Losing a first-round CIF Division II playoff match to second-seeded Bishop’s Feb. 18 didn’t bother Ramona High School girls water polo Coach Donnie Williams as much as Ramona’s No. 15 seed that set up the first-round game at Bishop’s.
“I was really disappointed with the 15th seed,” said Williams. “That was the hardest thing to swallow.”
Ramona’s 15-12 overall regular-season record included an overtime shootout win over Mission Bay in the East County Invite tournament.
The CIF playoff seeding and selection committee doesn’t recognize overtime shootouts and considered that game to be a tie. Ramona’s tournament competition also included an 8-6 loss to Santana, which was given the unofficial No. 11 seed in the San Diego Open.
“We had our problems like any team,” Williams said. “That’s just part of the journey.”
The CIF seeding and selection meeting took place Feb. 16. The first through fourth seeds are official while the remaining seeds may be juggled to avoid first-round playoff games between league opponents.
The top four Division II seeds were Coronado, Bishop’s, La Jolla and Cathedral Catholic. All of those teams are in the Western League for water polo, as is University City.
That resulted in University City, which lost to Ramona in the East County Invite, receiving the 12th seed. Mission Bay, which is in the Eastern League, was given the No. 13 seed despite its shootout loss to Ramona.
A win over Santana wouldn’t necessarily have given Ramona the No. 11 seed, since Valley League opponent Valley Center was seeded sixth.
While Santana closed its Grossmont League North season with a win over El Capitan to share the league championship with the Vaqueros, El Capitan was given the eighth seed.
“All the teams are right there,” Williams said of the eighth through 16th-seeded teams. “There’s not a big differential between those teams.”
The No. 15 team plays at the pool of the No. 2 team if such a facility meets CIF standards.
“It was really very unfortunate for the girls to have to go that way,” Williams said.
Bishop’s is coached by Doug Peabody, who also coaches the Shores club team.
“I didn’t want to match up with them, but I like the class atmosphere that Doug brings to the program,” Williams said.
Williams’ son plays for Peabody on Shores, and Ramona senior Kaylee Nelson has played club water polo for Peabody.
“It’s just amazing what he’s capable of doing,” Williams said of Peabody. “He’s a great coach.”
Bishop’s advanced to the Division II quarterfinals with a 17-2 win over Ramona.
“You knew that was going to happen with the Bishop’s team,” Williams said of Ramona’s first-round playoff loss. “You knew you were going to have a tough time to make a go of it.”
Bishop’s had a 4-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
“I thought we played well actually in the first quarter,” Williams said. “We had three or four great opportunities.”
The Knights led 7-0 at halftime and 12-0 after three periods.
Williams let senior Jessica Patterson, who is Ramona’s starting goalie, play the field for her final high school quarter. Patterson provided two assists on goals by Ramona senior Autumn Hillis.