Sports Spotlight: Blackhawks Fall Sports Are UnderwaySep 30, 2021 06:00AM ● By Eli Sylvia
Boys Hockey Welcomes New Head Coach
New hockey head coach Paul Conneely is coming into this fall season completely new to Bellingham athletics. He is still learning the team’s strengths and weaknesses; and despite the loss of 8 seniors from last year’s team, the 8 returning seniors will be an important crew to the new head coach since they are all experienced players. Goal-tending is their strong point, with seniors Connor Henchey (assistant captain last year) and Shawn Rafus; both had an outstanding season last year. Seniors Jameson Eldridge (second in scoring last year), Delacy Atkinson (Millis High), Colin Fornaro, Nathan Page, Kyle Peloquin, and Anthony Cardullo will be the seniors leading the team this year.
Also, note that the MIAA has made significant changes in the divisions for hockey. The MIAA aligned the schools in divisions by school enrollment size. Bellingham will be in division 4 for the State tournament. Bellingham will still be playing in the Tri-Valley small with two games against each team and one game against each Tri-Valley large team.
Along with this change, the state tournament is no longer based on winning percentage but on strength of schedule. This is an advantage for the hockey team since they have set their goal in making the state tournament for division 4.
Practices will begin November 29, with the season opener on December 15, against Dedham High School, at the Franklin Pirelli Ice Hockey Arena. The team is looking forward to having the Bellingham High fans back in the stands this season.
Golf Wins First Match of the Season
The golf season is underway, and the BHS Blackhawks are 1-1 so far. They opened the season with a league win over Dedham and non-league loss to Hopedale. Unfortunately, they were postponed at TPC Norton because of weather. The team is very focused and improving every day. Currently, they are rotating through about 11 golfers getting varsity action and have about 11 student-athletes on the Junior Varsity roster who are playing a JV schedule for the first time in several years. The JV team also won their first match of the season as well with a victory at home against Norton.
The squad is being led by captains Jameson Eldridge and Eli Sylvia, who are anchoring the team. Other student-athletes who are adding depth are Evan Thorell, Charles Eldridge, Aiden Daly, Nate Sarnie, Alex Hughes, EJ Ormberg, Charlie Leighton, Sean Brown, and Owen Miller. The Junior Varsity team is working hard every day to improve, and names to watch for in the future include Eli Cowell, Tom Shannon, Evan Donlon, Sam Elliot, Sam Sullivan, Matt Marino, Logan Marchand, Lyric Healy, James Robey, Alan Cousens, and Jack Colman.
The varsity team picks up pace during the second week of September and will have about three matches a week until October 13th, when they will start gearing up for the state tournament.
Boys Soccer Hoping to Improve on 1–3 Record
The boys’ soccer team is off to a good start this fall. Their record of 1-3 may not indicate success, but every game has been very competitive. Other teams have been able to take advantage of penalties because most goals scored on Bellingham have been off of direct kicks or penalty kicks. The Bellingham team is working to diminish penalties and increase their offensive attack. Very early on they had injuries to some critical players who would have made a huge impact on past games. Coach Bob Elster said, “The boys have been working very hard, and I’m confident we’ll see the results of that throughout the season as the boys grow and our injured players return.”
Girls Soccer Starts Season as a Young Team
The girls’ soccer team is welcoming yet another head coach in Bellingham, Jon O’Neil. They are a very young team this year, currently having 10 underclassmen seeing significant minutes spotlighted by Annabella Barrasso, Riana Taylor, and Calleigh Elder (all 9th grade). The team is being led by senior captains Madison Higgins and Victoria Taylor. They’ve come out of the first four games of the season 1-3. Not the result they would have liked, but the team is continuing to improve. There are many things they are working on and practicing. O’Neil said, “I don’t like giving predictions, but we will continue to compete to the best of our abilities.”
Girls Volleyball Opens Season 1-3The volleyball team lost precious time before the season because the BHS gym was being redone. It has finally been finished, and Girls Volleyball opened the season on 9/8 with a 3-0 win over Dedham. They had a very challenging stretch of 3 games over 4 days that weekend with a close 3-0 loss to Norton, a tight 3-0 loss to BMR, and another 3-0 loss to Millis.
They are a very young team this year, having few girls with varsity experience. They will have one returning varsity starter from last year’s Fall 2 season, Maya Jackson. Maya is a freshman who plays outside. She is strong at the net and one of the team’s best passers and servers. She will be leading the team on the court. They have two other returning varsity members, Ciara Crayton and Taylor Callery. Ciara is a sophomore outside hitter, and Taylor is a freshman setter. Both are seeing significantly more playing time this year.
Rounding out the team will be setters junior Emma Clinton and sophomore Ari Elster, who are both setting at the varsity level for the first time. In the middle, they have sophomore Kateri Ducharme, who has picked up the game quickly since she is a natural athlete.