New Skating Rink Proposal Secures $200K In ARPA Funds To Keep Project Moving Forward; Public Meeting On Aug. 17

Photo: The location of the new skating rink on Concord Avenue

In an effort to prevent the proposed Municipal Skating Rink project grinding to a halt, the Belmont Select Board approved on Monday, Aug. 8, the use of $200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to allow the design team to begin hiring subcontractors to allow work on the facility to continue.

This additional funding comes as the project awaits a debt exclusion vote on Nov. 8 to pay for the new 46,000 sq.-ft. skating facility on Concord Avenue adjacent to Belmont High School’s Harris Field.

“We’d like to have an interim fund that will get us to sometime in October,” said Mark Haley, chair of the rink skating committee told the board Monday.

A public forum on the new skating rink facility hosted by the rink will take place remotely on Wednesday, August 17 at 6 p.m. A Zoom link and the meeting agenda can be found here.

Haley reiterated comments from when the Select Board put the debt exclusion on the ballot on July 28 that the project would need additional funds. Preliminary work on the rink beginning in the spring of 2022 after the town secured $250,000 in state ARPA funding. As of the first week in August, $95,000 remain from that initial amount.

Haley told the board the additional funding will allow the design team – headed by architect Ted Galante of Ted Galante Architecture Studio – to hire structural and mechanical engineers to firm up the price tag for the rink, which all sides agreed is a critical component before the vote in November. Currently, the list price to replace the antiquated “Skip” Vigilrolo rink has been calculated around $32-$34 million.

More detailed schematic drawings – for plumbing and interior design – will allow Galante to firm up the price of the new rink. “It sounds like a lot of money, but we’re at a point where [Galante] needs to bring on all these outside people to get the information we need” on the building as well as the parking and landscaping,” said Ann Marie Mahoney, a member of the building committee.

“So for us to have a really good and solid number to start advertising for the debt exclusion, we really need to do this and do it now,” said Mahoney.

In addition, the project will be able to quickly move from design to construction soon after the debt is “hopeful” passed by the voters, said Haley.

With a successful debt exclusion, the ARPA funds will be reimbursed to the town, said Haley. Even if the ballot question is defeated, this additional funding will be spent on necessary work such as the demolition of the White Field House and parking and field designs.

Initially, Haley sought $300,000 in ARPA funds which was reduced by $100,000 after the Select Board member Adam Dash said, while OK with providing this transfer, ”I’m just concerned that $300,000 was a little higher than I was expecting.”

In a compromise, the amount approved was lowered to $200,000 with the board placing on its Aug. 29 meeting agenda a possible vote on releasing an additional $100,000 for necessary design work. As part of the agreement, the building committee will inform both Town Moderator Mike Widmer and the Select Board on a biweekly basis “what we are spending and we’ll try to bring it in less than that,” said Haley.

”We want to be to the extent possible as detailed as possible in terms of what we report out to the community on this build,” said Mark Paolillo, select board chair. ”The more refined [the cost] we be on the expected cost and to inform the residents about that, the better.”

Belmont Boys’ Rugby Takes State Title Over Arch-Rival BC High, 20-7; Fourth Title In Program History

Photo: The Belmont High School Boys’ Rugby squad celebrate its 2022 MIAA Division 1 State Championship with the tournament trophy.

Boston College High School rugby squad is known as the Eagles, but at MIAA Division 1 state title match, it was the Belmont High ruggers who flew to victory.

In a match where Belmont’s embrace of an all-encompassing kicking game proved decisive against the traditional muscle and brawn style employed by BC High, the Marauders dominated the Eagles, 20-7, on Saturday, June 17, capturing its second MIAA Division 1 state championship and the fourth title in the program’s 15-year history before a boisterous near capacity crowd at Curry College in Milton.

“We had a saying all year: ‘Don’t go through the wall, go over it.’” said senior fly-half and co-captain Erik Rosenmeier who scored twice from penalty kicks and on a pair of conversions resulting in half of Belmont’s points. “And that’s what we did today. Our kicking was amazing.”

