Girls Tourney Bound: Soccer, Field Hockey, Volleyball Earn Tickets To Postseason [VIDEO]

Photo: Belmont High Girls Soccer, pictured below are securing another trip to the Division 2 North playoffs.

It was quite a week for three of Belmont High girls’ fall season teams as each secured playoff spots in the coming state MIAA tournament.

Within a few minutes of each other on Monday, Oct. 8, Girls’ Soccer and Field Hockey punched their tickets to the postseason while Volleyball completed its task on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

After a pair of losses – a heartbreaker, 3-2, at Woburn after leading 2-0 at the half and a 4-0 rout at Winchester – left the team at 2-2-1 early in the season, Girls’ Soccer has rattled off five straight wins including a 3-1 home victory on Columbus Day to see its season extended. While not raking up the goals, the Marauders have been efficient in their games, using senior center forward Ella Gagnon as the cornerstone of the offense with speedsters senior Morgan Krauss and youngster Jenna Thomas (a pair of hat-tricks for the sophomore) creating opportunities on the wings. 

Since clinching the playoffs, Belmont took its revenge on Woburn, defeating the Tanners, 2-1, on Wednesday, Oct. 10 to extend its winning streak to seven and currently in second place in the Middlesex Liberty division with a 9-2-1 record. They will take on Lexington on Tuesday, Oct. 16 before meeting up with league leader Winchester at home on Thursday, Oct. 18.

Field Hockey came into its annual match with perennial Division 2 state champions Watertown on a seven-game winning streak. The night game on Oct. held at Belmont’s Harris Field saw the Marauders come out and controlled the match, dominating possession, especially in the second half, ending the game with 11 shots on goal and a 13 to 1 margin in penalty corners. The one area they didn’t hold an advantage over Watertown was on the scoreboard as the Raiders tallied on both of their two shots of the game in a two-minute stretch in the final five minutes of the first half, defeating the disappointed hosts, 2-0.

To make the playoffs, Belmont had to take a trip to an improving Wakefield High team and came away with a solid 2-0 win with senior co-captain Jordan Lettiere scoring both times to continue her hot stick at the inner forward position.

After reaching the playoffs, Belmont traveled Wednesday, Oct. 10 to the environs of Lexington to battle it out with a very good Minuteman squad. Starting at 6:30 p.m. (on a school night!) on a field – situated on the border of a mosquito-infested swamp – apparently illuminated by mood lights as no one could see the ball. In an evenly fought battle, Lexington took advantage of the not so common “man” advantage when the refs called Belmont’s junior Emma Donahue, the team’s top defender, for a push then sent off junior Katie Guden, the squad’s leader, for not respecting the five-meter space when the ball is restarted. And the Minutemen scored both times as Belmont’s best players were sitting by the scorer’s desk, winning 2-0, as the Marauders had to contend with the odd custom in Lexington of allowing dogs to wander along the sidelines.

Belmont, which defeated Woburn, 8-0, on Friday, Oct. 12 will have its rematch with Lexington on Wednesday, Oct. 17 with the winner in control to capture the Middlesex League Liberty title. This game played during the day, sans the threat of malaria and without mutts on the field. 

After just making the playoffs last year, Volleyball’s goal this year was a return act. And Belmont got there, but even faster than they thought, reaching its 10th win in just 12 games as the Marauders swept Wayland, 3-0, in an out-of-league match on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Led by kill specialist Jane Mahon (who is leading the Middlesex League) , and a pair of three year junior starters; setter Mindee Lai and libero Sophia Estok, Belmont was pushed in each of the three sets including having an 11-0 service run against them in the third to fall behind 21-20. But good digging and returning from the back line as well as a few unforced errors on the part of the Warriors allowed the Marauders to take the win.

After defeating Woburn on Friday, Oct. 12, Belmont, at 11-2,. will host Lexington on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Belmont Girls’ Soccer Leaves It Late In 2-1 Home Opener Win As Frosh Goalie Shines

Photo: Ella Gagnon (21) scoring the equalizer vs. Wilmington.

It wasn’t the way freshman goalie Bridgette Martin wanted to start her first varsity game against Wilmington.

On the first ball that came her way, Martin – who admitted being nervous when the game got underway – hesitated for a second and saw it go behind her and tapped in by Jocelyn Palmer less than 30 seconds into the home opener on Saturday night, Sept. 8.

But that “oops” moment didn’t get the 9th grader down, just mad. 

“I got pretty angry after the goal and that anger fueled my adrenaline. It kicked in and it got me going to the ball hard,” she said. 

