ROCKPORT — Last night’s Division 4 North quarterfinal boys soccer tilt between No. 2 Rockport and No. 7 Hamilton-Wenham was truly a game of inches.
For 70 minutes, the Vikings and Generals battled tooth and nail for every inch of space on the Rockport High School field and the game came down to a pair of plays in the final 10 minutes of play.
One minute after the hosts rang a shot off the crossbar, Hamilton-Wenham’s Alex Berthoud found the back of the net to give the Generals a 1-0 victory in a Division 4 North quarterfinal contest.
Berthoud put his shot just inches inside the far right post for the seventh-seeded Generals (11-5-4) off of a pass from Niko Surpa, a recent junior varsity callup.
“It was epic out there,” said Generals head coach Matt Gauron, whose team will move on to the semifinals tomorrow against St. Mary’s of Lynn. “It was an absolute battle, Rockport did an unbelievable job.”
Rockport head coach Dave Curley, whose team finished 13-5-2 and will not be playing in the sectional semifinals for the first time in five years, praised the play of both teams.
“I thought it was a very evenly played game, just a well-played high school soccer match,” Curley said. “We didn’t get the result that we wanted, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.”
It was Rockport that controlled play over the first 40 minutes, keeping the Generals at bay while generating a few nice scoring chances of their own. In the first 10 minutes the Vikings put a shot just over the crossbar from inside the box. Later in the first half, senior captain Shaun Aspesi got some room and put a shot on goal, but Generals goalie Henry Eagar aggressively came out of his net to cut off the angle and make a huge save.