Village News Reporter
Fallbrook High School’s girls soccer team concluded December with a 2-4 record for the 2022-2023 season.
“It could have been better,” Fallbrook coach Nico Guerra said. “I had some girls out of town.”
Family commitments caused those starters to miss some of the Warriors’ first six matches. This year’s team has 20 players. The 2021-2022 Warriors included five seniors, one of whom was the backup goalkeeper. Due to injuries to 2021-2022 seniors, the 2022‑2023 team can be said to have 10 returning starters.
Two of those starters, current senior Panther Espinoza and current junior Rori Gartner, were selected by the 2021-2022 Valley League coaches for all-league recognition. A 4-4-2 record in Valley League play last year was worth fourth place in the league standings. Fallbrook’s overall mark of 7-8-3 also included a loss in the first round of the CIF Division III playoffs.
“My expectation for this year, it was really high,” Guerra said.
Fallbrook is once again in Division III. The power rankings which are the primary factor in playoff selection and seeding reflect strength of schedule as well as win-loss record.
“We’ve played some teams that won CIF,” Guerra said. “The team is holding themselves really, really well.”
Fallbrook’s first game of the season was Monday, Dec. 5, at Temecula Valley High School, whose final 2021-2022 game was a victory in the Southern California Regional playoffs. Soccer has separate Southern California and Northern California regional playoffs. The 2022‑2023 Golden Bears scored a goal in each half, Dec. 5, for a 2‑0 win over Fallbrook. The second Temecula Valley goal was scored just before time expired.
La Jolla Country Day lost in the first round of last year’s Division III playoffs. Fallbrook traveled to the Torreys’ field Thursday, Dec. 8, and returned home with a 4-0 victory. The Fallbrook goals were scored by Gartner, junior Karen Ruiz, senior Jade Boltinghouse and freshman Anahi Briones. Sophomore goalkeeper Alliyah Arce recorded the shutout with defender assistance from Espinoza, sophomore Kaylie Diaz, junior Abby Petersen and junior Jasmine Uresti.
The Warriors’ first home game of 2022-2023 was played Monday, Dec. 12, and was a 3-1 victory over Vista High School, which is also in Division III. All four goals were scored in the second half. The Warriors took a 2-0 lead on goals by junior Alexa Van Eik and Gartner. The Panthers narrowed the margin to 2-1 before Ruiz scored the game’s final goal.
Murrieta Mesa High School reached the second round of last year’s CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs. The Rams had a Wednesday, Dec. 14, contest in Fallbrook and scored the game’s only goal with approximately seven minutes left.
“They’re a really good team,” Guerra said.
Guerra said he was pleased that Fallbrook could hold the Rams scoreless for more than 70 minutes.
“The girls played really well,” he said.
El Camino High School is in Division II. The Wildcats scored twice in the first half Friday, Dec. 16, at Fallbrook for a 2-0 victory.
Mission Vista High School is also in Division II. Fallbrook played on the Timberwolves’ field Wednesday, Dec. 21. Each team scored once in the first half. Ashley Fawcett, who attended Sullivan Middle School and is now a Mission Vista junior, scored the winning goal of the 2-1 game in the second half.
“The girls have been playing awesome,” Guerra said. “I’m very happy with this team.”