Ramona High School’s girls soccer team started Valley League play with a loss, a draw and a win.
The Bulldogs defeated Orange Glen 4-0 in a Jan. 13 home match, tied Oceanside 2-2 Jan. 8 at home, and lost 2-1 at Mount Carmel Jan. 6. They also played a non-league game Jan. 12 at Steele Canyon, losing 2-1.
“We’re playing really, really well,” said Ramona coach Tom Charbonneau. “Very pleased with their progress throughout the year.”
Mount Carmel and Steele Canyon are ranked among the top 20 teams in the county, but the Bulldogs made both teams score late goals for their wins. Mount Carmel led 1-0 at halftime after having scored midway in the half.
“It’s a real big strong physical team, but we played them pretty evenly,” Charbonneau said.
Midway in the second half, Ramona scored the equalizer when Silvia Villegas converted a pass from Jackie Millwood for a goal. The Sundevils had only allowed four goals in their previous seven games.
“That was a nice feat for us,” Charbonneau said.
The second half also saw two Ramona starting defenders leave the game due to injury. Erika Stinchcomb left with a knee injury and Samantha Schmidt was removed after taking a line drive shot to the side of her head.
“Second half we really got hammered physically,” Charbonneau said.
With about five minutes remaining, Mount Carmel scored the winning goal.
“The girls played really well,” Charbonneau said. “Couldn’t have asked for more out of them.”
Oceanside 6-footer Aesha Iwobi entered the Ramona game with 14 goals, making her the leading scorer in Division II.
“We kind of had a game plan where we would do our best to shut Aesha down,” Charbonneau said.
Freshman Gina Lucas was assigned to mark Iwobi. “She did a fantastic job throughout the first half,” Charbonneau said.
The Bulldogs scored the first half’s only goal on Dylan Argyelan’s shot 15 minutes into the game. Midway in the second half Villegas scored to give Ramona a 2-0 lead.
“Then Aesha just proved to be too much for us,” Charbonneau said.
Iwobi scored twice in the final 15 minutes to salvage a 2-2 tie for the Pirates.
“I was very, very impressed with the way we played,” Charbonneau said.
Steele Canyon had to come from behind to defeat Ramona. The Bulldogs held a 1-0 halftime lead courtesy of Villegas’ successful shot about 15 minutes into the game.
“We played really, really strong the rest of the first half,” Charbonneau said.
The Cougars scored the tying goal with about 15 minutes remaining. With about three minutes left a shot from about 25 yards out went into the top corner of the Ramona net.
Charbonneau’s only regret about the shot was that it wasn’t made by a Ramona player, although Villegas would make a similar shot against Orange Glen.
Schmidt scored the only first-half goal in the game against Orange Glen, beating two defenders for a one-on-one opportunity with the Patriot goalkeeper and then placing the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. Midway in the second half, Villegas shot from between 20 and 25 yards out and placed the ball in the top corner of the net.
Two minutes after she scored, Villegas took a corner kick that Lucas converted into a goal. Argyelan scored the game’s final goal with about five minutes left, shooting from about 15 yards away from the net.
Ramona goalkeeper Maria Solis recorded the shutout with the help of starting defenders Lucas, Schmidt, Stinchcomb, and Emily Vandervort.
“It was a really good game for us,” Charbonneau said. “Just outstanding play from the girls.”
The win gave Ramona a 3-4-3 overall record, including a forfeit loss which superseded an on-field tie, along with the 1-1-1 league mark. It also provided Charbonneau with his first league win as a varsity coach.
Contingent upon cooperative weather the Bulldogs will host Westview tomorrow.