Belmont Boys’ Soccer Frozen Out By Concord-Carlisle, 2-1, in Sectional Semis

Photo: Belmont’s Mick Pomer awaits a pass vs. Concord-Carlisle.

Friday night’s soccer match was played in frigid and windy conditions better suited for a retreat from Moscow. And for Belmont High Boys’ Soccer, the outcome of the Division 2 North Sectional semifinals at Woburn High was as bitter as the weather as the Marauders fell to Concord-Carlisle Regional, 2-1, on Friday, Nov. 10.

“It was a good competitive game that could have gone either way but unfortunately didn’t go our way,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane.

“That’s what playoff soccer is all about; it’s razor thin. You are playing good teams, so there’s not much margin for either team,” said Bisceglia-Kane.

The game’s first half was an evenly-played affair mostly fought in the midfield with both teams coming tantalizingly close to putting up numbers on the scoreboard. A Concord-Carlisle player missed a sitter in front of the Marauders’ net, and Belmont goalkeeper Nate Espelin made a one-on-one diving save at the edge of the box. At the other end of the field, a Patriot defender nearly headed in an own goal off Belmont junior midfielder Seamus Dullaghan’s free-kick only to see the ball skip by a meter from the left post.

After an extended halftime break, the game finally opened up with the first goal. A series of three short diagonal passes moving left to right 10 meters from goal eventually found open sophomore midfielder Ben Santos whose shot got by Espelin six minutes into the half.

A dozen minutes later, the Patriots struck again off a corner as defender Kyle Jackson ventured from the back to climb high and head the ball by Espelin to double Concord-Carlisle’s lead.

Down by a pair, Belmont began opening its attack with Dullagahan, senior defender Kostas Tingos and junior Jorge Mejia leading the drive into the Patriots’ end.

Belmont finally broke into the scoring column 11 minutes from time through a heads up play from senior forward Jake Carson. After receiving a pass 10 meters from the net, Carson passed back to senior midfielder Andrew Karalis streaking forward who blasted a shot by Patriots’ goalie Davis Van Inwegen.

The Marauders had chances to square the score as the play stayed into the Patriots’ half for the final 10 minutes. Belmont defender Danny Yardemian rounded the corner and sent a pass into the penalty area without finding either friend or foe. The closest Belmont came to tying it up was when Mejia’s semi-break was stuffed by a charging Van Inwegen. When the final whistle sounded, Belmont’s emotional responses were tempered by the icy and raw weather.

While Concord-Carlisle will play Arlington on Monday for the Sectional championship, Belmont ends its season at 13-4-2, nearly matching the 2014 Marauders which finished 15-4-2, also losing to Concord-Carlisle in the semis.

After the game, Bisceglia-Kane praised this team rather than just individuals, for the successes the team compiled.

“It’s all the players,” he said. “Any coach that takes a lot of credit for their success is an idiot. Every good team has a good youth program and has a bunch of players that are really committed to the game and to each other. That’s what we had and is the reason we made it here.”

After OT Win, Belmont Field Hockey Sees Playoff Run End To Central Catholic

Photo: Junior Morgan Chase scores vs. Central Catholic.

For 60 minutes on Saturday night, Nov. 4, the Belmont High Field Hockey team ran, passed and demonstrated solid stick skills that on most days would secure an easy victory for the Marauders.

But that wasn’t the case on a turf field in downtown Lawrence. It just so happened fifth-ranked Belmont met a fourth-seed Central Catholic High team that decided to show off its best form of the season against the visitors.

“They were really that good,” said Belmont Head Coach Jessica Smith after her team’s 6-1 defeat to the Raiders. “You should feel like you didn’t come out to play. That was not the case. They were superstars tonight and you were outmatched. It happens.”

“I asked their coach if they play like that all the time and she said that [Saturday’s game] was by far their best game of the entire year,” Smith told the Belmontonian. “We just got them on their best day ever.”

“They had to be their best because they were playing us,” noted one of the team co-captains which her colleagues agreed.

Belmont ended their season with a 13-3-2 record which included a 1-0 overtime victory over Natick in the opening round of the sectionals. The seniors, many who played the past three years on varsity, leave a strong legacy to build on, compiling a 42-9-3 record that included two league titles and three postseason appearances.

For senior forward and co-captain Alexa Sabatino, the night brought to a close a successful season for this tight set of teammates.

