A total of 29 teams qualified for the 2017 MIAA Girls Division 2 Tournament. The top three-seeded teams drew a preliminary round bye. Action begins Monday night when Dennis-Yarmouth visits Winchester.
Defending state champion Notre Dame Academy (19-0-1) drew the #1 seed and has to be considered a strong favorite to repeat, as they come off a terrific season.
Here is a preview of the 29 teams by seeding:
#1 Notre Dame Academy (19-0-1): The Cougars lost 12 players from last year’s title team, but have been able to reload in a big way.
“The returning players picked up where we left off, took on the challenge and guided a strong group of incoming players,” said coach Jean-Yves Roy. “After the first practices, I had no doubt we would be competitive. We just had to find the right chemistry, and we did.”
Two impact freshmen – Katherine Pyne (29-9-38) and Skylar Irving (10-14-24) have led the NDA attack, along with sophomores Alexa Graziano (9-9-18) and Caitlin Delano (4-11-15). Junior captains Emma Duffey (11 pts), Meredith Stewart and Jillian Lyons form a solid defensive nucleus in front of freshman Erin Murray in goal.
Notre Dame has no seniors on its roster. How scary is that?
“There is added pressure being the defending champs, but this is something we have faced all year,” Roy said. “However we have learned not to worry about our opponent. I remind the team every game ‘control what you can control and play NDA hockey.'”
#2 Pembroke (18-0-2): The SEMGHL Southeast Division champions have had a remarkable season, one of two remaining undefeated teams in Division 2. The Lady Titans allowed just 17 goals all season, and senior netminder Katlyn Hathaway has recorded 10 shutouts.
“We have had a complete and total team effort this season,” said Pembroke coach Bill Flynn. “The key to our success has been our ability to play team defense. It starts with the tremendous backcheck from our forwards, to our defensemen keeping the play to the outside, and of course strong goaltending.”
The Pembroke offense is driven by seniors Jackie DiPietro (16-12-28) and Emily Rogers (9-14-23), and sophomores Carly Birolini (15-10-25) and Nikki Rinkus (13-10-23). Juniors Amanda Schafer, Kelly Cunningham and Brooke McIsaac, and freshman Lisa Freeley have been solid on defense, where the Lady Titans hope that injured senior Jesse Sullivan can return for the post-season.
#3 Shrewsbury (18-2-0): The Central/West champions are definitely a team to watch. The Colonials have lost only to Notre Dame and D1 #1 Needham this season.
Is the team confident it can seriously challenge for a state title? “Absolutely,” said coach Frank Panarelli. “We have played a very competitive schedule all season.”
Sophomore Delaney Couture (35 goals) has blossomed into one of the state’s top forwards. She gets offensive help from senior captain Megan Moran (12-14-26) and sophomore Jenna Krikorian (25 pts).
Junior Kylian Kelly (22 pts) headlines a blue line that includes juniors Karli DeSouza, Lily McManus and Abby Cossette, and freshman Nora Lauder. Freshman goaltender Riley MacCausland has been solid all season as well.
#4 Tewksbury/Methuen (16-1-3): The Red Rangers, fresh off their MVC/Dual County Small title, are ready to go for the post-season.
“The girls have been looking forward to the tournament since the day we clinched a spot,” said coach Sarah Oteri. “I believe we are confident and the girls believe they can match up with the competition. The experience from last year’s tournament run will only give us more knowledge going forward. We also have a larger bench with more depth that we believe will help us in the tournament.”
MVC/Dual County MVP Kelly Golini (61 pts) is the offensive catalyst for the Red Rangers, helped out by sophomore Carolyn Curley (28 pts) and freshman Lydia Pendleton (16 pts). On the blue line, senior all star Niamh Cote and freshman Brenna Greene have key roles in front of freshman goaltender Kaia Hollingsworth, already a three-year varsity player.
#5 Matignon (18-3-0): Last year, an unheralded Warrior squad qualified for the post-season, and impressively reached the semifinals. The goal is higher for season.
“I think our team is much deeper than last year’s team,” said Matignon coach Mark Wall. “We can play three lines and six defensemen pretty consistently. Last year we were just happy to be in the tournament after two losing seasons. This year, our goal from Day 1 was to hopefully be playing on March 19th. I think we can play with anyone in Division 2.”
