By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s girls water polo team reached the finals of the East County Invitational tournament before a one-goal loss to Westview in the championship match on Saturday.
“They had a long, tough week,” said Coach Donnie Williams. “They should be proud of themselves.”
The Bulldogs played five tournament games between Jan. 16 and Jan. 21 and also played two Palomar League matches during the week. Ramona had a 4-3 record during those six days, and the three losses were by a combined total of four goals.
“That’s not a bad thing,” Williams said.
Ramona began tournament play with two Jan. 16 games at El Capitan High School and opened the tournament with a 9-3 win over Helix.
“We did a good job,” Williams said. “The girls have been playing solid defense.”
The Bulldogs scored the game’s first three goals and had a 3-1 lead after the first quarter. Ramona led 5-2 at halftime and 7-2 after three periods.
“All in all a good game,” Williams said.
The Bulldogs converted three of five extra-player opportunities while holding the Highlanders to one goal in nine Helix extra-player situations.
Bri Hogervorst led Ramona with five goals while Ramona goalkeeper Tiffany Larson made seven saves.
The Jan. 16 game against Monte Vista saw Ramona lead 6-1 after the first quarter, 7-1 at halftime, and 11-4 after three periods before taking a 14-4 victory. The Bulldogs scored on three of their seven extra-player occasions while the Monarchs’ seven power plays resulted in one goal.
Ramona hosted Torrey Pines in a Jan. 17 league match which ended with the Falcons on the favorable side of the 3-2 score. In 2011 the Falcons won league matches by eleven-goal and six-goal margins.
“That’s a big game for us,” Williams said of the one-goal loss.
The game was scoreless after one quarter, and goals by Cassie Bernas and Hogervorst gave Ramona a 2-1 halftime lead.
“We were playing solid defense against them,” Williams said.
The Falcons tied the game in the third period and scored the winning goal with 1:07 left on a counterattack.
“A 3-2 loss to Torrey Pines is not bad at all,” Williams said. “I’m real happy with that.”
Larson made 14 saves and also had four steals.
“She really did a good job,” Williams said.
Torrey Pines had an extra-player advantage ten times and only scored once, although the Falcons staved off all four of Ramona’s power plays.
Bernas was ill Jan. 19 and missed that day’s game at Westview. The teams had three goals apiece at halftime.
“We played strong,” Williams said. “It was a good game.”
Three Westview goals early in the third quarter gave the Wolverines a 6-3 lead before a fourth-period Ramona score produced a 6-4 final result.
Ramona returned to East County Invitational play January 20 with a game against La Jolla Country Day at the Helix High School pool. The Bulldogs scored all three first-period goals and all five first-half goals, and Williams began playing his substitutes.
The Torres closed the margin to 5-4 during the third period before the Bulldogs scored the quarter’s final goal to obtain a 6-4 lead. Williams then returned his starters to the pool, and Ramona won the game by an 11-6 score.
Ramona’s semifinal match Jan. 21 at El Capitan was against El Camino. The Bulldogs led 3-1 after the first quarter and at halftime.
“We pushed them a little bit,” Williams said.
The Wildcats tied the game with a pair of third-period goals, but Ramona scored twice in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. The Wildcats scored with about a minute left, but Ramona held on for a 5-4 triumph.
Ramona’s second game in three days against Westview was also tied at three goals apiece when the halftime whistle blew; the Wolverines had a 3-1 lead before two Ramona goals knotted the score. In the Jan. 21 game Westview had two quick goals in the third period, and a Ramona goal with one second left created a 5-4 final score.
“The girls are really working hard and they’re really coming together,” Williams said.
Hogervorst was named to the all-tournament team. The tournament results gave the Bulldogs an 11-7 overall season record while the two league losses created a 1-3 Palomar League figure.
Ramona’s final tournament of the season, the San Diego Open, will take place next week. The Bulldogs will play Thursday’s Palomar League match against Poway at the Titans’ pool.