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Warriors reach water polo playoff quarterfinals

Fallbrook High School’s boys water polo team played a pair of 11-10 games in the CIF Division I playoffs, defeating Mount Carmel by that score in the first round November 11 while losing by that margin in the quarterfinals November 14 to Rancho Buena Vista (RBV).

The game against RBV was tied until the Longhorns scored the winning goal with 46 seconds left.

“It’s always a tough loss, but we were not embarrassed,” said Fallbrook coach Bob Lamont. “We showed that we were up there with the final four.”

Fallbrook finished the regular season with a 22-7 record, including a 10-0 mark in Avocado League play which earned a league championship. The Warriors were given the fifth seed in the CIF Division I playoffs.

“I think that’s probably exactly what we’ve earned this season,” Lamont said.

Carlsbad earned the top Division I seed, while the next three seeds went to Granite Hills, Poway and RBV. Carlsbad, Poway and RBV are all in the Palomar League. Avocado League members Escondido and Torrey Pines earned the fifth and sixth seeds, respectively.

The third North County Conference league, the Valley League, saw its top four teams earn berths in the CIF playoffs. Three of those four teams competed in the Division II post-season while Mount Carmel was seeded 12th in Division I. The Sundevils matched Fallbrook’s 22-7 regular-season record and shared the Valley League championship with Canyon Crest; the Sundevils and Ravens split their two league matches and both had 11-1 league records.

Because Fallbrook’s pool does not meet CIF playoff standards, the first-round match against Mount Carmel was held at The Wave in Vista.

“That was a good game,” Lamont said. “It went back and forth and back and forth.”

The teams were tied at two goals apiece after the first period. Fallbrook took a 7-3 halftime lead, but the Sundevils narrowed the margin to 9-8 by the end of the third period. Mount Carmel then won the sprint to open the fourth period and scored to tie

the game. Kevin Reichel’s goal gave Fallbrook a 10-9 lead, and after the Warriors killed a Sundevil power play Kort Heyneman scored with 3:21 left for Fallbrook’s final goal. The Sundevils scored with 2:33 remaining before the two defenses held each other’s offenses scoreless for the rest of the game.

“That was a good first round for us,” Lamont said.

Jacob Pril had five goals in the playoff opener. Alec Carpenter scored three times, Reichel had two goals, and Heyneman put one ball into the net. Fallbrook goalkeeper Bill Shuster had nine saves, including four in the fourth period.

“His goalie play was consistent in that game,” Lamont said.

The quarterfinal match was played at La Jolla High School’s Coggan Pool.

“I actually thought we played better, even though we lost,” Lamont said when comparing Fallbrook’s two playoff contests. “Our shot selection was much better, our defense was better.”

Rancho Buena Vista had defeated Fallbrook in a tournament match earlier in the season. “We played a team that had beat us by ten goals three weeks before and came up one short,” Lamont said. “It was a big improvement in the way we played, so I was pleased about that.”

RBV came into the game with a 19-11 record after having defeated Escondido by a 19-12 score in the first round of the playoffs. The Longhorns had a 5-3 lead over Fallbrook after the end of the first period, but the Warriors led 7-6 at the halftime buzzer. The game was tied at eight goals apiece after three quarters.

“Good contest back and forth all the way,” Lamont said.

Heyneman gave Fallbrook a fourth-quarter lead 1:38 into the period, but the Longhorns tied the game. With 2:08 left Luke Jones scored to give Fallbrook a 10-9 lead, but RBV overcame that lead for the victory.

“We didn’t walk off the pool deck with our heads down,” Lamont said.

The Longhorns double-teamed Pril and held him to three goals, one of which was a five-meter penalty shot. Heyneman also scored thrice against RBV, Carpenter placed two balls into the net, and Reichel and Jones had a goal apiece.

Pril ended his high school water polo career, excluding the senior all-star game, with 528 goals to break the all-time CIF San Diego Section record of 458 set by Alex Perry, who played for West Hills High School from 2001 through 2004. Pril scored 228 goals during the 2009 season, breaking the all-time single-season record set in 2000 by Valhalla’s Brett Ormsby.


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