Sports: Girls’ Basketball Playoff Bound After Dunking SpyPonders, 42-26

Photo: Sophomore Jane Mahon heading to the basket at Arlington. (Credit: Pete Giorgio) 

Unlike last season, Belmont High Girls’ Basketball did not wait ’til the last minute to punch their ticket to the playoffs. This year, they got there early, securing its tenth win in only 12 games as the Marauders had to survive what Head Coach Melissa Hart dubbed “a grim first half” to defeat hosts Arlington High, 42-26, on Friday, Feb. 3.

“We’re in the tournament which is great,” said Hart.

Leading the Marauders was sophomore forward Jane Mahon who had a career night with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.

“Usually I rush my shot but tonight I just took it a step slower, seeing where my defender was. If they were playing off me I was shooting jump shots but if they were on me I was driving the baseline,” said Mahon.

The first half was a rugged affair, with its share of missed shots and fouls as sophomore center Jess Giorgio (4 points) was in foul trouble early. Arlington, which won its first game of the season this week, led after the first, 7-6, and kept it close at the half. Belmont soon took the lead off of three Mahon hoops, which accounted for half of Belmont’s baskets. 

Up 19-15 at the half, the third quarter sealed the game for Belmont as the Marauders’ defense checked the SpyPonders, allowing two free throws, while Mahon took care of the offense with a pair of baskets and a free throw to push the lead to 30-17. Junior forward Jenny Call finished with 10 points including a pair of 3s in the fourth quarter.

Hart said the team is going into the Division 2 North sectionals “fairly well-rounded group in its scoring.”

“One of the most dangerous things is that we’ve had six different high scorers in the past six games,” she said. 

“I think we’ll be tough to guard, it’s hard to focus on one person to try and stop us.”

Sports: Belmont Boys’ Hoops Left Out In The Rain By SpyPonders

Photo: Sophomore guard Daniel Yardemian vs. Arlington.

Why when the Belmont High School Boys’ Basketball team crosses Route 2 to visit its neighbors Arlington High, it’s always raining? Tuesday’s game, Jan. 3, marked the fourth time in five years that the Marauders have been met with a downpour entering the Arlington High gym.

And for the third time in four years, the outcome of the match was a dreary as the weather.

Playing catch-up throughout the game that saw Arlington make the last shot in the first three-quarters – including a 3-point prayer by junior Adrian Black at the end of the critical third quarter – the Marauders could not put together a consistent offense against the SpyPonders, falling 64-57.

It was not the game Belmont (4-3, 2-2 in the Middlesex League) was expecting to play after defeating a top-ranked Division 1 New Bedford team during the holiday break. Arlington remains undefeated at 5-0. 

Belmont’s only lead came with the game’s opening basket from game-high scorer senior captain Paul Ramsey (25 points) before two consecutive three-point bombs from Nick Karalis (8 points) and all-star senior Colin McNamara (with an all-around great game with 22 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds) had Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard calling a timeout just a minute into the match.

While Ramsay kept Belmont in the game, the team just wasn’t clicking on any of their shots, ending the first quarter with an anemic 5 points and down by 10.

The second eight minutes saw a more familiar Marauder team – up tempo sparked by senior forward Cal Christofori (8 points, all in the second quarter) who used his athleticism to start the comeback.

Sophomore guard Daniel Yardemian (2 points) was quite effective driving to the basket then dishing the ball to Ramsey and Christofori. A Christofori putback of a Yardemian miss ended a 12-2 run to tie the score at 17 with 4:30 to play.

But the Marauder momentum was short-circuited by consecutive traveling calls, one not called on the SpyPonders and the other a phantom infraction on Belmont. The subsequent 3 by Karalis and a jumper by Dominic Black upped the lead to seven at 26-19.

For the second time in the quarter, Belmont race back behind a 360 spinning layup by Christofori, Yardemain’s drive in the lane and a Ben Jones 3 pointer to tie it up at 27 with Belmont in possession with 20 seconds left in the quarter. But an unforced error on the inbounds gave the ball right back to the hosts which McNamara scored as the buzzer went off.

