LAFAYETTE -- There are young teams, and then there is the Alexander Dawson boys soccer team.
Relying heavily on freshmen and sophomores in the first season under former University of Colorado coach Bill Hempen, netting goals, let alone wins, has proven to be a formidable challenge. Even Hempen admitted there has been more than a few times this season when he hoped his young Mustangs would simply pass the ball competently.
It is a rebuilding process that won't be completed overnight. And yet Alexander Dawson's recent surge may be proof the Mustangs are headed in the right direction.
On Saturday, Alexander Dawson overcame the frigid conditions to post a 6-0 victory against Union Colony. Four of the Mustangs' goals
"We, in some cases, are technically challenged," Hempen said. "We've spent a lot of time on basic skills and we do a lot of possession stuff in practice. If we can string a pass or two together against some of the better teams, I think we'll get some respect going forward.
"They've actually done a lot better than they were doing early. A lot better."
Despite a lopsided 6-0 defeat against Denver Christian on Tuesday, Saturday's victory gives Alexander Dawson a 3-1-1 mark in their past five matches. The youthful Mustangs appear to be turning the corner offensively. After scoring only one goal in their first four games while also being held scoreless in three of their first six, Alexander Dawson has put together multiple-goal performances in five of its past six games.
In addition to Saturday's six-goal eruption, that five-game stretch includes a 7-0 drubbing of Nederland on Sept. 27.
"From last season, we have improved a lot," Gutierrez said. "We've been possessing the ball more. We maybe haven't gotten as many wins as we'd like to, but we're getting there."
Alexander Dawson (4-7-1, 2-1-1) completely controlled Saturday's match, spending most of the 80 minutes working in the Union Colony defensive zone. Gutierrez opened the scoring for the Mustangs in the 16th minute, tucking a shot from deep along the left wing inside the far post.
Gutierrez also played a role on Alexander Dawson's second goal, blasting a free kick from about 30 yards out that the Union Colony defense redirected to the foot of Mustangs freshman Brooks Defrees, whose goal gave Alexander Dawson a 2-0 lead at the break.
Freshman Josh Paquette recorded two of the Mustangs' four second-half goals as the hosts steadily built their lead. Alexander Dawson's goal total easily could have been much higher after taking 19 corner kicks, having two shots draw iron, and watching a goal at the end of the half get waved off because time expired.
"There is always that player where you say, 'Hey, I want you all to find him,' and 'find Jose,' is basically how we're playing right now," Hempen said. "He's a good soccer player. We spent a lot of time in front of their goal today, but I'd still like us to be better at play-making and not just have to resort to whacking away at the ball."
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Alexander Dawson 6, Union Colony 0
At Alexander Dawson H.S.
Union Colony (1-7-0, 0-3-0) 0 0 -- 0
Alexander Dawson (4-7-1, 2-1-1) 2 4 -- 6
Goals (assists) -- Alexander Dawson: Jose Gutierrez, 16th minute; Brooks Defrees, 25th minute; Josh Paquette, 44th minute; Paquette, 65th minute; Gutierrez (Ross Barron), 70th minute; Eddie Altman (Tanner Fulkerson), 79th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- Union Colony: M. Rydgren (80-6-6); Alexander Dawson: Tyler Morley (80-0-1).