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Monday, Apr. 21, 2014

Bulldogs soccer sets records in 2012 season

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

(Photo)
The Sikeston Bulldogs soccer team gets a 'break-down' before taking the field Oct. 2 at the Sikeston Sports Complex. The Bulldogs broke two school records and won the SEMO Conference crown for the first time in history in the 2012 season. Chris Pobst, Staff
SIKESTON -- Another trip to the Class 2 quarterfinals may not have been in the cards for this year's Sikeston soccer team, but that didn't stop the Bulldogs from once again making their mark on the record books.

Besides topping the school record for shutouts, set by last year's team, Sikeston finished this season with a new high for wins in the regular season along with capturing their first ever SEMO Conference title.

"We a great year the year before and a lot of returning guys coming back," Bulldogs' head coach Doyle Noe said. "We lost a few obviously so it was just going to be a matter of time to see how the team gelled together. We seemed to do that as the season went on. We started out 3-3 early on and then we really hit our stride."

It was after that .500 start to the season that the Bulldogs became nearly unbeatable, losing only one more game the final two months of the regular season.

Most notable during this run was the Bulldogs undefeated record against SEMO Conference opponents, finishing the year 6-0 as they locked up the first conference title in school history.

Making that possible was some new faces stepping up in key places as Sikeston entered this season without a couple cornerstone players from the year before.

Taking over in net for the departed Michael Gipson, who set a school record for shutouts and wins last year, Josh Hampton didn't miss a beat.

In besting Gipson's shutout record of 11 shutouts with 14 this year, Hampton helped Sikeston to their best regular season finish ever at 19-4.

And though the Bulldogs never found one player capable of making up for 26-goal scorer Hunter Williams, the team combined this year to pick up any slack.

"Losing Mike in goal was not good, obviously, but Josh did a great job of stepping in," Noe said. "He did a wonderful job in goal for us. Not one person replaced Hunter up top, but I think we did that with a couple different guys.

"I thought Adam Johnson had a really great year. He scored 14 goals for us this year. Brandon Goodwin chipped in and Tyler McClinton had quite a few as well."

Johnson's 14-goal performance was the best on the team this season while Goodwin added another 13 goals to the Bulldogs cause after scoring a team-high 27 goals the year prior.

Helping the two forwards' cause was Chase Baron, who finished the year with seven goals, but more importantly led the team with 15 assists.

"He was kind of the catalyst," Noe said of Baron. "He could score some, but he was also distributing the ball quite a bit."

Unfortunately for Sikeston, after all the regular season success came a shockingly quick exit in the Class 2, District 1 tournament.

Coming in as the defending champions and boasting a 2-0 regular season record against first opponent Cape Central, the Bulldogs were stunned with an overtime goal to end their season with a 1-0 loss.

"I think we could have done better, but Cape Central played well that night and we just couldn't finish or buy a goal," Noe said. "That's just kind of the way it goes sometimes with soccer.

"We did have a great year. Obviously I'm a little disappointed, but there's a lot to be proud of for the boys."

As the Bulldogs turn the page and think about next season, they'll face the same high expectations that have come with the team's recent success.

In Noe's first three years at the helm, Sikeston has a 53-22-1 record, including a 39-10-1 mark the past two seasons. Both these marks are school records for their respective time frames.

Included among those that the Bulldogs will have to replace is Hampton and Goodwin. Like the past few years, however, Noe feels confident he'll once again have a strong returning nucleus to build around.

"I think the biggest will be to try and replace my goalkeeper in Josh Hampton," Noe said. "I do have some other guys that can step in and try to fill the roles of the seniors that are leaving, but we do have a lot of scoring coming back with Adam and Tyler. I also get a lot of my midfield back with Chase Baron and Audi Hay both being a year older.

Along with his returning core, Noe expects some solid contributions from some current underclassmen.

"A few up and coming players I think could definitely contribute more so next year is Hunter Taylor, Layton Jones and Jared Boyd," Noe said. "I look for them to really step in and get a lot of minutes."


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