Rookie QB Leads Belmont High Football Over Winchester, 41-14, As Lexington Looms

Photo: Belmont High senior RB Gordon Lassiter on his way scoring the Marauders’ second TD vs Winchester on Friday night.

It was suppose to be the year sophomore Jayden Arno would learn the quarterback position behind senior Ryan Broderick, getting a few snaps under center during practice, playing on the JV and watching from the sidelines on Friday night.

Fast forward to Oct. 21 when Broderick injured his non-throwing arm against a strong Reading team and Arno was thrown in against an undefeated Rockets defense. While he was under pressure on nearly every play, Arno did show a willingness to take a shot down field and tuck the ball and run mopping up in the 34-0 loss.

So the expectations for a 15-year-old starting his first varsity game were guarded at best as the Marauders traveled to Winchester for a match up under the Friday Night Lights.

But as the clock hit triple zeros 48 minutes after it started, Arno – who was one of the youngest players on the field – led the Marauders to a dominate 41-14 victory over Winchester, upping Belmont’s record to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the Middlesex League Liberty Division.

Showing the maturity of a quarterback who had been in charge for a while, Arno threw for three touchdowns, ran for an another and had no interceptions in a game that Belmont never trailed and where the defense allowed a single scoring drive.

”I felt good going out there and playing, coming into the game wanting to win,” said Arno. “The [practice] week went off [well] and I was running with the first offense which really helped,” he said. What also helped, Arno noted, is that he’s been playing football “my entire life” as well as learning the game from his brothers: Tyler, a senior defensive back and wide receiver, and Avery, a two-year varsity starting Marauder quarterback who also threw for three touchdowns in his inaugural varsity game as a junior vs. Milton in 2018.

For Marauder first year Head Coach Brian McCray, a week after being beat up by Reading, “we really wanted to come out this week and just give it our all. We had a couple of people banged up and a lot of guys stepped up this week and they did an unbelievable job,” point out out both Arno and junior Ben Williams who would score his first touchdown on Arno’s and the teams final score.

Belmont started the night’s scoring thanks to the defense as junior Chris Cogliano stepped in front of a Winchester pass to scamper 33 yards to give the Marauders a 6-0 lead mid-way through the first quarter. After a dominate defensive stance highlighted by a key third down stop by sophomore lineman Max Cornelius, Arno – who was making the most of a series of swing passes on the drive – found senior Gordon Lassiter in the flats and it was a race 26 yards to the end zone that Lassiter won to make the score 13-0 at the end of the first.

Arno than showed his arm as Cogliano took a pass between two defenders and raced 61 yards to the house and a 20-6 lead at the 7:40 mark of the second. Winchester responded on the next play as the Marauder kick off squad believed they saw Derek Gianci go out of bounds. But the referee didn’t see it that way and Gianci took it to the house to cut the lead to 20-7. Arno nearly got the TD back when he found senior Kevin Logan on a 26 yard strike to the Winchester 6 as time ran out in the half.

Winchester took the kick off and benefiting from a pass interference call marched the ball in for a score via Gianci two yard third down plunge to cut the lead to 20-14 at 7:38 remaining in the third. But from there Belmont would score three consecutive TD: a three yard rush from sophomore Adrien Gurung, a 10 yard designed quarterback run by Arno and a bullet from 10 yards out from Arno to Williams.

Next up for Belmont is Lexington (1-3) on Friday, Oct. 15 under the lights at Harris Field at 6 p.m. with an opportunity to move closer to securing a playoff slot.

“It’s just a great opportunity for us against a great team,” said McCray. “We’re gonna play one play at a time, one game at a time.”

A High School Doubleheader Headlights Soccer Night In Belmont On Saturday, Oct. 2

Photo:

The Belmont High School Boys and Girls Varsity soccer teams will headline a doubleheader of top-notch soccer at the sixth annual Soccer Night in Belmont on Saturday, Oct. 2.

joined at the event by hundreds of younger players from Belmont 2nd Soccer and the Belmont Soccer Association, their coaches, and other members of the Belmont soccer community.

The games, to be played under the lights at Harris Field, will see the Marauders meet Middlesex League rivals Winchester: the Boys game at 4:30 pm followed by a Girls game at 6:30 pm. The teams will vie for the Phoenix Cup and the honor of having their team’s name engraved on it.  

