Photo: The champions.
The bus taking the Belmont High School Field Hockey team to Reading was late picking them up and was stuck in traffic last Friday, Oct. 23 for the final game of the 2015 regular season.
Finally arriving a half-hour late, the team was given ten minutes to warm up on the chilly late afternoon.
“Hurry up, hurry up,” said Belmont Head Coach Jessie Smith who arrived with 15 varsity players, the JV team and her three children. The team did a little hitting and running before they were called to go out and win their second Middlesex League Liberty Division championship in five years.
In their 16th game, the team was seeking its 14th victory and the chance to raise a banner on the wall of the Wenner Field House.
“We’ve played a lot this week,” said Smith, after guiding her team to victories over 10 win Lexington on Monday and 13 win Winchester Wednesday. While on paper the game against last year’s league champs should have been easier than the first two, “that’s why you play the game, you never can tell who shows up,” said the coach.
But the Marauders got out ahead quickly – scoring a goal on the first shot of the game after 45 seconds from junior midfielder AnneMarie Habelow and a second five minutes later from senior forward Kerri Lynch – and held the Rockets on their end of the field for large segments of the half.
When Reading put Belmont under pressure, this season’s defensive stalwarts of junior defensive sweeper Julia Chase and senior co-captain defender Molly Thayer were there to take the ball out of danger.
Co-captain senior midfielder Serena Nally scored at the end of the first and second halfs to finish off the scoring and with it, the victory and the championship.
“We’ve had some great teams but we’ve never finished a season with 14 wins,” said Smith, who praised the girls for exceeding all her expectations.
“Now they can show their grandchildren their banner,” said Smith.