Belmont’s kicking strategy which has become an important part of the program’s overall tactics mimics a trend in the professional game where world-class teams and national squads punt to challenge opponents, all a defense to reset and to “flip the field” with deep strikes placing the competitor on the back foot.

While kicking was an effective weapon against BC and St. John’s Prep in the semi-finals, Greg Bruce, Belmont’s head coach since he brought rugby to the school in 2007, pointed to the hard work the Marauders have placed in defense and tackling during the season.

For the past two weeks we coaches built our defensive structure and put it into practice in training,” said Bruce. “The forwards played great, the backs, the defense. It was a team performance to be honest.”

“BC is an amazing team but they rely on their athleticism more than they rely on their skill. They really just want to get the ball and run it hard up the gut and hope we can’t tackle them. And, you know, that’s what we did, stop them,” said Rosenmeier.

Belmont came out of the gate fast and used their inside running to great effect to set up Loose Head Prop Asa Rosenmeier – Erik’s younger brother – to barrel into try from six meters out just four minutes in the match to give Belmont the early 7-0 lead. But 10 minutes later, a series of quick hitting runs by BC allowed senior Jack McNicholl to slalom 30 meters to tie the game at 7-7.

Belmont spent the first half placing the Eagles under pressure with sustained tackling against the BC frontline and a number of clearing punts that kept putting the Eagles behind the midfield line. On the offensive side, the Marauders’ were able to string together drives that got them within kicking range when penalties were called against BC. Bruce didn’t hesitate to put the ball on Rosenmeier’s toe as the senior scored twice at the 23 minute and 32 minute marks as the lead climb to 13-7.

The ability to keep momentum on its side turned out to be critical in Belmont’s final score, a gutsy drive after time expired in the half in which the Marauders’ protected each ruck and finally opened a small gap in the BC line allowing Lock Viktor Insanic to run straight into try to give Belmont a two score lead, 20-7.

The final 35 minutes was a near masterclass by the Belmont XV in denying BC the momentum or big plays needed to get back into the match. When the Eagles threatened 10 minutes into the half, Belmont backs came up with a great stand inside its 22 meter preventing runners from turning the corner, stalling BC’s drive eventually resulting in a Rosenmeier kick that was “knocked on” by an Eagles back giving possession to the Marauders in the BC half.

While BC kept to its strategy of quick, hard hits into the body of Belmont’s line, the tactics proved exhausting to the Eagles which was only compounded by a series of deep kicks that allowed Belmont to reset its defense and force BC to travel ever further to attempt to cut the margin of Belmont’s lead.

“The second half was a little boring; a lot of whistles, we got a yellow card and then it got really, really choppy after that. But they did what mattered most when it mattered most and that’s why we’re here,” said Bruce.

In its final venture close to the try line, Marauders’ Number Eight Max Cornelius made a critical steal ending all of BC’s hopes. Soon after the starters started coming out and the reserves got a chance to be on the pitch for the final whistle.

The 2022 crown joins Belmont’s MIAA Div. 1 state championship won in 2019 and MYRO titles in Division 1 in 2013 and Division 2 in 2011.

“Coming into the season, there’s this kind of pressure. I really wanted to win a state championship to finish my high school career,” said Rosenmeier. “When we lost our very first game to Milton [17-12 on April 8],it was kind of like a wake up call for us that we needed to get our act together. And we just worked our [posterior] off for the rest of the season and now we’re here with this,” said Rosenmeier hold the state trophy.

“Amazing!” he said as the celebration continued on the pitch.

Four For Four: Belmont High Girls’ Rugby Defeats Lincoln-Sudbury, 34-0, For Fourth Straight Div. 1 State Crown

Photo: Belmont High School Senior Capt. Evie Hamer holds aloft the MIAA state championship trophy after Belmont defeated Lincoln-Sudbury, 34-0, to win its fourth consecutive Division 1 rugby state title

After a first-half where it was forced to rely on its underrated defense by a gutsy Lincoln-Sudbury Regional team, Belmont High School Girls’ Rugby flipped the switch on its dominating attack scoring five tries in the second half as the Marauders defeated the Warriors, 34-0, to take home the program’s fourth consecutive MIAA Division 1 state championship before a near full house at Curry College. Saturday, June 18.

