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Longhorns defeat Warriors in volleyball playoff opener

Fallbrook High School’s girls volleyball team ended its 2009 season with a three-game loss November 10 in the first round of the CIF Division I playoffs.

Rancho Buena Vista (RBV), which earned the fourth seed after sharing the Palomar League championship with Poway, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 25-12, 25-19, 25-14 win over the Warriors.

“The scores weren’t that great,” said Fallbrook coach Peter Peng. “But we played really well.”

Fallbrook had earned the 13th seed after finishing last in the Avocado League with a 1-9 record in league competition. The loss gave the Warriors a final official regular-season record of 4-19, although Fallbrook also won six of seven matches in the Palm Desert Tournament as well as the championship of the tournament whose matches do not count in the overall season record because they were not regulation length.

“RBV just beat us, but it was a fun match to watch,” Peng said. “A lot of good energy on both sides.”

Peng noted that the point reflects the winner of the rally and not the performance of the teams during the rally prior to its end.

“The scoring system is not necessarily reflective of the level of play,” he said. “We played hard, we played well.”

The Warriors were without Ellyn Grantham, who was the team’s starting setter until reinjuring her shoulder during Fallbrook’s final regular-season home game. Talia DeFalco, who is normally the team’s libero, took over as setter. Tess Sutton had been Fallbrook’s backup libero prior to her ankle injury. In the playoff match Fallbrook went without a libero and Peng utilized a two-person serve-receive.

“Offense was pretty balanced,” Peng said. However, “RBV executed a little better than we did,” Peng added; “They have more firepower, and ultimately their firepower won.”

The Longhorns subsequently swept fifth-seeded Eastlake in the playoff quarterfinal.

“No complaints about the team,” Peng said of Fallbrook. “We tried our best, we gave our best effort.”

Peng would have liked to have defeated the Longhorns, but he was not disappointed with his players. “I’m proud of my girls. They fought,” Peng said.

“My kids are doing the best they can,” Peng said. “That’s all I can ask of them.”

Peng noted that his while long-term goal involves bringing the team to the level of powerhouses such as La Costa Canyon and Torrey Pines, that will require improving the team one level at a time. His shorter-term goal involves improving the team to the level of Rancho Buena Vista and Poway.

“It’s a good challenge,” said Peng.

The 2009 team included four senior starters, including Grantham, and five seniors altogether.


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