It didn’t take long for the Montesano High School boys soccer team to win the first match in front of the new Rottle Field grandstands. The Bulldogs notched a W against Tenino, 3-1, on March 18 in their first game of the season and followed it up with a 3-1 win on March 20 against King’s Way Christian.
Montesano dropped its third game of the season to Aberdeen 3-0 on Saturday.
“The team is starting to come together,” first year coach Mike Malpass said. “You only get two weeks before the first game. They have a new coach with new ideas and we are getting to know each other. Slowly it is coming together.”
Montesano junior Brandon Lovell gave the Bulldogs an early lead against Tenino, but after the Beavers tied it up on a penalty kick, it was senior David Sawyer who gave Monte it’s first league win of the season when he found the net from 20 yards out and added some insurance with a penalty kick.
Lovell had his turn to shine against King’s Way as he scored a hat trick in less than five minutes. The junior sent in a goal from about 15 yards out then found the back of the net less than two minutes later before heading a ball just out of the reach of the King’s Way goalie.
“It felt pretty good,” Lovell said of his first career hat trick. “It was back-to-back-to-back. I was like ‘Am I dreaming,’”
Malpass said the three-goal performance from Lovell was just a taste of what is to come from the junior.
“He has the ability to run with the ball and take players on,” Malpass said. “He has good vision and he knows where the opening is going to be and he has a great shot. All that combination and he is a great goal scorer and I’m glad he is on our team.”
Malpass, a native of England who spent one year as the head girls soccer coach at Shelton and has played and coached both in the U.S. and abroad, said the group he took over this season is young, but has a lot of talent. The key is for all of the athletes to buy into the vision he has for the team, Malpass said.
With only three seniors, the Bulldogs will need to work hard and work together creating goal scoring opportunities with quality passes, Malpass said.
“You are going to have some good games and you are going to have some not so good games. Those guys are buzzing in there and they are happy and that just helps them buy into what I’m doing and to what the other coaches are doing. It makes them want to try harder and they know where we need to improve and they are up for it. Hard work pays dividends and they are starting to show that.”