Belmont youth soccer players will participate by parading out with players during the pre-game ceremonies, acting as ball-boys and ball-girls, and competing in mini-games on Harris Field during halftime of both games. Winchester Soccer Club youth soccer players will also participate in the pre-game ceremonies and other activities.

“This event showcases our varsity teams and recognizes the role of the Belmont Soccer Association in nurturing the talent that makes our high school teams year in and year out,” said event organizer John Carson. “We hope for a big crowd for a really fun night that builds bonds between our “little kid” players and “big kid” high school players, virtually all of whom came up through the Belmont youth program. In fact, one great highlight is always that our high school players wear wristbands during the game that match the color of their Belmont youth soccer team.”

Admission to Soccer Night in Belmont is free. Concessions including pizza, hot dogs, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase, provided by Parents of Music Students (POMS) so families can come for the games and feed the kids at the same time.

Soccer Night in Belmont is sponsored by the Belmont Soccer Association, Friends of Belmont Soccer (FOBS), and The Phoenix Landing.

Sports: Holiday Near Sweep Dampened By Season Ending Loss of Girls’ Hockey Captain

Photo: Emma O’Donovan with Belmont High Head Coach Ken Murphy

Belmont High sports teams came out of the Martin Luther King Day holiday on the right foot as all four teams took away points in their reverse fixtures against Winchester on Monday, Jan. 18.

But a dark cloud ascended over the day’s good results as the Belmont High Girls Ice Hockey program lost its most dynamic player for the remainder of the shortened season.

Senior captain and offensive powerhouse Emma O’Donovan suffered a serious injury in the final five minutes of the Marauders 3-2 victory over the Sachems in a game played at Woburn. While picking up a puck behind the Winchester’s net, O’Donovan – who scored a pair of goals in the game – was pushed into the end boards by a Sachem defender. O’Donovan went directly to the ice and stayed there for nearly 10 minutes.

The Winchester player was issued a game misconduct for a boarding infraction – it’s unknown if the penalty was reduced post game – as O’Donovan was taken for medical care. A number of individuals with direct knowledge of the injury said the senior captain suffered a broken leg in two places.

O’Donovan’s line mate senior Sam Rocci scored the Marauders other goal as Belmont saw its record rise to 3-0-1.

The loss of O’Donovan is especially hard for the team and community knowing how the senior has struggled and succeeded to stay on the ice and the field hockey pitch. A first-year phenom, O’Donovan missed her sophomore year in 2018 after it was discovered she was suffering a aneurysmal bone cyst in her left ankle, result in her missing that year and required multiple operations. An article in the Boston Globe (“Belmont’s Emma O’Donovan has been the epitome of perseverance” Jan. 13), detailed her effort to getting back on the ice at the same high standards as before the diagnostic.

O’Donovan was seeking to reach the 100 point career mark and was 21 points from that goal after scoring eight goals and one assist this season.

Senior Caleb Christensen put in an offensive rebound with 14 seconds remaining to give Belmont Boys’ Basketball a 62-61 over previously undefeated Winchester (3-1) at the Wenner Field House. The victory marks the second time the Marauders (2-2) lost the first game of a series only to take the second, having lost to Winchester by three, 52-49, on Saturday.

After rolling past Winchester in the first game three days earlier by 28 points (80-52), Belmont Girls’ Basketball had a bit of a tighter game against the Sachems but came out on top, 42-34, as the team goes to 3-1 in the season.

Boys hockey fell behind twice only to rally with two goals in the second to earn the tie against the Sachems to remain undefeated. Senior Ben Fici and sophomore Peter Grace tallied for the 3-0-1 Marauders as sophomore goalie Ryan Griffin posted 34 saves.

Soccer Night In Belmont Kicks Off With Varsity Doubleheader Sat. Sept 21

Photo: Soccer Night in Belmont

The Belmont High School Boys and Girls Varsity soccer teams will headline the 4th annual “Soccer Night in Belmont” this Saturday, Sept. 21, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Harris Field

Joining the high school teams will. be hundreds of players from the Belmont Soccer Association, their coaches, and other members of the Belmont soccer community.

Soccer Night in Belmont will feature a doubleheader under the lights at Harris Field vs. Middlesex League rival Winchester: the girls’ will play at 4:30 p.m. followed by a boys’ game at 6:30 p.m.

