The Manchester Essex boys soccer team has won its first three matches in the Division IV State tournament to reach the North Finals for the third time in the last four seasons.
The Hornets were tested early in the tournament with a home match versus a battle tested Stoneham team who plays in a league with lots of Division I and II teams. The boys played an excellent match in front of their home crowd to win it 3-1 and advance to play Bishop Fenwick. That match proved to test the resolve of the Hornets as well as Fenwick would go up 1-0 eleven minutes into the match and proceed to pack it in defensively.
The match went into halftime 1-0 as well which lead to a formation change putting outside back Thomas Birkeland up top as an extra striker and holding it down win the back with just three defenders; senior captain Jake Edwards, sophomore Kai Carroll, an Junior Jack Roberts. Early in the second, Birkeland would play an excellent ball into Kellen Furse who scored the tying goal. The Hornets would add two more goals, one on a brilliant individual attacking run from sophomore Naderson Curtis, and another off a Kai Carroll service into the box which Kellen Furse headed far post and Eli cox finished for a 3-1 win.
On Monday, the Hornets played Essex Tech and imposed their possession style play upon them early. Curtis struck first with a back heel which bounced of a defender and found its way into the goal. Finn Carlso had two sparkling saves in the victory; one, a right hand tip wide on a point blank shot from in close and another stealing a breakaway chance from an onrushing attacker. Later in the first half, Eli Cox sent a one touch through ball to Furse who drove with speed at the keeper and drew a PK in the final moments of the first.
The entire team collaborated in the crisp passing to seal the victory in the second. The Hornets next play Burke in the North Finals this Sunday at 11AM.