Defending champion Austin Prep will have plenty of challenges to its MIAA Girls Division 1 title when the 2017 tournament gets underway this week. The first game is Monday night when #18 Masconomet visits #15 Quincy/North Quincy.
Nineteen teams in all qualified in the D1 Tourney, led by top seed Needham. Here are the teams by seeding:
#1 Needham (19-0-2): The Rockets are the lone unbeaten team left in Division 1 and as a result were rewarded with the top seed. Although the bench is short, there is plenty of talent on this team.
Up front, senior Elizabeth Hernberg (34-22-56) and sophomores Elizabeth Phelan (16-14-30) and Gracie Bruno (20-35-55) have all put up big numbers and will be tough top stop.
Defensively, senior Kaitlyn Strauss, junior Rose Evans, and freshman Madison Michals (13-10-23) form a solid defensive nucleus. Sophomore Melissa Strauss has had a solid second half in goal for the Rockets.
#2 Beverly/Danvers (17-1-3): The Panthers were one game away from an undefeated regular season, but lost to Wellesley. Nevertheless, this is a solid team capable of going very far.
“For our team to reach the Garden, we just need to play to our capabilities and play with confidence,” said coach Brian Seabury. “All the pieces are in place to make a run.”
Seniors Izzy Primack (33-37-70) and McKinley Karpa (32-37-69) are two of the most prolific scorers in girls hockey. Sophomore Brittany Foster (19-27-46) blossomed into a solid third option for coach Brian Seabury.
Sophomore Tiffany Foster headlines a defense that also features junior Natalie Gesualdi and sophomores Ava Daly and Skylar Davis, while junior Madison Jalbert is a veteran presence between the pipes.
#3 Woburn (17-2-2): The Tanners spent a chunk of time ranked #1 during the season and have talent in all positions. They were Middlesex League Liberty Division co-champions.
“We hope to have a great run in the tournament,” said coach Bob MacCurtain. “While I’m trying to avoid cliches, experience has taught me that you take it a shift at a time, and avoid being concerned with who is ‘up next.'”
Junior Georgie Santullo (37-24-61) is an explosive forward, leading a potent attack that also features juniors Maddie Russo (31 pts), Marissa Gregory (21 pts) and Kaitlyn Delaney (14 pts).
Woburn’s defensemen are also offensive-minded. Seniors Lilly Mallard (32 pts) and Breanna Jewett (21 pts) and junior Olivia Perenick (16 pts) all can get in the play. Senior Katelind Ciavardone should get the call between the pipes.
#4 Reading (16-3-1): The Lady Rockets were also co-champs of the ML’s Liberty Division and are capable of beating anyone.
“Sharing the Liberty title with Woburn is a confidence booster,” said Reading coach Peter Seibold. “They (the players) also realize that title doesn’t hold much weight in the post-season. They will have to work for every win. What we need is consistency across the board.”
Senior Michaela Boyle, a Clarkson recruit, joined the team this year and has 40 goals. She leads the offense along with sophomore Kat Paradis (32 pts), freshman Sydney Conte (26 pts) and junior Chloe Doherty (16 pts). The Rockets defense is also offense-minded, with seniro Skylar Cain (1o pts) and sophomores Jenna Seibold (16 pts), Ainsley Cohen (17 pts) and Katie Costello (10 pts). Junior Maggie Fennelley is the goaltender.
#5 Boston Latin (17-2-3): It is “Mission Accomplished” for the Lady Wolfpack, whose goal it was to make the state tournament. Now, they look to make some noise in the tournament.
“This season has been thrilling,” said coach Mary Belaconis. “The girls have worked hard. We learned how to win.”
Senior captain Rachel Tassinari (24-10-34) has been a force up front, with help from sophomores Emma Tobin (18 pts) and Maggie Young (18 pts) and freshman Sophie Temple (20 pts).
Senior captain Kerry Keaney (14 pts) and freshman Emma Kelly (13 pts) are defensive cornerstones, while eighth-grader Ellen Linso has been stellar in the nets.
#6 Westford Academy (15-3-2): A semifinalist last year, the Grey Ghosts, champions of the MVC/Dual County Large, have the potential to go at least that far this season.
Senior Colleen Ellis (11-21-32), junior Hannah Keefe (12-22-34) and sophomore Kayleigh Butler (14-14-29) give Westford a solid scoring trio.