Belmont youth soccer players will participate by parading out with players during the pre-game ceremonies, acting as ball-boys and ball-girls, and competing in mini-games on Harris Field during halftime of both games. Winchester Soccer Club youth soccer players will also participate in the pre-game ceremonies and other activities.

“This event showcases our varsity teams and recognizes the role of Belmont Youth Soccer in nurturing the talent that makes up these teams year in and year out,” said event organizer John Carson.

“We hope to match last year’s crowd of 2,000 for another really fun night that builds bonds between our “little kid” players and “big kid” high school players, virtually all of whom came up through the Belmont youth program. In fact, one great highlight is always that our high school players wear wristbands during the game that match the color of their Belmont youth soccer team.”

Admission to Soccer Night in Belmont is free. Concessions including pizza, hot dogs, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase, provided by Parents of Music Students (POMS) so families can come for the games and feed the kids at the same time.

Soccer Night in Belmont is sponsored by the Belmont Soccer Association, People’s United Bank Foundation, Belmont Boosters, Parents of Music Students (POMS), Phoenix Landing, and Friends of Belmont Soccer (FOBS), with special thanks Belmont Athletic Director Jim Davis.

Trout FG Gives Belmont 17-14 OT Win Over Winchester

Photo: Belmont High’s kicker Hampton Trout hits the game-winning field goal in overtime to defeat Winchester.

Belmont High’s kicker Hampton Trout just hoped he would get a second opportunity to decide the game with Winchester after his 43-yard attempt sailed wide left as time ran out with the score knotted at 14. And when the Belmont defense stuffed Wilmington on its attempt to score in overtime, Trout got that chance to play hero with a 19-yard attempt.

“Everyone was coming up to me yelling ‘You got this, you got this’ and it getting into my head a little bit. But when I got out there and took my three steps back from where I was going to kick it, I knew it was going in,” said the junior kicker who was having a great night with a pair of touchbacks on kickoffs and punts that twice flew and rolled for more than 50 yards.

And Trout didn’t disappoint, splitting the uprights to defeat the Sachems in the first overtime, 17-14, on Friday, Oct. 5 to put Belmont (3-2, 1-2 in the league) in the driver’s seat for its first trip in the program’s history to the MIAA Division 3 North playoffs.

“While I practice as a wide receiver and quarterback, I stay after practice to work in my kickoffs and punting. And it really made a difference tonight,” said Trout whose exploits earned him the game ball.

The win against Winchester (3-2, 2-1) both a Middlesex Liberty Division and Division 3 North rival, 

“These guys worked so hard that they deserved this win,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin who was his ecstatic self when Trout’s kick went through the uprights. 

Under the Friday night lights, Belmont’s defense shined as it put the clamps on the high scoring Winchester offense led by DB and co-captain Jared Edwards who slapped away numerous attempts directed at his side while junior Justin Rocha continued his outstanding all-around play. And it was a big night for the big men led by junior defensive lineman Derrick Brown who garnered two-and-a-half sacks and a number of hurries on Winchester QB Tony Fiorentino while marshaling the D-line and putting the clamps on running backs Brendan Curran and Jakob Flores.

“I’m really proud of the defense. I threw the gauntlet down about our defense being physical and doing great work. We felt we were pretty physical against Reading but we gave up too many big plays. Today we only gave up two so we know we have something going on defensively,” said Kumin.

Offensively, Belmont’s vaunted ground game was finding it hard to get a rhythm going, but it only needed a fortunate bounce to get on the scoreboard. 

Junior QB Avery Arno fumbled the ball that hit off the turf and straight into RB Rhaki Joseph’s hands. The senior running back continued the play, sweeping around the left end where Edwards had the key block and into the clear along the sideline for a 49-yard second quarter touchdown.

“The ball bounced up like it’s supposed to. That’s how we drew that one up,”said Kuman, who pointed to the heavens in silent thanks as Joseph scored.

On an unfortunate note, the game was halted for 20 minutes after a Winchester player suffered a severe lower-body injury requiring him to be taken by ambulance for treatment.

Belmont nearly took the one touchdown lead into the half, but an Arno pass into double coverage was picked off at the Belmont 47 with just more than two minutes left. After a 15-yard penalty put the Sachems behind the 8 ball with a fourth down and 12 at the 39 with 16 seconds left, Fiorentino found Matt Romagna with a perfect pass for the touchdown.

