Lady Warriors power their way to championship

Fallbrook's Sarah Draves sets up to take a shot during the varsity girls water polo match against Ramona, Feb. 9. The Lady Warriors won 10-7 to take the Valley League title.
Fallbrook’s Sarah Draves sets up to take a shot during the varsity girls water polo match against Ramona, Feb. 9. The Lady Warriors won 10-7 to take the Valley League title.

For the third consecutive year the girls water polo teams of Fallbrook High School and Ramona High School both brought 4-0 Valley League records into the league finale and, for the third year in a row, Fallbrook was victorious in capturing the league championship while Ramona settled for a 4-1 league record and second place.

This year’s title game was played Feb. 9 at Fallbrook High and ended with a 10-7 final score in Fallbrook’s favor.

“It’s always good to win another league title,” said Fallbrook coach Sean Redmond.

Feb. 9 was also Senior Day for Fallbrook. Caitlyn Batty, Sarah Draves, and Madalyn Johnson were on the varsity for each of the past three seasons.

“It was nice that they are leaving with three league patches,” Redmond said.

Amelia Thomas was part of two league championships. She was on the 2014-15 varsity squad but is a military dependent and was in Germany during the 2015-16 school year. Meghan Callagher and Rena Richardson became first-year varsity players as seniors.

A 15-2 home victory Feb. 2 against Valley Center gave Fallbrook a 4-0 league record entering the game against Ramona while the Bulldogs’ Feb. 2 game was an 8-1 home triumph against Escondido.

Fallbrook goalkeeper Meghan Callagher rises high to block a Ramona goal attempt Feb. 9.
Fallbrook goalkeeper Meghan Callagher rises high to block a Ramona goal attempt Feb. 9.

The score of the 2015 game between Fallbrook and Ramona at Fallbrook’s pool was 4-3 in the Warriors’ favor, and Fallbrook prevailed by a 13-8 margin in the 2016 match at Ramona.

“I figured it would be a close game,” said Ramona coach Donnie Williams. “Unfortunately, we gave up a penalty shot in the first 15 seconds.”

Sarah Draves scored two of her four goals against Ramona on five-meter penalty shots. Ramona tied the game 30 seconds after Draves’ first goal. The

Warriors held a 4-1 lead after the end of the first quarter.

Ramona narrowed the deficit to 4-3 before Fallbrook scored the final two goals of the second period for a 6-3 halftime lead.

Kelsey Sherman scored on Ramona’s first possession of the third quarter to make the score 6-4, but Fallbrook scored later in the period for a 7-4 lead. The Warriors staved off three Ramona extra-player opportunities in the third quarter.

Fallbrook took a 9-4 lead during the fourth period before three Ramona goals created a 9-7 score with 2:30 left. Ella Hearn concluded the scoring for Fallbrook to finalize the score at 10-7.

Sarah Draves had three assists and four steals along with her four goals. Anna Draves contributed two goals and three steals. Batty provided two goals, two assists, four steals, and a field block. Richardson had one goal and one steal. Johnson recorded an assist and a field block. Natalie Travers was responsible for one assist and two steals. Thomas gave the Warriors a steal and a field block.

Fallbrook High's Caitlyn Batty attempts to make a pass while being closely defended by her Ramona opponent.
Fallbrook High’s Caitlyn Batty attempts to make a pass while being closely defended by her Ramona opponent.

Callagher was Fallbrook’s goalkeeper for the first and third periods while Gabby Vazzana was in the nets for the second and fourth quarters, although Redmond started all six of his seniors and returned all six seniors to the pool with two minutes remaining so Callagher returned to the cage for the final portion of the fourth quarter. Each goalkeeper had five saves and one steal, and Vazzana also obtained an assist.

“It was more of a team effort than what we have seen for us,” Redmond said.

Fallbrook’s 5-0 league record was part of a 15-12 final regular season mark.

“It was exciting and fun,” said Redmond of his third consecutive undefeated league season. “It was a total team effort.”

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