“Man, every time it’s really hard,” said Kate McCabe, Belmont’s head coach since the program began in 2015. Belmont has won each of the four Division 1 tournaments contested since the MIAA sanctioned the sport in 2017. (The 2020 season was cancelled due to Covid while the girls’ played Rugby 7s in a non-title post-season.)

Having taken on Lincoln-Sudbury for the third straight title game, McCabe said every meeting with the Warriors “is a battle and whatever the first game of the season [a Belmont win, 39-26, in April] is doesn’t guarantee what the last game of the season is.”

The match was a tale of two halves, with second-seed Lincoln-Sudbury (5-3) playing a possession game from the kickoff, holding onto the ball for nine of the first 10 minutes while putting Belmont (7-0) under pressure by employing a wide-open game from the back. L-S came close to scoring midway through the half when the Warriors appeared to have crossed the try line but lacked control of the ball.

“We weren’t expecting them to be coming this hard,” said Belmont’s Number 8 Val Detheux. “They’ve been more wide offense and I think we got surprised by that.”

That first half Belmont demonstrated its tackling ability which is the underrated part of its game. An example occurred with the Warriors driving five meters to try, standout tackling first by open-side flanker Alex Townsend then inside center Helen Feldhaus sent L-S ball carriers back 10 meters stalling the push.

“We had amazing tacking from our captain, [senior fly-back] Evie Hamer, who shouldn’t have had to make those many tackles. She was phenomenal,” said McCabe, who also gave kudos to all the backs for shutting down the tightly organized L-S attack out wide.

In the waning moments of the half, Belmont finally took advantage of a sustained possession finding room on its right side to come within a few meters of the try. Despite being knocked off the play earlier, Detheux reentered the pile of players and squirmed the ball over the line for the game’s first score with three minutes remaining. A missed conversion allowed Belmont to walk off the pitch with a precarious 5-0 lead.

The halftime break provided the opportunity for Belmont to regroup and reset its offensive.

“We were able to to kind of settle down, play our pattern, really work what we know and then some of that space finally opened up,” said McCabe, who pointed to Marauders forwards especially the two locks, Lulu Conroy and Giulia Vecchi, who ran up the gut of the Warrior line luring the L-S forwards into the middle of the field, allowing more space for Belmont’s backs to “strike out wide.”

The Marauders’ quickly brought the ball down to the Warrior end and five minutes into the half, sophomore left wing Mia Taylor took the ball from 20 meters out, broke two tackles and dove over the try line to up the score to 10-0. Just a few minutes later, Taylor once again sprinted down the left side to found clear sailing to give Belmont a 15-0 advantage at the 46 minute mark.

Belmont’s third try of the half was its most creative as right wing Allie Caputo gathered a Belmont downfield kick at midfield and laid off to a streaking Detheux who outsprinted the L-S back line for her second and the rout was on at the 55 minute mark. In a moment of rugby camaraderie, Detheux was congratulated with a hug by a L-S player after the touch.

“I play a lot of outside club rugby and I know half of these players,” said Detheux. “Yeah, we’re friends.”

Belmont finished the scoring with 40 meter treks from Caputo – who paid for the try by being knocked off the pitch with a NFL tackle – and de la Fuente who sprinted clear then lunged for the try line after getting caught five meters out.

With the final whistle, the Marauders completed its perfect season and is taking home another state championship trophy to the newly-built high school which has yet to have a display case installed.

“We’ll find a closet to put them in for now,” said Adam Pritchard, Belmont’s acting Athletic Director.

“I’m so honored to be able to play with all these amazing seniors in their last year or as they go off to play rugby in college,” said Taylor. “I’m just so honored to be chosen to wear this jersey and be a part of this champion team.”

In the year marking a half century since the enactment of Title IX, McCabe sees her sport as a vehicle for equality in sports.

“I just want so many girls in Massachusetts to have the experience of stepping on the field and knowing that they are playing a full-out contact sport where they are dominating, where they are strong, where they’re recognized for their athleticism that they’re putting on the field,” said McCabe.

