BELLEVILLE, NJ – The Belleville High School girls’ varsity soccer team featured hard-working, dedicated players who put forth strong efforts this season, much to the delight of second-year head coach Beth Ann Garrett.
The Lady Bucs also demonstrated strong resiliency. After a 1-3 start to the season, the Bucs won three games in a row. The win streak ended with a tough 1-0 loss to West Essex, but the Bucs regrouped and won their next three games.
For the season, the Bucs finished with an 8-10 overall record, but went an impressive 5-2 to finish in third place in the Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division, which is the second highest division in the conference.
The Bucs featured six players who earned All-SEC-Liberty Division honors.
- Cesia Diaz
- Sam Doherty
- Lindsey Riera
- Alejandra Rodriguez
- Janelle Ramirez
- Krystal Rasczyk
Garrett, indeed, was proud of her team.
“We played some great soccer this season, but at times struggled with being consistent. That being said, we have a lot of hard-working, talented girls who really stepped up this season,” she said. “They knew going in that it would be a lot harder to get wins than it was last year.”
Garrett mentioned the key players for the team this season.
“Senior captain Janelle Ramirez did a great job of leading the team on and off the field,” the coach said. “She worked hard everyday and always brought such a positive energy to everything we did. I am so proud of her. She is the type of kid that a coach wants her own children to be when they grow up. She really set the tone for future captains at BHS.
“Seniors Lindsey Riera and Krystal Rasczyk played up top all season. Nathalie Abreu played wherever we needed her during the season. She was a back for us last year, but saw time at center mid as well as up top.
“Juniors Sam Doherty and Cesi Diaz stepped up and took on tough roles on the field. Sam moved from outside mid to sweeper about half way through the season and she was awesome at it. She reads the game well and having her anchoring us allows us to play the ball out of the back better.
“Cesi once again played center mid for us this year. She has amazing footwork and is dangerous from anywhere on the field. She is one of the hardest-working players I have ever seen. I am excited to see what she does next year. We also had solid play from juniors Ale Rodriguez, Jaylyanna Bratcher, Gabi Lopez, and Kayla Cabezas. Moving forward, those six juniors will be the example for the underclassmen. They come in, train hard, and play hard.”
Garrett also was delighted with the play of the freshmen.
“We had six freshmen who made Varsity this year and they were all contributors this season,” she said. “Carol Higa and Chennaya Tschopp both earned starting roles by mid season, while Tania Melgar, Tiffany Escobar, Sophia Bojorquez, and Akemi Kanashiro all provided a spark off the bench. I have high expectations for this group next year.”
As soon as the season ended with the loss to a strong Nutley team in the state tournament, the Bucs were already preparing for 2019. Indeed, Garrett and her team are excited for next season.
“I am pleased with the progress we made having moved up this fall, but I know we are capable of more. Our 2019 season began on October 30. We have already begun discussing the offseason and what needs to be done to get to the next level. As I’ve said before, we are building a program, so we are constantly making adjustments and tweaking what we do to keep getting better. Our unofficial motto is ‘elevate the level of excellence.’ It’s about more than just the game. We want to be the standard on the field, in the classroom and in our community.”