 10-3 by halftime.
Ramona goalkeeper Morgan Wallace had four steals in the first half but only made one save.
“They really didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities,” Williams said of Del Norte.
Wallace ended the game with 10 saves and five steals.
“She’s really stepping up, being aggressive out of the cage,” Williams said.
Jocelyn Schwegler and Cassie Bernas had four steals apiece. Daniella Talento had two steals. Kaylin vanTol, Paulina Bernd, and Holly Smith each added one steal.
Josie Ward led the Bulldogs with three goals against Del Norte. Bernas, Schwegler, Bernd, and Talento each placed two shots into the net. Tatiana Lloyd-Dotta and Serena Lopez each scored once.
“Going undefeated in league was good,” said Williams.
The Bulldogs closed out their regular season with two non-league contests. An 8-7 loss Feb. 13 at Rancho Bernardo carried playoff seeding implications for the two Division II teams, although the loss didn’t alter Williams’ expectation that Ramona will receive a first-round bye and open playoff competition with Friday night’s quarterfinals at La Jolla High School’s Coggan Pool.
Rancho Bernardo took a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 90 seconds.
“We were in a hole right off the bat,” Williams said.
Ramona’s first goal was followed by a third Broncos goal. All four first-quarter scores were within the game’s first four minutes.
“There was a lot of scoring going on early,” said Williams.
The Bulldogs scored the second quarter’s first goal, although a successful Broncos shot restored the two-goal lead.
“The girls kept digging. We kept working at it,” Williams said.
The deficit was narrowed to 4-3 at the end of the first half by vanTol. Bernd scored in the third quarter to create a 4-4 tie.
“We fell asleep right after that,” their coach said.
Rancho Bernardo took a 5-4 lead 20 seconds after Bernd’s goal, closed third-period scoring with a power play goal, and took a 7-4 lead with a goal midway in the fourth quarter. Ramona had the next two scores to narrow the margin to 7-6, but a lob shot from 12 meters away gave the Broncos an 8-6 advantage. Smith scored the game’s final goal, but the Bulldogs were unable to erase their final deficit.
“Losing to RB was tough,” said Williams.
Ramona missed 28 shots in the game against the Broncos.
“There was no shortage of opportunities,” he said.
On Feb. 15 the Bulldogs traveled to the University of California, San Diego pool for a game against Torrey Pines. The Falcons had a 1-0 lead before Bernas tied the game with 40 seconds left in the first period. Bernas scored again in the second quarter for a 2-1 Ramona lead, but a Torrey Pines power play goal tied the game.
“We had way too many exclusions,” Williams said.
Eight exclusions against the Bulldogs allowed the Falcons power play opportunities, and Torrey Pines also had a five-meter penalty shot Wallace was able to block.
Talento’s second-quarter goal gave Ramona a 3-2 halftime lead. The Bulldogs entered the fourth period with a 6-2 cushion; Bernas scored the third quarter’s first two goals and Lloyd-Dotta closed out the period’s scoring with a successful shot on a power play. Bernd won the fourth-quarter sprint and then placed the ball into the net for a 7-2 lead.
Williams called up three junior varsity players for the Torrey Pines game and the playoffs. One of those was JV goalie Kallan Campa, who made her varsity debut by replacing Wallace with four minutes remaining and the Bulldogs holding a 9-2 lead.
Campa allowed four goals: three power play shots and a score with 27 seconds left. Williams was not concerned about his substitutes being outscored in the fourth quarter.
“It was more about getting the girls time,” he said.
The Bulldogs ended the game on the favorable end of the 9-6 score.
“The girls did a good job hustling,” said Williams.
Wallace had 10 saves and one steal. Campa recorded one save. Smith led the team with four steals while Talento added three steals.
Ramona finished the regular season with an 18-9 overall record.
“It’s a good record for us,” Williams said.
The winners of Friday night’s quarterfinal matches will advance to the Feb. 25 semifinals at Coggan Pool.
- Girls water polo wins Valley League title
- Girls water polo opens season with 2-3 tournament performance
- RHS girls water polo wins East County Invitational
- Girls water polo 3-2 at Benson Tournament
- Girls water polo defeats LCC in playoff match
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