Instincts, effort lead Belchertown boys soccer past Amherst Regional

  • Wesley Killough-Hill, left, of Amherst Regional, and Zachary Lajeunesse, of Belchertown, try to win control of the ball, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Amherst Regional High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Zachary Lajeunesse, left, of Belchertown goes to the ball against Brayan Rivas Martinez, of Amherst Regional, Wednesday at Amherst Regional High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Maxim Caron, front, of Belchertown, and Dylan Robson, of Amherst Regional, go to the ball, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Junior Pontes da Veiga, left, of Amherst Regional, and Hayden Miltz, of Belchertown, run to the ball, Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Junior Pontes da Veiga, second from left, of Amherst Regional, passes against Belchertown defenders Connor LaFlamme, left, and Evan Fournier, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Liam Carpenter-Shulman, left, of Amherst Regional, passes ahead of Evan Fournier, of Belchertown, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Amherst Regional High School. Chris Ingram is in the background. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nate Schiffer, center, of Belchertown, moves the ball between Amherst Regional defenders Soul-Jah Ferreria, left, and Ammar Abdel-Maksoud, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Matteo Picardi, second from left, of Belchertown, celebrates his goal against Amherst Regional, with teammates Evan Fournier, Nate Schiffer, Evan Walters-Zucco and Korey Houle, during their 2-1 win, Wednesday, at Amherst Regional High School. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Belchertown goalie Chris Tilton catches a shot from Amherst Regional as teammate Korey Houle, right, and Soul-Jah Ferreria, of Amherst Regional, look, Wednesday at Amherst Regional High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Evan Fournier, left, of Belchertown, moves the ball against Liam Carpenter-Shulman, of Amherst Regional, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nate Schiffer, right, of Belchertown, heads the ball against Soul-Jah Ferreria, of Amherst Regional, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Patrik Cooper, left, of Amherst Regional, and Nate Schiffer, of Belchertown, go to a pass Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sam Brainin, left, of Amherst Regional, passes backward beside Jacob Torna, of Belchertown, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff reports
Published: 10/10/2018 10:22:16 PM

AMHERST — Matteo Picardi snuck behind Amherst’s back line, which was fixated on Evan Fournier’s run down the left flank.

Fournier received a pass on the wing moving toward the corner, cut back inside to shake Amherst Regional defender Wesley Killough-Hill sliding past him then fired a shot far post from a challenging angle. Amherst keeper Lucas Morales-Fernandez dove to his left at full extension to keep the shot out of the goal, but he couldn’t corral it. The ball bounced right to a waiting Picardi at the far post, who rocketed it in the net with his left foot in the 21st minute.

“It’s pure instinct and constant repetition on the training ground,” Picardi said. “It was definitely coming, it was just a matter of time.”

Instincts and effort led to both of the Belchertown boys soccer team’s goals in a 2-0 win over Amherst on Wednesday.

Maxim Caron delivered the second in the 42nd minute. Jacob Torna pressured Morales-Fernandez (two saves) in the 18-yard box and forced a poor clearance. Caron hit the ball first-time into the back of the net.

“Part of our philosophy this year is high pressure the whole game. When one steps, we all step,” Caron said. “I just continued my run, instinct, when the ball comes to you, find it.”

Both goals represented a return to Belchertown’s brand of soccer. The Orioles (7-4) lost four of their previous six games before Wednesday, and a lack of effort played a large part in many of those defeats.

“It was good to get us back on track after a little bit of a mini slump,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said.

All four of Belchertown’s losses have been against Division 1 opponents like Amherst (6-5). It was important to the Division 3 Orioles to prove they could keep up with that level of competition.

“This was huge, it boosts our morale and gives us a little bit of momentum going forward,” Caron said.

Belchertown’s defense denied Amherst chances throughout. Orioles keeper Chris Tilton made six saves.

“Belchertown was very disciplined. I thought they stepped up and closed the space down quickly,” Amherst coach Michael Rudd said. “They made it difficult for us to create chances going forward.”

The Hurricanes were the most dangerous 10 minutes after Caron’s goal. Brayan Rivas Martinez launched a long-range shot just high that hit the football crossbar in the 54th minute, then the Hurricanes put a free kick on frame in the 55th.

“We lacked the mentality that we usually have. We didn’t combine at all,” Rudd said. “It was unusual for us, an off night for us.”

Injuries have shuffled the Hurricanes’ lineup, which was already adjusting to new faces after graduating 17 players last season.

“Players are still figuring out what it takes to be successful at this level,” Rudd said.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.



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