Seven Warriors given all-league volleyball recognition

Fallbrook High junior Skyler Traut spikes the ball for a kill in an early-season game. Traut, who earned Valley League first team honors, had 234 kills on the season. Shane Gibson photos

The Nov. 13 meeting of the Valley League girls volleyball coaches included the selection of the all-league teams, and seven Fallbrook High School players received all-league recognition, including two who were placed on the first team.

Emma Christopherson and Skyler Traut were chosen for the Valley League first team. Madison McCarty and Natalie Weber were second-team selections. Vanessa Dalton, Sonsi Jarvis, and Maddie Nachsteim received honorable mention distinction.

“It’s an honor really,” Fallbrook coach Chip Patterson said of having seven all-league players.

The Warriors posted a 5-3 record in Valley League play and shared second place in the league standings with Escondido. Fallbrook’s 17-14 overall record includes a loss to Sage Creek in the first round of the CIF Division II playoffs.

“They were a phenomenal team,” Patterson said.

Prior to this year, the Valley League first team and second team had only six players apiece. The libero is a situational player but is considered a starter along with two outside hitters, two middle blockers, a right side hitter, and a setter (some coaches use a formation with two setters), so the consideration of the libero as the seventh starter led to the increase of all-league first-team and second-team berths. “They added a seventh one,” Patterson said.

Ramona had an 8-0 league record to win the league championship, and the Bulldogs had three players on this year’s first team, including league player of the year Amanda Donais. Escondido and San Pasqual had one player apiece on the first team.

“I remember back in the day we’d only get one,” Patterson said of having two players on the all-league first team.

The 2016 Warriors had two Valley League first-team members, two second-team selections including McCarty, and three honorable mention players including Christopherson and Traut. Fallbrook had seven all-league players two years ago with then-senior Ellen Allison being the only first-team selection. In 2015, Christopherson was on the Valley League second team and McCarty was an honorable mention selection. Patterson’s first year coaching the Warriors’ varsity was 2014, when Fallbrook had no first-team or second-team selections and two players given honorable mention recognition.

Christopherson, who is a senior, started the season as an outside hitter but played middle blocker for most of Fallbrook’s league matches.

“Emma’s a great player,” Patterson said.

For the entire season, Christopherson led the team with 284 kills, a .252 hitting percentage, 45 total blocks, 25 solo blocks and 20 assisted blocks. She also had 122 digs, 13 serving aces and 10 assists.

Christopherson was on Fallbrook’s varsity for all four of her high school seasons.

“I think it was amazing for her to play her last year with her baby sister,” Patterson said.

The 13 members of the 2017 varsity included sophomore Olivia Christopherson.

This year Emma Christopherson and Weber were the team captains.

“She did an outstanding job leading the team this year,” Patterson said of Christopherson. “That’s going to be missed.”

Christopherson and Traut were both outside hitters during club play and were moved to the middle blocker position to fill the Warriors’ needs. Traut is a junior this year.

Emma Christopherson, left, blocks a shot for Fallbrook High. A force at the net all season, Christopherson was named to the Valley League’s first team.

“She’s very versatile and she’s able to play multiple positions,” said Patterson of Traut. “Skyler is very talented. She’s a very goal-oriented driven person. She’s going to try her hardest.”

Traut’s season statistics included 234 kills, a .230 hitting percentage, 37 aces, 27 blocks consisting of nine solo blocks and 18 assisted blocks, 116 digs, and 10 assists.

“You can’t ask for more from a young lady who used to play outside,” Patterson said.

McCarty was Fallbrook’s primary libero during her junior season and also played the outside hitter position. Her 321 digs and 57 aces led the team, and she also recorded 20 assists, 10 kills, and a solo block.

Weber, a senior, played outside hitter although for Fallbrook’s second league match against Ramona she was moved to the right side hitter position to be able to block outside hitter McKenna Marshall, a future University of San Francisco player who had 17 kills in the first match against Fallbrook and only nine in the second round of league play. During the overall season Weber contributed 82 kills, 106 digs, 21 aces, 13 assists, two solo blocks, and four assisted blocks.

Dalton, Jarvis, and Nachsteim are all sophomores. Dalton was Fallbrook’s setter and had 533 of the team’s 742 assists. She also had 210 digs, 55 aces, 16 kills, and five assisted blocks.

Jarvis was primarily a middle blocker who also played outside hitter. Her performance included 82 kills, 46 digs, 16 aces, three solo blocks and seven assisted blocks, and three assists.

Nachsteim filled the combination of being an outside hitter and a defensive specialist. She had 125 digs, 67 kills, 12 assists, six aces, one solo block, and four assisted blocks.

Since only two of Fallbrook’s all-league players are seniors, the Warriors are expected to have five all-league returning players in 2018.

“You hope that they come back,” Patterson said. “They could do a lot of good things if they came back.”

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