Photo: Belmont High’s Isabel Burger taking first at Reading.
The shortened 2020 fall sports season reached it midpoint as Belmont saw three of its teams – field hockey, girls’ cross country and boys’ soccer – all registered their first victories of the campaign.
Burger leads Girls’ Cross Country to first of the season victory
A strong showing by Belmont girls’ harriers’ three, four and five runners saw the Marauders notch its first win of the season, defeating host Reading Memorial, 22-35, on a cool and cloudy autumn noon time on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Belmont Head Coach Melissa Tkacs said after the chaos of the first race in Lexington – every Belmont runner with the exception one ran an extra mile – that “each runner is coming into their own. We had a really solid training week so the runners felt confident coming into [the race] and you could see that confidence come through.”
Leading Belmont (1-2) over the short-ish 2.5 mile course was the team’s senior stalwart Isabel Burger who took first in 16 minutes and 2 seconds followed by fellow senior Elizabeth Hoerle who placed third in 17:03.
Burger lived up to expectations – she finished first vs. Lexington and second in Winchester – running stride for stride with Reading’s Sophie Shanley over the first half of the race before pulling away and winning by 61 seconds.
Tkacs also praised the running of Tori Meringer, Tilly Hamer and Angie Zhao – again, all seniors – who secured the win finishing in 4th, 5th and 6th.
“In cross country, what’s important is not only how your top runners do but also how the pack performs. Today I think we had a tight pack and that supported the team and provided us having a successful race,” she said.
Next for the harriers is a trip to Arlington on Sat. Nov. 7.
Estrada’s brace lifts Marauders to victory
Two goals by junior striker Mateo Estrada and a clean sheet from junior goalkeeper Damon Reyes resulted in the Belmont High Boys’ Soccer (1-3-1) winning its first game of the season, 2-0, in action at Harris Field Saturday, Oct. 24.
Estrada opened his scoring account midway through the second quarter with an assist from senior co-captain Theo Kargere. He doubled his goal total just 32 seconds into the third quarter on a solo strike, giving first year Head Coach Jean Laforgue- Carlone his initial victory running the team.
Belmont will be at Reading at 10 a.m., Halloween, in the reverse fixture.
Field Hockey, behind Donahue’s hat trick, earns first win
Belmont High Field Hockey was thrown into the fire as the season began, having to face Middlesex League powerhouses Lexington and Winchester all the while having to learn a new game due to extensive rule changes – the most significant being the reduction of players on the field from 11 to 7 – on top of limited practice time.
While Belmont found itself on the wrong side of big score results, the team made steady progress adapting to a game that relies less on traditional skills of short passing and stickhandling and more long on the long ball and speedy counters.
“We are starting to gel after having such a hard start with so many new kids on the team and trying to figure out where they go. You have to rely on some of them because our starters can’t last out on the field because they are covering so much of the ground,” said Belmont’s long serving head coach Jess Smith.
Belmont demonstrated its newly found game with a 3-1 victory against host Reading on Saturday, Oct. 24 as forward Emma O’Donovan scored the hat trick with goals in the second and fourth quarters.
As for the offense, it all comes down to O’Donovan.
“We could talk all afternoon about number 24 [O’Donovan],” said Belmont’s long serving head coach Jess Smith. The senior co-captain demonstrated her outstanding stick handling in passing defenders leading to her second goal on the solo break four minutes into the fourth.
O’Donovan’s final goal came 83 seconds after the penultimate strike, coming off a long rebound that she took on the backhand – requiring her to hold her stick with the stick blade positioned downward – and one timed it back pass the goalie.
While O’Donovan took charge up front, the Marauders’ defense starts with senior goalie Kendall Whalen who had a busy day beating back several drives into the the attacking zone.
“I don’t know how many saves [Whalen] had but I remember a couple of two player breaks that she rushed out of the net and came up huge. That takes confidence,” said Smith.
Twins Olympia and Sophie Kalavantis anchored the backline as the senior co-captains while midfielders Ellie McLaughlin and Ally Donahue won Smith’s plaudits for doing the heavy work of rushing back to help out defensively but also contributing upfield in the attack. And junior attack Molly Dacey “is just non-stop with a ton of energy who works hard whenever she’s on the field.”
At 1-4-0, Belmont hosts Reading at Harris Field at 1:30 p.m. on Halloween.
Rest of sports:
Belmont High Girls’ Soccer had most of the shots and was putting on a display of combination passing that Head Coach Paul Graham described as “the best we’ve done all year.” But the Marauders lacked the finishing touch against host Reading on Oct. 24.
And Belmont would suffer the fate of good teams that allow their opponents to “stick around.” Scoreless midway through the fourth quarter, a tricky shot alluded the Belmont defense which gave Reading the lead. And while the Marauders had their chances late, they could not convert from a series of set pieces, falling to Reading, 1-0, as the Rockets earned its first win.
Belmont, 1-3-1, will next see Reading on Halloween at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m.