Village News Reporter
Annie Riley made the Fallbrook High School girls volleyball team as a freshman in 2019 and was on the all-league first team both as a sophomore and a junior. Riley opted to focus on beach volleyball as a senior and was not on the 2022 Warriors, and the strategy paid off when Riley signed to play beach volleyball at Cal State University, Long Beach.
"I'm just really excited for the next four years," Riley said.
"Annie is a fabulous young lady. I'm looking forward to seeing how her future turns out," said Fallbrook volleyball coach Chip Patterson.
Riley was also considering the University of California, Santa Cruz; the University of California, San Diego; California State University Monterey Bay, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa before selecting Long Beach State. "They have an amazing marine biology program," she said. "I just liked the campus as well and also they had my sport."
Last year the 49ers won the Big West Conference championship for the first time in the program's history. "I'm very excited. I can't wait to be surrounded by a team that's going to be like a good family," Riley said.
Riley is a lifelong Fallbrook resident who attended Bonsall Elementary School and Sullivan Middle School prior to her four Fallbrook High School years. She is the middle of three children, all girls. Her older sister, Ellie, was involved with dance and gymnastics. Her younger sister, Charlie, completed her junior year at Fallbrook High School in June.
When Riley played volleyball for Fallbrook, she was the Warriors' setter. As a freshman, she was also on the Warriors' junior varsity girls water polo team and was a diver on Fallbrook's varsity swim team. She did not participate in high school aquatics after her freshman year. As a freshman and sophomore, Riley was a pole vaulter on Fallbrook's track and field team and, in her sophomore year, she placed third at the Valley League meet.
Prior to high school, Riley was involved in the indoor version of volleyball. She also competed in the Don Dornon Games and the Tomlinson Games track and field meets during her fourth-grade through sixth-grade years.
"I had been playing beach a little bit since eighth grade, but I really started playing in 2021," Riley said.
She joined the Tamarack Beach Volleyball Club, which is based in Carlsbad and competes in national tournaments. "I actually started playing beach volleyball as a supplement to high school volleyball," Riley said.
Beach volleyball became Riley's priority. "I really loved it," she said. "It was a better fit for me."
That was at the expense of the high school team, but Patterson appreciates Riley's attitude of undertaking the measures necessary to play at the next level. "It's something that she was going to do to further her volleyball career," he said.
"She wanted to get better in beach. That's just how it had to be," Patterson said. "She set out to do something, accomplish a goal, and she did that."
That off-campus focus didn't diminish Riley's appreciation of Fallbrook High School. "I've had a great four years here," she said.