Senior-heavy Bulldogs fall to Richmond Foster
NEDERLAND — The Nederland boys soccer team wrapped up their season after a 2-1 loss against Richmond Foster in the second round of the playoffs Monday.
The Bulldogs’ Anthony Villanueva scored on a header off an assist from Ethan Vincent with 11 seconds left in the match.
“I thought we played well,” Nederland head coach Keith Barrow said. “Our game plan was to come out and lay it all on the line early. We missed some good opportunities. I think that is where we fell short. We were playing really good defense. We were playing really good offense, too. We just couldn’t finish.”
Barrow said his team came out on the wrong end in a game of inches.
“Whenever we’d cross the ball, we’d be right there and just miss it,” he said. “We would get on the end of it and barely miss the shot. It was one of those things where you do most things right and that final touch to get the ball in the net just wasn’t there.”
Barrow compared the feeling to being able to drive up and down the field in a football game but not being able to get in the end zone, or getting runners on base and not being able to score runs in baseball.
This year, the Bulldogs will graduate 12 seniors. Barrow said the journey with the players has been bitter sweet, especially given his son, Payne Barrow, is one of the players graduating.
“These are guys that I have seen a lot with my son playing with a lot of them growing up,” he said. “All of them have been in and out of the house and running around together. It was extra special coaching them over the last four years. To see it come to an end, I get a little numb. You know that time is coming. Whether it is this round, next round or after the state finals, it is still going to be the end. It is a little disheartening.”
During the regular season, forwards Payne Barrow and Ethan Vincent led the Bulldogs offensive attack with eight and nine goals, respectively.
The head coach said he does not have any one particular memory that stands out with the group over the course of their time at NHS.
“You feel for all of the seniors,” Barrow said. “I remember how it felt as an athlete. For many of them, it will be the last competitive soccer game they play. Hopefully many of them will go on to, if nothing else, play in adult leagues or intermural sports. I expect them to go on. It is one of those things that is hard to put into words even when you are talking to them.”
Barrow said he is grateful for the time with the senior group and is looking forward to what the future holds for each of them.
“I have a lot of great memories and a lot of respect for those young men,” he said. “It has been a great ride.”
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