“At the beginning of the season, we lost two really important players (AnneMarie Habelow and Julia Chase who are currently playing Division 1 college field hockey), so we knew we had to work really hard. And everyone really stepped up because we needed that cohesiveness to go this far,” said Sabatino.

“And it was so much fun coming to practice this year, not one dreads it. It was a great team aspect, so we’re all really happy what we accomplished and be a part of it,” Sabatino said.

As for the game, Central Catholic was rolling on both sides of the ball using a great deal of speed, pinpoint passing and a swarming defense to counter a Belmont team that was performing at a high level of hockey proficiency. Standout defender sophomore Emma Donahue was kept busy with backline teammates seniors Meri Power and Johnna Crowley and sophomore Meaghan Noone to halt the Raiders straight-line offense up and down the pitch.  

But it was the lack of a scoring punch, a bugaboo for Belmont all season long, along with Central Catholics swarming defense around the ball which kept the Marauders off balance inside the attack circle. 

After a close miss by the left post by junior forward Mia Kaldenbaugh, Belmont finally broke through four minutes from the end when junior forward Morgan Chase – who scored against Central Catholic two years ago in a 5-3 victory in an opening-round playoff game – slotted a shot from two meters out into the right side of the Raiders’ net with an assist from sophomore midfield standout Katie Guden.

The Marauders got its post-season off on the right foot against Natick on Wednesday with an exciting 1-0 OT victory at Harris Field that belied just how dominate Belmont was on the pitch. Belmont grabbed 21 penalty corners to Natick’s 1 and had 26 shots to the Redhawks’ 2. But as in Lawrence, Belmont could not find the final touch on the ball despite playing nearly the entire second half in the Natick end.

That lack of a scoring punch nearly came back to bite the Marauders as Natick came out the aggressor in the overtime – when the teams are reduced to 7 players from 11 – as Belmont relied on Donahue to make some critical stops in front of senior goalie Christine MacLeod. The game-winner came two minutes remaining in the first extra session when Guden “decided that this game had gone on too long” and put in a shot from beyond 10 meters to secure the win.

The playoff victory softened the team’s exit from the sectionals which also brought to an end “coaching one of my favorite of all teams I’ve ever had,” said an emotional Smith.

“Now I don’t have anything to do in the afternoons,” Smith told her team saying she even enjoyed coming to practice each day. “Maybe I’ll now just go clean my house,” she said.

Going Up? Lack Of Temp Elevator Could Fast Forward New Police Station Decision

Photo: An exterior elevator in Italy.

Two months ago, the Major Capital Projects Working Group revealed a long-term plan for a new Belmont Police Headquarters located adjacent to the Water Division facility at the end of Woodland Street. Best guess for its opening? Approximately 2026-ish.  

But there’s a chance the working group could recommend bringing the proposed project before town residents for a funding vote in the next year or two.

What could fast forward the project is whether an emergency “fix” to the existing police station can include a temporary elevator fitted to the exterior of the building. That was the latest update provided by Working Group member Anne Marie Mahoney to the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday, Nov. 6 during a board’s review of the warrant articles before Monday’s Special Town Meeting.

“If that elevator can’t be added to the building, then it’s extremely likely in the Spring [the Working Group] will have another plan ready with a new funding source,” said Mahoney.

The Working Group is requesting from Town Meeting $383,000 be spent to create schematic plans for short-term repairs to the Police Station and the main building at the Department of Public Works, both which are in severe states of disrepair. The funds for the designs – which will outline the “emergency solutions” needed to “create … humane conditions for our employees,” according to Mahoney – will come from a portion of the insurance money the town received after an April 1999 fire destroyed the former Kendall School on Beech Street.

Once the designs are finalized, the Working Group will return to the annual Town Meeting in May seeking a bond authorization of between $4 million to $5 million to make the repairs at both buildings.

The big question mark on the future of a new headquarters is a proposed fill-in elevator. The police station doesn’t have a functioning lift in the two-story building which is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While the headquarters is allowed to operate under a grandfather clause, once “penny one” of the renovations is spent, the town is required to bring the building up to code.

Back in October, it was assumed a temporary elevator connected to the outside of the building would be sufficient. But since then, other experts are not so sure an elevator is “doable” at the site, said Mahoney.

