By Joe Naiman
Two matches on consecutive days were both wins for Ramona High School’s boys water polo team, which struggled with losses in its four Newport Rib Company Varsity Invitational tournament matches in Orange County.
The Bulldogs’ 11-9 non-league win Oct. 8 at Steele Canyon, the 16-3 league home win Oct. 9 against Army-Navy, and the Oct. 11 and 12 four tournament losses left the team with an 8-9 season record and a 2-0 Valley League statistic.
The game between Ramona and Steele Canyon was tied at a goal apiece after the first quarter.
“Missed a couple of man-up opportunities,” said Coach Donnie Williams. “That’s kind of been one of our bugaboos here.”
The Bulldogs took an 8-3 halftime lead.
“We were able to get a lot of good opportunities,” Williams said. “We had a lot of good work in that quarter. I think the guys played well together.”
The Bulldogs had a 10-6 cushion entering the final period.
“All in all it was a pretty decent game for our guys,” Williams said.
Ramona took a 7-0 lead against Army-Navy before the Warriors scored as time in the first period expired.
“The second quarter we kind of slowed it down,” Williams said.
Ramona led 9-1 at halftime and 13-1 after three periods.
All four of Ramona’s Newport Rib Company Varsity Invitational contests were played at Santa Ana Valley High School, which has a 50-meter pool.
“Our guys had a little trouble adjusting to it,” Williams said.
The Bulldogs also had four games in an 18-hour period, beginning with a 5:30 p.m. game Friday and concluding with a 10:30 start Saturday morning. Ramona also faced off against Orange County opposition, starting with a 15-4 loss to Fountain Valley.
“We knew Fountain Valley was going to be tough,” Williams said.
The Barons led by an 8-1 score after the initial period and by an 11-2 margin at halftime.
“They took it to us pretty hard in the first quarter,” said the coach. “The second game was closer. They were a lot younger team, but they’ve been playing a lot of club.”
The second opponent was Orange Lutheran.
“They’re a young team, but they’re really strong and fast,” Williams said.
The Bulldogs and Lancers combined for four goals in the first period with all four being scored on man-up situations. Ramona scored on one of three man-up opportunities while Orange Lutheran converted three of four extra-player situations. The Lancers had a 5-2 halftime lead and an 8-3 advantage entering the final period before ending the game on the preferred side of the 10-4 score.
Ramona’s first Saturday game was a 9-6 loss to San Juan Hills.
Ramona took a 2-1 lead into the second period, although the Stallions scored both of those quarter’s goals for a 3-2 halftime cushion and had a 7-5 margin after three periods.
“The third quarter’s the one that hurt us,”said Williams said. “It’s a game I think we could have won. I thought the guys played pretty good that game.”
Edison High School’s “B” team was Ramona’s final tournament opponent. The Bulldogs scored the first three goals.
“Then our guys started getting a bit gassed,” Williams said.
Edison prevailed by a 5-4 final margin.
“It wasn’t a successful tournament as far as the wins and losses, but they put in a lot of good work,” said Williams.
Ramona’s junior varsity team will have a tournament, the San Diego JV Open, this weekend.