Bulldogs' home opener is Friday against Canyon Crest By Joe Naiman The season record of Ramona High School’s boys water polo team fell to 4-3 with an 8-6 loss to West Hills at the Santana High School pool in Santee. “We had a good game,” said Coach Donnie Williams. “We came up a little short.” Ramona and West Hills are in Division II for CIF playoff purposes. “I knew it was going to be a good Division II rivalry,” Williams said. “Our strategy was to try to make them play defense.” The Bulldogs, whose previous game was during the Poway Invitational tournament, did that later in the game. The Wolf Pack won the sprint and scored the game’s first goal within 15 seconds of the opening whistle, and West Hills had a 2-0 lead before Michael Talento passed to Jesse Reiling in the final minute of the first period with the Bulldogs holding a man-up advantage due to a Wolf Pack exclusion. Reiling successfully shot the ball into the net. West Hills also won the second-quarter sprint on Sept. 21, and an early goal that period gave the Wolf Pack a 3-1 lead. Later in the second quarter Clinton Jones passed to Pat Kettle, who scored his first varsity goal on the man-up situation to halve the deficit. Zach Lane’s goal tied the score, but the Wolf Pack regained the lead with a man-up goal. Ted Dean’s goal tied the score with 23 seconds remaining in the half, but the Wolf Pack took a 5-4 halftime lead by scoring with four seconds left in the second period. West Hills also scored the third period’s first goal, but goals by Lane and Jones evened the score entering the fourth period. The third period also saw the Wolf Pack’s two-meter player majored, or removed, from the game for accumulating his third exclusion. “That kind of slowed things down even more,” Williams said. The 6-6 score after three quarters made every fourth-period play critical for both teams. “We played back and forth, had a couple of opportunities,” Williams said. Ramona goalie Isaac Gross blocked a five-meter penalty shot, and the Bulldogs went on the counterattack. After that play was unsuccessful, the Wolf Pack staged their own counterattack, which resulted in the winning goal with 3:28 left in the fourth period. The Wolf Pack scored their final goal with about three minutes remaining. Ramona had several opportunities but could not close the gap.
“Just couldn’t get a quality shot on cage,” Williams said. “Everything we tried just wouldn’t work.”
Gross had nine saves in addition to his blocked penalty shot.
“I think our guys need a little more experience and work,” Williams said. “I think they’ll be fine.”
The Bulldogs’ home opener is Sept. 30 against Canyon Crest.