CAPE GIRARDEAU - The Sikeston soccer team opened the season with a 5-0 loss to a tough Carbondale (Ill.) team in the Notre Dame Tournament on Thursday.
Carbondale dominated the game with 20 shots on goal to Sikeston's four.
The Bulldogs will play Poplar Bluff game today at 5 p.m. in the tournament.
The Bulldogs lost nine starters from last year including the school goal record holder Adam Garrett.
"Carbondale's always tough," said head coach Derrick Long. "They always go pretty far in Ill. state tournament. I knew it was going to be rough. It's going to be rough for the first month probably. You're going to have question marks, we lost nine of our top 12. Maybe by middle of season everybody be on the same page."
Sikeston goalkeepers Jake Marsh and Jason Deere combined for 15 saves in the game.
Carbondale got on the board three minutes into the game when Phillip Okoro scored.
Kevin O'Neal followed up with a goal at the 17:00 mark and Aaron Walkfler made it 3-0 with a goal at the 24:00 mark.
Walkfler made it a hat-trick with goals at the 45:00 and 66:00 marks.
But even with the loss, Long saw some positive things from his young team.
"We had a big game from Richard Landers," said Long. "He's a sophomore and we put him in as a defender and he probably played the best game of all of our defenders. And that says a lot because he played football last year. We also got pretty good games from Brad Deere and Tanner Fritz. We just had trouble getting those guys the ball. We need to work on that."