Belmont Girls’ Lax ‘Ride The Wave’ To Playoffs, First Time Since 2012

Photo: Belmont High Girls’ Lacrosse seniors: (from left) Kelsey Hanley, Julia Casey, Marissa Cecca (co-capt.), Breah Healey, Lindsey Gaziano (co-capt.), Mia Kaldenbaugh (co-capt.).

Belmont High Girls’ Lacrosse Head Coach Katy Ananian said one of the top goals of her third season in charge of the Marauders was a return to the MIAA Division 2 East sectional tournament which has eluded the program for the past seven years.

“They deserve [the playoffs] this year,” said Ananian of her young team with seven sophomores and a freshman on varsity. “They really earned it.”

Anaian and the team can now check that box as the Marauders secured their place in the postseason for the first time since 2012 with a convincing 19-9 victory over hosts Stoneham on Thursday, May 23.

Senior co-captain Marissa Cecca

The victory gave Belmont its ninth victory (along with eight losses) of the season that has been as streaky – it opened the season with five victories followed by a four and then three-game losing streaks – as it is successful.

“I tell them that we can’t take our foot off the gas for the rest of the season. Every single thing matters whether it’s at practice when they’re picking up a ground ball, it’s going to affect us in the long run,” said Ananian after a victory against Quincy.

The victory allowed the Marauders to forego a “win or go home” scenario in the last game of the season at Newton North where Ananian will match wits with her sister, Abby Ananian, the Tigers’ head coach.

With the exception of a few games against the best teams in the league, Belmont has battled in each contest, led by a strong defensive crew made up of seniors Mia Kaldenbaugh (a co-captain) and Leah Gaziano along with sophomore Ashley Green. The team is backstopped by another sophomore goalkeeper Kendall Whalen, who is becoming a steady shot blocker in net.

Speedster senior co-captain Marissa Cecca is one of the quarterbacks of the Marauders’ attack paired with sophomore Ainsley Conroy. Up front, 10th grader Jordan Coppolo and junior Sarah Looney are joined by junior all-star and three-year starter Caroline Findlay who once again is Belmont’s leading scorer. Against Quincy, Findlay tallied her 200th goal of the season, only the fourth Marauder to achieve that mark.

Junior Caroline Findlay with the game ball.

Already committed to attend and play for NCAA Division III powerhouse Franklin and Marshall (which reached the semifinals this year), Findlay said her scoring prowess is a “crazy thing” as she will be a defender in the college game. “But I think I’ve grown so much playing attack.”

Reaching the milestone “is something I’ve been working towards since freshman year but I couldn’t have done it without my coach and teammates constantly pushing me to get better,” said Finlay.

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