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Folsom volleyball falls to Roseville

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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A third coaching change in the past four years looks to bring consistency to Folsom boys’ volleyball. The Bulldogs (1-2) last made the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs two years ago. Jason Cole, Folsom’s new varsity coach, brings with him a pedigree which could turn around a program struggling to stay above .500 in recent years. Folsom’s most recent game – a three-game sweep 25-11, 25-13, 25-22 at the hands of Roseville on Tuesday night – displayed what Cole said is a team with a lot of potential, but lacking confidence. “They’re kind of unsure of themselves because these other teams we’re playing have experience volleyball players and it makes a difference,” Cole said. “We have a couple of experienced athletes and the administration at Folsom seems really supportive of me and what I’m trying to do.” Among his many playing and coaching accolades, Cole coached at collegiate, high school and the USA High Performance Program levels in about 15 years of volleyball experience. He coaches with the Northern California Volleyball Club in Sacramento and the Boys High Performance Camp in Arizona. A lot of his coaching experience is with girls, but three years ago he took the varsity boys’ position at Placer High before landing in Folsom. Prior to his entry, nine seniors graduated from Folsom’s team last year. Cole is tasked with turning a team with four seniors, which includes Japanese exchange student Yudai Sakaguchi, into an experience project in coming years. According to Cole, he plans on coaching the boys’ team for the foreseeable future. “We have the experience to take these guys where they need to go, but we’ll see if we can. It’s hard because not all of them can make practices.” Two of Folsom’s seniors are playing both soccer and volleyball concurrently in the spring semester. Tanner Chadwell led the team with 10 kills against Roseville and captain Brandon Bartel had 21 assists. Neither played volleyball last year, but both decided on double duty this season. After the Roseville game, both players were clearly improvements to the team. “It’s really busy. We have volleyball until about 6 p.m. and then soccer at 8 p.m. so we only have about two hours for homework in between,” Chadwell said. “A lot of the team has chemistry from before, but this is my first year on varsity so we’re just beginning to mesh. Hopefully, we pick up our play after this game.” Chadwell and Cole were both hopeful to win the Delta River League this season, which would be a welcome change from last year’s winless 0-6 streak. Another issue for the boys’ team could be getting gym time throughout the season to practice, according to Cole. Folsom rents its gym to area club teams and basketball also has time scheduled. Cole wants to prioritize volleyball in comparison to other area sports. He said USA Volleyball Olympian Gabe Gardner would like to take part in a clinic run at Folsom, but Cole can’t find the gym time. Cole organized a fundraiser prior to the season start. It gathered about $1,000 for the team, but he said the team is still making efforts to raise money toward new jerseys. Folsom leaders on Tuesday night were Chadwell in kills, captain Rich Johnson with 13 digs, Bartel in assists and James Rogers with three blocks. Three players each had aces – Kevin Getz, Sakaguchi and Rogers. Folsom pulled to an even 2-2 after defeating Del Oro in a 3-2 comeback match on Thursday. Del Oro was a semifinalist in last year’s Division I playoffs, but couldn’t stop Folsom from winning the final three games. After going down 25-12 and 25-23, the Bulldogs worked a 25-20, 25-15, 15-11 three-game sweep in a visiting gym. The Bulldogs committed more than 15 service errors in their first two games. Among things which impressed Cole was committing about five in the next three games. “I just ripped into them after those first two games,” Cole said. “I told them, ‘we’re competitive and we can beat this team,’ and they responded. We worked together, not independently. We had a lot of communication and we didn’t give up.” Middle blocking and back line play were keys for the Bulldogs, according to Cole. Captains Hunter Horwath and Richie Johnson led the way. Johnson didn’t play against Roseville, but Cole said he is essential to the team’s consistent play going forward.