Second quarter dooms Water Dawgs in CIF semifinal

By Joe Naiman

During the first, third, and fourth quarters of the girls water polo playoff match at La Jolla High School’s Coggan Pool, Valhalla and Ramona each scored five goals.

During the second period of the CIF Division II semifinal, Valhalla outscored the Bulldogs six goals to one.

“Second period just completely destroyed us,” said Ramona Coach Donnie Williams. “That was the difference in the game.”

Valhalla’s 11-6 victory advanced the top-seeded Norsemen into the CIF finals while ending the 2011-12 season for the fourth-seeded Bulldogs. Ramona’s final season record of 15-16 also includes a quarterfinal playoff win over La Costa Canyon and a 1-9 record in Palomar League play.

The Bulldogs scored first in the playoff semifinal, although the Norsemen soon tied the game. Valhalla took a 3-2 lead with a goal in the final seconds of the first quarter. An early goal in the second period gave the Norsemen a 4-2 lead. “We kind of played back and forth,” Williams said.

Valhalla took a 5-2 lead with 3:50 remaining in the second period and scored four more times before the halftime buzzer to enter the locker room with a 9-3 lead. Williams places the blame on himself, expressing that he should have slowed down the game when his team was struggling.

Ramona’s starting lineup included only one senior. Bri Hogervorst helped guide her teammates during the halftime remarks.

“Bri really got them fired up,” Williams said. “Those girls stepped it up.”

The starters also included two juniors and four sophomores.

Each team scored twice in the third quarter, and Ramona scored the fourth period’s only goal.

Hogervorst scored all six of the Bulldogs’ goals and also had one steal. Sophomore Jocelyn Schwegler had two assists while junior Rachel Hogervorst and sophomores Holly Smith, Cassie Bernas, and Paulina Bernd contributed one assist apiece. Bernd and junior goalie Tiffany Larson led the team with two steals apiece, and although Larson allowed eleven goals she also made 15 saves.

“We didn’t short-change ourselves either for shots,” said Williams, whose team took 23 shots on cage including the six which went into the net.

“We had our opportunities,” Williams said. “I thought the girls did a good job with that.”

The bad second quarter didn’t erase the reality that Ramona played the top-seeded team even for three periods.

“I thought we could go to the final game depending on how things played out,” Williams said. “I’m proud of these girls because I know they had that kind of talent. It’s a great season; it really is.”

   
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