“In a world that’s seeking egalitarianism, that’s what rugby is. It’s fun and I want more teams out here.”

Obituary: Paul Lyons, Legendary Coach And Noted Belmontian, Died At 85 [Update]

Photo: Paul Lyons in February 2019

Paul E. Lyons, a legendary high school coach who brought to Belmont its only state boys’ basketball championship as well as being a respected educator and Bemontian, died suddenly on Sunday, June 19.

He was 85.

“The loss of Coach Lyons is heartache felt throughout the Belmont, Cambridge and Boston basketball community,” said Adam Pritchard, who played under Lyons then became his assistant before succeeding him as Belmont High head coach in 2000.

“Personally, Paul has been my coach, mentor, and mostly an amazing friend. I loved him and I’m thankful that coach and [his wife] Moira, through their support and generosity, have been in my life through every season for the past four decades.”

Lyons coached the Belmont High boys’ basketball team for a quarter century from 1975 to 2000 and led it to its only state crown in 1993 while winning the Middlesex League title five times. By the end of his Belmont career, Lyons had racked up 335 victories (and 473 overall) and is a member of the Massachusetts Basketball Association’s Hall of Fame. In February 2019, the playing surface at the Wenner Field House was named “Coach Lyons Court” in his honor.

Paul Lyons was Belmont High School’s Boys’ Basketball head coach from 1975-2000

“The one quote I tell my players was that success is not a destination, it’s a journey we take along the way. It’s more important what you did then what the outcome was,” said Lyons at the dedication.

“Before every game as we prepared to go on the court we put our hands in and listened to coach say, ‘Let’s be humble and close as we huddle together tonight. Let’s feel the power that flows from faith and gives us courage and strength as we play. When the game is played and we’ve met the test, please let us know we’ve done our best.’ That sums up everything I know of [Lyons] and he was the best,” said Pritchard.

Lyons and Ralph Jones were the founders of the Belmont Youth Basketball Association in 1977 and the Marauders Basketball Association in 1986 which supports both the high school teams as well as introducing thousands of elementary and middle school-aged children to the game. Nearly all the players on the boys and girls high school teams started playing hoops in the BYBA.

“He was very competitive and always wanted to win, but [Lyons] did so with a great deal of class and integrity,” said Jones after the Belmont School Committee approved the court’s naming.

Jones noted Monday Lyons was also supportive of women’s basketball, using his involvement with the Marauders Basketball Association to provide new uniforms to girls teams when they were wearing handmade kits. “It was very important at the time to show that the women were an equal partner,” said Jones.

“It is still unbelievable he is gone,” said Melissa Hart, the former Belmont High Girls’ Basketball head coach. “He was such a presence in Belmont Basketball from his early years to his grandfathering days, but more so in a lot more loves than Belmont ones. I was fortunate to have known him. Lyons and one of his daughter’s was actually the person who told me about the Belmont Basketball job, encouraged me to apply, and wrote a recommendation for me for it. It meant a lot that he supported me as much as he did. Will be strange to not see him in the stands at some games next year.”

“From my experience with Paul, he was first a devoted husband and father, and devoted teacher of math and basketball skills,” said his friend Chet Messer. “He was a quiet person but a person who loved to laugh. He also loved ice cream after games, thus a regular at Rancatore’s.”

“He taught his teams life skills as well as basketball skills. He requested that each team member give back to basketball later in life. A great example is Adam Pritchard who became an assistant including on the 1993 state championship team and Paul’s successor after 25 years,” said Messer.

Born in Boston in 1936 to Joseph and Catherine (McKeon) Lyons and raised in Cambridge, Lyons attended Cambridge High Latin School and later Boston College on a basketball scholarship – playing on one of the first Eagle teams invited to the NCAA tournament – where he received his BA in Mathematics. (He would later earn a M.Ed. from Boston University.) After graduating, Lyons joined John Hancock where he worked as an actuary.

