By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s boys water polo team closed out its Valley League schedule Oct. 30 with a 17-1 over Orange Glen while augmenting Senior Night ceremonies Nov. 1 with a 10-8 triumph against San Marcos.
The win against Orange Glen at the Washington Park pool in Escondido gave Ramona a final Valley League record of 4-1, which was worth second place in the season standings. Ramona’s overall record stood at 14-12 following the home victory against San Marcos.
Ramona had a 6-1 lead over Orange Glen after one period.
“They’re still building their program,” Coach Donnie Williams said of the Patriots.
The cushion allowed Ramona to focus on play execution in the second period.
“We were trying to work on some things,” Williams said. “We slowed down the counterattack.”
The 8-1 halftime lead became a 12-1 advantage after three quarters. In the fourth quarter Williams placed field player Jesse Reiling in the nets. Normally Taylor Holas and Jack Sundberg share goalkeeping duties for Ramona; both spent part of the game in the field and each scored his first varsity goal.
Garrett Gaither and Tyler Webb led the Bulldogs with three goals apiece. Ten different players scored goals for Ramona.
“It was spread out between everybody,” Williams said. “That game went really well for us.”
The Valley League competition Oct. 30 also included Valley Center defeating Del Norte by a 10-5 score to give Valley Center a 5-0 league record and the Valley League championship. The Bulldogs’ only league loss was against Valley Center.
“A little disappointed,” Williams said of finishing second in the league standings. “I thought we had a good shot at winning the league this year.”
The convincing win over Orange Glen created another task for the players.
“We had to make sure we got refocused for San Marcos on Friday,” Williams said. “I had to get them really focused for the game.”
Although San Marcos is not a league opponent, the Bulldogs and Knights are both in Division II for CIF playoff purposes and the game had seeding implications.
Ramona scored the game’s first goal. “We did a good job of getting off to a good start,” Williams said.
After the Knights tied the score, Bulldog goals on a power play and on a counterattack created a 3-1 Ramona lead entering the second period.
San Marcos scored first in the second quarter, although the Bulldogs regained their two-goal advantage about a minute later. A Ramona goal with about 15 seconds left in the half resulted in a 5-3 lead, although a San Marcos shot went into the net with eight seconds remaining for a 5-4 halftime score.
The Knights opened the third-period scoring and then scored again for a 6-5 lead. Ramona tied the game with 26 seconds left in the period. San Marcos took a 7-6 lead by scoring with seven seconds remaining in the quarter. Ramona’s final play of the period ended in a game-tying goal by Ryan Hall as time expired.
The teams entered fourth-period play. On Ramona’s first possession of the final period, Levi Vermeulen’s cross-cage shot went into the net for an 8-7 lead.
“That was a momentum goal. That started off the fourth quarter pretty strong for us,” Williams said.
Although San Marcos tied the score, Reiling’s counterattack goal 20 seconds later returned the advantage to Ramona. The Knights had no further scoring.
“We did a good job of shutting them down,” said Williams.
The game’s final score occurred on a power play with 50 seconds left. Cory Davison placed the ball into the net.
“It was nice to get a good man-up goal there at the end,” Williams said.
Senior Night honored Ramona’s seven 12th-graders: Thomas Abbott, Gaither, Hall, Luca Pasqualini, Reiling, Vinnie Talento, and Vermeulen.
The CIF playoff seeding and selection meeting will take place Nov. 11.
“We’re going to be in the middle of the pack for the seeding of D-II,” Williams said.