Sophomore Ciara Wall had another great season with 60 points. She leads the Warriors offense along with juniors Courtney Hardy (12-20-32) and Charisse Flanagan (12-16-28). Senior Brenna Wall and sophomores Brigh Cote and Emma Brennan lead a deep defense. Sophomore Dana Smullen should get the call between the pipes.”
“Division 2 is so deep with quality teams that if you have a bad night, your season’s over,” said coach Wall. “Therefore, everyone will have to be at their best come tournament time.”
#6 Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake (14-3-3): The SEMGHL Northeast Division champions are the top offensive team in the division, scoring a whopping 113 goals so far.
“I knew with the players we had returning that we would have a potent offense, but with the addition of freshman Alyssa Murphy and the play of senior Mary Kate Webb it has exceeded my expectations,” said coach Kevin Marani. “For us to be a contender we have to play good team defense and be opportunistic on offense in tight games.”
Murphy has chalked up 40 points, while senior captain Webb has put up a line of 12-15-27. They join veteran scorers Melanie McAleer (28-31-59) and Hannah Tracy (21-24-45), both seniors in the explosive attack. Two freshmen – Delaney Grace (16 pts) and Natalie Nemes (15 pts) – have been solid two-way blueliners for the Panthers, who have experience in goal with senior Melissa Crone.
#7 Westwood (16-4-2): The Wolverines are back in the post-season. An increased focus on defense and dedication to conditioning have been key reasons why.
“From the beginning we have stressed defense first and offense will take care of itself,” said coach Ed Amico. “We gave up 49 goals last year in 20 games. This year it was 24 goals in 22 games. They have also been a phenomenal third period team for most of the season which goes back to their dedication to the increased conditioning on the ice and also the off-ice conditioning program. We can go three sometimes four lines which aids in the last 5-8 minutes of a game.”
Sophomore Kat Keith (19-25-44) and junior Ashley Nolte (14-13-27) lead the offensive attack along with sophomore Nicole Schneiders (10-13-23). Sophomore Olivia Jordan (14 pts) has been a key blueliner while sophomore Caroline McDonough has handled things in goal.
#8 Cohasset/Hanover (13-3-4): The Skippers look to stick around a bit further this year and will bank on their balanced scoring attack.
“I think last year’s experience left a little fire burning in our girls and you can see the excitement burning,” said coach Deb Beal. “It is always tough to lose the first game and go home after all the excitement of getting there.”
Offensively, senior Callie Hoadley (22 pts) and sophomore Morgan Foley (20 pts) lead an attack that includes seniors Alex Martini (18 pts), Katie Talacci (22 pts) and Kaitlin McGovern (17 pts). Defensive leaders have been sophomores Jacqui Manning and Lindsey Beiche. Sophomore Sarissa Fazio has been excellent in goal.
#9 Mansfield/Oliver Ames (14-5-1): The Warriors come out of the SEMGHL West Division and were 7-0-1 in non-league games this winter.
Junior Cat Luciano (25-12-27) spearheads the offense for coach Mike Dalton. Sophomore Isabelle Shanteler (21 pts), and juniors Mackenzie Fraser (19 pts), Madison Hughey (12 pts) and Emily Ierardo (12 pts) have been key players as well.
Freshman defenseman Shayna Menzer (25 pts) has been a huge plus on the blue line, as has senior Lizzie Miller. Junior Kerran Holmes will be in goal.
#10 Wellesley (13-4-3): The Red Raiders, who have been to the last three D2 state finals, got off to a slow start under new head coach P.T. Donato, but have come on strong and will be a tough out in the post-season.
“I think as a team we focused on having a good first period, and once we started to win the first period of games we found ourselves winning games,” Donato said. “Our goal is to have one more practice after each tournament game. We do not look too far ahead.”
A pair of freshmen – Emily Rourke (18 pts) and Mackenzie O’Neil (16 pts) – lead Wellesley in scoring, followed by sophomore Devin Chapman (15 pts). Elise Coakley and Phoebe Lawrence have also been key contributors.