After a defensive third quarter, Winchester began its one sustained drive in the game after recovering a Belmont fumble at the 48-yard line. The Sachems were resourceful, converting a pair of third and fours, survived a sack from senior interior linebacker Sam Harris and Brown.

After allowing an 18-yard pass completion on a 4th down and 15 that put the ball on the 10-yard line, the Belmont defense came through forcing a 4th down on the 5. The subsequent field goal attempt by Fiorentino was blocked by Harris.

After taking the ball on the 20, Belmont faced a 3rd and 8 from its own 22, when Aron hit Johnson with a swing pass looking for a short gain. As defenders Johnson exploded through a small opening inside then quick stepped it outside and sailed down right sidelines for a 78-yard touchdown with 7:22 remaining.

But the Sachems came straight back with a perfect pass action which saw Romagna romp 45 yards to the Belmont 5. The Sachems tied the score on a third down and inches plunge by Fiorentino with 3:28 left in the fourth quarter.

Belmont would keep the ball for nearly the remainder of the quarter, mixing runs and passes to Edwards to give Trout his first chance at winning the game. Despite the miss, Kumin had a feeling that his team would take home the win. 

 “I knew our defense wouldn’t make it easy for them to score so we had a chance,” said Kumin.

After last Saturday’s games, Belmont sits in third of the eight playoff places with two games remaining, insuring a home postseason game. Next Saturday, Belmont travels to 4-1 Lexington for a Saturday afternoon Prep School style tussle on the Minuteman’s grass field before ending the scheduled season against Arlington, currently at 1-4.

Belmont Volleyball Extends Record Winning Streak To 6, Tops Middlesex Liberty Division

Photo: Waiting for the serve.
Belmont High School Volleyball continued its historic winning streak by defeating perennial league powerhouse Winchester, 3-2 (18-25, 26-24, 25-23, 18-25, 15-5), on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Wenner Field House. The Marauders’ (6-0-0) six consecutive victories to begin the season breaks a long-standing team consecutive win streak that stood at five. The win places Belmont atop the Middlesex League Liberty Division standings.

“This is the most mentally tough team that I’ve ever coached,” said Belmont Head Coach Jen Couture. “Teams like Winchester push us to play our best and that’s what we had to do to win that match. It was a team effort.”
“They aren’t afraid of making mistakes, but instead, learn and adjust. They understand that we’re going to lose points and sets but the most important thing is who wins the last one.  They have the will to win and escalate their game to match each opponent,” Couture said.
Couture pointed to the consistent play of Belmont senior co-captain Leah Babroudi throughout the match, who was 15 for 15 serving with 3 aces, and perfect on serve receive 21 for 21. 
“Leah was all over the place on defense, covering her hitters and keeping balls alive. She is one of the biggest competitors on the team and her energy on the court is contagious. She is so tough and never lets a missed dig get to her.  She just shakes it off and gets the next ball up,” said Couture, who captained Belmont in 2004.

The Marauders started off a little slow in the first, keeping pace with the Sachems until they pushed from 19-18 to 25-18 to close the first set. 

The second set was back and forth, with each team going on 3-5 point scoring runs including one by Jenny Vetrano to bring the Marauders to 24-18.  Vetrano was 18 for 18 serving with 1 ace. The Sachems sided out and Senior Captain Luna Colozzo went on a run of her own bringing the score to 24-24 before the Marauders could side out and finish off the set 26-24. 
The third set was also close throughout with the Marauders inching away later in the set to win 25-23.  As the match progressed, libero Sophia Estok continued to read Winchester’s hitters better and better making incredible digs (25 total).  Setter Mindee Lai also played superb defense and was second in digs with 17. 
Strong passes and smart hits by senior co-captain Jane Mahon (14 kills) helped the Marauders to get into a groove early in the fourth set, as they were able to side out on the first pass for the first 5 servers. However, a serving rotation error saw Belmont’s lead reduced from 10-5 to 8-6, which caused the team to lose momentum and eventually the set.

While it was too late to take back the set, which they dropped 18-25, they picked up enough steam to start off the fifth set strong.  Estok went back to serve and brought the Marauders to a 6-1 lead.  Clutch kills to by Nena Trifunovic (7 total, 4 of her last 5 swings being kills) kept the momentum going and the team never let up.  Finally at 11-5 Mahon went back to serve and finished out the match, ending the final set 15-5.

 

Belmont is back home in the Wenner Field House hosting Arlington on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m.

