Belmont High Football Waits Until Late To Earn the ‘W’ Over Unbeaten Winchester, 15-9

Photo: Belmont senior running back Adrien Gurung taking flight.

Winchester High School Football’s Friday night game had all the hallmarks for a big night for the Red and Black. Undefeated at 3-0, on their new turf field at Knowlton Stadium with its outstanding kicker being honored as the best kicker in the country, it was all there for Winchester to show its dominance over a Belmont High squad coming off a disappointing home loss against Westford Academy.

But as Lee Corso says on ESPN’s College Game Day: “Not so fast, my friend!” Behind a pair of time consuming fourth-quarter touchdown drives – the second coming with just about two minutes remaining to play – and a stellar performance by its defensive front over the entire game, Belmont ended the night putting the Red and Black in the loss column defeating Winchester, 15-9, in both team’s Middlesex League, Liberty Division opener.

Belmont (2-2) will host Lexington High (1-3) at Harris Field under the Friday Night Lights on Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.

Friday night’s game was a pondering affair, slowed by one running play after another, penalties, and solid work from both teams defenses. Belmont did show some punch via senior back Adrien Gurung who pounded his way just short of the century mark and senior QB Jayden Arno who was able to both keep the ball on the ground and wing it when needed to his receiving corp. But it was Belmont gritty run defense that blunted Winchester’s attack.

The first-half’s highlight was Winchester’s Kieran Corr, the Under Armour All-American as the number one ranked high school kicker in the US. And the Harvard commit was as impressive as advertised, splitting the uprights from 44 yards – remember, this is high school – with at least 10 yards to spare to give Winchester a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter that would last into halftime.

After the break, Belmont looked as it would strike first, having stopped Winchester on a 4th and 2 at its 42. Gurung would scamper 31 yards off the left side to Winchester’s 8 yard line, but after three runs resulted in no gain, Belmont missed a 25 yard field goal attempt.

On the very next play, Winchester QB Harry Lowenstein found a streaking George Nelson for an 80 yard Red and Black touchdown. Despite a botched extra point, Winchester was up by two scores, 9-0, with 6:20 remaining in the third.

Now it was the Marauders team time to shine as Belmont would hang onto the ball for nearly eight minutes over 62 yards. Belmont would convert a pair of 4th and 1 on the run-heavy drive culminating in an Arno keeper from a yard out to cut the lead to 9-7 at the 10:30 mark in the fourth.

After converting a first down, Winchester was put on its back heel as the entire defensive line sacked Lowenstein on a 3rd and 11 forcing a punt with 6:45 left in the game. Starting at its 25, Belmont benefited immediately from a face mask call taking the ball to the 40 yard line. Two Arno keepers for nine yards and a critical 21 yard pass completion to Donovan Holway brought the ball to the Winchester 12 with 4 minutes remaining.

Belmont then served up a diet of punishing runs from Gurung ending with the senior running back crossing the goal line standing from a yard out with 2:12 on the clock. Arno’s pass to Austin Lasseter for the two point conversion saw Belmont increase its lead to 15-9.

After a scare on the kick off – Winchester appeared to have crossed midfield with Lasseter making a touchdown-saving tackle only for a block in the back penalty rendering the gain mute – Belmont’s defense held firm forcing a long pass by Lowenstein on 4th down that senior WR/DB Brian Logan intercepted closing the book on an impressive – and confidence boosting – road win.

Belmont March 99 Yds In Final Minute For Winning TD As Arno Leads Marauders Over Winchester, 32-30

Photo: Ninety-nine yards later: Belmont High senior Chris Cogliano scores the winning touchdown with less than 20 seconds remaining in the game as Belmont drives the length of the field to beat Winchester, 32-30.

Down by 4 with 2:49 remaining in the contest, Belmont High School’s offense took the field facing the most daunting of asks: drive the length of the football field, 99 yards, to win the game. At the helm for the Marauders’ was junior QB Jayden Arno who, when he came on the field, wasn’t thinking about 100 yards he needed to win it.

“Honestly, on the sideline, all what we were trying to do is get to the 10 yard line to give us some room,” he said.

Arno had been finding his experienced receiver corps throughout the game under the Friday Night Lights at Harris Field. And one of them, senior Chris Cogliano, would prove to be the perfect partnership in the final two minutes.

