Bulldogs travel to beach soccer tournament
By Brady Keane BCC Contributor
Nine players from the Bandera Bulldog and Lady Bulldog soccer programs teamed up to travel to the Express Beach Soccer Fest Tournament in Corpus Christi this past weekend, taking on experienced teams from across Texas and surrounding states. The team, named The Clifton Soccer Academy, was composed of graduating seniors Catlynn Biela, who plans to attend Incarnate Word, and Frank Lopez, who will be joining the Air Force, as well as sophomores Ben Lopez, Brendan Keane, Caleb Evans, Jose Reyna, Cole Schroeder, Annie Fritz, and Lizzie Kennedy.
Playing in the under 19 bracket, Bandera faced off against some stiff competition throughout the tournament, but managed to play extremely competitive ball in their first matches on the sand.
The first game on Saturday morning was played against Team Bama, a well-seasoned and highly skilled team from Monterrey that has qualified for the championship game in the tournament for the last few years. Frank Lopez did an outstanding job as goalie, but Bandera ended up losing by a score of 4-0. Despite not getting on the board, Fritz had several powerful shots that almost went in, and Reyna played a great game on the offensive side of the ball.
Later on Saturday The Clifton Soccer Academy took on The Kraken, a formidable team from Harlingen. Despite a 4-1 loss, Fritz had another impressive game on offense and scored the team's only goal, while Schroeder and Ben Lopez had several shots barely miss the target, and Biela and Kennedy had strong defensive performances as well.
Sunday had Bandera taking on Unreal Madrid, yet another extremely talented team composed of beach soccer veterans from North Texas, and while the game was close, the final score ended in a 3-2 loss for The Clifton Soccer Academy. Frank Lopez scored the first goal of the game on an assist from Reyna, and Keane added the second goal on an unusual throw in that was assisted by the Gulf wind.
In their first year competing on the beach, the young squad gained a lot of experience competing against older competition, and looks forward to returning to compete in the same division next summer.
"We're proud of the guys and girls putting this opportunity to good use," Coach Paul Keane said. "We definitely hope to return next year, and we'll have a lot more experience playing on the sand."