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Warrior spikers second in league - Seeded eighth in playoffs


Last updated 5/15/2008 at Noon

The Fallbrook High School boys

Fallbrook High School’s boys volleyball team finished second in the Avocado League standings and was given the unofficial eighth seed in the CIF Division I playoffs.

The Warriors had a 6-2 record in Avocado League competition, losing only to Carlsbad in both matches against the Lancers.

Fallbrook’s overall record was 14-6, and the four non-league losses were against Torrey Pines, Valhalla, Cathedral Catholic, and Ramona.

The losses to Cathedral and Valhalla were in pool play in the Scripps Ranch Tournament, in which Fallbrook won the consolation bracket.

“Losses were to good teams,” Fallbrook coach Tom Saunders said.

The fifth through twelfth playoff seeds are unofficial and are subject to factors such as ensuring that league champions have at least one playoff home game and avoiding first-round playoff matches involving league opponents.

The top four seeds in each division are official.

Torrey Pines was seeded second in Division I and Carlsbad was seeded third. Cathedral and Ramona have the second and third seeds in Division III, and Valhalla was seeded third in Division II.

“They’re just a little more experienced than we are,” Saunders said.

Fallbrook outside hitter Taylor Hughes was the Warriors’ only returning starter who was at that position in 2007.

“We’ve got the equalizer, Taylor Hughes, arguably the best player in the county,” Saunders said.

Two other 2008 Warrior spikers were on the varsity last year. Bryce Dornon was an opposite hitter in 2007, but 2007 junior varsity setter Jeff Kolb was converted to a libero during club play.

“Coming into the season we didn’t know who was going to set,” Saunders said.

Saunders made Kolb the varsity libero for 2008 and Dornon became the setter. “He’s done real well,” Saunders said of Dornon’s adaptation.

The third returning varsity player is middle blocker Andrew Valencia, who was a backup in 2007.

The lack of experience didn’t prevent Fallbrook from entering the final regular-season game with a chance to share the league title, although Carlsbad quashed those hopes with a 25-17, 25-22, 25-15 victory May 8 at Fallbrook.

“We were feeling good about it,” Saunders said of the Warriors’ chances entering the game. “We had a good practice Wednesday night.”

The two teams had played at Carlsbad on April 24, and although the Lancers also swept that match it was by scores of 25-19, 31-29, and 25-20. “We didn’t play them quite as tough,” Saunders said of the rematch.

“The second game was pretty competitive,” Saunders said of the May 8 competition. “The third game was disappointing.”

Carlsbad “held” Hughes to 23 kills. “We need other guys to step up,” Saunders said.

Not all of the six league wins went smoothly. “I wasn’t pleased at the beginning of either of our San Pasqual matches,” Saunders said.

The Warriors and Golden Eagles played two five-game matches. In each match San Pasqual took the first two games and led in the third game.

“We had to dig down and pull it out, so those were really big moments for us,” Saunders said.

The unofficial eighth seed gave Fallbrook a first-round home match May 13 against Bonita Vista, which ended the regular season with a 16-8 overall record, for the right to face top-seeded La Costa Canyon tonight in the Mavericks’ gym.

Bryce Dornon (#1) does battle at the net with Carlsbad opponents in the May 8 match. Carlsbad won in three games.

“I thought we’d get a little more respect in seeding this year,” Saunders said. “I was looking for a 4 or 5 spot.”

La Costa Canyon and Torrey Pines led the Palomar League standings, followed by top Division II seed Mount Carmel. The Division I fourth seed went to Rancho Bernardo, who finished 3-7 in Palomar League play and 16-8 overall, and the unofficial fifth seed was given to Poway, who compiled a 2-8 Palomar League record and a 14-17 overall mark.

The other Palomar League team, Westview, was seeded fourth in Division II with a 2-8 league record and a 13-15 overall won-loss total.

“I think we got hosed in the seeding, really,” Saunders said.


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