In Match Of Unbeatens, Belmont High Field Hockey Sprints Past Winchester, 3-0

Photo: Puppy pile for Belmont’s second goal with sophomore Emma O’Donovan taking the prize.

In an early season matchup of the creme of the Middlesex League Liberty crop, Belmont High Field Hockey provided Friday afternoon that team speed is dangerous for opponents as the Marauders ran past defending league champions Winchester High, 3-0.

“It’s all the 400s [meter] runs I make them do,” said Belmont Head Coach Jess Smith as her team, ranked 15th in the Boston Globe Top 20 poll, remains undefeated at 4-0-0 while Winchester, ranked 6th in the Globe poll, drops to 2-1-0.

“We knew we were good but to beat someone like [Winchester, which last year made the Division 1 North finals] makes it’s not just talking. The win makes it ‘legit,'” said Smith.

Senior co-captain and wing Morgan Chase, junior midfield Katie Guden and sophomore forward Emma O’Donovan scored in the first half as the Marauders kept the majority of possession for most of the first 30 minutes.

For Smith, the victory was a combination of her player’s quickness and their commitment to ball movement.

“I think our speed is killer,” she said. “We have athletic kids, we are super aggressive all over the field, and our passing is extremely good,” said Smith. “No one can run faster than a ball so if we can keep passing it up the field that quickly, we’re gonna get into the [scoring] circle faster than their backs.”

The Marauders’ team up-tempo pace showed as it took away passing lanes in the middle of the field. Belmont also took the majority of 50/50 balls as well as stealing the ball on man-to-man clashes with Belmont’s senior forward and co-captain Jordan Lettiere, the prime suspect in many of those heists. 

Along the back line, junior Meaghan Noone effectively shut down Winchester’s right side attacks. Junior Emma Donahue was once again a significant presence in the middle as sophomore Hayley Koenigsberg kept Winchester’s outstanding senior forward Claire Moloney-Kolenberg in check off the left wing in the battle of the great German/Dutch surnames.

“You just have to get psyched up, getting really low to stop their good girl. And I’m thinking about trying to get it back up to the midfielders,” said Noone. 

Quarterbacking the midfield, three-year varsity starter Guden’s stellar stick handling skills allowed Belmont to keep the pressure on Winchester’s midfield and backs.

“My game plan just get it in the [scoring] circle early, play as aggressive as I want to play, and look to pass it because it’s not a one-person game,” said Guden.

Junior Molly Calkins earned the solo shut out in her first varsity start as the Marauders’ goalkeeper.

“I was so nervous when [Smith] said I was going to start, I said ‘Oh no!’ But once we got onto the field, we all just worked together and communicated really well,” said Calkins who stopped four shots.

Smith and the team face a crowded week of games, four in five days, with an away game Tuesday at an excellent Lexington team the highlight. But for now, Smith is reluctant to change anything about the squad.

“We have this great lineup, the players work really well together, they’re confident and their speedy. That’s how we are going to approach every game, with confidence and speed,” she said.

With Wins, Belmont Girls Hoopsters Receive Media Attention, For Better Or Worse

Photo: Another day, another reporter – Boston Globe correspondent Tyler Blint-Welsh – wanting to talk to Belmont High senior captain Carly Christofori and freshman Maiya Bergdorf.

It was another victory for the Belmont High Girls’ Basketball team on Tuesday, Jan. 9, against an overpowered Winchester squad. 

And for the second consecutive game, a reporter from one of Boston’s daily newspapers was lurking after the game, wanting to speak to members of the “hot” new team on the scene.

Tuesday it was Boston Globe correspondent Tyler Blint-Welsh who asked to talk to senior captain Carly Christofori and leading scorer freshman Maiya Bergdorf, two of the standouts in the 69-21 victory over the Sachems. Last week, it was Boston Herald who came with a photographer and reporter, picking out players and coaches to speak. 

For Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart, the attention her team is receiving – and especially the recognition of the hard work put in by the upperclassmen – is well earned, having stepped up in the team’s first year playing in the top-level Division 1. At 6-1 (its lone loss to D1 powerhouse Newton South and its superstar Veronica Burton), the Marauders find themselves in the Top 10 in both daily papers girls’ basketball polls.

“I’m really proud that they are getting this attention,” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart after the game.

“This is such a wonderful group; they put the time in the offseason and during the season. They have focused whether it’s in the games or at practices.”  

