Last year, the Division 3 team of the Fallbrook Warrior Lacrosse Club tied one game and won none. This year the Division 3 squad won all nine of its games.
“We’re ecstatic obviously to have had the opportunity to go undefeated,” said Fallbrook coach Don McCormies. “It’s a little bit bittersweet because we were excited and looking forward to our biggest challenge of the season.”
Fallbrook was supposed to close out the season May 17 by hosting La Jolla, but the fires that week prevented that game from taking place. “The air quality was so bad,” McCormies said.
Efforts to reschedule the game were not successful. “La Jolla we couldn’t get rescheduled,” McCormies said. “It was really impossible to do. Sadly we couldn’t play them.”
The San Diego County Lacrosse Association has 40 Division 3 teams. “Everybody’s schedule was a little bit different,” McCormies said.
The schedules are not set in advance but are based on attempts to match teams of approximately equal caliber. Because Fallbrook was winless in 2013, the Warriors began with opposition considered easier. The strength of schedule issues resulted in Fallbrook being placed 13th among the 40 teams in the power rankings. La Jolla was ranked seventh. “It was bittersweet that we couldn’t get that game in,” McCormies said. “The year just kind of ended before we really had a chance to properly close it out.”
The SDCLA does not have playoffs, and there are no official standings positions. Fallbrook was one of two undefeated teams; Sweetwater posted an 11-0 record.
“At the end of the day we played nine opponents. We beat them,” McCormies said.
Fallbrook opened its season March 9 with a 15-1 win at Valley Center. The Warriors’ first home match of the season was an 8-1 victory March 15 against Point Loma. The Warriors won their March 22 game at San Marcos by an 11-4 margin and their March 29 game at Rancho Bernardo which ended with a 10-5 final score. Fallbrook followed a 13-2 home win April 8 against Oceanside with a 10-2 victory at home April 12 against Coronado.
The Warriors’ final road match May 3 against the Carmel Valley Falcons ended with Fallbrook on the favorable end of the 15-1 score. On May 6, Fallbrook hosted Temecula and concluded the game with a 10-2 triumph. Fallbrook’s final game May 13 was a 9-1 home victory over Murrieta.
“It was a privilege to be part of the team this year,” McCormies said.
“I’m just really happy for the team, for the kids,” McCormies said. “Winning makes everything more fun and more exciting.”
Although the Warriors’ 101 total goals did not surpass the figures of four teams who played more games, Fallbrook’s average of 11.2 goals per game led the association. San Marcos, whose 110 goals in 10 games equates to an average of 11.0 per game, had the second-highest average.
“We just continued to get better and worked on our game and our offense,” McCormies said.
Fallbrook’s 19 goals allowed was also the SDCLA standard. Two teams with fewer games each allowed 28 goals. Fallbrook’s average of 2.11 goals allowed per game significantly separated the Warriors from the Temecula Hawks, whose 4.08 goals allowed average (49 in 12 games) ranked second.
“That’s just a credit to the hard work of the team and how well our defense and our goalie played,” McCormies said. “They just played outstanding.”
Cameron Hill was Fallbrook’s goalie. His .786 save percentage is a new team record, and his 13 saves in one game tied the club mark. “He was a huge asset to the team,” McCormies said.
Hill was a newcomer to lacrosse, as was attacker and midfielder Tristen Smith. “You had everyone return that played initially last season on our team, so we had those seasoned kids, and then we were able to recruit a few key spots,” McCormies said.
The existing players identified Hill and Smith. “They helped us to find those kids and bring them on board,” McCormies said.
Smith showed success using both his right and left hand. “He picked up the sport so quickly,” McCormies said.
“He just was able to make so many things happen,” McCormies said of Smith. “He did a phenomenal job for us.”
Defender Jackson Richards was also a newcomer. “He was just able to shut players down,” McCormies said.
The returning players included Dru Calloway, who set team records with 38 points, 26 goals, and 12 assists for the season. He also set team records with eight goals in a game and with four assists in a game, and his nine points in a game earned him a share of the team record. “He’s just an amazing athlete,” McCormies said.
That statistics themselves don’t portray Calloway’s entire value to the team. “He’s very unselfish. He will do anything for the team,” McCormies said. “He just loves to play for the love of playing.”
The co-ed team included one girl along with 18 boys. The Fallbrook club had 16 actual players in fifth and sixth grades. Third-grade and fourth-grade students who practiced and worked out with the team brought the total roster to 19 players.
“I’m just excited to be able to do my part and to kind of lay the foundation for what I hope will be a great career for these kids if they choose,” McCormies said.