After an eight-yard carry by junior RB Adrien Gurung gave Arno that breathing room he was hoping for, the two-year starter came out winging it, finding Cogliano on the slant to the 30. But a sack and two incomplete passes had the Marauders facing a fourth down and 10 from the 30 with 54 seconds remaining. Once again. Arno found Cogliano over the middle to the 46 yard line. On second and 10 from the 46, Arno was flushed from the pocket and took off down the left side and scooted to the 33 yard line with 32 seconds remaining.

On the next play, Arno found Cogliano on the right sideline in between two defenders. The senior evaded the inside defender and pushed the deep safety to the side before tip-toeing into the end zone with 15 seconds remaining. The point after touchdown was blocked leaving Winchester only two down but with not many options remaining.

Yet a short kickoff and a strong run back set up Winchester’s outstanding kicker Kieran Corr with a do-able 44 yard attempt with 4 seconds remaining. But while it had the distance, Corr’s kick got caught up in the swirling wind and drifted left.

“That was pretty special because we came together during that drive; the line, receivers, blockers. We didn’t get down on ourselves when they scored twice [in a minute]. We had a great week of practice and knew we had it in us to win the game,” said Arno, who finished the game going 15 for 25 and 263 yards through the air.

After a quick three and out to start the game, Belmont’s defense was to stop Winchester in the red zone where Corr kicked a field goal for an early 3-0 lead. Belmont would finally strike midway in the second after a long drive Arno dove in from the one to give the Marauders a 7-3 lead.

Head coach Brian McCray’s team stands at 2-3 with a visit to Lexington (2-3) under the lights on Friday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m.

Winchester would benefit from a pass interference and a hitting a defenseless player to bring the ball to the Belmont 2 where QB/RB Jack Centurelli plunged two yards on the right side for the TD and the lead, 10-7 with three minutes remaining. Belmont could come right back as Arno found Cogliano and senior WR Ben Williams on passes to push the ball to the one where Arno would crash through with one minute remaining in the half for the 14-10 lead.

Belmont would travel through the air on its first drive of the second, calumniating four minutes into the half with an Arno to junior WR Brian Logan along the back of the end zone. Winchester would creep closer with its own drive to cut the lead to 20-16 on Centurelli’s second rushing TD with two minutes remaining in the third.

In the first drive of the fourth quarter, Arno would find Logan on a third and long taking the ball from Belmont’s 32 to Winchester’s 32 then completing a 20 yard completion to Logan before Gurung took the ball then waited, and waited … and waited before exploding up the middle for a 13 yard TD and a 26-16 lead. With nine minutes left, it appeared Belmont would cruise to its second win when Winchester quickly marched down the field when Centurelli found junior Ryan Doucette for the touchdown with 8:03 on the clock and the score 26-23.

Winchester’s kicker Corr was an important factor in getting the ball right back by sending a towering kick with a spin that simply bounced off the Belmont returner and was recovered on the Belmont 12. Centurelli found Jack Costello in the back of the end zone and within 62 seconds, a safe looking lead with now a four point deficit, 30-26, with 7:01 to play.

While Belmont was able to convert one fourth down play, they lost the ball on downs with 4:09 left. But Belmont’s defense stood tall and forced Winchester to punt with under three minutes to play. Then Corr sent a perfect punt that died on the one yard line.

And that’s when the Marauders’ produced the drive of the game.

“This does a lot for team confidence with the comeback,” said Arno. “It will definitely give us a boost of confidence going on the road next week.”

Hockey: Gray’s Masterpiece Earns Belmont Girls’ Important Point Vs Winchester; Boys’ Rely On First Line, Again, To Eek Out A Tie

Photo: Bridget Gray is Belmont’s GOAT in the nets.

There was no right for the Belmont High School Girls’ Ice Hockey squad to walk away with one point against ten-win Winchester. For most of the game, the action was one-way-only traffic heading into the Belmont zone as the Marauders were chasing the puck for three periods.

But at the end of overtime, Belmont players swarmed their junior co-captain goalie Bridget Gray who gave the Marauders the lifeline to escape the Skip with a valuable 2-2 tie. If Gray has had a more impactful regular season game in her three varsity seasons please remind us as her performance against Div. 2 top-five Winchester was a masterpiece.

