Two victories for Bellport soccer

soccer photo
(By Andres Rivas, The Long Island Advance 9/13/18)

After reaching the playoffs for the first time in nine years, the Bellport soccer team is looking forward to keeping in that direction this season by winning League III. It won’t be an easy task for the Clippers, as they have Newfield, Smithtown East, North Babylon and Huntington in their division. They also have Deer Park and West Islip, who they defeated in their senior game last year to make playoffs and break the nine-year drought. The team is counting on their senior captains Steven Williamson, Samuel Hampson, Justin Barbecho, Jonathan Ulloa and Gerson Granados. Their first game on Sept. 1 was against Huntington, ranked No. 6 in the county last year. The Clippers got the start they wanted, dominating on their half for the initial 15 minutes, playing with through passes and had two shots on target. After 19 minutes, Josiah Igwe got a chance to break the tie and he converted. From there on, there was an aggression-style of football from the away team, but it was 1-0 headed to the break. After the break, the game changed; three minutes in, Huntington made it 1-1 with an effort inside the box. With little less than a half-hour remaining, Huntington found the space they needed to get a breakaway, and after they got inside the box they wouldn’t miss. Five minutes later Bellport had their chance to tie through Leo Argueta, but was denied by the goalkeeper. In the ending minutes, there was a controversy on a cross to the box. The ball ended up in the back of the net for the Clippers to make it 2-2, but the referee called it back and said he didn’t see it. Coaches on the Bellport side claimed the goalie grabbed it from inside the net, but the game rolled on and the Blue Devils took the victory. “After a good season last year, the boys and I want to improve. We have a great team this year and could do big things if we stay mentally strong and have each other’s backs.” said Ulloa. The next game on Sept. 4 was against Centereach, who tied in their first game of the season against Comsewogue. The Clippers managed to defeat the Cougars 3-1. Throughout the game they passed the ball from side to side, looking for through balls and striking first. Igwe scored his second goal and put his team up 1-0 after 15 minutes. Centereach looked for a counter attack, but Barbecho pressed the man at midfield and intercepted it; he then gave a through ball to Argueta to make it 2-0. With five minutes left in the half, there was a foul inside the box and Centereach cut the lead to 2-1 with a penalty from Eric Beukelaer. In the second half, Bellport continued to have possession of the ball and there was a foul inside the box with 15 minutes remaining, and Maicon Contreras converted from the spot. “We need to have the same mentality to win and become better as a team,” said Barbecho. Heading back home on Sept. 6, the Clippers wanted to make it two straight wins and soon took their first win in front of their fans against Comsewogue, with a convincing 3-0 result. Ten minutes in, a cross from Barbecho at the 40-yard line went in the box, where Cruz converted to make it 1-0. Then Troy Zarba took a free kick and Contreras finished it for his second goal in three games. In the second half, the Clippers maintained the lead and increased it when Cruz got a brace off a Williamson assist. But with four games in five days, the fatigue caught up to the Clippers and they were defeated 7-2 by North Babylon on Sept. 8. Contreras scored his third goal of the year, a penalty, and Igwe did as well. “We have a super-talented team and when we’re playing in form no one can beat us. We just have to stay focused and remain as one,” added Hampson. Bellport (2-2) will now face Newfield (3-0) next Monday at 4 p.m. at Bellport High School. 

(Courtesy of The Long Island Advance 9/13/18)