No less than 25 teams qualified for the 2015 MIAA Girls Division 2 tournament. King Philip, the only team statewide that went undefeated, drew the #1 seed, followed by Bay State League Herget Division champion Wellesley, a 2014 finalist at #2 and surprising Plymouth North/South at #3 in its first varsity season.
Other notables include Tewksbury/Methuen, undefeated in Division II play, at #4, Milton at #7 and Falmouth at #8. The toughest first round matchup pits #19 Norwood playing its Herget Division rival, #14 Dedham. Both teams are ranked in the top six of the HNIB News’ latest D2 rankings.
Here is a look at each team by tourney seed as they head into the post-season.
#1 King Philip (17-0-3): The top-seeded Warriors had a banner regular season, going unbeaten and winning the SEMGHL Northeast division. Coach Paul Lyons said earlier this year that “it starts from the back end,” where he has four solid defensemen in junior captain Molly Alfond, freshmen Kate Crowther and Jessica Daniels, and eighth-grader Nicole Connors in front of senior goalie Molly Potts.
Up front, KP will be led by the trio of eighth-grader Katie Holmes (32-25-57), freshman Liz Furfari (11-25-36) and juniro Casey Curtin (16-18-34). The Warriors outscored opponents by a 94-27 margin this year.
#2 Wellesley (16-2-3): The Red Raiders head into the post-season as the #1 team in the HNIB News poll and are considered to be one of the favorites to get to the Boston Garden. They graduated no one from last year’s state finalist.
“I think that our players realize that every game is a stand alone game and every season is a stand alone season,” said Wellesley coach George Campbell. “They want to success based on this year’s performance, not really based on the past. Our coaching staff likes the way our players have been playing.”
Wellesley has numerous scoring threats up front, including senior Cecily Docktor, Keely Corscadden, Kaleigh Donnelly and Carly Boyle. Senior Sarah Goss is one of the premier defensemen in the state, while senior goalie Meghan King is a returning starter.
#3 Plymouth North/South (12-2-1): It was quite the first varsity season for Plymouth North/South, getting a second place finish in the SEMGHL Northeast division and qualifying for the post-season.
The team is led up front by freshman Kelsey Routhier (17 pts), senior captain Samantha McPhee (16 pts), freshman Kayla Donovan (15 pts) and junior captain Shannon Colbert (10 pts). Senior captain Brianna Gallagher anchors the defense in front of freshman goalie Katherine Lombardi.
“I didn’t know what to expect before we got out on the ice,” said Plymouth coach Sadie Wright-Ward. “But once I saw the girls skate, I definitely expected us to make the tournament. With seven seniors and seven juniors, different players have stepped up at different times and there are multiple leaders both on and off the ice.”
#4 Tewksbury/Methuen (14-3-1): The Red Rangers are unbeaten against Division 2 clubs, and all three of their losses were to D1 tournament teams. That could bode well for them.
The key for other teams is to figure out what to do with senior scoring sensation Amanda Conway, who has scored a state record 79 goals this year. Eighth-grader Carolyn Curley (9-18-27) and senior Hayley McCarthy (5-12-17), while defenseman Kat Lefebre (7-14-21) also gets involved in the offense. Seventh-grader Kaia Hollingsworth will be the goalie.
“We have a full team of girls who all possess the skills to help us win,” said Tewksbury/Methuen coach Ariana Rigano. “If people are on Amanda that gives other girls an even better chance to capitalize on the opportunities that come up during the game. We have to play our type of hockey for a full 45 minutes and not take any shifts off.”
#5 Marshfield (16-4-0): It was quite a season for first-year coach Don McNeil, leading the Rams to the SEMGHL Southeast division title. “I think considering our young players, we have been better than expected,” he said. “As a team they always thought they could make the tournament and win our league with a great team effort and that has been accomplished.”
The Rams have been led offensively by a trio of freshmen, including Olivia Mastrangelo (27-15-43), Rachael Burum (20-9-29) and Meghan Doyle (13-16-29). Juniors Ellie Everette (21 pts) and Jessi Spitz (12 pts) have contributed as well. Look for junior Grace Lennon in goal.
#6 Medfield (14-2-4): The Warriors lost only twice all season and won the SEMGHL West division crown, a pretty good accomplishment considering the team boasts 13 freshmen.
Senior veteran Lindsay Brown (25-18-43) leads the offensive attack for coach Molly Norton, along with freshmen Camille Phelan (20 pts) and Maddie Bayard (18 pts), and sophomore Sara Graham (17 pts). Senior Lauren Tschirch is another key forward. On the blue line, junior Grace Crowell (16 pts), senior Michelle Beggan and junior Meridith Cox will be keys.
“Our goal this season will be to win the first post-season game in the program’s history,” Norton said. “We are taking it one game at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves.”
