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Belchertown inches closer to Churchill boys soccer title

BELCHERTOWN — The Belchertown boys soccer team is one step closer to the Churchill League championship.

The Orioles rolled over Cathedral, 9-0 Tuesday, to remain in a first-place tie with West Springfield.

At 14-2 overall, 6-1 in the league, the Orioles, who will play in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament, have dominated its Division 1 league.

Belchertown coach Tony Almeida was happy to see his players perform well against Cathedral, but made it clear that the team’s goal is winning the league title.

“It’s been great to see these guys adapt to this level of play,” he said. “We look forward all season long to win our division.”

The Orioles have two games remaining, including one in league play. Belchertown hosts Agawam at 6 p.m. Friday. A win or tie against the Brownies (6-5-5, 2-3-2) will give the Orioles the league title.

“Our focus right now is winning our game against Agawam and placing first,” Almeida said. “Once that’s accomplished, if we can accomplish it, then we start focusing on the tournament.”

Winning has been a trend for the Orioles this season. Their last loss came on Sept. 17, against West Springfield (10-3-3, 5-1-2). Since that loss the Orioles have won 10 games straight.

The Orioles controlled the pace of play after the first 22 minutes of play. Midfielder Alex DeSantis (two goals) opened the scoring with an assist from Cam Messier. Sam Stroman scored the next goal with an assist from Oliver Hopkins. Noah Lussier, with a pass from Messier, scored with less than two minutes remaining to give Belchertown a 3-0 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Orioles held their opponent shotless while scoring six more goals. Midfielder Christopher Noga attributed three assists to goal scorers Kyle Gadoury, Jack Kamins and Nick Drost.

Hopkins, DeSantis and Kamins scored unassisted goals. Orioles keeper Lewis Berger made three saves in the first half which was enough for a shutout.

Passing, defense and transition play from the defensive zone to the offensive side was excellent for the Orioles. Belchertown’s crisp ball movement, blocked shots and passes from the sides created offensive chances.

“I think our defense is playing really well and our transition game is working well,” Almeida said. “We’re always working on our passing and playing the ball off our flanks.”

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