By Joe Naiman
During Ramona High School’s Oct. 16 boys water polo match, Valley Center converted on six of seven power plays in the Jaguars’ 15-10 win while the Bulldogs converted on two of seven man-up situations.
“We’ve just got to do a better job on man-down defense and do a better job of going on man-up,” said Coach Donnie Williams.
In water polo, the penalty for a player committing an infraction calls for that player to be excluded from the pool for 20 seconds of play or until the opponent scores, leaving the team short one player.
Valley Center’s 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter included a pair of man-up goals for the Jaguars. The visitors scored the initial goal of the second period for a 4-1 lead, and the teams then exchanged goals until Valley Center had a 6-3 advantage. The Jaguars scored the final goal of the first half for a 7-3 lead.
“I tried to get the guys to focus on playing solid defense, not making mistakes,” Williams said of his halftime address to Ramona’s players.
A man-up goal for Ramona began the third-quarter scoring, but the Bulldogs were unable to convert on a subsequent man-up opportunity which would have narrowed Valley Center’s lead to two scores. The Jaguars scored on the transition after Ramona’s missed opportunity.
The Bulldogs had the next two successful shots to make the score 8-6. Valley Center entered the final period with a 10-6 lead after scoring twice in the third quarter’s final minute, including once on a man-up situation. The Jaguars converted all three of their extra-player opportunities in the fourth period.
“We executed at times well, but defensive mental breakdowns were causing us to give up too many goals,” Williams said.
Ramona and Valley Center had both entered the game with 2-0 records in Valley League play, and Del Norte also took a 2-0 mark into the Nighthawks’ game that day, so the loss put Ramona at a disadvantage for a potential league championship.
“It was a big game,” Williams said.
Ramona’s record stood at 8-10 overall as well as 2-1 in league play following the defeat.
The Bulldogs’ junior varsity team won two of five games at the San Diego Open JV Tournament. The varsity San Diego Open tournament will be played Thursday through Saturday.