By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s boys water polo team played three road games during the week of Sept. 17-22 and won all three.
“The guys are all playing well,” said Ramona coach Donnie Williams.
Two of the games were one-goal victories after the teams were tied 5-5 at halftime, while the third game was tied 5-5 before Ramona scored the final three second-quarter goals.
“We’re still trying to work out some bugs and different things,” Williams said.
Ramona traveled to West Hills on Sept. 18 and took a 10-9 victory over the Wolf Pack.
“It was a close game all the way through,” Williams said.
The Bulldogs scored first, West Hills scored the next three goals, and a Ramona goal narrowed the Bulldogs’ deficit to 3-2 by the end of the first quarter.
Each team had five goals when the halftime buzzer sounded. West Hills had an 8-7 lead after three periods and scored the fourth quarter’s first goal for a 9-7 lead.
Ramona then scored the game’s final three goals for a 10-9 victory. The Wolf Pack had one final shot, which was on cage, and the clock ran out before goalie Isaac Gross touched the ball.
West Hills scored on only one of six extra-player opportunities.
“We did a pretty decent job on man-down,” Williams said.
The Bulldogs only scored on one of four man-up opportunities, although they made their first two five-meter penalty shots. Ramona’s third penalty shot, which took place after the game’s final goal, went into the goal but was nullified when the referee ruled that Matteo Franchello was not in position.
Franchello scored five goals against West Hills. Thomas Abbott scored three, including the game-winner. Garrett Klem and Jesse Reiling had one goal apiece.
The Bulldogs also scored the game’s first goal Sept. 21 at Mt. Carmel. The Sundevils tied the game, Ramona took a 3-1 lead, and Mt. Carmel scored the next three goals for a 4-3 lead at the end of the first period.
The Sundevils took a 5-3 lead in the second quarter before Ramona scored the final two goals of the period for a 5-5 halftime deadlock. Ramona scored the third period’s initial goal and led 7-6 at the end of that quarter. Ramona took an 8-6 lead with 1-1/2 minutes left before allowing a goal with 1:13 left. The rest of the game was scoreless, giving the Bulldogs an 8-7 victory.
“The guys were playing solid,” Williams said.
Mt. Carmel scored on only one of eight man-up situations, although the Sundevils made two penalty shots. Franchello scored three goals against Mt. Carmel, Cory Davison placed two balls into the net, and Klem, Reiling, and Levi Vermeulen scored one goal apiece.
The victory was Ramona’s first ever against Mt. Carmel.
“It was a big huge win for us,” Williams said. “Big win, especially at their pool.”
La Jolla Country Day uses the Jewish Community Center for home matches such as the Sept. 22 contest against Ramona.
“That game went back and forth, too,” Williams said.
The Torres had a 3-2 lead after one quarter, but the Bulldogs tied the game at 3-3. Each team had five goals apiece with a minute and a half remaining in the second period, but three Ramona goals in those 90 seconds gave the Bulldogs an 8-5 halftime lead. Ramona ended the game on the favorable end of the 14-9 score. Reiling had seven goals and Franchello placed four shots past the Torres goalkeeper.
Ramona converted seven of eight extra-player opportunities.
“We did a really good job on our man-up,” Williams said.
The Torres scored on two of eight power plays and also had two successful penalty shots.
The wins gave Ramona a 7-4 season record.
“The guys are playing strong and developing,” Williams said. “They’re hustling. They’re playing good defense all the way through.”