By: Julia Ordaz
With the strongest start since the 2013-2014 school year, the boys’ varsity soccer team at Benicia High School begins their season. Starting the season with three wins has been the team’s first since the change in the league to include 13 schools instead of the usual 6-7 during the 2014-2015 school year. The team this year is made up almost entirely of juniors and seniors with only one sophomore. The captains are Senior Riley Leong and Junior Niko Ruiz who has held the title since his Sophomore year. A total of 9 games have been played, 2 for the league, and 7 for preseason. 5 out of these games have ended with wins and the other 4 with losses.
The playoffs that our league is registered in is the North Coast Section which includes 26 teams. Currently, Benicia’s rank is 10th and the top 16 teams will make it into the playoff games. We can thank the coach for the intensely packed preseason schedule that has improved the playoffs standings.
Every game provided its own challenge but the second most recent loss was a frustrating one. Benicia was up against Vacaville High, a team with an incredibly fast midfield. To counter, Benicia focused on speed at the top and sent long ball after long ball holding their own for most of the game with a tie of 1-1. Within the last five minutes, two goals were scored against Benicia. Some people believed that the first of the two goals was scored by someone offsides and should not have been counted. Perhaps it was this demoralization that led to the second goal and Benicia’s loss.
Despite the taxing season and difficult line-up the players still manage to have fun. Forward Caden Keffer commented that the most fun game this season was against Armijo High. Why? Because he “has a lot of friends on the other team.” That game was played to the best of everyone’s ability and resulted in some seven or eight cramping breaks. No one wanted to lose to their friends! But their camaraderie was not lost during the game and afterward, they all went and talked to each other in good spirits.
The team may have losses on their record, but they have been performing well and keeping up with every team they’ve played, and the losses have resulted from simple mistakes. Like the coach believes, they are certainly an exceptional team and we can expect much from them this season.