#7 Milton (16-3-3): The impressive Wildcats will be an intriguing team to watch. They have beaten both Wellesley and Falmouth this season, and tied Dedham twice.
“Playing all the top teams in Division 2 has made them battle-tested,” said coach Bob Dwan. “Our winning record definitely gives the girls confidence going into the post-season. It is a strong D2 field and it will be a tough tournament.”
Milton has a bevy of weapons up front, including sophomore Elena Kapolis (14-16-30), senior captain Siobhan Murtagh (15-13-28), freshman Julia Scannell (9-20-29), freshman Kat Buchanan (9-19-28) and freshman Laura Hill (8-16-24). Junior Meaghan McDougall (13 pts) anchors the blue line in front of veteran senior goalie Sarah Park.
#8 Falmouth (15-3-2): The Clippers are not your true #8 seed, as they have been at or near the top of the Girls D2 poll all year. They are the SEMGHL Coastal Division champions and boast a deep lineup.
“Last year’s semifinal loss will remain in the minds of our returning players, but we are a new team with new strengths and challenges this season,” said Falmouth coach Erin Hunt. “Our team is looking forward to another opportunity to win a state championship.”
Freshman McKenzie Haberl leads the team in scoring with 26 pts, following by seniors Kelly Ferreira (24 pts) and Madison Haberl (22 pts), both of whom reached the 100 career point plateau this season. A pair of solid, two-way defensemen include junior Hannah Callahan (13 pts) and sophomore Brooke Bowman (13 pts). The call in goal will go to senior Madison Scavotto.
#9 Archbishop Williams (15-4-3): Keep an eye on the Bishops, who have talent in all areas. “This team has competed at a high level every day in practice and game situations,” said coach Mark McHale. “I believe the Lady Bishops can skate with anybody in this tournament.”
Offensively, look for sophomore Katie Meehan (22-7-29) and senior Kiera Dwyer (14-8-22) to power the attack. Freshmen Hanna Bell (15 pts), Holly Silva (14 pts) and Kelly Matthews (11 pts) have been involved as well. On defense, sophomore Kyleigh O’Donnell (13 pts) and freshmen Bridget Cornell and Kim Dunn have been impressive. Sophomore Emily Smith has emerged as the starter in goal.
#10 Medway/Ashland (13-4-4): This team lost several players off last year’s roster, but still managed an outstanding season.
The team’s success starts with senior goalie Kathryn Hamer (0.92 gaa). The team’s Green Line boasts its top three scorers in Kerryann Goode (32 pts), Bridget Fagan (24 pts) and Ashley Fondo (29 pts).
“With arguably the best goalie in Massachusetts and our depth at both defense and forward the talent is in place for a deep run” said coach Kurt Carter. “The experience from last year’s playoff run helps, and hopefully, the disappointment of how last season ended in OT will fuel the desire and focus of this year’s team for a deeper playoff run.”
#11 Notre Dame of Hingham (13-4-3): The Catholic Conference champions have come a long way in this the second year of the program under coach Jean-Yves Roy. “We are right where we should be,” Roy said. “I think the girls needed a little bit of direction last year and did a great job buying into the system and team concept.”
Caroline Hocking (9-15-24) leads the offensive attack for the Cougars, along with Bridget Dilworth (18 pts) and Taylor Lyons (16 pts). Haley Marshall (10-3-13) is a leader on the blue line. Julia Schiffman and Julia Neelon have contributed offensively as well.
#12 Burlington (14-5-1): A strong second half to the season has the Red Devils optimistic about success in the post-season. “We’re 11-1-1 in our last 13 games,” said coach Marty Conley. “I think that is the result of the hard work that the girls and coaching staff put it to get us qualified for the tournament and hopefully ready for a good run.”
Freshman Kelly Browne (41-20-61) is one of the most prolific scorers in the state, and will be joined by sidekicks – freshman Kat Nikolopoulos (38 pts) and junior Julia Swarbrick (19 pts). Team captains Caroline Ackerly and Martina Scott, both juniors, patrol the blue line in front of junior goalie Cassidy Smith.
#13 Martha’s Vineyard (11-5-3): The Vineyarders , coming out of the SEMGHL Southeast division, have qualified for their fourth post-season in a row after never qualifying before.
Coach John Fiorito will lean on the 1-2 scoring punch of senior Aubrey Ashmun (22-12-34) and senior Sydney Davies (30 pts) to power the attack. Ashmun became the first Martha’s Vineyard player to crack the 100-career point plateau and enters the tournament with 115 points. Seniors Erin Hegarty and Olivia Ogden hold down the fort on the blue line.
#14 Dedham (10-3-7): The Marauders come out of the highly-competitive Herget Division of the Bay State League but have a tough first draw with league rival Norwood.
