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NEWVILLE — Big Spring head coach Scott Anderson had to think all the way back to the year 2000, his second year at the helm, to remember when his senior class was so small.

It’s unusual to see such a small senior class on a team, and for the Bulldogs that was definitely the case. Coming into the season, Big Spring tallied up two seniors on the roster, Jack Swartz and Shayne Balliet.

“That was a small class that just went through, and this was a small class that just went through — a small class right from the get-go,” Anderson said. “They just were not a very big class. The class behind them is juniors, sophomores and freshmen, plus you have the eighth-grader’s coming up, [they’re all] going to be a bigger class. For some reason this class was just a smaller group.”

That little fact, however, isn’t going to district Anderson and his team. According to Anderson, the Big Spring opening-weekend boys soccer tournament was another successful event, and it was also something else: a precursor for things to come this season.

The Bulldogs may not have won the entire tournament — falling to Greenwood 2-1 in the first round and turning around to win the consolation match against Mifflin County 1-0 — but that doesn’t mean they didn’t learn some valuable lessons: what will and won’t work for a squad with very little veteran talent.

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“It’s nice when you’ve got a tournament that you can play in like that, where it’s close and a very competitive tournament,” he said. “And I think that’s what you want, you want a competitive tournament, I think, for everyone involved. Nobody wants to come here and obviously walk over somebody because it doesn’t get you prepared [for the rest of the season].

“If you come in here and it’s not a competitive game, it gets you set up for the wrong expectations coming into the season. Playing two well-fought games on both ends in all rounds is a good thing. That’s what I want, I don’t want a tournament where you choose teams that are going to be easy walks to the end.”

Anderson knows that he’ll have some work to do heading into the bulk of the regular season, but he feels he has a good handle on what he has to work with so far.

“Scrimmages are one thing, you can fix little odds and ends, but coming out here for the first game, it’s a big deal,” Anderson said. “For us, unfortunately, today involved a lot of us having to move some pieces around because of some injuries and things like that. We kind of had to make some adjustments that I would have liked to avoid. So, between now and Tuesday for our next game [at James Buchanan], we’re going to have to talk and figure out how we’re going to move some players here and there to get ready for that next game.”

This season may pose challenges, but there’s reason for Anderson to be optimistic of the future. The next class coming in will hold a abundance of players, giving Anderson more depth to work with compared to this season.

“The nice thing about it is, at the end of the day the next year coming up you graduate those seniors, but everyone else, for the most part, stays intact,” he said.

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Email Mallory at mmerda@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @MalloryMerda

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