Warriors defeated in opener of boys volleyball playoffs
Last updated 6/2/2021 at 6:34pm
Fallbrook High School's boys volleyball team ended its season in the play-in round of the CIF Division II playoffs.
The May 24 loss at Valhalla gave Fallbrook a final season record of 6-15 including a 2-6 mark in Valley League play.
"I've got to be happy," said Fallbrook coach Chip Patterson.
"This year's team was nine boys," Patterson said. "Six of them never really played volleyball."
Fallbrook did not have a junior varsity team this year. The roster consisted of two seniors, five sophomores, and two freshmen.
"For them to even make the playoffs was an amazing feat," Patterson said. "To make it to the playoffs the first time around, that's something you've got to be proud of."
The playoff loss gave the Warriors a 21st match. Patterson expected the most positive outcome of the 2021 season to have been the regular-season experience the boys gained. "I didn't even think we were going to make it to the playoffs," he said.
"I'm glad they did," Patterson said. "I hope it's the start of something new for them."
Fallbrook was seeded 12th among Division II schools. A league champion is guaranteed a home playoff match, and prior to 2015 a league champion would have replaced a higher-seeded team in the playoff bracket. The CIF Board of Managers created a play-in between the league champion and the lowest-seeded team which would have been displaced, so Fallbrook was in this year's Division II playoffs but traveled to Valhalla.
"At crucial times we made crucial mistakes. We made mistakes that let them stay in the game," Patterson said.
The first game was a 26-24 Valhalla win. Fallbrook evened the match with a victory in the second set.
"The third game we had them," Patterson said.
The Warriors were serving and needed one point to win. "We made a mistake on game point. We hit the ball out," Patterson said.
Valhalla not only obtained that point but others and won by a 27-25 overscore.
In the fourth game Fallbrook had a five-point lead and later a three-point lead before the Norsemen overcame that deficit. "We couldn't finish," Patterson said.
That gave Valhalla a four-game victory and a subsequent playoff match at Bishop's. "They just got the best of us," Patterson said.
Regardless of whether the Warriors might have defeated Bishop's, the season gave the players 21 matches of experience. "That's the good thing of it all," Patterson said.
Andre Escobedo and Giovanni Portillo are the only seniors who were on the 2021 team. The other seven players are expected to return for 2022. "Those boys will be a little bit stronger," Patterson said.
Only two of those nine players were on last year's varsity, and both are currently sophomores. During their freshman year Fallbrook had 11 matches, including five in a tournament, before the coronavirus outbreak shut down competition.
"I'm proud of the kids who stuck with it," Patterson said.