Lady Bulldog volleyball team ends season on a high note

By: Nick Pecoraro/The Telegraph
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The Folsom volleyball team capped their season off with a 3-7 Delta River League record, which earned the Lady Bulldogs their seventh consecutive trip to the postseason. Folsom’s season appeared to be over after a pair of losses at the end of the regular season, but a tough schedule and a few key conference wins gave them a 16-seed in the Division II Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs — in which they fell to No. 1 seeded Rocklin, 3-1 on Nov. 9. “The girls were so fired up for the Rocklin game. It was the team I’ve been waiting to see all season. I was like a kid at Christmas,” said Coach Cinnamon DaSilva, who just logged her first decade at the head of the bench for Folsom. “I’ve been on cloud nine after how well we played (in the playoffs). It was the highlight of the season knowing how far we’ve come,” she added. Although their record (5-17) might not show it, the Lady Bulldogs could look back on this season as a successful building block for the future of their program. The negative side of that building block is that Folsom loses the leadership and stability of senior Kendyl Saunders, who has been a part of the varsity team since she was called up for the postseason in 2007 during her freshman year. The glass-is-half-full view sees the fact that Saunders is the team’s only senior, meaning that Folsom can anticipate a solid nucleus for next season. “We won’t be such a new team like we were this year. We’ll have a lot more returning players and I think it’ll be easier for us already being used to playing with each other,” said sophomore outside hitter Jaia Lockett. “It was really fun playing this year and we improved throughout the year.” Lockett (133 kills, 25.2 kill percentage), Saunders (121 kills, 44 aces) and middle blocker Nicole Solak (29.6 kill percentage, 25 blocks) provided much of the offensive punch for the Lady Bulldogs, while libero Tiana Lee emerged into a premier back-row presence with 3.1 digs per game—third best in the Delta River League. “It was a pretty solid season, I think. We started off well and we got better together as we went along,” said junior setter Elise Newton, who led the team in assists and steadily transformed into one of the team’s more vocal leaders on the court. “I don’t think we were disappointed with our season. We ended on a high note and we were glad that we ended it together.” DaSilva said that the team has progressively matured throughout the season, developing unity, trust in one another and a chemistry that could prove to be invaluable heading into 2011. “Hopefully, next year we’ll pick up where we left off, keep up the chemistry and build off of it,” DaSilva said. “We know what level we can play at. We just have to believe in ourselves and just fight.”