On the blue line, senior Cat Donahue (13 pts) has been the cornerstone. Katie Hawkinson has been a versatile player. Wellesley has a veteran presence in goal with senior Alyssa Cimino.
#11 Winchester (12-4-4): Playing in a predominantly D1 league, the Sachems will be battle-tested when the post-season begins.
“The keys to our success this year has been our depth,” said coach Craig Seabury. “We can play three lines and not need to match up. Also, we have gotten scoring throughout the lineup. Most teams rely on one line we get scoring from all three. I think our Middlesex League schedule with some strong D1 competition really prepared us for the tournament.”
Juniors Mariah Redler (14-17-31) and Madison Micciche (10-18-28) are offensive sparkplugs for Winchester, along with senior Maeve Hickey (24 pts) and junior Tara Doherty (17 pts). Junior Kate Ryan and freshman Issy Brissette are key blue liners. Sophomore Baile Lazarus will be the goaltender.
#12 Longmeadow (12-5-2): Playing a rugged schedule has gotten the Lancers ready for anything they might face in the post-season.
“We believe that it has definitely prepared us for post-season play,” said Longmeadow assistant coach Melissa Vandermyn. “Playing against the D1 non-league teams has really proven to our players that they can compete at that high level.”
Offensively, Longmeadow looks to senior Madison Pelletier (15 pts), junior Katelyn Joyal (9 goals), sophomore Brigitte Goeler-Slough (11 goals) and freshman Jordan Kowalski (15 pts).
Seniors Mackenzie Pelletier, Lauren Munster and Brittany Kowalski and junior Kyra Ashe form a solid defensive unit in front of sophomore goalie Kayla Brown.
#13 Burlington (13-6-1): The Lady Devils started slow, losing their first three games. But, they quickly turned things around and come into the post season on a high note.
“We started the new year with seven new players, some in new positions, and it took us a few games to gel defensively,” said coach Marty Conley. “Our goaltending has solidified with the steady play of Meghan Gaffney.”
Burlington does possess one of the top 1-2 offensive punches in the division in junior Kat Nikolopoulos (31-28-59) and sophomore Rylee Glennon (36-29-65). Senior Kaitlin Campbell (19 pts) and eighth-grader Emma MacLean (18 pts) have chipped in as well.
Junior Erin Browne (20 pts) is a blue line cornerstone, heading a group that includes Kenzie Arsenault and eighth-graders Sydney Shinopoulos and Jenna Noonan.
#14 Canton (10-4-6): The Bulldogs quietly have put together a solid season and enter the post season on an 8-1-5 roll.
“I do think that we have somewhat flown under the radar this season,” said coach Dennis Aldrich. “We seem comfortable in low scoring, high pressure games.”
Sophomores Maggie Malloy (22 pts) and Lauren Fitzpatrick (16 pts) key the Canton offensive attack along with senior Rebecca Eckler (12 pts) and junior Kendra Farrelly (12 pts). Sophomore Katie Trerice has been involved on the blue line. Junior Colleen Kelleher has had a solid year in goal for Canton.
#15 Medfield (12-6-2): Always a tough team to play against, the Warriors, the SEMGHL West Division champs, will be in every game.”
“Excellent goaltending, tight defense and opportunistic scoring have been keys to success,” said Medfield coach Mike Cox.
Senior Sarah Graham, who just eclipsed the 100-career point club, and sophomore Becca Brown, lead the Warriors offensive attack with 17 goals. Three juniors – Kate Slowe, Kristen Reardon and Olivia Pietersen – form a stingy defensive nucleus. while sophomore Sophia Meregeas has been immense in goal with nine shutouts on the season.
#16 Ursuline Academy (11-6-3): The Bears are another team capable of putting the puck in the net, having scored 82 goals so far this winter.
Sophomores Kelli Popkin (33 pts) and Nikki Pollis (25 pts) power the Ursuline attack, with freshman Bridgit Popkin (23 pts). Grace Kelly, Grace Roberto and Nicole Rege are three junior rearguards. Senior Ashley Marini has handled the majority of the goaltending this winter.
#17 Milton (12-7-3): The Wildcats, who can score with anyone, enter the post-season on a 1-4-2 slide. But, they can’t be overlooked.
