Belmont High Volleyball Playoff Short But With Promise for Next Year

Photo: Jane Mahon and 

After securing a playoff spot on the last day of the season, Belmont High Volleyball traveled to the 15-4 Cambridge Rindge & Latin last Saturday, Nov. 3 for the Marauders first sectional game in two years. And it was a quick trip in the postseason for Belmont and their Head Coach Jen Couture as the Marauders lost 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 24-26). 

“Going into the match we knew Cambridge had two amazing outside hitters both with over 200 kills before our match. If you compare stats, we were right with Cambridge in serving, service receiving, and defensively. They just had more kills and aces,” Couture said.

Video: Jane Mahon setting Belmont Volleyball’s kill record.

They often hit down over the block and [sophomore libero] Sophia Estok did a great job adjusting into the back row and was able to pick up 19 digs,” said Couture. “[Junior] Gabby Viale was the go-to hitter for the match, hitting 13 for 14 with 6 kills. Cambridge was solid all around but Gabby was able to find holes in their defense and get balls to hit the floor. 

Despite its brief time in this year’s postseason, Couture is extremely upbeat concerning the program’s future

“We have a lot of players returning and a solid foundation to build upon,” said Couture.

  • Sophomore setter Mindee Lai worked hard in the offseason to come in ready to run our 5-1 offense. Leads team in aces with 50, 3rd in digs, and 4th in kills.
  • Sophomore libero Sophia Estok who was a freshman starting Outside Hitter last year and starting libero this year. She has the record for digs in a single match and serves received in a single match and second in aces with a 93.3 percent serving percentage.
  • Sophomore Nena Trifunovic is our Outside hitter/Right side hitter with a great swing who can hit the ball anywhere on the court.  Was nursing an injury much of the season but started off with 13 kills in the first match and will definitely be a big hitter and blocker for us next season
  • Junior middle blocker Audrey Quinn is second in kills, first in blocks for the season. She’s been a big force for us at the net and is also incredibly good at covering herself when blocked so she keeps points alive. Will no doubt be a force again next season.
  • Junior outside hitter/right side hitter Gabby Viale was the ultimate utility player this season. She has also set and played the middle in practice and at playdates and it someone we could count on to get things done. Came up big in the CRLS match with some strong and smartly placed hits.
  • Junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Leah Babroudi was starting OH/DS this season, second in digs and serve receiving, with the top serving percentage. She is so mentally tough and a warrior on the court that goes all out and leaves everything on the court.
  • Junior middle blocker and captain Jane Mahon also played outside hitter for a number of matches this season.  She is a strong hitter who also is good at finding holes for short shots. Jane is first in kills for the season with 144, second in blocks. She just broke the career kills record in our final match, at 262 before heading into her final season. Jane’s player who isn’t satisfied having the most kills if she feels she could’ve played better. She’s pushing herself and her teammates to be the best players they can be is why she was selected as a captain and what will make our team go even further next season. 
“At the end of last season (when Belmont finished with a 4-14 record) I was incredibly optimistic about the future of our program,” said Couture. “I told myself next year is going to be a good year, and 2018 will be a great year. So far the prediction of this year came true and I’m excited to see what next season brings.”

Belmont Football Ends Frustration Running By Cambridge, 28-21

Photo: Tyler Reynolds on his game-winning TD run vs. Cambridge.

Seven weeks of frustration for Belmont High Football came to an end on a last minute 40-yard touchdown dash by senior running back Tyler Reynolds gave the Marauders a 28-21 victory over host Cambridge Rindge and Latin School on Friday night, Oct. 27.

Reynold’s sprint – sprung by a critical block from senior wide receiver Luke Hopkins – up the gut of the Falcon’s defense with 59 seconds remaining came after Cambridge tied the score at 21 with 4 minutes remaining, negating a Belmont 21-7 halftime lead. 

“Even when [Cambridge] tied it back up in the fourth quarter, my O line kept blocking for me. Then we scored, it was the best feeling in the world,” Reynolds told the Belmontonian after the game.

