Ramona High School’s boys soccer team ended its 10-game winless streak with a 2-1 win over Valley Center at home Jan. 20.
“The boys really needed it,” Coach Michael Jordan said of what was the Bulldogs’ first league win of the 2008-09 season.
The game was scoreless at halftime. During intermission Jordan spoke to his players about opportunities, playing smart and cutting down on mental errors.
“Second half we came out and just kept pushing,” Jordan said.
About 15 minutes into the second half, Gerry Magana gave Ramona the first goal of the game.
“He made a beautiful run down the sideline, beat a couple of players,” Jordan said.
Magana shot to the near post.
“It was a tough angle,” Jordan said.
Such a target rather than a shot to the far post or a cross caught the Jaguars’ goalkeeper off-guard. Although the ball hit the side post, it went between the goalie and the post and into the back of the net.
“It was just a beautiful, beautiful shot,” Jordan said.
With about eight minutes left in the game, Oceanside was awarded a direct kick just outside the penalty box. Ramona set up a three-man wall, and the referee disputed Jordan’s opinion that an Oceanside player pushed Ramona goalie Greg Harrington into the post. The shot from about 25 yards out went into the net.
“The goal wasn’t his fault,” Jordan said of Harrington.
Harrington is Ramona’s backup goalie and was in the nets because Jake Venolia incurred a broken nose and a concussion in the Jan. 13 game against Orange Glen.
“He made some tremendous saves,” Jordan said of Harrington. “I know he was nervous, but he came in and did everything you want.”
With a minute left in the game, Jesse Cappadocia made a run up the field and then crossed the ball into the box. Eric Brown, who had run up the field from the opposite side, trapped the ball off his chest. Brown was then thrown to the ground by an Oceanside defender, giving Ramona a penalty kick. With 30 seconds left in the game, Michael Quilo put the penalty shot into the net.
On Jan. 21 Ramona practiced for its game against third-ranked Westview the following day, most notably a 4-5-1 formation Jordan implemented to compete against Westview.
“It jams up the midfield so the midfield can’t create,” Jordan said of the formation.
The Jan. 22 game at Ramona saw a scoreless first half, the first time all season that Westview was held scoreless in any half. Jordan’s halftime speech to his players warned that the Wolverines would be making changes in the second half.
“We were trying to think of all the scenarios we could use,” he said.
Halftime also saw some rainfall, which may have affected the Ramona players’ concentration.
“Instead of playing to win we were playing not to lose,” Jordan said.
Westview scored about 10 minutes into the second half.
“The boys stayed tough,” Jordan said.
Midway in the second half, the Wolverines scored again on a play in which Westview might have been offsides.
“That just took all of the wind out of our sails,” Jordan said. “They scored two quick goals after that.”
The 4-0 loss to Westview gave Ramona a 1-4 record in Valley League play and a 4-11-1 overall record.
Ramona begins the second round of league play at home today against Mount Carmel.