Photo: Emma O’Donovan is fouled by the Watertown goalie resulting in a penalty stroke goal by Emma Donahue for Belmont’s goal.
You could hear the sharp “thud” of the ball struck by Belmont High midfielder Emma Donahue off a penalty corner hit the back of the Watertown net across the entirety of Victory Field. It was just the start Belmont had dreamed of against the perennial Div. 2 state finalists: Five minutes into the game played during a downpour and the Marauders on the front foot in its match with the Raiders.
But rather than a celebration (or disappointment from the Raiders’ perspective), players, officials, coaches
When the officials made no indication one way or the other, the Raiders took the ball down the field and the game continued as if the entire sequence had been washed away in the rain. (The officials said they believed the ball had hit the right post.) What should have been the momentum Belmont needed to defeat Watertown for the first time in over a decade was not to be as the Marauders would fall to the Raiders, 3-1, on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
For Belmont Head Coach Jess Smith, the game came down to little advantages that Watertown had over the Marauders.
“I felt like they moved the ball a little bit better than we did today and a better sense of where the next pass should go,” said Smith.
The weather played havoc and resulted in the Raiders’ first goal as Belmont’s all-star defender Meaghan Noone lost her stick during a check which allowed Watertown to outman Belmont in front of the net and allowed for a scoop shot for a goal in close. The Raiders would double its margin off a penalty corner.
Donahue – who is a niece of Watertown’s Hall of Fame Coach Donahue – would get her goal on a penalty stroke after a foul by the Watertown goalie on Belmont’s top scorer Emma O’Donovan to bring Belmont within one, 2-1, four minutes into the second half. And the Marauders were a touch of a stick from knotting up the match a minute later when a screamer squeaked by the Raiders’ goalpost.
But that flurry would the best Belmont could muster as Watertown put nearly everything in its defensive coverage while taking advantage of overlapping the player with the ball.
The final Raider tally came from a penalty corner midway through the half.
Smith said especially in the second half her team wasn’t playing its typical game that relays on moving the ball upfield with medium to short passes and long solo runs. “We were trying to beat the other players with our sticks rather than passing it.”
Belmont would recover nicely the next day, Thursday, Oct. 3 when a rejuvenated Wakefield squad arrived at Harris for a game under the lights. Coming into the tussle on a seven-game winning streak, the Warriors had the first shot on net in the opening minutes.
Then Belmont reverted back to the crisp passing, dominating defense squad with senior co-captain Katie Guden showing why she is a candidate for Middlesex League MVP by dominating the pitch. Three goals in the first 13 minutes that included a pair by Guden
It was a game that role players made their mark on the field including senior Ilana Gut who scored her first goal of the season while Ellie McLaughlin got back on the scoring sheet, joining her fellow sophomore Molly Dacey who tallied a brace.
Belmont won 6-0 for its seventh shut out in 10 games, as goalies Molly Calkin and Kendall Whalen shared the victory.
After a match with Burlington on Monday, Oct. 7, the Marauders will have back-to-back matches with squads at the top of the Middlesex Liberty league table with a trip to Lexington (9-2-1) on Friday, Oct. 11 at 3:30 p.m. then an early (10 a.m.) morning contest on the Monday Holiday with Winchester (8-2-0) at Harris.
It’s a second meeting with both opponents – Belmont battled the Minutemen to a 1-1 tie and beat the Sachems, 2-1, in a comeback win at Winny – with a league title on the line with a pair of victories securing a banner (or what will hang in the Wenner Field House once the construction is sorted out.)