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Warrior spikers second in league, reach playoffs

Last year Fallbrook High School’s boys volleyball team ended its season with a win. This year the Warriors’ final match was a loss but in the CIF Division III playoffs, which was Fallbrook’s first postseason appearance since 2008.

“I was extremely proud of those boys because they fought all year,” Fallbrook coach Chip Patterson said.

The 2008 team had an overall record of 15-7 including one Division I playoff win and one playoff loss. The 2017 squad finished with a 17-11 mark including the first-round playoff loss. This year’s team had a 5-3 performance against Valley League opposition to share second place with San Dieguito Academy, which gave the Warriors their first second-place league finish since 2008.

“You’ve got to be happy for them,” Patterson said. “Those guys played extremely well.”

Sage Creek won the Valley League championship and ended the season with 20 consecutive victories, including the two league contests against Fallbrook, three CIF San Diego Section Division III playoff matches which provided the section championship, and three CIF Southern California Division II playoff matches to earn the regional championship.

“We finished second to the team that won state,” Patterson said.

Patterson thus was not disappointed that the Warriors didn’t win the league title. The May 6 CIF playoff selection and seeding meeting also commended Fallbrook by means of the seventh seed in the 12-team CIF Division III playoffs. That put the Warriors into the postseason for the first time in nine years.

“That’s a major feat when you do something like that,” Patterson said.

The seed gave Fallbrook a first-round home match May 9 against tenth-seeded Escondido Adventist Academy. The Hawks had traveled to Fallbrook for a March 7 non-league game which ended with a four-set Warrior victory, but in the rematch Escondido Adventist swept 25-23, 25-23 and 25-19 games.

“We should have beat them, but just too many changes, too many dynamic changes, at the last minute,” Patterson said.

Until May 5, Patterson thought that his playoff roster would be including all seven of his normal starting players. The loss of one of the offensive players forced Patterson to call up a junior varsity player who had no previous varsity experience. The new combination had only May 8 to practice before the playoff match.

“That was way too much to ask for them to do,” Patterson said. “They tried. They fought. It was close in every game, but they couldn’t get over the top.”

Last year Fallbrook had an overall record of 11-15, and the Warriors were 3-7 in Valley League competition.

“I’m extremely proud they made it as far as they did,” Patterson said of the 2017 team. “Hopefully we learned a lot of things.”

Four 2017 starters are expected to play for the Warriors in 2018, and this year’s junior varsity squad only lost four matches during the season.

“That's a significant thing,” Patterson said. “Next year they are going to be a contender because they are going to know the game more.”

 

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