By Nick Curcuru Sports Editor
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — The Rockport boys soccer team and Manchester Essex field hockey teams will have to wait a couple of extra days to play their respective sectional semifinal matches.
With a Nor’Easter blowing through the state on Wednesday and Thursday, No. 4 Rockport’s Division 3 North Semifinal tilt with Weston has been postponed to Saturday at Arlington High School (7:00 p.m.). The second-seeded Manchester Essex field hockey team has been postponed and moved to a new venue as the Hornets will take on No. 3 Swampscott Saturday at North Andover High School (11:00 a.m.). The Hornets were originally scheduled to meet the Big Blue Thursday night at Reading High School.
The extra two days rest will be welcome with open arms by the Vikings, who had to play a first round and quarterfinal game within a three day span, if the Vikings ended up playing yesterday it would have been three games in five days.
Rockport’s two previous state tournament wins were admittedly draining both physically and mentally for Rockport.
Rockport (14-4-2) meets a familiar Weston (11-4-3) in the state tournament for the third time in the last four years. Weston topped Rockport in the 2009 Division 3 North Final. Rockport got its revenge in 2010 getting past Weston in the Division 3 North Semifinals en route to a sectional championship. Thursday is the rubber match.
The winner of Saturday’s clash will go on to meet the winner of No. 10 Newburyport and No. 6 Watertown. A win will send the Vikings to the Division 3 North Final for the third time in the last four years.
While the Vikings will surely welcome the extra rest, the postponement means the Manchester Essex field hockey team will have a week in between games. The No. 2 Hornets last played on Saturday, November 3 against Lynnfield in the Division 2 North Quarterfinals.
Swampscott (16-2-2) is also a familiar postseason foe for Manchester Essex (17-1-1). Saturday will mark the third year in a row that the Hornets and Big Blue meet in the postseason, but the two schools have never met this deep in the postseason.
In 2010 Manchester Essex easily got past Swampscott with a 7-0 win in the Division 2 North First Round. In 2011 the Hornets topped the Big Blue in the Division 2 North First Round again, this time it was a hard fought 3-2 win where the Hornets got the game winning goal with 1:05 to play.
The victor moves on to the sectional final to play the winner of No. 1 Watertown and No. 5 Winchester. A win will send Manchester Essex to the sectional final for the fourth time in the last five years. The Hornets have qualified for the sectional semifinals in nine of the last 10 seasons.