Fallbrook High School’s girls water polo team won four of its five games in the San Diego Open tournament which began Jan. 28 and concluded Feb. 2.
“We had some good games,” said Fallbrook coach Sean Redmond.
Some teams had a Monday tournament start while others including Fallbrook began play Jan. 31 and contested their games over a three-day period. The Warriors’ two Jan. 31 matches were played at the El Capitan High School pool.
Fallbrook opened the tournament with a 5-3 win over Mission Bay. The Warriors had a 5-1 halftime lead before an emphasis on defense and the use of reserves halted Fallbrook’s scoring. “I was getting everybody an opportunity to play and just protecting the ball,” Redmond said.
Kim Beier scored two of Fallbrook’s goals while Mackenzie Kuran, Alex James, and Kierstin Dowden scored one apiece. Kuran added an assist.
Fallbrook goalkeeper Amanda Williams made eight saves against the Buccaneers. James had five of the team’s 16 steals. Two steals apiece were recorded by Beier, Dowden, Andrea Sepulveda, and Morgan Brown. Kuran, Delaney Schueneman, and Aimee Steen each had one steal. “Our defense has been a very strong suit for us this season,” Redmond said.
Fallbrook’s other Jan. 31 contest was an 8-5 triumph over University City. “That was a much closer game,” Redmond said.
The Centurions were down by two goals before Brown scored with two seconds left. Kuran, James, and Dowden joined Brown in scoring once while Beier led the team with four goals. Brown also had an assist.
Williams had seven saves against University City. Fallbrook’s 12 steals consisted of four by James, three for Kuran, two by Beier, and one apiece for Brown, Dowden, and Diana Riddle.
Fallbrook’s only loss in the tournament took place Feb. 1 at the Bishop’s High School pool. Valhalla defeated the Warriors by a 12-7 score. “We got outplayed. They figured out what to do and we weren’t able to make the adjustments,” Redmond said.
Maddie Stockton scored seven goals for the Norsemen.
Valhalla was the pool site rather than the opponent for Fallbrook’s two Feb. 2 matches. The first was a 5-4 victory over West Hills. “That game went back and forth the whole time,” Redmond said.
The teams scored a goal apiece in both the first period and the second quarter. Beier had Fallbrook’s first-quarter goal while Kuran scored in the second period. Steen’s goal with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter gave Fallbrook a 3-2 lead, and Kuran’s second goal of the game resulted in a 4-2 Fallbrook advantage entering the fourth quarter.
The Wolfpack scored two fourth-period goals, the latter with 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the quarter, to tie the game. Brown scored the winning goal with 3:10 remaining.
Brown, Kuran, and Dowden each had one assist against West Hills. Williams made 11 saves. Kuran had three steals, Sepulveda recorded two steals, and Beier, James, and Chelsea Sommer had a steal apiece.
Fallbrook closed the tournament by avenging its Dec. 19 loss to Rancho Bernardo. Both games between the Warriors and Broncos were by one-goal margins with Rancho Bernardo taking a 7-6 win at its pool and Fallbrook earning a 10-9 overtime victory in the San Diego Open.
Fallbrook had a 3-2 lead after the first quarter, but the score was tied at four goals apiece at halftime. Each team scored once in the third period and once in the fourth quarter.
The game then went into two mandatory three-minute overtime periods. Dowden’s first two goals of the game and Kuran’s fifth score of the contest gave Fallbrook a 9-7 lead after the first overtime period. The Broncos scored both goals in the second overtime to send the game into golden goal overtime. With four seconds left in the sudden-death period Dowden scored the winning goal.
“It was definitely a tough, tough game,” Redmond said.
Beier had Fallbrook’s other two goals. Kuran, Sommer, and James each recorded an assist. Williams made nine saves. The team had 19 steals: five by Dowden, three apiece for James, Beier, and Sepulveda, two each by Sommer and Steen, and one by Schueneman.
The Warriors had an official ninth-place finish in the tournament. The results of those games gave Fallbrook a 12-10 season record, including a 1-3 figure in Avocado West League play.