For the first time in over ten years, the Benicia High School boys Varsity soccer team has won the League and are now headed to playoffs. At the end of the season, Benicia stood with an impressive 15-3-1 ratio, meaning that during the course of the season and preseason, Benicia had 15 wins, 3 losses, and 1 tie overall. It was the 8 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie during the season however that put the team at the top.
The first playoff game was played at home on February 14 against Alhambra. The result was a 2-1 win for Benicia that pushed them to the next stage of the tournament. To better understand how the team reached such an accomplishment, I asked the head coach, PJ Ordaz, a few questions.
Is there anything we should know about the team that isn’t reflected in the stats?
“Stats just show goals and assists, so all the players who do the dirty work don’t get any glory, but without them, we wouldn’t be who we are.”
Were there any moments during the season that changed how you and your players saw the game?
“We lost to Concord, something that we felt shouldn’t have happened. Tensions were running high afterwards and the next training we had was very tough. We had a heart to heart to all get on the same page, and I had to explain that I was only there because I believed in them. It was the last game we lost.”
How has the team changed over the course of the season?
“In the beginning, they didn’t look like one cohesive unit. It was all a bunch of individuals that knew they were good. But after the training following the Concord game, I saw friendships form. When you have a strong connection with someone, you want to work harder for them.”
What is the team doing to prepare for playoffs?
“We take it one game at a time, treating every game the same. We just have to make sure we always come with the right intensity and energy.”
This is your last year coaching at BHS. Do you have anything else to say?
“I’ve been here for about ten years, first as an assistant coach, then as the JV coach, and now as the Varsity coach. It’s the school that I graduated from, so it’s near and dear to my heart. I’ve known the seniors since they were kids, and some of the juniors too. The next generation coming through are all going to be great kids. Whoever takes over the program will have a really easy time because there’s a lot of talent here. I’m thankful to Holden for allowing me to coach at the school that I went to, and thankful that I was given this opportunity to grow as a person. I’m ready to see where these kids go next.”
On February 17, Benicia will play against Sonoma Valley at home. How far the team makes it remains to be seen, but we can speculate that Benicia will give it their all to keep the winning streak going.
Photos By Liam Rockwell