MIAA tourneys: Landon Andre’s double-OT goal lifts Belchertown boys lacrosse past Minuteman (PHOTOS)

Belchertown seniors Landon Andre and Nico St. George jump in each other’s arms after Andre netted the game-winning goal in the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Friday afternoon in Belchertown.

Belchertown seniors Landon Andre and Nico St. George jump in each other’s arms after Andre netted the game-winning goal in the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Friday afternoon in Belchertown. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Belchertown teammates swarm Nico St. George (9) after his goal in the final seconds sent the game to overtime during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown.

Belchertown teammates swarm Nico St. George (9) after his goal in the final seconds sent the game to overtime during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Belchertown junior Charlie Fijal (24) rips a shot on goal during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown.

Belchertown junior Charlie Fijal (24) rips a shot on goal during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Belchertown senior Caleb Reardon (2) carries the ball past a defender in the attacking zone during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown.

Belchertown senior Caleb Reardon (2) carries the ball past a defender in the attacking zone during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Belchertown senior Nico St. George (9) winds up and fires a shot on goal during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown.

Belchertown senior Nico St. George (9) winds up and fires a shot on goal during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Belchertown senior goalie Dax Morin (15) squares up to attempt a save during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown.

Belchertown senior goalie Dax Morin (15) squares up to attempt a save during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Belchertown sophomore Vincent Ting (4) makes a pass to a teammate behind the cage during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown.

Belchertown sophomore Vincent Ting (4) makes a pass to a teammate behind the cage during the Orioles’ 11-10 double overtime win over Minuteman Regional on Friday afternoon in Belchertown. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 05-31-2024 9:21 PM

BELCHERTOWN — Landon Andre found himself wide open with a perfect shooting lane to the cage. The Belchertown senior had a clean shot that he’d taken and converted several times throughout the season, but not during the state tournament. Add on the fact that Friday afternoon’s game went into double overtime, and the free look on goal from the slot suddenly felt a lot harder.

The senior geared up and let rip a shot on goal, and when it went in, Andre turned to find fellow senior Nico St. George – who had delivered a perfect pass to Andre – and jumped in his arms while the rest of the team soon flocked to them to celebrate the No. 31 Orioles’ thrilling, come-from-behind 11-10 win over No. 34 Minuteman Regional in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round.

“It means a lot [to score the game-winning goal],” Andre said. “It wasn’t just me, though. My team was great in overtime. If [Nico] never passed me the ball I would’ve never been able to take the shot. These guys know better than I do, I’m just out here giving it all I got. They passed it around, and I saw that I had an open shot so I just took it. I trusted myself.”

Belchertown found itself in an unfavorable position late in regulation after surrendering seven unanswered goals to the Mustangs dating back to the end of the first half. The Orioles held a 7-4 advantage at half, but that quickly dissipated after being outscored 4-0 in the third quarter. When Minuteman tacked on the first two in the fourth, Belchertown was in a 10-7 hole with under four minutes to go.

St. George put an end to the bleeding with a goal at the 4:19 mark, quickly followed by a Vincent Ting score with exactly two minutes to go – making it 10-9 Minuteman. And in the final seconds, with its season on the line, Belchertown scrapped for one more.

On the man-advantage, St. George worked the ball around the top of the attacking zone to move the Mustangs defense. It found its way back  to him with under 15 seconds remaining. He had to let it fly. His shot one-hopped into the cage to square things at 10 and send the game to an extra session.

“We had to score,” St. George said. “I took a couple really stupid shots, so we slowed it down, moved the ball around and I got a good shot off. We were struggling to savor possessions, and I think we really buckled down. Being a man up definitely helped us tie it, but it definitely was not all me. It took everybody.”

A second-quarter flurry and those two dramatic goals helped the Orioles win a state tournament game for the first time since the new MIAA format.

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Trailing 3-2 after one, the game’s next five goals belonged to Belchertown. Charlie Fijal scored twice in the frame while Rylan Queiros, Ting and St. George each tallied a goal as well. Orioles head coach Nick St. George thought his team was in a great position to win after going up 7-3 considering the way it played in the second 12 minutes.

Then came a stampede from the Mustangs, which Belchertown eventually responded to late.

“We played really well in the second quarter, and I thought we were just gonna keep doing those good things,” Nick St. George said. “But then we made a ton of mistakes and really just gave up goals for no reason. I didn’t seem to have an answer, but they decided to get it together and work a little harder to get the game tied up. The comeback was all them.”

Nico St. George finished with four goals and three assists to lead the offense as he now approaches 70 goals on the season, Fijal posted two scores and an assist, Andre and Ting found the back of the net twice and Queiros had one goal. Dax Morin made seven saves in the cage for the Orioles.

Up next for No. 31 Belchertown is the No. 2 seed in Division 4, as the O’s head to Norwell on Monday for a 6:30 p.m. bout in the Round of 32. In order to knock off one of the best teams in the state, Nick St. George knows his team needs to be more efficient.

“We threw the ball away and didn’t work together on offense,” Nick St. George said. “If you look at the second quarter, we did all of the little things right. We were cutting, spreading out on offense, defensively we were communicating and had each other’s back. We gotta get rid of those silly mistakes.”

Baseball

Div. 3 prelim

No. 37 Belchertown 2, No. 28 Foxborough 0 — The Orioles pulled off a thrilling extra-inning upset in eastern Mass.

After neither team scored across the first seven innings, Belchertown plated two runs in the top of the eighth to move on to the Round of 32, where they’ll travel to No. 5 Blackstone Valley RVT on Monday at 3:30 p.m.

Junior Evan Ferguson threw eight shutout innings, allowing six hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Ian McDonald went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two steals and Derek Gould went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Div. 4 Round of 32

No. 11 Abington 8, No. 22 Hampshire 3 — The Raiders end the year with a 13-8 record after a road loss in the state tournament. Abington scored all eight of its runs in the second and third innings to knock Hampshire starter Will Hogan out of the game.

Though both teams totaled seven hits, Hampshire left 12 runners on base, including seven in scoring position. Liam Pond, Drew Thompson and Phil Morin led Hampshire with two hits apiece.

Div. 5 prelim

No. 29 Mashpee 20, No. 36 Smith Voc 7 — The Vikings’ offense was able to put up a solid number, but the Mashpee bats were too much to keep up with.

Smith Vocational won 14 games as head coach Luis Bonilla’s squad has now reached that number in three consecutive seasons.

Softball

Div. 5 Round of 32

No. 10 Drury 12, No. 23 Granby 0 — After winning in the preliminary round on Thursday, the Rams were right back at it on Friday – but ran out of steam against the top-10 Blue Devils.

Granby finished the season with eight consecutive wins before losing to Drury, as its final record stands at 15-6 this spring.

Boys volleyball

Div. 2 Round of 32

No. 15 Chelsea 3, No 18 Granby 0 — Granby’s season came to an end with a 25-14, 25-15, 25-19 loss to Chelsea on Friday.

The Rams finished the season with an 18-3 record, a West league title and a Western Mass. Class C championship. 

Girls tennis

Div. 2 Round of 32

No. 9 Milton 4, No. 24 Northampton 1 — A respectable tennis season has come to a close for the Blue Devils this spring, as a 4-1 loss to No. 9 Milton wrapped up their tournament run in short order.

Northampton finished 12-7 in 2024 with several impressive regular-season victories.