NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

November 9, 2012

The waiting game

Soccer teams see tourney games postponed

Such is life in New England.

With 12 divisions of roughly 20 teams apiece in both the boys’ and girls’ brackets, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has its work cut out for it scheduling the state tournament each year. Add to that the changes in weather on the East Coast, things can get more than confusing and an early November nor’easter can make it downright insane.

Both the Newburyport girls and boys soccer teams were to play in their semifinals at Manning Field in Lynn last evening, but Mother Nature has seen to it that they will play on Saturday instead.

“It was a hypothermia bonanza in the making,” Clippers girls coach Rob Gonnam says of last night’s canceled games. “Why would you put the kids at that risk? There is nothing more important than the safety of the athletes. I couldn’t have had ball girls go to (last night’s) game. Their parents would not allow them to go.”

Boys coach Shawn Bleau agrees.

“The MIAA has done a good job on this one,” says Bleau. “The weather on Saturday is supposed to be better. The finals are supposed to be on Monday, which is supposed to be even better weather. Especially with the weather being nice, I think we’ll get good crowds for those games.”

Those crowds have eluded the boys in one way or another this season. With the EEE ban regulating their games end by 5 p.m. for most of the season, the boys missed out on their biggest event, the ALS Cup. Traditionally a stadium night game, the Cup was rescheduled twice and ended up being played just after school on an average Tuesday, drawing a much smaller crowd.

“We didn’t get to have the atmosphere of the night game or get the crowd that we wanted,” boys defender and senior co-captain Alex Salah says of the EEE-truncated ALS Cup last month. “But, overall, we’re happy with playing on Saturday with nicer weather, and hopefully it won’t get wet.”

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