The regular season is over for Manchester Essex spring sports teams, and now the only game being played is the waiting game. Postseason seedings were set to be announced just after mid-week, and the first playoff games and matches will likely be played this weekend.
In most spring sports, teams could choose to “opt in” or skip participating in the playoffs this season, with coaches and players deciding what the best course of action would be for their squads.
For teams like the MERHS girls’ tennis team, it makes a lot of sense to opt in. The Hornets finished 12-1, losing only to Div. 2 Newburyport (ME is a Div. 3 team based on school size) during the regular season, which should give Manchester Essex the top seed in the Div. 3 North Bracket. The Hornets have relied on senior captains Stephanie Pratt and Jessie Miller, seniors Lilly Coote an Emma Francoeur, juniors Parker Brooks and Gracie Susko and sophomore Emery Weber-Provost all season long to take home the Baker Division title.
“Our season was defined not only by a gritty competitiveness but also by a grace under pressure, qualities that were exhibited by every girl on the team,” explains girls tennis coach John Driscoll.”
The baseball team was also waiting on playoff seeding, with the Hornets going 6-3 to close out the season after a slow start.
“After starting 1-5, we had a mental check practice,” says baseball coach BJ Weed. “All we did was team build by getting to know each other and create a bond, since then the team is playing together.”
The ME girls lacrosse team was 5-4 heading into their final game of the season against Hamilton-Wenham on Tuesday, and will be playing in the tournament. The Hornets showed good effort against a strong Ipswich team last week, a game coach Nan Gorton points to as a turning point for her squad.
“The speed, skill, aggressiveness and heart that was shown on the field was magical,” says Gorton. “Everyone hates to lose, but to be able to play - and coach - that game was a gift.”
The boys lacrosse team won’t be playing in the postseason this year – the Hornets opted out due to injuries and a 3-8 finish to the season. Despite this, the boys lacrosse team showed promise in their final few games, keeping things close against Lynnfield in a 9-6 loss on Senior Night, and coming back from a 10-2 halftime deficit to make a run at Ipswich in an 11-9 loss.
“Our last two games of the regular season were a big momentum booster, finishing the year strong and heading into the offseason with confidence,” says boys lacrosse coach Jon Siderewicz.