Chaotic equalizer keeps Belchertown boys soccer undefeated, draws Ludlow

  • Belchertown’s Christopher Adzima, left, heads the ball away from Ludlow’s Joe Quiterio in the first half Thursday in Belchertown.  GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Belchertown’s John Holt, right, and Ludlow’s Christen Caseras chase the ball in the first half Thursday in Belchertown.  GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Belchertown’s Dominic Mancuso challenges Ludlow’s Tommy Quiterio for the ball in the box in the first half Thursday in Belchertown.  STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Belchertown’s Thomas Vinagre, right, challenges Ludlow’s Ben Corbin for the ball in the first half Thursday in Belchertown.  STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Belchertown’s Joey Borelli, right, races Ludlow’s James Dias for the ball in the first half Thursday in Belchertown.  GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 9/23/2021 9:34:48 PM

BELCHERTOWN — The whistle never blew, so the Belchertown boys soccer team kept playing.

Orioles senior Joseph Bianco laid in the six-yard box, hands over his face after a collision with Ludlow keeper Devon Santos. The ball popped back out to Belchertown’s John Holt, who lifted it over the chaos in the 18-yard box and into the back of the net to tie the Lions in the 66th minute Thursday.

“I just threw my body at it to get a touch on that. Obviously, it was a chaotic situation,” Holt said. “I know I can score if I get a touch on it anywhere in the box, and that’s what I tried to do.”

Ludlow players protested. The Lions thought it should have been a dead ball and stopped play. Belchertown kept kicking to the whistle. The referees saw an offensive advantage for the Orioles and let them continue. They couldn’t be sure of the head injury, so they let play go on. The clock ran. The goal stood, and the game restarted with a kickoff. Neither side found a winner in the final 14 minutes, and Belchertown drew Ludlow 1-1 at home.

“It’s a bad way for us to get a goal, no one ever wants do it. But at the end of the day we’ve got to work on the opportunities we have,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “It’s not a great way, not a great feeling of a way to tie a game, especially when tensions are running high. But at the end of the day we’ve got to play through some things.”

In the first half, Belchertown looked like it would find the opening goal. Holt nearly popped a shot into the top right corner in the first five minutes, but Santos was equal to it diving to his right.

The Orioles held possession in Ludlow’s end for nearly the entire 40 minutes as the Lions tried to relieve the pressure with long balls but couldn’t string enough passes together.

“We were linking up passes, playing a little less scared and a little less intimidated and with more confidence,” Siano said. “We kind of lost that in the second half. We were more frantic. Maybe we were tired and didn’t rotate as many bodies, so that’s something I need to reflect on myself in the film.”

The equalizer came against the run of play for the Orioles. Siano had just changed to a more aggressive formation designed to create chaos and more opportunities because they struggled in the second half chasing the game. Ludlow went ahead 1-0 in the 43rd minute. Sam Cocchi drilled the ball into the far right corner after the Lions dissected Belchertown’s defense on the counter attack up the left side of the field.

“It’s just one slip up, which shouldn’t be a big deal at the end of the day,” Holt said. “We have to keep consistent and keep pushing to erase the effect those mistakes have on us.”

It was just the second goal Belchertown (3-0-3) has allowed all year. The Orioles remain unbeaten but have drew three of their past four games.

“This one’s a loss for us. Ever draw’s a loss,” Holt said. “Every game we step on to the field, we’re looking to get three points. We’re not going to be satisfied with anything else.”

 

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.


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