Sports: Early (Playoff) Decision for Volleyball, Field Hockey

It was a wonderful Wednesday for the Belmont High School Field Hockey and Volleyball squads both secured a place in the post season with wins on Oct. 9.

Continuing their best season in the sports history, Marauder volleyball came back from a two-to-one set deficit to defeat host Burlington High School 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-17, 15-11).

Belmont Head Coach Jen Couture’s team now stands at 10-3, matching last year’s win total with seven games remaining in the season. 

On Harris Field, the field hockey team scored four times in the final 10 minutes of the game to defeat Wakefield High School 5-0 to raise its record to 8-3-1.

“Every game after this one matters big time. It decides whether we have a home seed in the playoffs or we end up playing at Acton/Boxborough,” said Belmont Head Coach Jessica Smith.

Wednesday’s win saw Belmont continue their strong scoring rate – the Marauders’ 4.1 goal per game average is one of the best in Eastern Massachusetts, only trailing powerhouses such as Andover (4.6), Acton/Boxborough (4.8) and Watertown (5.2) – with senior forward Haley Sawyer who scored a hat trick.

“A lot of the time Annie [sophomore midfielder Annmarie Habelow] brought it down the field and I was waiting at the corner and I just there,” Sawyer said.

“We really work well together as a team. They were all team goals,” said Sawyer.

Belmont took a while to get their overall play up to speed, finally taking the lead with eight minutes left in the first half when Sawyer jammed in an initial shot from Olivia Castagno. 

Wakefield started the second half on the front foot, winning two penalty corners and putting a pair of shots on Marauders goalie Kate Saylor. But hard work by Lauren Noonan, playing her best game this season, tracked down numerous Red Raider runners and clogging down passing lanes.

Belmont finally showed its best in the final half of the second, first nearly scoring off four perfectly executed middle-of -the-pitch passes before an infraction was called. The Marauders doubled its lead by a solo effort from Habelow who passes three Red Raiders before hitting a 15 meter backhand slap shot by the Wakefield goalie.

Sawyer got her final two goals, with assists from Habelow and Kate McCarthy, before senior midfielder Suzanne Noone finished the scoring by weaving through defense before firing a shot into the back of the net.

Smith also pointed out Julia Chase for her outstanding play along the wings – “She should have had five assets. What a great game.”

Next up for Belmont is taking on league leader Reading (who beat the Marauders, 4-0, earlier in the season) who comes to Harris Field at 3:30 p.m.



Sports: Volleyball Races to 6-2 Record as Seniors Lead the Way

For Belmont High School senior Rosy Fitzgerald, the opening of this volleyball season “doesn’t feel quite real.” 

The tall front-line player and her teammates have been having a bit of a dream season, running off to an impressive 6-2 record, losing only to perennial powerhouse and 2012 state champions Melrose High and in a five-set heartbreaker to Bedford High.

“It’s really exciting,” said Fitzgerald, after the Marauders defeated Arlington in three sets on Monday, Sept. 22.

“Today, they played alright,” said Belmont Head Coach Jen Couture of the match against the Spyponders. “They pulled it together and they got the job done.”

The win puts Belmont on track to hit the magic 10 win mark to make the post-season early, unlike the past few years in which the Marauders needed to go to the final game in 2010 and last year to secure a playoff spot.

“Just because we need four wins doesn’t mean we only want four,” said Couture. “We want a lot more.”

In fact. all Couture wanted to talk about on Monday was the match that past Friday, Sept. 19, in which the Maruaders’ dominated a strong Reading Memorial High team for a straight sets away win.

“The girls probably played the best ever with the least errors,” Couture said.

“I feel that the Reading game we were ready at all times and focused,” she said. In the game, back line middle blocker/libero Sam Nelson had 31 digs, many leading to Marauder points.

Fitzgerald said one reason for the success of the team is due to the number of seniors who have played together for the previous two to four years “which gives us a great deal of experience.”

“And everyone cares a lot more about the game and we have a lot more ambition to take the team farther then we have in the past,” she said.

“Now that I have three years of high school and two years of club (Rosy plays for Pumas ) under the belt, I’m feel confident and strong being on this team.

Sports: Boys’, Girls’ Soccer Still Unbeaten, Volleyball Ace Spartans, Harriers Empty Watertown

A busy – and successful – two days for Belmont High School athletic teams:

Soccer: Unbeaten on the field and between the posts

Belmont High’s Boys’ and Girls’ soccer remain undefeated and not scored upon after tussles with Reading Memorial High School.

Not that Belmont Boys‘ Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane was all that pleased with his charge’s 3-0 victory over the Rockets in Reading Monday, Sept. 15. 

