Ramona High School’s girls soccer team began its season Dec. 8 with a 2-2 tie at home against El Camino and then defeated Calexico on the road by a 4-1 score Dec. 9.
“We had two really good comebacks,” said Ramona coach Tom Charbonneau.
The Bulldogs were scheduled to begin their season Dec. 7 at Escondido, but heavy rains that day altered the schedules of those two teams.
El Camino scored first in what became the season opener, as well as Charbonneau’s first game as a varsity coach, but Ramona sophomore Samantha Smith scored the equalizer and the game was tied 1-1 at halftime.
In the second half the Wildcats took a 2-1 lead, but Ramona freshman Nicole Buttle’s goal with four minutes left salvaged the tie.
“I was very pleased with our first effort out there,” Charbonneau said. “I thought we did a lot of really good things out on the field.”
During the two weeks of practice prior to the season opener, Charbonneau had emphasized communication and passing. He felt that his players did well in those areas when the Bulldogs faced an actual opponent.
“For the first game out of the season, the girls did extremely well,” he said. “The girls are a really good positive group, so it was a really good experience all the way around.”
Charbonneau spent the past four seasons as Ramona’s boys junior varsity coach. He earned his first varsity win in the game at Calexico, which scored the game’s first goal eight minutes into the game before the Bulldogs tallied the final four goals. “I was very proud of them for the way they hung in there,” Charbonneau said.
“We just started off a little shaky,” Charbonneau said of giving up an early goal. “From that point on we really dominated the rest of the game.”
Although the first half ended without any further scoring, the Bulldogs controlled possession of the ball.
“We came out with that same aggressiveness in the second half,” Charbonneau said.
Ramona sophomore Alexis Hogan scored both the tying goal and the go-ahead tally, sophomore Brianna Gansch added a goal, and freshman Gina Lucas closed out the scoring.
The draw and win came despite injuries that kept two Bulldog girls from playing.
The Bulldogs will play their Vaqueros Tournament opener the morning of Dec. 19 and will participate in the annual varsity-alumni doubleheader, which also includes the boys program that evening in Ramona.