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Warriors close out girls soccer pre-league play with shutout win over Pirates

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School's girls soccer team shut out Oceanside High School in a Jan. 4 game at Oceanside which closed out Fallbrook's pre‑league competition.

The 1-0 win gave the Warriors a 3-4-2 record entering Valley League play. "I'm really happy with the girls' performance," said Fallbrook head coach Nico Guerra.

Foothills Christian took a 6-2-2 record into Coastal League play and five of those victories were by shutout including four consecutive games after the Knights lost a 3-2 home match Nov. 28 against Fallbrook which opened the 2023-24 season for both teams. The Knights had a 2-0 halftime lead, but Fallbrook senior Anay Garcia scored three times in the second half.

The Warriors then traveled to Temecula for a Dec. 1 game at Chaparral. The 2-0 Fallbrook triumph included goals by senior Karen Ruiz and junior Kirra Deforest. Current junior Aaliyah Arce, whose goalkeeping helped Fallbrook obtain 10 shutouts during the 2022-23 season, made four saves including on a penalty kick. Guerra used four defenders against the Pumas; Deforest, senior Jasmine Uresti, junior Kaylie Diaz, and sophomore Adi Lucy assisted Arce with the shutout.

Last year's Temecula Valley High School girls soccer team had a 20‑4‑1 record including a CIF playoff loss and a 10-0 mark in Southwestern League play. Because soccer is a fall sport in Northern California, there are Northern California and Southern California regional playoffs rather than a full state championship, and the 2021‑22 Golden Bears were the Southern California champions as well as the CIF Southern Section and Southwestern League champions.

The 2023-24 Golden Bears traveled to Fallbrook for a Dec. 7 match and returned home with a 2-0 win. Fallbrook then lost a 2-0 game Dec. 11 at Murrieta Mesa, which is also in the Southwestern League. Vista took a 4‑1-2 record into the Panthers' Dec. 14 home game against Fallbrook which ended as a scoreless tie. Great Oak, which is also in the Southwestern League, improved to 6-0 for the season Dec. 15 with a 2-0 triumph at Fallbrook.

"We played really tough teams," Guerra said. "Our losses, I wasn't disappointed."

Arce was injured in the Dec. 15 game and has not yet returned. When freshman Natalie Pineda tried out for the team she did not tell the coaching staff that she had goalkeeping experience. She made the varsity as a field player and, after Arce's injury, Pineda informed the coaching staff about her goalkeeping past. Pineda replaced Arce in the nets. "She has the skills," Guerra said.

Including Arce, the Warriors have 20 players on their varsity roster. Pineda is one of two freshmen. Six of the girls are seniors.

The Warriors closed out Calendar Year 2023 with a 2-2 tie Dec. 18 at home against Mission Vista and a 4-0 loss Dec. 20 at Rancho Buena Vista.

Fallbrook is in Division III for CIF playoff purposes. Oceanside is in Division II. "I knew it was going to be a challenging game," Guerra said.

The Warriors had possession approximately 75% of the time. "This team is made for this type of challenge," Guerra said. "Great teamwork and great sacrifice and great communication."

The Jan. 4 game was scoreless until the 38th minute when passes from Ruiz and senior Alexa Van Eik allowed sophomore Anahi Briones to head the ball into the net. "Thanks to Alexa and Karen for the amazing connection," Briones said.

Guerra used three defenders with Diaz, Lucy, and sophomore Valerie Reyes contributing to Pineda's first shutout. The saves Pineda made included a shot on a breakaway in the 75th minute.

"Natalie's coming along really well," Guerra said.

"It was a thing I had to do to save our team," Pineda said.

"It was an amazing game," Guerra said. "I was happy with the performance of these young ladies."


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