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As advertised

Raiders defense too much for Gilford

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Belmont’s Kylie O’Connell shields the ball from Gilford’s Gabi Defregger during the Raiders’ 3-0 win on Sept. 22. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 24, 2012
GILFORD – In a day full of enticing matchups, the Belmont High School girls' soccer team continued to march through its slate of regular season games on Sept. 22.

The visiting Red Raiders scored a pair of second half goals to pull away for a 3-0 win over Gilford High School in a Division III contest held at Homecoming in Gilford before a large crowd on a sunny afternoon.

"This is another measuring stick game for us," said Belmont coach Amy Dutton, whose team still hadn't allowed a goal after the win. Belmont improved to a perfect 9-0 on the season. "Overall with the boys and girls both winning it was a great day for Belmont soccer."

The Raiders performed came as advertised, knocking off the Golden Eagles after Gilford had won three straight leading into Homecoming.

"We saw pretty much what we expected from Belmont," said Gilford coach Becky Zumbach, whose team fell to 6-2 on the year with the loss. "I was impressed with the strength of their defense. But I'm not disappointed at all with my team. The girls wanted it and they came out hard."

Belmont struck first in the 19th minute, as sophomore Kylie O'Connell put her team up 1-0 when she put home a rebound off a McKenzie Phelps shot that was turned away by Gilford goalkeeper Paige Laliberte. Cassie Contigiani played the initial cross into the box, and while Laliberte did well to knock it away at point blank range, O'Connell was in perfect position for the juicy rebound.

"You can tell when the girls are ready to go. They have that look in their eyes and they had that before the game," said Dutton of her team's strong start.

Gilford's Dana Ruchti came close to equalizing late in the first half, as the freshman put a shot on Belmont keeper Amelia Kotusky. The sophomore goalkeeper made a sliding stop however, preserving the 1-0 halftime advantage.

"We knew Gilford was a quality team and we have a lot of respect for them," Dutton said.

The Raiders doubled their lead just 10 minutes into the second half, as captain Kayli Ennis scored on a rebound to make it 2-0.

Belmont got an insurance goal with 20 minutes remaining, as Contigiani roofed a shot on a breakaway over Laliberte's head for the 3-0 advantage.

"We made the extra effort for the most part all day and those little plays add up to a lot," said Dutton.

Belmont's defense was the story of the game, as the back four unit anchored by sophomores Zoe Zeller and Chayleigh Cadarette kept Gilford's scoring chances to a minimum.

"We take a lot of pride in playing defense and we've been preaching that since day one," said Dutton. "Our back four played the entire game so that was even more impressive."

The Eagles won't have to wait long to try and exact some revenge however, as the teams meet this Saturday, Sept. 29 in Belmont for its Homecoming game.

"It was good to know that (Belmont is) as strong and solid all around as we expected so we know what to look forward to going in," said Zumbach. "It's just a matter of winning more 50/50 balls, putting better touches on the ball. Things like that will make a difference."

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