×

Division 3 boys soccer: Norwell upends Belchertown in PKs to claim state title

  • Shay O'Neill of Belchertown beats Mischa Spasic, of Norwell to the ball in the first half of the division 3 soccer state finals game on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021. Norwell won 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Nicholas Azdima of Belchertown gets control of the ball as Zach Bello and Maxwell Flanders of Norwell come up from behind during the division 3 soccer state finals on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021 which ended with Norwell winning 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Dominic Mancuso gets control of the ball during the division 3 soccer state finals on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021 which ended in Norwell winning 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. To the left is John Mullen of Belchertown. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Nicholas Azdima of Belchertown and Matt McKenna of Norwell fight for the ball during the division 3 soccer state finals on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021 which ended with Norwell winning 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Nathaniel Oldenburg of Belchertown, right, heads the ball away from goal while John Mullen of Norwell tries to kick it in during the MIAA Div. 3 state final on Saturday in Medway. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grayson Marques of Belchertown runs for the ball in the first half of the division 3 soccer state finals on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021 which ended in Norwell winning 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Nicholas Anastos of Norwell, left, and Shay O'Neill of Belchertown battle for possession during the MIAA Div. 3 boys soccer final on Saturday in Medway. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Dominic Mancuso, of Belchertown and Mischa Spasic of Norwell reach for the ball during the division 3 soccer state finals on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021 which ended in Norwell winning 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Matt McKenna, of Norwell and Jack Holt race to the ball in the first half of the division 3 soccer state finals on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021. Holt scored 2 goals in the game which ended in Norwell winning 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • John Mullen, of Norwell and Jack Holt during the division 3 soccer state finals soccer game on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021. Holt scored 2 goals in the game which ended in Norwell winning 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jack Mandeville of Belchertown saves the first kick by Norwell during a shoot out resulting in Norwell winning the division 3 soccer state finals game 4-3 Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Mischa Spasic, of Norwell and Carson Boscher of Belchertown during the division 3 soccer state finals game on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021. Norwell won 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jack Holt of Belchertown during the division 3 soccer state finals game on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021. Holt scored 2 goals in the game which ended in Norwell winning 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jacob Chaisson the goalie for Belchertown, makes a save where a foul was called at the box resulting in a goal for Norwell during the division 3 soccer state finals game on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021. Norwell won 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Grayson Marques and Hunter LePage of Belchertown after losing the Division 3 soccer state final 4-3 to Norwell in a penalty shootout Saturday, Nov. 20. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jacob Chaisson the goalie for Belchertown sits on the bench with the other players after losing the division 3 soccer state finals game 4-3 to Norwell in a penalty shoot out Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jacob Chaisson the goalie for Belchertown makes a save where a foul was called at the box resulting in a goal for Norwell during the division 3 soccer state finals game on Saturday Nov. 20, 2021. Norwell won 4-3 in a penalty shoot out. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS



Staff Writer
Monday, November 29, 2021

MEDWAY — The high pitched thud of a soccer ball hitting the post will echo in Belchertown’s minds.

Late in an overtime that the Orioles shouldn’t have even been in during Saturday’s Division 3 state final against Nowell, forward Jack Holt played a cross to Jack Bianco at the top of the box. Bianco struck low again, across the face of goal toward the far post. It hit that post and kicked out to Kaden Houle, whose first-time shot sailed over the bar.

“It’s something I’ve never experienced before,” Bianco said. “I try to have a quick memory.”

A few centimeters the other way and it would have tucked in for state championship-winning golden goal, Belchertown’s third. Instead the Orioles gasped again and again at “so close” or “almost there.”

It eventually led to penalty kicks. Norwell keeper Anthony Geagea saved two Belchertown penalties and scored the decisive one to win the shootout 4-3, cementing the Clippers’ first state championship. They lost to Sutton in the 2017 Division 3 final. Belchertown was looking to defend its trophy from 2019 but fell a decisive moment shy.

“At the end of the day we have to score,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “We had absolute sitters there that when a state championship is on the line, someone has to step up, and it can’t be the same guys relied upon time after time. Sadly we didn’t get that.”

The Orioles created plenty of chances like that in both overtime periods. The best came with 12 minutes left in the second overtime. Shay O’Neill got the ball to Holt in front of two defenders. He touched it by them and split them to create a clean look at the goal. He aimed for the opposite corner, but Geagea dove far enough to his left and batted it away.

“Just hands on your head, watching helpless after the first shot I had,” Holt said. “It was really wonky.”

Houle was crashing from the opposite side and tried to tuck the rebound in past Geagea. The Clippers netminder scrambled to slap a hand to it. Christopher Adzima was waiting in the center to take a third crack at it, but that shot took a deflection and went over for a corner.

“I thought that was the game right there. Those are strong players that are out there,” Siano said. “We’ve got to clean that up. We’ve got to finish those. And sadly we don’t, and that’s why we’re not leaving here with a trophy.”

The hardware appeared headed back to Belchertown after the first 44 minutes. Holt opened the scoring 12 minutes in. He received a pass in the box from Houle, touched it across his body and popped a shot into the net.

The Orioles carried that advantage into halftime and capitalized again in the 44th minute. Holt put himself in the right spot to clean up a messy rebound and put Belchertown up 2-0.

Norwell tied it 2-2 in the 59th minute. Alex Geagea jumped on a loose ball in the box and punched it into the net after five minutes of control by the Clippers.

While Belchertown was searching for its winner, Orioles keeper Jacob Chaisson ensured Norwell didn’t get one of its own. He made six stops, including a kick save with 20 minutes left one on one with Will Morse.

“He was huge at times,” Siano said.

After 110 minutes with Chaisson in net, Siano turned to freshman Jack Mandeville for the shootout.

He stoned John Mullen’s initial attempt.

Hunter LePage, O’Neill and Adzima buried penalties, while Anthony Geagea slapped out Grayson Marques’ and Bianco’s.

The loss marked the end of the road for Belchertown’s 12 seniors. The Orioles claimed three Western Massachusetts titles and the program’s second state title in 2019.

“They mean everything. Those aren’t just my teammates, they’re my closest friends,” Bianco said. “I’d rather play with them for the rest of my life than win the championship. That’s what’s most important to me. I know I’ll always remember the times I had with them.”