Soccer notebook: Belchertown GK Tony Martel saves best for last

  • Belchertown senior goal Tony Martel deflects a shot by Medway in the second half of the Orioles' 1-0 Div. 3 state championship win over the Mustangs at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. Martel is joined in the box by senior defenders Ian Roche (8), Owen Raines (20) and Samuel Rogalewski (17). Medway's Andrew Burton is at left. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writers
Published: 11/23/2019 9:21:01 PM

WORCESTER — Tony Martel saved his best for last.

Belchertown’s senior keeper turned away 18 shots in a 1-0 overtime state Division 3 final against Medway, keeping a clean sheet in his final high school soccer game.

“Tony Martel had the game of a lifetime, and he picked a great spot to have a game of a lifetime,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “I’ll forever be in his debt for this state title, and so will the rest of these guys.”

It was only Martel’s 17th high school game in net. He stepped in from the defensive midfield after the Orioles started off poorly and sparked their run to the championship. Martel previously played keeper when he was 10.

“To see him come through in that way for a guy we didn’t expect to be in that spot in August is an unbelievable sight and certainly something we’ll never forget in this program’s history,” Siano said.

The gloves he used to stop those 18 shots weren’t even his. He borrowed them from Belchertown assistant Tanner Clark, who previously played for the Orioles.

“His gloves had kind of disintegrated. Maybe it’s all the shots he’s been peppered with,” Siano said. “He said he felt like Superman with those gloves (Friday) at training, and he certainly played like Superman today.”

His biggest save wasn’t with his hands, though. Martel used his swagger. Medway earned a penalty in the final minute of regulation, and Martel stared down the Mustangs’ Luke Fagerson for the spot kick.

“There’s a sophomore keeper Jacob Chaisson, he taught me how to take PKs. He said you’ve got to wait for the guy, you’ve got to psyche him out,” Martel said. “Don’t have him make you wait, make him wait. And he skyed it.”

FOR THE COMMUNITY — Members of the South Hadley girls soccer team wore a white ribbon in their hair in honor of former South Hadley teacher Parmatma Khalsa, who passed away Thursday morning in a car accident. None of the Tigers were taught by Khalsa, but they wanted to show solidarity with the community during the state Division 3 championship, a 3-0 win over Stoneham.

“If we’re here representing our community on such a big stage, we might as well get the whole community involved,” South Hadley senior Hailey Werenski said. “Some of our members are mourning the loss of him. We do it all together, and we get through it together.”

BROTHERLY LOVE — Senior captain Owen Raines will always have a one-up on his older brother, now. Owen Raines’ team captured the program’s second state title Saturday, while Cyrus was a freshman for the squad that lost in 2014. Owen saw Cyrus after the game and ran straight to him for an embrace.

“I love my brother so much, I booked it off the field,” Owen said. “But I’ll make sure to rub it in his face.”

DÉJÀ VU — Belchertown won Saturday on the same Foley Stadium field as it did the first time, and against the same opponent in Medway. Both games went to overtime, and Belchertown scored on the same side of the field into the same corner of the net.

EMPTY THE PLAYBOOK — South Hadley girls coach Rich Marjanski called a timeout with the Tigers up three goals in the game’s final minute. The Tigers had a free kick routine they hadn’t run yet, so he let them go for it. South Hadley played a short ball and pinged a pass back for a goal, but the play was called offsides.

“We’ve practiced it so much, I didn’t know when else to run it,” he said.

THANKS FOR THE ASSIST — Siano built a strong staff of assistants en route to the state title. Former Belchertown girls varsity coach Chris Mogavero helped coordinate the Orioles’ attack, while former Belchertown player Noah Lussier had an eye for the midfield.

Mogavero’s resume from his time with the girls team is impressive: 212-83-54 over 17 seasons, five sectional titles and one state title. Belchertown was state runners-up three times and WMass finalists three times.

“Chris is such a tactical mind, one of the highest soccer IQs I’ve ever been around,” Siano said. “He did a good job at halftime talking about how our shift and movement should work. The three of us working off of each other is a great combination.”

COLD? WHAT COLD? — South Hadley stayed on the field at halftime while Stoneham went into the locker room.

“You’re only going to get warm, and then you have to come back out and get cold,” Marjanski said. “We were like forget the locker room we’ll brave the elements.”

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