Lexi Hogan selected MVP
By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s girls soccer team won the Classic Division of the Barons Tournament, and Ramona senior Lexi Hogan was chosen the tournament division’s Most Valuable Player.
“The girls have just been outstanding,” said Coach Tom Charbonneau.
Wins in the five tournament contests gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 season record. Ramona gave up the first goal of its season-opening game Nov. 29 at Calexico but was on the preferred side of the remaining 25 goals during Ramona’s first seven games.
A total of 60 girls tried out for Ramona’s varsity, junior varsity and novice teams. The season began with 21 girls on the varsity squad, 17 girls assigned to the JV club, and 19 making their debut at the novice level.
“We’re excited about the season for all three levels,” said Carbonneau. “We have high expectations.”
In the battle between the two CIF San Diego Section teams nicknamed the Bulldogs, Ramona had five shots on goal during the first 15 minutes against Calexico but did not score. In the 20th minute, Ramona blocked a corner kick, but a Calexico player obtained the rebound and scored the game’s first goal. In the 32nd minute, Ramona senior Caitlyn Choy was fouled in the penalty box and freshman Karli Njaa placed the penalty kick into the bottom left corner of the net.
Ramona scored three times in the second half for a 4-1 victory over Calexico. Freshman forward Alexis Dinero’s goal complemented by senior Katie White’s assist gave Ramona the lead, and sophomore Bianca Scodellaro and senior Norma Lopez also placed shots into the net.
“We started out a little nervous, as the first three or four shots were put way over the net, but settled down the further we got into the game,” Charbonneau said. “Our real focus was controlling possession of the ball and connecting quick passes. I thought we did an excellent job of that.”
Ramona’s home opener Dec. 1 produced a 2-0 victory over Fallbrook.
“The Ramona girls had an outstanding defensive game,” Charbonneau said.
Senior goalie Maria Solis earned her first shutout of the season with the help of defenders Hogan, senior Emily Vandervort, senior Briana Gansch, and freshman Shelby Sherman. Dinero scored the game’s first goal after taking a pass from junior Valeria Lozano while senior Samantha Schmidt converted a pass from Dinero for the other score.
The Barons Tournament is the state’s largest high school girls soccer tournament and is also the oldest girls soccer tournament. It began as the Raiders Tournament in 1981 when organizer Ron Pietila was at Southwest High School and became the Barons Tournament when Pietila took over as Bonita Vista’s coach in 1986.
Ramona began this year’s tournament with a Dec. 3 game against Chula Vista at Montgomery High School.
Scoring in the 2-0 victory over the Spartans began when White’s corner kick curved into the goal without further human contact and ended when White’s corner kick was headed into the net by Lozano.
“It was our best passing game of the early season,” said Carbonneau. “We really dominated every aspect of the game.”
Ramona’s midfielders in that game were White, Schmidt, senior Laura Calcara, senior Alexis Baggett, junior Allie Krueger, sophomore Makayla Torsak, and Njaa. Charbonneau stated that the midfielders performed well in controlling the ball and distributing passes.
Tournament play resumed Dec. 6 against Sweetwater at Sweetwater. Ramona’s third consecutive 2-0 win saw the Bulldogs take 13 shots including Schmidt’s first-half goal and Lozano’s second-half score. Solis had four saves.
The Bulldogs traveled to Madison High School for a Dec. 8 game against the Warhawks. The 6-0 victory saw two goals by White in the first half, a first-half shot by Dinero which went into the net, and second-half scores by Scodellaro, senior Justine Kruger, and Lozano. The win gave Ramona the division’s second seed for the semifinals.
The semifinal and championship matches were played Dec. 10 at Bonita Vista High School. Ramona’s 10 a.m. game was a 4-0 triumph over High Tech High Chula Vista.
“The girls really came together in this game,” said Charbonneau. “It was great to watch them connecting several consecutive passes and switching the field of play.”
Dinero scored both first-half goals against the Bruins and completed her first high school hat trick with a successful second-half shot. Choy scored the game’s final goal with eight minutes remaining.
San Ysidro entered the division finals as the tournament’s highest-scoring team, but Ramona took a 5-0 win over the Cougars.
“Although we hadn’t seen them play, we heard they had a good offense with a great ball-handler/scorer,” Charbonneau said.
“Our defense really did an outstanding job shutting down their scoring threats,” said Assistant Coach Rod Vandervort. “San Ysidro was by far the best offensive team we have faced, but our girls stepped up big-time.”
Scodellaro joined Hogan, Vandervort and Sherman as the game’s starting defenders. Solis had seven saves against the Cougars. Hogan also scored her only goal of the tournament on a first-half penalty kick after Dinero, Schmidt and Lozano had added numbers to the scoreboard. Calcara’s second-half goal closed out the scoring.
In addition to Hogan, the all-tournament team for the Classic Division included Dinero, White and Solis.
“Everyone stepped up and contributed to win this tournament,” said Hogan. “It was definitely a team effort with multiple people scoring the 19 goals and strong defense with no goals against.
The Bulldogs host Julian in Friday’s game.