By Joe Naiman
After winning its first-round CIF Division II playoff game Nov. 13 against La Costa Canyon, Ramona High School’s boys water polo team lost its quarterfinal game to No. 1-seeded Scripps Ranch High School on Nov. 15.
The two playoff matches gave the Bulldogs a final season record of 15-14. Ramona’s 4-1 Valley League statistic translated to second place in the final league standings.
The CIF playoff selection and seeding meeting Nov. 11 gave Ramona the No. 8 seed in the Division II playoffs.
“I felt we could have been seeded higher,” said Coach Donnie Williams.
If the No. 8 seed is successful in the playoff opener, the team plays the No. 1 seed in the second round.
Ramona’s success in the playoff opener with a 9-8 final score advanced the Bulldogs to the next round, but the Bulldogs only led for the final 1:46 of the second overtime period and trailed by as many as five goals.
“That game was really an exciting game to watch. Great comeback by the kids,” Williams said.
The Mavericks scored first, and Ramona scored the next goal. Two subsequent La Costa Canyon goals gave the Mavericks a 3-1 lead after one quarter. In the first 90 seconds of the second period, three additional LCC scores created a 6-1 advantage.
Ramona scored the next two goals. A La Costa Canyon score with six seconds remaining in the half made the score 7-3 at halftime.
“We just struggled with being productive,” Williams said.
Ramona missed a five-meter penalty shot in the third period, in which neither team scored. Ten seconds into the fourth quarter a Ramona exclusion gave the Mavericks a power play, but Ramona’s defense held off the attack. Two Ramona goals within a 90-second period in the fourth quarter made the score 7-5. The Mavericks scored once again for an 8-5 cushion.
A La Costa Canyon exclusion gave the Bulldogs a power play which resulted in Tyler Webb’s goal.
“He was only in there for the man-up opportunity and it worked perfectly,” Williams said.
Ryan Hall’s goal narrowed the margin to 8-7. Garrett Klem scored with 22 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game.
The game went into two mandatory three-minute overtime periods. The first of those was scoreless.
“We regrouped a little bit,” said Williams.
During the second overtime period a shot by Jesse Reiling into the net was nullified by the referee. Reiling had another shot opportunity later in the period. While the LCC defender was focused on Reiling, Cory Davison moved behind the defender. Reiling passed to Davison for the winning score.
Klem and Davison had two goals apiece against the Mavericks. Webb, Hall, Reiling, Eric Smith, and Levi Vermeulen each scored once.
“We pretty much had scoring across the board,” Williams said. “It was almost a complete team win in that aspect.”
Hall had four assists with Reiling, Klem, and Vinnie Talento each providing an assist. Talento also had a field block. Klem led the team with six steals, Vermeulen added four steals, and two steals apiece were recorded by Reiling, Hall, and goalie Taylor Holas. Spencer Schwegler also had a steal. Holas had 10 saves while Jack Sundberg, who played the second period, made two saves.
Vermeulen’s goal gave Ramona a 1-0 lead against Scripps Ranch, but the Falcons tied the score with what would be the first of four goals in a 2 1/2-minute span.
“That was the floodgate,” said Williams.
The Falcons had a 5-1 lead before Ramona scored again, and the score was 6-2 after one quarter.
“They were pressing us really hard,” Williams said. “We were struggling to try to keep up with their big press.”
The score was 12-2 at halftime, 15-5 after three periods, and 17-6 when the final buzzer sounded.