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Sister act lifts Folsom over Oak Ridge, 2-1

By: Matt Long of the Telegraph
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It was by no means a pretty game for the Bulldogs, but the game-winning goal in Folsom’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over Oak Ridge Thursday night sure was.

In stoppage time, senior forward Julia Roberts, with control of the ball in the box and with her back to the goal, played a ball over to her younger sister Grace, a junior midfielder, who put it over Oak Ridge keeper Ruby Matsumoto’s head and into the goal from 20 yards away for a 2-1 Folsom victory.

The win improved Folsom’s record to 2-0 in the Sierra Foothill League and 6-0-1 overall, while Oak Ridge fell to 1-1 in league play and to 1-2-2 overall.

“The ball came in from the others side and Grace trapped it and played it to me,” Julia said. “I was holding off some players and I saw Grace make a run and she was wide open so I played it to her. She made one touch and then put it in the goal.”

The goal, which was scored within a minute of the game’s final whistle, was a tough way to lose a game for the Trojans.

“On the last kick of the game,” Oak Ridge coach Joe Champion said, shaking his head. “Giving up late goals has been a problem for both the girls’ and the boys’ teams this season. It’s disappointing not to get anything after scoring the first goal. We opened it up and wanted to get the win, but maybe we should have been a bit more defensive and been satisfied for the tie. I like the girls going for the win, though.”

Both coaches agreed it was not a well played game by either team. Oak Ridge, coming off a 10-0 win over Nevada Union, wasn’t connecting passes, nor were the Bulldogs, particularly in the first half when there was little flow in the play. Oak Ridge managed the game’s first goal early in the second half when Alyssa Carranza’s low shot on the ground went right under a diving Folsom keeper Destiny Hayes and into the back of the goal.

Folsom tied the game just four minutes later on a shot by Sophia Mattice, whose left-footed kick from 28 yards was perfectly struck and found a spot between the crossbar and Matsumoto’s hand.

The goal set up the fantastic finish for the Bulldogs.

“We weren’t sharp tonight, and it’s the second time this week we fell behind 1-0 and that’s a bad habit,” Folsom coach Rick Carrigan said. “We had an off day and we still won, but we can’t have off days and expect to win. How many games are we going to win when we give up the first goal?”

It likely won’t happen all the time, but last week the Bulldogs were able to do it twice. They fell behind Rocklin 1-0 on their way to a 4-1 win. Julia Roberts scored three goals, and Cierra Garza scored the other.

“It shows how deep we are and how well we work together,” Julia said. “We’ve got a lot of girls who have played with each other for a long time, and have good team chemistry.”

Carrigan did like the two goals his team scored.

“As the ball was coming to Sophia, I said ‘goal’ because I knew that was her spot on the field,” Carrigan said. “It was a perfect shot. With the second goal, I tell anyone who will listen that Julia is outstanding when playing with her back to the goal. She always does a good job of finding the open player and getting the ball to them.”

For the Trojans, it was a disappointing result.

“It was a game that could have gone either way, as I felt it was pretty even,” Champion said. “I thought both teams were flat in the first half, as it was a quiet game. In hindsight, I would have been happy with the tie.”

The Trojans have a young team and are still putting the pieces together.

“It seems like we always have a young team with a lot of new players,” Champion said. “It always takes us time. Our aim is always the second half of league, as we see if we can improve our result over the first time we played our opponents. If we can, that usually puts you in good position for the playoffs.”

Folsom’s impressive 6-0-1 start has Carrigan optimistic for the future.

“Giving up the first goal in both games this week and still winning makes me feel optimistic because not every team can do that,” Carrigan said.

Added Grace Roberts, “We’re excited for what’s ahead. We hope to win a league championship and then go on from there.”

Folsom plays host to Woodcreek at 6 p.m. Tuesday before hosting Granite Bay on Thursday at 6 p.m. Oak Ridge’s next game is at 7 p.m. at home Thursday against Woodcreek.