Bulldogs showing strong offense early in the season

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Sam Menicke fights off a Belgrade player during a 2-1 loss on Saturday. (Dan Chesnet/Belgrade News)

The Bulldogs soccer team is off to a fast start, winning two of their first three matches to start the season.

Whitefish defeated Bigfork 10-1 last Tuesday and Park-Livingston 5-4 on Friday before falling to Belgrade 2-1 Saturday.

Head coach John Lacey said he’s been happy with the way his team is scoring the ball.

“I’m real pleased with our offensive production,” he said. “We’ve already scored more goals in three games than we did all last season in 13. That’s really encouraging. We’re going to score goals this year and that’s going to keep us in games.”

Seven different Bulldogs scored against Bigfork, with Sam Menicke, Xander Burger and Casey Schneider each netting two goals.

Against Park, Schneider, Brandon Mendoza, Noah Romagnuolo and Burger all scored, and Schneider picked up the sole point against Belgrade.

The Belgrade loss was a tough one to swallow, Lacey said.

The Dogs went up by one early, but two second half goals, one of which Lacey calls “one in 100,” put Belgrade ahead.

“It was our second game in 24 hours. We just played a long one against Park the day before, and it was hot,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is hanging their heads too low, but we definitely had a few ‘should have, could haves.’”

Whitefish has another full week of soccer, with three games to go before opening Northwest A conference play against Columbia Falls on Tuesday.

Whitefish was set to take on Libby Tuesday, but that game was canceled because of smoke from wildfires. It’s been rescheduled for Sept. 19.

On Friday Whitefish is set to host Billings Central on Friday at 3 p.m. They’ll face off against Laurel the following morning at 10 a.m.

Lacey said he expects Billings Central and Laurel, two top-tier eastern teams, to show the Bulldogs what they’re made of heading into Northwest A play.

“Those two teams will really get us ready for when we want to be at our best, and that’s the conference season,” he said.

Whitefish 10, Bigfork 1

Whitefish 4 6 — 10

Bigfork 0 1 — 1

W—Xander Burger (Noah Romagnuolo), 2’

W—Sam Menicke (Eli Joos), 3’

W—Romangnuolo, 5’

W—Carson White, 25’

W—Menicke (Tait Workman), 42’

W—Casey Schneider, 45’

W—Burger (Romangnuolo), 46’

W—Schneider (Joos), 46’

W—Joos (Avery Hirsch), 47’

W—Leo Motti, 51’

B—Kyle Cumming (penalty kick), 73’

Shots on Goal—W 24, B 1. Keeper Saves—W 0, B 16. Corner Kicks—W 4, B 2. Fouls—W 11, B 3. Cards—none.

Whitefish 5, Park-Livingston 4

Whitefish 4 1 — 5

Park 1 3 — 4

W—Schneider, Romagnuolo Assist, 9’

Park—McKenzie, 19’

W—Brandon Mendoza, Schneider (A) 31’

W—Romagnuolo, Burger (A) 35’

W—Romagnuolo, Burger (A) 39’

W—Burger, Romagnuolo (A) 47’

Park—Gregory 52’

Park—Kirn 76’

Park—Kirn 77’

Fouls: WF 7, Park 8. Corners: WF 3, Park 5. Keeper Saves: WF (Upton) 3; Park (Goff) 10. Shots on Goal: WF 15, Park 7.

Whitefish 1, Belgrade 2

Whitefish 1 0 — 1

Belgrade 0 2 — 2

W—Schneider, Romagnuolo Assist, 8’

B—Rockwell, Monlux (A) 45’

B—Rockwell 66’

Fouls: WF 8, Belgrade 12. Corners: WF 2, Belgrade 2. Keeper Saves: WF (Upton) 3; Belgrade 1. Shots on Goal: WF 2, Belgrade 5. YC: Belgrade (2)

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