Defending league champ Masconomet starts the new season as the favorite. Winthrop will challenge, and Peabody/Lynnfield/North Reading should continue its upward trend. Both Marblehead/Swampscott (Marisa Maccario) and Beverly/Danvers (Danielle Finocchairo) have new coaches. Medford/Malden has a solid core back.
The Chieftains have reached the D1 semifinals the past two years, and if they are to do it again, they will need the incoming freshmen and sophomores to fill in key forward positions.
Those players would complement a solid returning forward trio consisting of senior Abby Gendron (31 pts), senior Mikayla Vincent (12 pts) and sophomore Erin Irons (14 pts). Sophomore Cali Caponigro looks to contribute after an injury-plaqued freshman campaign.[one_third] [/one_third] [one_third] [/one_third] [one_third_last] [/one_third_last]
Senior Anna Behringer, junior Meghan McElaney and sophomore Sophia Grutti are all back on defense for third-year coach Ryan Sugar.
In junior returner Molly Elmore (1.40 gaa), the Chieftains have a solid presence between the pipes.[one_fourth] [/one_fourth] [one_fourth] [/one_fourth] [one_fourth] [/one_fourth] [one_fourth_last] [/one_fourth_last]
With six returning defensemen and a returning goalie, defensive play will be a priority for the Vikings, who look to a group of veterans up front to steer the ship. “This year is the first year that I believe that the conference is up for grabs and I have to say ‘we want to be the ones to take it,'” said Winthrop coach Butch Martucci.
Senior Emma Carleton (30 pts), senior Sophie LeRay and juniors Olivia Driscoll (18 pts) and Sydney Mignosa will be asked for offensive production. New sophomore Kaiya Rodrigues and freshman Mia Martucci are ready to step in and help.
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Four seniors form the nucleus of the Vikings defense in Bella Perotti (20 pts), Abby Stafford (19 pts), Kayla Morrill and Olivia Holmes. Freshman Ellie English hopes to crack the lineup.
In goal, freshman Summer Tallent is back after a stellar eighth-grade season.
This club will be under new management, with former UConn player Marisa Maccario taking over the reins.
Scoring will be the task of senior veteran Sydney Cresta (22 pts), a team captain, helped out by junior Cate Delaney. Youngster Amy Vytopilova brings her energy to the lineup.
Senior captain Caroline Kinne will lead the defense, while sophomore Abby Kalinowski and eighth-grader Juliette Piersol both return with varsity experience.
In goal, senior Grace Bertagna holds down the fort. She is a returning starter.
Another team with a new head coach this winter are the Panthers, who have turned the coaching reins over to Danielle Finocchiaro.
Juniors Emma Thibodeau and Sophia MacNeil and sophomores Emma Knott and Catie Nemeskal are key holdovers at forward. Others chipping in should be sophomore Ana Rich and freshmen Jamie Dupont, Sofiya Palermo, Grace Brinkley and Ashley Clark.
A big group returns on defense in senior Ava Daly, senior Shelby Johnson, junior Tori Shea and sophomore Cayla Greenleaf. Adding to that mix are freshmen Emma Arsenault and Kayleigh Crowell.
The goaltending job will be covered by sophomores Amanda Barry and Julia Otterbein.
PEABODY/LYNNFIELD/NORTH READING (11-8-2)
A playoff team a year ago, PLNR has a solid chance of a repeat performance, as several of last year’s key impact players return.
That would include junior Sammie Mirasolo (41 pts), who will be one of the league’s top offensive threats. Seniors Kat DiGiulio and Jess Robert and sophomores Jen Flynn (20 pts) and Paige Thibedeau are back as well for coach Michelle Roach. As many as five freshmen could make their way into the lineup at forward.
Junior Carolyn Garofoli and sophomore Reilly Ganter have things under control on defense.
Goalies Abby Buckley (senior) and Jeny Collins (junior) return, while freshman Audrey Buckley is in the mix.
The Mustangs look to compete in the league with a solid core group back.
Senior Brenna Forbes, juniors Erin Allen and Bethan Taddeo, and sophomore Elizabeth Lazzaro all are coming off good years at forward.
Coach Rayanne Forbes will count on senior Abby Vigliotte and junior Phiadra Martin to play key roles on defense in front of returning senior goalie Terrell Pesaturo.