Photo: Belmont High senior Isabella Radojevic is this season’s difference maker
The west wall of the Wenner Field House was recently festooned with brand new banners highlighting Belmont High School’s state, division, and league championship teams going as far back as the 1940s.
But one team is conspicuously missing from the wall of champions: Girls’ Volleyball, a program that has come close to bringing home silverware but could never seal the deal in the 30 years it’s been played.
But that was until this season.
“We’re about to put a banner up there,” said long-time Belmont head coach Jen Colture, as the Marauders swept aside the opposition in the Middlesex League Liberty Division to secure its first league title.
In a dominating 2023 season, Belmont went 14-1 in the league with an overall record of 17-2. This sets a new program record for overall wins and winning percentage, breaking the 16-4 record compiled in 2018. The team can match the best win total of 18 achieved during Belmont’s run to the Central East Division 1 section finals.
Ranked 9th in the MIAA Power Rankings, the Marauders roll into the Division playoffs on a 10-game winning streak, hosting a first-round match against 24-seed Lincoln-Sudbury (7-13) on Friday, Nov. 3 at 5:30 p.m.
With a make-up of senior and underclass players who each contribute to the team’s success, there is a Marauder that stands out, and appropriately enough, she wears the number 1 jersey.
On the court, you can spot senior Isabella Radojevic with her ever-present smile and bouncy personality. But Radojevic is all business during rallies, especially when she’s on the front row. She leads the team with 201 kills this season, resulting from a combination of power and placement, skillfully striking balls down the sidelines and in open spaces on the court. Add to that, an impressive service tally along with a complete set of skills and Radojevic is essential for the team’s march in the tournament.
Radojevic importance to the team was in evidence last month when she was sidelined for two games due to a nagging injury. Without her on the court, Belmont lost to a good Woburn team in straight sets and then lost in five sets to Concord-Carlisle, a team they handled easily in the preseason.
Colture spoke at the time that Radojevic’s loss was seen as an opportunity for her varsity and some junior varsity athletes to play in alternative roles against teams that could press them in a playoff setting.
While no one can underestimate Radojevic’s importance to the team, Belmont is stacked with top-notch players. Sophomore Sophia Qin, the team’s setter – who quarterbacks the attack – has collected 542 assists on 1,817 attempts while leading the team in service aces with 60.
On the backline, junior Gabriella Hashioka has 264 digs or about 14 per match while all-around skill player sophomore Wuyee Ke doesn’t just lead the team with 426 receiving serves and 210 digs, she’s second in kills with 182.
Three seniors anchor the front, Soyna Ivkovic has 16 solo and five combined blocks while Eva Grant has a total of 20, with Sydney Boulanger on 10.