One of his former basketball coaches became aware of a basketball coaching opportunity in upper state New York and after an interview, Lyons was offered the head basketball coach and assistant football coach posts at Mount Carmel High School. Lyons would return to his hometown to begin a 40-year career in the Cambridge Public Schools first as a math teacher/coach at Cambridge Latin then become head of the math department. As its director, Lyons was required to give up the school’s basketball coaching position. He went on to become the freshman coach at Bentley College, then assistant coach at Harvard University before coming to Belmont High.

He and his wife of 58 years, Moira, were Belmont residents for 49 years.

A loving father of five who dotted on his 12 grandchildren, Lyons’ final post on his Facebook page, dated June 17, spoke of his pride that his granddaughter, three sport all-star Kendall Blomquist from Westwood, was playing for a lacrosse state championship on Monday, June 20.

Westwood won the game.

Lyons is survived by his wife, Moira (Feeley) Lyons; daughter Kathleen Guden and her husband Jay of Belmont, son Michael Lyons of Andover, daughter Patricia Brody and her husband Jeff of Belmont, daughter Sheila Blomquist and her husband Scott of Westwood, and son Kevin Lyons and his wife Chris Ann of Arlington. He is grandfather to Katie, Kevin and David Guden; Ben, Matt and Sarah Brody; Brian, Hannah, Kendall and Sean Blomquist; and Caleigh and Mackenzie Lyons.

He is also survived by his sisters-in-laws Eleanor Feeley, Eileen Feeley, Brenda Lipizzi, and friend Joyce Finerty and by many loving nieces, nephews, cousins and devoted friends. 

Visitation will take place on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 4 p.m., at Keefe Funeral Home, 5 Chestnut St., Arlington. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, June 24, 2022 at 11:30 a.m., at St. Camillus’ Church, 1185 Concord Turnpike, Arlington, followed by the burial at Highland Meadow Cemetery, 700 Concord Ave., Belmont.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Coach Paul Lyons Scholarship Fund at http://gofundme.com/f/paul-lyons-scholarship-fund or Pine Street Inn, Boston.

Belmont Boys’ Tennis In Final Four After Dominating Sharon, 5-0; Meet No. 1 Concord-Carlisle Wednesday

Photo: The team celebrating with final four banner after Monday’s victory

A dominate display of tennis against five-seed and previously undefeated Sharon High Monday, June 13, has Belmont High Boys’ Tennis advancing to the Final Four of the MIAA Division 2 state championship where the Marauders’ take on number 1 ranked Concord-Carlisle High School on Wednesday, June 15 at Newton South High at 4 p.m.

The five game sweep of the visiting Eagles – taking the three singles and both doubles matches – marks the third consecutive time Belmont has shut out its opponent in this year’s tournament. The 5-0 whitewashing was highlighted by three 2-0 set victories by the team’s singles: Junior number 1 Alek Karagozyan, senior number 2 Ezra Copes-Finke, and senior number 3 Charlie November. Karagozyan and Copes-Finke won their first sets 6-0 while November came through with a pair of 6-2 wins, allowing both doubles – led by first Dani Karma and Nitish Bhatta – to play without pressure of must wins.

“They’re a tough team,” said Copes-Finke. “I knew that if I played my best match I could beat my opponent. I think it was a little more dominant that I thought it was going to be, but that just proves that I should believe in myself a little more.”

The overall play from Belmont in the tournament “has been incredible,” said Karagozyan. “Even when we felt like we were in control , we didn’t let up in our intensity. We just kept going.”

In his match, while the score line may have shown Karagozyan in control from the start, “it certainly was close as [the Sharon 1] had a really good serve, so I had to consistently fight to break his serve and hold mine.”

Know for his endless energy on the court, November has been described by opponents as a “pusher” which he accepts saying that “it takes skill to be [one.]”

“I’m athletic. I’ll run around all match. They want to talk? Six two, six two says otherwise,” said November.

Next up is the Patriots which have won the two most recent MIAA Division 2 state championships in 2019 and 2021. The teams have one common opponent in Lexington, both losing to the Minutemen: 5-0 vs CC and 4-1 against Belmont.

“They’re really good. I know the number one and he’s a phenomenal player with a great, great game,” said Karagozyan. “I’m excited to go out there and battle with him on Wednesday,” adding this Belmont lineup is prepared for the challenge.

