By Nick Curcuru Sports Editor
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — The Manchester Essex field hockey team wreaked havoc over the Cape Ann League this fall.
The Hornets posted a 16-1-1 regular season record, good for a CAL Small title and the No. 2 seed in the Division 2 North state field hockey tournament.
Last week the individual talent on the Hornets was widely recognized by the Cape Ann League. The CAL Small champs fielded five all stars including the CAL Small Player of the Year in senior captain Nicole Bradley.
The Hornets senior captain was also named to the Best of 60 Field Hockey All Star Game. An all star game where the best 60 players in the state square off.
Bradley was a force on both ends of the field for Manchester Essex this season. Moving from forward to midfield Bradley can both score and play defense.
“She’s the whole package,” head coach Andrea Slaven said of Bradley. “She’s very internally motivated so she knows how to motivate her teammates. She’s great leader on the field and a class act. She took on a much different role this year and her stats don’t tell the story of how important she is to the team. She’s definitely somebody you need on the field to have the type of regular season we had.”
Bradley joins junior forward Brittany Smith as an All League selection while Kelsi Field, Anna Heffernan and Carolyn Heslop were named CAL All Stars. Slaven was named CAL Small Coach of the Year.
Smith and Heffernan, both juniors, have combined to lead the Hornets in scoring this year. The duo is also near the top of the Cape Ann League in scoring. Field, a senior captain, has been stellar in the midfield for Manchester Essex and can also chip in on the offensive end while Heslop has anchored a defense that helped produce 10 shutouts in the regular season.
Hornets get No. 2 seed
The state field hockey pairings were released on Monday and the No. 2 Hornets earned a bye to the quarterfinal round, where they will face a familiar foe. Manchester Essex (16-1-1) will square off the winner of Thursday’s first round tilt between No. 7 Lynnfield (11-4-3) and Pentucket (9-8-1) on Saturday at Hyland Field (6:00 p.m.).
Both Lynnfield and Pentucket are Cape Ann League teams and both have played the Hornets before. In one regular season meeting Lynnfield and Pentucket battled to a scoreless draw.
Whether it be the Pioneers or Sachems, the Hornets will be in for a tough matchup. Although Manchester Essex holds a 3-0 record against Lynnfield and Pentucket this season, all three games were decided by a single goal.
The Hornets beat Lynnfield, the runner-up in the CAL Small, twice by scores of 1-0 and 3-2. Manchester Essex also holds a 1-0 win over Pentucket.