Bulldogs water polo begins season 4-2

By Joe Naiman

Donnie Williams, Ramona High School’s water polo coach, believes that the greatest benefit of the Poway Invitational tournament, which opened the Bulldogs’ season, was six games of experience for his team predominantly comprised of new players.

The benefits of the tournament also included a 4-2 won-loss record to start 2011.

“A 4-2 record at a tournament is always good,” Williams said.

Ramona began the tournament with two losses before the Bulldogs won their final four games.

“I knew it was going to take some time to get everybody up to speed,” Williams said. “It showed in those games.”

Ramona lost 10 seniors, including five starters, from the 2010 team. The Bulldogs lost their season opener Sept. 8 to Eastlake by a 12-3 score.

“Our bracket was pretty tough,” Williams said.

All six of Ramona’s games were played at Montgomery Middle School in El Cajon. That pool is lighted when electricity is available, but the Sept. 8 blackout caused the Bulldogs’ game against Rancho Buena Vista to be suspended due to darkness after the halftime buzzer. Ramona trailed 10-1 when the game was suspended after the first half and lost by a 17-3 score.

The Bulldogs then played a Sept. 9 game against San Marcos and took a 5-3 victory.

“We actually played a lot better than the score showed,” Williams said. “That was a good win for them.”

Because one of the teams slated to play in the tournament withdrew, Ramona had an extra game and played Mar Vista twice Sept. 10. The first game was a 15-11 victory. The Bulldogs then defeated Valley Center by an 8-6 score before concluding the tournament with a 9-8 win.

Schedule conflicts kept three Ramona players from competing in the Bulldogs’ third game of the day. Senior Ted Dean, one of the two returning starters, was among the absent. Williams thus played the final game with 12 of the 15 players he took to the tournament.

“It gave those other kids a chance to play,” Williams said.

The second match against Mar Vista also gave the Bulldog newcomers a chance to execute a come-from-behind victory. The Mariners led by two goals early in the fourth period before Ramona scored three times.

“That was good for the rest of the kids to come back,” Williams said.

Eight Ramona players scored their first varsity goals during the tournament. Nathan Creswell put a ball into the net against Eastlake, Spenser Jones and Jesse Reiling scored against Rancho Buena Vista, Pat Fink’s first varsity goal was against Valley Center, and the Mar Vista games included goals by Thomas Abbott, Nick Brierton, Ryan Hall, and Ian Jackaway.

Isaac Gross made his varsity goalkeeping debut and recorded his first four varsity wins.

   
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