From the first 10 seconds where she stoned a clear breakaway to the final seconds of the 50 minutes she was on the ice, Gray stopped 54 of 56 shots, a monumental shot rate of 19 per period. But it’s unusual for Gray – who has been a starter since the 2019-20 season – to see a ton of pucks come her way as she surpassed 1,500 saves in her career.

The attempts at goal were a collection of challenging testers, many coming from open looks as opponents drove to the net forcing Gray to make instinctual reaction saves including after only six minutes when she stopped her second breakaway of the period and then smother the shot attempt off the rebound.

It was remarkable that Belmont (6-5-2) was only down 1-0 after 15 minutes as Winchester scored after crashing the net and ping-ponging the puck in. The second period didn’t look any more promising for Belmont, especially after a tripping call put a Marauder in the box for a second time in the period. But against the run of play, Belmont scored short handed when junior Lily Duffy sped into the Winchester zone and unleashed a wrister that hugged the ice beating the goalie stick side at 9:40 remaining.

Paraphrasing the line from Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles,” scoring on Winchester only made them mad and they came out looking to retake the lead coming close with a shot that sat on the goal-line, another off the crossbar from a blocker save and Gray stealing a goal heading into the open net with her glove and pads. But Gray could not singlehandedly hold back the onslaught and gave up the second just past halfway in the period.

But once again, Belmont scored out of no where when sophomore forward Gretchen Hanley was at the right place at the right time to pickup the puck from a mangled attempt of a save to tie it up at two. After so much work just to tie the score, Gray and Belmont would bend but not break to secure the tie. (Belmont would secure a 1-1 tie vs Reading

While Belmont kept its record above .500, the importance of the Gray-inspired draw is realized when looking at the now all-important power rankings table as the Marauders jumped five places in Division 2 from 34th to 29th, just above the 32nd place cutoff to remain eligible for the state tournament. But the tie against a .500 Reading has Belmont right at the 32nd cutoff.

And Belmont will need to rely on Gray to come up big in the final four games of the year as the team faces a true running of gauntlet of stellar opponents in the next two weeks – Arlington (ranked 2nd in Div. 1), Woburn (12th in D2), Haverhill (9th) and undefeated Winthrop (14th). Conceivably the Marauders could loss each game and stay inside the 32nd placement due to the high ranking of the opponents which can actually be beneficial when calculating the rankings. But Belmont would need to keep each game close, something Gray will have a big say.

Tired Ties For The Boys

Midway through overtime in its game against Middlesex League rivals Reading, Belmont (15-1-2) replaced two of its top offense line and number one defensive pair from the ice. Those who saw the players coming off wouldn’t be so wrong to believe they were watching a recreation of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow: there couldn’t be a more exhausted looking group dragging themselves back to the bench. Less than a minute later, the The reason for the image was clear: the five players were on the ice for much of the game which ended in a 1-1 stalemate.

And if you know who they are, you’d know why they should be out there for long stretches of time. The first line of senior Matty Rowen and juniors Shay Donahue and Cam Fici is the most productive and active group in the Middlesex League if not the state. They pop on the ice and suddenly it is theirs: they can dominate between the blue lines and then combine with deft passing and a deadly eye – especially from Fici who is nearing 30 goals this season – for the back of the net.

The stats tell it all: Of Belmont’s 16 goals in the past 7 games, 15 have been planted by the first line. The last non-Rowen, Donahue, Fici goal came from sophomore Matt Pomer against Woburn nearly a month ago.

Over on the defensive side, one of the best pairs in these parts is juniors Joe Gaziano and Peter Grace who have cultivated a partnership that provides a solid back line in front of all-star senior goalie Ryan Griffin.

And it’s not that Belmont is bereft of talented players: sophomore defender Adrien Gurung is a talented two-way worker (he scored Belmont’s first goal against top ranked Arlington in its 2-2 tie in January) while seniors Joe Michaud, Joe Dolan and Nathan Kefeyan have the toughness to play in the Middlesex League and youngsters such as the Pomer brothers (Matt and Mike) and junior Andrew Ferreira are getting their chance on the ice.

Yet when it comes to holding onto a slim lead, to be out there on the power play and short handed or if there is a need for a score, it’s likely the starting five will be called on. Just how much will Belmont’s bench use this set of assets as they come across giants such as Arlington away (Wednesday) and at home against Catholic Memorial (Friday) during the week will indicate their future use during the MIAA Div. 1 tournament where Belmont and Walpole are defending co-champions.

