MIAA Girls Division 1 – State Final Preview: Arlington A Major Hurdle In Austin Prep’s Run For Perfection

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopouloshttp://www.hnibnews.com
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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Sunday’s MIAA Girls Division 1 state final (5:45pm, TD Garden) is shaping up to be a heavyweight fight, as the top two teams all season will meet for the big prize.

Top-seed Austin Prep (26-0-0) has had about as dominant a season as a team could have. They are one step away from a perfect season in this their final game as an MIAA program before the school joins the NEPSAC ranks next season.

Standing in the way will be #2 seed Arlington. The Spy Ponders come into this game with a 22-1-1 oveall record, winning their last 19 games in a row.

The only blemish on Arlington’s record? A loss to Austin Prep back on January 10th. What did they learn from that setback?

“We need to play simple and try to take away their speed throughout the neutral zone,” said Arlington coach Jeff Mead. “We can’t play a run-and-gun game against them.”

Austin Prep has outscored its four tournament opponents by a margin of 26-1 (wins over Ursuline, Winthrop, HPNA and Acton-Boxboro). Arlington has post-season wins over Marblehead (4-1), Peabody/Lynnfield/North Reading (2-1), Bishop Feehan (5-1) and Shrewsbury (2-1).

Veteran St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca’s team played both Austin Prep (3 times) and Arlington this year.

“Their game pace is what sets Austin Prep apart,” he said. “I equate it to driving on the side streets, and then taking your car on the highway. It takes their opponents time to adjust to their play speed. By the time you adjust, it is often too late.

Maddie Krepelka Arlington

“Arlington is a talented, balanced and well-coached team. They have very good goaltending, experienced D and some potent forwards. Arlington is playing great hockey as well. That game they lost was played in early January so I am not sure how much bearing it has now. If anything it may help Arlington a little because they now have experienced playing Austin Prep and know what to expect.”

The Spy Ponders will rely on a defense led by senior captains Grace Corsetti (21 pts) and Devin Norman (13 pts), in front of senior captain Elise Rodd between the pipes.

Gabby Russo Arlington

Up front, junior Maddie Krepelka has been a force all season, coming into Sunday with 36 goals and 21 assists. Senior captain Gabby Russo (15-30-45) and Maddie’s freshman sister Julia Krepelka (12-22-34) must be watched at all times, and junior Molly Conneely has chipped in with 21 points.

Austin Prep Kathryn Karo (9) and Isabel Hulse (4) are key cogs in the Cougars potent offensive attack.

The Cougars potent attack (152 goals) is led by an impressive nucleus led by senior veterans Kathryn Karo (33 goals) and Isabel Hulse (14 goals), impressive junior McKenzie Cerrato (31 goals) and sophomore Maddie Vittands (13 goals). Containing them will be a major job.

Maeve Carey
Austin Prep

Veteran senior Maeve Carey (9 goals, scored in each playoff game) keys the Austin Prep blue line and gets heavily involved offensively.

Then, you have senior Lauryn Hanafin to deal with in the Cougars net. She has allowed just 10 goals all season.

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