Ramona High School’s boys soccer team reached the CIF playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season, but just reaching the playoffs wasn’t enough for coach Michael Jordan and his players.
The Bulldogs opened the CIF Division II playoffs with a 1-0 overtime win Feb. 24 on the road at Southwest High School.
“That’s quite a win down there,” Jordan said.
Ramona was seeded ninth among the Division II teams. Southwest, which is in South San Diego, earned the eighth seed and thus a first-round home game against the Bulldogs.
The trip to Southwest was the first for Jordan, who took over Ramona’s boys team for the 2008-09 season and spent nine years coaching the Bulldog girls.
“The field was nice,” he said. “It was in good condition, good shape.”
The field is also a wide field, and the Raiders had more experience than the Bulldogs in utilizing such a field to their advantage. Southwest also had a large crowd for the evening match.
“Very much home field advantage,” Jordan said. “We were able just to play through it.”
The game was scoreless during regulation play.
“First half was pretty equal,” Jordan said. “The second half they really took it to us and our defense turned them away.”
Ramona goalkeeper Jake Venolia made 13 saves during the game. He was assisted by defenders Ali Aparicio, Sebastian Bueno, Carlos Bustos, Nestor Dinero, and Walker Poortinga. An ankle injury forced Jordan to replace Bustos with Bueno during the game.
“Everybody in the defensive effort was just exceptional, played really, really well,” Jordan said. “Jake made some unbelievable saves and all the defenders made some unbelievable plays.”
The game continued with one sudden-death overtime.
“They’re a very, very good team,” Jordan said of Southwest. “I felt fortunate to get through that second half.”
Jordan moved Chris Huber from forward to midfielder for the overtime period, which was scheduled for 15 minutes if neither team scored.
“He just doesn’t give up on balls,” Jordan said of Huber.
Jordan kept Andy Garcia and Michael Quilo as forwards. About five minutes into the overtime period Garcia obtained the ball and passed to Quilo.
“The pass was right on Michael’s foot,” Jordan said. “Michael made an unbelievable shot.”
The shot gave Ramona a 1-0 win against a team which reached the CIF Division III finals in 2008-09.
“They were very, very seasoned as far as playoffs go,” Jordan said.
The win also assured Ramona of a winning record for the 2009-10 season, giving the Bulldogs an overall 12-10-1 record entering the quarterfinal match at Orange Glen which was rescheduled from Feb. 27 due to that evening’s rainfall.