By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s girls water polo team closed 2011 with a 5-3 record after victories at home against El Camino and against West Hills at Santana.
The 11-2 final score against El Camino on Dec. 13 and the 10-4 result against West Hills on Dec. 16 gave the Bulldogs an overall scoring advantage of 35-12 against CIF San Diego Section teams. Ramona opened its season in Orange County with the Benson Tournament and took a 14-6 victory over Santana in the Bulldogs’ first match against a San Diego Section opponent.
“It looks like we’re on course to push ourselves through league and CIF,” said Coach Donnie Williams.
Ramona is in Division II for CIF playoff purposes. El Camino is in Division I. The Bulldogs led the Wildcats by a 3-0 score after the first quarter and 4-0 at halftime.
“We played really strong,” Williams said. “Our defense really played solid.”
The Bulldogs built up an 8-2 lead by the time the buzzer sounded to end the third period.
“It was just a good solid game all around,” Williams said.
Although Ramona converted only one of three extra-player opportunities, the Bulldogs staved off all six of the Wildcats’ power play situations. Ramona’s team statistics also included 11 steals.
“We continued to play really strong defense,” Williams said.
Ramona goalie Tiffany Larson made 10 saves and also had three steals. Cassie Bernas had four goals, three steals and an assist. Bri Hogervorst had three goals and four assists, while Paulina Bernd scored twice and had two assists.
Holly Fletcher scored her first varsity goal in the third quarter and added two assists, and Larson and Megan Kinnaman each had one assist.
Ramona also had a 3-0 first-quarter lead against West Hills before the Wolf Pack called a time out to settle the team down and scored the final goal of the period. Ramona padded its lead to 7-1 before West Hills had the final score of the first half.
“We kept pushing out,” Williams said. “We were passing and stealing.”
The score was 8-3 after the third period.
“We did a good job all in all,” Williams said.
Larson had seven saves and five steals in the game. The Bulldogs had a team total of 18 steals and also had a field block.
“The defense is pretty solid,” Williams said.
Williams noted that the Bulldogs allowed a goal a quarter to the Wolf Pack.
“If you can do that all season long, then you’re going to be in all the games that you play,” he said.
Ramona took 27 shots in the 28 minutes of play.
“When you’re playing that solid you expect better opportunities on the offensive side. That will come in time, I’m sure,” Williams said.
Ramona’s next match will be Jan. 6 against Canyon Crest.