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Warriors water polo reaches CIF quarterfinals, loses to No. 1 Vista

Fallbrook High School’s girls water polo team reached the CIF Division I quarterfinals before losing to top-seeded Vista.

The playoff loss February 21 gave the Warriors a final 2008-09 season record of 18-10, including a 9-1 Avocado League mark which was worth a share of the league championship.

“I think the girls left the pool deck with their heads high and feeling pretty good about the season,” said Fallbrook coach Bob Lamont.

The playoff seeding and selection meeting February 16 gave the Warriors the eighth seed.

Although Fallbrook shared the league championship with Torrey Pines and the two teams split their league matches, Torrey Pines was seeded as the league champion since the Falcons won the more recent game.

Torrey Pines was given the seventh seed.

The top four seeds for each division are official and the remaining seeds are unofficial and may be juggled to avoid first-round playoff games between league opponents.

The top three Division I seeds were given to three Palomar League teams: Vista, Carlsbad, and Poway.

Valley League champion Mount Carmel was seeded fourth while the unofficial fifth seed went to Grossmont South League champion Granite Hills. Mesa League champion Bonita Vista was seeded sixth.

“No. 1 and No. 2 were pretty clear,” Lamont said of the seeding. “There were a lot of teams across the board that were all sort of in the middle there.”

El Camino, which tied Poway for third in the Palomar League standings but had an inferior regular-season record, was seeded eleventh.

Rancho Buena Vista placed last among the six Palomar League teams but earned the tenth seed for the playoffs.

Escondido, which placed third in the Avocado League standings, was given the No. 15 seed.

Westview, which finished fourth in the Avocado League, was the lowest of the 16 Division I seeds.

Rancho Bernardo placed fifth in the Palomar League and was given the No. 9 seed, earning a berth against Fallbrook in the first round of the playoffs.

The first-round game was considered a home match for Fallbrook, but because Fallbrook High School’s shallow-deep pool does not meet CIF playoff standards, the February 19 contest was played at The Wave in Vista.

“They were a good team. Rancho Bernardo had a very fluid offense,” Lamont said. “They had a lot of picks and screens going on and we had to adjust to that.”

Fallbrook was still able to take a 6-2 lead by the end of the first period. The Warriors led 8-4 at halftime and 10-5 after three periods before ending the game with a 14-6 victory.

“Very good game for us. We looked real good,” Lamont said.

Lamont was pleased that all of his starters made noticeable contributions.

Demi Barrett led the scoring with five goals, including four in the first period. “She led the way for us,” Lamont said.

Nicole Walker and Neika Maryn shared the team lead with three steals apiece. Walker scored three goals while Maryn put two balls into the net against the Broncos.

“They were busy at both the offensive end and the defensive end of the pool,” Lamont said.

Kat Majdick and Dana Tobey each had two goals against the Broncos. Cassie Dowden led the Warriors with five assists.

Fallbrook goalkeeper Sydney Fitzpatrick made nine saves, one of which was from a five-meter penalty shot in the first quarter. “She had a very solid performance,” Lamont said.

Vista advanced to the quarterfinals with an 18-2 win over Westview. All of the second-round games were played February 21 at La Jolla High School’s Coggan Pool.

Vista led the Warriors 5-1 after one quarter and 7-1 at halftime.

“Their defense was very impressive,” Lamont said. “They played to every bit of their No.1 seed.”

The Panthers expanded their lead to 11-2 by the end of the third period. Fallbrook scored three goals in the final quarter of the 14-5 game.

Fitzpatrick made ten saves in her final high school water polo game, including one on a penalty shot, and Tobey had three steals to close out her high school career.

“We just were unable to match them in the field offensively,” Lamont said.

All five of the Warrior goals were scored by seniors playing their final high school water polo game.

Walker scored three of the Warriors’ goals while Maryn posted one score and Majdick closed out Fallbrook’s scoring for the 2008-09 season on a fourth-quarter penalty shot.

The 18 wins for the 2008-09 season doubled the total for 2007-08, when Fallbrook posted an overall season mark of 9-18 while finishing 4-6 in Avocado League play.

“[That was] a nice turnaround from last year,” Lamont said.

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