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Lady Warriors split first 10 games of water polo season

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School’s girls water polo team played 10 games during the calendar year 2022 portion of the Warriors’ 2022-23 season and had a 5-5 record in those contests.

“I’m very pleased with it. We’ve had some really good games,” said Fallbrook coach Sean Redmond.

For 2021-22, the Warriors were in Division I for playoff purposes and had a 6-15 overall record including a 1-4 mark in Palomar League play and a loss in the first round of the CIF playoffs. This year, Fallbrook is in Division II, and the Warriors have returned to the Valley League.

“To me, it’s just another opportunity to play,” Redmond said of changing leagues. “I’ll play anytime anywhere with anybody.”

Redmond’s players are responsible for the actual playing. The Fallbrook varsity has 12 girls. Nine of those were on last year’s varsity. The 2021-22 squad had only two seniors and only one of those was a starter, but because Redmond started different players based on the situation, seven of last season’s starters are back on this year’s team.

The experience still doesn’t prevent Fallbrook from being unfamiliar with opponents. The Warriors began their season Nov. 30 at home against Oceanside and obtained a 7-6 victory over the Pirates. Fallbrook had a multiple-goal lead prior to the final Oceanside goal. “They started coming back in that game on us,” Redmond said.

Oceanside is also in Division II. Rancho Bernardo is in Division I and was in last year’s Open Division playoffs. Rancho Bernardo also hosts the Rancho Bernardo Invitational tournament which in 2022 was played Dec. 2-3. In that tournament, Rancho Bernardo was also Fallbrook’s first opponent, and the Broncos prevailed by a 9-2 score. “They were a better team,” Redmond said. “They just played better than we did.”

Fallbrook’s other Dec. 2 game was a 9-8 loss to Poway. The game was tied after three periods, but the Titans had a 2-1 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter. “It was back and forth,” Redmond said.

Del Norte and Fallbrook are scheduled to conclude the regular season Feb. 1 with a Valley League game at Del Norte. The two teams faced each other for their first Dec. 3 tournament game, and the Warriors won that 7-6 matchup. “I think it gave us confidence once we got into league play,” Redmond said. “The confidence level went up with that game.”

Poway and Del Norte are both in Division I. Eastlake, whose nickname is also the Titans, is in Division II and lost a 2021-22 Division II playoff semifinal by a one-goal margin. “Eastlake is one of the top teams in D-II,” Redmond said.

A 12-4 Eastlake victory Dec. 3 against Fallbrook concluded Rancho Bernardo Invitational play for the two teams. “Eastlake just outplayed us. They have a couple of real strong players that we just didn’t know what to do about at that time,” Redmond said.

Fallbrook made trips to East County on consecutive days for games Dec. 6 at Granite Hills and Dec. 7 at Steele Canyon. “It was all right. It worked out,” Redmond said. “It was I think a little rough on the girls, but they responded well.”

Granite Hills is in Division I. The Eagles held a 9-3 halftime lead over Fallbrook, but the Warriors had the second-half scoring advantage and the final score was 15-11. “That game was, I think, a turning point for us,” Redmond said.

“We started to fully realize what they were doing and were able to make adjustments,” Redmond said. “What we were able to do and what we were practicing finally came together.”

High school water polo games consist of four seven-minute periods, and the Warriors were able to utilize the full 28 minutes to handle Steele Canyon. “We were able to make adjustments,” Redmond said. “It was just trying to continue what we had done the day before.”

Fallbrook prevailed over the Cougars by a 13-3 margin. Normally Arden Bauer and Kayla Herbert share goalkeeping duties for the Warriors, but Herbert did not play Dec. 7 so Baur was in the net for all four quarters.

The Warriors’ third game of the week Dec. 9 was at home against Rancho Buena Vista, and the Warriors were on the preferred end of the 21-4 final score. “We were fortunate with that game. We got to play everybody,” Redmond said. “Our non-starters were able to get a lot of playing experience.”

Rancho Buena Vista is the only Division III opponent on Fallbrook’s 2022-23 schedule. La Costa Canyon is in Division I and reached the 2021-22 Open Division semifinals. The Mavericks traveled to Fallbrook for a Dec. 13 matchup, and the Warriors earned a 13-10 triumph. “It was back and forth the whole game. We did jump out to an early lead,” Redmond said.

La Costa Canyon continued to make the game competitive, but Fallbrook had a second-half advantage. “Our conditioning definitely showed,” Redmond said.

Fallbrook and Eastlake both concluded the calendar year 2022 play Dec. 16 in Chula Vista. The Titans held a 5-2 halftime lead, but the Warriors narrowed the gap and the final score was 8-6 in Eastlake’s favor. “I consider that a huge positive for us considering what happened the first time,” Redmond said.

 

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