Although Ramona High School’s boys soccer team lost its first two Valley League matches, Coach Michael Jordan was pleased with how the Bulldogs responded to halftime deficits.
“I was really impressed with how spirited our players were,” Jordan said. “The boys haven’t lost sight of what they want to do.”
Ramona’s league opener took place Jan. 6 at Mt. Carmel.
“Very good team. Really good physical team,” Jordan said of the Sundevils.
Mt. Carmel took a 2-0 halftime lead, and Jordan’s halftime speech to his players asked if they considered themselves done or if they thought they could compete. The players answered that they could compete with Mt. Carmel.
“They did just that,” Jordan said.
About 10 minutes into the second half, Jesse Cappadocia made a long throw-in to Michael Quilo, who shot from about 25 yards out for a Ramona goal.
“Just caught the keeper off-guard,” Jordan said. “All of a sudden, we had the momentum. About 10 minutes after that, Jesse Cappadocia makes a great tackle outside the box.”
The referee disagreed with Jordan’s beliefs that it was a legal tackle and that it was outside the penalty box. Mt. Carmel converted the penalty kick for a 3-1 lead.
“That just took the wind out of our sails,” Jordan said.
The Sundevils added a final goal for a 4-1 victory.
“It was tough,” Jordan said. “I really felt like we were going to get the equalizer.” Jordan was pleased with how Ramona adapted to the opposition.
“We started to figure out how to break down their defense after a while,” he said. “I look forward to playing them back at our place.”
Ramona hosted Oceanside on Jan. 8.
“They were in the CIF finals last year, so we knew they were going to be a good team,” Jordan said.
Ramona also played the Pirates without Johnny Sorenson and Matt Legacy, both of whom were injured in the Mount Carmel game.
“It’s not just their play on the field. It’s their leadership,” Jordan said.
The players refused to use that as an excuse.
“Our reserve players picked it up and I think we had a pretty good team going in,” Jordan said.
Jordan had put Quilo and Chris Huber in a new formation, which involved overlapping runs and stationed both in the middle of the field. “It worked out well,” he said.
Oceanside scored the only goal of the first half, although Ramona outshot the Pirates 8-4 in the first half. Early in the second half, Trevor Adelman, the only one of the three captains who wasn’t on crutches, started yelling to his teammates that they were still able to win the game.
“It’s the first time that our team’s been outwardly vocal,” Jordan said.
The other players responded to Adelman’s stimulus.
“We made some tremendous runs and we stayed right with them,” Jordan said.
After an Oceanside defender made a bad pass, Huber took the ball away and headed toward the goal with two defenders and the Pirate goalkeeper trying to stop him.
“Chris just beat the goalie and beat those other two defenders,” Jordan said. “It was just a goal that he fought for.”
The Pirates scored again for a 2-1 lead, which turned out to be the final score of the game. Ramona’s unsuccessful quest for the equalizer included a shot that hit the crossbar.