Senior Sam Girard drives the Dedham offense. “She has been double-teamed a lot this season,” said coach Christine Gurskis. “We have other weapons who are open when teams focus on Sam.”
Junior Christina Maloof and sophomore Sarah Stapleton are other offensive players to watch. Sophomore Sam Hickey is solid on defense and Gloria Bilafer should get the call between the pipes.
#15 Shrewsbury (12-5-3): The Colonials went 7-1 in the Central Mass West league and four of their five losses this year came to Notre Dame and Archbishop Williams, so don’t underestimate them. “I think we can surprise some teams like we did last year,” said coach Frank Panarelli.
Senior captain Lauren Ineson (22-18-40) and eighth grader Delaney Couture (26-13-39) are the go-to forwards, along with sophomore Megan Moran (7-22-29). Goalies Tiana Army and Delia O’Connor both had great seasons.
#16 Winchester (11-5-3): Coming out of the strong Middlesex League, the Sachems could do some damage in the post-season.
“There are some really good teams in the middle and end of the seedings,” said coach Craig Seabury. “But, we will definitely show up and compete. The strengths of our team have been our defense and power play this year.”
Junior Melissa Zavez (13-22-35) and freshmen Madison Micciche (8-18-26) and Mariah Redler (6-16-22) will be counted on to lead the offense. Senior standout Julia Olson (20 pts) and junior Liz Wilson anchor the defense in front of junior goalie Vicki Wallace.
#17 Canton (12-6-2): Playing in the ultra-competitive SEMGHL Coastal Division should have the Bulldogs well-prepared for the post-season. They improved their win total immensely over last season.
“I feel the Coastal Division has helped our program greatly to prepare for what should prove to be a wide open girls D2 state tournament,” said Canton coach Dennis Aldrich. “The high speed and physicality of the competition we face within our league is as good as any that we will see in tournament play.”
Senior tri-captains Mary McNeil (15-12-27) and Jackie Martin (7-12-19) along with Rebecca Eckler (8-8-16) and Kendra Farrelly (7-7-14) will have to be watched up front. Freshman defenseman Mary Thompson (11-12-23) emerged as a serious threat from the blue line. Senior tri-captain Kelsey Trerice is solid as well on defense.
#18 Pembroke (11-7-4): The Titans qualify for the post-season in their first year as a stand alone program. They will look to junior Shea Coady (27 pts) and sophomores Jackie DiPietro (17 pts) and Emily Rogers (17 pts) for production.
Junior Mackenzie MacDonald and sophomore Amanda Schaffer will be in the mix as well for coach Bill Flynn.
#19 Norwood (12-6-4): The Mustangs are a much better team than a 19th seed, so they will have to be watched. “We have to become a more defensive-minded team going through the games ahead,” said coach Tim Coskren.
Senior Kacie Smith is a big-time scorer and will lead the attack along with senior Bella Aspinwall and senior Sammy Hayes. Senior Shannon Gillis will be key on defense for Norwood, while freshman Janelle Kelleher should get the call in goal.
#20 Fontbonne (10-6-4): The Ducks went through a tough stretch in the second half of the season but appear to have righted themselves at just the right time. “I have complete confidence in the team,” said coach Bob Huxley. “We went through a tough stretch of the flu and injuries but have been well as of late. We have been able to put some consistent lines together.”
Junior Kate Nolan (21 goals) and junior Mary McLoughlin (16 pts) have been offensive leaders for the Ducks. Sophomore Maggie Landers (12 pts) and senior Noelle Sass (12 pts) have contributed as well.
#21 Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake (11-7-2): This first year co-op program had a nice regular season to qualify for the tournament under coach Kevin Cleary.
Teams must be wary of the one-two scoring punch of Melanie McAleer (33-12-45) and Hannah Tracy (27-18-45). Mary Kate Webb (8-12-20) will also get involved while junior Emily Kelleher (13 pts) takes care of things defensively. Sophomore Melissa Crone has been the #1 goaltender for WH/SL.
#22 Springfield Cathedral (10-8-2): Team defense and chemistry were two major reasons the Panthers are in the post-season. “A strong schedule with many road games (14) should prep us nicely for the playoffs,” said coach John Hoar.
Freshman Katelyn Joyal (21-7-28) and freshman Brenna Hoar (16-8-24) and sophomore Madison Pelletier (10-8-18) spearheaded the offensive attack, while sophomore Mackenzie Pelletier (13 pts) logs a ton of minutes on the blue line.
#23 Hanover/Cohasset (9-9-2): Coach Deb Beal’s club qualified in the last game of the regular season. They are led by Callie Hoadley (16-11-27), Sam Taylor (13-10-23) and Valerie Farren (7-10-17).
#24 Bishop Fenwick (9-9-1) and #25 Algonquin (9-10-1) look to compete against their higher-seeded opponents.