Photo: AnnMarie Habelow (left) and Meri Power during the Winchester match.
On Monday afternoon, Sept. 26, Belmont High School Field Hockey began to reap the achievements of being undefeated (6-0-0) and having come off a stellar performance away at one-loss Lexington as the Boston Globe ranked the team 8th in Eastern Massachusetts, one of the highest rankings a Belmont hockey team had ever achieved.
By 7:15 p.m. that evening, the team came off Harris Field having laid an egg and along with it, flying in the rarified air of the top 10.
Gone was the undefeated season and the sense of invincibility after the Marauders were defeated by Winchester, 3-1. Last season, it was this same game where Belmont fall from the unbeaten, a 5-4 gut wrenching loss that spurred the team for the remainder of the year.
But where last year’s team collapsed in the final 10 minutes to give up four goals, Monday’s match with their new nemesis was a game full of just misses and head shaking moments.
“I don’t see how we lost to them,” said Belmont co-Capt. AnnMarie Hebalow the day after the shocker.
For Head Coach Jessie Smith, the loss was an object lesson for a team that had not been behind or even tied during a game this season.
“I told them, every great team needs to lose. You need to know what it feels like to be beaten and now they know. We’re done with that,” she said.
“Does it hurt? Yes. Can we move on from this and be better for it. You bet,” said Smith.
Not that Winchester is a surprise team in the Middlesex League Liberty Division, arriving Monday with a 5-1-1 record with the expected loss to Watertown and the unanticipated tie to Stoneham. While showing skills with the stick, the Sachems thrive on physically dominating other
While showing skills with the stick, the Sachems thrive on physically dominating other teams especially on counter attacks, turning from defense to offense on a dime and punishing an opponent for not protecting their goal.
And Winchester would score twice within four minutes in the final 15 minutes of the first half off plays which began off the counter.
It was hardly a game in which Belmont was on the back heel. The majority of the game was fought in Winchester’s midfield with Habelow directing Belmont’s offense which had balls sent on the Winchester goalie.
But what became a common occurrence throughout the game, passes would bounce off a foot or jump over a stick that was at the ready. Case in point, penalty corners. Eagerly sought by attacking players as they provide an excellent opportunity to score, on three occasions the ball sent from the end line to Belmont’s top scorers skipped by the offense into the midfield.cvc
After going down 3-0 midway through the second half, the one bright spot in the game for the Marauders happened when freshman phenom Katie Guden scored from the middle of a scrum with nine minutes, marking Guden’s 14th goal as the 9th grader has tallied at least once in each game of the season.
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, Belmont traveled to Reading where they met a goalie that would end up with more than 20 saves, allowing the Rockets – which are still rebuilding its team – to tie the Marauders at the half, 1-1. But Belmont’s Habelow, who scored early in the game, put in her second, allowing Belmont to head back to the bus a winner.
At 7-1-0, Belmont heads into the week in second in the Middlesex League Liberty, ready to face Burlington away on Wednesday, Oct. 5 and at home against Wakefield on Thursday, Oct. 6.