Turlock boys soccer coach Doug Sperry said expectations were “high” coming into the season.
What Sperry didn’t expect was for the Bulldogs to go unbeaten (10-0-3) in the preseason and be ranked No. 30 in the nation and No. 8 in the state by MaxPreps (No. 30 in nation and No. 8 in the state).
With a 3-0 win over Pacheco (3-7) on Thursday, the Bulldogs ended a dominant preseason that saw them outscore opponents 43-4.
“We have just been playing really well from the get-go,” Sperry said. “Our leaders have done a really good job and we have six sophomores that have been contributing. We are a deep, talented team all around.”
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Sperry was concerned entering the game because Turlock hadn’t played since Dec. 18. But the Bulldogs dominated possession all night.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start but all in all, we played well and finished our opportunities,” Sperry said.
Forward Luke Redman finished all of his opportunities as the junior had a hat trick.
After Turlock missed a few chances in the first 10 minutes, Redman scored on a lob over the goal in the 16th minute and then added another goal four minutes later.
“I haven’t been able to put the goals away recently,” Redman said. “Tonight I was confident.”
Redman scored in the 53rd minute after senior midfielder Christian Hernandez saw his forward wide open near the penalty box.
“We have been putting the work in at practice,” Redman said. “Our coaches tell us to go 100 percent and earn what you get.”
Redman curved his shot into the right corner of the net to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
Asked about the team’s best preseason performance, Redman referred to its efforts in the Sacramento Tournament on Dec. 14-15.
The Bulldogs beat Jesuit 2-1 on Dec. 14. The Marauders are 9-1-1 and ranked No. 10 in the state.
“We expected to win that game but it was tough,” Redman said. “It was a big game for us.”
Turlock opens Central California Athletic League play against Enochs on Jan. 9. The Bulldogs’ toughest league foe could be their rival, Pitman.
The Pride are 8-1 and ranked No. 27 in the state.
“We are looking to go undefeated in the league season,” Redman said. “That’s been our goal all year. We want to go undefeated and a get a league championship. I am hoping we can get it done this year.”