“The camaraderie this season has been insane. I’ve never been prouder to play on this team” he said.

Boys’ Rugby Swept Aside St John’s Prep, 29-7, Next Up BC High In State Finals Saturday

Photo: Belmont High’s Number Eight Max Cornelius scoring his second try of the game as Belmont defeated St. John’s Prep, 29-7, in the MIAA Division 1 Boys’ Rugby semifinals

The combination of a rock solid defense along with an offensive minded kicking attack resulted in three tries in the first 20 minutes as Belmont High Boys’ Rugby rolled to a 29-7 victory over the St. John’s Prep Eagles in the Division 1 state semifinals in front of a packed Harris Field on Friday afternoon, June 10.

Belmont Boys’ will face long-time rivals Boston College High in the Division 1 state championship match at 4 p.m., June 18, at Curry College in Milton. The Boys’ join the Belmont High Girls’ Rugby squad at the finals as the girls seek their fourth consecutive state championship vs Lincoln-Sudbury Regional at 2 p.m.

Belmont High’s long-time Head Coach Greg Bruce anticipated a defensive struggle with the Eagles after meeting them two week before in Danvers, a match where a late try saw Belmont come through with the victory, 15-12.

“They were really physical side and well coached and we knew that they’d have threats all over the field and we just had to play a very tight defensive game,” said Bruce after the match. “We said to the guys what’s going to determine the game is how you’re able to make your tackles … and they did it.”

Belmont clicked on its first venture into St. John’s end as the Marauders’ Number Eight Max Cornelius scooped up the ball from a ruck five meters from the try line and muscled it in at the five minute mark for a 5-0 lead.

The Eagles pressed their advantage after a kick clearance and a Belmont penalty saw them inside of 10 meters to the try only for Belmont’s defensive scheme stop five attempts by the Eagles to score and subsequently successfully holding up an Eagle player on the try line to win the ball.

Belmont showed great finesse with its kicking game which has become an increasingly important part of its game plan allowing the Marauders to relieve defensive pressure. On several occasions, Belmont “flipped the field” by kicking the ball from deep in its defensive end with the ball ending up in St. John’s end of the pitch.

As St. John’s continued to press, the Marauders’ defense stepped up once again as outside center James Barsam intercepted a flat pass and and sprinted 50 meters in the clear for the Marauders’ second try and a 12-0 lead after 15 minutes.

“James has gone for a few of those this year and it hasn’t really worked out. When he did it tonight, one of my coaches leaned over and goes ‘he finally got one’,” said Bruce, praising Barsam by noting that “while there’s other guys that get more credit, James is one of our most solid defenders outside and one of the most hardest positions and channels to defend on the field, which is the outside center.”

Four minutes later, after a costly Prep miscue, Belmont big man, tight head prop Asa Rosenmeier, rumbled in for the try – Belmont’s third – and a commanding 19-0 lead before 20 minutes had passed.

“I was out when we play them three weeks ago and I needed to prove myself,” said Rosenmeier who played the entire 70 minutes.

Bruce noted after the third score, St. John’s Prep changed its defensive set up which disrupted Belmont’s attack. “They put us under pressure. We lost all momentum and fluidity to our game at that point. And it stayed that way for a period of quite a long period of time,” said Bruce

St. John’s would use its passing quickness to set them up after a penalty inside the 10 meters for a successful try to cut the lead to 19-7 at the 26 minute mark. But that was all the Eagles could muster for the rest of the half as the Marauders’ group tackling was outstanding, limiting their opponent to only a handful of runs beyond 10 meters and forcing mistakes in the Eagles’ back.

“For as long as I can remember, our number one priority is defense. We spend more time on our defense this year than any year in the past,” said Bruce. “I said to the boys in the locker room, this is one of the best defensive teams we’ve ever had. And you’re gonna have to play the best game you’ve ever had to earn a spot next weekend. And they did it,”

Through out the remainder of the game, Belmont’s team defense would be challenged only a handful of times with hook Raffi Belorian and left wing Stephen Hong knocking a Prep runner into touch a meter from the try line to end St. John’s best and only threat of the half.

