A total of 25 teams will begin play this week in the 2016 MIAA Girls Division 1 Tournament.
Arlington Catholic (18-1-1) and Austin Prep (17-2-1), the top two teams in the division all year, grabbed the top two seeds and a preliminary round bye. Also getting a bye were #3 Needham (16-1-4), #4 Billerica (14-3-3), #5 Woburn (17-5-0), #6 Haverhill/Pentucket/North Andover (12-2-6) and #7 Beverly/Danvers (16-5-1).
The bye teams:
#1 Arlington Catholic (18-1-1): What else can you say about the Cougars? They were about as dominant as dominant could be. AC allowed just 9 goals all season and they came in nine games. Not once did a team score more than one goal against them.
“I have to congratulate the entire team for only giving up nine goals,” said AC coach Maggie Taverna. “Each and every member of the team made our goals against 9. The goaltending, the defense and the forwards all contribute to keeping our goals against low.”
Senior defenseman Erin Healy was also the team’s leading scorer with 16 points. Also making up the blue line crew are junior Erin King, sophomores Tia Martignetti and Erin Kelley, and freshman Maddy Crowley-Cahill. Junior goalie Jasmine Mucci had 11 shutouts. Up front, senior Juliana Dolan, Mickey McLaughlin and Abby Knight each contributed 13 points, while senior Eileen Flynn, junior Nicole Amato and sophomore Margaret Sullivan each had 11.
#2 Austin Prep (17-2-1): These Cougars were not far behind their cohorts from AC. Both of Austin’s losses were to AC. They outscored opponents by a 63-16 margin.
Senior goalie Caty Flagg (eight shutouts) is one of the state’s best. Senior Jaimee Cooke heads a solid defense with sophomore Kendra Currier, freshman Ella Saracco and eighth-grader Frankie Frelick. Senior Kylie Currier and juniors Annie Richards and Caroline Benson are the key ingredients up front for coach Stephanie Wood.
#3 Needham (16-1-4): The Rockets made some great strides from last year’s tournament team and are a bona fide threat. A youth movement up front has been key for the Bay State Carey Division champions.
That youth movement consists of freshmen Cassidy Piersiak, Gracie Bruno and Elizabeth Phalen. Juniors Kendall Milligan and Katie Strauss lead the defense for coach Allyson Furano in front of goalie Sarah McLaughlin.
#4 Billerica (14-3-3): The Indians may not have big numbers but they have talent and will be a formidable club in the post-season.
Coach Tina Carrabba can count on veteran senior goalie Amanda Burns to be a solid presence. Seniors Samantha Ginsburg and Macy Vercellini headline the offensive attack along with sophomore Claire Conway. Senior Amanda Fantasia and junior Madison DeChristoforo anchor a stout Billerica defense.
#5 Woburn (17-5-0): The Tanners have a young club with just three seniors and should be a tough out in the post-season.
“The improvement from a year ago certainly has been significant,” said Woburn coach Bob MacCurtain. “I think many of the kids worked really hard in the off-season to get better. We’ll see how things go. It is all about matchups.”
Sophomores Marissa Gregory (20-17-37) and Georgie Santullo (20-11-31) lead the offense. Sophomore Cassidy Connolly chipped in with 26 points, while sophomore Maddie Russo had seven goals. Junior Lily Mallard (16 pts), Junior Brianna Jewett and sophomore Olivia Perenick form a solid defensive nucleus in front of junior goalie Katelind Ciavardone.
#6 Haverhill/Pentucket/North Andover (12-2-6): Low-scoring, tight games have also been the norm for HPNA, which allowed just 15 goals all season.
“If you see us in the Garden, it is because our defense played their normal game, our goaltender stood on her head and our offense came alive with timely, opportunistis goal scoring,” said coach Gary Kane. “We find that we are always in a game late and the kids have been able to stay mentally tough.”
Senior goalie Michaela Kane (0.75 gaa) has been outstanding with eight shutouts. The offense comes from junior Jess Chicko (20-11-31), junior Katherine Capobianco (5-18-23) and sophomore Rebecca Harty (8-8-16). Co-captains Emma Johns and Alex Casale are blue line cornerstones.
#7 Beverly/Danvers (16-5-1): The Panthers once again showed they could put the puck in the net, scoring 86 goals. Teams will have to deal with that offense.
Junior McKinley Karpa (37 pts) and senior Kristen McCarthy (32 pts) spearhead the offense. Right with them are senior Anna O’Neill (29 pts), junior Izzy Primack (25 pts) and freshman Brittany Foster (25 pts). Seniors Rachel Spencer and Anna Heyden are key on defense for coach Brian Seabury. In goal, the call should go to sophomore Madison Jalbert.
The rest of the field:
#8 Quincy/North Quincy (13-5-3): The expectations for first-year coach Jeff Craig was to get this team into the post-season. Things have worked out well, as Q/NQ is seeded eighth.
