Ethan Cardona ’18
Bethel’s boys varsity soccer team had a season to remember, doubling its win total from 2016, winning games in blowouts and also in close one-goal games. Not graduating any seniors after last season set the team on a path for success in 2017, with the same core group having a full season of playing together.
The boys finished the regular season 14-2-2, earning them the Patriot division championship, a huge milestone for the team.
“It was one of the highest points of the season,” said midfielder Jake Bohrman ‘18, adding that “going into SWC’s getting home field advantage and the four seed… it was huge.”
“It was a great feeling,” said captain Anthony Falstoe ‘18, “everything we’ve worked for over the summer and these past four years really paid off.”
The team would earn the four seed in SWC playoffs and played at home in a game that went into penalty kicks scoreless against New Milford. Bethel would win the shootout 5-4, with goalkeeper Liam Ford ‘18 making a huge save in the third round and midfielder Paulo Belato ‘18 punching in the winning shot. The team would, however, lose the following away game 1-0 at Joel Barlow in hard fought effort that came down to the final seconds.
The focus then turned to the state tournament where the team beat Fitch and Berlin, setting up a quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded E.O. Smith, ranked 10th in the country. It was a tall task, but a challenge the team was eager to take.
“We were really excited actually,” said Bohrman, “it was like our motivation in winning the last to games, because we wanted to be tested.”
“We were in for a challenge, but it was a great opportunity as a team,” said head coach Mr. Fernandez, “I was excited about it… in that situation you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Weather was an issue on multiple fronts when Bethel traveled nearly two hours to Storrs, CT, to take on E.O. Smith, in near freezing conditions. With brutally cold conditions, playing against the wind in the first half made it difficult for Bethel to clear its lines.
“Wind is always the worst condition, because it gives one team a major advantage,” said Fernandez, “If the field is bad, it’s bad for everyone, if it’s cold, it’s for everyone, but if it’s windy, it hurts one team more.”
“The weather took a toll on us mentally,” said midfielder Hideki Morales ‘19, “we came in with a lot of confidence, and we all really questioned why we had to play in such poor conditions… it could’ve all been avoided if we just played the next day”
Despite the losses in the playoffs, the 2017 season for the team was a memorable one for sure and for the team’s ten seniors, they can now reflect on their time as members and leaders of the boys soccer program. “We were all grown up and really played together as a team,” said forward Anthony Fragomeli ‘18.
“I take away a brotherhood,” said Falstoe, “I’ve just made so many memories and friends, and I’m so thankful for that… we’re a family, they’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs.”
“I learned you have to take care of your body and preparation is important for anything,” said Bohrman, “working together, working hard… definitely helps discipline you.”
The seniors all thanked both their coaches and their teammates for building a great program and a brotherhood that will continue for the years to come and wish them all the best of luck next season.