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Belmont boys come up just short against Gilford

Joshua Spaulding image
by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

Belmont's Nate Sottak moves between Gilford's Chance Bolduc and Owen Guerin in action last Monday. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
October 15, 2020
BELMONT — A simple act of miscommunication was the only thing that kept the Gilford and Belmont boys' soccer teams from playing extra soccer on Monday, Oct. 5.

Midway through the first half, Gilford's Izaak Walton sent the ball in on net and as it was deflected, Belmont defenders yelled "keeper," but goalie Jacobb Bivens knew he wasn't going to get to it. As the Belmont defenders cleared out of the way, Gilford's Tanner Keenan continued charging toward the goal and directed the ball in the net for the 1-0 lead.

And that was all the scoring, as both teams held tight on the defensive end and didn't allow another goal.

"Defensively, I thought we played well," said Belmont coach Mike Foley. "But we made the cardinal sin where everyone was calling for the goalie to get the ball and the goalie wasn't calling for it."

"We're playing well defensively," said Gilford coach Dave Pinkham. "And their keeper (Bivens) made some unbelievable saves."

Belmont had the game's first corner but could not convert. Tristan Reinhold made a run in for Gilford but Jamison Gaudette stepped up with a defensive stop for Belmont. Anthony Aguiar had a shot go wide for the visitors and Keenan had a shot from the side that Bivens corralled. Gilford's Owen Guerin had a shot ripped on net that forced Bivens to make a diving save. Aguiar had another bid go wide of the net.

The Raiders had a long direct kick in that Gilford keeper Thomas Donnelly came out to grab. Nate Sottak ripped the ball through the crease for the hosts and Chance Bolduc came back for Gilford with a shot off the crossbar. Reinhold got to the rebound, but his shot was deflected.

Just a few ticks past the midway point, the Golden Eagles got their goal, with Keenan getting the tally. Belmont came back with Sottak making another cross in front, but Gilford cleared the ball. Guerin sent a nice ball in to Keenan, with Bivens making another solid save.

Aguiar just missed connecting with Andrew Flanders on a bid and Belmont's Kyle Whitcomb sent a shot over the net. Sottak had a shot stopped by Donnelly and Jeff Carrier also had a bid stopped for the Raiders. Reinhold had a shot go wide of the net, as did Keenan and the two just missed connecting on a bid again as the half ticked away and Gilford took the 1-0 lead to the break.

Aguiar had a cross cleared from the zone and Belmont came back with a corner that was stopped by Donnelly. Jordan Browne, Keenan, Bolduc, Max Bartlett and Aguiar all charged into the offensive zone for Gilford and Bolduc also had a nice defensive stop.

Belmont had a direct kick blocked and then Taylor Carroll had a nice defensive clear. Mitchell Berry and Sottak teamed up on a bid but Gilford was able to clear the ball and put together another good run in their end. Flanders had a shot go wide, Aguiar sent a ball off the cross bar, Bolduc had a direct kick deflected and Keenan had a shot stopped by Bivens.

The Raiders had a corner kick chance but could not convert and at the other end, Bartlett sent a shot over the top of the net. Kadin Jewell did some good work in the corner for the Raiders and got the ball to Liam Waldron, but his shot went wide off the net. Bivens made another diving save on a shot from Keenan.

Belmont came back with some good bids from Bryce Hall and Jewell but Donnelly held tight and Bivens made a great diving save of the final Gilford chance as the game finished with the 1-0 win for the visitors.

"We know what we're going to get from Gilford," said Foley. "They possess the ball well and go hard to the ball.

"But we were able to generate some opportunities late in the game," the Raider coach said. "I think that was more them getting tired and allowing us to get the ball in deeper.

"Otherwise we didn't have a ton of chances," Foley said. "That's a credit to their defense."

Foley noted that Bivens played a strong game in net with some key saves.

"We've got to get healthy," said Pinkham, who noted he is down two starters after being down four starters the previous week. "We have a good feisty young team.

"They're a very good team, Belmont always is," said Pinkham. "Mike does a good job with them.

"To come here and play the way we did, a coach has to have a smile on his face," he continued. "The defense will lead the way."

Belmont will be back in action today, Oct. 15, at home against Kennett at 4 p.m. On Monday, Oct. 19, they will host Winnisquam at 4 p.m.

Gilford will be in action today, Oct. 15, at home against Kingswood at 3:30 p.m. and on Monday, Oct. 19, the Golden Eagles are at Plymouth at 3:30 p.m.

Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or josh@salmonpress.news.

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