Photo: Belmont’s Mick Pomer awaits a pass vs. Concord-Carlisle.
Friday night’s soccer match was played in frigid and windy conditions better suited for a retreat from Moscow. And for Belmont High Boys’ Soccer, the outcome of the Division 2 North Sectional semifinals at Woburn High was as bitter as the weather as the Marauders fell to Concord-Carlisle Regional, 2-1, on Friday, Nov. 10.
“It was a good competitive game that could have gone either way but unfortunately didn’t go our way,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane.
“That’s what playoff soccer is all about; it’s razor thin. You are playing good teams, so there’s not much margin for either team,” said Bisceglia-Kane.
The game’s first half was an evenly-played affair mostly fought in the midfield with both teams coming tantalizingly close to putting up numbers on the scoreboard. A Concord-Carlisle player missed a sitter in front of the Marauders’ net, and Belmont goalkeeper Nate Espelin made a one-on-one diving save at the edge of the box. At the other end of the field, a Patriot defender nearly headed in an own goal off Belmont junior midfielder Seamus Dullaghan’s free-kick only to see the ball skip by a meter from the left post.
After an extended halftime break, the game finally opened up with the first goal. A series of three short diagonal passes moving left to right 10 meters from goal eventually found open sophomore midfielder Ben Santos whose shot got by Espelin six minutes into the half.
A dozen minutes later, the Patriots struck again off a corner as defender Kyle Jackson ventured from the back to climb high and head the ball by Espelin to double Concord-Carlisle’s lead.
Down by a pair, Belmont began opening its attack with Dullagahan, senior defender Kostas Tingos and junior Jorge Mejia leading the drive into the Patriots’ end.
Belmont finally broke into the scoring column 11 minutes from time through a heads up play from senior forward Jake Carson. After receiving a pass 10 meters from the net, Carson passed back to senior midfielder Andrew Karalis streaking forward who blasted a shot by Patriots’ goalie Davis Van Inwegen.
The Marauders had chances to square the score as the play stayed into the Patriots’ half for the final 10 minutes. Belmont defender Danny Yardemian rounded the corner and sent a pass into the penalty area without finding either friend or foe. The closest Belmont came to tying it up was when Mejia’s semi-break was stuffed by a charging Van Inwegen. When the final whistle sounded, Belmont’s emotional responses were tempered by the icy and raw weather.
While Concord-Carlisle will play Arlington on Monday for the Sectional championship, Belmont ends its season at 13-4-2, nearly matching the 2014 Marauders which finished 15-4-2, also losing to Concord-Carlisle in the semis.
After the game, Bisceglia-Kane praised this team rather than just individuals, for the successes the team compiled.
“It’s all the players,” he said. “Any coach that takes a lot of credit for their success is an idiot. Every good team has a good youth program and has a bunch of players that are really committed to the game and to each other. That’s what we had and is the reason we made it here.”