A second try from Cornelius 11 minutes into the second half and a three-point penalty kick from fly-half Erik Rosenmeier at the 60 minute mark punched the Marauders’ ticket to next week’s state finals.

For Bruce and the team, the victory celebration will be short lived.

“We’re gonna enjoy tonight and get back to work tomorrow. BC High is an amazing team,” said Bruce.

“I wouldn’t say we’re favorite just because we beat them in the last game (a 28-21 away victory on May 19),” he said. “BC has a way of putting together a game plan that works when it matters the most. And so, we’ll keep that in mind and try and counter it as best we can.”

For Rosenmeier, the finals will be one more game he gets to play with his brother, senior Erik.

“The emotions, wow. I know I will be nervous but also super excited,” he said. “First time ever playing in a state finals, It’s going to be a great place to be in whether we win or loss. Just playing at Curry is going to be fun.”

Last In Belmont Boys’ Lacrosse Entertains Peabody Tuesday, June 7 In Division 1 Prelims

Photo: Belmont High will be playing in the MIAA Division 1 Boys’ Lacrosse tournament

It doesn’t matter how you make the postseason, just that you did. And by the skin of their teeth, the Belmont High’s Boys’ Lacrosse will be playing next week in the Division 1 state championships.

Under the MIAA state tournament system, the top 32 teams in the power rankings are invited to the playoffs much like the NCAA system. And for the final weeks, Belmont were hovering around that coveted final spot to extend its season.

And the Marauders (9-9) came through with 6 wins in their final 8 matches and in the final rankings, Belmont got an automatic bid … as the 32nd seed.

Whew!

Under the tourney system, any team with a winning or .500 record also are invited in to play the lowest seeded teams, which includes Belmont. As a result, Belmont will welcome 9-7 Peabody Veterans High School to Harris Field on Tuesday, June 7 at 6:30 p.m. in a play-in match.

This marks the second time this season teams from Belmont and Peabody will meet in a preliminary round match as the Mustangs defeated the Marauders, 1-0, in Boys’ Soccer last fall.

Winning the play-in may just be a pyrrhic-victory as the team left standing will face the number 1 seed and perennial Division 1 powerhouse St. John’s Prep at Danvers.

But, that team will be playing one more game.

Belmont Boys’ Rugby Host St John’s Prep June 10 In Tourney Semis; Girls’ Await State Finals June 18

Photo: Belmont Boys’ and Girls’ ruggers are seeking to repeat the dual state championships in 2019

It’s tournament time and Belmont High Boys’ and Girls’ ruggers will be seeking to repeat its dual state championships from 2019.

Second-seed Belmont Boys’ will host third-ranked St. John’s Prep in the MIAA Division 1 semifinals at Harris Field at 6:30 p.m., Friday, June 10. The contest will be a rematch of the final game of the season when Belmont (5-1-0) traveled to Danvers and took down the previously undefeated Eagles,14-12.

If they win next week’s game, the Marauders will head to the D1 state finals on Saturday, June 18 at 4 p.m. at Curry College in Milton, to face the winner of defending champions and number 1 seed Boston College (3-2-0) vs the winner of the Milton High (the only team to defeat Belmont this season)/Xaverian Brothers tussle on June 2.

After going undefeated this season, the Belmont Girls’ are an automatic qualifier to the state Division 1 finals where they will meet the winner of the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional/Brookline High contest. The match will take place on Saturday, June 18 at 2 p.m. at Curry College.

This marks the fourth consecutive trip to the state championship match for the Marauders (5-0-0) where they will seek a four-peat, being victorious in every finals since the sport was accepted in the MIAA in 2017.

Lacrosse Night In Belmont A Showcase For Youngsters And Varsity Alike

Photo: The present and the future of Belmont lacrosse ready to enter the pitch at Lacrosse Night in Belmont

Despite the record 86 degrees heat, the stands at Harris Field were packed Saturday afternoon, May 14, as families, parents and players came out for a night of cheering the town’s lacrosse players.

