Warriors win water polo home opener

Fallbrook High School’s boys water polo team played its first home game of the year Oct. 9 against El Camino and prevailed by a 10-4 margin.

The match was also Fallbrook’s first Avocado West League win of the season, giving the Warriors a 1-1 league record and an overall 7-11 mark.

“We’re working hard trying to improve each day,” said Fallbrook coach Bill Richardson.

Fallbrook opened its season by winning three of five games at the Poway Invitational tournament, but the Warriors’ second tournament wasn’t as successful in the win-loss category. A 1-4 America’s Finest Tournament record left the Warriors with a 5-10 season mark entering league play.

“We had some real close games,” Richardson said of the America’s Finest Tournament.

After beginning the Sept. 27-28 tournament with a 17-0 loss to Los Osos and then allowing Vista to score twice in the first minute of Fallbrook’s second game, the Warriors ended the match against the Panthers with a loss by a two-goal margin. “It was nice to be competitive,” Richardson said of being even with Vista during the final 27 minutes. “It’s been a long time since we have been.”

Fallbrook’s only win in the tournament was in the third game; a goal in overtime gave the Warriors an 11-10 victory over Los Altos in Fallbrook’s first Saturday contest of the tournament. Fallbrook was without two starters in the 7-6 overtime loss to Oaks Christian, and the Warriors’ third game of the day was a 14-5 defeat at the hands of Temescal Canyon.

League play opened Oct. 2, and Rancho Buena Vista hosted Fallbrook at The Wave. The Longhorns obtained a 15-13 victory. “It was a disappointing loss. We were pretty evenly matched with them,” Richardson said.

The Longhorns overcame a two-goal Warrior lead. “We had kind of a poor third period,” Richardson said.

An Oct. 4 non-league match at Rancho Bernardo ended with the Warriors on the preferred end of the 11-8 score. “It was a good game for us, another game where we were able to get a lot of playing time for everyone,” Richardson said.

The Warriors led by six entering the fourth period, giving Richardson the luxury of using substitutes for the rest of the game. “We were able to hang on and win,” he said.

The Warriors did not have a non-league home game on their schedule, as most teams prefer an all-deep pool rather than shallow-deep facilities such as Fallbrook’s. “So do we,” Richardson said.

Fallbrook’s pool is not compliant with CIF playoff standards, so road games in an all-deep pool prepare the Warriors for the post-season. “We like to play as much as we can in the right kind of pool,” Richardson said.

The match against El Camino was thus one of only three home contests for the Warriors during 2013. “We had a good game in the rain,” Richardson said.

“It was a good home opener for us,” Richardson said. “Everybody got a lot of playing time. Spread the ball around quite a lot. A lot of different players scored.”

Senior Quinn Harrison and juniors Connor Kuhn and Eli Foli led the Warriors with two goals apiece while juniors Tristan Curnow and Bobby Guerra and sophomores Chaz Sommer and Toby Fast each placed one shot into the net. Foli had two assists; Harrison, Curnow, Kuhn, and senior John Traner each contributed one assist.

Fallbrook goalkeeper Shawn Gilcrease made eight saves and added four steals. Foli led the Warriors with five steals. Two steals each were recorded by Curnow, senior Nick Garcia, and Harrison. Seven other players each recorded one steal, giving the team a total of 22 steals by 12 different players against the Wildcats. “We played really strong defense overall,” Richardson said. “The team we have here is a very quick and fast team, not particularly big but very fast, and they’re able to track down balls and steal them.”

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