By Joe Naiman
During the 2010-11 season, Ramona High School’s girls soccer team not only lost all 10 of its Palomar League games but did not score a goal in any of the 10 contests. This year is different.
The Bulldogs scored at least once in three of their first four games and posted their first tie since being moved to the Palomar League two years ago.
“I think we’ve improved over last year,” said Assistant Coach Rod Vandervort. “The girls are working hard.”
The Bulldogs won their first eight games and took a 9-4 record into the start of league play.
“We started out on fire,” Vandervort said. “After the break we played more difficult competition.”
Ramona played its first two league matches on the road and opened the Palomar League season Jan. 17 with a 2-2 tie at Rancho Bernardo. The Broncos scored the first half’s only goal and took a 2-0 lead early in the second half. “We fought right back with two goals and had a couple of chances to get the game-winner,” Vandervort said.
Ramona’s first goal against the Broncos was scored by Samantha Schmidt with an assist from Katie White. The equalizer was put into the net by Alexis Dinero after a pass from Bianca Scodellaro.
“It was a really good game for our girls,” Vandervort said. “We’re happy to get a tie in league.”
Westview was the top-ranked team in San Diego County when Ramona traveled to the Wolverines’ field Jan. 19.
“They’re just really strong,” Vandervort said. “Our defense hung in there for a bit, but then we tired from all the running they were doing.”
The Wolverines scored three goals in each half, but the 6-1 game also included a Ramona free kick taken by Lexi Hogan approximately 27 yards away from the net. Hogan placed the shot into the upper left corner.
“That was good for us,” Vandervort said of scoring against the county’s top team. “It was good for our confidence.”
Ramona defender Shelby Sherman injured her shoulder against Westview and missed the next two games.
The Bulldogs’ league home opener Jan. 24 was a 4-1 loss to Poway, but Ramona took the first lead. Dinero beat a Titan defender and was in the penalty box when she was fouled. Karli Njaa scored on the penalty kick.
“The first 20 minutes we were playing with them,” Vandervort said.
The Titans scored the remaining three goals of the first half as well as the second half’s only goal. Ramona goalkeeper Maria Solis made 13 saves during the game.
Torrey Pines scored twice in each half January 26 during the Falcon’s 4-0 victory at Ramona’s expense.
“We played well the first 15 minutes or so,” Vandervort said.
The loss to the Falcons gave Ramona a 9-7-1 overall record along with the 0-3-1 league mark.
The Bulldogs host Rancho Bernardo in Thursday’s game.