Ramona High School’s boys water polo team defeated Valley Center in a Poway Invitational tournament match at the beginning of the season, but the Jaguars won the first Valley League match between the two teams.
Valley Center avenged its 14-9 loss Sept. 11 with an 8-7 win Oct. 7 at Valley Center.
“We made some mistakes early on,” said Coach Donnie Williams.
The Jaguars scored the only goal of the first quarter.
Ramona had a penalty shot in that period, and after the low shot hit the side bar it may or may not have bounced off the back of the net before going into the hands of the Valley Center goalkeeper. Williams believed that the ball went into the net, although the referee ruled otherwise.
“I can’t argue with it,” Williams said of the call. “That one hurt.”
Williams noted that a referee can decide a close call either way. Valley Center was awarded two five-meter penalty shots in the second half and converted both.
“It just wasn’t going to be our day,” Williams said.
The teams were tied at two goals apiece after the end of the second quarter, but Valley Center had a 6-3 lead by the end of the third period. One of those goals was from a penalty shot.
Ramona narrowed the gap to 7-6 in the fourth period before Valley Center’s second successful penalty shot gave the Jaguars an 8-6 lead. Ramona scored the final goal of the game with two minutes remaining.
“We came back pretty strong,” Williams said.
“We had opportunities,” Williams said. “The defense did really good.”
In the absence of a 20-second penalty, a water polo team has seven players including the goalkeeper in the pool during play.
Illnesses limited Ramona to a nine-player roster in Valley Center. One of those players was Mike Bernas, who returned to the pool after missing several previous matches due to illness but was not back at full strength.
Alan Williams scored five of the goals against Valley Center while Nik Skinner had Ramona’s other two goals. Goalie Marlen Bernd had seven saves and led Ramona players with three assists.
“Marlen did a good job in the cage,” Coach Williams said.
Alan Williams led the team with four steals while Josh Wray, James Oneto, and Bernd each had one steal. Wray, Bernas, and Matt Yturralde added one assist apiece.
Since Del Norte does not field a varsity team, Ramona had a bye Oct. 8 and the Valley Center match was the Bulldogs’ only game of the week.
The loss dropped Ramona’s Valley League record to 2-3. The Bulldogs’ overall season record fell to 9-6-1.