Photo: Seniors Molly Goldberg (left) and Julia Chase defend behind junior goalie Christine MacLeod with senior AnnMarie Habelow in the scrum during Belmont’s 3-0 shutout of Lexington.
So what did Katie Guden do after the freshman forward for the undefeated Belmont High School Field Hockey team was named the New England Player of the Week last Monday by a national field hockey website?
She just went out and scored hat tricks in consecutive games (and three this season) including one against a one-loss Lexington High School Minutemen on its home turf in Belmont’s 3-0 victory, Thursday, Sept. 22.
As the 14-year-old 9th grader goal total now reaches 13 and makes her one of the leading scorers in the state, Guden has become an integral piece of Head Coach Jessica Smith’s unbeaten (6-0-0) squad which is ranked 10th by the Boston Globe as it moves forward to retaining the Middlesex League Liberty Division title.
Monday brings another strong challenger as Winchester High School comes to Harris Field, the only non-state championship side to beat the Marauders last season. That defeat – Belmont gave up a three-goal lead in the final 11 minutes to lose 5-4 at Winchester – still haunts both coach and players who were there.
“This year’s motto is ‘Never Settle’ because we settled for a 4-1 lead against Winchester and lost the game. We’ll always remember that,” said senior co-captain AnnMarie Habelow.
Winchester comes into the match with a record of 5-1-1 and is on a five-game winning streak. The game starts at 6 p.m.
After a hard fought 2-0 win at Wilmington a week earlier, Belmont’s match with Lexington was the most challenging of the season as the Minutemen change tactics after falling behind 1-0 midway through the first half – via a Guden tip of a Habelow drive – by putting eight of its ten field players into the Marauders defensive zone.
“It took us a while to get used to having so many girls together in one place,” said Smith.
While the offense has been Belmont’s bread and butter this season – with 35, the Marauders are one of the most prolific teams in the state – it was Belmont’s defense that stifled the Minutemen onslaught. Led by senior co-captain Julia Chase with senior Molly Goldberg on the right and Meri Power on the left, Belmont absorbed the multiple attacks from Lexington’s forwards.
Junior goalie Christine MacLeod made three saves in the first half, but she stood out on a play that would not be recorded in the scorebook. With about eight minutes before the half, Lexington drove deep into Belmont’s end when the ball squirted to MacLeod. The second-year varsity starter trapped the ball in her feet and wouldn’t allow anyone to either squeeze the ball between her pads or dislodge it. For 10 seconds, with Goldberg and Chase positioned defensively behind her and Habelow joining the scrum for the ball, MacLeod kept possession. Finally, Habelow popped the ball out towards midfield to relieve the pressure.
Slowly, Belmont began to take control in the second half as midfielders sophomores Morgan Chase and Bridget Gardiner, along with forwards Lilly Devitt, Jordan Lattiere, and Alexa Sabatino started using long passes and dribbling to beat the Lexington press. Morgan Chase assisted on Guden’s second goal – a shot past the goalie’s far post pad – and Habelow got her second helper on the freshman’s hat trick goal.
“I like our team now. They do have to work on some things, but they are getting better each game,” said Smith. “We just need to be consistent each game and not let down because many of our games have been pretty easy. That’s why Winchester is going to be a challenge.”