Rockport Vikings Boys Soccer '07

Rockport scores memorable win vs. North Andover

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Wednesday, October, 10 By Rich Slate
Staff writer

History was in the air last week as the Rockport boys soccer team did something it hadn't done since 1997 | defeat powerful North Andover.

The Vikings knocked off North Andover, 4-3, last Wednesday in Rockport. Previously, Rockport had received a forfeit victory over the Scarlet Knights in 2001 (when the North Andover head coach received a red card) but you'd have to go back to 1997 for the last official win (1-0) over North Andover, a perennial leader atop the Cape Ann League Large.
"It certainly was a huge win, it's so infrequent (just three times in the last the 30 years) for Rockport to beat North Andover," said Rockport head coach Dave Curley. "Going into every season, all the CAL coaches know that North Andover and Masconomet are going to have good teams."

According to the MIAA website, North Andover currently has 592 boys and a total of 1,175 students at its high school. Masconomet (a regional school) has 622 boys and a total of 1,284 students at its high school. Finally, Rockport has only 137 boys and 303 total students at its high school. The sheer number of students at North Andover and Masco coupled with their strong youth soccer programs means that it's exceptionally hard for small towns like Rockport to compete with such quality squads.

Manchester Essex head coach Rob Bilsbury cited Curley's influence as a catalyst behind Rockport's big victory. "To get a win over North Andover just shows Curley's dedication to his kids and his coaching ability," Bilsbury said. "He's been there two different times (for a total of 19 seasons), helping so many generations of kids. It's great to see him get a win like that. Congratulations, from one small school to another."

Against North Andover, the Vikings jumped out to a 3-0 first half lead as senior midfielder Derek Osmond scored two goals, while senior midfielder Eric Juncker added the other tally. Early in the second half, the Scarlet Knights roared back with three goals in an eight-minute span, knotting the game at three.

Soon after, Osmond was taken down in the Scarlet Knights penalty box. He calmly converted the ensuing penalty kick, giving Rockport the 4-3 lead.

"North Andover was pushing everyone up, trying to get the tying goal," said Curley. "Our backs all did a fantastic job."

Vikings goalkeeper Derek Osier finished with 11 saves. "Year in and year out, Masco and North Andover are the cornerstones of the league," Curley added. "To be able to compete with them is a feather in your cap. It's something that these players can take away with a sense of accomplishment. They did something that so many players ahead of them couldn't do."

In its three games last week, Rockport lost 2-0 to North Reading, beat North Andover and fell 3-0 at Hamilton-Wenham. Despite losing two of the three games, Curley felt it was his team's most consistent play of the season thus far. "In all three games, for 80 minutes we competed," he said. "If we play like that the rest of the season, we'll be in a position to compete for the tournament."

Rockport plays in the Division 3 North tournament, meaning the Vikings need a .500 record vs. other Division 3 teams. In case you're wondering, 2002 was the last time that Rockport reached the postseason, so every point will count the rest of the way.

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