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Folsom volleyball wins first three matches

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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It’s the start of a new volleyball season and there’s reason for optimism for many teams, including the Folsom Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 6-14 season a year ago, but return their three team captains and eight players total, so team chemistry and camaraderie shouldn’t be a hurdle they need to clear. Senior captains Sabrina Bigley (setter), Karmin Brown (outside hitter) and Sydney Radell (middle blocker) are back and are not only more experienced, but better players than they were a year ago.

Added to this mix is a new fourth captain, senior libero Marissa Plaza, along with fellow returning seniors Claire Racioppe (defensive specialist), Sophie Duerre (opposite) and Claire Kehoe (outside hitter) and junior middle blocker Allison Hakes, so the Bulldogs have some key pieces to the puzzle in place.

“We’ve got a lot of seniors so we’re hoping this is our year,” Folsom coach Michella Harvey said. “We’re deeper than we’ve ever been, and there’s a different energy with this group. They know they’ve got more talent this year and they’re confident.”

The team does bring in five newcomers, including three sophomores. New players include juniors Jessica Yu (outside hitter) and Megan Friery (setter) and sophomores Emma Hofmann (defensive specialist), Hannah Heller (outside hitter) and Lauren Thompson (opposite).

The team had a great start to the season Aug. 21, traveling to Union Mine and winning in three straight games, 25-18, 26-24 and 25-8. The Bulldogs trailed the Diamondbacks 22-21 and 23-22 in game two and still managed to pull out the win.

After a 3-1 win over Inderkum on Aug. 23, the Bulldogs defeated Vista del Lago in three straight games Monday to improve to 3-0 on the season.

The Bulldogs looked great in handily beating the Eagles 25-19, 25-15 and 25-17. There’s not much they didn’t do right, as they led Vista for almost the entire night in all three games. Hakes led the offensive attack with 12 kills in 13 attempts for a 92 percent kill percentage. Ironically, setter Sabrina Bigley was next with five kills, as five-of-her-eight dumps found the floor. Sydney Radell added four kills, while Claire Kehoe and Jessica Yu each had two.

With size at the net, Folsom finished with a lot of blocks, most coming in the third game. Hakes again led the way with seven blocks, while Radell was in on six. Bigley and Thompson were in on four.

Bigley made 17 assists, while Friery had 10. Plaza was the team’s top digger with 11, while Racioppe made nine and Brown, eight. In the serve-receive game, Folsom only made six errors in three matches. Plaza made 14 receptions; Racioppe had 10, while Brown finished with nine.

“I’m very excited with how we played,” Harvey said. “I’m most pleased with our ball control. We’ve got the most offensive weapons that we’ve had and we’ve got another setter to play with Sabrina in Megan and we haven’t had that in a few years.”

While Harvey was pleased with her team’s ball control, Vista coach Dave Faz said his team must improve in that area.

“If we were in a hitting contest, we’d be awesome,” Faz said, as his team had many more swings on the ball than the Bulldogs. “But until we find ball control, we’re going to have our ups and downs. We haven’t had it all year.”

Folsom’s next match is at home against Christian Brothers on Sept. 4.