In November on Cape Ann, there are a few things you can count on: Thanksgiving football games (Gloucester-Danvers and Manchester Essex-Georgetown), colder weather and Manchester Essex field hockey making a deep tournament run.
With any luck, the Rockport boys' soccer team have set the wheels in motion for adding themselves to that list of certainties with their impressive postseason trip that just ended on Sunday afternoon. Head coach Dave Curley's team advanced further in the Division 3 North tournament then they ever had before in program history.
Eight seniors played their last soccer game for Rockport: midfielder Tom Catena, defender Brendan Douglass, striker Scott Noble, midfielder/striker Andreas Contreras, midfielder Ben Clarkson, fullback Ethan Clarkson, midfielder Mike Emerson and midfielder Kevin Corrigan. Douglass and Emerson were tri-captains along with junior goalkeeper Keady Segel but each of the seniors had a profound effect on the team since they helped change the culture in Rockport soccer.
After missing the tournament last season, they almost won the CAL Small this year, losing out to Lynnfield by one point but they got the ultimate revenge by beating the Pioneers in the tournament when it really mattered. Even for the smallest school in the CAL, Rockport's talent pool is not getting any shallower.
Besides Segel, the CAL Small Player of the Year that had 13 shutouts, twins AJ (a sweeper) and CJ Burnham (midfielder/striker), midfielder Shaffy Roell, midfielder/striker Cam Tibert, midfielder Andrew Visnick, defender Alex Hauck and striker Nick Laverde are just some of the experienced players that will return next season. From now on, the Vikings should expect to make the tournament after they showed that they can compete with anyone in Division 3.
Just because the Manchester Essex field hockey team is a state title contender seemingly every season doesn't mean you should take the Hornets for granted. For the third straight season, Manchester Essex made it to the Division 2 North final before losing by one goal. Even though the first two losses were in overtime, Sunday's loss to Watertown might have been the hardest to take since they led 1-0 with seven minutes left before the Red Raiders tied it up then scored the winning goal with 17 seconds remaining.