Ramona High School’s girls water polo team won three of its five matches at the San Diego Open tournament Feb. 1-6.
The Bulldogs’ week also included a 6-3 league win Feb. 4 against Canyon Crest at the Cathedral Catholic pool, where the Ravens play their home matches. The win over the Ravens gave Ramona a 5-4 Valley League record for the season, while that game and the tournament results left Ramona with a 13-13 overall record following the San Diego Open’s conclusion.
“It was just a really great week for the girls,” said Ramona coach Donnie Williams.
It was a good week for most of the girls, as Ramona played its final three tournament games—and won two of them—without three injured or ill regulars. While two junior varsity callups played late in Ramona’s five-goal win over Serra, the two Feb. 6 games were too close to insert them and Williams essentially had a three-player bench.
Ramona began the San Diego Open with two Feb. 1 games at El Capitan High School. The first of those was a 5-4 win over El Camino in which Brianna Hogervorst scored the winning goal with 2-1/2 minutes remaining.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game,” Williams said. “It was a hard-fought game on both sides.”
Each team scored one goal in the first period while neither team scored in the second quarter.
“We did a good job on our press defense,” Williams said.
The Wildcats had a 4-3 lead after three periods.
“We were still playing good defense,” Williams said. “We had a lot of quality shots but just didn’t put them in the goal until the fourth quarter.”
The game-winning goal was Hogervorst’s second of the game. Taylor Shinnick also scored twice for the Bulldogs while Shelby Wilson put one ball into the net.
“That was a good win for us,” Williams said.
Ramona had one hour rest between that game and the match against Otay Ranch. The casualties of the El Camino game included one of Ramona goalie Shenoa Wilcox’s contact lenses, and a 2-1 Otay Ranch lead after one period turned into a 6-2 halftime lead as dusk set in during the second quarter. The Bulldogs’ only goal of the second half came with 20 seconds remaining, and the Mustangs took a 12-3 victory at Ramona’s expense.
The league win over Canyon Crest avenged a 7-5 home loss Jan. 8.
“We did actually pretty well,” Williams said.
The Cathedral pool is wider than Ramona’s pool, and Williams’ goal was to use that extra width to the Bulldogs’ advantage.
“We did a good job there,” Williams said. “We completely stymied them.”
Ramona led 3-0 after the first quarter, 4-1 at halftime, and 5-3 after three periods before scoring the only goal of the fourth quarter. Marley Munoz had four of the Bulldogs’ goals while Wilson shot for Ramona’s other two scores.
“We just played solid defense,” Williams said. “That was a big win for us.”
While Ramona would have a win in the pool Feb. 5, the Bulldogs lost Rebecca Van Tol for the season that morning after Van Tol underwent emergency appendix surgery. The Bulldogs also played their final three San Diego Open games without Laura Jones, who was ill, and Amanda Carasiti, whose shoulder was injured.
The Feb. 5 match against Serra at Montgomery Middle School in El Cajon was a 6-1 Bulldog victory.
“Our defense went out and played really hard,” Williams said.
Two goals in the first 2-1/2 minutes gave Ramona a 2-0 lead after one period while Serra scored the only goal of the second period late in the quarter. The Bulldogs led 5-1 after three periods.
“We did a great job of pressing,” Williams said.
Angelina Uriostegui scored three of Ramona’s goals, Shinnick added two successful shots, and Munoz placed one ball into the net. Serra’s goalie made 17 saves to limit the damage from the Bulldogs’ 23 shots.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” Williams said.
Ramona’s two February 6 games were also at Montgomery. The first was a 13-12 victory over Santana which required three overtime periods.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Williams said.
Ramona led 2-1 after one period, but the Sultans had a 5-4 halftime lead which had been a 5-3 lead before Uriostegui scored with four seconds left in the half.
“It went back and forth quite a bit,” Williams said.
Ramona trailed 9-6 after three periods but scored all three fourth-quarter goals.
“We were able to fight back,” Williams said.
The teams then played two three-minute overtimes. Ramona scored the only goal of the first overtime and had a 12-10 lead in the final minute of the second overtime before the Sultans scored twice in the final 40 seconds, including the tying goal with two seconds left.
The match then went into sudden-death overtime. Santana won the sprint but could not take a shot before the shot clock expired.
Sierra Strohson took the ball for Ramona and passed to Shinnick, who was about 4-1/2 meters from the net. Shinnick was fouled in the penalty area, and Uriostegui took a five-meter penalty shot and scored the winning goal.
“That was one of the most exciting games the girls have played,” Williams said.
Even with the 8:00 a.m. start for the Santana game, the overtime play gave Ramona little rest for the noon game that day against Helix.
“I thought we’d have a lot better game than we did,” Williams said.
The Bulldogs trailed 4-1 after the first quarter and 6-2 at halftime.
“We weren’t pressing like we had been,” Williams said.
Ramona narrowed the Highlanders’ margin to 9-6 after three periods and brought the score to 9-8 during the fourth quarter.
“The girls had a fight in them,” Williams said.
Helix scored the game’s final two goals for an 11-8 victory.
The Helix game also saw Strohson score her first varsity goal.
The Bulldogs’ final home match of the season will take place today against San Marcos. Tomorrow the Bulldogs close out the regular season at Oceanside.