Photo: Senior co-captain Jordan Lettiere (left) scored both goals in Belmont’s victory over Concord.
Belmont High Field Hockey tallied early and late as the Marauders eased by Concord Carlisle Regional, 2-0, in first round action in the MIAA Division 1 North sectionals at Harris Field on Halloween.
Senior co-captain Jordan Lettiere scored the pair of goals as the 7th-seed Marauders’ defense and midfield dominated the run of the game as Belmont held advantages in shots, 19 to 4, and corners, nine to one, giving the 12th-ranked Patriots scant opportunities to even the score.
“I thought we played well,” said Belmont’s Head Coach Jessica Smith. “I think we used each other and passed well. We need to make those opportunities inside the [attack] circle into goals.”
Playing inside forward, Lettiere netted her first on a backhand strike four minutes into the game – assisted by senior left forward Hana Power – then waited until the final 23 seconds to pocketed her second off a restart with the assist to junior center back Emma Donahue.
The victory sends the Marauders into the quarter-finals of the Division 1 North sectionals to battle it out against Masconomet Regional, ranked 2nd with a record of 16-1-2. The game is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. in far-off Boxford but the forecast calls for rain and thunderstorms throughout the day. The rain is particularly problematic for the teams as Masco’s home field is a grass pitch.
Masco defeated Reading, 3-0, Wednesday scoring its goals in the final 15 minuted of the first half. Belmont defeated the Rockets twice in Middlesex League play, 2-0 away and 3-1 at home.
In control for most of the game, Belmont used its speed and dribbling skill to bottle up the Patriots’ offense which relied on the long ball in an attempt to beat the Marauders’ press defense. When Concord entered the 25-meter mark from the Belmont goal, the Marauders’ backline – Donahue, senior Hayley Koenigsberg, and senior co-captain Mia Kaldenbough playing in front of senior goalie Molly Calkins – never gave the Concord forwards much room for an open shot on goal.
Smith praised the play of junior sweeper/midfield Meaghan Noone, pointing to Noone’s breaking up a three-on-one Patriots breakaway with Belmont up by a goal.
“She came out of nowhere and was a superstar,” said Noone, noting her two-way play, several times taking an intercepted pass halfway down the field to spark the offense.
“I had to get into the ‘zone’ … know who their best players were and step up,” said Noone.
Belmont controlled the tricky left side of the pitch – which is difficult to play well as field hockey sticks are all “right-handed” – as junior midfield Kate Devitt and senior forward Hana Power found the pace to outrun defenders.
Junior center midfield Katie Guden and her speedy compatriot Marissa Cecca caused fits for the Patriots as they used their quickness and stick skills to quickly transition the play to the offense. Up front, Belmont’s “go to” scoring duo – Lettiere (21 goals, 7 assists) and four-year starter co-captain Morgan Chase (14 goals, 9 assists) – generated many of shots in the game.
“I was hustling to the ball because I didn’t want our season to end,” said Lettiere.
For Smith, the next match will be only the second time on grass this season for the Marauders. But she noted that Belmont has won in the postseason on “real” turf, recently vs. Danvers, and believes the slower surface will allow her forwards to catch up to the ball and provide more scoring opportunities.
“The best players play best on the grass,” said Noone.
“We’ll do fine,” added Lettiere.