Belchertown rallies, beats Mount Greylock for second straight D3 WMass boys soccer title

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  • Belchertown senior co-captain Owen Raines shouts to the fans at Berte Field after the Orioles won their second straight Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship, defeating Mount Greylock, 2-1, at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown players celebrate their Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship after defeating Mount Greylock, 2-1, at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior captains, defender Owen Raines (20) and goalkeeper Tony Martel, right, bring the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship trophy to their teammates after the Orioles defeated Mount Greylock, 2-1, at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown players hold up two fingers to signify their second straight Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship after defeating Mount Greylock, 2-1, at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown seniors Owen Raines, left, Korey Houle and Tony Martel accept the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship trophy after the Orioles defeated Mount Greylock, 2-1, at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior Korey Houle, foreground left, and juniors Griffin Weiss and Nathan Schiffer take turns biting the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship trophy after the Orioles defeated Mount Greylock, 2-1, at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Tate Kuster, left, of Mount Greylock and Belchertown senior Korey Houle battle for possession in the first half of the Orioles' 2-1 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over the Mounties at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • John Skavlem, left, of Mount Greylock and Belchertown sophomore Shay O'Neill both try to settle a ball in the second half of the Orioles' 2-1 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over the Mounties at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown junior Nathan Schiffer heads the ball over Cole McDermott of Mount Greylock in the second half of the Orioles' 2-1 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over the Mounties at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Joseph Bianco, Zachary Lajeunesse and Hunter LePage celebrate LePage's go-ahead goal for Belchertown in the second half of the Orioles' 2-1 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over Mount Greylock at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Joseph Bianco, left, Zachary Lajeunesse and Hunter LePage celebrate LePage's go-ahead goal for Belchertown in the second half of the Orioles' 2-1 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over Mount Greylock at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown freshman Ethan Czaporowski, center, knocks away a ball being settled by John Skavlem of Mount Greylock in the second half of the Orioles' 2-1 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over the Mounties at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. Belchertown's Nathan Schiffer is at left. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown's Nathan Schiffer, left, Zachary Lajeunesse and Ethan Czaporowski (21) celebrate Hunter LePage's go-ahead goal in the second half of the Orioles' 2-1 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over Mount Greylock at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior goalkeeper Tony Martel clears the ball past Leo Rossitter, right, of Mount Greylock in the second half of the Orioles' 2-1 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over the Mounties at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Joseph Bianco, left, Zachary Lajeunesse and Hunter LePage celebrate LePage's go-ahead goal for Belchertown in the second half of the Orioles' 2-1 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over Mount Greylock at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 11/16/2019 9:31:12 PM

SPRINGFIELD — Playing down a goal is engrained into the Belchertown boys soccer team’s DNA.

The Orioles train like they’re trailing and approach any game situation – tied, ahead, down – like they need one more goal. So when Mount Greylock scored the opener in Saturday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 final, Belchertown didn’t flinch.

The Orioles struck once in each half, erasing a one-goal deficit in the championship game for the second year in a row to claim their second straight sectional final, 2-1, at Central.

“I’ve been playing four years, we’ve been here four times, twice we’ve won it,” Belchertown senior keeper Tony Martel said. “It’s surreal to be here and experience this with this team.”

Belchertown (11-4-6) will face Central champion Blackstone Valley Tech at 7 p.m., Tuesday at Grafton High School in the state semifinals. The Beavers topped three-time defending champion Nipmuc in penalties in the sectional final. The Orioles lost to Nipmuc in last season’s state semifinals.

“At the beginning of the playoffs coach told us we’ve got five game sheets left. Today he told us three left,” Martel said. “We’ve got two left now.”

But before the third-seeded Orioles could rally, they had to go down.

The top-seeded Mounties sent a long ball past forward Leo Rossitier. It quickly became a 50-50 ball between him and Martel, who was far off his line. Martel played central defensive midfielder until the middle of the season, so Belchertown trusts him to act as a sweeper-keeper and eliminate threats like that. He cleared it straight off Rossitier, and the ball bounced over Martel toward the goal. Rossitier chased it down and tapped it into the net in the 17th minute for a 1-0 lead.

“The nerves were definitely high. We were playing with nerves. It happens, what are you going to do?” Martel said. “Our philosophy is we’re always down 1-0. We’ve been practicing for that.”

The lead only lasted seven minutes. Belchertown turned to its freshman spark plug. Ethan Czaporowski raced behind the Mount Greylock (15-4-1) defense and tucked in an equalizer with his left foot.

“It was kind of scary, but we knew we had (a comeback) in us,” said Czaporowski, who scored twice in the semifinal. “We just had play smart, play with possession and do what we had to do.”

The teams entered halftime tied at 1. The Orioles increased their pressure after the first 40 minutes. They earned a corner in the 50th. Mount Greylock cleared the pass, but only as far as sophomore Shay O’Neill. He whipped the ball back toward goal. It kicked off a Mounties defender back to sophomore defender Hunter LePage. Though he was tracking back on defense, LePage composed himself and fired a looping shot over the keeper and into the net for the lead. It was his first high school goal.

“It was crazy. I wasn’t expecting that to go in at all. I thought it was going over, actually,” LePage said. “My reaction was like ‘Woah, this is it.’”

Belchertown still had to keep Mount Greylock out of the goal for another 30 minutes. The Mounties were playing without their leading scorer Finn Welch, who went down in the game’s first few minutes.

“If he’s in there, that’s a completely different game because so much of their offense runs through him,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “It’s a terribly unfortunate – I mean we could be on the inverse of this if he’s out there because of how dangerous he is.”

The Mounties threw everything they had at Belchertown and carried possession for the game’s final stretch. But Martel and the Orioles defense held firm to secure the trophy. It was the ninth time Belchertown and Greylock have met in the postseason since the Mounties won it all in 2008. The Orioles are 9-0.

“I was sweating it out,” Siano said.

The final whistle brought jubilation to the Belchertown sideline. Martel’s father Michael hugged someone so hard his glasses smashed into his nose and left it bleeding for the entire celebration.

“The personnel’s going to change, the goal’s always going to remain the same for this program and how important it is to our town, our community,” Siano said.

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



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