If the elevator cannot be incorporated in the emergency repairs, Mahoney told the board the working group would develop a secondary plan that would call for the construct a new police headquarters “sooner than later.”

“If we can’t do the emergency repairs now, we have really no choice but to move quickly on a new building,” said Mahoney.

Mahoney said it would take less than a month for schematic designs to be completed by the first of the year, “so we’ll have six to seven months to figure it out” before Town Meeting.

Mahoney said it would be a challenge to develop a funding plan – past estimates pegged a new police station in the $20 million range – which will primarily be competing with a debt exclusion vote for a new/renovated Belmont High School which could reach $200 million.

Belmont Boys’ Soccer Meets Playoff Arch-Rival Concord In Semis After Dispatching Billerica, Winchester

Photo: Belmont junior Alex Rokosz goes up for a loose ball vs. Billerica. 

There is one thing about the upcoming Division 2 North Sectional semifinal matchup between Belmont and Concord-Carlisle Regional that spectators can already count on.

It will be entertaining. 

The game scheduled for Friday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. at Woburn High School have enough back stories to fill a book, the first being the Patriots’ sense of vengeance to what the Marauders did to Concord who last year was favorited for the D2 state championship. In the opening round sectional match, Belmont shocked Concord, 2-1, in overtime to knock the one-loss Patriots out of the tourney.

And if revenge is best served cold, Concord can take to heart that Friday’s forecast calls for temperatures in the 30s.

But then, one would have a hint that Friday’s game will be a must-see collision as the teams have a history of playoff clashes.

In 2014, the teams met in the Sectional semifinals when the Patriots came away with a solid 1-0 victory on its way to the Eastern Mass title. And in 2012, the two squads came together in another first rounder where the overmatched Marauders held a 2-0 lead over their hosts late only to fall 3-2 in overtime in a game where bad manners between participants were on display.

And with both teams having something of a history of playing with a chip on their shoulders, it’s expected for the match to mirror the spirited nature of a “Classico,” with the necessary number of stiff challenges and frantic pleas to the referees typical in post-season elimination games between good teams.

The teams arrive at the semis in good form. Belmont is on an eight-game winning streak while Concord Carlisle lost to one team (Acton/Boxborough, twice) this season. And each has two playoff wins under their belts; the Patriots bumped off number-one seed North Andover, 4-1, on Tuesday after defeating Central Catholic, 3-1, in its opener on Saturday. 

Belmont began its postseason with a strong 2-1 win over league rival Winchester on Friday and a convincing 4-0 thumping of Billerica Tuesday.

“This is where we expected to be after two very good wins,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane, who lead the team to an 11-3-2 regular season mark and the fifth-seed in the sectionals.

Belmont secured the opening win through a second-half penalty goal by senior forward Jake Carson after senior Andrew Karalis gave Belmont the first half lead.

Tuesday’s game was somewhat of a mismatch as the Marauders were able to combine precise passing with speed down the wings to launch dangerous attacks that Billerica’s back line had difficulty handling.

“We came out the same way as we do every game which speaks for how hard we are working to beat a playoff team like that,” said senior goalkeeper and co-captain Nate “The Professor” Espelin. 

But it was Belmont’s last line of defense that provided the offensive spark that resulted in the Marauders’ first tally. Espelin launched a 60-meter goal kick that bounced past a pair of Indian defenders onto the feet of speeding junior midfielder Seamus Dullaghan who put the breakaway by Billerica goalie Kyle Canario at the 19-minute mark.

Before the Belmont fans had time to sit down, the Marauders struck again at 20 minutes as Karalis headed a Laurent Brabo free kick by Canario.

Belmont could’ve piled on the goals if not of a series of outstanding saves by Canario. But the Marauders struck one last time in the half at 36 minutes as sophomore Ross Taylor quick-footed a Karalis pass into the net. 

Billerica had its chances early in the second half including an indirect freekick inside the penalty box after a less than professorial play by Espelin. Yet a lack of execution on the kick and during the game doomed the Indians. Espelin would end the night with his second assist of the game as another bullet of a goal kick founding senior co-captain Brabo who slotted the insurance goal into the back of the net. 

The game had its moments of chippiness that unfortunately devolved into a few particularly nasty challenges – a pair of yellow cards were held aloft by the refs – with the archetypical chirping that accompanies the boys’ game.

