By Nick Curcuru
---- — ROCKPORT — On some occasions time spent in the offensive zone does not tell the entire story of the game. Such was the case when Rockport field hockey squared off with Amesbury Monday at Rockport High School in a Cape Ann League Small battle.
The Vikings and Indians each spent an equal amount of time in the offensive end on Monday, but it was Amesbury who carried play, particularly in the second half, as it was more composed in the offensive end, which led to several more quality scoring opportunities than the Vikings.
While Rockport got a strong performance from goalie Maddie Rowe and a solid game from its defensive core, Amesbury used those quality scoring opportunities to its advantage scoring a pair of second half goals en route to a 2-1 win.
The loss drops the Vikings under the .500 mark at 2-3 on the year, Amesbury improves to 2-3 with the win.
“It was a good performance by both teams, we are starting to come together and we continue to work hard,” Vikings head coach Mary Ryan. “We just weren’t getting enough quality shots and making the (Amesbury) goal keeper work. We put a lot of shots wide and we struggled a bit to get anything going off of our corners. Overall I thought it was a good performance and a well played game on both ends, they just had a few more quality opportunities and they converted them.”
When Rockport did generate a quality scoring opportunity, it scored. Just over two minutes into the game the home team took a 1-0 lead when Emily Faulds put home a pass from Miranda Roller. But that’s all the Vikings would get as the Amesbury defense limited quality shots with strong positional defense.
The teams traded opportunities in a back and forth first 30 minutes with the Indians controlling the final five minutes of play with several corner opportunities and well executed set plays. Rockport goalie Maddie Rowe, however, made several quality saves to keep the Vikings ahead. The defense, led by captain Heather MacArthur, also came up big keeping the ball out of harms way and Rockport entered the half with a 1-0 advantage.
The second half played out much like the first with the two teams trading time in the offensive zone. In the final 30 minutes, however, Amesbury converted on its scoring opportunities.
With 16:11 to play Amesbury finally got on the board when Amanda Schell converted on a reverse sweep from the top of the circle beating a screened Rowe to the far post to tie the score at 1-1.
The Indians ran with the momentum from there keeping up the pressure and earning nine corner opportunities in the second half.
Schell would get her second goal of the game off of a corner with 8:18 to play to put Amesbury ahead for the first time all game.
“We didn’t play bad defensively we just have to be a little more poised in the circle,” Ryan said. “Amesbury had a lot of corners in the second half. We knew (Schell) was their best player and we gave her extra attention but I think at times we committed to her a little too much and if you over commit she will go right around you.”
Rockport picked up the pressure over the final five minutes of play, which were spent in close proximity to the Amesbury net, but the visitors defense held strong as Rockport did not threaten with a quality opportunity in the closing minutes.
It does not get any easier for the Vikings from here as they host defending Cape Ann League Small champions and Cape Ann counterpart Manchester Essex on Wednesday (3:45 p.m.).