Belmont Hoops: Stratford’s First Game In Charge A Success; Girls’ A Work In Progress


Boys’ “New” Coach’s account opens With A Victory

When head coach Adam Pritchard was installed as the school’s acting Athletic Director, the Belmont High Boys’ Basketball team found themselves looking for just its third head coach in several decades.

But the school didn’t have to look far for Pritchard’s replacement as long-time tenured JV coach Tim Stratford has taken over running the program. And while a rookie leader in name only, Stafford was as excited as any first-time coach as Belmont got the season underway with a scrappy 64-59 opening victory against Middlesex League Liberty Division foe Winchester.

”Excellent start. They showed a great deal tonight,” said a smiling Stratford after the victory as the Marauders ended the calendar year with four victories in the first six games as it now begins a stretch against very difficult League opponents.

Relying on a combination of strong defense led by senior center Kevin Logan and launching lots of threes, Belmont demonstrated a balanced scoring attack led by senior Tyler Arno with 16 points, followed by sophomore Donovan Holway contributing 13 as senior Thomas Ryder, junior Collin Galloway and senior Nick Giangregorio scored 10 a piece.

It looked as if Belmont was going to run away from Winchester from the start stretching an early lead 19-6 at the end of the first 12 minutes. But Winchester would quietly rally with a 11-2 run and just before the half the once safe lead was down to two, 27-25, as Belmont’s three-point prowess fizzed out.

“We got out to a slow start in the second and it’s just some things that it’s early in the season so I’m not surprised they’re making some mistakes,” Stratford said.

Winchester would take a brief one point lead early in the third, Belmont would climb back on top with their favorite threes from Arno, Ryder and Giangregorio to lead 44-37 entering the fourth quarter. And while built the margin to 11 with 87 seconds remaining in the game. Winchester’s long distance shots found the range and the lead dwindled down to two possessions – 63-59 – with 25 seconds to play, but the Marauders hung on for the W.

“I liked all what I saw tonight because they played within themselves and within the game,” he said “But they sure scared the heck out of me at the end,” said Stratford.

At 4-2, the season has seen good wins against out-of-league opponent Dracut – which defeated Brockton and Chelmsford – and Liberty division foe Arlington. The team enters the new year to begin the bulk of its season against Middlesex league opponents starting at Melrose on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Girls’ Hoops Finding Out What Will Work

When you enter a season with a young and mostly untested team, it will take some time before the coach knows just what combination of players will give them the best results. And it appears Belmont High Girls’ Basketball Head Coach Melissa Hart will be performing that task for the foreseeable future.

In the season opener against Winchester at the Wenner Field House, Hart made several wholesale changes – at times entering four subs. But just who that group will be was not discovered that night as it was a rough start for the Marauders coming on the wrong side of a 50-32 loss.

“This team is certain a work in progress,” said Hart, who will miss three past varsity starters – including a league all-star – who transferred to private schools.

That lack of experience showed itself against Middlesex League Liberty opponent Winchester. Headed by the familiar figure of Belmont’s assistant volleyball coach, Sam Mosley, Winchester begins the season with its strongest team in memory with a trio of tall talented starters led by sophomore forward Emily Collins who score 12 points in the second quarter finishing with a game high 22 points.

Belmont is currently relying on senior guard Sara Dullaghan, the only starter with varsity experience going back to the playoff team of 2019-20. The starting guard’s quickness on defense and ability to get into the open court to slash to the basket saw her score 9 of Belmont’s 14 first half points and 7 of its 9 in the fourth to end the game with 15 points. Junior Sophie McDevitt finished with 6 points as Paula Dullaghan came through with 4 points.

Newcomers to watch this season includes freshmen forward Cortney Howell (three blocks and a raw force under the basket) 9th grade point guard Linda Sheng and sophomore Mia Ferrari.

After its annual trip to the Garden City Classic at Newton South High School over the holiday break, Belmont stands at at 2-4 overall, and 2-2 in the Middlesex League as it prepares for a month of Middlesex League opponents beginning with Melrose at the Wenner Field House on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Rookie QB Leads Belmont High Football Over Winchester, 41-14, As Lexington Looms

Photo: Belmont High senior RB Gordon Lassiter on his way scoring the Marauders’ second TD vs Winchester on Friday night.

