The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

Varsity boys soccer loses to Westbury in penalty shootout

Sara Tilney
Cardinals huddle up after Westbury goalie gets injured. Senior defender No. 12 Jose Rodriguez was “locked in.”

A misty air, heavy with defeat, hung over the heads of the varsity boy’s soccer team in their post-game huddle.

On Friday, Feb. 2, Bellaire lost in an overtime penalty shootout to Westbury. The game marked their second consecutive district loss, but not all hope is lost.

“We have people who actually believe in us and hope to see us succeed our senior year because they’ve been rooting for us since we were freshmen,” senior Joel Romero said. “And now we’re not getting the best scores, so I feel like we owe these people good results.”

Despite losing, Bellaire was off to a strong start when senior forward Jackson Triche scored the first goal within 10 minutes of starting the game.

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“We got a free kick,” Triche said. “I was lining up for that, but it hit the post. I was kind of sad that I missed, but then it came right back to me 30 yards out and I scored.”

Just as things picked up speed, the game took a dark turn when Westbury’s goalkeeper collided with senior Brayan Cisneros and suffered a head injury. Bellaire used Westbury’s weakened state to restrategize.

Senior No. 8 Brayan Cisneros looks at Westbury after suffering a fall. The referee did not call a foul. (Sara Tilney)

“We know him outside of school so at the moment we were scared for our friend, but we wanted to win for the team,” Romero said.

Meanwhile, in the stands, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) sponsor, social studies teacher and one of Bellaire soccer’s biggest fans, Juanita Camarillo, noticed the drop in momentum, but continued rooting for the players that she has been supporting for four years.

“She wrote us all an email [before the game] telling us to make the best of our senior season,” senior Edwin Diaz said.

Before varsity’s first district game, Camarillo called the players to her classroom to pray for their success against Heights.

“Not everyone is in the same religion, but it was just kind of a bonding moment,” Diaz said. “That’s what helped us win, because everybody was together.”

Romero also credits this pre-game team-bonding ritual to the team’s win against Heights at the start of the season.

“I felt like everybody was connecting and it helped everyone,” Romero said.

Bellaire’s momentum after taking the lead only carried on for so long. Westbury managed to squeeze in a devastating game-tying goal off of a deflection. The Cards fought hard and pushed forward, but did not manage to break the tie during the second half.

Sophomore Cole McClean looks for an open teammate to pass to in order to get the ball away from the Bellaire goal.

“It’s our attitude in the second half that needs to get better,” Cisneros said.

Ending in a tie was exactly what Westbury wanted, having gone to penalties each of their past three games.

“They were trying to take us to penalties to work in their favor,” Diaz said.

Pressure was on, all eyes were on goalie Daniel Zelaya. Zelaya stood, weight forward, ready to leap into any direction the ball chose in order to block the shot. The kickers, however, were not on their A-game when it was time to face the goal. Zelaya only blocked two of five shots before Westbury slipped in the game-winning goal.

As Westbury celebrated their victory by piling up on the wet turf, Bellaire retreated disappointedly into a huddle.

“It’s a tough loss but we have to keep our heads up,” Cisneros said. “We can’t keep our heads down.”

Bouncing back from a loss is the hardest part. A comeback this season will require all hands on deck in pursuit of a common goal: winning district. Maintaining confidence throughout the season will be key.

“Change is coming,” Diaz said.

The varsity boy’s soccer team hug each other in support during the Bellaire vs. Westbury game. The team lost in a penalty shootout. (Sara Tilney)

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  • A

    Ariel LagnadoFeb 21, 2024 at 12:53 pm

    Great storytelling through the story of the game!

  • E

    Emay KongFeb 20, 2024 at 7:22 pm

    Really good writing!

  • A

    aveyFeb 15, 2024 at 9:52 am

    great work

  • H

    HasetFeb 12, 2024 at 7:00 pm

    wow fantastic reporting.

    • S

      saraFeb 12, 2024 at 9:00 pm

      too good