Village News Reporter
Fallbrook High School's boys volleyball season ended May 4 when the Warriors lost a first-round CIF Division III playoff match at home against El Capitan.
The Vaqueros prevailed in 25-20, 25-10, and 28-26 sets to advance to the CIF Division III quarterfinals, where they lost to Grossmont. Fallbrook ended the season with a 17-15 overall record, including the playoff loss and a 7-3 performance in Valley League competition which gave the Warriors a share of second place in the final standings.
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” said Fallbrook coach Chip Patterson. “It wasn’t our night.”
Fallbrook had been seeded seventh in the Division III playoffs. El Capitan had the 10th seed. The Vaqueros also had taller and more experienced players than Fallbrook.
“They were dominant, I’m not going to take that away from them. They had some dominant middle hitters we couldn’t stop,” Patterson said.
Fallbrook also had some shortcomings which were within the Warriors’ control. “We didn’t do well on serve-receive,” Patterson said. “Mistakes, that just compounds itself and it’s not going to turn out well for you.”
Only two Fallbrook players have club volleyball experience. “Their inexperience will show itself,” Patterson said.
That was the case in the first game, when the score was 20-19 at one point. “Something happened,” Patterson said.
What happened is that the Vaqueros recognized Fallbrook’s weakness. “We were most definitely vulnerable all season in the middle of the court,” Patterson said.
The final Fallbrook point in the first set was when an El Capitan serve went into the net. The Vaqueros then placed the ball in an open area to win the game.
“The second set they just dominated us,” Patterson said.
Fallbrook was unable to take advantage of a 25-24 lead in the third set, and that wasn’t Fallbrook’s only lead of the game.
“We couldn’t stop them in the middle. They dominated that game,” Patterson said.
“Normally teams don’t block us like that,” Patterson said. “When they blocked us it made the boys kind of panic.”
The Fallbrook player with the most club experience, junior Manava Pedro, is 5’9”. “He was not getting blocks,” Patterson said.
Efforts to get around the blocks often led to kill attempts which went out of bounds.
“It was really frustrating because we couldn’t get them out of sync and they got us out of sync,” Patterson said.
With the possible exception of the senior all-star match, the playoff loss closed out the high school careers of 12th-graders Logan Belhuemer, Jett Leeman, Jose Moreno, Andre Navazi, Nolan Sim and Jason Suarez.