Dozens of the youngest boys and girls in the Belmont Youth Lacrosse joined the varsity players from Belmont High School during Lacrosse Night in Belmont, the annual event promoting the game and attracting new players and the larger community to the sport.

“They’re more fans in the stands that we’ve ever seen. And it’s a testament to all the people who were involved this year,” said Belmont High Boys’ Lacrosse Head Coach Josh Streit, one of the drivers of the event which emulates Soccer Night In Belmont held each October.

The young athletes and the high school players marched out to the center of the pitch to sing the national anthem along with the Chenery Middle School chorus. At half time of both games, the youngsters got their chance to shine with a 10-minute exhibition

“It was so great to see the smiles on the kids. These partnerships with the youth and building both high school and the youth program was so important to having successful programs,” said Streit, as the youth players came off the pitch looking forward to free Moozy’s ice cream and the T-shirt toss.

Boys’ double up Arlington, 12-6, as Marauders seek a playoff fixture

Everything clicked for Belmont Boys’ Lacrosse as the Marauders doubled up Arlington, 12-6, in the early game of the Lacrosse Night In Belmont doubleheader.

While the team played the most complete game this year against North Reading and its best game was versus Burlington, the Arlington was “kind of a bigger win for us,” said Streit. “This was great because offensively we were doing the things that we preach at practice and we were running our offense all game long” which produced some of the best goals this year, he said, particularly a blast into the low corner of net from junior mid Quinn Leary at “the end of high tempo, high end offense that we’re capable of doing.”

The highlight of the match was the breakout performance from junior mid/attack Jack Murphy who as an injury replacement with a single tally this season, scored four goals and an assist. ”He was in the right place and knowing the offense and the offense looking for him because he was getting to the spot.”

After struggling to get out of the gate this season, the Boys’ have reached .500 with a dominating 17-2 performance vs Somerville only to drop a notch losing to host Lexington, 19-13, on Thursday, May 19. Belmont starts the week with a record of 7-8-0 with a MIAA Power Rating of 32nd, the final automatic playoff position in Division 1.

Girls’ at .500 after 19-13 loss to SpyPonders

The Belmont Girls’ found themselves in a physical game with the SpyPonders who had the size and heft to play that game and upending the Marauders 19-12. Despite the outcome, the team put up double digit in goals against a very good defensive team.

The Marauders got out of the box quickly to build a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes. But the physical SpyPonders benefiting from the refs decision to “let them play” muscled their way to a 7-2 lead midway in the first half before junior mid Stella Lesknik scored while falling from a push in the back. Belmont cut the lead to three with a pair of goals – courtesy sophomore mid/attack Tess DeSantis and junior mid Layne Doherty in the final 3:16 to leave the field down 9-6.

But Arlington came out strong with the first four goals in the first five minutes of the second half off of winning each of the face-off draws in the half before junior attack Mary Mullan got Belmont back on the scorer’s sheet six minutes in.

Marauders’ Head Coach Rebecca Reed said winning will come with ”winning draws and ground balls. The draw controls a lot. You win the draw you typically win the game.”

“We simply needed possession because we have a better set offense than most teams,” she said.

Belmont’s Mullan was the game’s high scorer with five goals including the Marauder’s final three goals, the last two scored with 27 seconds and a single second remaining on the clock.

“We tried to spread out our offense on cuts and try to make an open lane which is crucial so you’re not getting doubled (by defenders). It really is trying to get to the net the best way possible,” she said.

Since lacrosse night, Belmont found themselves on the wrong side in consecutive high scoring games against Lexington and the return fixture with Arlington.

Inaugural Lacrosse Night In Belmont Set For Saturday, May 14

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Belmont High School’s Girls and Boys teams will be hosting the first-ever Lacrosse Night in Belmont on Saturday, May 14 as the Marauders play host to the SpyPonders from Arlington High School. 

The boys’ varsity game will be begin at 4 p.m. and the girls will be facing off at 6 p.m. The night will include “some light pomp and circumstance,” according to Josh Streit, Head Coach of the Belmont Boys’ Varsity, which will involve youngsters from Belmont Youth Lacrosse.