“Disappointed how the game finished. We lost mental fortitude at the end of the game, and we need to discuss that,” said Bisceglia-Kane.

“Everyone on the team has a little bit of an attitude and can be a problem at times. But obviously in the playoffs having the confidence that we can win every game is important,” said Espelin.

“But as I always say, motivation doesn’t win games. Hard work and doing the right things does,” he said. 

Four Nights In Venice: First Church Children’s Music Presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘The Gondoliers’

Photo: The poster of the show.

Be transported to Venice for a night of comic opera when you attend Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers” performed by The Children’s Music Program of the First Church Belmont Unitarian Universalist, located at 404 Concord Ave. just outside Belmont Center.

The plot is typical G&S – a topsy turvy comedy in which two married Venetian gondoliers, Giuseppe and Marco, are told they are not brothers and that one is the long-lost heir to the King of Barataria. And the only person who does know is their former nurse who is now the wife of a pirate in a faraway land. To make matters worse, the Duke of Plaza-Toro reveals that his daughter was married to the young prince in infancy, meaning one of the gondoliers has two wives! 

Live music by professional musicians will accompany the children’s voices. A wonderful cast ranging in age from 4 through high schoolers will perform each of the four nights. This show is sure to be fun for all ages.

Performances are being held on:

  • Thursday, Nov. 9, 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 12, 3 p.m.

Tickets available at or at the door. 

Belmont Girls’ Soccer Falls 1-0 To Woburn in Playoff Opener

Photo: Senior Carey Allard at the end of the game with Woburn.

Using a physical shutdown defense and capitalizing with a stylish goal on one of its two shots on net, Woburn High Girls’ Soccer upended favorites and hosts Belmont, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the Division 2 North sectional playoffs held on a breezy, chilly Harris Field on Saturday, Nov. 4.

On a night which third-seed Belmont held a distinct advantage in the run of play, the Marauders frustrating lack of a finishing touch set it up for an early exit from the playoff picture at the hands of the sixth-ranked Tanners.

“We did everything but score,” said Belmont Head Coach Paul Graham after he spent 10 minutes addressing his emotional players on the field after the game.

“So many shots and passes inside the six [meter goal area] and none of them went in,” he said.

Belmont finishes its season at 14-3-0 while Woburn (13-5-1) continues its playoff run in the semi-finals against Middlesex League foe Winchester on Thursday, Nov. 9.

Both teams came into the game after disappointing performances; the Marauders suffered its worst defeat of the year, 4-1, at Winchester in the final game of the season while Woburn – which had led the Middlesex League race five games earlier – came to Harris Field on a 0-4-1 run without a goal during that streak.

The game was tightly played on both sides without much offensive rhythm or flow as Woburn kept its eye on Belmont’s senior forward Carey Allard who is a favorite to be named league MVP. On the other side, the Tanners found it hard to break the Marauders steady backline of senior co-captain Natalie Marcus-Bauer, junior Megan Tan, and senior Emily Duffy. 

But it was Woburn who took advantage of an opening midway through the first half. The Tanner’s Kelsey Long took a diagonal pass from a teammate and before the Marauders could switch defenders hit an open right foot shot 20 meters out that curled past Marauder goalkeeper Chloe Tingos into the left corner of the net.

Belmont nearly got the goal right back when a corner kick was headed by junior Ella Gagnon that scrapped by the right post by Tanner goalkeeper Kelsey Qualey.

But for most of the next hour, the Tanners relied on its strength by playing with five defenders in front of its net while placing a single player up front. Belmont did come close on several occasions especially early in the second half when senior Morgan Krauss and midfielder co-captain Emma Sass each sent balls through the penalty area that somehow did not find a teammate to close the deal. 

And while co-captain senior Courtney Gray and Allard were able to work well down the left side, they were ultimately met by three and then four Woburn players who cut off the passing lanes and push them outside the penalty area. 

As the final whistle blew, the Marauders were left to watch as Woburn rushed the field to celebrate the upset.

“It’s a great group of kids. I told them this [season] is something they will never forget,” said Graham.

“Belmont is still one of the best teams in the state, I don’t care what anyone says. But you have to score to win,” Graham said as he walked off the pitch. 

League of Women Voters Holding Special Town Meeting Preview Monday

Photo: Modular classrooms.