It was suppose to be the year sophomore Jayden Arno would learn the quarterback position behind senior Ryan Broderick, getting a few snaps under center during practice, playing on the JV and watching from the sidelines on Friday night.

Fast forward to Oct. 21 when Broderick injured his non-throwing arm against a strong Reading team and Arno was thrown in against an undefeated Rockets defense. While he was under pressure on nearly every play, Arno did show a willingness to take a shot down field and tuck the ball and run mopping up in the 34-0 loss.

So the expectations for a 15-year-old starting his first varsity game were guarded at best as the Marauders traveled to Winchester for a match up under the Friday Night Lights.

But as the clock hit triple zeros 48 minutes after it started, Arno – who was one of the youngest players on the field – led the Marauders to a dominate 41-14 victory over Winchester, upping Belmont’s record to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the Middlesex League Liberty Division.

Showing the maturity of a quarterback who had been in charge for a while, Arno threw for three touchdowns, ran for an another and had no interceptions in a game that Belmont never trailed and where the defense allowed a single scoring drive.

”I felt good going out there and playing, coming into the game wanting to win,” said Arno. “The [practice] week went off [well] and I was running with the first offense which really helped,” he said. What also helped, Arno noted, is that he’s been playing football “my entire life” as well as learning the game from his brothers: Tyler, a senior defensive back and wide receiver, and Avery, a two-year varsity starting Marauder quarterback who also threw for three touchdowns in his inaugural varsity game as a junior vs. Milton in 2018.

For Marauder first year Head Coach Brian McCray, a week after being beat up by Reading, “we really wanted to come out this week and just give it our all. We had a couple of people banged up and a lot of guys stepped up this week and they did an unbelievable job,” point out out both Arno and junior Ben Williams who would score his first touchdown on Arno’s and the teams final score.

Belmont started the night’s scoring thanks to the defense as junior Chris Cogliano stepped in front of a Winchester pass to scamper 33 yards to give the Marauders a 6-0 lead mid-way through the first quarter. After a dominate defensive stance highlighted by a key third down stop by sophomore lineman Max Cornelius, Arno – who was making the most of a series of swing passes on the drive – found senior Gordon Lassiter in the flats and it was a race 26 yards to the end zone that Lassiter won to make the score 13-0 at the end of the first.

Arno than showed his arm as Cogliano took a pass between two defenders and raced 61 yards to the house and a 20-6 lead at the 7:40 mark of the second. Winchester responded on the next play as the Marauder kick off squad believed they saw Derek Gianci go out of bounds. But the referee didn’t see it that way and Gianci took it to the house to cut the lead to 20-7. Arno nearly got the TD back when he found senior Kevin Logan on a 26 yard strike to the Winchester 6 as time ran out in the half.

Winchester took the kick off and benefiting from a pass interference call marched the ball in for a score via Gianci two yard third down plunge to cut the lead to 20-14 at 7:38 remaining in the third. But from there Belmont would score three consecutive TD: a three yard rush from sophomore Adrien Gurung, a 10 yard designed quarterback run by Arno and a bullet from 10 yards out from Arno to Williams.

Next up for Belmont is Lexington (1-3) on Friday, Oct. 15 under the lights at Harris Field at 6 p.m. with an opportunity to move closer to securing a playoff slot.

“It’s just a great opportunity for us against a great team,” said McCray. “We’re gonna play one play at a time, one game at a time.”

A High School Doubleheader Headlights Soccer Night In Belmont On Saturday, Oct. 2


The Belmont High School Boys and Girls Varsity soccer teams will headline a doubleheader of top-notch soccer at the sixth annual Soccer Night in Belmont on Saturday, Oct. 2.

joined at the event by hundreds of younger players from Belmont 2nd Soccer and the Belmont Soccer Association, their coaches, and other members of the Belmont soccer community.

The games, to be played under the lights at Harris Field, will see the Marauders meet Middlesex League rivals Winchester: the Boys game at 4:30 pm followed by a Girls game at 6:30 pm. The teams will vie for the Phoenix Cup and the honor of having their team’s name engraved on it.  

Belmont youth soccer players will participate by parading out with players during the pre-game ceremonies, acting as ball-boys and ball-girls, and competing in mini-games on Harris Field during halftime of both games. Winchester Soccer Club youth soccer players will also participate in the pre-game ceremonies and other activities.

