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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Warrior spikers follow eight-loss week with two league wins


Last updated 10/10/2019 at 4:41pm

Not only did the Fallbrook High School girls’ volleyball team lose both league matches during the final week of September, but the Warriors also lost all six of their Scripps Ranch Tournament matches later in the week. However, the Warriors rebounded from their 0-8 week with league wins Oct. 2 at home against Ramona High School and Oct. 4 at Valley Center High School.

“We’re a young team. We’re developing,” Fallbrook coach Jason Dale said.

The Warriors began Valley League play with home matches Sept. 24 against Mission Vista High School and Sept. 25 against Escondido High School. Both of those teams were undefeated in league matches after the first two weeks of Valley League play with one win apiece being at the expense of Fallbrook.

Mission Vista swept the Warriors in 25-16, 25-21, and 25-16 games while Escondido also recorded a sweep with 25-22, 25-21, and 25-17 sets.

The Scripps Ranch tournament took place Sept. 27-28.

“We had a really rough tournament,” Dale said.

A tournament requires a team to win two games to prevail in a match while non-tournament matches require being victorious in three sets. Three of Fallbrook’s losses in the Scripps Ranch tournament involved two-game sweeps while the Warriors took their other three opponents to three games.

“We fought back from that,” Dale said.

The Warriors’ 13-girl varsity roster consists of four seniors, two juniors, five sophomores and two freshmen. One of those seniors, Olivia Christopherson, is injured and has not been on the court during league play. Ramona’s 15 varsity players are comprised of four seniors, five juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen.

“They’re really young, too,” Dale said.

Dale is also a new varsity coach. Chip Patterson was the Warriors’ girls’ varsity coach from 2014 to 2018 and remains as Fallbrook’s boys varsity coach. Dale was the Warriors’ girls’ junior varsity coach in 2014 and 2015 before taking a three-year leave from coaching to spend more time with his daughter, who is now in first grade.

“Sometimes it works out well. Sometimes it doesn’t,” Dale said of having a new coach. “It just kind of takes time.”

The Oct. 2 match worked out better for Fallbrook than for Ramona.

“It was a resounding win. Very nice,” Dale said.

The Warriors achieved 25-17, 25-17, and 25-19 victories.

“We held them under 20 all three sets,” Dale said.

During the first five years Fallbrook was in the Valley League, Ramona’s girls’ volleyball team posted a cumulative 45-1 league record as Mission Vista handed the Bulldogs a loss in 2015, and the Bulldogs had won 29 consecutive league matches before losing this year’s Valley League opener against Mission Vista.

“It was a definitive moment,” Dale said of defeating Ramona. “Our girls played very strong, very well. It was good to see them play at that level.”

The Warriors’ 25 kills against Ramona included nine apiece by senior Sonsi Jarvis and sophomore Sophia Badillo along with five from sophomore Ashlynn Craven.

Five of Fallbrook’s points were from serving aces by freshman Annie Riley, and Badillo contributed four aces. Riley is Fallbrook’s setter and also had 13 assists. Badillo led the team with 10 digs while senior Kendall Sprint recorded seven digs. Badillo added a solo block.

“We had a couple of girls step up real big,” Dale said.

The Warriors had 32 digs in the three games against Ramona.

“We wouldn’t let the ball hit the ground on anything. Every single point was fought for,” Dale said. “It was a great defensive battle.”

The Warriors improved their overall season record to 11-21 and their league record to 2-2 with the five-game win at Valley Center.

“That was a weird day,” Dale said.

Oct. 4 was also homecoming at Fallbrook High. Some of the Fallbrook players were part of the homecoming court and needed to be at the Warriors’ stadium for that night’s football game. Dale and Aiyanna Coleman, who took over as the Valley Center head coach in 2018, agreed to hold the varsity match before the junior varsity and freshman competitions so that the Warriors could participate in homecoming activities.

Dale is familiar with Valley Center volleyball coaches. He graduated from Valley Center in 2003 and played on the Jaguars’ boys volleyball team. His father, Alan, coached both boys volleyball and girls volleyball at Valley Center before retiring in 2013. The Oct. 4 match was thus Dale's first against Valley Center.

“It felt a little strange,” he said.

Dale’s father was one of the spectators, and others Dale knew from his Valley Center days were at the match.

“I saw a lot of friendly familiar faces there,” he said.

His Valley Center friends may have been disappointed at the Warriors’ five-game win, but that complemented the afternoon and early evening for Dale.

“It makes everything better,” he said.

The Warriors won the first two games by 25-23 and 25-19 scores.

“They were close and they were well fought,” Dale said.

Valley Center then evened the match with 25-15 and 25-17 triumphs.

“The third and fourth sets we did not play well at all,” Dale said.

Jarvis was part of the homecoming court and had to leave after the third game.

The winner-take-all fifth game ended with Fallbrook on the preferred end of the 15-10 score.

“We kind of pulled it back together,” Dale said.

Dale advised his girls to play to win rather than to play not to lose.

“It was nice to see them step up to that challenge after losing two sets in a row,” he said.

Badillo had six kills against the Jaguars while Jarvis had five kills in her three sets. Badillo had 10 digs with Jarvis and junior Isabella Duran each providing four digs. Craven set for nine assists. The Warriors’ defense included two solo blocks from freshman Bailee Aguila. Jarvis, Badillo and junior Grace Bell had two aces apiece.


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