By Joe Naiman
In a three-day period, Ramona High School’s boys soccer team defeated Mar Vista and Monte Vista while tying Steele Canyon.
The matches gave the Bulldogs a 7-1-1 record, not including a Dec. 10 staff-varsity fundraising match.
The staff-varsity match was held indoors with the girls varsity playing the first and third quarters and the boys varsity playing the second and fourth periods. The game was tied at 8-8 after the end of regulation, and the boys varsity scored in overtime for a 9-8 victory.
“All the kids had a lot of fun,” said boys varsity coach Michael Jordan.
The $186 proceed money will be split evenly between the boys and girls programs.
Eight staff members, mostly boys and girls coaches, participated in the game.
“I would have liked for more teachers to have been involved,” Jordan said.
Jordan understands why many teachers did not play. “They have other obligations and it’s a late Monday night,” he said.
The Dec. 13 home match against Mar Vista was a 6-1 victory for the Bulldogs.
“We had two kids score hat tricks,” Jordan said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had this happen before.”
Alex Medina and Andy Garcia each scored three goals. Morgan Schmidt and Brandon Duarte had two assists apiece, and Abraham Cabrera also contributed an assist.
Ramona scored the game’s first goal before the Islanders obtained the equalizer.
“We just got into the flow of our game and just controlled it after that,” Jordan said.
The Bulldogs held a 3-1 halftime lead. Goalkeeper Jesse Bonilla played the first 55 minutes and made one save while Tony Alba spent the remaining 25 minutes in the nets and had two saves.
Ramona began the Grossmont Tournament with Dec. 15 games against Steele Canyon and Monte Vista at Monte Vista’s field. Jordan told his players to think one game at a time.
“I knew the first game was going to be the tougher of the two,” he said.
Ramona’s 2-2 tie against Steele Canyon involved the Cougars scoring the first half’s only goal on a direct kick which was redirected into Ramona’s net.
“It’s a tough game to explain,” Jordan said. “We could have scored, we should have scored, three goals in the first 10 minutes. We had multiple opportunities.”
Morgan Schmidt’s penalty kick tied the score in the second half, but the Cougars took a 2-1 lead on a 35-yard shot which was just outside of Bonilla’s reach. With about 15 minutes left Schmidt scored the tying goal off a direct kick play.
“Morgan just beat the keeper on a beautiful ball,” Jordan said.
“Steele Canyon pushed again. They were definitely looking for the win,” Jordan said. “We were able to keep them from scoring.”
The Steele Canyon game started at noon. The game against Monte Vista had a 5 p.m. start, and Jordan was pleased not only with the 5-0 win but also from the production of his reserve players.
“It wasn’t a drop-off. It was kind of a pick-up,” Jordan said, noting that the fresh legs of his reserves allowed for a smooth transition from the tiring varsity players.
Five different Bulldogs scored goals: Schmidt, Garcia, Alex Nastre, Colin Uekert, and Dillon Alwan. Schmidt had two assists, as did Tanarat Crowe. Both of Crowe’s assists were on throw-ins.
“He can throw the ball into the far post and it’s really hard to defend,” Jordan said.
Bonilla made three saves during the first half while Alba played the second half and had two saves. They were assisted by starting defenders Uekert, Ali Aparicio, Aedan Maruna, and Jose Valencia.
The Bulldogs will have their final Grossmont Tournament pool play game Saturday, Dec. 22, at 9:30 a.m. on Monte Vista’s field. Ramona will play Montgomery, whose 2-0 pool play record will make the winner of that game the team that advances to the semifinals later in the day.