Photo: Senior forward Katherine McCarthy scoring against Reading.
Belmont High’s Field Hockey Head Coach Jessica Snith still shakes her head and goes silent when she’s asked about “that” game. The one where Winchester scored four goals in the final 12 minutes to defeat the unbeaten Marauders, 5-4.
“Oh, I hate talking about it,” Smith said.
But two solid victories since has Belmont riding high again (8-1-0) and giving Smith a renewed sense of confidence as she and the team prepares for the regular season game of the year as Watertown, six-time consecutive state Div. 2 champion and winner of 148 straight games (as the Raiders prepare for a strong Lexington squad on Tuesday, Oct. 6) will travel the two-and-a-half miles down Common Street in both towns to Harris Field for the 6 p.m. match on Thursday, Oct. 8.
On a blustery and cool Saturday afternoon, Oct. 3, the Marauders defeated a team they could not figure out last season, Reading, scoring four goals in the first half to ease past the Rockets, 5-0.
The win puts Belmont in the Div. 1 North sectional playoffs, the earliest the Marauders have ever secured a ticket to the post season.
“Now every game is to get up a higher seed so we can avoid the big schools (Andover and Acton-Boxborough) until late in the playoffs,” said Smith.
“Right now, this team is playing so well that we can challenge anyone (in the post season),” Smith said.
Senior forward Katherine McCarthy scored the opener on an acrobatic shot from in close 11 minutes into the match. Morgan Chase tipped in a shot at the doorstep and Kerri Lynch got back into the scoring grove for the team’s third. Junior midfielder AnnMarie Habelow finished the scoring, her first from about 10 meters in front of the goal, the worst location a team could leave such a deadly scorer.
On Thursday, the girls defeated Burlington, 7-1, on Thursday, Oct. 1. In that game, Bridget Gardner scored as McCarthy and Habelow each scored a pair.
Smith said despite the Winchester loss – she has circled the date the Sachems will be visiting Belmont for the return match – the team has been growing in their teamwork such as multiple passes and stopping the other team from breaking out from their zone.
Smith has also tweeked the defense by changing a position player to add stickhandling and speed in the back line.
“We just want to make the change well before Watertown so it doesn’t feel like we’re doing something desperate,” said Smith, who said the Raiders “will be a tough squad [to meet] but so are we.”
Next up for the girls is a trip to Wakefield on Tuesday, Oct. 6 before Thursday night’s big match.