GHS Girls soccer's best season ever
Reaching the Division 2 North Semi Finals for the first time in school would have been good enough to get the Gloucester girls soccer team on the 2011-2012 school year's "Fab 5" list. But they took it a step further by clinching the best season in school history by winning the best game of the school year regardless of sport.
Of course I'm talking about Gloucester's thrilling 2-1 shootout win at Dracut in the Division 2 North Quarter Finals. You want drama? This contest had all kinds. The first half started out with the Middies dominating and forcing Gloucester to play on its heals taking a 1-0 lead into the break. But in the second half it was Gloucester (13-6-2) that turned up the heat dominating play and knotting up the score at 1-1 on a goal from Melodie Orrell.
That was not where the tension would end, not even close. A pair of overtime periods saw back and forth evenly played action where both squads turned in quality scoring opportunities.
The game fittingly ended in a shootout where Clare Pleuler and Kali Cook delivered goals and goalie Laura Spilman prevented Dracut from scoring on four of five attempts to seal a 2-1 win for the Fishermen.
In 2012 Gloucester put it all together as it was talented from top to bottom. Boston University bound Pleuler led the way with the help of Spilman, Cook, senior Nicole Repucci and junior Bianca Giacalone.
2012 marked the first time any Gloucester soccer team got out of the second round of the state tournament.
Knowlton reaches 1,000
Cape Ann hoop fans have been spoiled over the last three seasons when it comes to 1,000 point scorers as Audrey Knowlton was the fifth player on Cape Ann and the third from Gloucester to reach the milestone since 2010. The amount of recent 1,000 point scorers, however, does not take away from just how difficult the feat is to accomplish.
On February 17 in a game at Danvers, Knowlton became the fifth Gloucester girls basketball player and the 10th Gloucester basketball player to reach the 1,000 point mark when she sunk a jump shot from the foul line in the final minute of the first quarter. Knowlton joins Hannah Cain, Tommia Davis, current Gloucester head coach Lori Sanborn and Paula Ryan on the exclusive list of 1,000 point scorers.
Knowlton was a model of consistency at Gloucester as she could hit a jump shot from anywhere on the court. What's more remarkable is the fact that she still put up 1,000 points while being unselfish, always looking to get her teammates involved in the action.
Knowlton finished up her career with just under 1,100 points and she will be taking her game to the next level as she will be attending the New York Institute of Technology this fall to play basketball.
Hornets run through CAL
The third smallest school in a conference as deep as the Cape Ann League is not supposed to compete with the big boys. This winter the Manchester Essex basketball team not only competed with the big boys, they beat them.
In the regular season the Hornets put up an astounding 18-2 record finishing up the year at 19-3.
The Hornets weren't just a dominant team this winter, their style was also easy on the eyes. Up and down, run and gun action saw Duane Sigsbury's squad run teams off the floor, and outlast them as the team had the perfect combination of speed, strength and smarts.
All over the floor Manchester Essex was talented. Cape Ann League Division 3 Player of the Year Chris Bishop led the team in scoring and could rebound and block shots at the other end. Sean Nally was a perfect facilitator at point guard, a player that could put up big numbers but realized the team had numerous weapons so he got them open looks. And then there was the sharp shooting of Joe Burgess and Max Nesbit and the all around play of Casey Weld.
The 2011-2012 Hornets were fun team to watch and a team with special talent.
Gloucester track records go down
2012 was a banner year for Gloucester High School track athletes, as Bianca Giacalone, Calvin Kipruto and Josh Rudolph all broke school records.
In February Giacalone, a junior, broke Gloucester's 300m indoor record with a time of 42.78. She saved her best effort for last, as her record breaking performance came in the North Eastern Conference Championship meet at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.
Continuing with the trend, sophomore Calvin Kipruto set a school record in the Class B State Championship meet in the 400m dash even. Kipruto's time of 51.28 broke Kevin Hurd's school record of 51.5, which was set last year. In a rare occurrence, the Fishermen had a track meet against Revere after the State Championship meet. In the season finale against Revere, Kipruto bested his own record with a sub 51 second time.
Not to be out done, classmate Josh Rudolph also had a record breaking performance in the 400 hurdles. In the Northeastern Conference Freshman/Sophomore meet, Rudolph finished with a time of 59.3, which was two seconds ahead of the closest competitor and also good enough to capture another Gloucester track record of 2012.
Rockport softball sets the bar high
With a 16-5 record in 2012, Rockport softball easily compiled its best season in school history. The Vikings impressive 14-4 regular season record earned them the No. 2 seed in the Division 3 North State Tournament and they rolled off two postseason victories before falling to defending Division 3 North Champion St. Mary's in the semi finals.
With their extraordinary efforts, the Vikings were rewarded with a slew of Cape Ann League of awards.
Coach Dianne Parisi was honored with her second straight CAL Division 3 Coach of the Year award. A second straight Viking also received the CAL Division 3 Player of the Year award, with pitcher Kristin Turner supplanting teammate Gabby Muniz, the 2011 award recipient. In addition to being named player of the year, Turner, along with Muniz and Mollie Watson were elected to the CAL All-League squad.
Highlights of the 2012 season included defeating CAL powerhouse Amesbury in come from behind fashion for the first time in school history. Comeback wins were also on display in victories over Lynnfield and Pentucket. Trumping those games was the walk-off victory against Whittier Tech in the Division 3 North Quarter Finals. Trailing by one and facing her final strike, senior captain Amanda delivered a 2-RBI single that propelled the Vikings one round further in the postseason and capped Rockport's final victory of the impressive 2012 campaign.