“This event showcases our varsity teams and recognizes the role of the Belmont Soccer Association in nurturing the talent that makes our high school teams year in and year out,” said event organizer John Carson. “We hope for a big crowd for a really fun night that builds bonds between our “little kid” players and “big kid” high school players, virtually all of whom came up through the Belmont youth program. In fact, one great highlight is always that our high school players wear wristbands during the game that match the color of their Belmont youth soccer team.”

Admission to Soccer Night in Belmont is free. Concessions including pizza, hot dogs, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase, provided by Parents of Music Students (POMS) so families can come for the games and feed the kids at the same time.

Soccer Night in Belmont is sponsored by the Belmont Soccer Association, Friends of Belmont Soccer (FOBS), and The Phoenix Landing.

Sports: Holiday Near Sweep Dampened By Season Ending Loss of Girls’ Hockey Captain

Photo: Emma O’Donovan with Belmont High Head Coach Ken Murphy

Belmont High sports teams came out of the Martin Luther King Day holiday on the right foot as all four teams took away points in their reverse fixtures against Winchester on Monday, Jan. 18.

But a dark cloud ascended over the day’s good results as the Belmont High Girls Ice Hockey program lost its most dynamic player for the remainder of the shortened season.

Senior captain and offensive powerhouse Emma O’Donovan suffered a serious injury in the final five minutes of the Marauders 3-2 victory over the Sachems in a game played at Woburn. While picking up a puck behind the Winchester’s net, O’Donovan – who scored a pair of goals in the game – was pushed into the end boards by a Sachem defender. O’Donovan went directly to the ice and stayed there for nearly 10 minutes.

The Winchester player was issued a game misconduct for a boarding infraction – it’s unknown if the penalty was reduced post game – as O’Donovan was taken for medical care. A number of individuals with direct knowledge of the injury said the senior captain suffered a broken leg in two places.

O’Donovan’s line mate senior Sam Rocci scored the Marauders other goal as Belmont saw its record rise to 3-0-1.

The loss of O’Donovan is especially hard for the team and community knowing how the senior has struggled and succeeded to stay on the ice and the field hockey pitch. A first-year phenom, O’Donovan missed her sophomore year in 2018 after it was discovered she was suffering a aneurysmal bone cyst in her left ankle, result in her missing that year and required multiple operations. An article in the Boston Globe (“Belmont’s Emma O’Donovan has been the epitome of perseverance” Jan. 13), detailed her effort to getting back on the ice at the same high standards as before the diagnostic.

O’Donovan was seeking to reach the 100 point career mark and was 21 points from that goal after scoring eight goals and one assist this season.

Senior Caleb Christensen put in an offensive rebound with 14 seconds remaining to give Belmont Boys’ Basketball a 62-61 over previously undefeated Winchester (3-1) at the Wenner Field House. The victory marks the second time the Marauders (2-2) lost the first game of a series only to take the second, having lost to Winchester by three, 52-49, on Saturday.

After rolling past Winchester in the first game three days earlier by 28 points (80-52), Belmont Girls’ Basketball had a bit of a tighter game against the Sachems but came out on top, 42-34, as the team goes to 3-1 in the season.

Boys hockey fell behind twice only to rally with two goals in the second to earn the tie against the Sachems to remain undefeated. Senior Ben Fici and sophomore Peter Grace tallied for the 3-0-1 Marauders as sophomore goalie Ryan Griffin posted 34 saves.

Soccer Night In Belmont Kicks Off With Varsity Doubleheader Sat. Sept 21

Photo: Soccer Night in Belmont

The Belmont High School Boys and Girls Varsity soccer teams will headline the 4th annual “Soccer Night in Belmont” this Saturday, Sept. 21, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Harris Field

Joining the high school teams will. be hundreds of players from the Belmont Soccer Association, their coaches, and other members of the Belmont soccer community.

Soccer Night in Belmont will feature a doubleheader under the lights at Harris Field vs. Middlesex League rival Winchester: the girls’ will play at 4:30 p.m. followed by a boys’ game at 6:30 p.m.

Belmont youth soccer players will participate by parading out with players during the pre-game ceremonies, acting as ball-boys and ball-girls, and competing in mini-games on Harris Field during halftime of both games. Winchester Soccer Club youth soccer players will also participate in the pre-game ceremonies and other activities.

