Tryouts for Fallbrook High School’s girls water polo teams drew 30 girls.
“I think we’re looking pretty good at this point,” said Fallbrook varsity coach Sean Redmond.
Tryouts for the varsity team began Nov. 12 while tryouts for the junior varsity and novice squads began Nov. 13. Redmond did not cut any players but merely made decisions on whether they would be on the varsity or junior varsity teams.
The varsity will have a practice squad of 15 to 16 players; Redmond will use 12 to 13 players on the varsity for non-tournament games while the additional practice squad members will be part of the varsity for tournaments.
In the absence of a penalty during which a team must play short-handed, a water polo team has seven players in the pool at a time. Redmond said that his decision on which players will be the starters will depend on the specific game and the practices leading up to that game. “I don’t have a normal set of girls who will start every game,” he said. “Some girls will probably start more games than others.”
Redmond noted that his returning varsity players will see significant playing time. “Any six of them could start at any time,” he said.
The Warriors’ losses to graduation include goalkeeper Jenny Chavez, who is expected to participate in aquatics at the United States Naval Academy. Redmond is looking at two candidates to replace Chavez in the nets.
Fallbrook also lost 2012 senior Sarah Bushnell, who will be swimming for Brigham Young University (the Cougars do not have women’s water polo). “I don’t think there’s a way of replacing Sarah,” Redmond said. “There’s not one player you can go to. All of them are going to have to step up.”
Redmond noted that the Warriors will miss not only Bushnell’s shooting ability but also her steals. “Hopefully as a team we can equal the same number of steals,” he said.
Some of Fallbrook’s players participated in a fall league. “We did very well,” Redmond said. “We’re looking at, I think, as good of a team as we had last year, if not better.”
Last year’s team finished with a 19-9 season record, including a first-round CIF Division I playoff victory over Rancho Buena Vista and a CIF quarterfinals loss to Torrey Pines. The Warriors’ 9-1 Avocado East League record during 2011-12 gave them a share of the league championship with Vista. This year Fallbrook will be in the Avocado West League along with Vista, Rancho Buena Vista, Carlsbad, El Camino, and La Costa Canyon.
The Warriors’ first home game will be Dec. 12 against Canyon Crest. “I’m looking forward to it,” Redmond said.