By Joe Naiman
Ramona High School’s boys soccer team lost Valley League home games Feb. 12 against Oceanside and Feb. 14 against Valley Center.
“It was representative of our season,” said coach Michael Jordan.
The first half against Oceanside, which was ranked 12th in San Diego County, wasn’t indicative of the Bulldogs’ season struggles. The first 40 minutes of play ended with a 2-1 Ramona lead, which matched the total number of goals the Bulldogs had scored in the 12 halves of their first six league games. The Pirates scored the game’s first goal.
“We didn’t change what we were doing. We kept with our game plan,” Jordan said.
That paid off with the two Ramona goals. Brandon Duarte tied the game after following up on a Brandon Chavez shot. When a ball out of bounds gave Ramona a throw-in, Jordan utilized the throw-in skills of Tanarat Crowe while encouraging Charles Montana to get a running start on redirecting the ball. That play resulted in Montana heading the ball into the net for Ramona’s first lead since league play began.
“I tried to protect a 2-1 lead, played more defense,” Jordan said.
The defensive orientation allowed the Pirates to have possession of the ball in the penalty box, and a Ramona foul led to a penalty kick which tied the game. With 30 seconds remaining Oceanside scored the winning goal from a long throw-in.
“It was a heartbreaking loss,” said Jordan.
Valley Center took four shots in the Jaguars’ 2-0 win over Ramona while the Bulldogs had 15 shots on goal.
“Their goalkeeper made some really nice saves,” Jordan said.
“We played great. First 15 minutes created multiple opportunities and just couldn’t score,” he added. “It was tough.”
The losses left Ramona with a league record of 0-4-4 and an overall mark of 5-9-8. The Bulldogs close out their regular season at home against Del Norte on Friday. The match will be preceded by Senior Night ceremonies.
Saturday’s CIF playoff seeding and selection meeting will determine whether Ramona will have Division I post-season games. Jordan notes the importance of the regular season in the selection committee’s decision.
“We’re going to look forward to playing one half of soccer and go from there 40 minutes at a time,” he said.