GB soccer opener reveals new faces, similar results

3-0 win over Folsom keeps Grizzly win streak intact
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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The new season brings a new look for the defending Sac-Joaquin Section soccer champions at Granite Bay High School. If Thursday’s opener against Folsom at Kemp Park is any indication, there is not a huge drop-off between the new edition and the previous one. “Last year's team was special,” said Granite Bay coach Steve Fischer. “I may never be lucky enough to coach a team as gifted as that one ever again in my life. This year's team is also pretty good. We haven't gelled yet, but we have the talent to win a lot of ballgames.” With both teams providing ample playing time to a large number of players, the Grizzlies controlled the pace of play with an attack-oriented passing game in taking a 3-0 decision. Granite Bay tallied three times in the final 15 minutes of the opening half to put this one away before intermission. After creating numerous chances in the face of Bulldog keeper David Zezoff, the Grizzlies finally tickled the twine 25 minutes into the contest when junior striker Connor Hallisey broke free down the left side, and then after carrying the ball in tight, sent a ball out in front for running-mate Ben Steinher. The junior forward one-touched it home for Granite Bay’s initial goal of the post-Gaschen era. Just two minutes before the break, it was Cody Giddings’ turn to set up Steinher. The sophomore forward pushed a fantastic through-ball into the Folsom defensive zone, leaving Steinher a one-on-one opportunity with Zezoff. The first-year varsity player slipped a well-placed shot past the goalkeeper to double the advantage. Just two minutes later, on the final sequence of the initial stanza, Giddings knocked the ball free from a Folsom defender and then finished himself to move the count to 3-0, where it would stay the rest of the way. The second half was filled with momentum swings back and forth, but neither squad was able to find the back of the net. While it did not score in the contest, Folsom did manage to get its attack going as the game progressed, relying on strong overlapping runs from its midfielders and defenders to create mismatches going forward. Seniors Zach Williams, R.J. James and Alan Yu combined with junior Sean Raffetto and sophomore Calvin Millet for some nice Bulldog runs. The Grizzlies’ defense, led by returning starters Kyle Howarth and Jonathan Beach, was solid all day long, as even Folsom’s occasional runs resulted in few real scoring chances for the Bulldogs. Granite Bay is at Whitney Tuesday before hosting Sacramento-area powerhouse Davis in a heavily anticipated 4 p.m. Thursday match.