On the back line, senior Kelly DeMarco (22 pts) and junior Kerri Bolivar (14 pts) are a pair of highly capable defensemen. Both senior Alyssa Lopez and freshman Allie Dean both have played in goal this winter.
#7 Austin Prep (15-3-2): the defending state champion Cougars won the Catholic Central League title outright and has lost only to Notre Dame (2) and Hanover NH. They are focused on the task at hand.
“We’re staying focused on the present season and one game at a time,” said Austin Prep coach Stephanie Wood. “Great team game, with solid foundations in all aspects.”
Seniors Annie Richards and Caroline Benson, and sophomore Maeve Crehan are leaders up front for the Cougars. Their blueliners like to get involved offensively, led by junior Kendra Currier, freshman Frankie Frelick and eighth-grader Courtney Colarullo. Hannah Aveni will be in goal.
#8 St. Mary’s (13-4-3): The Lady Spartans should be a tough opponent in the post-season. They finished as runner-up to Austin Prep in the Catholic Central League.
“We need to come ready to compete from the drop of the puck,” said St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca. 30-40 minute efforts do not win tournament games. We have to play strong in all three zones. We are capable of making a run in the post-season but are also capable of losing in the first round. We are capable of beating or losing to anybody. Depends on which version of our team comes to play.”
St. Mary’s has plenty of weapons up front, among them seniors Sarah Ryan (25 pts) and Adara Nazarian (28 pts), seventh-grader Aiylah Cioffi (27 pts), sophomore Codi Butt (25 pts) and freshman Zoe Solomons (16 pts).
Senior Ashley Wojewodzic (11 pts) and sophomore Mady Hentosh (20 pts) are book-end defensemen, Emily Stephenson will be in goal for the Lady Spartans.
#9 Duxbury (12-4-4): The Green Dragons could be the hottest team entering the post-season. They have gone 8-0-1 in their last nine games after a slow start under new head coach Paul Reissfelder.
“The girls have been working hard in practice,” Reissfelder said. “They are peaking at the right time after the rough start. The girls needed to find their identity and they did. We know their ability and we have been getting 100% effort from everyone.”
Freshman Kate McDermott (16-8-24) and junior Jill Cosgrove (16-8-24) power the attack with sophomore Jackie Hayden (9-7-16) and freshman Grace High (9-7). Senior Elizabeth Connolly and sophomore Mairead Kennedy were both league all stars on defense. Erin Matthews has been excellent in goal as of late.
#10 Braintree (13-6-1): The Wamps have a nice mix of veterans and youngsters and head into the post-season after some solid play at the Hingham Showcase.
“Depth was a key to this season and having nine freshmen skate through the door, but more importantly, the seven seniors really worked hard to acclimate the freshmen on the culture of Braintree High girls hockey,” said coach Kevin Burchill.
Seniors Dierdre Burchill (13-21-34) and Kate Yaxter (18-16-34) power the offense, while sophomore Meg Stimpson, freshman Abbey Holland (18 pts) and senior Annie Lee (16 pts) are three more solid options.
Seniors Emma Duffy and Ally Summers have been steady on defense. Freshman Ellie Foley gets the call in goal.
#11 Winthrop/Lynn (12-6-0): The Dawgs will need to play their defensive style of play in order to be successful, and rely on veteran senior goalie Gretchen Howard.
“She is, in my opinion, the best goalie in the tournament,” said Winthrop/Lynn coach Butch Martucci. “She has been stellar for us all season. In order for us to be successful, we have to play a disciplined brand of hockey. limit mistakes and stick to our game plan.”
Junior Mikayla Norris (10-12-22) leads the offensive attack, getting help from the likes of sophomore Emma Carleton (15 pts) and seniors Kelsie Griffiths (12 pts) and Mia Price (11 pts). Sophomores Bella Perrotti and Abby Stafford have been solid on the blue line.
#12 Haverhill/Pentucket/North Andover (12-6-2): HPNA limped down the stretch going 2-4 in its final six games, but shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“This year’s team has a more balanced attack and we skate three solid lines compared to two last year,” said coach Gary Kane. “The D core is solid and experienced.”