After tying the game for the third (and final time) at 29, it was Arlington which forced the issue. While Belmont missed several chances in close, the SpyPonder went inside to sophomore big man James Gascoigne (8 of his 14 points in the third) and outside to the Black brothers (juniors Dominic and Adrian) who scored a couple of long range 3s as Arlington raced to a double-digit advantage at 42-31 with 3:10 left.

Despite senior Bryan Goodwin (11 points with three 3s) hitting a three in transition and a hoop on the drive inside, Belmont could not mount a run they had in the second quarter. Down 9 with a second left, Dominic Black’s buzzer beater sent Arlington into the fourth up by a dozen.

Arlington kept up the pressure and extended the lead to 16 after two minutes and cruised to the victory.

Belmont will be on the road in Woburn on Friday.

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Football: Belmont Drains SpyPonders, 17-14, on Final Play Field Goal

Photo: It’s good as Aidan Cadogan (#3) is congratulated after hitting the winning points vs. Arlington.

After the final whistle blew, a person on the sidelines said, “Belmont doesn’t win games like this.”

It does now.

A 31-yard field goal by junior kicker Aidan Cadogan splitting the uprights on the final play of the game gave the Belmont High Marauders a thrilling 17-14 victory over Arlington High in a Middlesex League football matchup before a large, boisterous crowd at Belmont’s Harris Field under the Friday night lights, Sept. 23.

“I’m just so proud of our guys. They live what we preach; ‘Big Play, Next Play’, ‘Livin’ in the Reap.’ All credit is due to them. I just call the play, and they go out and execute it,” said Belmont third year head coach Yann Kumin.

“It’s a new era,” said Ben Jones, the team’s workhorse who smashed 200 rushing yards for the game.

“Coach Q started it, my brother [Max Jones] started it, everyone started it who was before us. We couldn’t have done this without them. This is a new Belmont,” he said.

Belmont is currently 2-1 and 1-1 in the Middlesex League with a two-game winning streak.

On the final drive of the game as the Marauders’ was driving down the field in the closing three minutes, kicker Cadogan said he was thinking “just get it in field goal position and the team did and I’m just excited to hit the field goal.”

As he was preparing for the kick, Arlington called a timeout in an attempt to “freeze” the junior. “Normally I don’t really get iced, that’s just me. When they tried it, I said, ‘I’m going to hit this!'”

For the second consecutive week, the night’s star was senior back Jones who carried the ball 40 times for 242 yards and running in both of Belmont’s touchdowns.

“I was able to do this is because of the [offensive] line. They’ve given me holes, given me places to run,” Jones the Belmontonian outside the White Field House after the game.

“We just kept pounding it down their throats and they couldn’t stop us,” Jones said, who has scored seven touchdowns and gained 576 yards in the past two games.

“It’s just keeping up with the Jones’. That’s all we’re trying to do,” said Kumin.

The game did not start out as planned as Arlington’s junior running back Alijah Woods took the ball on the game’s third play 54 yards down the sideline to Belmont’s 6.

But on the next four plays, Belmont’s defense stood firm – led by Adam Deese, Dennis Crowley and Ryan Noone – halting the SpyPonders on Belmont’s two-yard line.

For most of the night, the preferred option was only given Jones the ball and let him pick up four, five or six yards a carry. Mixing up the plays, QB Cal Christofori hit receiver Dylan Ferdinand down the middle for 32 yard to the Arlington 33. But as Belmont was preparing to score, they lost a fumble at the 8. But two plays later, they recovered an Arlington miscue leading to Jones scoring with 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter. 

Despite having the ball for most of the second quarter, Belmont could not convert. But Arlington did in spectacular fashion. After punting with 30 seconds left in the half, Arlington’s junior Jaden Dottin took a slant pass from sophomore QB Adam Bowler and simply outran the Belmont defensive back to score with 20 seconds left in the half to tie up the game at 7.

