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Year of the Falcon

Falcons’ fourth

FLC gets a helping

hand in its victory



The Union, Nov. 13, 2006

FOLSOM – No one on the Falcons could explain it.




In the final minute of Saturday’s cold, wet Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI soccer championship at Folsom High School, Lindhurst’s David Usvat reached with his right arm and slapped a Forest Lake Christian pass out of the air.

Falcons senior forward Andreas Zeischegg nailed the resulting penalty shot, breaking a tied game and capturing FLC’s fourth section championship, 2-1.

“That was a miracle win,” Forest Lake Christian coach Thad Kopec said. “I’ve coached 25 years, over 400 games, and I can’t remember ever any kind of game when the player, on purpose or accidentally, would so drastically put his hand up and hit the ball. I mean, his hand was above his head.”

Ben Sparling scored the Falcons’ first goal little more than a minute into the game for a 1-0 lead.

“Our defense really stepped up,” said Kopec, who added that the play of senior defender Luke Ziegenmeyer was the catalyst. Ziegenmeyer was one of 12 seniors on the team. Until Saturday, the 12th-graders hadn’t won a section banner.

The last time the Falcons won the section was in 2002, when they beat Le Grand 2-1 in overtime. The other two championships – in 1997 and 1998 – also took story-like finishes.

In ’97, in a 3-2 win against Central Catholic, Forest Lake Christian recovered from a 2-0 deficit with 20 minutes left. The ’98 title was won 3-1 in overtime, after FLC missed two penalty kicks in regulation. And in ’02, keeper Joe Martin made 15 saves as the Falcons scored with five minutes left to force overtime, overcoming several untimely injuries.

“It really hasn’t set in yet, because it was such an amazing victory” Kopec said of his fourth section championship. “I’m sure that in the next couple of days, they’re going to be astonished for what they achieved.”

– Jeff Miller

Falcons fly to finale

Forest Lake to return to section title game

The Union, May 18, 2007

For the second straight season, the Forest Lake Christian girls soccer team is making a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships.

The Falcons, the Central Valley Christian League champions, secured the trip with a 4-1 drubbing of Le Grand during Thursday’s section semifinals at Forest Lake High School.

This year, however, the Falcons are hoping for a different outcome.

“At sections last year, we lost 1-0 to Modesto Christian in a heartbreaker,” said Falcons senior Shelby Lowe, who opened the scoring Thursday for Forest Lake.

Lowe said that at the beginning of this season she didn’t expect a return trip to the section championship game.

“First of all, we have one more playoff game this year than last year,” Lowe said. “Last year there was only one game before sections. Plus, at the beginning of the year, we were a completely different team.

“I thought we’d just strive to win the league and go from there, but a section championship I never thought was possible. But then we won the league and this became more attainable.”

– Ross Maak

Falcons survive semifinal scare

The Union, Nov. 15, 2006

Rebekah Koopmans sought some divine intervention on Forest Lake Christian’s third shot at wrapping up match point Tuesday night, as the senior took pause for a moment before teammate Kelsey Andersson served the ball in play.

But the FLC senior said she wasn’t selfishly seeking help, she wanted that final point for her coach, Travis Smith.

“This was Mr. Smith’s dream,” Koopmans said. “I was like ‘Please, please, just give this to him. It wasn’t for me. It was for him.”

Koopmans got her wish and Smith got his win over his longtime nemesis Ripon Christian by a 3-2 count in a five-game thriller, as No. 1 Forest Lake Christian avoided the upset to the 13th-seeded Knights 21-25, 25-16, 15-25, 25-18, 17-15.

And it was a kill off the right arm of Koopmans that advanced the Falcons to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V volleyball championship match for the first time since 2001.

“This is huge,” Smith said, soaked in sweat and wearing a smile from ear to ear while adding up the evening’s statistics. “When we walked out on the court in the fifth game, I could tell they were going to bring it.”

The win was especially sweet for Smith, who returned to the Falcons bench this season after coaching the club from 1999-2003. After FLC scored its lone win over Ripon Christian in the section semifinals prior to the Falcons’ 1998 section championship – with Smith serving as junior varsity coach – the Falcons followed with three straight losses to the Knights in the section championship match.

Off and running

Falcons go on offensive in opening-round rout

The Union, Feb. 21, 2007

Pay attention, Sac-Joaquin Section.

The team you refused to push higher than fifth in the Division V power ratings annihilated its opponent Tuesday in the first round of the girls basketball playoffs.

No. 5 Forest Lake Christian, the Central Valley Christian League champion, beat No. 12 North Hills Christian (Vallejo) 78-21 at FLC to advance the Falcons to Thursday’s second round, likely at No. 4 Wilton Christian.

North Hills (14-10 overall, 7-3 Northern Pacific League) plays in the same league as Freedom Christian, which earned the No. 2 seed in the 16-team playoff bracket.

“The kids were already saying, ‘There’s no way Freedom should be No. 2,” Golden Eagles coach Debbi Sutton said. “(Forest Lake) should be No. 2. Freedom can’t shoot 3s like that.”

The Falcons (21-7 overall, 13-0 Central Valley Christian League) made 10-of-27 3-pointers on the night, including four from junior guard Katie Fletcher (14 points).

– Jeff Miller

Welcome back

Falcons make a return in baseball

The Union, March 17, 2007

Imagine, if you will, a group of high school students left in the middle of a grassy field on a beautiful spring afternoon – without supervision.

Many different scenarios leap to mind, a few downright scary.

That wasn’t the case, however, with this particular crew. With coach Ron Phillips running late, the Forest Lake Christian baseball team started practice without him.

No whining. No horsing around. No nonsense.

Team captain Corbin Phillips grabbed a bat and started hitting infield practice, yelling out scenarios to the team and shouting words of encouragement.

That’s the type of drive that may just set the stage for this season.

Forest Lake had some success two seasons ago with a few players going off to continue their careers in college. However, there wasn’t enough interest in the sport last season, and the Falcons were left without a team.

All that has changed this season.

Not only have the Falcons found enough interest to field a team, but Forest Lake kicked off the year with a five-inning, 15-5 win against Lutheran (Elk Grove). The Falcons pounded out 17 hits in the win.

“I don’t even know how to put this into words,” said coach Phillips, who was an assistant for the team two years ago. “The school’s thoughts were just to get a team out there, then maybe within the next few years try to get something rolling.

“I came in expecting to rebuild a program and get a team on the field. To do anything beyond that would just be gravy.”

– Ross Maak


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