By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s water polo team compiled a three-match winning streak during the Vellenkamp Tournament.
The Bulldogs won the middle three games of the Oct. 14-15 tournament after a loss in their first tournament game following Palomar League losses Oct. 11 against Torrey Pines at UCSD and Oct. 13 at home against Westview.
“I’m proud of the guys. They had a good tournament,” said Coach Donnie Williams.
The loss to Torrey Pines was by a 16-3 score.
“The big pool definitely made a difference,” Williams said.
The Falcons had a 7-0 lead before Ramona scored the first quarter’s final goal with about 20 seconds left in the period. Torrey Pines led 12-1 at halftime and 16-2 after three quarters.
Ramona scored the first and last goals during the Bulldogs’ 6-2 loss to Westview.
“We were having a hard time getting quality shots,” Williams said.
Ramona scored the only goal of the first period, but the Wolverines had all four second-quarter scores.
“That second quarter just killed us,” Williams said. “Four unanswered goals was a rough deal.”
Westview scored the third period’s only goal and had a 6-1 lead before Thomas Abbott’s goal with seven seconds left closed out the scoring.
Ramona’s two Oct. 14 tournament games were played at Servite High School in Orange County. The first was a 22-5 loss to Beaumont.
“They have some really good players,” Williams said of the Cougars. “They really came at us hard, and they put it to us.”
Beaumont had an 8-1 lead after one period and led by a 15-1 margin at halftime.
“They were just really good at isolating,” Williams said.
The Cougars expanded their lead to 19-2 after three quarters before fourth-quarter substitutes allowed the majority of Ramona’s goals.
Ramona’s first win since Sept. 10 was in the Friday night game against Warren High School of Downey.
“We really played good solid defense against them,” Williams said.
The Bulldogs had a 3-2 lead at the end of the first period courtesy of Mike Talento’s two goals and one successful shot by Spenser Jones. Ramona expanded its lead over the Bears to 7-2 by halftime and 10-4 after three quarters.
Williams’ fourth-quarter focus was moving the ball around rather than increasing the margin of victory, but the Bulldogs were successful enough in that to end the game on the preferred end of a 16-5 score.
“That was a good game for us,” Williams said.
Vinny Talento scored his first varsity goal against the Bears to complement his brother’s three goals.
The first of three Oct. 15 games for the Bulldogs was against Savanna High School of Anaheim at Sonora High School in La Habra. The Rebels scored the final goal of the first quarter to take a 3-2 led, but Ramona had a 6-5 margin at halftime.
Williams took 17 players to the tournament.
“It allowed us a lot of depth,” he said. “We had some energy we could throw off the bench.”
That became apparent in the second half, which included a 10-6 Ramona lead after three periods as well as the 12-10 final score in Ramona’s favor.
The Bulldogs then traveled to Whittier High School for a game against Fullerton High School.
“I thought it was a good game for us,” Williams said. “They kept fighting back and forth as we went.”
The score was tied at three goals apiece when the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter. Ramona had an 8-6 halftime lead.
Williams sat his regulars in the third quarter to provide more experience for his substitutes, but when the Indians narrowed the gap to 11-10 by the end of the period Williams inserted his starters into the game.
The Bulldogs had a 16-11 lead before Fullerton scored the final two goals of the 16-13 game.
Whittier High School was Ramona’s opponent when the Bulldogs returned to Sonora High School for the final tournament game. The Cardinals scored the game’s first five goals and had six of the seven first-period scores.
“We had a really bad first quarter,” Williams said.
Ramona narrowed the halftime gap to 7-6.
“We made a pretty good run,” Williams said. “That was probably the most inspirational run of the weekend.”
Whittier dominated the third period, leading by a 15-8 score when the buzzer sounded, and won the match by an 18-12 margin.
“I was happy with the tournament,” Williams said. “I think they learned a little bit.”
The tournament results gave Ramona a 7-10 overall record for the season while the league matches gave the Bulldogs a conference record of 0-4. Ramona hosts Poway in a league match on today, Oct. 20.