If Arlington was hoping its fast strike would shift the momentum, it simply wasn’t coming this time in Belmont. Getting the ball to start the second half, QB Cal Christofori handed the ball off to Jones who would pick up five to seven yards with each carry, ending when Jones went to his favorite right side and popped into the end zone to give Belmont a 14-7 lead.

“Arlington’s a tough team, but I think we are a little bit tougher. We have been preaching that all season. We want to be the hardest hitting team by far and they felt it and that’s why we went took the lead,” said Jones.

But Belmont enjoyed the lead for a mere 20 seconds when senior John Nascimento ran the kickoff – which was pushed back due to a knocking the kickoff out-of-bounds – down the right sideline 70 yards for the equalizing TD.

The remainder of the game until the final drive was each defense took charge. Belmont’s Tyler Reynolds knocked away a 40 yard pass from Bowler to Dottin that would have given Arlington the ball deep in Marauders territory with three minutes remaining. 

The last drive, with only 2:17 left in the game, saw a trio of big plays: a pitch to Jones who rounded the left side for 28 yards to the Arlington 37, a quarterback sneak by Christofori on fourth down to the SpyPonder’s 23 with 23 seconds left and dump pass from a scrambling Christofori to junior fullback Adam Deese who hugged the slideline going out on the 8 with only five ticks on the scoreboard.

“Adam just popped out of his protection and gave [Christofori] an outlet and that abled us to get down inside the 10 [yard line]. We got the best kicker in the Middlesex [League], and he proved that for us tonight,” said Kumin

After Cadogan hit the ball through the uprights – the kick would have been good from 40 plus yards – all that needed to be confirmed with the end of the game which came after half a minute of discussion from the refs. The whistle blew and the celebration commenced.  

“Ask me when it becomes real. It’s not real!” said an ecstatic Kumin, who high-stepped across the field after the traditional handshake a-la Michael Flatley.

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Sports: Belmont Girls’ Hoops Stumbles vs Arlington, Difficult Week Ahead

Photo: Sophomore guard Alexa Sabatino heading to the basket against Arlingon home.

There is no better example of a team with a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde persona than Belmont High’s Girls’ Basketball team.

When on their side of the midcourt line, the Marauders’ are a ball-hawking defense that makes it difficult for (most) teams to set a good shot off, holding strong teams such as Woburn, Chelmsford, and Watertown below their season point average.

But cross the line into the opponent’s end and the team’s aggressiveness evaporates and a tentative, almost timid offense emerges with the growing tendency of coming way without even attempting a shot at the hoop. With the rare exception, open shots are deferred, and the ball is passed to a player in the paint where a slew of opponents are waiting.

Beginning with a lackluster loss to an average Wakefield team when Belmont was 7-2, Belmont has fallen to a ranked Watertown squad by 12 points despite being tied with the Raiders with 2 minutes and 30 seconds left in the game, and on Friday night, Jan. 29 dropping a home game in overtime, 56-52, to Arlington, a team Belmont easily dispatched, 48-31, early in the season. 

Friday night’s loss wasted a career night from sophomore Alexa Sabatino (12 points) who scored came off the bench to spark the offense late in the game with two baskets (one off a beautiful putback of an offensive rebound) and 3 for 3 (8-8 in the game) from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to give Belmont a chance in the final minute of regular time. 

Arlington was able to stick around through the work of senior center Mallory DeFeo (12 of her 17 points in a dominating first half as well as a three in the fourth) and junior guard Rosalie Flinn who scored 16 of her game-high 18 points in the second half and overtime.

On the other hand, Belmont would commit three 30-second violations – turning the ball over for not taking a shot –  in the game while on four consecutive occasions in the third quarter, the team came away not having a shot at the basket, losing possession via turnovers or offensive fouls.  

Belmont nearly pulled off the victory when Sabatino hit two from the charity stripe with 1:39 remaining in the fourth quarter to bring Belmont within one point, 46-47. 

An outstanding defensive stance forced a traveling call against the SpyPonders with 50 seconds left on the clock gave the ball. The ball found freshman center Jess Giorgio (3 points) – playing significant minutes with senior forward Sarah Stewart forced to the bench – in the paint, and the 6-foot 9th grader posted up and drained a bucket with half a minute remaining, giving Belmont a one-point lead, 48-47. 

