Mass. Girls D1 Top 10
It seems like yesterday that fans were treated to a Division 1 state final game for the ages, with Tewksbury/Methuen taking home the title with a 2-1 double overtime win over Austin Prep, which came into the game with a perfect record.
Both teams will again be in the mix for a return trip to TD Garden in 2020.
Although it lost some talented players from last year’s juggernaut, Austin Prep (23-1-0) will start the season in the top spot in the HNIB News Massachusetts Girls D1 Preseason Top 10. There is still plenty in the cupboard for the Cougars, who feel they have some unfinished business heading into this year.
Fellow Catholic Central League rival St. Mary’s (16-3-2) is #2. The Lady Spartans return a lot of scorers from last year’s outfit that is still smarting from an early round playoff exit.
The defending champion Red Rangers from Tewksbury/Methuen (22-1-1) enter the new season at #3. Expect a more defensive game plan this winter, as they lost two of the state’s top scorers to graduation. T/M does return three solid defensemen and goalie Kaia Hollingsworth, now a senior.
A lot of coaches are high on #4 Braintree (17-5-1), which will boast a senior-laden group that returns some top offensive stars like Abbey Holland and Ally Decoste and Delia Lee.
#5 Duxbury (19-1-2) has a new head coach, as long-time assistant Dan Najarian takes over the top spot behind the bench. The Dragons will have their usual depth.
#6 Shrewsbury (14-6-3) has looked good in the pre-season. The Colonials did graduate Delaney Couture (now at Providence) and a few other top scorers, but will be anchored by veteran senior goalie Riley MacCausland.
#7 Arlington (13-4-4) is the defending Middlesex League Liberty champion and will feature a strong blue line game and some talented youngsters.
There is also a new head coach at #8 Andover (19-3-1). The Warriors, a semifinalist last year, are now under the guidance of Tyler Vigue. They look to battle Tewksbury/Methuen in the MVC/Dual County Large.
#9 Longmeadow (13-3-0) has more depth than it has had in years, and that will bode well for the Lancers, who reached the state semifinals last season.
Rounding out the first HNIB News Mass. Girls. D1 Top 10 is the Patriot League’s Hingham (14-7-1), which looks to challenge Duxbury in the Patriot League.
TEAMS TO WATCH: Boston Latin, Woburn, Peabody/Lynnfield/NorthReading, Westford Academy