While her mistake put Belmont (2-0-0) behind the Wildcats (0-2-0) for nearly 70 minutes, Martin was superb the remaining 79 minutes, stopping three breakaway and a looping shot heading goalward to keep the match within one. That allowed the usual goal happy Marauder offense (it won its opener 11-0 over Burlington) to find a way by a disciplined Wilmington defense to score twice in the final 12 minutes to eek out a 2-1 victory at Harris Field.

“I really have to say Martin showed a heck of a lot of class,” said longtime Marauder Head Coach Paul Graham. And that effort was crucial, said Graham, “because despite dominating the game especially in the first half, we couldn’t find any way to score.” 

Not that the Marauders didn’t come close, including hitting the crossbar and seeing two through balls miss everyone in the six-yard box. At the other end of the pitch, Martin heroics was highlighted in the 23rd minute when she made a reflex save off freshman Alyssa Granara from 10 meters out then hurried back to the goal line to snag the rebound that was floating just under the crossbar.

The second 40 minutes saw Wilmington play a much tighter game and began controlling the ball with better success. One area that Belmont continues to take advantage was its physical play, continuing to knock Wildcats off the ball or winning possession with their speed. Senior center forward Ella Gagnon was a constant threat but Wilmington’s goalie Alyssa Morrison, in only her second varsity start, made her share of reaction stops. 

Just eight minutes into the second half saw Martin make the game-changing save as Wilmington’s Annie Wingate received a perfect pass to face the Belmont goalie alone eight meters from a wide-open goal. Closing the distance, Martin left arm got just enough of Wingate’s rocket shot to see it dribble pass the right post. 

“We practice these shots in practice a lot. Normally I close the girl down and see what I can do,” said Martin.

With the margin still at one, Belmont finally broke through with less than 12 minutes to go when senior left wing Morgan Krauss stayed wide and squared a perfect centering pass that Gagnon tapped in from five meters out. And just after the nine-minute to go mark, sophomore Jenna Thomas looped a shot that beat Morrison who was well off her line. Gagnon had a hand in preserving the win. With seconds remaining in the match, she jumped as part of the defensive wall and deflected a shot by senior Thea Alberti that was heading into the upper right corner of the goal. 

“Wilmington is a team that is always good and these are the teams that you have to beat if you want to go deep in the playoffs,” said Graham. “This win puts us on the map,” he said. 


Sports: Boys’ Soccer Upsets Lexington (Again); Field Hockey Fit To Be Tied; W for Girls’ Soccer

Photo: Belmont High Junior Alex Rokosz is patroling the midfield.

Boys’  Soccer Upsets Top-Five Lexington, again

For the second time this season, Belmont Boys’ Soccer has played spoiler to Lexington High’s drive to repeat as the state’s Division 1 champions as the visiting Marauders’ (8-3-2) defeated the 5th-ranked (in the Boston Globe poll) Minutemen (10-2-1), 2-1, on a second-half goal by senior forward Andrew Karalis. Along with its 1-1 tie at home in September, Belmont has taken 3 of 4 points from the c0-Middlesex League leaders along with Arlington.

The Marauders have three games remaining in the season, at Winchester on Thursday, Oct. 19; at Reading on Tuesday, Oct. 24; and home vs. 17th ranked Arlington on Seniors Night, Thursday, Oct.26.

Field hockey fit to be tied

In what Head Coach Jess Smith called a “sluggish” performance, Belmont High Field Hockey could only take away a 1-1 tie against host Lexington on Wednesday, Oct. 18. After falling behind 1-0 early in the match, sophomore midfielder Katie Guden slotted in the equalizer midway through the half. Despite some golden chances, the Marauders could not find the final touch in front of Lexington’s net in the second half.

The tie leaves Belmont at 9-1-2 as it awaits Middlesex League leader and 5th-ranked Winchester, who comes to Harris Field on Friday, Oct. 20 with a record of 13-0-1, its tie coming against the Marauders. Belmont finishes the season at home (Seniors Night) against Arlington next Friday, Oct. 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Girls’ Soccer wins again

Belmont Girls Soccer took the measure of Lexington, 3-0, at Harris Field on Tuesday, Oct. 17, upping its record to 12-1-0 atop the Middlesex League Liberty Division and ranked 5th by the Boston Globe. Senior Co-Captain Carey Allard scored a brace in the one-sided affair.

The Marauders will finish the season against three tough opponents who they beat by single goals the first time around: Reading on Seniors Night on Tuesday, Oct. 24; away to Arlington on Thursday, Oct.26 and finishing the season away against 11-1-2 Winchester next Saturday, Oct. 30.