Water polo ends season with loss to Granite Hills


Last updated 3/9/2007 at Noon

Fallbrook High School’s girls water polo team concluded its season February 15 with an 11-7 loss to Granite Hills in the first round of the CIF Division I playoffs.

The game at Montgomery Middle School in El Cajon was tied as late as the third period, but Granite Hills scored four of that quarter’s five goals to advance to the quarterfinals.

“They gave it their best,” said Fallbrook coach Michael Hatcher. “They fought to the very end.”

Fallbrook earned the game’s first goal 2:10 into the game when Lindsey Urquhart scored off a pass from Nicole Walker. Granite Hills took a 2-1 lead on a pair of man-up goals by Sarah Wenck and Amanda Owens. A Granite Hills ejection led to a Fallbrook man-up goal by Urquhart to tie the game, but with 51 seconds left in the first period Courtney Bowman scored the quarter’s final goal to give Granite Hills a 3-2 lead.

The first quarter saw eight ejections, five to Granite Hills players and three to the Warriors. “We had the opportunities in the first quarter. We just couldn’t convert,” Hatcher said.

Granite Hills allowed Fallbrook a five-meter penalty shot in the second period, but the Eagles’ only other ejection in the game occurred with 3:14 left in the fourth period. “They did a good job of adapting, which was always nice to see,” Granite Hills coach Danny Root said of his players.

Granite Hills took a 4-2 lead on a goal by River Croteau-Hanson, and the Eagles gained a three-goal margin on Ali Arnold’s goal. Urquhart converted the five-meter penalty shot to narrow the deficit to 5-3 and Laura Shafer’s goal brought the Warriors to within one before Owens scored for the Eagles. Urquhart scored the second quarter’s final goal to provide a 6-5 Granite Hills lead at halftime.

With 47 seconds elapsed in the third period Rachel Lackey parlayed a pass from Maggie Schuur into the net for the tying goal, but 22 seconds later Lauren Cono’s goal gave Granite Hills the lead for good. The Eagles also scored on third-period goals by Christine Hamner, Croteau-Hanson, and Wenck to take a 10-6 lead into the final seven-minute quarter.

The Eagles took an 11-6 lead on Bowman’s goal with 1:40 left in the game, but 15 seconds later Urquhart’s fifth goal of the evening closed out the scoring.

The loss ended Fallbrook’s season with a 12-17 overall record. “I felt we could have gone deeper in the playoffs,” Hatcher said.

Although Fallbrook has advanced further in the playoffs in past years, Lackey, Schuur, and Urquhart are the only seniors on the roster. Including backup goalie Katie Wilson, who spent the regular season on the junior varsity team and did not appear in the playoff match, the Warriors had seven sophomores on their varsity.

Fallbrook had been seeded 11th in the CIF Division I playoffs. Granite Hills, whose roster included seven seniors and six juniors, was seeded sixth.

Fallbrook’s 5-5 record in Avocado League play placed the Warriors third in the conference standings. “Third in league was about where I expected us to be,” Hatcher said.

The Avocado League includes six teams, five of which are in Division I. All five of those Division I teams were selected for the CIF playoffs.

Granite Hills won the Grossmont South League championship with a perfect 10-0 conference record and entered the playoffs with a 17-11 overall mark.

While Fallbrook goalie Sydney Fitzpatrick made seven saves and the Eagles had nine attempts in addition to their goals, Fallbrook also had nine non-scoring attempts and forced Granite Hills goalie Kayla Lind to make seven saves. “There’s nothing more you can ask of your athletes,” Hatcher said. “ proud of my girls.”


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