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Warrior spikers start season 3-3 at San Diego Fall Classic

Fallbrook High School’s girls volleyball team began its regular season September 10-11 with the San Diego Fall Classic at the Epic Volleyball Center in Poway and won three of its six matches.

“We’re a very good defensive team,” said Fallbrook coach Peter Peng. “We just need to improve our team offense.”

Fallbrook actually began its competitive season with a multi-team scrimmage September 1 at Westview High School. “It was a good scrimmage,” Peng said. “They had some of the better teams in the North County Conference.”

Peng thought that the team returned three starters from last year’s varsity, but senior middle blocker Kendall Haldi is out indefinitely for medical reasons.

“We’re small,” Peng said. Including Haldi, the Warrior roster consists of six seniors, six juniors and one sophomore. Haldi and outside hitter Suzi Mellano, the other senior who started last year, are the team’s co-captains. The other returning starter is junior Talia DeFalco, who was the team’s libero in 2009 and will be the setter this year.

“We have a much better understanding of what I’m asking for,” said Peng, who is in his third year as the Warriors’ coach.

The San Diego Fall Classic seeded Fallbrook third in the four-team pool, which also included Poway, Carlsbad, and Granite Hills.

Poway won the 2009 Palomar League championship while Carlsbad was last year’s Avocado League champion.

The Warriors opened their season with a 25-17, 25-17 loss to Poway, which reached the tournament’s gold division finals before a loss to Canyon Crest.

“We competed,” Peng said. “Our kids played great defense. I can’t remember a defensive lapse.”

After a two-game loss to Carlsbad, the Warriors defeated Granite Hills in three games to take third place in the pool. The Eagles won the second game by a 26-24 overscore and led 13-11 in the third game before the Warriors staged a comeback.

“It was good character,” Peng said of Fallbrook’s come-from-behind victory.

The Warriors earned a berth in the tournament’s silver bracket, and Fallbrook’s Saturday matches began with a re-seeding contest against Pacific Ridge. The Warriors defeated the Firebirds in 25-21 and 26-24 games to earn a first-round elimination match against Santana.

After a 25-23 win in the first game against the Sultans, Fallbrook advanced to the quarterfinals with a 25-10 win.

“I was able to play everyone on my team,” Peng said. “We were doing pretty good until we bumped into Lincoln.”

Lincoln refers not to the San Diego Section’s Lincoln High School in Southeast San Diego but to Lincoln High School in Stockton. The Trojans advanced to the semifinals of the silver bracket with 25-21 and 25-22 triumphs over Fallbrook.

“They just beat us,” Peng said. “The kids played hard. I think we played as well as we could, and we’re going to grow from it.”

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