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Folsom soccer team ends preseason with 2-1 loss to Casa Roble

By: By Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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After a five-game preseason schedule, Folsom High’s varsity girls’ soccer team is ready for Delta River League play, which begins Wednesday at Oak Ridge.

The Bulldogs’ second of back-to-back home losses came in a 2-1 comeback defeat by Casa Roble on Thursday afternoon. Freshman forward Izzie Lueken scored in the 23rd.

“We weren’t really getting the ball forward so I just thought to myself to look for a breakaway and I just got a big touch and chipped it right over,” said Lueken.

Both of Casa’s goals came shortly after the break in 42nd and 48th. Delta River League play starts on Wednesday at rival Oak Ridge (3-1-1). Folsom enters at 1-2-2.

For all their rivalry, both teams made the playoffs last season. Both teams also hired new head coaches in the offseason.

Last season the Bulldogs ravaged the league, unbeaten through 10 games, finishing 15-1-3 overall. Eventual section champion St. Mary’s edged out a 2-1 victory in overtime of the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.

After interviewing coaches, Johnn “Sean” de Graef, former U.S. Men’s National Team member and former CIF High School Coach of the Year nominee, has taken over as varsity coach.

“We’ve dominated for large portions of our last three games, so it’s starting to take off,” said de Graef. He said he got the job in late November and hit the ground running from there.

“I started right in with conditioning. There wasn’t a lot of time to prep, but I’ve done this for a long time so it wasn’t too tough to get into the flow here.”

Joseph “Hans” de Graef, Johnn’s father and former U.S. Men’s National Team assistant coach, was hired to coach the JV team. Sunshine Strong, Roseville Youth Soccer Club coordinator, was hired to coach the freshman team.

“I don’t think at my age the national team will call me again, but it’s always possible,” joked Hans de Graef, standing on the sidelines of the varsity game against Casa. “With the JV girls, they’ve all played soccer at some level, it’s just a matter of working on tactics.”

The varsity girls graduated 12 seniors from last year’s league championship team. This year’s team features nine underclassmen, including two freshmen. There are five returning players, including senior captains Ashley Hallums and Jamie Baker and junior captain Macenzie Benstead. The team also returns a pair of sophomores, Savannah Schultz and Sierra Del Frate.

Joe Champion, the new Oak Ridge head coach, brings years of international coaching, training and playing experience to the program. Oak Ridge has won three of its last four games, including the last two.

The Bulldogs and Trojans hammer it out at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Oak Ridge.

For more information on coaches Johnn “Sean” de Graef, Joseph “Hans” de Graef, visit http://www.soccerbydegraef.com/ and for information on Joe Champion, visit http://www.joechampionsoccer.com/.