Brittney Buerk is making her debut as a high school varsity lacrosse coach this year, but this is her third season with the Fallbrook High School girls program.
Buerk, who replaces Ashley Quarford as the Warriors’ varsity head coach, was a junior varsity co-coach in 2015 and 2016. Her 2016 co-coach, Marissa Rillo, will be Buerk’s varsity assistant coach this year.
“We’re really excited to move up this year,” Buerk said.
Buerk and Quarford were the junior varsity co-coaches in 2015 when Bri Poteet was the Warriors’ varsity coach. Fifteen of the 2016 varsity players were seniors, and only four members of last year’s varsity return to the team.
“We’ve almost got a whole new varsity this year,” said Buerk.
That means the majority of the 15 players on this year’s varsity roster played together on last year’s junior varsity, and it also means that Buerk is familiar with the new varsity players as well as the returning members of the varsity.
“The team is a really good team,” said Buerk. “It’s a solid group of girls and I think we’re going to do really well this season. We’re going to have a really good defense.”
Practice began Feb. 20 and no players were cut. The junior varsity roster has 17 girls, and Buerk was satisfied with the tryout total of 32 girls.
“It’s nice to have a smaller team because then you get more playing time,” said Buerk.
Eleven players, including the goalie, are on the field at one time for a girls lacrosse game, so the roster of 15 will allow players to rest and will allow for bench players to substitute for any injured girls.
Only six of this year’s girls are seniors.
“It’s going to progress really nicely for the next few years,” Buerk said.
Buerk, who played lacrosse at Los Alamitos High School in Orange County, was an attacker in high school but now plays at Cal State San Marcos and is a defender. Rillo, who attended Mira Mesa High School, also currently plays defense for the Cougars.
Buerk and Rillo are both seniors at Cal State San Marcos and anticipate graduating this spring. Buerk is a criminology major and Rillo is majoring in sociology.
Quarford also played on the Cal State San Marcos team. She stepped down from the Fallbrook program to complete her studies.
This year’s junior varsity co-coaches are Elaine Pambago and Marylin Gomez, both of whom played lacrosse for Mission Hills High School. Gomez is a midfielder on the Cal State San Marcos team and is a freshman at the school. Pambago is currently studying at Palomar College, which does not have a women’s lacrosse program.