Girls water polo closes Winter Classic tournament with two wins

Published on January 9, 2014 by Joe Naiman

Fallbrook High School’s girls water polo team lost its first three matches in the San Diego Winter Classic tournament Dec. 16 through 21, but the Warriors concluded the tournament by winning their final two games.

The Warriors opened the tournament Dec. 16 at the Valhalla High School pool against Torrey Pines, who took a 7-4 victory at Fallbrook’s expense. “First half I thought we did great,” said Fallbrook coach Sean Redmond.

The Falcons had a 3-2 lead at halftime but expanded that margin to 5-2 by the end of the third quarter. “Third period we just couldn’t get the ball moving,” Redmond said. “We weren’t able to get good passes.”

The game concluded with each team scoring twice in the fourth period. “The fourth quarter was probably the best quarter out of the four quarters,” Redmond said of the Warriors’ play. “Things started to gel. They started to play a little better.”

The Warriors have six seniors, including five starters and three returning starters, on their 13-girl squad. “We are a really young team and we are relying on our seniors quite a bit to become leaders and help motivate the girls,” Redmond said.

Fallbrook’s other Dec. 16 game, also at Valhalla, was a 13-6 loss to Capistrano Valley. The Warriors trailed 8-4 at halftime and 10-5 after three periods.

“Regardless of the score I thought that was a better game that we played,” Redmond said. “We definitely played a much better game as a team.

The Warriors, who took a 5-4 victory against Mission Hills in a non-tournament game Dec. 10 at Palomar College and lost an 8-3 non-tournament match Dec. 12 at Granite Hills, extended their losing streak to four games when tournament play resumed Dec. 20. Fallbrook’s game at the Grossmont High School pool saw Otay Ranch prevail by a 6-5 score. “It was back and forth,” Redmond said.

The score was tied at the end of each of the first three periods, and the second quarter was scoreless. Fallbrook tied the game with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but with 37 seconds remaining the Mustangs scored the wining goal. “They got the ball right in to their player in the middle,” Redmond said.

Fallbrook’s two Dec. 21 games were also at Grossmont High School’s pool. Fallbrook’s initial Winter Classic win was by a 12-1 margin against Monte Vista. “We played better. That was probably the bottom line with that,” Redmond said of the team’s first victory after three tournament losses. “Things just finally clicked and they were doing well.”

Six different players scored goals for the Warriors. Fallbrook goalie Mackenzie Roache, a senior who spent the 2012-13 season on the Warriors’ junior varsity squad, made six saves. “We basically had a shutout going until the end of the third period,” Redmond said.

Fallbrook concluded tournament play with a 10-1 triumph over Mira Mesa. The Marauders’ only goal was during the fourth quarter. “We had another shutout going for three periods,” Redmond said.

Roache made four saves against Mira Mesa, and once again six different Fallbrook players placed shots into the net.

The Warriors finished the calendar year 2013 portion of their season with a 5-7 overall record.

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