Postseason Primer for MERHS Sports


Can you believe that the regular season is over for Manchester Essex Regional High School fall sports teams?  It’s time to take a look back at the season that was for the local squads and preview what’s next for Hornets football, field hockey and soccer teams.


RECAP: The Manchester Essex football team won its opener against Ipswich by a 40-26 score and has alternated losses and wins in consecutive weeks since that time, right up until a huge 41-40 win over nemesis KIPP Academy in the final regular season game of 2023.

IN OR OUT: Top 16 football teams with at least three wins and seven games played qualify for the postseason tournament.  With Friday’s win over KIPP Academy, the Hornets ended the 2023 regular with a 5-3 record and ranked 15th overall out of 16 teams in the Div. 7 tournament, earning them a Sweet Sixteen matchup against Cohasset on the road on Nov. 3 (6 p.m., Cohasset High School).  Cohasset ended the season with a 4-3 record, but ranked second overall in Div. 7.

OUTLOOK: Hopefully the win over KIPP Academy was a breakthrough for the Hornets, and underscored the team’s ability to score points in bunches.  Manchester Essex will need to do just that against a Cohasset team lead by senior running back Liam Appleton (who has accounted for 18 touchdowns and averages just under 140 all-purpose yards per game) and sophomore quarterback Michael Wildfire (who has accounted for 17 scores for Skippers).  The winner of the game moves on to face the winner of Mashpee/Blue Hills RVT in the Elite Eight.

Field Hockey

RECAP: What a season for the local field hockey team.  The Hornets lost only one contest this season – a 2-0 loss to Masconomet near the outset of the season – and have not looked back since, compiling a 14-1-3 record and earning the second overall spot in the MIAA Div. 4 Power Rankings.  This should result in a top seed and home field advantage in the postseason.

IN OR OUT: The top 32 teams in the power rankings qualify for postseason play, regardless of record. The Hornets easily qualify as the second-ranked team overall in Div. 4.  Field hockey brackets were scheduled for release on Oct. 31.

OUTLOOK: The Hornets look poised for a deep run into the playoffs, and if they do reach the pinnacle of their sport for the second year in a row they could have another shot at Uxbridge in the Div. 4 State Final – Uxbridge is ranked number one overall in the division and also enjoyed another great season.  The Spartans beat Manchester Essex to take home the title by a 5-0 score in 2022.

Girls Soccer

RECAP: The girls soccer finished up the fall just under .500 after going 3-3 in their last six games of the 2023 regular season.  This group finished just above .500 in 2022, going 9-8-4 and advancing all the way to the Elite Eight of the MIAA Div. 4 tournament.  The defense looks much improved on last season, while the offense couldn’t quite reach the heights it did when it scored 50 goals over 21 total games in 2023.

IN OR OUT: The top 32 teams in the power rankings qualify for postseason play, regardless of record, and the Hornets finished 7-8-3 to earn a ranking of 17th overall in the Div. 4 Power Rankings.  They are in the playoffs and can attempt to improve on last year’s run to the Elite Eight. Soccer playoff brackets were scheduled for release on Nov. 1.

OUTLOOK: If this group can find a way to consistently string together a few wins, there is some real talent here – Pippa Spingler, Mechi O’Neil, Mackay Brooks and Ella Arnsten have shown an ability to excel in pressure situations throughout the fall – with the potential to make a postseason run.

Boys Soccer

RECAP: The boys soccer team struggled in 2023 after losing 12 seniors from a team that qualified for the postseason and advanced to the Round of 32 in the MIAA Div. 4 Playoffs last season, going 4-10-4 this fall.

IN OR OUT: The top 32 teams in the power rankings qualify for postseason play, regardless of record, while every other Div. 4 team has a chance to qualify outside of the top-32 if they finish with a .500 record or better.  With only four wins on the season, the boys’ soccer team will miss out on the tourney this year.

OUTLOOK: The good news is that the Hornets won’t lose a dozen seniors from this year’s squad to graduation.  This means that while the team will miss leaders like outgoing senior captain Logan DeSousa, the majority of the team will return in 2024, including captain Sammy Bothwell, Owen Oliver-Meehan, Charlie Langendorf, Hayden Spencer and Ali Erdogan.