Giorgio nearly won the game single-handedly with a perfectly timed block on the other end of the court. Unfortunately, the subsequent action saw Belmont foul Arlington’s Margaret Ammondson, who sank one of two to tie the game. A layup attempt by Belmont’s all-star guard Carly Christofori (11 points) was blocked as time ran out.

Knotted up at 52 with less than a minute in OT, Arlington’s Grace Caulo (12 points) drained a pair of free throws to give the SpyPonders a two-point lead. Lexington intercepted a Belmont inbounds pass with 17 seconds remaining, leaving the Marauders to wonder what-if. 

Friday’s defeat leaves Belmont at 8-5 with games this week against undefeated and 6th-ranked Woburn away (a rematch which Belmont lost in the final second at home, 51-50) and home Friday against 12-4 Lexington.

The match will see the last visit to the Wenner by Minuteman senior Anna Kelly who two years ago dropped 52 points against the Marauders (the third highest point total by a high school girl in Massachusetts scholastic history) and score 27 points including four threes and double digits in assists in a 62-43 pummeling of Belmont earlier in the season. 

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Sports: Belmont Boy’s Hoops Tops League Table Defeating Ranked Arlington,

Photo: Justin Wagner scoring vs. Arlington.

A dominating third quarter by its three big men under the basket powered Belmont High School to the top of the Middlesex League Liberty Division after the Marauders defeated Arlington High School, 75-65, before a ruckus home crowd at the Wenner on Friday, Jan. 30.

Co-captain senior forward Justin Wagner scored 9 of his 14 points in the third as he and fellow forward Joe Shaughnessy (10 points with 6 in the final quarter) dictated play on both ends of the court, allowing Belmont to spring one-too-many fast breaks for the SpyPonders – ranked 9th in the latest Boston Globe basketball poll – to allow and stay with the Marauders as Belmont outscored the SpyPonders, 20-13, to extend its halftime margin from eight to 15 at the start of the final eight minutes.

The victory, revenge for the loss in December at Arlington (12-3) where Belmont (13-2) gave up a late lead for its first loss of the season, puts Belmont a game up in the race for the league championship. 

“We kind of flipped the last game around in defense, rebounding and pounding them on the glass,” said Adam Pritchard, Belmont’s long-time head coach. 

Lead by league all-star point guard Matt Kerans who finished with 20 points (including two threes, double-digit in assists and 8-8 from the line), Belmont stayed with the quick SpyPonders which used its quickness and opportunistic defense through the first quarter (15-14 Arlington lead) before a bucket by sophomore Tomas Dononyan (2 points) followed in quick succession by a pair of threes from junior guard Daron Hamparian (8 points) gave the Marauders a 24-17 lead with 5:30 to go in the half. 

Belmont’s dominance under the basket was evident when on several occasions when the Marauders had multiple looks at the basket by grabbing the offensive bound, in one sequence, taking four than six shots at the hoop before making the bucket. 

“There’s not doubt that our forwards are a big part of our game because it opens the court for Kerans and our guards,” said Pritchard. 

The Marauders went into the break with a 38-30 lead followed a surging junior forward Paul Ramsey who scored 7 of his 16 points in the second, two nights from a 23 point performance against Watertown in a 69-60 victory. 

Arlington could not muster a sustained challenge against the Marauders as Belmont matched every SpyPonder point run with one of its own. Arlington junior captain Colin McNamara scored nine of his team-high 20 in the fourth. 

There remain parts of the team’s game that could use improving moving forward, said Pritchard. 

“We have a big line-up but we have to handle full-court pressure and certainly must work on our rebounding and to be honest, we have to get healthy,” he said.

 

Sports: Belmont Boys’ Hoops Bumped from Undefeated on Last Second Drive at Arlington

Photo: Belmont’s junior Dylan Ferdinand making a layup vs. Arlington.

