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Warriors girls water polo ousted in CIF semifinals

Sean Redmond, head coach of Fallbrook High School Warriors varsity girls’ water polo, knew his team would be facing a game against Westview High School in the semifinals of the CIF San Diego Section Division I playoffs Wednesday, Feb. 19.

He said as much when the playoff seedings were announced a couple of weeks ago.

“Going into the CIF championships, when I saw the seeding and saw Westview as a No. 7 seed, I even told this to one of the tournament directors, I think Westview is the dark horse,” Redmond said. “You know, if you aren’t paying attention, you will underestimate them, because they are a lot better than what they’re seeding them as.”

Redmond and his Warriors were fully aware of how good Westview was and they showed it Wednesday Night when they took down the Fallbrook Warriors 14-7 to advance to the CIF finals Saturday, where they lost to Poway High School.

Regarding the semifinal game with Westview, Redmond laid out a simple explanation.

“They played better than we did,” he said. “They were definitely the better team that night. We didn’t give up or quit, I mean, we played well, right to the very end, but they just were able to execute a little bit better than we could and that was the difference.”

The Warriors jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before Westview was able to catch up and surpass them in the goal tally by the end of the first period, leading 3-2. By halftime, Westview had extended the lead to 8-3.

The Warriors kept chipping away, but Westview was just too much on the night.

“If you look at the score, it doesn’t seem like it was close, but it was definitely hard-fought,” Redmond said.

He cited Westview’s physicality in the pool that kept the fast-attacking Warriors at bay. Redmond said three Warriors players were forced to play a little more conservatively on defense since they had three ejections on the score sheet. One more and they would have been removed from the game.

“In a few cases, they were able to get into a position where they would get us on their back and that causes the ejections,” Redmond said. “They were just that much better at doing that, and we weren’t able to counter that.”

Redmond said he was proud of the way the girls competed and they never gave up. He said he is also proud of the season the team enjoyed, winning another league title and making it to the semifinals in Division I.

“We won 20 games this season,” Redmond said. “Coming into the season, I don’t think a whole lot of people were expecting that.

“The early season performances that we had and some of the wins we picked up, I think, were surprising to a lot of people. Beating Great Oak, you know, in our second game, beating Vista and the likes who are traditional powerhouses. We ended up having some great games and close games that, I think that was encouraging,” he said.

Now that the season is over, the girls team will head right into the spring swim season and find themselves competing next week, this time without the pushing and shoving underwater.

Though the team is losing four seniors, Redmond said he is looking forward to the next season already.

“There’s going to be some big shoes to fill,” Redmond said. “But the girls that we have coming back next year, include a junior goalie who got quite a bit of playing time this season. With some of the younger girls that are coming up, we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that, but I think it’s all encouraging.”

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected].


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