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Warrior netters one set short of league championship


Last updated 10/28/2021 at 4pm

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School's girls tennis team came within a set of the Valley League championship.

The Oct. 12 match between Fallbrook and Mission Hills ended as a 10-8 Mission Hills victory, improving the Grizzlies' league record to 9-0 while providing the Warriors with a 7-2 league mark. The league and regular season concluded Oct. 14 with Fallbrook's 12-6 home victory over San Pasqual, so the Warriors ended league play at 8-2 while Mission Hills had a 12-6 triumph at Ramona to complete a 10-0 league season. That match gave Ramona a final 6-4 league record for third place in the standings.

"The fact that we're able to get that close to them to be honest is pretty good for our school," Fallbrook coach Bill Lenaway said of finishing second behind Mission Hills.

"They're a much bigger school," Lenaway said. "They draw from an area where there's much more tennis."

Ramona was Fallbrook's first opponent in the second round of league play, and the Warriors won a 13-5 match in Fallbrook. Fallbrook's home match Oct. 5 against Escondido was a 13-5 Warriors victory. The Warriors took all nine singles points; senior Alexa Guadarrama and freshman Leyla Homuth each won three 6-0 sets while sophomore Angie Palmerin won two 6-0 sets and a 6-1 set. Fallbrook's #1 doubles team of senior Carly Hawkins and junior Samantha Hanlon won all three of their sets. The #2 doubles team of juniors Tracy Lopez and Erin Rowan accounted for Fallbrook's other point with a 7-5 victory.

An Oct. 7 trip to Adams Community Park, where Valley Center High School home matches are played, resulted in a 16-2 Fallbrook triumph. Guadarrama won three 6-0 sets while Palmerin and Homuth each won two 6-0 sets and one 6-2 set. Hawkins and Hanlon won two 6-0 sets before Lenaway gave experience to substitutes Cynthia Flor and Violet Nelson, who won a 6-0 set. The Valley Center duo of Chantal Fradet and Kacey Talton defeated Fallbrook's other two doubles teams although Lopez and Rowan won 6-2 and 6-1 sets and freshmen Grace Ahrend and Olivia Searle won a pair of 6-2 sets.

Mission Hills had a 12-6 victory over the Warriors in the Sept. 23 match at Mission Hills. "There were a lot of close sets in that match," Lenaway said.

The Sept. 23 results included Amanyi Gibbs taking 6-3 sets against Guadarrama and Palmerin, Carly Childress defeating Homuth by a 6-4 score, and Chelsea Johnson and Se Ri McMahon winning a 6-3 set against Hawkins and Hanlon. Lenaway knew that those matchups were the key to a team victory Oct. 12 in Fallbrook.

"We turned around all of them," Lenaway said. "We gave back two of them that we won the first time."

Although Fallbrook was unable to defeat Mission Hills in the Oct. 12 match at Fallbrook High School, the Warriors handed Childress her only league loss of the regular season and gave Johnson and McMahon their only regular-season league doubles loss. Homuth defeated Childress in a 6-3 set while Hawkins and Hanlon prevailed by a 6-2 score against Johnson and McMahon, who won 6-0 sets against the other two Fallbrook tandems.

Childress won 6-3 sets against Guadarrama and Palmerin. Childress only lost more than one game in a set five times during league play, and all of those were against Fallbrook. In the Sept. 23 match, Childress won a 6-2 set over Palmerin as well as the 6-4 contest against Homuth.

Homuth had a 6-2 victory over Gibbs in the second round while Guadarrama and Palmerin both had 6-0 wins against Gibbs. Gibbs' only previous league loss was Sept. 23 against Homuth, so Fallbrook was also responsible for all four of her league losses. No non-Fallbrook player won more than three games against Gibbs in regular-season league competition.

If each player or doubles team wins six games, a tiebreaker to seven points is played. The Oct. 12 set between Guadarrama and Emma Liljenback required such a tie breaking game, and Liljenback won that 7-3 game. Guadarrama prevailed against Liljenback in a 6-4 set Sept. 23. Palmerin won a 7-5 victory over Liljenback in the first match, but Liljenback won the 6-4 rematch. Liljenback also improved against Homuth, who won by a 6-0 margin Sept. 23 and a 6-1 score Oct. 12.

Lenaway gave credit to Liljenback for her contributions to the Grizzlies' victory. "She played a lot better," Lenaway said.

Hawkins and Hanlon won 6-1 and 6-2 sets against their other Oct. 12 opponents. Rowan and Lopez lost a 6-3 set against Jessica Basra and Nicole Rotheram and a 6-2 set against Katelyn Wildes and Emily Ha.

"We improved," Lenaway said. "We definitely played better the second time."

That includes Fallbrook's #2 and #3 doubles tandems even though they lost all six sets Oct. 12. Those partners won four games Sept. 23 and seven games Oct. 12.

"They're better than they were last time," Lenaway said.

Fallbrook swept the nine singles sets Oct. 14 against San Pasqual. Guadarrama and Audri Wolfe split the first 12 sets before Guadarrama won the 7-5 tie breaking game. Guadarrama won her other two sets by 6-0 margins. Homuth had two 6-0 wins and a 6-2 triumph against Wolfe. Palmerin won 6-0, 6-1, and 6-2 sets with Wolfe taking two games in that set.

Hawkins and Hanlon won 6-2 and 6-3 sets. In the third round, Hanlon was paired with Flor, and they lost by a 6-4 margin. Ahrend and Searle had the other win in a 7-6 set won with a 7-5 tiebreaker.

Fallbrook's overall regular-season record was 12-4.


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