The Belmont League of Women Voters and Warrant Committee is co-sponsoring a warrant briefing to acquaint Town Meeting members and residents with the articles in the Special Town Meeting warrant.

The meeting will take place Monday evening, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.

This is an opportunity for Town Meeting members and the general public to ask questions of town officials and department heads concerning any of the warrant articles prior to the Special Town Meeting to be held in one week on Monday, Nov. 13. Articles will include the financing of modular classrooms at the Burbank school and changing the selection of Planning Board members from appointed to elected.

Warrant Committee Chair Roy Epstein will lead the meeting.

Sports: Volleyball Back In Playoffs; Friday Night Clash At Cambridge

Photo: Back to the playoffs.

A ticket to the sectional playoffs for Belmont High Volleyball came down to the proverbial “win or go home” match with Wayland on Monday, Oct. 30.

Having last played in the post-season in 2014 – finishing 15-5 and reaching the quarterfinals – Marauder’s Head Coach Jen Couture said before the game the team “had it in them” to make its final game in the Wenner Field House a winning one, especially since it was happening on Seniors Night.

And they girls did do just that with a comfortable 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-22) victory over Wayland and a return to the postseason as 12th-seed Belmont (9-9) will make the short trip to just outside of Harvard Square to meet 5th-ranked Cambridge Rindge & Latin (15-4) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3 in the Division 1 Central-East Sectionals.

“They fought hard and they played at a consistent energy the whole game and we didn’t let anything get to us,” said Couture after the game Monday.

Stepping up in the match and in the past few games was junior middle blocker Audrey Quinn “whose gained a lot of confidence over the season and it shows.” Led by sophomore setter Mindee Lai and fellow 10th grader libero Sophia Estok, Belmont will also rely on senior Olga Katayenko and junior Jane Mahon up at the net and seniors Jen Tan and Julia Logan retrieving and serving. 

Discussing the upcoming playoffs, Couture said getting back to the postseason “is great for the program as this shows that we are able to return to the level of consistency the good teams show.”

BHS PAC Presents Fall Play ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ Thurs.-Sat.

Photo: “Peter and the Starcatcher” runs from Thursday, Nov. 2 to Saturday, Nov. 4

The Belmont High School Performing Arts Company presents the award-winning play “Peter and the Starcatcher” runs from Thursday, Nov. 2 to Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Belmont High School auditorium. Shows begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are:

Adults: $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Students/Children: $5 Thursday, $10 Friday/Saturday

Tickets on sale online at and at Champions Sporting Goods on Leonard Street in Belmont Center.

A theatrical adaptation of the young adult novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, “Peter and the Starcatcher” was a Broadway hit in 2012, with the stage adaptation by Rick Elice, featuring music by  Wayne Barker, telling the prequel of the Peter Pan story.


“[L]ike [one of] my favorite adventure stories, ‘The Princess Bride,’ this play is wickedly funny, filled with wordplay, clever gags and goofy mayhem that appeals to adults and children alike. Like the best works of the genre, it is a play is for all ages. For children, it is a new take on a familiar tale. For older audiences, it is a poignant story of loneliness and finding human connection, packaged inside a comedic gem,” said Performing Arts Company Producer and Director Ezra Flam.

“‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ is one of those stories, mixing fantasy and magic with a heartfelt tale of growing up, what it means to be a hero and the power of wishes,” said Flam.

The play is an adventure story, which tells the tale of how a young orphan boy ended up on a ship carrying a magical trunk full of “starstuff” that’s protected by an apprentice Starcatcher named Molly while the fearsome Pirate Black Stache determines to use the starstuff to become the most fearsome villain of all time. A shipwreck lands all three (along with a crew of pirates and orphan boys) on an enchanted island populated by mermaids and humorously terrifying “mollusk-people.”

A cast of 23 actors is supported by 75 students who are part of the production staff; working on building and painting scenery, making costumes, creating lighting and sound effects and working as production assistants. Under the supervision of an adult design team, these students are responsible for creating everything that appears on stage.

Through the collaborative efforts of the cast and student set crew, led by Scenic Designer Anna Moss and Technical Director Ian O’Malley, a collection of boxes, trunks, platforms and fabric become two ships at sea, a dark cabin below deck, a jungle, an island beach, and an underwater pool. The students on the costumes crew, under the guidance of Costume Designer Lila West, have created outfits for pirates, orphans, mermaids and more.