BY soccer

Bartlett Yancey’s Alex Lucas (in dark blue) in action last week against Seaforth.

After a two-year hiatus from competition, Bartlett Yancey soccer wrapped up a winless season last week, losing 7-0 at home to Seaforth, then bowing 7-1 at North Moore.

That frustration behind them, the Bucs – 0-17 overall, 0-10 in the Mid Carolina 1A/2A Conference – sets sights on the off season and the opportunity to construct a competitive program.

Against Seaforth (8-8, 6-4), the final home game of the season, the players and sparse crowd bid farewell to the team’s three seniors - Eduardo Wong, Yonaton Cardenas and Kameron Brown. The only other period during their high school careers those three had the chance to play was freshman year. Covid scuttled their sophomore season in 2020 and the school couldn’t assemble enough players for their junior season in 2021.

But first year coach Christian Rengifo Daza has hopes for the spring. He wants to keep his players together so they can work on conditioning and the basics, and scrimmage with nearby teams.

“I’ve received emails from tournaments inviting us,” said Rengifo Daza. “Experience is something you’ve got to have. The more we play the more experience they have.”

That all sounds good to Jose Erroa, a sophomore. 

“I think we need that so we can learn to play with each other,” he said. “That’s really useful for us.”

Despite the winless season, the Bucs had made modest progress since August. They were playing better as a team and their defense tightened.

Against Seaforth, second in the conference, for example, the Bucs gave up six goals in the first half, and a seventh within the first minute of the second half. But they held the Hawks scoreless the rest of the way. 

“We started playing better,” Erroa said of their second half performance. “We looked and learned from our mistakes.”

Against North Moore (9-3-2, 4-3-2), the Bucs struggled the last 20 minutes of the first half, Rengifo Daza wrote in a text message. Cardenas scored BY only goal off a corner kick.

While the defense has occasionally played well, scoring has been a problem all season for the Bucs. Against Seaforth, the Bucs had several attacks on the Hawks’ goal but couldn’t put points on the board. In fact, they managed only four goals all season.

“This is something we have to work on,” Rengifo Daza said. “You have to learn how to overcome situations. In order to do that you’ve got to have experience. We’re all going to be more experienced next year.

“They want to play. And as long as they want to play we can do great things.”