“This event showcases our varsity teams and recognizes the role of Belmont Youth Soccer in nurturing the talent that makes up these teams year in and year out,” said event organizer John Carson.

“We hope to match last year’s crowd of 2,000 for another really fun night that builds bonds between our “little kid” players and “big kid” high school players, virtually all of whom came up through the Belmont youth program. In fact, one great highlight is always that our high school players wear wristbands during the game that match the color of their Belmont youth soccer team.”

Admission to Soccer Night in Belmont is free. Concessions including pizza, hot dogs, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase, provided by Parents of Music Students (POMS) so families can come for the games and feed the kids at the same time.

Soccer Night in Belmont is sponsored by the Belmont Soccer Association, People’s United Bank Foundation, Belmont Boosters, Parents of Music Students (POMS), Phoenix Landing, and Friends of Belmont Soccer (FOBS), with special thanks Belmont Athletic Director Jim Davis.

Trout FG Gives Belmont 17-14 OT Win Over Winchester

Photo: Belmont High’s kicker Hampton Trout hits the game-winning field goal in overtime to defeat Winchester.

Belmont High’s kicker Hampton Trout just hoped he would get a second opportunity to decide the game with Winchester after his 43-yard attempt sailed wide left as time ran out with the score knotted at 14. And when the Belmont defense stuffed Wilmington on its attempt to score in overtime, Trout got that chance to play hero with a 19-yard attempt.

“Everyone was coming up to me yelling ‘You got this, you got this’ and it getting into my head a little bit. But when I got out there and took my three steps back from where I was going to kick it, I knew it was going in,” said the junior kicker who was having a great night with a pair of touchbacks on kickoffs and punts that twice flew and rolled for more than 50 yards.

And Trout didn’t disappoint, splitting the uprights to defeat the Sachems in the first overtime, 17-14, on Friday, Oct. 5 to put Belmont (3-2, 1-2 in the league) in the driver’s seat for its first trip in the program’s history to the MIAA Division 3 North playoffs.

“While I practice as a wide receiver and quarterback, I stay after practice to work in my kickoffs and punting. And it really made a difference tonight,” said Trout whose exploits earned him the game ball.

The win against Winchester (3-2, 2-1) both a Middlesex Liberty Division and Division 3 North rival, 

“These guys worked so hard that they deserved this win,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin who was his ecstatic self when Trout’s kick went through the uprights. 

Under the Friday night lights, Belmont’s defense shined as it put the clamps on the high scoring Winchester offense led by DB and co-captain Jared Edwards who slapped away numerous attempts directed at his side while junior Justin Rocha continued his outstanding all-around play. And it was a big night for the big men led by junior defensive lineman Derrick Brown who garnered two-and-a-half sacks and a number of hurries on Winchester QB Tony Fiorentino while marshaling the D-line and putting the clamps on running backs Brendan Curran and Jakob Flores.

“I’m really proud of the defense. I threw the gauntlet down about our defense being physical and doing great work. We felt we were pretty physical against Reading but we gave up too many big plays. Today we only gave up two so we know we have something going on defensively,” said Kumin.

Offensively, Belmont’s vaunted ground game was finding it hard to get a rhythm going, but it only needed a fortunate bounce to get on the scoreboard. 

Junior QB Avery Arno fumbled the ball that hit off the turf and straight into RB Rhaki Joseph’s hands. The senior running back continued the play, sweeping around the left end where Edwards had the key block and into the clear along the sideline for a 49-yard second quarter touchdown.

“The ball bounced up like it’s supposed to. That’s how we drew that one up,”said Kuman, who pointed to the heavens in silent thanks as Joseph scored.

On an unfortunate note, the game was halted for 20 minutes after a Winchester player suffered a severe lower-body injury requiring him to be taken by ambulance for treatment.

Belmont nearly took the one touchdown lead into the half, but an Arno pass into double coverage was picked off at the Belmont 47 with just more than two minutes left. After a 15-yard penalty put the Sachems behind the 8 ball with a fourth down and 12 at the 39 with 16 seconds left, Fiorentino found Matt Romagna with a perfect pass for the touchdown.

After a defensive third quarter, Winchester began its one sustained drive in the game after recovering a Belmont fumble at the 48-yard line. The Sachems were resourceful, converting a pair of third and fours, survived a sack from senior interior linebacker Sam Harris and Brown.

