Class B girls lacrosse: Talia Sadiq’s OT goal lifts Amherst past Belchertown for 1st-ever WMass title

Amherst’s Talia Sadiq, left, celebrates with teammates Abi Como and Ava Carey (10) after Sadiq scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Belchertown to win the Western Mass. Class B championship lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on May 28.

Amherst’s Talia Sadiq, left, celebrates with teammates Abi Como and Ava Carey (10) after Sadiq scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Belchertown to win the Western Mass. Class B championship lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on May 28. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Members of the Amherst girls lacrosse team celebrate their overtime win against Belchertown for the Western Mass. Class B championship at West Springfield High School on Tuesday.

Members of the Amherst girls lacrosse team celebrate their overtime win against Belchertown for the Western Mass. Class B championship at West Springfield High School on Tuesday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Amherst’s Talia Sadiq (5) scores the the game winning goal past Belchertown goalie Emma Almeida in overtime to win the Western Mass. Class B championship lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Belchertown defenders Olivia Corbin, left, and Madison Da Costa look on. Photo by Christopher Evans

Amherst’s Talia Sadiq (5) scores the the game winning goal past Belchertown goalie Emma Almeida in overtime to win the Western Mass. Class B championship lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Belchertown defenders Olivia Corbin, left, and Madison Da Costa look on. Photo by Christopher Evans PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Amherst’s Talia Sadiq, right, celebrates after scoring the game winning goal past Belchertown goalie Emma Almeida in overtime to win the Western Mass. Class B championship lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Belchertown defender Madison Da Costa looks on. Photo by Christopher Evans

Amherst’s Talia Sadiq, right, celebrates after scoring the game winning goal past Belchertown goalie Emma Almeida in overtime to win the Western Mass. Class B championship lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Belchertown defender Madison Da Costa looks on. Photo by Christopher Evans PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Belchertown teammates Paige Magner, left, and Lia Pikul vie for the ball with Amherst’s Ivorie Arguin during the first quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday.

Belchertown teammates Paige Magner, left, and Lia Pikul vie for the ball with Amherst’s Ivorie Arguin during the first quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Amherst’s Ivorie Arguin, left, is pressured by Belchertown’s Lia Pikul during the first quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans

Amherst’s Ivorie Arguin, left, is pressured by Belchertown’s Lia Pikul during the first quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Belchertown’s Olivia Corbin, left, vies for the ball with Amherst’s Francesca Sloan during the third quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans

Belchertown’s Olivia Corbin, left, vies for the ball with Amherst’s Francesca Sloan during the third quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Belchertown’s Jordyn Hunter, right, powers past Amherst’s Francesca Sloan during the third quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans

Belchertown’s Jordyn Hunter, right, powers past Amherst’s Francesca Sloan during the third quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Amherst teammates Cedar Conrad, left, Abi Como, and Francesca Sloan celebrate their overtime victory against Belchertown for the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse championship game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans

Amherst teammates Cedar Conrad, left, Abi Como, and Francesca Sloan celebrate their overtime victory against Belchertown for the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse championship game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Amherst’s Kiko Bhowmik, right, is pressured by Belchertown’s Lia Pikul during the third quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans

Amherst’s Kiko Bhowmik, right, is pressured by Belchertown’s Lia Pikul during the third quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Amherst goalie Cedar Conrad stops a shot in front of Belchertown’s Kenzie LePage during the first quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans

Amherst goalie Cedar Conrad stops a shot in front of Belchertown’s Kenzie LePage during the first quarter of the Western Mass. Class B final lacrosse game at West Springfield High School on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Photo by Christopher Evans PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 06-06-2024 7:23 PM

WEST SPRINGFIELD — With how each team’s offense operated during regulation, there was no question that whatever squad gained control of the ball to start overtime would be the one to hoist the Western Mass. Class B girls lacrosse championship trophy.

Tied 15-15 at the end of 48 minutes, No. 3 Amherst and No. 4 Belchertown headed into an extra frame to decide the winner.

The draw control went to the Hurricanes, and in the blink of an eye, the ball found senior Abi Como in a threatening position offensively. Instead of forcing a shot on goal, she swung it over to senior Talia Sadiq, who was wide open on the weak side.

Sadiq received the pass cleanly and whistled a shot into the back of the net — her seventh goal of the evening — just 26 seconds into overtime to give Amherst a 16-15 win and its first-ever Western Mass. title on May 28 at West Springfield High School’s Clark Field.

