DALLAS — Last season, Dallas’ boys soccer team accomplished something it hadn’t in years — winning a match.
This year, when the Dragons defeated St. Helens 3-2 on Sept. 6, players were happy but not satisfied.
“We won a game, but who cares? We want a play-in game this year,” Jacob Jones said.
Dallas (1-6 overall), which opened Mid-Willamette Conference play against Lebanon on Tuesday, knows that will be a tall order, but after losing three matches by one goal, players believe they are on the cusp of turning a corner.
“If one goal goes in, we keep trying hard,” senior Josh Dudley said. “Before we would kind of give up and they would score a lot of goals in a short amount of time.”
The top six teams in the MWC advance to the postseason.
The league has six teams with records above .500 entering league play.
“Our league is tough, but we have our sights set on having several league wins, which hasn’t happened for too long,” coach John Jones said.
The Dragons have long been an easy win for opponents. Players are ready to show that is no longer the case.
“People expect us to lose by a lot,” Jacob Jones said. “We’re used to losing. When that first goal goes in against us, we sometimes shut down. We have to change that up.”
Dudley and Jones will play a pivotal role for Dallas’ success going forward.
“Josh is an incredible worker,” John Jones said. “He’s one of our most consistent kids. He’s always there. He doesn’t talk a lot, but when he says something, people listen. He’s very wise. Jacob is also a very hard worker and does a good job at getting the ball where it needs to go.”
But they aren’t worried about individual recognition. They want to show the MWC that the Dragons are no longer pushovers.
“I’ve seen quite a bit of progress from the first match,” Dudley said. “We’ve had people step up to fill positions. … If we could get early wins, it would build our confidence for the rest of league.”