Marauders Enter Spring Playoffs With A Pair Of Belmont Favorites At Division 1 North Track Championships

Photo: Belmont High athletes and teams are in playoff and championship action this weekend

A pair of Belmont High field performers and a powerhouse Marauder team will be headlining the return this weekend of sports tournaments and championship meets sponsored by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Senior pole vaulter Sarah Firth will attempt to take the Division 1 North title while junior Sofia Hospodar has the co-longest triple jump in the division this outdoor season at 36-feet, 6-inches. Firth, who won both the All-State and New England titles in 2019, has the best height in the state of 11 feet, 6-inches. Firth will also run the 100-meter hurdles at the meet held in North Andover.

This season marks the return to the pitch of Belmont High Rugby, out to defend its 2019 Division 1 state title. The 4-0 Marauders is the second seed by way of a coin flip with fellow undefeated Milton, the two-time state Division 2 champions who were promoted into the top league this year.

Belmont will host three-seed Boston College High, whose only loss this season was to Belmont, in a semifinal match on Wednesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. on Harris Field.

Belmont Boys’ Lacrosse (5-7) will take on hosts North Attleborough High (6-7) in an 8-9 match-up on Friday, June 18 art 4 p.m., with the winner having the tall task of visiting first ranked Medfield High School (14-1) on Monday.

Belmont High Baseball, ranked 21 (3-8), will have a long trek on Friday, June 18, as they hike up to Haverhill to play 12th ranked Whittier Regional Vocational Tech (7-6) at 1 p.m.

Belmont Boys’ Tennis travels to Concord Carlisle at Noon, Friday, June 18, as the hosts, ranked 6th, will challenge number 11 Marauders.

In competition in the D1N meet completed on Thursday, June 17, Belmont junior Jackson Coelho took 4th in the 800 meters in 1-minute, 57.04 seconds while senior Colby Woo cleared 11-feet, 6-inches in the pole vault for 5th.

At the D1N outdoor track championship meet, Belmont Girls’ will be represented by seniors Leya El-Chanati (100, 200 and long jump); Isabel Burger (1 mile), Rachel November (400 hurdles), the 4×800 relay; while seniors Samantha Lim and Knar Krafian joins Firth in the 100 hurdles.

Sports: After Rough Start, Youthful Boys’ Lax Finds a D That Works

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.” 

Sports: Boys’ Lacrosse Enters ‘Critical’ Stretch at .500 With Strong Win Over Dracut

Photo: Trey Butler. 

Belmont High School Boys’ Lacrosse Head Coach Josh Streit wanted to go into the coming week on a high note. And Saturday’s performance by his squad was the response he was seeking as the Marauders behind senior captain midfielder Trey Butler’s nine goals, four assist morning beat a young Dracut High team, 17-7, on a wet Harris Field Saturday, April 23.

“This a huge week coming up and we are excited how we played today,” said Streit, noting that they play Arlington, Stoneham and Woburn in the week after spring recess. 

“This is where we wanted to be at .500 (3-3), so this week is a make or break for us because these are all winnable games coming up,” said Streit. The first week of May will see two more games with Burlington and Watertown that Belmont should be favored to win, he said.

The next five games are important for us and important for us to win. We are looking to get to nine [wins, which will put the Marauders in the playoffs] and if we can run five more we will be at eight and then we just have to steal one down the road,” said Streit. 

On the field, Middlesex All-Star Butler was again the spark for the offense to run off, taking on the double team; either beating multiple defenders or dishing off to a cutting attack. Butler is also nearing the school record for points and goals, marking just another school career record that appears ready to fall, this year including in girls’ swimming (Jessie Blake-West) and boys’ basketball (Matt Kerans).

“[Butler] will get the headlines for the goals but the best player today was [senior midfielder] Justin Wagner (1 goal) was the man of the match for the first half because of all the ground balls he picked up and riding so he was a huge difference-maker for us,” said Streit. 

Also with multiple goals were attack Michael Cole with four tallies and Nick Coppolo with a pair. 

The game began under a dark cloud as senior goaltender Peter Stoesser “injured his thumb in warm ups” said Streit.

Stoesser has been unbeatable from 15 yards and longer “and that’s the reason we play the defense that we do,” said Streit.

In his place, freshman Mike Delhomme was put in the net “and he’s great; athletic, moves very well and is very loud. I was concerned for [Stoesser] but not for the team today,” he said. 

Sports: Boys’ Lacrosse Rely on Big Time Goalie, Attack Play to Win Home Opener

Photo: Belmont senior attack Trey Butler (in white) scored six times, including here surrounded by three defenders and connecting from a severe angle.

