Photo: Belmont High scores vs Lexington in 2-1 away victory
The 13th-ranked Belmont High Field Hockey squad will host a first round match of the MIAA Division 1 state tournament against the mixed gender team from neighboring Arlington High at Harris Field on Friday, Nov. 4 at 4:30 p.m.
At 10-4-3, the Marauders are coming off a demanding final fortnight of the season including a come from behind win over tournament bound Lexington (2-1) and draws against Westford Academy (1-1), top-ten Reading (1-1) and Arlington.
Friday’s game will be the third time the Marauders take the pitch against the Spy Ponders having beat them at Harris, 4-1, before losing a 3-2 lead in the final minute to go away with a 3-3 tie.
What changed in the second game was Arlington’s inclusion of two senior young men into the line up. “They were the difference maker,” said Marauders’ Head Coach Jess Smith, as one boy – standing nearly 6 feet tall and weighing 180 lbs – scored Arlington’s first goal as he roamed the entire field outpacing and overpowering the young women of both teams.
Boys are allowed to compete on girls’ teams as a result of a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Attorney General v. Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. The 1979 ruling stated that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s policy of the time stating “No boy may play on a girls’ team” was unlawful, violating the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.
While approximately 40 boys play field hockey yearly out of 8,000 participants, recent history showed how dominate a co-ed team can be against a girls team. Somerset/Berkley Regional won the 2018 and 2019 state Division 1 championship with two boys – including the coach’s son – who consistently rode roughshod over girls teams, scoring approximately 200 goals while giving up less than 10 in league play.
The day of boys’ participating in the girls game appear ready to end as the MIAA recognized in 2021 boy’s field hockey – a 7×7 version of the game – which could be up and running by next year.