Warrior girls win Oceanside So Cal Classic soccer tournament

Fallbrook High School’s girls soccer team won the Oceanside Southern California Classic tournament played Dec. 27 to 29.

“It feels good to finally have that first-place trophy,” said Fallbrook coach Miguel Trejo.

This is Trejo’s first year as Fallbrook’s girls coach; Kevin Koptieff coached the Warriors in the 2011 So Cal Classic in which Fallbrook had runner-up status after losing to Oceanside in the finals.

Fallbrook was one of four teams in the Premier Division of the 2012 tournament. The teams engaged in round-robin pool play before the top two teams faced each other in the finals. Fallbrook hosted its three pool play games which consisted of Dec. 27 matches with Montgomery and High Tech High North County and a Dec. 28 contest against Mission Vista.

The Warriors opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over Montgomery. “It set off a good strong note on Fallbrook’s behalf,” Trejo said.

The Warriors had a 1-0 halftime lead against the Aztecs. Fallbrook’s goals were scored by Rosa Galicia, Maddie Ashbrook, and Emily Person.

Fallbrook goalkeeper Samantha Branham recorded the shutout. “She had about four one-on-one saves, she had about three diving stops and controlled the game from the backfield,” Trejo said.

Branham was assisted by defenders Anya Bell, Jacky Castaneda, Marissa Lopez, Jenna Murphy, Brianna Person, and Angelina Rojas.

Fallbrook entered that game with a season record of 0-4-2, so the win was the first of the season for the Warriors. “Getting the first ‘W’ of the season at home was something the girls have been wanting to do,” Trejo said.

Fallbrook would have a second home win that day, which was also by shutout. The 8-0 victory against High Tech High North County included three goals by Peyton Brittain, two goals from Sarah Foster, and a goal apiece from Stephanie Jones, Ashbrook, and Bri Person. “That game was pretty one-sided,” Trejo said.

Fallbrook started the season with 20 players on its varsity roster. A twisted ankle kept defender Kendal King out of the tournament’s first three games, an injury in the Montgomery game took midfielder Savannah McInerny out of the rest of the tournament, and Ashbrook’s ankle injury during the High Tech High match ended her playing time in the tournament. That limited Trejo’s ability to sit starters when the Warriors had a secure lead, although he was able to put in his bench players. “Everybody was able to get plenty of playing time that day,” he said.

Murphy is Fallbrook’s backup goalie if Branham is injured, ejected, absent, or otherwise unable to play. Branham played the entire game against High Tech High in the nets with the same six defenders who contributed to the Montgomery shutout assisting with their second shutout of the day.

The attempt to avoid running up the score against the Raptors made the final portion of the second half more of a practice session for Fallbrook. “We had different formations, we tried different tactics,” Trejo said.

The implementation of a passing exercise ensured that Fallbrook wouldn’t take any more shots. “It was just controlling the game at the end,” Trejo said.

The Dec. 28 game, at Fallbrook High School, saw the Warriors take a 2-1 victory over Mission Vista. “That game was really back and forth,” Trejo said.

Fallbrook had a 2-0 halftime lead. Piercy Robinson headed Foster’s corner kick into the net for one score. Fallbrook’s other successful shot was another corner kick Foster took which curved into the goal.

The Timberwolves came back with a goal of their own midway in the second half. “It came on a strong shot, perfectly placed,” Trejo said.

“Second half Vista picked it up and they had plenty of opportunities to attack us,” Trejo said. “The last 15 minutes were really intense.”

The 3-0 record gave Fallbrook the pool play championship while Mission Vista was second in the round-robin session and earned the right to play the Warriors in the Dec. 29 championship game at Oceanside High School. “Many of my girls were tired,” Trejo said. “We knew that a lot of the girls would have to step it up.”

While injury and fatigue may have hindered the Warriors, Fallbrook’s loss in the 2011 tournament finals was an incentive. “A lot of them, especially the returning players, wanted that first-place trophy to go home with us,” Trejo said.

The Warriors and Timberwolves fought a scoreless first half in the championship match. “First half of the game it was really tight, really aggressive,” Trejo said.

“The whole second half my girls woke up and finally started playing together,” Trejo said. “They found that motivation deep down within themselves.”

The game’s only goal was scored by Foster from about 25 yards out midway in the second half. “That just motivated all of us to keep playing aggressive,” Trejo said.

The scoring ended with Foster’s goal. “Mission Vista’s goalie was on her game,” Trejo said.

Branham had her own strong performance in the nets. “Sam stepped it up, made those stops,” Trejo said.

King returned to action late in the game to join the other five defenders who helped Branham record the shutout.

“We had a good hard-fought game,” Trejo said.

He added, “I told my girls to play ‘con ganas’ which in English translates to ‘with all your effort.’ I had mentioned to them that if they wanted that first place trophy, they all would have to play their hearts out on the field and leave it all on the field for the 80 minutes of soccer. For some reason, they all respond to ‘con ganas’ rather than ‘pick it up,’ meaning their level of play.”

Trejo noted that assistant coach Edwin Orozco helped with the successful preparation. “We both put our minds together to help these girls become successful on the field,” Trejo said.

Fallbrook thus ended the calendar year with a 4-4-2 record.

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