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WMass boys soccer: Belchertown earns top seed in Division 3

  • Ben Laclair, front left, of Belchertown, goes to the ball against Amherst Regional players Malcolm Blinder, right, and Tate Rietkerk, Tuesday in Belchertown. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@kylegrbwsk
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

A familiar name tops the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Boys Soccer Tournament field.

Belchertown received the tournament’s top seed after brackets were finalized Wednesday night. The Orioles were also No. 1 when the brackets initially came out Wednesday morning. Parts of the Walker System, which uses mathematical formulas to seed the teams, were omitted from the initial process, and the seeds were recalculated.

The Orioles (14-2-2), winners of four straight Division 3 sectional titles from 2011-2014, finished the season on an 11-game unbeaten streak, only losing to Division 1 mainstays Longmeadow and Ludlow. They’ll await the winner of No. 9 Renaissance at No. 8 Athol in the quarterfinals.

Frontier Regional, the two-time defending sectional champion, landed at No. 4 in the initial bracket but moved up to No. 3 in the official standings.

“I’m happy with where we’re at,” Frontier coach Dale Totman said. “We’ve been consistent all year. If we’re going to win this we’ve got to get through Belchertown, anyway.”

The teams met on the last day of the regular season, and the Red Hawks (11-2-4) lost 4-0.

“We played terrible. I’m not worried about it. It was a weird day,” Totman said. “It highlighted what we needed to do better. Better now than in the tourney.”

Easthampton (10-4-4), returning to the postseason for the first time since 2010, was seeded seventh and will host No. 10 Mahar in the first round.

Hampshire Regional (7-11) will travel to No. 6 Monument Mountain.

Division 4

A 16-game unbeaten run boosted Hopkins Academy to the top seed. The Golden Hawks began and ended the season with losses to East Longmeadow, but won 15 games and tied one in between.

“The most important thing for us in a school of our size is we’re healthy,” Hopkins coach CJ Holt said.

Hopkins (15-2-1) last captured a sectional crown in 2013. Monson, which won the past three titles, missed the postseason.

“I’m not going to take anything for granted, but I feel like Lenox and Hopkins should be in the final,” Holt said. “I feel like we’re a cut above the rest of the field. I think that’s fair.”

Lenox was seeded second, retaining that position in both brackets. The Millionaires lost to Monson on penalty kicks last year after eliminating Hopkins in the quarterfinals.

“Lenox is senior-heavy, we’re senior-heavy,” Holt said. “We’ve both been there the past few years.”

The Golden Hawks have a bye into the quarterfinals and will await the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game, initially Hampden Charter at Smith Vocational. Now they’ll face either Hampden Charter of McCann Tech in the revised bracket.

The Vikings (7-6-5) dropped to No. 10 and will travel to No. 7 Pioneer Christian (12-3-3). They played twice in the regular season. Pioneer Christian won one matchup 4-1, and the other ended tied 2-2.

Division 1

Amherst Regional will defend its title from the No. 3 seed after fighting all the way through from No. 7 last year.

The Hurricanes (13-5) will host either No. 6 Agawam or No. 11 Sci-Tech in the quarterfinals. They beat Agawam 2-1 during the regular season and didn’t see Sci-Tech.