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Warrior girls honored at post-season water polo banquet

Fallbrook High School’s girls water polo team, which concluded in-pool play with a 26-7 record including three playoff matches and a 10-0 Avocado League mark which earned the league title, ended its 2009-10 season activities March 12 with the team banquet at the Bonsall Community Center.

Although neither the varsity nor the junior varsity squad selected a most valuable player for the 2009-10 season, the players on each selected recipients for most inspirational and most improved recognition. A varsity Coaches’ Award was also presented as were two other special awards and game balls for the three playoff games, and 12 players received varsity letters.

The banquet was organized by Pat Walker and the booster committee. “They put on a very enjoyable celebration of accomplishment for the players,” said Fallbrook varsity coach Bob Lamont.

Although Lamont noted that Fallbrook’s two CIF playoff wins as well as the loss in the semifinals to top-seeded Vista were team efforts, game balls were awarded to individuals who stood out during each contest. The Warriors opened post-season play with an 18-6 victory February 17 against Helix, and Jackie Verdon was given the game ball in recognition of the seven goals she scored against the Highlanders.

Demi Barrett was given the game ball for the February 20 quarterfinal against Torrey Pines. Barrett’s four goals in Fallbrook’s 10-9 victory included the game’s first goal and also the winning goal with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth period.

Vista’s 15-3 win over Fallbrook in the February 23 semifinal included one goal, one assist, and two steals by Lisa Walker, who was presented with the game ball for that match.

One of the team’s special awards is given to the high scorer for the season, and Barrett took home that award courtesy of her 109 goals during the Warriors’ 33 games. The other special award was given to goalie Alex Rodriguez, whose 57.5 save percentage during the season is the highest for a starter in Lamont’s two seasons as Fallbrook’s girls coach and five seasons as the Warriors’ boys coach.

Rodriguez and driver Cassie Dowden were the only two seniors on Fallbrook’s team, and Dowden was presented with the Coaches’ Award. “Just a steady performer. Always reading for the game,” Lamont said of Dowden, who spent three years on varsity.

Rodriguez was also the recipient of the varsity’s most improved award. She only spent one year on the varsity, as Fallbrook’s nets had previously been guarded by Sydney Fitzpatrick who earned a water polo scholarship to UCSD. “Alex had the discipline and work ethic to stay with it,” Lamont said. “I think that’s an important lesson for any athlete in any sport.”

Junior defender Hunter Bowman, who also played varsity water polo in 2008-09, was the varsity’s most inspirational player recipient. “Hunter is one of our best defenders,” Lamont said. “She just comes down, does her job, very professional.”

Sophomore Tiffany Beye was the junior varsity selection for most improved player. Junior Gabbie Phend received the JV’s most inspirational award.

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