Winning ugly, as the saying goes, is still winning.
And Belmont High School Boys’ Soccer learned that lesson Monday, Nov. 3 after the Marauders defeated North Andover High Scarlett Knights, 1-0, in the first round of the Div. 2 North Sectional finals.
“We got away from a lot of things we were doing well at the end of the season,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane.
“It was not the best we’ve played because we were nervous because they know this is a game they should have,” said Bisceglia-Kane, saying the team performs better as an underdog than when it is expected to win easily.
“It was ugly, but a really entertaining game to watch,” he said.
The victory sends the Marauders on a trip to 4th-seed Chelsea High School (15-3-1) on Saturday, Nov. 8 to meet the Commonwealth League Upper Division Champions at 4 p.m.
Belmont (14-3-2) got the only goal it needed with 12 minutes remaining in the first half when substitute junior forward/midfielder Trevor Kelly made an outside run and sliced a shot 15 meters from the left of the box that curved into the back of the right side the goal.
For many Marauders on the field, the match with the 12-seed Scarlet Knights was a rematch of last year’s quarterfinals when North Andover scored in the first 30 seconds and kept the lead for the entire match to win 1-0.
While North Andover was able to move the ball into the Marauders end with short passes through the middle, Belmont’s midfielders, led by center midfielder and senior co-captain Ben Lazenby, stepped into passing lanes and use their physical approach to win the 50/50 challenges.
“I was just trying to play hard and communicate and work together as a team,” said Lazenby, who assisted on the goal.
“I was trying to get headers but really it was just playing non-stop,” he said.
Belmont’s goalkeeper Peter Berens took home another clean sheet with big senior defender Matt Lawson stepping up to win headers and break-up at least two semi-breakaways in the second half.
It got hairy for Belmont 28 minutes into the final half when a goal-bound shot off a Berens save was cleared twice from the goal mouth by Lawson and senior Amar Fernald to secure the shutout.
Belmont now has a lengthy wait until its quarterfinal with the Red Devils.
Senior captain Wilbert Tejada leads Chelsea as its playmaker who sets up the team’s two leading scorers, Carlos Cartagena and Derilson DePina.
While Belmont knows little or nothing of Chelsea’s game, Lazenby said the team will not dwell on that issue.
“When you play a new team, you don’t know what to expect, you don’t know what team they’re going to be,” said Lazenby.
“That’s why we have to focus on our game. We can’t control our opponent, we can only control our own game and I think where we are strong in a lot of areas,” he said.