Photo: The ball heading for the back of the net from Brynn Connelly, one of seven Belmont scored against Durfee in its 7-0 shutout first round match in the MIAA Division 1 state championship.
Six different players scored as Belmont High School Field Hockey used a total team effort to dismantle Fall River’s Durfee High, 7-0, in the opening round of the MIAA Division 1 state tournament held on Harris Field, Nov. 2.
“People are going to look at this result and say, ‘Maybe we should be looking at this team,” said Jess Smith, who has been leading the Belmont program for the past 20 years.
With the win, 11th ranked Belmont (15-3-1) heads to Lawrence for a Sweet 16 match against 6th seed Central Catholic (15-2-1) , who squeaked by Westford Academy, 2-1, on Thursday. Belmont defeated Westford, 2-0, in mid-September.
The game will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. on Central Catholic’s campus.
On a cold, calm evening, Belmont displayed from the start a combination of speed on the break out, a smothering defense across the pitch, and a rediscovered scoring touch that left Durfee with little in terms of answers the Marauders’ dominance. If the Hilltoppers had a game plan entering the game, it was swiftly thrown aside by a Belmont team held possession for most of the first quarter.
Sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Clarke picked up her brace early scoring twice within the first seven minutes of the match, scoring from distance from both the left and right side. Her second at 8:02 in the first was via a bullet reverse backhand which was helped by senior co-Capt. Carly Gaziano’s near total screen on the ‘topper’s goalie.
When senior co-captain Lola Rocci scored the team’s fourth catching the outside left post midway through the second quarter, the rout was officially on. The Marauders would score in each of the quarters as senior defender Brenna Aiello, senior attack Gretchen Hanley, and junior forward Brynn Connelly each earned their way onto the goal tally sheet. Senior co-Capt. Carly Gaziano picked up a pair of assists along with her goal and senior co-Capt., Tess Desantis playing a dominate role in a defensive mid
Senior Goalie Julia Hurlihy earned her second career playoff shut out as the defensive back line of first year Elsie Lakin-Shultz and sophomore Niamh Lesnik used their outstanding speed to shut down attacks down the wings while Junior Ana Hopkins held down the fort at center back.
“I don’t think we’ve ever scored seven goals in a tournament game,” said Smith, who earned her 200th career win this season. “What I love is that a bunch of different players scored.”
When asked about the season so far, Smith reiterated that “all year we’ve been beating all the teams with the exception of Watertown and Reading, who have one loss between them.”
No one’s really noticing us. Maybe that’s OK. Maybe we’ll sneak in and do some real damage the rest of the way in the tournament.”