After the first two weeks of the season, Belmont High Field Hockey has been, let’s say it, damn near perfect. In four games, the team is undefeated with 19 goals scored, and none conceded. That’s right; not a single ball has gotten by senior goalie Christine MacLeod.
Zero, zilch, nada.
And this from a team that lost nearly its entire back line from last year’s team and a defensive midfielder, AnnMarie Habelow, who is currently playing for Division 1 Louisville.
Not a bad start for Head Coach Jessie Smith’s squad made up of an extensive list of young role players who are jelling on the pitch right from the outset of the first game.
Belmont will meet its stiffest challenge of the season so far on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. as the Marauders host 3-1 Lexington at Harris Field.
After a blowout of Burlington and two easier games against Stoneham and Woburn, it took Belmont nearly the entire hour to break down Wilmington’s defensive stranglehold as the Tanners placed all its field players in front of the ball when Belmont was attacking. But
The biggest challenge was reconstructing the three defenders after losing All-Star Julia Chase (now playing at D1 UNH) and three-year varsity starter Molly Goldberg to graduation. Playing center defense is sophomore Emma Donahue who is learning to be a significant presence on the field, stepping up to take away passing lanes and intercepting balls in Belmont’s 1-0 win over a strong Wilmington squad last Monday, Sept. 11.
Joining Donahue – who is the niece of Watertown’s coaching legend Eileen Donahue – are senior veterans Meri Power and Johnna Crowley who Smith called “a defensive wall” making “great decisions with the ball” in the Wilmington game.
Taking over in center midfield from Habelow is all-star in the making sophomore Katie Guden. Running the offensive, Guden is Smith’s “Energizer Bunny. That kid never stops.”
“She is such a force when moving the ball and her passes [are] outstanding,” said Smith. Joining Guden quarterbacking the team are senior co-captains, Bridget Gardiner and Lillie Devitt.
“The midfield in general [is] very involved both defensively and offensively. They are critical in all transitions,” said Smith.
Belmont has not lost its scoring punch of the past two years, led by junior Jordan Lettiere who has talled six goals (including a hat-trick in the Marauders’ 5-0 at Stoneham) in three of the four games. Fellow junior Morgan Chase continues from last year being the team’s offensive juggernaut, using her stick handling skills to attack the opposition. It was her goal from an assist from Lettiere in the final three minutes of the Wilmington match.
Alexa Sabatino, the third senior co-captain, junior Hannah Power (each with two goals this season) and several more players are contributing in the opposition’s attacking zone.
“We are nearly half way to our goal of making the playoffs, once again,” said Smith.