Belmont Field Hockey Battles Watertown Tough in Opening Game

Belmont High School Field Hockey Head Coach Jessica Smith said she preferred to play a strong team to begin the season “as a way to know early where we stand.”

On Friday, Sept. 7, on one of the hottest days of the summer, you couldn’t select a tougher challenge: playing the four-time consecutive state champions, Watertown High School, at their home ground at Victory Field.

(Oh, by the way, Watertown hasn’t lost a game in the past four years.)

And while Belmont kept the game close for three-quarters of the game, three goals – including a penalty shot – in the final 16 minutes resulted in a 4-0 loss giving the Belmont squad an outstanding team to compare to during the season.

“Now I see what we need to work on,” said Smith after the game.

Despite the score, Smith was encouraged with the team’s play and growing composure against the Red Raiders playing on an artificial field where the temperature reached three digits.

“Coming into the game, I thought we could look like cones on the field, but we didn’t. We were a true opponent. We made them play hard,” said Smith.

“We are great at making the transition from defense to midfield but when it goes to the offense, we slam on the brakes,” due to a very young offensive line, said Smith, who is entering her 11th year leading the Marauders

“Coming into your first game against Watertown is tough, they had to be a little shocked as they do a lot more in practice. But they held it together well,” she said.

The most dominate player on the hot turf Friday afternoon was Belmont’s sophomore leader Annemarie Habelow, who moved from her familiar role in the attack – she led Belmont in scoring last year in her freshman campaign – to the center back position. Her dominate stick skills deadened Watertown’s attack in the middle of the field, forcing it to play the wings that Belmont mostly contained by sending multiple players on the Red Raiders attackers.

“She is by far the most poised player on the field today. She has such a set of free hits, she conceptionally knows where to put the ball, and she’s a great leader,” said Smith.

As for the remainder of the season – the first with Belmont in Division 1 – Smith believes her team will grow as a team through the season, especially upfront.

“Let’s hope [Watertown] is the toughest team we meet this year. We are meeting teams in the next weeks that haven’t had great records recently so it will be a great chance to practice things,” said Smith, who took her team to the playoffs last year.

The Week Ahead: School Starts Wednesday, Belmont v. Watertown in Field Hockey Friday

 Yoga for everyone at the Beech Street Center on Tuesday, Sept. 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.: join Susan Harris, a registered yoga teacher and associate professor of Nutrition at Tufts University for this Iyengar-inspired class which practices yoga postures slowly and with attention to alignment and safety, adapted to the abilities and needs of individual students. Practice is done with bare feet; mats and props are provided. Cost: $15/class. Non-seniors, beginners and experienced are welcome. This is a non-Council on Aging class held at the Beech Street Center. For more information, call Susan at 617-407-0816.

• The Belmont School District opens for the 2014-15 academic year on Wednesday, Sept. 3 for students in 1st through 12th grade; the kindergarteners get another week off.

Sustainable Belmont – helping the town become an environmentally responsible community – will be meeting at the Belmont Public Library on Wednesday, Sept. 3 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to discuss Belmont Light’s proposed changes to distributed generation, also known as the solar tariff. Members active on the Energy Working Group will present information on the proposed changes and discuss alternative options for the tariff.

• The fall sports season gets underway on the first day of classes as defending Middlesex League champions the Belmont High School Boys’ Golf team host Andover at Belmont Country Club at 3:30 p.m. while Volleyball heads to Waltham for a non-league start to their campaign to return to the playoffs.

• A meeting of the Friends of the Belmont Public Library will be held on Thursday, Sept. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Assembly Room. 

• Do yourself a favor and head over to Watertown’s Victory Field on Friday, Sept. 5 as Belmont High School Field Hockey visits four-consecutive Div. 2 state champions Watertown High School at 3:30 p.m. This generation of Marauders will battle toe-to-toe with the Red Raiders; expect the unexpected.