MCHS boys soccer off to best start |

MCHS boys soccer off to best start

Team has won all four games it’s played

Ben Bulkeley

Senior goalkeeper Dustin Carlson, right, slides to make a stop during a game against Roaring Fork High School on Sept. 9 at Loudy-Simpson Park. The 4-0 Bulldogs will open league play at 6 p.m. today against the 3-0-1 Sailors in Steamboat Springs.

The Moffat County High School boys varsity soccer team has had early success this season.

Already, the Bulldogs have done something no other MCHS boys soccer team has done.

Win four games to open a season.

The previous best start to a season was two wins, one loss and one tie, which was accomplished by the 1992 boys in blue.

While it may seem that the Bulldogs are an out-of-nowhere success story, MCHS head coach Rusty Cox said the team is actually a year late.

"We have a whole team," he said. "We could have done this well last year if we had everyone.

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"This year, we have everyone back and playing as a team."

Junior Jonathan Pando has been on the team since he was a freshman.

He has played with the same group of players for years, and heading into this season, Pando said he knew the Bulldogs could be good. But, maybe not this good this early.

"I thought we could surprise a lot of teams this year," he said. "I think we surprised ourselves when we beat the (Grand Junction) Tigers. They are a good team."

Moffat County's list of the fallen includes two 5A schools (Grand Junction and Grand Junction Central), a 3A school (Roaring Fork) and a 4A rival (Montezuma-Cortez).

"Grand Junction was undefeated going into that game," Cox said. "And I have a lot of respect for that Roaring Fork team."

The only thing missing from that list is a conference rival.

Enter the Sailors.

The Bulldogs will play long-time rival Steamboat Springs at 6 p.m. today in Steamboat.

The Sailors, who are coming off a conference title season, have rolled out to a fast start.

The Sailors (3-0-1) also beat Grand Junction Central, tied with a strong Eagle Valley club and beat down Glenwood Springs.

But, as Cox put it, the Bulldogs will be the measuring stick for the Sailors this season, not the other way around.

"We look forward to playing Steamboat," Cox said. "It doesn't matter what the records going in are — it's a battle.

"They are a fast and talented team, and (head coach Rob Bohlmann) has been coaching for a long time. It's always a tough game."

Although the Bulldogs have momentum going into the game, Cox said he has seen too many undefeated teams fall against teams without wins.

"I've learned that you can never count any them out," he said. "No game is ever won before it's played. That's what I've been trying to teach my team.

"I've said all season, 'Play every game like it's your last.'"

That approach appears to have worked in the early games.

The total time that Moffat County has trailed in a game this season has been a paltry three minutes and 27 seconds.

All of that was accumulated in the first half of the Bulldogs' Sept. 9 game against Roaring Fork.

The team has outscored its opponents 23-12.

Two players (Tracy Mendoza and Alex Perez) already have more than 10 points apiece.

Because the Bulldogs have gotten off to such a torrid start, Pando said the team has adjusted its long-range view accordingly.

"We know that we can do more," he said. "We're learning what we're capable of.

"I want us to go undefeated. If we make it to the playoffs, I'd like to see how far we can go."

But, before the team can even think about making the postseason for the first time since 2005, it needs to think only about the game in front of them, Cox said.

"I try to look at it on a game-to-game basis," he said. "My philosophy is one game at a time. Don't even think about anything else, just learn from the last game you played and fix any mistakes."

For today's game, Pando said the group of Bulldogs, who have played together for years in the traveling leagues before coming up through the Bulldog ranks, need to do what they have done all season.

"We just need to do our thing," he said. "If we all do our jobs, we can win."

Starts and finishes

A look at how the MCHS boys soccer team has started and ended its seasons:

2010: 4-0 start

2009: 2-2 start, 5-8-2 finish

2008: 0-4 start, 2-13 finish

2007: 0-4 start, 4-9-1 finish

2006: 0-3-1 start, 2-13-1 finish

2005: 1-3 start, 6-9-0 finish*

2004: 2-2 start, 9-5-1 finish*

2003: 2-2 start, 5-10 finish

2002: 2-2 start, 6-9 finish

2001: 0-4 start, 0-13 finish

2000: 0-4 start, 0-15 finish

1999: 1-3 start, 1-13 finish

1998: 0-3-1 start, 0-10-1 finish

1997: 0-4 start, 2-11-1 finish

1996: 2-2 start, 8-6-2 finish

1995: 1-3 start, 1-7-1 finish

1994: 2-2 start, 8-3-1 finish*

1993: 2-2 start, 4-7-1 finish

1992: 2-1-1 start, 7-2-1 finish

1991: 2-2 start, 4-4 finish

1990: 0-4 start, 0-9-1 finish

  • qualified for state playoffs

lost in first round of regional tourney

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