GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

September 12, 2013

First week of High School sports on Cape Ann in the books

On HS Sports
Nick Curcuru

---- — The high school sports team in Gloucester, Rockport and Manchester Essex have made it through Week 1 of the fall high school sports season.

As always our area teams had their fair share of ups and downs. Some teams have hit the ground running while some are still trying to iron out an identity. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the opening week of the high school sports season.

Newell Renewal

Of course the highlight of the sports week on Cape Ann was the grand opening of New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium. With all the anticipation surrounding the stadiums construction and opening, its safe to say that the stadium has more than lived up to its expectations.

From the pristine field turf, to the perfectly constructed bleachers, to the goal posts, to the track that reads “Gloucester Fishermen” on the straight away, the “new” Newell Stadium certainly is a gem.

To top it all off the Gloucester Fishermen Athletic Association, led by Dick Wilson and Jonathan Pope, put on a first class Opening Ceremony Friday night honoring all past and present Gloucester High School athletes on the stadium turf.

If that weren’t enough, the Fishermen opened the new stadium in style.

First up was the Gloucester field hockey team, who christened the new stadium last Wednesday with an impressive 7-0 win over Revere. Gloucester was firing on all cylinders in its season opener riding an emotional high from being the first team to grace the turf with game action. Taylor Sargent led the way with a pair of goals while the defensive trio of Jill MacDonald, Julia Lamoureaux and Kate Morrissey were instrumental in the shutout win.

On Friday night the Gloucester football team followed the excitement of the stadium’s opening ceremonies with an even more exciting football game against Lynn Classical.

The Fishermen and Rams have put on plenty of classic games for the fans and while this one did not feature the winner moves on to the playoffs importance, it is still a game that will not soon be forgotten. It was yet another gem in a long line of gems turned in by the two teams as it featured, physicality, execution, and of course plenty of drama.

Riding a second half field goal from Eli Horne and an intentional safety late in the second half, Gloucester was able to hold on for a 15-14 win in front of a huge Newell Stadium crowd.

The raucous atmosphere at Newell Stadium was back, the “To the river!” chants were out in full force and the opening ceremonies combined with a game that lived up to its expectations made it a perfect night along the Annisquam River.

Already improved

The Gloucester golf season may only be three matches old, but the Fishermen have already shown significant improvements from the 2012 season.

A young Fishermen team finished 0-14 in 2012. They took their lumps, they worked on their games, and they came back in 2013 a new team.

Gloucester’s record currently stands at 2-1 and includes a pair of wins over Northeastern Conference foes Salem and Swampscott with its only defeat coming at the hands of defending NEC champion Marblehead.

Reigning Northeastern Conference Small MVP Curtis Quinn has led the way winning his first two matches and shooting even par against Swampscott. Eric Chalmers, Reilly Zubricki, Bart Margiotta, Matt Lane and Devon Murray have also chipped in big points early in the season.

Staying on the links, Manchester Essex has also picked up right where it left off last spring putting up big numbers, yes that’s big numbers as the Cape Ann League goes by the stableford scoring system where low rounds translate into big points.

The Hornets have put up over 150 points in their two opening wins led by familiar faces such as Ben Bichet, Kevin Carter, Cam Tuttle and Petey Morton.

Cape Ann League Cluster

Once again it looks like the Cape Ann League Small will be a fight to the finish when it comes to boys soccer; and once again Rockport and Manchester Essex appear to be right in the thick of the race.

Both the Vikings and Hornets kicked off the year with back-to-back games against CAL Small opponents finishing 1-1 and 1-0-1 respectively.

Rockport was thrown right into the fire with an opening day tilt at rival Georgetown, and the team passed that test with flying colors coming away with a 4-3 win. The Vikings followed that up with a 3-2 loss against Ipswich in a game that could have gone either way as each team dominated a half.

The Vikings don’t have the experience they’ve had over the last hand full of seasons, but they have already proved that they will be a factor in the Cape Ann League race as they already look like a veteran team. Balance is the theme in Rockport as head coach Dave Curley has gotten production from a wide variety of players, most notably captains Shaun Aspesi and Jonathan Ferrante along with Matthew Tibert and Mike McCarthy.

Manchester Essex has also proved that it has reloaded this fall as a team that was hit hard by graduation has hit the ground running with a draw against the always tough Lynnfield Pioneers and a win over Amesbury.

Parker Edington has found the goal three times over the first two games of the season while Lucas Firme has also given the team an offensive spark.

The Cape Ann League Small race will get a little more interesting Friday night when the Hornets and Vikings square off at Hyland Field (7:00 p.m.). Both teams appear to be in the race for the long haul, along with the rest of the conference which will make for some memorable matches as the season wears on.