HPNA has a nice scoring nucleus led by seniors Jess Chicko (24-11-35) and Katherine Capobianco (13-16-29) and junior Rebecca Harty (13-18-31). Sophomore Gina Albano (5-18-23) has chipped in as well.
Senior Andrea Albano (5-16-21) keys an excellent blue line with junior Tamara Hoar (14 pts) and freshman Eliana Kane (13 pts). New freshman Jenny Hubbard has played well in goal.
#13 Hingham (10-6-6): The Harborwomen scratched their way to the semifinals a year ago, and look to have similar success this year.
Senior Julianna Lynch (15-9-24) has been the catalyst at forward. Juinor Maeve Lee (16 pts) and freshman Anna O’Neil (4-6-10) have been able compliments.
Defense is a strongpoint for coach Tom Findley, with senior Catherine Wilk (10 pts), junior Lizzie Jacobson (13 pts) and junior Quinn Maguire a solid group in front of sophomore goalie Leah White.
#14 Arlington (10-7-3): The Spy Ponders enter the post-season with three straight shutout wins. They also have a win over Woburn this season.
Junior Holly Russell excels at both forward and defense. Juniors Erin O’Brien and Katie O’Brien and sophomore Emily Benoit have been key offensive players for coach Jeff Mead. Senior Jillian Denton is a key blueliner. Sophomore Jordan Toomey has been huge in goal for Arlington.
#15 Quincy/North Quincy (10-7-3): It is a second straight trip to the post-season for Q/NQ which has been getting some solid production up front.
Senior captain Riley McLaughlin (26-11-37), sophomore Cassandra Davis (27-19-46) and junior Julie Whalen (15-25-40) lead the offensive attack for coach Jeff Craig. Senior captain Kate McGahey is the defensive anchor. Senior Karissa Beal will be the goaltender.
#16 Barnstable (10-7-3): The Red Raiders may be the 16th seed, but don’t be fooled by their record. They play a tough schedule.
“We didn’t finish this season as strong as I would have liked, but we got to play everyone down the stretch and get a true evaluation of what we have now, and for next season,” said coach Peter Nugnes.
Leading the forward group will be senior Meghan Moore (11 goal), junior Morgan Rainville (12 pts), sophomore Seanna McEnaney (14 pts) and freshman Rachel Dwyer (13 pts).
Junior defenseman Mackenzie Curtice (6 goals) gets better every game, according to coach Nugnes and has developed into a top offensive threat. In goal, look for junior Mikayla Bestford.
#17 Weymouth (10-8-1): The Wildcats come into the tournament with five wins in their last seven games. The snapped a six-year post-season drought.
“We all knew at the beginning of the season we had the team make-up to compete for a tournament slot,” said Weymouth coach Dan McGlone. “The team fought hard and played well down the stretch to make this goal successful. We are not a naturally talented team so hard work off the ice and during practices paid off with a well-deserved spot in the tourney.”
Freshman Ashley Clark has been the go-to player up front with 30 goals. Senior Nicole Cowan has been involved with a line of 4-24-28.
Senior Neive Doyle and freshman Kate Borkowski have been steady on defense, while Peyton Beady is ready to do her job in goal.
#18 Masconomet (9-8-3): The Chieftains may be seeded 18th out of 19 teams, but that will not hinder them from playing their game against anyone.
“We need to go into every game with the mentality that both teams are fighting to move on to the next round and records don’t mean anything in a single elimination game,” said Masconomet coach Ryan Sugar. “We need to make sure we work the puck up the ice quickly and keep constant pressure down low in the offensive zone, something we have been successful in doing over the last few weeks of the season.”
Offensive production has been spread among senior Izzy Sarra (25 pts), junior Kate Irons (13 pts), junior Sami Kelleher (16 pts) and sophomores Abby Gendron (15 pts) and Mikayla Vincent (14 pts).
Seniors Rachel Duval and Madi Brooke are defensive cornerstones for Masco. Freshman Molly Elmore has been the team backbone between the pipes.
#19 Peabody/Lynnfield (9-8-3): The Tanners needed wins in their final two games of the season to qualify for their first ever tournament berth.
Senior Elise Murphy, junior Cassie Mirasolo and freshman Sammi Mirasolo have been key forwards for coach Michelle Roach, while junior Kaydee Purcell sees decent minutes on the blue line.
(Exclusionary games have not been taken out of the team’s records listed above)