After allowing an 18-yard pass completion on a 4th down and 15 that put the ball on the 10-yard line, the Belmont defense came through forcing a 4th down on the 5. The subsequent field goal attempt by Fiorentino was blocked by Harris.

After taking the ball on the 20, Belmont faced a 3rd and 8 from its own 22, when Aron hit Johnson with a swing pass looking for a short gain. As defenders Johnson exploded through a small opening inside then quick stepped it outside and sailed down right sidelines for a 78-yard touchdown with 7:22 remaining.

But the Sachems came straight back with a perfect pass action which saw Romagna romp 45 yards to the Belmont 5. The Sachems tied the score on a third down and inches plunge by Fiorentino with 3:28 left in the fourth quarter.

Belmont would keep the ball for nearly the remainder of the quarter, mixing runs and passes to Edwards to give Trout his first chance at winning the game. Despite the miss, Kumin had a feeling that his team would take home the win. 

 “I knew our defense wouldn’t make it easy for them to score so we had a chance,” said Kumin.

After last Saturday’s games, Belmont sits in third of the eight playoff places with two games remaining, insuring a home postseason game. Next Saturday, Belmont travels to 4-1 Lexington for a Saturday afternoon Prep School style tussle on the Minuteman’s grass field before ending the scheduled season against Arlington, currently at 1-4.

Belmont Volleyball Extends Record Winning Streak To 6, Tops Middlesex Liberty Division

Photo: Waiting for the serve.
Belmont High School Volleyball continued its historic winning streak by defeating perennial league powerhouse Winchester, 3-2 (18-25, 26-24, 25-23, 18-25, 15-5), on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Wenner Field House. The Marauders’ (6-0-0) six consecutive victories to begin the season breaks a long-standing team consecutive win streak that stood at five. The win places Belmont atop the Middlesex League Liberty Division standings.

“This is the most mentally tough team that I’ve ever coached,” said Belmont Head Coach Jen Couture. “Teams like Winchester push us to play our best and that’s what we had to do to win that match. It was a team effort.”
“They aren’t afraid of making mistakes, but instead, learn and adjust. They understand that we’re going to lose points and sets but the most important thing is who wins the last one.  They have the will to win and escalate their game to match each opponent,” Couture said.
Couture pointed to the consistent play of Belmont senior co-captain Leah Babroudi throughout the match, who was 15 for 15 serving with 3 aces, and perfect on serve receive 21 for 21. 
“Leah was all over the place on defense, covering her hitters and keeping balls alive. She is one of the biggest competitors on the team and her energy on the court is contagious. She is so tough and never lets a missed dig get to her.  She just shakes it off and gets the next ball up,” said Couture, who captained Belmont in 2004.

The Marauders started off a little slow in the first, keeping pace with the Sachems until they pushed from 19-18 to 25-18 to close the first set. 

The second set was back and forth, with each team going on 3-5 point scoring runs including one by Jenny Vetrano to bring the Marauders to 24-18.  Vetrano was 18 for 18 serving with 1 ace. The Sachems sided out and Senior Captain Luna Colozzo went on a run of her own bringing the score to 24-24 before the Marauders could side out and finish off the set 26-24. 
The third set was also close throughout with the Marauders inching away later in the set to win 25-23.  As the match progressed, libero Sophia Estok continued to read Winchester’s hitters better and better making incredible digs (25 total).  Setter Mindee Lai also played superb defense and was second in digs with 17. 
Strong passes and smart hits by senior co-captain Jane Mahon (14 kills) helped the Marauders to get into a groove early in the fourth set, as they were able to side out on the first pass for the first 5 servers. However, a serving rotation error saw Belmont’s lead reduced from 10-5 to 8-6, which caused the team to lose momentum and eventually the set.

While it was too late to take back the set, which they dropped 18-25, they picked up enough steam to start off the fifth set strong.  Estok went back to serve and brought the Marauders to a 6-1 lead.  Clutch kills to by Nena Trifunovic (7 total, 4 of her last 5 swings being kills) kept the momentum going and the team never let up.  Finally at 11-5 Mahon went back to serve and finished out the match, ending the final set 15-5.


Belmont is back home in the Wenner Field House hosting Arlington on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m.