“My expectations were high with the experience we got last year,” he said. “They work hard, listen, and we have enough talent to compete.”
Freshman Cassandra Davis (26-15-41) has been huge on offense, as has junior Riley McLaughlin (24-12-36). Junior Kate McGahey (16-16-32), senior captain Savannah Flynn (13-16-29) and sophomore Julie Whalen (26 pts) have had nice years as well. Freshman Meghan Greene (15 pts) has been solid on defense and junior Karissa Beal has done the job between the pipes.
#9 Duxbury (13-5-3): The Lady Dragons are in the post-season (no surprise) which means they can win any game they play in. They have won state titles in four of the last five years.
“I think past success can play a role because our upperclassmen have seen what it takes to be successful in the tournament,” said Duxbury coach Friend Weiler. “However, every year is different. The team understands that it is the little things that mean the difference between winning and ending your season. To be successful our team must play a high-tempo, aggressive game and communicate well.”
Senior Julia Nolan (25-7-32) is the finisher up front. Sophomore Kelly McCarthy (23 pts), senior K.C. Williams (15 pts) and sophomore Jill Cosgrove (12 pts) will be heavily involved as well. Co-captains Payton Donato and Nicole Quinlan are on defense.
#10 Arlington (13-6-1): The Spy Ponders return to the post-season with a team capable of making a serious run.
Freshman Jenna Hallice (22 pts) and senior Laura Shea (20 pts) are offensive leaders for coach Jeff Mead, who can also turn to sophomores Holly Russell (15 pts) and Katie O’Brien (17 pts), and freshmen Erin O’Brien (13 pts) and Elizabeth Liakos (12 pts). On defense, senior Ysa Campbell-Breen (12 pts) junior Jill Danton will be key.
#11 Lexington (13-6-1): The Minutemen also return to the tournament after a successful campaign in the tough Middlesex League under first-year head coach Arianna Rigano.
“Every year it is satisfying when your team has qualified for the state tournament,” she said. “The past two years coaching at Tewksbury/Methuen, along with this year coming on in my first season as the Lexington coach, it has been satisfying. The players have worked extremely hard all season long.”
Junior Emily Devine (15-8-23), senior Kylee Harris (8-10-18) and sophomore Nicole Maimonis (13 pts) are key forwards for Lexington. Senior standout Olivia Bryant (17-7-24) gets involved offensively from her blue line position. Junior Lucy Chin and freshman Abby Ortyl have both seen time in goal.
#12 Reading (13-7-1): The defending state champion Rockets won’t go quietly. First-year coach Peter Seibold has the team in the hunt.
Seniors Gabby DeCologero (15-8-23), Ryley Coleman (9-11-20) and Tori Grimmer (10-8-18) will be offensive leaders for the Rockets. Freshman Kat Paradis (8-9-17) and sophomore Chloe Doherty (13 pts) are two more options. Veteran senior Caroline Seibold (16 pts) anchors a solid blue line with sophomore Jenna Seibold and freshman Ainsley Cohen. Senior Jessica Strack takes care of the goaltending.
#13 Westford Academy (10-5-5): The Grey Ghosts focus on strong defensive play, but do have a handful of forwards who can put the puck in the net. So, they will be a tough opponent.
“Our success has relied on defense,” said coach Bob Ware. “The majority of our wins have been in very close games. We will continue to focus on our defensive end and limiting teams’ opportunities. We will take one game at a time. March is about survive and advance.”
Sophomore Hannah Keefe (10-18-28), senior Alayna Serpa (9-17-26) and junior Colleen Ellis (9-14-23) are sparkplugs up front for the Grey Ghosts. On the blue line, senior Ali Benedict (12 pts), junior Kelly DeMarco and sophomore Taylor Pacifico are solid on the blue line. Junior Alyssa Lopez will be in goal.
#14 Hingham (13-8-1): The Harborwomen are back in the post-season as some talented younger players have given the team some much needed depth.
“Being back in the tournament was a big goal for the team this year,” said coach Tom Findley. “The key to the team’s turnaround has been the leadership of the senior captains, Olivia Messina, Kenzie Kent and Alissa Sullivan.”
Juniors Nicole Brennan (19 pts) and Julianna Lynch (17 pts) and Hunt (17 pts) are top forwards for Hingham. Messina put up a 19-point campaign from her blue line position, while Sullivan chipped in with 16 points. In goal, Leah White has been the workhorse.
#15 Melrose (12-8-0): The Red Raiders return to the dance for the third straight season. Look for sophomore forwards Rachel DiFraia and Sam Kroon to have key roles, as will senior defenseman Alyssa Gorman. Freshman Courtney O’Connor gets the nod in goal.
#16 Masconomet (11-7-2): The Chieftains get the 16th seed and will host a preliminary round game.
“Right now we are playing with confidence and it has benefitted us greatly,” said coach Ryan Wood. “At this point of the season it all comes down to effort.”