“We did not play very good in the first half,” said Bisceglia-Kane, whose team has advanced to 4-0-0 after scoring three goals for the third consecrative game. “We played better in the second half but we have areas of improvement.”

“Peter Berens was the man of the match as he was outstanding. He kept us in the match,” said Bisceglia-Kane of his senior goal keep.

Midfielders Nick Andrikidis, Charlie Frigo and Ben Lazenby scored for the  Marauders.

In their first real test of the season, Belmont Girls‘ Soccer waited until the final minutes of both halves to score, beating the Rockets, 2-0, on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at Harris Field.

“We were a little flat especially in the second half but I am proud how they played together. This was a real team victory,” said Paul Graham, Belmont’s long-time head coach.

Much of the credit for the tightness of the game rested on Rocket senior goal keeper Meghan O’Brien who was a rock in net, making two brilliant saves including a diving stretch to palm the ball off the line off a header by Belmont’s Alex Dionne midway in the first.

Belmont broke through when freshman scoring machine Carey Allard slide the ball into the net after a scramble out front with three minutes left in the first.

The Rockets played with renewed spirit in the second and took the majority of the play against Belmont. It was the Marauders back three, led by senior center back Lucia Guzikowski, that pressured Readings forwards into erred shots. 

When they got through, senior goalkeeper Linda Herlihy made two outstanding stops on her right post.

The final goal came within the final two minutes off of Belmont’s favorite corner kick. Junior Katrina Rokosz, who just came off the bench, struck the free kick which was headed by midfield star Lizzie Frick finding a poaching junior forward Kristin Gay who roofed the ball past O’Brien. 

Next up for the Marauders will be a clash of undefeated against hosts Arlington High School on Thursday, Sept. 18.

Aces up as Belmont ups record to 4-2

That was close.

“Wow, we nearly blew that,” said Belmont High Volleyball Head Coach Jen Couture after her team was sent into extra points in a fourth set after dominating the Spartans in the initial two sets.

“We were working on some new set ups that included a new setter and libero. And they were doing well until they got frustrated when they lost a few points,” said Couture, seeing the team drop the third set, 20-25.

And Couture’s team was nearly stretched to a fifth set when, after leading 24-20, they dropped four points to see the score tied, 24-24. But a service ace and a Stoneham mistake in setting a return saw Belmont take their fourth match of the young season, 3-1 (25-11, 25-11, 20-25, 26-24).

It was a special afternoon for junior Kabita Das as she broke the team’s record for aces in a game with 11. In addition, Alex Davis made numerous plays out front, helped by the team’s new setter, junior Faye Regan. 

“We are seeing a lot of great hitting and that’s what we wanted at the start of the season,” said Couture.

Up and running and winning

Belmont’s harriers took a quick trip to Watertown and easily put second victories in their column as both the Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country teams won going away. Both teams won 19-42 with the Marauders taking first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth places.

Next up for the squads will be at powerhouse Reading Memorial next week.

Belmont Volleyball Drops Home Opener to Bedford

After a straight-set win over Div. 1 hosts Waltham High on Wednesday, Sept. 3, the Belmont High School Volleyball Marauders came close to doubling this season’s victory tally against visiting Bedford High Friday, Sept. 5.

But Belmont’s lack of a go-to player – one who can pick up a side out or score a point with raw power when needed – showed up in a big way in the final set as Belmont (1-1, 0-1) found itself quickly on the wrong side of a 10-1 deficit as the team fell to the Buccaneers in a tight five-set match, 3 to 2 (25-16, 20-25, 22-25, 25-22, 4-15).

“Our team started off strong because we had confidence from our game on Wednesday and [Bedford] was trying to organize themselves in the first game,” said Jen Couture, who is in her fourth year as Belmont’s head coach.

“[Bedford has] some extremely powerful hitters … and that’s the first time we’ve really seen that this season. We were doing a great job of adjusting but they ended up having more fire power,”  said Couture, who took the team to the post-season last year.

“Our passers were digging great and we were getting lots of touches and blocks and our center was running all over the place,” she said.

“But even though we are working hard, we have to just get our shots a little harder because if we don’t have that velocity we have to make it up with perfect placement,” Couture noted.

Leading the way against Bedford was junior Faye Reagan, the team’s “opposite” –  the player who is placed opposite of the setter in the rotation and located on the right side in the front and back row – “playing excellent defense and hitting good spots and I don’t think she missed a serve the entire game,” said Couture.

Leading the service game for Belmont were junior Kabita Das and senior Becki Sandvos who both bring a precise power hitting game that opponents are finding a handful. Each player went on runs against the Buccaneers, reeling off multiple points in the game.

As for finding its own scoring threat, “we have people who are getting there,” said Couture.

“We have players who can put up a strong hit but no one who is an automatic,” she said.