MANCHESTER-- Manchester Essex Regional High School made sure it had a legitimate home field advantage Friday afternoon at Hyland Field when the boys soccer team took on Maimonides in the Division 3 North Preliminary Round.
With the contest kicking off at an odd start time (12:30 p.m.), school officials allowed the student body to attend the game during school hours and root on the Hornets.
With the crowd in its side, No. 16 Manchester Essex came out on fire burying No. 17 Maimonides early with two goals in the first five minutes en route to a 4-0 win.
“It was a nice result today,” Hornets head coach Rob Bilsbury said. “It was good to have the home crowd here and awesome of the administration to let them come to the game. It made a difference in our energy.”
With the win Manchester Essex (8-7-4) now moves on to the Division 3 North First Round where it will travel to No. 1 seed Boston International (13-3) on Sunday (6:00 p.m.).
Midfielder Will Nadai put the Hornets on the board in the fourth minute on a strong individual effort beating a Maimonides defender and scoring on a bad angle shot where he spun the ball into the goal despite the fact that the ball never left the turf.
Nadai’s goal proved to be all the Hornets would need but they gave themselves some insurance just a minute later when senior captain Liam Aldrich scored from point blank range on a shot that the Maimonides goal keeper would certainly love to come back.
“It was nice to take care of business early,” Bilsbury said. “It’s always scary when it’s 0-0 for a while. We took care of that early and made sure (Maimonides) didn’t hang around.”
The Hornets head coach also praised the play of Nadai, who at center midfielder is called upon to control the middle of the field and help out on the defensive end. Not only did Nadai score, he prevented the Maimonides offense from recording a shot on goal. Manchester Essex goal keeper Chris Xavier did not need to make a save in the win and Maimonides put one shot on goal, a non-threatening shot with the Hornets back ups in the game in the waning minutes.