Belmont's Corey Derosier gets up for a clearance during the Raiders' 2-1 victory over Inter-Lakes in Meredith on Sept. 19. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 23, 2013MEREDITH – It wasn't easy, but the Belmont High School boys' soccer team moved over the .500 mark with a tight win on Sept. 19.
On the road at Inter-Lakes High School, the visiting Red Raiders scored two goals less than a minute apart in the first half and survived a late comeback bid for a 2-1 win on the turf in Division III action.
"I thought we controlled the pace of the game," said Belmont coach Mike Foley. "With the way we started the season (1-2-1 record), we decided we had to move some personnel around to get more opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net. We've started doing that."
Inter-Lakes was coming off a 5-0 loss on the road at Gilford, but the Lakers had opened the season 3-1 thanks to victories over Franklin, Mascoma and Winnisquam.
"We knew it would be a challenge coming into this one," admitted I-L head coach Steve Welch. "We got off to a hot start early in the season. We're trying to maintain that with the more challenging teams coming up on our schedule."
The Raiders got on the board first with 27:43 left in the first half, as sophomore forward TJ Hennessey uncorked a rocket that somehow bounced off lower part of the crossbar and across the line for a 1-0 lead.
Just 38 seconds later, Belmont doubled its lead. Hennessey got another blast on frame, but while I-L goalkeeper Jonah Steiss managed to make the initial save, Brad Cyr was there for the rebound and he volleyed it into the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage.
"Give Belmont credit, they pounced on us early with those quick goals," said Welch.
Foley has enjoyed what he's seen lately from Hennessey, who has provided a spark up top during the early portion of the season.
"A bunch of teams have played him physically early on but he's only a sophomore," the coach explained. "He's grown quite a bit already. He's getting his legs under him and chipping in with some big goals for us."
Belmont held its 2-0 advantage into halftime, thanks in large part to the work of I-L senior sweeper Jackson Plyler. The Lakers' security blanket in the back, Plyler got to nearly every loose ball in the defensive third of the field, keeping the Raiders from adding to their lead.
"Jackson's best quality is he's very calm and collected back there," Welch said. "It makes us feel very relaxed as a team and his distribution from back there is great."
I-L picked up its play in the second half, and the Lakers finally cashed in with 12:02 remaining in regulation. Ryan Hambrook got past his defender down the left side and fed an open Logan Taylor in the middle for a one-timer that got past Belmont keeper Andrew Spaulding to make it a 2-1 contest.
"At that point, the guys knew it was no time to panic," explained Foley. "We just had to keep doing what we had been doing, setting the pace and tempo and going from there."
The Raiders made sure I-L wouldn't put home the equalizer, as the defense corps of Kyle Gelinas, Corey Derosier and Tyler Fleming closed out the victory, with midfielder Joe Boles doing the dirty work in the middle of the field for Belmont.
Despite the loss, Welch was pleased with the way his troops responded despite the two-goal deficit.
"I'm very happy with their play," he said. "It's hard to be mad at a team that crawls back in a game the way we did today."
The game was the lone meeting of the season for the two Lakes Region foes.