Girls water polo 3-2 at Benson Tournament

Larson, Hogervorst named to all-tournament team

By Joe Naiman

As has been the tradition, Ramona High School’s girls water polo team opened its season with the Benson Tournament in Orange County.  As was unprecedented, the Bulldogs won their first three games at the tournament.

“It was our best tournament yet since we’ve been out there,” said coach Donnie Williams.

Ramona’s three initial wins put the Bulldogs into round-robin play with the other two top teams in the 22-team tournament. The Bulldogs lost both of those matches to settle for third place in the tournament with a 3-2 record. Ramona players Tiffany Larson and Rachel Hogervorst were named to the all-tournament team.

All five of Ramona’s games were played at El Dorado High School in Placentia. The first two of those contests took place Nov. 29.

The Bulldogs opened the tournament with a 4-3 victory over Redondo High School.

“It was a tough game,” Williams said. “I think Redondo’s a pretty solid team.”

Redondo scored the game’s first two goals in the initial three minutes of play. “We started shutting them down,” Williams said.

The score was tied at two goals apiece by the end of the first quarter. Neither team scored in the second period. The Sea Hawks took a 3-2 lead on what would be the only goal of the third period. Ramona evened the game with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, and with 23 seconds left in regulation Cassie Bernas put the winning shot into the net.

Bernas scored twice against Redondo while Paulina Bernd and Holly Fletcher had a goal apiece.  Larson, who is Ramona’s goalie, made four saves against the Sea Hawks.

Ramona’s other Nov. 29 game was an 11-6 triumph over Mission Viejo.  The Bulldogs led 5-1 after the first quarter, and 9-3 at halftime.

“We were countering on them quite effectively,” Williams said. “It was a strong game.”

Bernd scored five goals while Josie Ward had three successful shots. Hogervorst played only the first period but scored twice.  Brianna Campbell had Ramona’s other goal. Larson had nine saves before being rested, and junior Morgan Wallace made three saves in her varsity goalkeeping debut.

“I thought it was a good start,” Williams said of the first day’s games.

Valhalla’s team also made the trip from San Diego County to the Benson Tournament, and Ramona’s only Nov. 30 game was against the Norsemen. The 5-4 overtime victory was Ramona’s first win ever against Valhalla.

“That was a huge game for us,” Williams said. The girls were pretty psyched to beat them.”

Bernas was successful on a skip shot for the first quarter’s only score. The Norsemen scored twice in the second period for a 2-1 lead, but Hogervorst’s goal evened the score which remained 2-2 at halftime.  The third quarter was scoreless. Bernd’s goal gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead in the fourth quarter, but with 30 seconds left Valhalla scored on a penalty shot.

The 3-3 deadlock at the end of regulation triggered two mandatory overtime periods. Bernas scored 1- 1/2 minutes into the first overtime, but the Norsemen once again evened the score. Later in the first overtime period, Jocelyn Schwegler shot from seven meters away and placed the ball into the net.

“In the second overtime we shut everybody down completely,” Williams said.

Larson made 10 saves and also had three steals. The Bulldogs had a total of 14 steals. “Solid defense, that’s what we did,” Williams said.

Ramona’s two round-robin games Dec. 1 began with an 11-2 loss to Yorba Linda. Holly Smith opened scoring to give Ramona a 1-0 lead, but the Mustangs scored the remaining two goals of the first period before building up a 7-1 halftime lead.

“The second quarter killed us in that one,” Williams said.

Bernd scored the third period’s only goal before Yorba Linda had all four scores in the fourth quarter. “It was just a flat game,” said Williams.

The Bulldogs closed out the tournament with an 8-2 loss to Warren High School of Downey, which for the Bulldogs was an improvement over the 14-2 defeat to the Bears in last year’s Benson Tournament. Warren led 2-0 after the first period and 4-0 at halftime. Bernas scored the first goal of the third quarter, although the Bears had the remaining three successful shots that period. Campbell scored Ramona’s fourth-quarter goal.

The Bulldogs travel to West Hills High School for a Dec. 6 game.

“I think this team really has a chance to do things our program’s never done before,” Williams said.

   
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