Massachusetts Girls Division 1 Poll
In this new Massachusetts Girls Division I poll, Duxbury (6-0-1) remains in the #1 spot. The Dragons exacted some revenge on Barnstable Saturday, getting goals from Julia Nolan and Zoe Griffin for a 2-0 win, avenging the 1-1 tie on opening night.
Duxbury is off until Saturday, when they take on Canton, so their top ranking will be intact for the week.
One of the stories of the young season so far has been the explosive play of Beverly/Danvers (7-0-0). This club maintains its #8 ranking in the poll with an offense that is averaging over eight goals a game. Second-year coach Brian Seabury knew his club would be decent, but they have exceeded even his expectations at this point.
“With the nucleus returning from last year’s roster, I thought we would be very competitive at this point,” Seabury said. “We have come together a lot faster than I expected. We have shown tons of individual improvement which has led us to this point.”
The key thus far has been the play of Beverly/Danvers first line, the most prolific trio in the state. Through seven games, the trio – senior captain Nicole Woods, sophomore Kristin McCarthy and eighth-grade phenom Julia Nearis – has combined for a whopping 109 points, or an overage of over 15 points per game. Nearis had 24 goals and 15 assists, Woods 14 goals and 24 assists and McCarthy 11 goals and 21 assists.
“Our first line has been exceptional,” Seabury said. “They are scoring at a record pace. They each bring something to the game that makes the line so dangerous.”
Woods is an exceptional playmaker who has tremendous speed and a compete level that is unmatched. McCarthy is also fast and has the unique ability to create turnovers. Nearis has the size and strength that compliments them both well and is a natural goal scorer.
“That is something you can’t teach,” Seabury said. “Julia has taken her size, skill and strength to be able to produce big numbers thus far. Her unselfishness and ability to communicate and gel with her new teammates has been the dominating factor to her success.”
Beverly/Danvers takes on Medford on Wednesday, and then Saturday will be at #2 St. Mary’s (6:30pm) in their biggest challenge of the season. They also will play Duxbury on January 27.
“We are obviously off to a terrific start and we are basically taking it one game at a time,” Seabury said. “We prepare each day in practice and try not to get ahead of ourselves. but at the same time the competition that awaits us is something we will use as a measuring stick.”
Prior to the showdown with Beverly/Danvers, St. Mary’s (5-0-2) will be Westford Academy on Monday and have a rematch at Arlington Catholic on Wednesday. It will be a big week for the Lady Spartans, who blanked Newton North this past Saturday.
Woburn (7-1-0) sneaks up to the #3 spot. They have a huge contest on Wednesday, travelling to #4 Reading (6-1-2) for their first of two meetings this winter. The winner will have a step up on the Middlesex League Liberty Division title.
#5 Acton-Boxboro (6-1-0) has won four straight, its most recent win a 4-1 decision of Fontbonne. The Colonials will spend the week against Concord-Carlisle on Wednesday and Lincoln-Sudbury on Saturday. Kaitlin Hoang (16 pts), Leah Cardarelli (15 pts) and Megan Barrett (15 pts) pace the offense.
#6 Austin Prep (4-1-1) had to settle for a 3-3 tie with Andover on Saturday. The Cougars have a tough week, at Winchester on Wednesday and home to Hingham on Saturday.
You can bet that #7 Arlington Catholic (5-2-1) will be inching back up the polls soon. The Cougars rode two goals from Jessica Piracini to a 3-1 win Saturday over Billerica they hope will jumpstart then on a run. But, St. Mary’s looms on Wednesday.
Barnstable (3-1-3) holds serve in the #9 spot, while Andover (5-2-1) jumps into the #10 spot.
* Don’t be surprised to see unbeaten Watertown/Belmont (8-0-0) in the poll in future weeks. The co-op has a big game Saturday against Reading.