It was not the way Belmont High Boys’ Basketball Head Coach Adam Pritchard wanted his team to prep before facing a pair of strong basketball squads in the Boston Amateur Basketball Club’s annual Holiday Classic in Boston over the holiday break. 

An inspired game by host Arlington High School minus the solid games Belmont had been playing in the first four games of the season added up to a loss for the Marauders, knocking them from the undefeated.

Tied at 58 after a  layup with 12 seconds remaining, Belmont’s defense could not contain Arlington’s junior guard Colin McNamara (a game high 17 points) who drove through the Marauders defense to score the winning bucket with 1.2 seconds left and give Arlington (4-1) the 60-58 win over Belmont (4-1) on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

Pritchard didn’t mince words disecting the defeat.

“We played lousy defense, we didn’t box out. You lose by two points, you think it comes down to this and that. But flat out, right down to the last play of the game when [McNamara] beat us off the dribble. That play happened over and over again,” said Pritchard.

“I’m sure all our guys are disappointed but this game isn’t that complicated. You keep the guys in front of you, you box out, you limit them to one shot and that did not happen,” he said.

A close affair for the entire game, both teams came out guns ‘a blazing, scoring 18 points in the first quarter with seven Marauders getting on the scoring column led by senior shooting guard Cole Bartels (10 points) with a three and a two 

The Marauders kept up the pressure in the paint in the second quarter as senior Luke Peterson (9 points) dropped in a pair of hoops as well as a free throw to contribute five of Belmont’s 12 points, giving the visitors a 30-27 lead at the half.

After the break, Arlington found its D and worked hard fronting Belmont’s players, limiting the Marauders to mostly outside shots. Senior point guard Matt Kerans (16 points) and Bartels each hit open threes but Belmont could only muster two other baskets while Danny Slebodnick led the SpyPonders with 7 points which tallied 16 points to Belmont’s 10 in the third, and falling behind the hosts ssssaasaby three, 43-40.

“They played better defence than us. It didn’t have anything to do with home or away,” said Pritchard.

The fourth stanza saw Belmont hanging around one to three points from the Arlington lead, cutting it to a single point, 54-53 with three minutes to play on a Justin Wagner layup.

After swapping a basket and a free throw (Belmont missed a third, 6 of 18, of their chances from the charity strip), a good defensive stance gave the Marauders the ball wth 26 seconds left. A drive by Kerans opened the court for junior sixth man Dylan Ferdinand (6 points) to hit a layup with 12 second remaining to tie the game.

Yet the basket wasn’t enough to secure a chance at overtime.

Belmont will spend the winter recess going against some heavy hitters in the Holiday Classic being held at Cathedral High School in Boston’s South End. Thirteen boys’ basketball teams, including three from out of state, will take part in the tournament.

Belmont opens the tourney vs. Everett at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 28 then taking on New Bedford at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29.

Sports: Belmont Girls’ Hoops Remains Undefeated Behind Winklaar’s Big Night

Photo: Belmont High co-captain Samari Winklaar.

In the last game of 2015, Belmont High senior co-captain Samari Winklaar went off like a New Year’s firework, scoring 15 points in the first half (half of the team’s total) on her way to a career-high 19 points as she spurred on her teammates to a 48-31 victory over hosts Arlington High School Spy on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

“I was waiting for my teammates to pass me the ball and taking them down early,” said the two-year starter.

 

The win ups the Marauders’ record to 4-0 has they head off into the winter recess. Waiting for them on the other side of the holidays will be a clash with undefeated and two-time Middlesex League Liberty Division Woburn High School.

“It will be a battle,” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart. “After a long layoff; that’s not great to face a great team. The main thing is to make sure that we’re tough mentally on offense because they’ll be tough on us defensively.”

Hart and her traveling army – she is currently carrying 18 players on the bench – came into Arlington High’s gym riding a three-game winning streak facing a team who lost its best player, Grace Carter, to a knee injury.

Belmont came out employing a swarming defense reminiscent of last year’s defense that made it difficult for Arlington to set up their offense.

