Class B girls soccer: Lauren Marjanski nets 4 goals, including 100th of career, in South Hadley’s 4-3 OT win over Belchertown

South Hadley’s Lauren Marjanski (7) heads the ball against Wahconah in the first half of the girls soccer Class B quarterfinals last week in South Hadley.

South Hadley’s Lauren Marjanski (7) heads the ball against Wahconah in the first half of the girls soccer Class B quarterfinals last week in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By HANNAH BEVIS 

Staff Writer 

Published: 10-30-2023 9:34 PM

SOUTH HADLEY – On paper, Monday night’s game between Belchertown and South Hadley was a Western Mass. Class B semifinal. 

But to every fan, coach and player in attendance, it felt like a western Mass. championship game. The two teams have gone head to head for the past two seasons, with Belchertown picking up the win in 2021 and South Hadley getting it back last season. Though the prize this time was just a trip to the title-game, the atmosphere Monday night felt like this was for a championship. 

It was an instant classic and needed overtime to settle the score. It was a frantic back-and-forth extra frame, and with the clock frozen at two minutes for stoppage time, South Hadley found a pair of heroes. 

With less than a minute on the clock, Belchertown’s Fallon Clancy fired what looked like a sure-thing goal toward the upper corner, only to have South Hadley goalie Drew Alley leap up and snatch it out of the air to save the game. Just 30 seconds later, Lauren Marjanski raced down the field and scored her fourth goal of the game to end overtime and punch the Tigers’ ticket to the final with a 4-3 win.  

“It was very nerve-racking and I feel like we just wanted it so badly that I was able to put it away. I'm very happy I did,” Marjanski said on her golden goal.  

Marjanski’s golden goal was technically her second milestone of the night – she made history earlier in the game with her second goal 40 seconds into the second half. That goal was the 100th of her career, and she’s believed to be the first player in South Hadley High School history to accomplish the feat. It’s made more impressive considering Marjanski’s freshman year was the shortened COVID-19 pandemic season. 

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“She's been working hard all year. Even with a COVID year under our belt and the schedule that we play, it's so impressive. She plays against the Ludlows, the Belchertowns, all the good schools, so it's so much more of an accomplishment because there's no easy games, especially in our league,” South Hadley coach (and Lauren’s dad) Rich Marjanski said. “It’s a very astonishing goal, to be honest.” 

South Hadley looked like it might run away with the game in regulation. The Tigers were up 2-0 with 12 minutes left on the clock, and Belchertown needed to make something happen fast. They got their chance on a corner kick opportunity that landed square in the middle of the box. With South Hadley players frantically trying to clear the ball down the field, it bounced over to Brooke Burrows, who found enough space to fire it up in the right corner to cut the Tigers’ lead to one goal. 

Less than a minute later, the Orioles streaked up the field to tie the game on a Maya Tellier goal off an assist from Brianna Ribeiro, sending the Belchertown bench into a frenzy and quieting the South Hadley home crowd. 

South Hadley got a chance to retake the lead exactly one minute later when Marjanski was awarded a penalty shot with just over 10 minutes left on the clock. She scored again to make it 3-2 and secure a hat trick, though the visiting bench wasn’t thrilled with the call that gave her the PK.

“To get a PK call like that… to me that’s just crazy, there wasn’t anything blatant that we saw,” Belchertown head coach Kyle Thibault said. “Credit to my girls – they could have been down and out.” 

The Orioles didn’t give up, and Burrows had a nose for the goal again with the clock once again frozen on stoppage time. The Orioles got a long free kick near center field that Burrows headed past Alley to tie the game 3-3 and breathe new life back into Belchertown.

Marjanski scored South Hadley’s first goal of the game unassisted in the 35th minute after Belchertown had pressured the Tigers for much of the opening frame, sending the home team into halftime up 1-0. 

The Tigers won’t have much time to rest before their next game. They’ll battle Pope Francis for the Class B title on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at West Springfield High School. While they would have liked a little more time to recover, the Tigers are going to fight just as hard for the championship. 

“It's definitely not the situation we wanted, but we're gonna work with what we got,” Lauren Marjanski said. “We are ready.” 

Boys soccer

Non-playoff game

South Hadley 4, Lenox 0 -- The defending state champion Tigers are state tournament-bound.

Needing a win in their regular season finale on Monday night, South Hadley got exactly that in a 4-0 win over the Millionaires.

The Tigers (8-8-2) went 3-0-1 in their final four games to post a .500 record and an automatic berth in the Div. 4 state tourney.

Moki Kovacs tallied twice in the win, while Anthony Adams and Nolan Masse also scored for South Hadley. Goalie Noah Carillon made six saves to post the shutout.

Hannah Bevis can be reached at hbevis@gazettenet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Hannah_Bevis1.