Goalie Peter Stoesser’s big stick and the offensive creativity of attackman Trey Butler propelled Belmont High School’s Boys’ Lacrosse team over a quick and chippy Wilmington High squad as the Marauders coming away with an 8-6 victory at the team’s home opener Friday afternoon, April 15 at Harris Field.

The win was the team’s second consecutive victory and lifts the Marauders to 2-3 after starting the season on the road for four straight games.

Part of Belmont’s one-two punch Friday came from senior Stoesser, who shut down the Wildcats from 10 yards and beyond. The call of “All day” was heard on the Marauder sideline as Stoesser pocketed each shot attempted from a distance.

On the other end of the pitch, senior captain Trey Butler proved to be the man of the match on the offensive side. One of the best lacrosse players in program history, Butler scored six times – including surrounded by three defenders and connecting from a severe angle – on ten shots while providing an assist on Tyler Reynolds’ goal. The only tally Butler was not involved in was Aleck Morin’s beautiful score (and final goal of the game) that bounced high off the turf into the net.

Next up for the squad is a home match with Dracut on Saturday, April 23.

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Butler Reaches 150 Goals as Belmont Boys LAX (4-3) Down SpyPonders

Photo: Trey Butler setting up to score his 149 goal in his high school career. 

Junior attack Trey Butler reached the 150 goal milestone as the Belmont High School Boys’ Lacrosse won its first Middlesex League match of the season, defeating Arlington High School, 17-11, in a chippy affair at Harris Field on Friday, April 18. 

“From freshman year, it’s been a team effort and it’s all part of the teammates passing me the ball and encouraging me every step of the way,” Butler told the Belmontonian after the game in which he scored four goals and two assists.

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“Last year there was a lot of pressure and it was hard not to get frustrated when things aren’t going your way,” said Butler, who is also a standout defender on the hockey team.

“But this year, we’ve been winning because everyone has been putting in a lot of work in the off season and it’s starting to pay off this year,” said Butler.

“Huge win of us,” said Belmont Head Coach Josh Streit after the win, lifting the program over .500 at 4-3. The SpyPonders drop to 2-4. 

“Arlington has been a rival for us in my tenure and they have played us very tough in the league so we knew this was a place for us to see to kind of see where we could stand and if we can make some noise,” said Streit. The win puts Belmont five victories from a return to the Eastern Mass. Div. 2 playoffs since 2011.

The match started off at a crawl, going more than half the first quarter before a pair of goals from junior Michael Cole (3 goals, 1 assist) and Butler’s first gave Belmont a 3-1 lead going to the second.

Goals by Cole, senior Samuel Bozkurtian (3 goals, 1 assist) and two from by Butler with outstanding defense from seniors Joseph Paolillo and Luke Paolcari along with junior Andrew Ballard allowed the Marauders to enter halftime with a 7-3 lead.

It was at 3:38 left in the third – in a half which saw a multitude of penalties calls – when Bozkurtian passed to Butler to the left of the goal, snapping the ball into the net to hit 150 goals as Belmont doubled its goals to take a 14-6 advantage into the final period.

After the game, Streit continued to speak highly of his team after a mid-week loss to Reading High, in which he discovered his team “could grind and have the grit to stay with everyone in the league.”  

Down 10-2 in the third quarter and unable to generate an offensive surge, the team “stood up for themselves”, grinding out four straight goals against the Rocket’s top squad, falling 12-8 but putting Reading on the back foot for the remainder of the game.

“We made people notice and they saw the heart of this team,” said Streit.

The squad’s next match will be against Dracut next Saturday. 

Belmont Boys’ Lacrosse Gets A Slow Start to the Season

It was perfect conditions to play a lacrosse match in Belmont on Wednesday, April 2: bright sunshine and temperatures in the low 50s.

But for a young Belmont High School Boys’ Lacrosse team, the outcome was less than ideal. After playing visiting Watertown High School to a 2-2 draw in the first quarter, “the game got away a little quickly” in the second quarter, according to Belmont’s new Head Coach Josh Streit.

And while the Marauders got back to playing the scheme in the second half they had been practicing, Watertown was able to expose Belmont’s new defensive back line – three of the four are new to the top level – and headed down Common Street with the win, 15-8, in the season and home opener for the Marauders.

“Were a very young team almost exclusively sophomores and juniors with 11 new to varsity but there was a lot of real positives to be had,” he said.

Leading the Marauders on offense was sophomore midfield Trey Butler who tallied five goals including a underhanded improvisational goal in close that caught the eyes of the crowd.

“There will be growing pains so there will be a learning curve in the season,” said Streit.

“But there were moments of great lacrosse and great hard work. Even down by nine late, we never gave up.”