Northampton boys soccer knocks off Belchertown, 2-1

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  • Ben Gomes-Rapoza, second from right, of Northampton, moves the ball beside Hunter LePage, right, of Belchertown, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ethan Czaporowski, right, of Belchertown, gets control of a pass beside Jonathan Marshall, of Northampton, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Elyjah Gaspar, left, of Northampton, and Jonathan Mahaney, of Belchertown, jostle for the ball, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton goalie Alexandar Caldanaro catches a shot from Belchertown, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Samuel Curran, left, of Northampton, begins a pass as Joseph Bianco, of Belchertown, approaches, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Zachary Lajeunesse, left, of Belchertown, and Brady McDonald, of Northampton, jostle for the ball, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Samuel Curran, left, of Northampton, goes to a pass against Kaden Houle, of Belchertown, Monday at Northampton High School. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ethan Czaporowski, right, of Belchertown, moves the ball against Paul Eriksen, of Northampton, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jonathan Marshall, top, of Northampton, heads the ball beside Ethan Czaporowski, of Belchertown, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ben Gomes-Rapoza, right, of Northampton, moves the ball against Christopher Ingram, center, of Belchertown, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tony Martel, center, of Belchertown, and Nathaniel Jones, of Northampton, go to the ball, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tony Martel, left, of Belchertown, scores on Northampton goalie Alexandar Caldanaro, right, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Andrew Pope, left, of Belchertown, and Ben Gomes-Rapoza, of Northampton, try to get control of a pass, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Elyjah Gaspar, center, of Northampton, celebrates his goal against Belchertown with Shahzair Tasneem, left, and Lars Sippel, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton goalie Alexandar Caldanaro, top, deflects a Belchertown shot beside teammate Jonathan Marshall, right, and Ethan Czaporowski, of Belchertown, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at Northampton High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 9/9/2019 10:10:17 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Only Belchertown keeper Matthew Tilton stood between Northampton senior Ben Gomes-Rapoza and the Blue Devils’ first goal of the season.

Gomes-Rapoza received a through ball from Jonathan Marshall, touched it forward and lined up a shot with four choppy steps. The ball lifted over Tilton’s outstretched left hand and settled in the net in the 35th minute.

“I was sitting up top waiting for the ball, and it went over (the defender’s head), and I took off and knew I was going to score,” Gomes-Rapoza said.

Northampton’s first goal of the year eventually led to its first victory under new coach Aldo Tiobi, as the Blue Devils prevailed, 2-1, Monday. They were shut out in their previous two games and lost by a combined seven goals.

“I think we were starting to question if we could ever do it, and it broke the dam,” Tiobi said. “It allowed us to believe we can score.”

Believing they could win followed soon after. Northampton (1-2, 1-1 Churchill) maintained its defensive intensity and kept Belchertown (1-1-1, 1-1) out of the net for 79 minutes. Sophomore Alexandar Caldanaro stopped 22 shots, and Sonam Salsedo cleared a ball off the goal line in the 57th minute to preserve Northampton’s 1-0 lead. Belchertown’s Kaden Houle split two defenders dribbling toward the goal and dropped Caldanaro with a deft touch to the left. He flicked the ball toward the net with the outside of his right foot thinking he had an equalizer, but Salsedo ran the ball down and cleared it just wide of goal.

“It boosts morale, we’re working on the defensive and offensive end,” Gomes-Rapoza said. “Everyone putting in work raises the whole team.”

That effort separated the Blue Devils from Belchertown, particularly in the second half.

“That’s all effort by Northampton and a minimal effort from Belchertown, and it certainly showed on the scoreboard,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “You can’t give a 50 percent effort against a team that’s going to give 100 percent against you for 80 minutes.”

Northampton also wasn’t satisfied weathering the Orioles’ late push to win 1-0. The Blue Devils absorbed Belchertown’s pressure for most of the second half and countered when they could. Elyjah Gaspar sealed the win with a lofted ball in the 75th minute that put Northampton up 2-0.

“I sprinted as hard as I could because I wanted an opportunity to make a play,” Gaspar said. “When I took the shot, I felt it going in.”

Belchertown pulled one back in the 79th minute. Joey Bianco played the ball in to captain Tony Martel, who fired across the face to the bottom-right corner.

“We probably outshot these guys at least by double, and for us to end up with one in the last minute of play is fairly disheartening,” Siano said.

Belchertown played without its senior captain and defensive stalwart Owen Raines. He was banged up and kept him out of the game to recover, Siano said.

“(We miss) his leadership, his talking, his physicality,” Siano said. “He’s the commander of the back line.”

When the final whistle sounded, Northampton’s reserves bounded off the bench and embrace their starters. The Blue Devils haven’t experienced many wins against teams of Belchertown’s caliber in their careers.

“This win is huge, words can’t really describe it,” Gomes-Rapoza said.




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