ROCKPORT-- Monday night’s Division 4 North Quarterfinal boys soccer tilt between No. 2 Rockport and No. 7 Hamilton-Wenham was truly a game of inches.
For 70 minutes, the Vikings and Generals battled tooth and nail for every inch of space on the Rockport High School field and the game came down to a pair of plays in the final 10 minutes of play.
The Vikings thought they took a 1-0 lead at the 10 minute mark but a shot rang off the cross bar. Just one minute later, Hamilton-Wenham’s Alex Berthoud found the back of the net putting a shot just inches inside the far right post off of a pass from Niko Surpa, a recent junior varsity call-up. The goal was the only score of the contest and sends the Generals to the Division 4 North Semifinals.
Rockport’s season comes to an end at 13-5-2, it will not be playing in the sectional semifinals for the first time since 2008.
“It was epic out there,” Generals head coach Matt Gauron said. “It was an absolute battle, Rockport did an unbelievable job.”
Vikings head coach Dave Curley was also quick to praise the play of both teams.
“I thought it was a very evenly played game and just a well played high school soccer match,” Curley said. “We didn’t get the result that we wanted but it wasn’t for lack of effort, and we played the way we wanted to play.”
It was Rockport that controlled play over the first 40 minutes, keeping the Generals offense at bay while generating a few nice scoring chances of their own.
In the first 10 minutes of play, the Vikings put a shot just over the cross bar from inside the box. Later in the first half, Vikings senior captain Shaun Aspesi got some room and put a shot on goal but Generals goalie Henry Eagar aggressively came out of his net to cut off the angle and make a huge save to keep the score 1-0.