“So far so good,” said Turlock boys varsity head coach Doug Sperry after his Bulldogs shutout Pacheco High on Thursday in the team’s final preseason match that ended in another clean sheet, 3-0.
Turlock’s Luke Redman notched a pair of first half goals and closed out the night completing the hat trick after he drilled his third goal just 12 minutes into the second half to complete a memorable game for the junior.
“Coach always tells us to put the work in at practice and you get what you put in and so we bring that mentality into the games,” said Redman. “I haven’t been putting the ball in recently so I’ve been working on finishing and coming into the game I just wanted to be confident and that is how I got the goals in the net tonight.”
It was the fifth straight game that Turlock notched three goals or more, and their fourth clean sheet in the last five games. They won their last five games by a combined score of 22-1.
The win also gave the ‘Dogs a 10-0-3 record to close out pre-league.
“We didn’t expect to have this kind of a start, but just from day one we had high expectations,” said Sperry. “We started playing at a high level from the get-go and I wish I knew exactly what it was but the group we have… it is a group that gels really well with Isaiah and Beni in the middle and everything running through them, they’ve all been playing well lately.”
Senior returners Isaiah Johnson and Beni Mejia have solidified their positions as leaders and captains of a squad that is currently ranked No. 8 in California and No. 30 in the country.
In 13 games played, Turlock’s defense has conceded just four goals, while the offense has racked up 43 goals.
“Hopefully, all this success will continue,” said Sperry. “We have been pretty fortunate so far and have been injury-free which is an attribute to where we are at full strength. Going into league, everybody is healthy and playing well and everything is good, so far so good.”
In pre-league play, Turlock holds a notable win against No. 10 in California, Jesuit.
They also tied No. 12 Livingston in their second game of the season.
Heading into Thursday’s game against Pacheco, Turlock wanted to keep riding its win-streak into league play in the Central California Athletic League.
What they managed to do was control the game despite some moments of a stalemate.
They left no doubt who was controlling the game after the first 25 minutes.
Following a scoreless 10 minutes, Turlock’s Redman followed up with two goals in a 10-minute span.
By the 25th minute, Turlock had gone up 2-0.
“First goal was a lobber, goalie came out and Luke chipped it over him and into the back of the net. Probably first 15 minutes since we went a solid first 10 minutes without scoring, then two back-to-back,” said Sperry.
Redman notched the third and final goal by the 52nd minute, and Turlock continued their unbeaten streak heading into the new year.
Alex Mejia had two assists and Beni Mejia had one.
“Luke is just a great player and he is quick and he can finish it and put it away, and he did tonight which is great, he has playing really well,” said Sperry. “Now, our goal is always to win league, but we always want to compete for a section championship, which is a lofty goal, but I think that is what these guys goals are — that is the mindset right now.”
Turlock will kick off league play in the CCAL on the road at Enochs at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“We are going for an undefeated league championship and hoping to make a run for sections,” Redman added. “We are going to have to put in that extra effort every game and it give it 100 percent.”