“It was amazing,” Sadiq said. “It was a great pass [from Abi], and I was wide open. Watching it go in, everyone celebrating together, it was a great moment. I don’t even know how to describe it.”

When the Hurricanes’ senior class were freshmen back in 2021, they finished their COVID-shortened season 0-10. Fast forward four years, and they just made program history.

All seven seniors — Sadiq, Como, Ivorie Arguin, Thea Binzen, Cedar Conrad, Jill Crosby and Francesca Sloan — play key roles on this Amherst team, and that’s made the group grow even closer on the field.

“We have a bunch of seniors that have been playing together for awhile, so this is a great way to go out,” Sadiq said. “I’m excited to see our banner go up as the first team in school history to win Western Mass.”

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Teen driver dies in Pelham crash
Hurricanes forever: 215 Amherst Regional High School graduates celebrate accomplishments, get ready to work for the future
Amherst College committed to partnership with schools, though talks ongoing
Paul Siqueira: UMass no confidence vote a ‘shameful proceeding’
Darcy Dumont: Jones expansion/renovation project definitely not sustainable now
June dates set for big school vote in Belchertown

“We were winless when these seniors were freshmen,” ‘Canes head coach Andrew MacDougall added. “We went from that, to Western Mass. champs. It’s amazing. They work so hard. I’m so elated for them and what they’ve done.”

The other side of Amherst’s pure jubilation came Belchertown’s anguish.

A season ago, the Orioles fell 13-5 to South Hadley in the Class B finals. They did all the work to put themselves in a phenomenal spot to come out on the other side, but it ended in even more difficult fashion than 2023.

“That’s about as heartbreaking as it gets,” Belchertown head coach Jarrod Lemke said. “Last year we also made it to the finals, and I think we lost 13-5. I think I would take that over this quite honestly. I feel so bad for the kids. We just ran out of steam a little bit playing six games in the last eight days. You could tell the legs were gone by the end of it, but I’m so proud of them.”

Sadiq put Amherst ahead 15-14 with just over three minutes left in regulation, only the Hurricanes’ second lead of the entire contest — the first coming earlier in the fourth quarter.

But Orioles attacker Kenzie LePage showed the stage wasn’t too big for the sophomore, as she knotted the game up with a clutch free-position goal with 41 seconds remaining. LePage was one of a handful of underclassmen to perform at a high level for Belchertown. She scored three times, freshman Lia Pikul tallied three goals and junior Veronica Dymkowski netted a goal off the bench.

Seniors Madysen LePage (four goals) and Paige Magner (four goals) are always the opposing defense’s concern. While they certainly had no trouble scoring, their younger teammates helped them out plenty as well.

“Typically the two main focuses are Paige and Madysen, but as the season went on, some other players really stepped up not just scoring, but handling the ball as well,” Lemke said. “If they’re gonna throw bodies at them, somebody else is going to be open. We had a lot of younger players step up. Lia Pikul was fantastic, Veronica scored one, Kenzie had a couple. We put up 15 [goals], and we’re like a nine, 10 type of team — 12 is a lot for us.”

During the final two minutes, just prior to Kenzie LePage’s game-tying tally as well as the succeeding 41 seconds, Belchertown had a handful of chances to score.

Amherst senior goalie Cedar Conrad denied three free-position shots before LePage finally buried one, and the ‘Canes defense disrupted another terrific opportunity right before the buzzer sounded. They knew they dodged a bullet, and once it got to overtime, they just needed the ball first.

“Cedar is a rock on defense, and our defense made some amazing adjustments over the last couple games to be very disciplined in how they slide and cover players,” MacDougall said. “They talk to each other, and they talked a lot at the end which was key… I know that we can [score a lot of goals], I was just happy we got one in overtime.”

Aside from Sadiq’s seven goals, Sloan and Como each scored four times while Mars Leonard added one goal. Amherst led for just 4 minutes, 41 seconds of the entire 48:26 seconds of game time.

The ‘Canes trailed 3-0 early on, 8-5 at halftime and 14-13 midway through the fourth. No deficit ever fazed them.

“Throughout the season, we’ve talked about how winning is a skill — it’s something you learn to do,” MacDougall said. “When you’re down 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, that doesn’t mean anything at the beginning of the game. They took that to heart. They chipped away and stayed in it.”

Both teams will turn their attention to their respective MIAA state tournaments, with Belchertown competing in Division 4 and Amherst in Division 2.