Bulldog volleyball team hopes for strong finish

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Folsom High’s volleyball team wraps up its season this week with home matches against Rocklin on Monday and Oak Ridge on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs enter the week with six wins and hope to have eight after their two matches. Either way, the team’s six wins is the most the program has had since a nine-win season in 2012.

The team has been hampered by injuries for most of the season, which hasn’t helped their cause. Sophomore Connor Shaw recently returned from an injury to boost the Folsom team up to eight players, and not long after freshman Cody Bowker rolled an ankle and the team was back to seven players again. With a previous injury ending the season for Manning Lemoine and another player ruled ineligible, it’s forced coach Eric Juline to mix things up far more than he would want to.

“It’s been difficult for the guys,” Juline said. “We’ve had a lot of different lineups and changes; a lot of different combinations. I was looking at our side out percentages the other day, and I had 49 different combinations up front and that seemed like a lot to me.  We’ve had to shuffle players, while I like to keep it as static as possible. The kids have struggled with it. It’s hard to play when you’re always switching things up. Just when I thought we were settling into a consistent lineup than Cody gets hurt and we’re back to mixing it up again.”

The Bulldogs faced El Dorado in a non-league match last Thursday and lost in three straight, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23.

“We’re not good at the net and we haven’t been all year and tonight--especially that second game--every time El Dorado had a chance to make a kill they made it,” Juline said. “They earned their points. I was hoping we’d played better against them.”

Juline was hoping for a strong finish to the season, a season that’s been the best of his four-year tenure as head coach.

“We finish with Rocklin and Oak Ridge and those are games that if we play well I feel we can win,” Juline said. “We didn’t play well at Rocklin (earlier this season). They have one stellar player, but I feel we’re pretty even everywhere else. We can be competitive with them. The key is we can’t fall behind. They other night we were down 17-12, and that’s hard to come back from. At the Granite Bay Tournament, we had one good win against Oakmont. It was close, but we were ahead by three or four points the whole game and that helped us. We can’t have lapses when we give up four or five points in a row.”

Despite recent losses and the injury bug, it’s been a good season for the program.

“We’ve been struggling, but it’s still a huge improvement for us,” Juline said. “We’re still playing way better than in previous years.”