SOCCER REGIONAL QUARTERS ROUNDUP: Arellano, Cerda lift Foster back to regional semis
KATY— Last season’s trip to the regional semifinals was bittersweet for Foster senior Nicholas Arellano.
Yes, it was Foster’s first time to make it to the fourth round of the playoffs. Program history was made. But the 4-1 defeat to Kingwood Park left a bitter taste.
“It was tough,” Arellano said. “When we lost, it hit me in my heart. I didn’t want to lose like that again. I pushed everybody in the offseason to keep going. Our goal is to win state.”
Arellano doesn’t just talk the talk. He backs it up, too.
In Friday’s Region III-5A quarterfinal against Wisdom, Arellano scored on a looping header in the 62nd minute to knot the game 1-1. Then in PKs, he scored the winning goal, as the Falcons outlasted the Generals, 4-3 (1-1), at Rhodes Stadium to book a return trip to the regional semifinals.
“It’s always important to overcome adversity,” Foster coach Robert DeStefano said. “When the moment comes, can you rise to the moment? Are you going to get frazzled and quit? And that’s never been their M.O. They never quit.”
Wisdom’s Brandon Sifuentes undid a scoreless game when he scored in the 52nd minute. Arellano countered 10 minutes later.
.@BoysSoccerFHS evens it up! Nicholas Arellano on the looping header. 1-1, 62nd minute. @lcisdathletics @LethalSoccerpic.twitter.com/jktURcJioj— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1648857194
The teams played tied through the rest of regulation and overtime. In penalty kicks, Foster senior goalkeeper Ezekiel Cerda made a brilliant save early to keep the Falcons alive. When Wisdom missed its fourth attempt, that left the door open for Foster and Arellano.
Region III-5A boys quarterfinal: @BoysSoccerFHS wins in PKs, 4-3. Falcons go to 17-5-2, advance to regional semis for second straight year. @LethalSoccer @lcisdathleticspic.twitter.com/H2r75FjZGm— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1648860908
“He’s the senior captain,” DeStefano said. “But it’s not just him. It’s Ezekiel Cerda, the best goalkeeper in the state of Texas. It’s that senior leadership of being in the regional semifinals last year, and we hope we’re not going to be afraid of the moment and that we’ll go and execute when we need to.”
Foster improved to 17-5-2. The Falcons have scored 66 goals this season and allowed 26. Though the team is young, Arellano said chemistry keeps building and building.
“We’re one big family pushing through,” he said.
The Falcons are back where they expected to be. Back in the regional tournament with more program history ready to be written.
“It’s the same thing we go through every year,” DeStefano said. “Heart, determination, playing for each other. My message before every game is never that I want to win. It’s that I want to be here at 6:30 in the morning on Monday. I want to practice with these guys. I want to work for that state championship. Being able to practice one more day, I’m excited about that.”
Richmond Foster is the only school in the Greater Houston area advancing both its boys and girls teams to next weekend's regional tournament. The Foster girls beat Santa Fe 2-0 on Friday to move on to the fourth round.
SOCCER REGIONAL QUARTERFINALS ROUNDUP
>> MacArthur 2, Klein 0
>> The Woodlands 1, Bridgeland 0
>> Seven Lakes 3, Katy Taylor 0
>> Deer Park 3, Pasadena 2
>> Cypress Creek 1, Ridge Point 0
>> Strake Jesuit def. Pearland
>> Kempner 2, Baytown Lee 0
>> Katy Jordan 3, Pflugerville Weiss 1
>> Foster 4 (1), Wisdom 3 (1), PKs
>> Mexia 4, Brookshire Royal 2
>> Stafford 3 (8), Scarborough 2 (7), PKs
>> East Chambers 4, Columbia 2
>> Klein 2, Cypress Woods 1
>> Tomball Memorial 4, Cypress Ranch 1
>> Ridge Point 5 (0), Seven Lakes 4 (0), PKs
>> Atascocita def. Kingwood, PKs
>> Stratford 3, Tompkins 2
>> West Brook 1, Clear Falls 0
>> Magnolia 4, Kingwood Park 0
>> Foster 2, Santa Fe 0
>> Friendswood 4, Manvel 0
>> Bay City 4, Hardin-Jefferson 0
>> Lumberton 9, Columbia 1