CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. >> The past couple of seasons have been part of a rebuilding process for the Cambridge boys soccer team who are now ready to get rid of their rebuilding label and begin to battle for the top spot in the Wasaren League.
"We have moved past the rebuilding phase and are now on to higher aspirations," said third year coach Jason Sutliff. "The kids are confident in themselves that can compete with any team they face and they are very determined to be a good soccer team."
The Indians' movement to the top of the Wasaren League has been evident with their hot start to the season, going 4-1 in their first five games.
Seniors Max Ratelle, Isaac Robertson and Justin Blanchfield have been key leaders in helping the Indians get off to a great start to the season, said Sutliff.
Ratelle has been a force for the Indians in the midfield, while Robertson and Blanchfield are the backbone of Cambridge's stellar defense.
"We knew going into the season that we needed to strengthen the center of our formation, and having a player like Max there has really helped us be solid from the center of the field to our back line," Sutliff said. "With guys like Isaac and Justin back for us on defense, we make it tough for teams to get quality shots on net."
Defense is the strength of this Indians team, said Sutliff.
A big reason why has been the play of goalkeeper Cody Oldham.
In his first five starts in net for the Indians this season, Oldham has given up only three goals and has pitched three shutouts.
"Cody has been solid for us in net so far and I think he's just going to get better and better," Sutliff said. "Our back line on defense is very good and I think that has helped Cody make the transition more quickly to the varsity level. He just has to continue to work hard at getting better each day and he will continue to have success."
While the defense has been terrific for the Indians to start the year, the Cambridge offense has been hot and cold to start.
A lot inconsistency of the offense, Sutliff said, is because of fresh faces filling up positions on the front lines and still needing time to mesh well together.
Still, though, Sutliff said he feels the consistency of the offense will get better as time goes on with the talent the Indians have.
Ian Montgomery has played well to start the season for Cambridge, scoring the lone goal in the Indians' win over Hoosick Falls last week.
Juniors Eli Robertson and Patrick Roberston have impressed with their play on the field to start of the season and fellow junior Daniel Medina has shown glimpses of being a big goal scorer for Cambridge this fall saids Sutliff.
In their last game, Cambridge struck for four goals in their 4-0 win over Saratoga Catholic, so Sutliff hopes that offensive explosion will get the offense on the right track.
"Being able to have our highest goal output of the season in the win over Saratoga Catholic is hopefully a sign that offensively we're on the right track," Sutliff said. "It was also huge because it came after we lost our first game of the season against Mechanicville, so it shows we can bounce back from a loss, too."
Now five games into the season, Sutliff feels that the way his team has started off the season shows they're on the right path to being a winning team this season and achieving their team goal of hosting a sectional playoff game.
The biggest thing, though, Sutliff said he has seen is that his team has become real students of the game of soccer.
"I'm really happy to be coaching this team," Sutliff said. "These kids have worked so hard throughout the off season to become better players and it's great to see it paying off on the field so far this season. I think our team has the right mindset about what it takes to become a better soccer team and I believe if we can continue to improve day by day, we're going to be where we want to be at the end of the season.
The Indians will try to improve to 5-1 on the season when they travel to play Stillwater today at 7 p.m.