Folsom soccer team's playoff run a boost to program

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Folsom High’s soccer team proved anything can happen in the playoffs.

The Bulldogs entered the postseason with a 6-9-2 record, but won two games on the road and were less than a half away from reaching the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship game.

The Bulldogs didn’t make it, as Turlock came back from a 1-0 deficit last Wednesday to score twice to win the game 2-1 and end Folsom’s season. It was, however, a meaningful playoff run for the Bulldogs, who hadn’t won a playoff game in a decade.

“This proved we can do it,” Folsom coach Ray Robitaille said. “This team far exceeded my expectations and I think they even exceeded their own expectations. I preached all season that the boys need to play with confidence and every challenge they overcame in the playoffs just gave them more confidence and that's a testimony to the team's ability and strength of character. Leadership from the team's captains resulted in developing strong team unity. When a team believes in itself, you saw what it can do.

“This absolutely helps the program for next year. We’ve got some core kids coming back and this was a good experience for them. They’ve been to the playoffs and won a couple games so they know what it’s about and that’s pretty neat.”

Pehzman Kavianikosarkhizi scored Folsom’s first goal early in the second half, his second in three playoff games, before Turlock came back with two goals to win the game.

Despite being disappointed following the game, the Bulldogs, said Robitaille, needed to look at the big picture.

“They needed to be reflective as to how far they’ve come,” Robitaille said. “We played some division leaders early in the season and I was more concerned in what my players could do and where they could play than I was about winning those games. What a team does in league play is more important and gets you in the playoffs compared to the non-league games. What a turnaround this group made.”