A 12-10 overall record wasn’t sufficient for Fallbrook High School’s girls water polo team to receive a playoff berth at the CIF playoff selection and seeding meeting Feb. 11, but the Warriors ended their season with three consecutive wins, the last two of which were against teams which defeated Fallbrook earlier in the season.
“We were kind of hoping that was going to be good enough for us to get in,” said Fallbrook coach Sean Redmond.
The Warriors won five of their final six games; the exception was a Feb. 1 loss to Valhalla in the San Diego Open tournament. The Norsemen earned the top seed in the CIF Division II playoffs. “That was definitely well-deserved,” Redmond said.
La Costa Canyon was the seventh seed in the Division II post-season tournament. One of Fallbrook’s Avocado West League victories was against the Mavericks on Jan. 15 while the Warriors’ other league triumph closed out the season Feb. 5 against El Camino.
The 6-3 home win over El Camino avenged a 13-6 loss two weeks earlier in a non-league contest against the Wildcats at Brook Street Pool. Fallbrook’s previous game, which closed out the San Diego Open, was a 10-9 overtime victory over Rancho Bernardo. The Broncos outscored Fallbrook by a goal in a December non-league match.
The three wins to close out the season gave the Warriors a winning record. “That was nice. That was a good way of ending the season,” Redmond said. “The girls were happy with that.”
The win over El Camino also gave Fallbrook a 2-3 final league record to share third place with Rancho Buena Vista in the six-team standings. The Warriors lost to the Longhorns in overtime Jan. 8 at The Wave in Vista. “That game went back and forth,” Redmond said. “It was a tough game, two evenly-matched teams.”
Fallbrook’s other two league losses were to Carlsbad and Vista. Carlsbad, the league champion, earned the #1 seed in the Division I playoffs. Vista was seeded third.
El Camino, which had a 16-12 overall record, earned the #7 seed in the Division I playoffs. Rancho Buena Vista joined Fallbrook in being left out of the post-season. “That was a big surprise for either one of us not to get in,” Redmond said.
The Warriors and Longhorns also split matches against each other during the season; Fallbrook came from behind for an 8-6 victory Dec. 7 in the Rancho Bernardo Tournament.
Fallbrook’s four San Diego Open victories were against teams which received playoff invitations. University City, West Hills, and Rancho Bernardo were given Division II berths while Mission Bay closed its season in the Division III playoffs. The Division II playoffs also included Hilltop, who lost to the Warriors in the Rancho Bernardo Tournament. Fallbrook defeated Division III playoff participant Del Norte in a non-league game.
Redmond thinks that the limited number of wins against other Division I playoff teams kept the Warriors out of the post-season. “That might have had an effect,” he said.
The Rancho Bernardo Tournament included a Warriors’ loss to Division I playoff participant Westview.
“The selection committee did what they had to do,” Redmond said.
Fallbrook reached the second round of last year’s CIF Division I playoffs. “We came into the season with higher expectations, feeling that we were capable of being in the playoffs and advancing and going at least as far as we did last year if not farther,” Redmond said.
The Warriors lose seven seniors from this season’s team including starters Kim Beier, Mackenzie Kuran, Chelsea Sommer, and Andrea Sepulveda along with occasional starter Delaney Schueneman. Fallbrook’s other two seniors were Savannah Dawkins and Ariel Guerra.