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By Joe Naiman
Village News Reporter 

Warriors dominate first two girls water polo matches


Last updated 5/12/2021 at 4:29pm

Fallbrook High School's girls water polo program has 23 student-athletes. Ten of those are on the varsity roster, although some of the 13 junior varsity players are expected to see varsity action. In the absence of a 20-second exclusion penalty, seven players from each team are in the pool at one time. Having only three substitutes makes benching all starters to avoid running up the score mathematically impossible, so the Warriors opened their season with a 20-2 victory April 29 at home against Rancho Buena Vista and then defeated Mission Hills by a 24-3 score April 30 in Fallbrook.

The scores also indicate that Fallbrook excelled both on offense and on defense. "I thought overall it went very well," said Fallbrook coach Sean Redmond. "It looks good going into the rest of the season."

Fallbrook has 14 scheduled matches. Eight of those will be at home. "It's nice that we get to play at home more games than we normally do," Redmond said.

The only tournament for the 2020-21 season will be the CIF tournament which will begin June 7. Fallbrook is in Division I for CIF playoff purposes.

Five of Fallbrook's 2019-20 varsity starters return to this season's team. The 2020-21 Warriors have only three seniors, although junior Jocelyn Jones is a military dependent and will be leaving the team May 15 as her father has been transferred to Colorado. Two of the varsity starters, Kela Kendall and Ava Dowden, are freshmen.

After the first quarter of the April 29 game the Warriors led by an 8-1 margin. The score was 14-1 at halftime.

"Playing together for the first time in over a year, they did well," Redmond said.

Fallbrook had a total of 37 steals against RBV. Six of those steals were by junior Grace Goode. Jones and Kendall recorded five steals apiece.

Additional turnovers were caused by a new water polo rule requiring the ball to be put in play immediately after a foul. The intent is to keep the player from holding the ball, so the ball must be put in the air or in the water and the requirement is for separation between the ball and the player's hand. Both teams turned over the ball due to that infraction. "RBV had a few more than what we did," Redmond said.

Fallbrook's defense also included two field blocks, one by Kendall and one by senior Paris Dowden.

The Warriors only had 10 assists. "A lot of our goals came off of counters (counterattacks) and steals," Redmond said.

Paris Dowden led the Warriors with six goals. Grace Goode had three goals. Other players had one or two goals. "Everybody who played in that game scored. That was good," Redmond said.

The one Fallbrook player who did not score a goal, senior Karli Schreiber, is the Warriors' goalkeeper. Schreiber had assists on two of the goals, and she recorded three steals. The Fallbrook defense reduced the number of RBV shooting opportunities so Schreiber only made two saves.

"It was definitely a great opportunity to see where we're at," Redmond said.

"The girls really got excited and had fun playing," Redmond said. "You could tell the girls hadn't played a real game in over a year."

Fallbrook held a 6-1 advantage over Mission Hills after the first quarter, and the Warriors had a 12-1 cushion at halftime. Redmond chose to run offensive formations rather than counterattacks for the second half, and those offensive plays worked better than Redmond's plan to keep down the score.

As a team, Fallbrook had 35 steals including 11 by Jones and seven by Paris Dowden. Ava Dowden had both of the Warriors' field blocks. "I was again impressed with the defense," Redmond said.

Schreiber made two saves. "That again shows what our defense was capable of doing," Redmond said.

Paris Dowden scored seven goals, Ava Dowden had six goals, and Goode made five successful shots. The Warriors had 15 assists with Jones recording five of those.


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