A year ago the Rolla High School girls' soccer team suffered through the only losing season in program history.
If this year's season-opener was any indication, the young Lady Bulldogs won't be worrying about any more losing campaigns for some time.
Rolla opened the 2013 season in eye-opening fashion, stopping state-power Columbia Rock Bridge 3-1 in non-conference action on Friday.
Mike Howard, the only head coach the Lady Bulldog soccer program has ever known, can't remember the last time Rolla had defeated Rock Bridge, many times a Lady Bulldog postseason nemesis.
"I have no idea when the last time we beat them," Howard said. "I think we may have only beaten them twice ever."
On Friday Rolla took the early advantage, scoring 14 minutes into the game on a goal by junior forward Nicole Howard, assisted by sophomore back Meggy Ross.
Twelve minutes later the Rock Bridge Lady Bruins, a Missouri Class 3 State Tournament Quarterfinalist the last five seasons, scored to tie things up.
It was 1-1 at intermission.
However, the second half belonged to Rolla. Howard netted her second goal 12 minutes into the second half on an assist by freshman midfielder Emma Laney. And Laney ended the scoring with 11 minutes remaining on a goal assisted by Howard.
Freshman keeper Katie Hudson made the two-goal advantage stand for the Lady Bulldogs, tossing a shutout over the second half.
"Especially being outside just twice (for practice due to the weather), the girls played very well," Mike Howard said. "It was a good way to start the season.
"We made the most of our opportunities against Rock Bridge. And Katie had several outstanding saves in goal. Just her positioning stopped some shots."
Rock Bridge won the junior varsity game 7-0.
The Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to play their first home game of the season on Tuesday, weather permitting, hosting Republic on the Kiwanis Field at the Bray Sports Complex. The junior varsity game is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. with the varsity contest to follow.