There indeed wasn’t this much attention towards the team since … well, probably ever. Despite an excellent run last season with one of the best shut down defenses in the state, the team earned a few throwaway articles even after going 16-4 and won the number one seed in the North Division 2 playoffs.

“It took us a while to be looked at, and when we did get the articles, we lost to Arlington Catholic [in the semifinals of the Division 2 North sectionals],” said Hart after Tuesday game. 

But with the newfound press coverage comes the expected blowback; teams and coaches now know who you are and will be itching to take down the upstart. 

“It’s nice to have the underdog mentality and not have a target on your back. But this is the way it goes when you have a string of successful seasons,” said Hart.

Hart said while the team has earned respect with all the hard work over the years, “now everyone’s looking for you, trying to topple one of the top 10 teams. No one is coming into a game with us and thinking that they are not up for the game,” she said.

“It is what it is, I can’t make them longshots. I can only tell the kids that we have to always work for everything and fight for everything because now people are gunning for us. And that will make having a successful season tougher to achieve,” Hart pointed out.

“We have a lot of good teams in the league: we were lucky to get out of our game with Woburn with a win, Lexington and Reading will be hard to break down, Melrose and Wakefield are strong and even Arlington on the nights they are on will be difficult to beat,” said Hart. 

Still, Hart likes the challenge before her as the team will soon reach the midpoint of the season. 

“I don’t underestimate what we can do in the league. We are a tough team for our opponents because they can’t focus on one player. We don’t pound it to our center every time we come down the court or try to isolate one shooter. We have so many good players; if we are egalitarian in our play, we will be successful.”

“We have our work cut out for us to live up to our reputation,” she said.

Not that Hart sees her team failing to meet the team’s goals.

“They’re kind as a group and great teammates, and that’s why their chemistry is so good. And now the whole program is built on their unselfishness and hard work.”

Boys Soccer Hits High On Soccer Night But Find Scoring Wanting Since

Photo: Belmont’s Jake Carson celebrate his goal vs. Winchester.

Jake Carson sure knew how to end “Soccer Night In Belmont” on a high note.

The Belmont High senior co-captain broke an offside trap from the Winchester High School back line and slotted the ball by goalie Justin Polcari – who was spectacular in net making three full stretch saves – in the final eight minutes of the game for the winning goal as the Marauders defeated the  Sachems – at the time ranked 7th in the Boston Globe’s weekly Top 20 poll – 2-0 on Saturday night, Sept. 23.

“The ball came across and [Winchester’s defenders] stepped up to put Andre [Duda] offsides, but that move let me run into space,” said Carson. With only Polcari between him and the net, Carson cut the ball back “and placed it into the corner and hoped for the best.” The pass that sent Carson away came from sophomore Will Hoerle. 

Oh, just so you know, “Soccer Night in Belmont” – the wildly successful soccer festival that brought more than 800 players, parents, and spectators to Harris Field – was founded by Jake’s dad, John Carson.

“It was probably one of the best feelings I had this soccer season, if not my whole career,” he said.

Belmont sealed the win when Duda himself beat another trap, catching up to a pass from the senior defender and co-captain Kostas Tingos and put the ball by Polcari with three minutes remaining. 

For Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane, while the match was special because it was played before a large crowd – about ten times the size of a regular season game – “but it’s just one-sixteenth of our season and then into the playoffs hopefully.”

“You have to temper the expectations of the players thinking that this means more, but whenever you play Winchester … they are always great to play against. It was just a fun overall match,” he said.

Bisceglia-Kane said this associate head coach, Matt Berk – who was Bisceglia-Kane’s teammate at Brandeis – has made a big difference in freeing up the team’s practices for specialized training sessions. 

After the high of Saturday – which led to Belmont being named the 9th ranked team by the Globe – the weekend’s scoring boom turned into a bust as the Marauders lost at home Monday to winless Reading, 2-1, (giving up a pair in the second half) before being shut out 1-0 to league leader, Arlington on Wednesday, Sept 27. At midweek, Belmont’s record stood at 4-3-1.

Bisceglia-Kane said that scoring ultimately comes down to the scoring chances the team creates. “And sometimes it’s just luck.” 

Sports: Allard’s Wonder Goal Gives Unbeaten Belmont 3-2 Win Over Winchester

Photo: Carey Allard celebrates the winning goal vs. Winchester.

