By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
Taking the high road can be rewarding, even if you lose.
For coach Tom St. Louis, it was a proud moment watching his team take the high road against the yellow-card happy Glenwood Springs Demons. The Demons racked up a total of four yellow cards in Saturday's game, with the Bulldogs ignoring their antics and focusing on playing their game.
"There was some trash talking going on by Glenwood, and it had been the same way the first time the two teams met," St. Louis said. "I was proud of my guys for not retaliating, even though they were in a position to be frustrated."
The potential for frustration was there for the Bulldogs, who trailed the Demons throughout the game, and eventually lost 3-1 in the regular season's final game.
The Bulldogs' only goal came from a near-post shot by junior Brad Hurd. Hurd worked the ball down the side of the field toward a low-corner shot, which found its way past the Demons' goalie.
The Demons rallied to score three times, although the points were earned less than favorably.
"Really, Brandon (Duarte) was doing a good job in goal," junior Eric Havrilla said. "It was just some shots which were cheap in the fact they weren't good goal shots Glenwood just kind of snuck them past Brandon."
Aside from the cheap shots on goal and the single point scored by Hurd, the Bulldogs mounted a good offensive attack, which has become a late season trait for the team.
What has made offensive aggression possible for the Bulldogs is the metamorphisis of individual players into a team. It has been the increased amount of confidence and the unselfish way teammates rely on each other that has made the team connection possible.
"We just ended up playing more like a team at the end of the year," Havrilla said. "We were connecting more, and not hesitating in passing the ball. Since we were getting more offensive attacks, it was taking a lot of pressure off the defense."
Although the Bulldogs will slip out of the 2001 season winless, there is still optimism and pride welling in the team and its coach.
First-year coach St. Louis sees success abounding from his team, although the record may not show it.
"Judging from how the boys played at the beginning of the year, to how they played at the end, there isn't an aspect of the game they haven't improved on," he said. "The fact that they never gave up, even when behind, just makes me proud of what the guys have done this year."
The Bulldogs share their coach's attitude of success in certain areas of this season, and feel they have grown closer as a team. But the players feel there are areas which need improvement.
"Right now, the shot on goals we take are okay but we need to work on how we control the ball," Havrilla said. "We need to be able to transition better, and maybe loosening up on the man to man defense might help."
The Bulldogs will try to iron out the finite points of their game this winter, and will be joined by the Lady Bulldogs in doing so. St. Louis is in the process of reserving gym time for both teams, and plans to hold two practices a week. He will also supplement practice time with the weight conditioning.
"I just want our teams to get better every year, and I want to develop as a coach," St. Louis said. "There's programs out there which have had winless years, and in a season's time turned it all around to start winning, I feel this team could do the same at anytime."