Belmont jumped to a 9-3 lead on a drive by sophomore point guard Carly Chrisofori (9 points), two baskets (a runner and jumper off an offensive rebound) by Winklaar and a three point bomb by sophomore Jenny Call (6 points) before Winklaar ended the quarter wih a pair of buckets to see the lead streached to 13-3.

Winklaar took command of the offense in the second quarter, scoring on drives to the hoop and from jumpers, including a three in the second when she scored nine of the team’s 17 points, putting the game out of reach at half time at 30-10.

The second half saw Hart go down the bench, bringing in freshman Megan Tan (4 points) to defend the Arlington point guards and fellow frosh Jess Giorgio who, at 6’1″, did an effective job forcing the SpyPonders to alter their shot selection while chipping in with a basket from in close.

Sophomore Alexa Sabatino took over for Christofori and handled quarterbacking the squad while knocking down 3 points.

“We have a lot of girls who can really run and attack the defense,” said Hart.

“It’s a real strength that we have the kind of depth we do. If someone is having trouble shooting or in foul trouble, we have someone at every position. We have an answer to something, and that is really helpful,” she said.

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Sports: Field Hockey Back on Winning Track with 7-0 Shutout of Arlington

Photo: Belmont’s Kate McCarthy skies for a shot against Arlington.

After its hard-fought loss to powerhouse Watertown this past Thursday, Belmont Field Hockey headed back to its home on Harris Field to begin the home stretch of its season with a Columbus Day matinee against Arlington. 

And the Marauders reestablished its impressive scoring touch with a workman-like 7-0 defeat of the SpyPonders as the team prepares for two important match-ups with league rivals; one just above them in the standings and the other just behind.

Monday, senior forward Kate McCarthy and co-captain Serena Nalley hit for a pair of goals each while Kerri Lynch and freshman Morgan Chase (along with two assists) each scored while junior leader AnnMarie Habelow has a goal and an assist as defenders Julia Lynch and Molly Goldberg each tallied two assists. 

Next Monday, Belmont (10-2-0) will visit Lexington (9-3-1), which is undefeated at home in the rematch of the Marauder’s 2-0 win in September. Belmont will seek to avenge its only other defeat of the season when Winchester (10-2-0) comes to Harris Field on Wednesday, Oct. 21. Belmont was leading 4-1 midway through the second half before allowing four goals in 12 minutes to lose 5-4. The Winchester game will also be Senior’s Night.

 “We are trying to improve every one of our skills,” said Head Coach Jessie Smith. “Our defense has really picked up recently. 

Smith said what they took away from the Watertown match, a 4-0 defeat (1-0 at the half) against the six-time consecutive Div. 2 state champions was to keep its work rate high even if the score is 7-0.

“We need to know that it’s always important to continue to look for the pass, to make them more automatic. That will happen by practicing it in each game,” said Smith. 

Sports: Belmont High Take Steps Back in Loss to Arlington, 42-14

Photo: Belmont running back Ben Jones.

Belmont High School’s head football coach Yann Kumin was disconsolate crossing the Arlington High School football field after his team suffered a 42-14 drubbing by the host SpyPonders on Friday night, Sept. 25.

“We lost to them by the same score last year, and I know we can be competitive with this team,” said Kumin, whose squad drops to 1-2.

“We couldn’t do the little things, and we did not take advantage of our opportunities,” Kumin told the Belmontonian after a night of frustration that the program has not progressed as the coaching staff had hoped. 

Coming off an emotional victory the previous Friday – a final-minute win over Medford – and a solid week of practice, Belmont came to Arlington seeking to replicate the run/pass offense that proved to be a recipe for success for the Marauders.

But from the start, Belmont could not find a rhythm on either side of the ball. Last week’s star performer, senior running back Mekhai Johnson, was never the explosive factor as he was against Medford when he gained more than 200 yards rushing.                                                                     

On its second possession, the Marauders fumbled the ball deep in its end as the SpyPonder pounced the miscue and soon found itself in the end zone for a 7-0 at 1:31 in the first quarter. Belmont’s next sequence of plays told the glum tale of the night’s proceedings; the kickoff return went for negative yards as Belmont started from its 5-yard line. The Marauders’ offense stalled on three plays, and the subsequent punt traveled only 20 yards. Arlington capitalized by going 24 yards in six minutes to score its second TD. A third SpyPonder touchdown quickly pegged Belmont with a 21-0 deficit with less than two minutes remaining in the half.