When Winchester forward Anna Carazza’s centering “pass” dropped into Belmont’s net with 12 minutes remaining in Saturday’s exciting battle of the unbeaten between Belmont and Winchester, it appeared the game’s momentum was about to turn in the Sachems’ favor.

But as Winchester – ranked 7th in the Boston Globe’s top 20 poll – celebrated, 60 meters down the pitch Belmont’s Carey Allard was preparing to enter the match, a substitution no one had expected.

Six days earlier, the four-year varsity starter suffered a high ankle sprain against Lexington ending up wearing a medical boot and on crutches. By game day, Allard was able to warm up with her teammates but told Belmont Head Coach Paul Graham she wasn’t fit enough to start against Winchester.

For 70 minutes, Allard sat on the Marauders bench, watching with more than 800 fans on “Soccer Night in Belmont.’

Then with 10 minutes to go, Graham approached his All-Star captain with a question.

“[Graham] asked if I thought I could play the final 10 minutes and I said, ‘Why not?'” Allard told the Belmontonian after the game. 

A Division 1 commit heading to the University of North Carolina – Wilmington next fall, Allard has been the Sachem’s nemesis over the past four years including scoring a long-range stunner in last year’s first-round playoff game that ended in Belmont’s upset victory. With that in mind, Winchester junior Hannah Markham was assigned the task of playing Allard with a tight man-to-man coverage. After eight minutes, Allard had a few brief touches and nothing more.

Winchester’s focus on Allard opened the field to allow other Marauders the opportunity to attack the goal. Sophomore Marina Karalis came close to scoring twice 20 seconds apart; once striking the ball over the crossbar and barely missing the right post. 

As the field clock fast approached the final two minutes and Winchester moving up the pitch, freshman forward Grace Kane – who took Allard’s place in the starting lineup – stepped in front of a pass and fed the senior co-captain who was nearly 25 meters to the left of Winchester’s goal.

One touch, a half turn, and Allard looked at Winchester’s net.

“I honestly said, ‘This is my chance,'” said Allard

The ball flew heading for the right top corner then curving inside the far post by Winchester’s senior goalkeeper Silvia Dowdell. 3-2 Belmont.

Allard’s wonder goal in the final two minutes put the exclamation mark on what was an early season classic pitting two undefeated teams playing at their best before a packed Harris Field in the opener of Belmont’s annual soccer celebration.

“Allard is a threat anytime she’s in that range,” said Graham, who saw his team improve to 5-0-0, tied with undefeated Woburn at the top of the Middlesex League Liberty division. The only blemish to the game’s result; despite defeating a top ten team and recording a perfect record, the Marauders have yet to break the Globe’s Top 20 poll. 

It was a game that saw each team take control of the field, lead changes and physical plays with girls ending up on the turf throughout the contest. 

Winchester had the better of Belmont early on, with their collective speed and quickness putting a damp on Belmont’s plans to set a more controlled pace to the game.

Winchester opened the scoring on a deep cross from finding a streaking senior captain Shelley Blumsack beating Belmont’s defender to put the ball into the upper net.

Winchester’s lead could have been two or three times what they had but for decisive defensive work by the backline anchored by senior captain Natalie Marcus-Bauer who made two sliding tackles deep in the penalty box on solo runs by Winchester wingers.

“I was just focused on containing [any challenge] and forcing them out to the side,” she said, knowing she could rely on the other defenders including juniors Megan Tan and Emily Dexter, while 

Belmont tied the score 18 minutes into the first half on two consecutive free kicks, the second at the edge of the box after a Winchester push. Senior midfielder and co-captain Emma Sass curling shot hit the right post then came out for an onrushing senior forward Morgan Krauss – who was named the player of the match by members of the Soccer Night in Belmont – who headed the rebound inside the left frame.

After going into the half tied at one, Krauss doubled Belmont’s advantage midway through the second half, taking in a Kane pass and rifling it by Dowdell.

But ever so slightly, Winchester found a half step advantage and began pressing resulting in Carazza’s goal. 

For Graham, the victory was a culmunation of switching this alignment – starting with a 3-4-3 and ending with a 4-4-2 and the knowledge that he could put in most of the players on the bench without a drop off in performance. 

“I used 17 players including two freshmen and a number of seniors who don’t start and they all played well. That’s a luxury to have,’ said Graham.