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Bulldogs fall to Rio, 3-1

By: Brett Ransford, Telegraph Correspondent
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For the fans that were in attendance it was a grind-it-out game. The Bulldogs (4-2) received their second loss of the season in a 3-1 fight to the end against the Rio Americano Raiders (4-1). After one half of soccer the Bulldogs were down 2-1. Evan Woodruff had Folsom’s only goal near the 20th minute of the first half. Woodruff caught a through ball from midfielder R.J. James in front of the right post using his left foot to place it just out of the keeper’s reach at the opposite corner net. Tied at one, Rio then tailored the back of the net again in the first half before ending their offensive night on a well executed three-touch throw in goal in the second. Unfortunately for Folsom, Rio was more fluid as a team. Individually, the Bulldogs, however, had some standout play often having the edge over Rio on tackles. If it weren’t for some key saves from goalkeeper David Zezoff the Bulldog deficit would have opened up. In just the first half Zezoff had eight saves and ended the game with 11. Rio took more than 10 shots in the half. “Usually we’re a little faster and stronger,” said Folsom Head Coach Mike McBride. “Rio’s team is a little quicker up front and created some nice chances to score.” Folsom defenders Tanner Chadwell and Conner Vickers probably had the roughest game, literally. Rio’s offense was nasty with their attack on Folsom’s defenders especially in the last 15 minutes of play. Chadwell rose above other players for headers and took elbows for it. He single-handedly contained and frustrated Rio’s main scorer Jonathon Lanthier. Six seniors 11 juniors and five sophomores make up the Bulldogs. Woodruff is one of the five sophomores, but plays an important role in running their offense. Along with Scott Hayes the Folsom offense had some serious looks at goal. Partly to blame for the loss was the Raiders just being faster and stronger to the ball. Late in the second half it became a back and forth game of trading hits, each team looking for the last one. Folsom however remained classy enough to walk away. In the last 15 minutes Folsom had three free kicks in great range around the goalie box. At times they simply took too many touches on ball. Gasps from the sideline could be heard as Folsom players spun around trying to get an open look instead of one-touching a shot at goal. The lack of execution that followed the first half plagued their opportunities to turn those free kicks into goals. Allowing three goals was the dagger, though. “They were definitely mistakes,” McBride said. “We’re playing a zone as opposed to a man-to-man so it takes some getting used to for these guys. But these are the most goals we’ve given up since our scrimmage against Granite Bay.” Another standout for the Bulldogs was forward Matt Martinez. He was responsible for the anxiety in Folsom fans as he took a handful of shots late in the second half. Folsom only averages one goal a game this season but Martinez was looking for more. “They’re coming together really well, added McBride. “We haven’t really focused on offense so far. We’ve been mainly focused on being in good shape.” The Bulldogs will travel to Lincoln next Thursday to face the winless Zebras. Game time is 4 p.m.