Photo: A happy Belmont team swarm Carey Allard after the junior scored the winning goal at Stoneham.
Give Carey Allard an inch … well, you know the rest.
The junior all-star forward used a moment of indecision by Stoneham defender Mari Avola who had dogged her successfully for 74 minutes, charging by her using track sprinter speed to break alone against Stoneham’s keeper. The Division 1 commit quickly slipped the ball into the left side of the netting to give Belmont a 1-0 win on a warm, humid Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10, keeping the Marauders’ perfect after its first two games.
On Thursday, Sept. 8, Belmont opened the season with a 5-1 win at Melrose with Allard scoring Belmont’s first four goals of the season.
For Belmont Head Coach Paul Graham, the team’s performance at Stoneham was “just good enough for us to win.”
“Something always happens on this field,” said Graham of the grass surface that is noticeably narrow.
“I’ve been 22-0, and I can only win 1-0 here. I don’t know what it is,” he said.
“Thank goodness we have Allard. She’s a difference maker,” he said.
But for much of the match, Allard could not shake her shadow Avola who played Belmont’s main scoring threat tight and physical including a yellow card Avola picked up with 10 minutes remaining in the game. While Belmont did have its chances – junior Emily Duffy breakaway in the second half was parried away as well as a post being hit – the team did not dominate the game as it did against Melrose.
Stoneham’s pressure put Belmont’s midfield and defense on the back heel for portions of the match especially in the second half, as Stoneham hit the crossbar and narrowly missed the post on a header midway through the half. The one shot the Spartans had within the box was stopped by senior goalkeeper Georgia Parsons who recorded her first clean sheet this season.
With both sides having chances in the final minutes, it was likely the first goal by either team would be the winner. After a threat by Stoneham was kicked downfield by sophomore forward Ella Gagnon, it was time for Allard to make her mark on the game.
“Ella played a great ball, and I saw that [Avola] was getting in front of me, so I just went with her and then cut her off,” said Allard, who lost her voice after the game.
Allard said her scoring prowess is due to her “teammates playing me great passes. I’m just the one who finishes them for goals.”
Allard will need to be at her best as Belmont meet ranked Wilmington at home on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.