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Warrior spikers win tournament pool


Last updated 5/3/2007 at Noon

Fallbrook High School’s boys volleyball team won its pool in the Scripps Ranch Tournament before withdrawing from the April 20-21 tournament for lack of available players on the second day.

“We just haven’t had a whole lot of commitment this season,” said Fallbrook coach Tom Saunders. “It’s kind of frustrating and disappointing.”

Injuries had depleted the Warriors’ active roster from thirteen to nine players, and the absence of both middle blockers for the tournament’s second day caused Saunders and the remaining players to consider withdrawal as the most appropriate option. “When the front end of your lineup drops out, it makes it tough,” Saunders said.

The Warriors began the week without opposite hitter Alex Samuelson, who broke his hand in mid-March and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks, and without middle blocker Matt Siracusa, who separated his shoulder during practice in early April. On April 16 setter Erick Sampson, who missed all but the final day of March due to a rolled ankle incurred during a March 1 scrimmage, injured his thumb in practice. A torn ligament is suspected, which would inactivate Sampson for the rest of the season. During the first game of the Warriors’ April 18 match against Oceanside, outside hitter Al Siaton rolled his ankle.

“That began a little of our turmoil,” Saunders said. “We went from having 13 players to 9 players.”

Kyle Chaisson, who had taken over as setter during Sampson’s injury, was also unavailable for the April 18 match due to a sign language teacher who insisted that Chaisson attend a performance that evening. Bryce Dornan, who started the season as the backup right side hitter and became the starting right side hitter when Samuelson couldn’t play, was moved to setter for the match against Oceanside.

The match against the Pirates lasted five games and ended with a 19-17 Warrior victory in the finale. “We barely pulled it out,” Saunders said.

On Thursday, April 19, Saunders learned that one of the team’s middle blockers had to work that Saturday while the other middle blocker would be visiting a campus on April 21.

The middle blockers were present for the April 20 pool play, although the rain that afternoon caused several teams and referees to be late. Fallbrook and San Marcos had been scheduled to compete in pool play later in the evening, but since both teams were present the tournament organizers decided to move up that game. Due to a lack of officials, the coach from Scripps Ranch High School served as the referee.

San Marcos took a 26-24 victory in the first game, and the Warriors and Knights battled in the second game until Fallbrook ended up with a 32-30 triumph. The Knights came out on top in the third game by a 15-11 score.

Fallbrook then played The Bishop’s School, whose nickname is also the Knights, and prevailed in two games by 25-14 and 25-16 margins. “We handled them pretty well,” Saunders said.

That would create an opportunity for a three-way tie for first place in the pool when Bishop’s defeated San Marcos in three games. The Warriors consummated the three-way tie with a 25-18, 25-23 win over Serra.

“We got a gift in that win from Bishop’s, and we took advantage of it,” Saunders said. “That’s certainly a plus.”

The tiebreaker for first place in the pool was the teams’ record in games played. The Warriors had a 5-2 record while San Marcos was 5-4 and Bishop’s was 4-3, so Fallbrook was given the status of pool champion.

In the 2006 Scripps Ranch Tournament the Warriors had finished third in pool play and advanced to the consolation championship match before a loss in that contest. The first-place pool standing in 2007 slated Fallbrook for the Gold Division in the next day’s round, but Saunders doubted that the Warriors would be competitive in the Gold Division without any middle blockers.

“I thought the best thing in that case was just withdraw,” Saunders said. “We’re squeaking out wins as it is.”

The players agreed to withdraw from the tournament.

The withdrawal preserved the Warriors’ season record at 9-6, including 2-1 in league competition. “I really expected it to be a little bit different,” Saunders said. “It’s been a battle all season.”


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