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Freshman Ethan Czaporowski strikes in OT as Belchertown wins D3 state title

  • Belchertown freshman Ethan Czaporowski’s late score gave Belchertown the Division 3 boys soccer state crown over Medway on Nov. 23 in Worcester. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior goal Tony Martel deflects a shot by Medway in the second half of the Orioles’ 1-0 Division 3 state championship win at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday. 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

  • Belchertown freshman Ethan Czaporowski, left, scores on Medway goalkeeper Kyle Regan (77) in overtime of the Orioles’ 1-0 Division 3 state championship win at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior midfielder Zachary Lajeunesse, in black, is knocked down trying to wrest control from Kyle Myers, left, and Chris Nicklas of Medway in overtime of the Orioles' 1-0 Div. 3 state championship win over the Mustangs at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown head coach Zach Siano is hugged by senior captain and goalkeeper Tony Martel after the Orioles won the state championship, Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • The Belchertown bench piles on freshman forward Ethan Czaporowski (unseen) moments after he scored against Medway in the 94th minute to earn the Orioles a Div. 3 state championship at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown freshman forward Ethan Czaporowski, left, and senior defender Samuel Rogalewski (17) exchange "good game" with Medway players following the Orioles' 1-0 win over the Mustangs in the Div. 3 state championship at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown freshman forward Ethan Czaporowski, center, is celebrated by senior midfielder Zach Lajeunesse, right, and others after he scored in overtime of the Div. 3 boys soccer state championship to defeat Medway, 1-0, at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior captains Tony Martel, left, Owen Raines and Korey Houle accept the Div. 3 state championship trophy after the Orioles' 1-0 win over Medway at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior captains Tony Martel, left, Owen Raines and Korey Houle accept the Div. 3 state championship trophy after a 1-0 win over Medway at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown players hoist the Division 3 state championship trophy after defeating Medway, 1-0, in overtime on Nov. 23. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown freshman forward Ethan Czaporowski, right, gazes at the Div. 3 state championship trophy hoisted by his teammates after the Orioles' defeated Medway, 1-0, on his unassisted goal in overtime at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown head coach Zach Siano, right, and the Orioles pose with their Division 3 state championship trophy at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior midfielder Zach Lajeunesse (10) turns to freshman forward Ethan Czaporowski as the Orioles hoist their Div. 3 state championship trophy at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. Czaporowski settled a long ball cleared by Lajeunesse in the 14th minute of overtime to score the winning goal. Belchertown senior goalkeeper Tony Martel is at far right. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior captain and goalkeeper Tony Martel celebrates the Orioles' Div. 3 state championship win over Medway at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior Owen Raines is greeted by fans after the Orioles won the Div. 3 state championship in a 1-0 overtime win against Medway at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior goalie Tony Martel, left, sophomore midfielderJoseph Bianco and senior defender Owen Raines huddle during a Medway timeout in the first half of the Orioles' 1-0 Div. 3 state championship win over the Mustangs at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown sophomore midfielder Joseph Bianco drives between Kyle Myers, left, and Chris Nicklas of Medway in the first half of the Orioles' 1-0 Div. 3 state championship win over the Mustangs at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior defender Ian Roche, playing with a cast, gets ahead of a ball controlled by Luke Fagerson, left, of Medway in the first half of the Orioles' 1-0 Div. 3 state championship win over the Mustangs at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior midfielder Zach Lajeunesse, center, works the ball up the sideline against Chris Nicklas, left, and Kyle Myers of Medway in the first half of the Division 3 state championship at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown fans cheer on the Orioles in the first half of their 1-0 Div. 3 state championship win over Medway at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior defender Jonathan Mahaney, right, challenges Luke Fagerson of 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. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown fans cheer on the Orioles in the first half of their 1-0 Div. 3 state championship win over Medway at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown freshman forward Ethan Czaporowski, right, dribbles away from pressure by Andrew Burton of 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. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown sophomore midfielder Shay O'Neill, right, challenges Luke Fagerson of Medway in the first half of the Orioles' 1-0 Div. 3 state championship win over the Mustangs at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior defender Samuel Rogalewski, top, beats Chris Nicklas of Medway to a header in front of senior goalkeeper Tony Martel, right, and senior midfielder Zach Lajeunesse, left, 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. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Belchertown senior defender Korey Houle, right, pursues Cam Carpenter of Medway in the first half of the Orioles' 1-0 Div. 3 state championship win over the Mustangs at Foley Stadium in Worcester on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING



Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

WORCESTER — Zach Lajeunesse couldn’t take credit for the pass. He lofted the ball high into the night down Foley Stadium’s left sideline 14 minutes into overtime in Saturday’s Division 3 boys soccer state final. It bounced on the turf 44 yards from goal as Belchertown freshman striker Ethan Czaporowski pulled in front of Medway’s defensive line.

“Just a lucky clearance,” Lajeunesse said. “I’d like to say it was an amazing pass, but Ethan takes the ball down great.”

Czaporowski caught up to it and chested the ball to his feet. Three touches later, he forced Medway keeper Kyle Regan to commit and slide for the ball. Czaporowski popped it over Regan and into the back-right corner of the net.

The goal – No. 21’s 21st of the season – broke a scoreless deadlock and won Belchertown its first state title since 2013, 1-0 in the 94th minute.

“That was a good ball from that little kick. I put my head down and ran as fast as I could,” Czaporowski said. “It didn’t really feel real, but it happened.”

Czaporowski peeled to his left, trying to find his team. Nate Schiffer, who scored the go-ahead goal in the state semifinal, wrapped him over the shoulders with a hug first. Then the rest of the Orioles gang tackled him to the turf in a pile of orange and black.

“Time and time again, that little freshman was able to get it done,” Belchertown senior captain Owen Raines said. “I love the kid, he was so great this season.”

Medway (20-3-1) knew Czaporowski was the Orioles’ leading scorer and offensive engine, and the Mustangs obsessed over him defensively. They played a defensive triangle around him to limit his touches.

“Even without scoring on these things, he’s such a tenacious scorer he has to be accounted for at all times, Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “We’re playing that countering system, we know he’s going to command two or three guys at a time and he’s able to create so much off of that.”

Belchertown (13-4-6) didn’t create much during regulation. The Orioles only put five shots on goal in the first 80 minutes compared to 17 for the Mustangs. But Belchertown keeper Tony Martel kept a clean sheet with 18 saves.

“It’s my last game, I’m not letting anything in in my last game,” Martel said. “It’s not going to happen.”

He didn’t need to make a save on Medway’s best chance. The Mustangs earned a penalty in the final minute of regulation. They carried the ball into Belchertown’s box, and Korey Houle made a clean tackle in the center of goal, but the ball dribbled left to another Mustang. He got past Belchertown’s Sam Rogalewski, who was late with his challenge.

“It was a foul, I’ll be 100 percent honest,” Raines said. “I just froze, I was so nervous.”

Junior midfielder Luke Fagerson took three choppy steps and a full stride before launching the attempt well over the bar and between the football goalposts.

“The soccer gods got our back,” Raines said.

The miss invigorated Belchertown. The Orioles controlled a heavier share of possession in overtime and capitalized on their best chance.

“It’s natural for our season that it comes down to Lajeunesse to Czaporowski,” Siano said. “That’s been our bread and butter, and it got us a state title.”

It’s Belchertown’s second state title in four appearances. The Orioles lost their last trip in 2014. They fell in the state semifinals last year.

“As good as you think you are, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. It took us five years to get back here with some absolutely loaded teams,” Siano said.

Siano let his three captains – Raines, Martel and Houle – accept the trophy and raise it with their team. Then the Orioles ran it over to the sideline, where members of the 2013 title team, classmates, parents and Belchertown residents waited.

“We know how important soccer is to our school, our town,” Siano said. “Soccer is life in Belchertown.”

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