Ramona HIgh School’s boys soccer team opened Valley League competition with a 1-0 win Jan. 6 at home over Mount Carmel High School.
“That was a huge win for us,” said Ramona coach Michael Jordan.
Mount Carmel had been ranked in the county’s top ten.
“It’s been a long time since boys soccer has beat a top 10 team in the county,” Jordan said.
The Sundevils were also predicted by many to win the Valley League championship.
“For us to beat them first game in league was a big win for us,” Jordan said.
Mount Carmel’s Aodin Quinn was the Valley League’s co-player of the year for the 2008-09 season. Jordan had a player mark Quinn throughout the game, alternating Blake Charbonneau and Sebastian Bueno at that task.
“It’s such a grueling and timesome responsibility,” Jordan said of switching between players to mark Quinn, noting that Charbonneau and Bueno have different styles, making Quinn’s task of figuring out his defender more difficult.
Goalkeeper Jake Venolia made 11 saves in the shutout.
“Jake had a busy night,” Jordan said.
Ramona also utilized a 3-4-2 formation. Ali Aparicio, Nestor Dinero and Walker Poortinga were the Bulldogs’ other defenders.
Even Ramona’s goal was the result of a defensive effort. The game was scoreless at halftime.In the second half Chris Huber stole the ball from a Sundevil defender and turned about five yards away from the net.
“Made a quick shot,” Jordan said. “Took their goalkeeper off guard.”
The ball went into the net for the game’s only score.
“It was a world-class goal,” Jordan said. “Chris never gives up on a ball. He’s a defensive nightmare.”
The shutout was the second in a row for Ramona, who defeated Santana by a 4-0 score Dec. 19 in the Grossmont Tournament.
“We had good scoring opportunities,” Jordan said of the game, which included Mount Carmel’s goalkeeper preventing other Ramona shots from going into the net. “We just put it all together.”
On Dec. 15 the Bulldogs had defeated El Cajon Valley by a 3-1 score; the Braves scored their only goal in the eighth minute of the second half. High school soccer games play 40-minute halves, so when Ramona’s Jan. 8 home game against Oceanside was scoreless at halftime the Bulldogs had played for 232 minutes without allowing a goal.
“It’s really good,” Jordan said of the streak. “I was really proud of the defense.”
The streak ended in the first minute of the second half against Oceanside, and the Pirates subsequently scored a second goal for a 2-0 victory.
“Oceanside has an explosive team,” Jordan said. “We played pretty flat all night. We were waiting for a spark, waiting for our team to turn around.”
That turnaround in play occurred late in the game.
“The last 15 minutes we played frantic and urgent and with a purpose,” Jordan said. “We put two off the post and their goalkeeper made an unbelievable save.”
The loss gave the Bulldogs a 1-1 league record and a 5-4-1 overall record. Other than the varsity-alumni game, the Bulldogs have not given up more than two goals in a game all season.
Tomorrow the Bulldogs will play a non-league game against El Camino that was rescheduled due to December’s rains. The game will be played at Wilson Stadium and will start at 3:30 p.m.