Junior Izzy Sarra (21-12-33) and sophomores Charisse Flanagan (14 goals) and Lexi Rosenbaum (18 pts) will be counted on in the offensive end. Senior Meghan Hubbard and sophomore Riane Vatcher will get the job done defensively in front of goalies Andraya Feraro and Mackenzie Saita.
#17 Barnstable (10-7-3): The Red Raiders look to make some noise from a low seed and are capable of doing so.
Look for senior Callie Rogorzenski (16-7-23) and juniors Brynn Mendes (6-9-15) and Danielle Desroiser (3-12-15) to guide the offense for coach Peter Nugnes. Sophomre Mikayla Bestford gets the job in goal.
#18 Acton-Boxboro (10-7-4): The 18th seed is not where we customarily see the Colonials, but it is where they are this year, with one of the youngest clubs in the tournament.
“I knew we would need to have solid goaltending and we got it from both Cali (Loblundo) and Melissa (Bambery),” said coach Brian Fontas. “We have had some trouble putting the puck in the net lately so for us to move forward that will need to change.
The Colonials do have senior Megan Barrett (24-23-47), who leads the offense along with seventh-grader Lily Zavolas. On the blue line, senior Emma Bartle (10 pts) and eighth graders Alicia Souliotis and Haley Sundstrom have done the job.
#19 Brookline/Newton South (10-7-5): This co-op will look to compete. Sophomore Julia Kibrick is a forward to watch.
#20 Winthrop/Lynn (9-7-2): The Bulldawgs are another team that play games close to the vest and lean heavily on their goaltender, veteran Gretchen Howard.
“We will once again rely on her to carry us through,” said coach Butch Martucci. “Our defensive style has been what has got us through. We wanted to score more goals, but with youth and inexperience in scoring roles, we have had to buckle down and play more to our strengths.”
Junior Kelsie Griffiths (7-11-18) is the team’s leading scorer. Senior Olivia Shkliew (13 pts) and junior Mia Price (11 pts) help out as well. Senior Gabby Kenniston is an anchor on the blue line in front of Howard in the nets.
#21 Franklin (11-8-2): The Panthers won just five games a year ago so they must be pleased with their turnaround season that resulted in a tourney berth.
Coach Margie Burke has plenty of young talent up front in sophomore Marlee Patterson (17-17-34) and freshmen Cassi Ronan (24-8-32) and Regan Patterson (16-11-27). Senior co-captain Kate Cashman leads the defensive unit. Junior Katelyn Pokorny played every minute in goal.
#22 St. Mary’s (9-9-3): If there ever was a dangerous team in the position of a 22nd seed, the Lady Spartans are it. Good play down the stretch got this team into the post-season.
“I hope we can use the momentum and bring it into the tournament,” said coach Frank Pagliuca. “We have been in tournament mode for most of the year, We started slow at 3-7-1. It was nice to finish strong against quality teams but the tournament is a whole different season.
Seniors Katie Terban (2o pts) and Maggie Flaherty (12 pt), and junior Sarah Ryan (18 pts) key the St Mary’s attack. Sophomore Adara Nazarian (13 pts) will contribute as well. Senior Vanessa Van Buskirk (15 pts) and junior Ashley Wojewodzic will see a lot of minutes at defense. Juniors Emily Stephenson or Brittany McPherson will get the call in net.
#23 Boston Latin (10-10-2): The Wolfpack qualified on the last day of the season with a win over Latin Academy. They will be led by senior captains Emma Curran (forward), Lauren Coughlin (defense) and Calie Richman in goal, along with junior forward Rachel Tassinari.
#24 Braintree (6-11-3): The Wamps second place finish in the Bay State Carey Division enabled them to qualify for the post-season.
“The depth factor has affected us all season,” said coach Kevin Burchill. “We might not have a lot of bodies, but we have a lot of heart. They know on any given day anything can happen.”
Junior captain Dierdre Burchill (15-17-32) will be the go-to player up front. Junior Katie Yaxter (14-11-25) is the perfect complement. Junior Annie Lee (13 pts) and freshman Meg Stimpson (12 pts) can score as well. Senior captain Molly Devlin should be between the pipes.
#25 Andover (6-12-2): Like Braintree, the Golden Knights get in thanks to a second place finish, theres in the MVC/Dual County Large.
“Our second place finish in the league was a big motivator for us,” said assistant coach Jeff Smith. “Teams we haven’t played or haven’t seen us play will not be intimidated by our record. Teams in the bracket above us who played us likely hope we don’t reach them. We have the potential to upset any team in a one-game contest.”
Seniors Krystal Brighton (12 pts) and Caroline Curtin (9 pts) and freshman Callie Willey (9 pts) are Andover’s offensive leaders. Senior Jill Hughes and Brenna Keefe are solid blue liners.
To see the MIAA Girls Division I Tournament Pairings, click here