ME Lax Tourney Runs End in Elite Eight


It was a mirrored ending for both of Manchester Essex High School’s lacrosse teams.

On June 5, both boys and girls’ teams faced an opponent from the same team on the same field in the Sweet 16.  The Hornet boys started the afternoon at MERHS with a 10-4 win over the Nipmuc boys’ team, and the Hornet girls finished a very good day for both programs with a 16-4 win over the Nipmuc girls’ team.

The win sent both teams into the Elite Eight of the MIAA Div. 4 Tournament, and unfortunately both teams shared the same fate once again, with the boys falling to Nantucket, 15-3, and the girls losing to Cohasset by a 19-7 score.  While the pair of losses ended the 2024 season for each squad, it was still a season to remember for both programs, especially the boys team. “This was the first year the Manchester Essex boys’  lacrosse program had made it to the state quarterfinals in program history,” explains Manchester Essex boys lacrosse coach Jon Siderewicz.  “As it was a really big milestone to hit for us, the way the season ended was bittersweet and left the team incredibly unsatisfied.  We finished the season 16-5.”

The boys team finished 16-5 overall between the regular and postseasons and earned second place in the Cape Ann League Baker Division thanks to a 9-2 overall record. 

Siderewicz also recognized some individual player accomplishments from this spring, including Quinn Brady scoring his 100th career goal early on in the year and goaltender Connor Dickson finishing the season with 208 saves.

“2024 was another season building on a program that has been reestablished since 2020,” says Siderewicz.

The girls’ team, meanwhile, nearly rose to the heights of their predecessors despite turning over much of the roster from a team that made it to the Final Four in 2023.  The Hornets finished with a 12-4 regular season record, earned a first-round bye and won two playoff games to get to the final eight.

Out of that pair of wins, the Hornet girls’ 16-4 victory over Nipmuc was certainly the more notable one.

“Nipmuc was a GREAT game for us,” says Manchester Essex girls lacrosse coach Nan Gorton. “Best game of the year.  A real team effort.”

Lucy O’Flynn was the Hornets’ top scorer, putting in four goals, while Mechi O’Neil, Charlotte Crocker and Harper Brooks also received nods for their play from their coach.

“Mechi played great, great emotional maturity and composure,” explains Gorton. “Charlotte Crocker was terrific and Harper Brooks had key causes turnovers for us.”

Playing Cohasset in the Elite Eight, however, seemed to be an experience at the other end of the spectrum.

“After a long, very hot -- no AC in the mini-bus – three-hour bus ride and 25-minute warm up we did not show up,” says Gorton.  “It was a tough day.  Nothing really went right.  We won the draw a lot, but then could not convert in attack.  Cohasset did a great job staying aggressive and really just outplayed us.”

Sticking with the theme of both teams sharing mirrored experiences, the Hornet boys fared similarly in their final two games of 2024.  The Nipmuc victory was a banner one for the boys and brought them further than they have ever been in the tournament, the following game in the elite eight was the exact opposite of the Nipmuc win.

“We knew they had a strong offense, and we matched up well against them with our defense,” explains Siderewicz. “Everyone played a solid game for us in that one, offense to defense to goalie everyone came to play.  We possessed the ball well, won the ground ball battle and played team ball both sides.  It was a complete team win.” And after that, the Elite Eight experience sounds like a difficult one that included a long trip to Nantucket, followed by some very unlucky breaks despite strong efforts from Henry and Charlie Thurlow on offense (three goals total between them) and goalie Connor Dickson (11 saves).

“It could not have been a worse day for our guys,” says Siderewicz.  “Our leading scorer went down with an ankle injury first play of the game and did not return.  Our freshman LSM was rushed to the ER after blocking a heavy shot from the outside, and another starting senior midfielder got ejected from a very clean but heavy hit on a Nantucket midfielder.  Anything that could go wrong for us, did.  Lots of penalties for both teams, poor officiating, and very heated moments.  It wasn’t our day.”

Graduation forces a natural type of attrition upon every high school sports roster, and the ME lacrosse teams are no exception. 

“We lose four seniors this year but I anticipate, like every year, that those remaining will step up and fill the bigger shoes,” says Gorton, who then adds, “It was a fun, albeit shorter year!”

The boys, meanwhile graduate five seniors from this squad. “We lose our starting midfield line, plus two starting D-mids,” says Siderewicz.  “Some big shoes to fill next year.”