School Soccer: Orioles soar to humble proud Red Hawks boys, 4-0

  • Above, Frontier’s Ben Arnold (6) and Belchertown’s Daniel Becker (22) contend for possession in the first half of the host Orioles’ 4-0 independent boys’ soccer win Tuesday in Belchertown. Below, Frontier’s Alex Gheorghita (17) and Belchertown’s Benjamin Laclair (10) jump up for a header. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Ben Arnold (6) and Belchertown’s Owen Raines (18) are airborne in contention for possession of a cleared ball Tuesday in Belchertown, where the host Orioles prevailed 1-0. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Alex Gheorghita (17) and Belchertown’s Benjamin Laclair (10) jump up for a header Tuesday in Belchertown, where the host Orioles beat the Red Hawks, 4-0, in an indpendent boys’ soccer game. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Ben Arnold (6) throws in the ball in the first half against Belchertown on Tuesday, Oct. 31 in Belchertown. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Zach Hamilton (10) jumps up for a header Tuesday during independent boys’ soccer action in Belchertown. The host Orioles won, 1-0. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier goalie Peter Bronke saves a shot under pressure from Belchertown’s Evan Walters-Zucco (8) in the first half of Tuesday’s 4-0 independent boys’ soccer loss in Belchertown. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

Recorder Intern
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

BELCHERTOWN — In a battle between two of the best soccer teams in western Massachusetts, Belchertown High School was able to shut out Frontier Regional School, 4-0, on the strength of three goals from senior forward Ben LaClair in an independent boys’ soccer game Tuesday afternoon.

It was a dominating effort by Belchertown (14-2-2) right off the bat, as the Orioles amassed seven shots in the first half while not allowing Frontier none.

The Red Hawks (11-2-4) picked things up in the second half with four shots on goal — all saved by the Belchertown goalkeeper Sean McCarthy in what wound up being a 16-10 shot difference for the game in favor of the Orioles.

LaClair scored his first goal in the eighth minute, beating Frontier goalkeeper Peter Bronke to make it 1-0, assisted by Alex Szarkowski. Evan Fournier later buried a direct kick past Bronke at 19:04, doubling the lead to 2-0.

“We didn’t start the game off with a lot of intensity,” said Frontier coach Dale Totman.

The Red Hawks looked better for most of the second half, but mental errors wouldn’t help as Timmy Barrington picked up a yellow card at 13:34 before Belchertown capitalized again. LaClair scored his second goal of the evening on a header about a minute later, assisted on a cross pass by Korey Houle for a 3-0 advantage.

LaClair later completed his hat trick with a goal at 15:45 to account for the 4-0 final.

“I think we did a good job of never giving up,” said Totman, who was proud of his team’s second-half effort.”

Frontier will try to put this tough loss behind it as the regular season comes to an end and the Hawks look forward to the postseason. The team should be a top three seed in the WMass Div. III Tournament when the brackets are released today.

“A game like this can be a positive for us heading into the tournament because it allows us to improve on our mistakes,” said Totman. “Our confidence level is good despite this.”

Pioneer 3, Smith Academy 0 — Pioneer Valley Regional School saved one of its best games of the season for last Tuesday.

The visiting Panthers took a 2-0 halftime lead and tacked on an insurance goal, blanking Smith Academy, 3-0, to earn a share of the McGrath Division regular-season title in Hatfield.

Pioneer finished its regular-season slate at 13-2-1 overall, tying with Mahar Regional School at 9-2-1 in the McGrath.

“We’re incredibly excited but we want to keep this ball rolling,” Pioneer coach Don Fraser of the league title. “But our goal coming into the season was to win tournament games. We got into the tournament last year and lost. Now we want to win. We’re taking it game by game now.”

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute, as Jack Loud tallied with an assist from Felix Pruitt-Dahl.

Jordan Loughman made it 2-0 just before halftime, while Dana McRae buried a free kick in the 61st minute to account for the 3-0 win.

Goalkeeper Ryan Underwood recorded three saves in net to earn the shutout, as Pioneer held a decisive 21-4 edge in shots.

“We’ve had a bunch of defensive injuries so we were without two starters back there,” explained Fraser, who lauded the play of Jacob Quinn for stepping into a defensive role against Smith Academy (7-9-2). The Falcons failed to qualify for the postseason with the loss.

Girls’ match

Ware 0, Mohawk 0 — It was quite an end to the season for the Mohawk Trail Regional High School girls’ soccer team.

The Warriors, who fell just short of a postseason berth after digging too big of a hole early in the season, closed out their season with an outstanding 5-0-1 mark over their final six games. That string concluded with a 0-0 tie against Ware High School Tuesday afternoon in the Pioneer South regular-season finale in Ware.

Mohawk finished its season 7-9-2 overall and 6-4-2 in the Pioneer South. The tie was enough to give Ware (14-1-2, 10-0-2) the outright South championship.

“It’s a shame these girls didn’t get to go to the postseason but they had a heck of an end of the season,” explained Mohawk head coach Steven Tomi. “To win five in a row and then tie (against Ware), they were really playing well late in the season.”

Ware held a 22-9 advantage in shots, but Mohawk senior goalkeeper Lilly Seaver came up with yet another in a long string of outstanding efforts between the pipes in the final soccer game of her Mohawk career. Seaver’s Herculean effort included 21 saves to pick up the shutout against the league’s top team.

“She was the star of the game. She was just phenomenal,” lauded Tomi of Seaver.

Mohawk graduates six seniors from this year’s team, although the Warriors have plenty of talented underclassmen who made key contributions this season.