With time running out in the half, Belmont turned to junior QB Cal Christofori who engineered an impressive 10 play, 80 yard drive with passes to junior receiver Trey Butler and seniors Justin Wagner and Joe Shaughnessy before dumping the ball to Johnson in the flat who scampered 21-yards in for the touchdown with 38.8 seconds remaining to cut the lead to

But on the subsequent kickoff, Arlington sophomore Alijah Woods took the ball 80 yards down the left sideline for a momentum killing touchdown, to up the halftime lead to 21, 28-7. 

With Arlington threatening early in the third quarter, the Marauder defense recovered a fumble as Arlington running back Patrick Conroy attempted to stretch the ball into the end zone. But two plays later, Christofori’s pass was intercepted by defensive back Abel Negussie, who ran it into the end zone for a “pick 6” touchdown and an insurmountable 35-7 lead.

Johnson would score on a one-yard TD to give him five touchdowns in the past two games.

The Marauders will be back home on Friday, Oct. 2 when they greet 1-2 Woburn High School at Harris Field.

 

 

Sports: Girls’ Soccer Falls to Steel of League to Drop to .500

Photo: Belmont’s Emma Sass (10) and Kristen Gay (24) attempt to head the ball during the team’s match with Arlington. 

It was a learning experience for the young Belmont High School Girls’ Soccer team as they met the steel of the schedule, falling to the Middlesex League’s dominant teams this week.

The Marauders lost to host and defending Middlesex/Liberty champs Wilmington, 5-1, on Thursday, Sept. 17 before greeting Arlington High for a noon matinee at Harris Field on a hot Saturday, Sept. 19.

But home cooking did help Belmont (2-2) as they fell to Arlington, 3-1.  

While Belmont played well in spurts, it could not control the midfield against a physical SpyPonder crew who were able to string short combination passes through the heart of the field to put Belmont’s young back line (two freshmen, a sophomore and a junior) on the back foot.

Due to the pressure, the Marauder midfielders were required to help out which left Belmont’s forwards on their own to bring the ball upfield. 

“Our midfielders have to be more aggressive to the ball,” said Belmont Head Coach Paul Graham who remains a game away from his 300th victory. 

“For two games in a row, we lost the midfield and we can’t our attack right because we are on our heels when we need to go forward. When we did that, we had some great plays because we are pushing it where we should be going,” said Graham. 

Arlington scored in the first 10 minutes on a flukish shot by forward Mackenzie Roy that floated over Belmont goalie Georgia Parson into the net. 

Arlington was comfortable to keep the ball in the middle of the field while Belmont’s best offensive target was sophomore left wing Carrie Allard who was out sprinting the SpyPonder defenders. But Arlington alway appeared to have players coming back to help out at any semblance of a Marauder attack. 

Graham praised the play of sophomore defender Natalie Marcus-Bauer who he said was able to dictate the play in front of her, forcing the Arlington forwards to take shots and passes they didn’t want to. 

“She’s a leader back there,” Graham said. 

While Belmont started the second half with a couple of deep runs toward’s Arlington’s goal, it would be short lived as Arlington’s physical play – challenging each pass or run with a legal shove or bump – appeared to put the Marauders’ off its rhythm.

“That seemed to bother us,” said Graham.

With 10 minutes remaining, Arlington’s Anna Kohlberg scored an open net goal coming off the wing to tap in a pass from the corner. notched two goals for the Spy Ponders, and Anna Kohlberg had a goal and two assists. Roy would collect her brace five minutes later as a result of three rapid passes that allowed the forward to turn and shot from 15 meters. 

Belmont would end the shut out when a penalty was called in the box with a minute left and Julia Rifkin buried a penalty kick inside the right post beyond the goalie’s hands.

Belmont is at Woburn on Monday, Sept. 21.