Feb. 12 was Senior Night for the Ramona High School boys soccer team, and the Bulldog 12th-graders performed well in Ramona’s 3-0 win over Valley Center.
“I could not have scripted it better. We had three seniors score and we had a senior with a shutout,” said Ramona coach Michael Jordan. “It was a great night.”
Ramona has 10 seniors on the 2009-10 roster, and the game also saw a large crowd cheering on the Bulldogs.
“It’s nice to play well in front of that,” Jordan said.
After playing six league games in two weeks due to a pair of January rainouts, the Bulldogs only had one game during the week.
“It was still a busy week,” Jordan said.
The Feb. 9 rainfall forced the team photo session to be postponed to Feb. 11, and although the field was suitable for play on Feb. 10 the freshman and junior varsity teams hosted Del Norte, which is not competing at the varsity level this year, so the varsity was unable to practice that afternoon.
“We fit in some practice,” Jordan said.
While the Bulldog offense was able to execute passes when necessary in the game, all three goals were unassisted. About 15 minutes into the game, senior Michael Quilo recovered a loose ball and then beat a defender.
“Saw the keeper coming off his line and just made a fantastic shot over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net,” Jordan said.
In the first minute of the second half, senior David Downing scored Ramona’s second goal. He stole the ball, beat a pair of Jaguar defenders, and found himself in a situation similar to Quilo’s.
“Saw the goalie off his line and made a beautiful shot just over the fingertips of the goalkeeper,” Jordan said.
Although Walker Poortinga is the team’s sweeper, the 12th-grader scored the third goal on the rebound after a long throw-in with about 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Senior goalie Jake Venolia recorded eight saves as well as the shutout. During the first half, Ramona used a formation with three forwards, four midfielders, and three defenders; Poortinga played sweeper with Nestor Dinero and Carlos Bustos also assisting the defense. Jordan used two forwards and four defenders in the second half with Ali Aparicio taking the stopper position.
Poortinga was the only senior among Ramona’s four defenders. The other three are expected to return for the 2010-11 season.
“They’re learning a lot from Walker,” Jordan said. “The players need to realize that offense starts with the player who has the ball.”
Valley Center and Ramona consider each other rivals due to similar school sizes and student body composition and the fact that each is the town’s only high school.
“It’s really nice that we swept them the last two years,” Jordan said.
On Feb. 2, the CIF Board of Managers approved the first reading of the North County Conference realignment, which will retain Valley Center in the Valley League while placing Ramona in the Palomar League. The Board of Managers is expected to approve that realignment at its April 27 meeting, so Ramona and Valley Center likely will no longer be league opponents and the Feb. 12 match is likely the final league soccer competition between the two schools for a while.
“I would love to get them in a non-league game just to kind of continue that rivalry,” Jordan said. “It will be something that I will work on next year.”
The win also improved Ramona’s overall season record to 10-9-1, giving the Bulldog boys double-digit wins for the first time since the 2001-02 season. The 10th win also made Ramona one of five Division II teams with double-digit wins, which will likely have implications at the CIF playoff selection and seeding meeting Saturday.
“I hope that we’re heading back in a positive direction,” said Jordan.
The win also gave Ramona a 4-6 Valley League record. The Bulldogs close out the regular season tomorrow at San Marcos.