Mahar’s Owen Cook (17) works to gain control of the soccer ball as Belchertown defender Alec Morgado (6) pressures from behind during Friday night’s WMass Division III quarterfinal contest. The Orioles eliminated the Senators with a 5-0 victory. Photo By Josh TalbotMahar’s Eli Smith (8) focuses on the ball during Friday night’s soccer match in Belchertown. Photo By Josh Talbot

Belchertown bounces Mahar 5-0

ORANGE - Fatigued,  battered and bruised,  the Mahar boys’ soccer team knew they faced an uphill battle against top-seed Belchertown on Friday night. 

The powerful Orioles lived up to the hype with four first half goals and coasted to the finish line with a 5-0 victory in a WMass Division III quarterfinal round contest. 

“Belchertown is an extremely good team,” said Mahar head coach Dan Guertin. “They were the number one seed for a reason nd knocked off good competition all throughout the year. It was a reward to have the chance to play them.”

The loss ended an outstanding season for the Senators which included the program’s second consecutive McGrath North title and a thrilling victory over rival Athol in the tournament’s opening round on Wednesday. 

“There are a lot of good moments to take from the season,” said Guertin. “You always want to win your last game, but we had a great run. There were a lot of fun times.”

Friday night’s defeat also marked the end of an era as seniors Owen Cook,  Pedro Mattos, Eli Smith,  Shawn Dennis,  Troy King,  Liam Bashista and Mason Dow. The group helped Mahar move from doormat to league power. 

“The seniors have been great,” said Guertin. “They have battled and been a great group to coach. They are positive and have good attitudes. For my own sake, it’s been good going home happy at the end of the night. There has been a lot of happy times this year.”

The Orioles started fast and furious; perhaps too fast as a number of early shots sailed high. Freshman Evan Fournier broke the ice at the 16:42 mark,  but the Senators continued to hang tough.

Legendary head coach Tony Almeida opted for a timeout with 10:10 remaining in the first half. A minute later, Fournier added his second goal of the night and the Orioles were off and running. 

Benjamin LeClair made it 3-0 with 4:38 left in the half and Jack Kamins put it on ice with his goal 47 seconds later. 

Jonathan Ingram added one for good measure in the 59th minute to cap the scoring.

While the loss ends the season for Mahar, the future appears bright. The team returns a number of key pieces — including sophomore midfielder Jack Temple and its entire defensive unit — and has a group of talented middle schoolers coming up following an undefeated season this fall.

“Over the last few years, the culture has really changed,” said Guertin. “We expect to be back in the playoffs again next year. We have a lot of good young guys.”

Athol Daily News

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Athol, MA 01331
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