It’s been a solid start to the season for the Idaho soccer team.
I know the Vandals are only 2-1 and it’s still too early to tell how the team is going to shape up, but there are some good signs that are tough to ignore.
Besides a 3-1 loss to Washington State — who is 3-0 this season — in Idaho’s second game of the season, the Vandals have put together two strong performances.
Idaho beat Indiana State 3-1 in the Vandals’ opening game of the season in Missoula, Montana.
After the loss to the Cougars, Idaho rebounded with a 3-0 win against New Mexico State last Friday at home.
Both of the Vandals’ wins were convincing and showed great success on offense and defense. The Vandals only scored three goals in a game once last season and they have already surpassed that mark three games into this season.
Goal scoring seemed to be an issue for the Vandals last season but they have found ways to put the ball in the net so far in 2015.
Freshman forward Kayla Watanabe leads the team with two goals so far in the young season. The Honolulu native started the season on fire and if she keeps her pace, the Vandals will continue to be a threat on offense, especially with other scorers like sophomore forward Olivia Baggerly.
The defense has played strong too, which includes freshman goalkeeper Amanda Poertner. Poertner has started all three games for the Vandals and played possibly her best game of her young collegiate career against New Mexico State in which she didn’t allow any goals and she had seven saves.
Idaho coach Derek Pittman has to be excited about the future with all the freshmen that are receiving playing time. Pittman started five freshmen against Indiana State.
We will get a better read on the Vandals after they play their next four games on the road, starting with Boise State Friday at 3 p.m. Then they play Eastern Washington Monday in Cheney, Washington, before flying across the country to Memphis, Tennessee. At Memphis, Idaho will face Arkansas State next Friday and then the Vandals will take on Memphis Sept. 13.
That four-game road stretch will test the Vandals and fans will get a better sense of how good this team is and can be.
With their two wins so far, the Vandals are almost certain to surpass their overall record last season of 4-14-2. But I am sure the team has set their goals higher than that record, especially with how they’ve played so far.
It has been a small sample size, but the Vandals look strong and could be a team to watch when Big Sky Conference play rolls around.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @CabezaGarrett