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Warrior water polo 4-5 in December

Fallbrook High School’s girls’ water polo team ended December with 4-5 record, including a 3-2 mark against CIF San Diego Section schools, following a December 18 overtime loss to El Camino.

“This was a team that went 9-18 last year, so we’re on a better start,” said Fallbrook coach Bob Lamont.

The Warriors began the season with three wins and two losses in the Bronco Invitational December 5-6.

Fallbrook opened the tournament and its season against Bishop’s, falling 9-5 to the Knights.

The Warriors then shut out Canyon Crest by a 14-0 margin.

Lamont played goalies Sydney Fitzpatrick and Alex Rodriguez for one half apiece and each goalie had three saves during her half.

“We look pretty strong in the goalkeeper position,” Lamont said.

Fallbrook’s next game was a 15-2 victory over West Hills.

The Warriors’ second loss of the tournament was to Louisville of Los Angeles by a 9-6 score. “We had a very good game,” Lamont said.

Lamont was also pleased with how the Warriors recovered from that loss to close the tournament with a 5-2 win over Beckman of Orange County. “That was a good game for us,” he said.

The Warriors followed the tournament with a non-league game against Rancho Buena Vista and earned a 9-4 victory.

The win over the Longhorns would be Fallbrook’s last of 2008. “We had three very tough games in a row,” Lamont said.

The Warriors then traveled to Capistrano Valley and lost 16-13.

Fallbrook’s next match was December 16 against Great Oak in Temecula; the teams were tied at four goals apiece when the halftime whistle blew but Great Oak ended the game with an 11-8 triumph.

“We were never really out of those. We couldn’t quite finish,” Lamont said.

In the loss to El Camino the Warriors trailed 2-0 before taking an 8-6 halftime lead.

The score was tied at 10 goals apiece at the end of regulation, but in overtime the Wildcats scored three goals and the Warriors only scored twice to give El Camino the 13-12 win.

All of Fallbrook’s starting field players scored at least five goals during the first month of play and four scored at least 10 goals.

“Our scoring is actually very well distributed between our starters,” Lamont said. “This team is really spreading the ball around.”

Nicole Walker and Demi Barrett shared the team lead with 20 goals. Barrett led the team with 25 steals in December.

Cassie Dowden and Neika Maryn shared the team lead with 11 assists apiece. “They read the situation very well,” Lamont said.

Lamont replaces Michael Hatcher, who still teaches at the high school but stepped down from coaching to spend time pursuing a Master’s degree, as the girls’ coach.

Lamont is also the current coach of Fallbrook’s boys’ team and has coached the Warrior varsity in past years as well as the Tribe off-season club.

“I’ve never coached the ladies before, so this is a new experience for me,” Lamont said.

While Lamont will need to adjust to calling the “man-up” situation, resulting from a 20-second penalty during which the team with the penalized player must play short-handed, an “extra player” situation, in the pool the team has done well on those occasions.

Fallbrook has converted 51 percent of its extra player opportunities while holding opponents to a 34 percent scoring rate.

Because San Marcos and Mission Hills do not have varsity girls’ water polo, Westview was moved from the Valley League to the Avocado League for the sport to give each North County Conference league six teams.

Fallbrook and Westview are joined by Escondido, La Costa Canyon, San Pasqual, and Torrey Pines in the Avocado League.

The Warriors’ league opener, as well as their first home game of the 2008-09 season, will take place January 14 against San Pasqual.

“I’m anticipating some good work,” Lamont said of the league season. “I think we’ll be in good shape.”

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