Photo: Belmont’s Jackson Pullman vs. Tewksbury
In its first two matches of the season, Belmont High Boys’ Lacrosse looked really good … for the first 12 minutes.
In each game, Belmont outplayed two tough, experienced teams in Melrose and Newton South, outscoring them 2-1 and 1-0 in the first quarter.
But Boys’ Lacrosse games are comprised of three 12 minute quarters, during which Belmont’s young players were overrun like the humans by the zombies in “World War Z” to the tune of 16-4 (Melrose) and 13-6 (Newton South).
But Belmont’s Head Coach Josh Streit saw something in those games that gave him a lot of hope in the matches to come.
“We are a very young team, mostly juniors, and sophomores. We are taking some time learning a new offense and finding our positions. But what we are is very, very talented and that’s why we could stay with those teams,” said Streit.
And wouldn’t you know it, change for the better arrived in the next four games. An opening win vs. Stoneham (17-5), then a pair of defensive standout games away at Wilmington (7-3) and Dracut (4-2) before returning home on Monday, April 24 against non-league Tewksbury in which the team continued its winning streak with a 14-3 walk over to bring the team’s overall record to 4-2 as it enters league play this week.
“I told the guys that our first quarter and the first half has been unbelievable,” said Streit.
While praising his newly-found offense led by attacker Alec Morin (8 goals vs. Tewksbury) and a pair of sophomores, James Nally and Jacob Smialek, Streit targeted his defense and goaltending for the recent run of success.
“We’ve only given up 14 goals in four games, and it starts with Micheal Delhomme in net who have been lights out in net,” said Streit, who said the sophomore netminder was become much more aggressive facing up to the opponents (including one play against Tewksbury where he leaped and nearly mugged the attacker) and has been the “quarterback of quarterbacks” clearing the ball to the offense.
He said over the stretch the team’s long poles (the central defenders), Caleb Henman, Avery Gartland and the 6’4″ junior Thomas Ballard, have been gaining possession of the ball and making quick clearing passes “that gets to our attackers.”
The team now heads into the Middlesex League gauntlet facing very skilled teams – weather permitting – from Arlington, Woburn, Burlington, Arlington Catholic, Wakefield.
“It’s boom, boom, boom, boom. One playoff team after another” said Streit.
While cognizant of the difficult few weeks before them, Streit said he is still building a program that started four years ago.
“We’re just trying to get better in each quarter, getting more looks at goal. I know it’s cliche but it is the next play, the next move, the next pass. That’s how we’ll be a winning program.”