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Warriors one point away from girls soccer league championship

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

League standings for high school soccer are based on two points for a win and one for a tie. Fallbrook High School’s girls soccer team finished second in the Valley League standings one point behind league champion Valley Center.

Fallbrook posted a 3-0-5 league record. Valley Center was 5-1-2. The two teams tied in both of their league games against each other.

“I’m very proud for what they did,” said Fallbrook coach Nico Guerra. “Overall, I think they did really well.”

Valley Center’s only league loss Jan. 24 was at Vista and had a 3‑1 score. Because the Valley League has five teams, the Jaguars had a Feb. 7 bye when Fallbrook played to a 0-0 draw at Vista. Fallbrook concluded league and regular-season play Feb. 9 with a 3-1 home triumph over Escondido while Valley Center hosted Vista that day and secured the league title with a 2-0 victory over the Panthers.

Vista had a 2-3-3 league record for third in the final league standings while Escondido was fourth at 2-4-2. Ramona’s league record was 0-4-4.

Ironically, Valley Center was a single point ahead of Fallbrook in the final 2021-22 Valley League standings, although that battle was for third and fourth place. Fallbrook’s league record last year was 4‑4‑2 while Valley Center was 4-3-3.

The win over Escondido gave Fallbrook an overall record of 6-4-7. The Feb. 11 CIF playoff seeding and selection meeting gave the Warriors the ninth seed in the CIF Division III playoffs. San Diego High School was given the eighth seed, so Fallbrook traveled to Balboa Stadium for a first-round playoff game Feb. 14. The Cavers finished second in the City League with their 6-2 record reflecting two losses to La Jolla, and San Diego entered the playoff game with an overall mark of 10-7-1.

Fallbrook had 18 girls on the roster although due to injuries and personal circumstances only 15 were available for the playoff game against the Cavers. In the 27th minute, a shot by San Diego’s Sail Bozinovic hit the post. Valentina Prado obtained the rebound and scored from approximately eight yards out to give San Diego a 1-0 lead.

San Diego obtained a 2-0 cushion with 4:56 left in the first half when Leilani Galeana scored from close range. The 3-0 final score also involved a Galeana goal 16:15 into the second half when she took a corner kick from Annabel Grentz and headed the ball into the net.

“We had a game plan. We executed it. We played a full 80 minutes of soccer and we just capitalized on any chances we had,” said San Diego coach Bryce Towne.

The game plan also kept Fallbrook from even having a shot on goal until late in the second half. “We spent the last two days in practice working on funneling everything wide,” Towne said.

That kept the Warriors from being able to attack from the inside. “This was one of the worst games that we had,” Guerra said.

The Warriors had allowed a cumulative two goals in their final 11 regular-season games. They allowed 10 goals during the entire regular season with a pair of 2-0 losses and a 2-1 loss constituting the most potent performance for a Fallbrook opponent prior to the playoff.

“It was very unfortunate that we just didn’t have a good game,” Guerra said.

“They played really hard. They were physical. They tested us,” Towne said of the Warriors.

The Cavers were successful on that test. “We were not able to connect passes,” Guerra said.

“We’ve had a lot of better games than this one,” Guerra said. “I think we lost our confidence after the second goal, and we didn’t recover from there.”

The loss finalized Fallbrook’s season record at 6-5-7. “These girls did a great job during the season,” Guerra said.

“I’m very happy with this program,” Guerra said. “I can’t go wrong with these ladies.”

The Warriors had 10 defensive shutouts during the season including nine during a 10-game span. “I’m very proud of this group of young ladies that they made it this far,” Guerra said. “We’re going to come back.”

 

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