Walt Whitman wrote in his collection “Leaves of Grass” of “the teeming quietest, happiest days of all!/ The brooding and blissful halcyon days!”
These are indeed the halcyon days for both of Belmont High School soccer teams. In the first three games of the new season, the teams are undefeated (3-0), scoring goals (the boys have tallied seven over that stretch while the girls are averaging a gaudy six per game) each win has been via the shutout.
And to the delight of the head coaches – the boys’ Brian Bisceglia-Kane and Paul Graham for the girls – the games has seen long stretches (sometimes the entire match) in which the Marauders have dominated possession with an aggressive brand of attacking soccer backed by a solid two-way midfield play.
In the latest pair of games, the girls’ have gone on the road to defeat Melrose, 3-0, on Tuesday, Sept. 9, and Stoneham, 6-0, on Thursday, Sept. 11. The boys’ have enjoyed their stay on Harris Field’s new turf rug with victories over Melrose, 2-0, on Tuesday and a 3-0 win over Stoneham on Thursday.
“I think the group is doing a great job staying focused on what we are trying to do,” said Bisceglia-Kane after Thursday’s game where the Marauders
scored three times in the final 20 minutes of the first half.
Senior Co-Captain Norman Kilauititu scored his second goal of the year – although his best play occurred in the second half when he nearly scored from a wide bicycle kick to the thrill of the assembled girls’ team in the stands – followed by Danny Rizzo‘s 18 meter rocket set up by a wonderful series of short passing and finally Alex Berets flew by a pair of Stoneham center backs to volley David Chen‘s pass into the side of the goal. The game was the third clean sheet for senior goalkeeper Peter Berens.
Yet Bisceglia-Kane, who is in his first year as the Marauder’s head coach, said he is not concerned with the score of the games.
“I really don’t determine success by winning; you can win a game when you don’t deserve it and lose a game when you do,” he said, but rather determine success based on the goals they set for themselves before the game.
“That is how players stay focused … and allows them to work out of situations when they are down in a game,” said Bisceglia-Kane.
For the Belmont Girls’, the attacking beat goes on as six different players scored in the first 16 minutes of their game at Stoneham as the Marauders made fast work breaking down the Spartans.
But it’s not the number of goals that has impressed Graham so far this season but in the variety they are scored. Scores are coming from set pieces (corner kicks), physical scrambles in front of the net and building up from the midfield.
“This is the first year where when I put our subs in we do not go down in quality. Everyone of these kids want to play,” said Graham.
Yet Graham, who is nearing his 300th victory, is not about to proclaim this team as anything other than “good, so far.”
“Let’s put this into prospectus; we still haven’t played the better [Middlesex League] teams,” said Graham, who believe that Arlington and Lexington “are the class of the league as of right now” followed closely by the Marauders and their arch rivals Winchester.
“We are way ahead of last year’s team but I try to be a realist. I will know much more when we meet Arlington (away on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 3:45 p.m.),” said Graham.