Photo: Belmont’s Jordan Coppolo (#4) scoring the winning goal in OT vs Billerica.
As the team was heading out onto the Harris Field turf for sudden death overtime, Belmont High Girls’ Head Coach Kathryn Anaian called out to them: “Ride the wave!”
Anaian was speaking about the momentum the team created in the second half of its game against Billerica Memorial High School in the season opener on March 28. After trailing 11-7 at the half, the Marauders’ held Billerica to just a pair of goals while scoring six second-half tallies that resulted in the extra frame.
“[Junior midfielder Carolyn] Findlay made a great comment at halftime. Let’s get the momentum, let’s fire everyone up and ride that wave. And we actually did it,” said Anaian.
Riding high on that crest was a pair of sophomores who were critical in the unfolding contest. After tying the game with a little more than a minute to play in the game, goalie Kendall Whalen produced a stellar one-on-one save with 8 seconds to play, one of seven she registered in the game to keep the game squared at 13.
It would come down to Belmont’s most dangerous attack forward Jordan Coppolo (4 goals) to make the play of the game after receiving a pass from Marauder All-Star Findlay (6 goals, 2 assists). Rushing into the slot, Coppolo would gather the ball between four Billerica defenders and score on a shot high in the net to secure an exciting come-from-behind victory.
“We needed this first win as a [starting] point and we got it,” said Anaian. “If this is our starting point, I’m happy.”
Belmont came out strong to open the game, scoring three times in the first five minutes by dominating ground balls and faceoffs. While the defense was playing an aggressive style against Billerica’s attackers, the Marauders found themselves behind 11-5 before two late goals from Findlay and Coppolo allowed for some hope of a comeback at the half.
“We have a ton to work on but I can’t coach heart and I can’t coach work ethic. And I have a team where everyone is all in. And for that reason alone, we will be successful,” said Anaian.