Finishing Moves: ME Boys LAX Wins 4 of Its Last 6 to Earn Postseason Berth


 The Manchester Essex boys’ lacrosse team seems to be at their best in the most high-pressure of situations.

The latest example would be the season finale against Gloucester: The Hornets pulled out a close, 6-5 win over a team in a higher conference (Div. 3) to finish the regular season ranked 19th in the MIAA Division 4 Power Rankings (Manchester Essex also finished second in the Cape Ann League Baker Division with a 4-7 record, and 7-10 overall).

“We are 2-2 in overtime games, and for the most part we find a lot of success in high emotional and tight games,” explains ME boys lacrosse coach Jon Siderewicz. “At one point we were on a seven-game losing streak, but the OT win vs Hamilton Wenham was probably the biggest win we have to date. This is the first time Manchester has defeated HW in many years, and to do it at home was special for the players and school.”

Finishing in the top 32 of the Power Rankings earned the Hornets a spot in the MIAA tournament, part of a new format for spring sports in which strength of schedule is considered in addition to final records. An 8-5 loss against Danvers on May 25 helped in that it improved on the team’s strength-of-schedule formula, while in the previous format it would simply be chalked up as a loss and work against the team. Manchester Essex then helped itself with the big win at Gloucester to close out the season.

“Making the tournament this year feels good,” says Siderewicz, whose team finished by winning four of its last six games of the season. “We had a very rocky road to get to this point, but the players never quit and never got down on themselves. This is the first time Manchester had made the tournament since 2018, so we feel good about being back.”

“These are two very important games for not only seeding purposes, but for momentum going into the playoffs and finishing out the regular season on a high note,” says Siderewicz, adding, “Danvers and Gloucester are both out of conference games, but we have similar opponents this spring which will help us prepare for these [kinds of] games in a bigger detail.”

Other wins in this vein include a 23-1 thumping of Amesbury after a weather-delayed start on May 16 and another close game in a 5-4 win over Peabody on May 3, the latter of which served notice that the Hornets can play well against larger schools in higher divisions.

“The Peabody game Monday gave us life,” says Siderewicz. “Big win versus a D1 team was huge for our confidence that we can really play with anyone. The transition from our loss to Danvers going into Gloucester was nothing but positivity. We knew this game would potentially determine our season ending or not, and we came prepared. Finishing 7-10 and winning 4 of our last 6 was enough juice to get these players to the end, and ready to prep for playoffs.”

And now, the Hornets wait. Tournament seeds will be announced later this week, giving the Hornets an idea of who they might play in the first round, and when.

To get to this point, Manchester Essex has relied on a stout defense that allows only seven goals per game, an impressive feat. Senior defender Andrew Amigo is the Hornets’ shutdown player, covering the opposition’s top scorer in every game. The Hornets have also found success in alternating their goalies, with Hayden Brady and Jack Dipasquale splitting time in net and doing a great job of keeping the opposition out as the last line of defense.

“A bit unorthodox splitting goalies every game, but it has worked out wonders for us and I couldn't be more pleased to see them play well, as well as the ‘D’ in front of them,” explains Siderewicz.

Manchester Essex has relied on junior Declan Kirk (10 goals, 12 assists), sophomores Quinn Brady (19 goals, 2 assists), Henry Thurlow (14 goals, 2 assists), Mac Edgerton (12 goals, 9 assists) and Ben Difluri (11 goals, 3 assists) for their scoring punch.

“Kirk and Brady are a 1-2 punch at the faceoff, which is also huge,” says Siderewicz. “Sophomore attack Mac Edgerton in his second year starting on varsity has also made a huge impact as a scoring threat for us when we need one. All around, the team has been playing well together, and it's tough to just highlight one or a few players on this team because everyone has been making plays on both sides of the ball.”

Siderewicz points out that his team’s play at the faceoff has improved since the start of the season, giving the team the opportunity to pull out big wins.

“The message has always been the same: everyone do your job for 48 minutes, one play at a time, and I think we have responded well to making plays which starts primarily at practice,” explains the coach. “It's very promising, especially for years to come to see younger guys begin to make plays in practice repetitively, as well as our main starters. There is juice flowing right now, and we want to keep that jug filled to the top in our remaining season as well as the playoffs.”

boys lacrosse coach, mac edgerton, quinn brady, hamilton wenham, miaa division, danvers, cape ann league baker division, declan kirk, hayden brady