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Folsom girls' varsity soccer team off to 3-0-1 start

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Folsom High’s varsity girls’ soccer team surprised a lot of teams by reaching the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals two years ago. Last year, the team proved that playoff run was not a fluke, as they finished 15-3-3 and reached the semifinals again.

So what will happen this year?

The Bulldogs look to have the talent to reach the semis again if things go their way, but clearing that hurdle and reaching the section championship game would be nice. It all depends on how this team comes together and how it’s playing come mid-February.

Amber Liston, who led the team with 19 goals a year ago, is one of six seniors returning and will be a key player again this year. Considering the next highest returning goal scorer, junior Lindsay Sandy, scored eight goals, Liston will be looked at to find the back of the net. Senior midfielder Grace Roberts and defenders Malia Darke (senior) and Audrey Salvador (junior) scored three goals.

Senior defenders Tatum Warrington and Bridgette Silva return and bring experience, while fellow senior Dejia Provost is new to the team this season and adds depth.

With center backs Warrington, a four-year varsity player, and Salvador, a three-year varsity player, Folsom has plenty of experience in the front of the net. Silva and Darke play on the outside with junior Ashlyn MacLean and freshman Izzy Palmatier playing in the goal.

“When everyone gets healthy, we should be a little more stingy defensively than we have been,” Folsom coach Rick Carrigan said.

Offensively, Liston and Sandy will be looked to score, while Roberts and sophomore Kaylee Gillespie will also be big contributors. Junior Kayla Garcia returns in the defensive midfield and juniors Ashley Sanders, Kaylen Mohr and forward Sophia Phelps will be in the mix. Mohr is a defender who’s seen time early in the season at center forward.

Carrigan has two sophomores, Gillespie and defender Lucy Murray, and three freshmen, forward Grace Marshall and midfielders Reese Shepard and Ashley Cunningham, who will all contribute.

Folsom opened the season with a 2-2 tie against Casa Roble and has since won three straight against Woodcreek, 1-0, Bella Vista, 5-1, and Ponderosa, 2-1, on Monday. While their record is good, the team as a whole is a work in progress at this point of the season.

“It’s been a mixed bag so far,” Carrigan said. “We’ve had some injuries and have been missing people, so we’ve been playing younger players and trying other players in new positions. We’re trying to find out who can do what, and that’s what the preseason is for. We’re not where we need to be yet.”

Folsom only has one more game (home against Vacaville Wednesday) before their Sierra Foothill League opener Jan. 4 at Rocklin. It should be another wild and crazy competitive league season.

“We have high expectations,” Carrigan said. “The league should be another dog fight, as every team is good and has a good coach. I think they’re taking four teams from the league to the playoffs so a good team is not going to make it. If we can qualify, the playoffs can seem not as hard because our league is so tough.”