The word “rebuilding” does not exist when it comes to the Manchester Essex field hockey program. The Hornets proved once again this season that down years do not happen when it comes to field hockey, the team just continues to reload.
The Hornets season ended in heartbreak Monday with a 2-0 loss to Watertown in the Division 2 North Final, the fourth loss to Watertown over the past five seasons. But Manchester Essex is far from the only team to fall to Watertown over the last handful of seasons as the Red Raiders extended their eye popping win streak to an absurd 90 games. One would be hard pressed to find a more dominant program in the entire state in any sport.
Monday’s Division 2 North Final does not tell the entire story of the Hornets’ stellar 18-2-1 season, not by a longshot.
Early in the season it was clear that this team was in store for another long state tournament run. Andrea Slaven’s group entered the year with a giant chip on its shoulder following what it perceived as an off year in 2011. A 10-5-5 record is an off year only by the Hornets standards, but the team used that record as motivation this season and the results could not have been much better.
Manchester Essex won its first 12 games this season and could not have been more impressive in the process blowing the doors off some of the top teams in the Cape Ann League.
The Hornets brought new meaning to the word balance. Senior captain Maddi Bistrong handled the goal keeping duties picking up 12 shutouts on the year. Helping Bistrong get those shutouts was a stellar defensive unit led Ivy Silag-Stearns, Sarach Beckmann and Carolyn Heslop.
Manchester Essex also had the midfield covered with All Star Megan Jones as well as Taylor Meek. Dominant midfield play led to plenty of scoring opportunities. CAL Small Player of the Year Nicole Bradley worked as the offensive facilitator while juniors Brittany Smith and Anna Heffernon provided the scoring punch.