By Conor Walsh
---- — The list of players that Rockport boys soccer coach Dave Curley has sent to the college ranks has grown by two, as seniors Conor Douglass and Matt Rostowski have chosen their destinations for the fall.
Douglass, the reigning Cape Ann League Small MVP, committed to join the New England College squad last week, while classmate and fellow CAL All-Star Matt Rostowski will continue his career at Brandeis University.
This spring, which Douglass will spend on the diamond for the Vikings, will mark the end of an impressive high school career before he takes the next step in heading up to Henniker, N.H., to join the Pilgrims.
A four-year contributor for Curley and the Vikings soccer team, Douglass was a member of perhaps the most successful class to ever come through Rockport High School.
During those four seasons, the Vikings piled up an absurd 60 wins, a run that included four trips to the Division 3 North semifinals, two trips to the Division 3 North championship game and a Division 3 North title.
And through it all, there was Douglass -- in an increasing role over the year -- roaming near the opponents’ goal, and his offensive instinct and dominance ultimately landed him a spot with the Pilgrims.
Last season, Douglass coupled with CAL All-Star junior Shaun Aspesi to form one of the most dangerous offensive tandems in the CAL. Thanks largely to the timely scoring of Douglass and Aspesi, the Vikings’ top two scorers, and a strong defensive identity, Rockport was able to charge its way to a CAL Small title and the Division 3 North semifinals, where its season was ultimately cut short by Weston, another perennial power.
“Conor has the focus and talent to be able to play in college,” Curley said of his former co-captain. “He has been one of our driving forces and I think he will be a dangerous player at the college level too. He is so fundamentally strong and has a great nose for the goal.”
While it will be his career on the soccer field that Douglass continues, he was also a key cog for the Vikings in hockey and baseball during his time. His senior year on the ice was cut short by injury, but not before he reached the 100 career point plateau.
He looks to be back from that injury to rejoin the Vikings on the diamond this spring, where his speed at the top of the order and in the middle infield will help pace a Rockport team that looks to be strong this spring.
Meanwhile, Rostowski will join Douglass in the college ranks next season having committed to Brandeis well before Douglass made his decision. A smart and versatile player and another four-year contributor, Rostowski proved the talent that drew Brandeis’ interest countless times over his years with the Vikings.
Having played striker for much of his high school career, Curley transitioned Rostowski to sweeper -- the anchor of the backline -- this season. To see him back there, one would think he’d been a defender all along, as Rostowski combined his ball skills with his big frame and instincts to establish himself as the centerpiece of a dominant corps of defenders.
Brandeis noticed, and Rostowski will remain a defender for the Judges.
“Matt was the first to commit, making his decision to go to Brandeis early,” Curley said. “He definitely has what it takes to be able to play at the next level. Just a smart and solid player. Brandeis really wanted him.”
While Douglass and Rostowski are the only members of the Vikings’ nine-man senior class to have already committed to playing the next level, the class of 2013 might not be done yet.
Curley said that while defender Nick Scatterday and midfielder/striker Nick Laverde haven’t made any decisions yet, they’re each pursuing potential college careers.