The Manchester Essex and Rockport field hockey teams came into Wednesday’s meeting in two different places.
Manchester Essex is heading towards the state tournament looking to finish off an unbeaten regular season while Rockport is looking fighting for a tournament berth of its own looking to stay at or above the .500 mark.
After giving Manchester Essex a tough 2-0 game in the teams first meeting, Rockport was looking to gain two points and avenge the loss. But the Hornets were just too strong for the Vikings coming away with a 5-0 win at Coach Ed Field Field.
Manchester Essex started off hot when Brittany Smith scored her first goal of the game early and it didn’t take Paige Zaval long to follow in Smith’s lead by putting one home of her own, with a nice setup from Taylor Meek, to make it 2-0.
Anna Heffernan then scored a goal to make it 3-0 and the Hornets never looked back. Smith, who was absolutely every where on Wednesday, scored her second goal of the game with Paige Zaval getting the assist, to make it 4-0, going into the second half and putting the game out of reach for the Vikings.
In the second half Rockport picked up its defense in a big way, holding the Hornets to just one goal over the final 30 minutes of play, but it still wasn’t enough to hold off their Cape Ann counterparts’ offensive attack as the ball was in the Rockport zone for most of the game. Brittany Smith completed her hat-trick in the second frame to cap off the 5-0 win for Manchester-Essex and seal its 13th win of the season (13-0-2).
The Hornets will look to continue their undefeated season at home against Georgetown (1-11) on Tuesday, they then travel to Ipswich next Thursday where they will face off against the 11-2-1 Tigers. Manchester-Essex beat Georgetown 5-0, at Georgetown, earlier this season. The Hornets are running through the Cape Ann League once again as a pair of ties against Masconomet and Lynnfield are the only thing keeping their record from being perfect.
The Hornets beat the Tigers in a close 2-1 game earlier in the year. Ipswich looks to come back even stronger going 8-1-1 since that loss to the Hornets and plan to knock off Manchester Essex from an undefeated season.
The Vikings, which still need three points with two games to play to claim a spot in the tournament, squares off against Lynnfield (8-4-2) on Friday and Amesbury (5-8-1) on Monday. A loss in either one of those games eliminates the Vikings from postseason contention.
“We played better defense in the second half and we will continue to work and go from there,” Vikings head coach Mary Ryan said.
Rockport dropped a tough 2-0 contest to Lynnfield and an even tougher 2-1 loss to Amesbury earlier in the season but after coming out in the second half looking like a completely different team, the Vikings believe can very easily pull off wins against both schools and still make a tournament run.