“Even after all the adversity we’ve faced to go 0 and 7 in our first seven games to come out and win this game on the road just shows a lot about what we do here and all the heart this team has,” said Reynolds. 

“I’m so proud of these guys. They never quit, not in our previous games and not here when they tied it up late in the fourth [quarter],” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin, whose team piled up 408 yards in total offense, most of that on the ground.

Belmont (1-7) is on the road again Friday as they take on Burlington (1-7) which won its first game of the season Friday, 21-20, over Revere. 

Held at Russell Field in the Alewife neighborhood, Belmont’s game plan changed from a pass-oriented system to pounding the ball at the Falcons’ after both Reynolds and junior back Killian O’Connell took “huge chunks of yards” on the initial offensive series, Kumin said.

“We were really anticipating to be that heavy in the run. But we came out, and it was clicking. So we said ‘forget the plan’ and keep feeding them the ball,” said Kumin.

Reynold’s scored the game’s first in the first quarter before Cambridge lit up the scoreboard with a 50-yard over the top reception by Cyrus Singh from QB Jovan Harding

In the second half, Belmont relied on junior back Killian O’Connell who scored a pair of TDs, from 19 yards and from 6 yards with 40 seconds remaining in the half to increase Belmont’s lead to 14 points.

Belmont was on the march again until midway through the third quarter when they fumbled the ball. Cambridge would capitalize through the air as Lucona grabbed his second TD pass from 11 yards out to cut the Marauder lead to 21-14 with 2:46 left in the third quarter. 

After a Belmont punt, Cambridge was on the move when sophomore outside linebacker Justin Rocha recovered a fumble on the Cambridge 28 with 6 minutes left in the game. But an attempted field goal from 30 yards out by senior kicker Aidan Cadogan hit the right upright with 5:41 remaining. And it was that man Lucona who grabbed a simple sideline pass and scampered 63 yards before scoring on the next play on an 11-yard catch to tie the game at 21 with 4:31 left.

Taking over at the 10 yard line, Belmont converted a third and five (on a 15 yard pass from senior QB George Fitzgerald to senior wide receiver Jake Pollard) and a fourth and four on a Reynolds’ 11 yard carry one play before the senior co-captain took the ball to the house for the winning score. 

Belmont Softball Finds the Going Tough Against Established Teams

Photo: Junior third base Lia Muckjian.

After a quick start to the season, the Belmont High School Softball team took on the crucible of playing the better established softball programs in the Middlesex League which, it turned out, was a bit more than this young team was able to handle.

But unlike past years, the Marauder were competitive in each of most of the games during its four-game losing streak, including a 3-2 loss to non-league visitor, Cambridge Rindge and Latin, on a cold and breezy Thursday morning, April 23.

Belmont started off quickly with junior right fielder and lead off hitter Ani Hackett coming home with the game’s first run on junior shortstop Julia Rifkin‘s ground out.

Freshman pitching standout Christine MacLeod cruised through the CRLS Div. 1 squad in the first three innings, facing the minimum nine batters. But a two-out single in the fourth scored a pair for the Falcons in the top of the fourth to put them out ahead 2-1. 

On the Belmont side of the plate, despite singles by MacLeod, junior catcher Meghan Ferraro and second base Katrina Ruzzuto, the Marauders came up empty getting those players around to score.

In the bottom of the fifth, consecutive singles by junior third base Lia Muckjian, senior captain and first baseman Lauren Noonan and MacLeod brought in Belmont’s second run as Muckjian scored. But what appeared to be Belmont’s third run when Kate Lester, running for Noonan, seemingly beat out a wild pitch was taken back as she was called out by the umpire. (see photo here)

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Cambridge would retake the lead on two singles and a fielders choice and Belmont could not muster a challenge in their final at bats. 

The team is currently 3-6 with games on Friday, April 24, away at Lexington, and Monday, April 27, home vs. Winchester.