“We need to get back to basics in the defensive side and goaltending needs to step it up for us to get back on track,” said Milton coach Bob Dwan. “Our offense should make us a tough out in the tournament.”
That offense is led by senior Elena Kapolis (32-30-62) and junior Julia Scannell (24-45-69), capable of putting up big numbers on anyone. Senior Kate Abbott (24 pts) and junior Kat Buchanan are key offensive players as well. Sophomore Bella Calcagno and freshman Adrienne Shea lead the blue line. Sophomore Mary O’Connell should get the call in goal.
#18 Medway/Ashland (10-6-5): A veteran team with nine seniors and six juniors, focus will be key for this team to move on in the post-season.
The line of seniors Ashley Fondo (14-12-26), Gabriella Airosus (7-12-19) and Colleen Reardon (4-8-12) has provided consistent scoring. Defensive leaders are seniors Rae Lambert and Lexi Maher. Sophomore Rachel Gittings has provided the club with solid goaltending.
“How far we go in the state playoffs will depend on whether we come ready to play and if we can get some of the other forwards to step up in the scoring department,” said Medway/Ashland coach Kurt Carter.
#19 Norwell (11-8-1): The Clippers look to make their mark in the post-season. They gave Pembroke all it could handle in the Gould Tournament title game at the end of the season.
Offensively, Norwell is led by a pair of freshmen in Casey Messina (17-11-28) and Casey Ward (12-17-29), along with two seniors in Hailey Burglund (9-12-21) and Kryssa Mitchell (11 goals). Senior Abbey Slekis has had a solid year on the blue line, while sophomore goalie Chloe Hohmann was a league all star.
#20 Marshfield (10-9-3): The Rams hail from the SEMGHL Southeast Division. Coach Don MacNeil has a team that could be tough to beat.
At forward, junior Rachael Burum and sophomore Brenna Ames have been productive. while on defense, juniors Meghan Doyle and Brenna Conlon handle things on the blue line in front of junior goaltenders Sabrina Santaniello.
#21 Falmouth (11-8-2): For the Clippers to have any success this post-season they will have to find a way to generate more offense.
“Falmouth needs to find the back of the net,” said coach Brian Ferreira. “We’ve had some big trouble scoring goals.”
Senior Shannon Upton does have 18 goals. She will be assisted in the offensive zone by senior Ericka Meissner (11 goals), junior Rachael Curtis (18 pts) and freshman Caroline Coyne (20 pts). Junior goalie Emily Marciello will rely on senior Brooke Bowman and sophomore Hannah Tobey on defense.
#22 Dennis-Yarmouth (8-6-4): The Dolphins scored only 38 goals this season, but allowed just 40. So, they will look to play in low-scoring games to be effective.
Scoring will come from freshman forward Georgie Snow (14 goals), while junior blue liner Summer Walsh (18 pts) is a legitimate two-way threat. Sophomore Lucy Reid will be between the pipes.
#23 Stoneham (10-8-2): The Spartans enter the post-season after a second place finish in the Middlesex League’s Freedom Division.
“The girls are so determined in everything they do and they work hard,” said coach Colleen Martin. “We have a great group of girls who come every day to get better. I think the team commitment, passion for the sport and determination to make a statement are the three main factors to our success this season”
Key forwards for the Spartans are sophomores Alexis Saia (13-10-23) and Jenna Bragalone (15-10-25. Sophomore Kasey Libby has been strong in goal. Senior Jenny Shannon, junior Kathryn Porter, sophomore Gianna Beauclair and eighth-grader Katie Oro form the core of the defense.
#24 Walpole (10-8-2): The Rebels will be battle-tested coming from the tough Herget Division of the Bay State League.
Coach Joe Verderber can count on senior captain Franky Bonanno in the net. Up front, sophomore Audra Tasone and junior Amanda Janowicz have chipped in scoring while junior Lauryn Hallet will be vital on the blue line.
#25 King Philip (11-9-2): The Warriors boast a young but highly competitive group that could surprise.
“The players will need to be focused on every shift in order to compete,” said coach Jack Unger. “The tournament is made up of the best teams, so in order to win we will have to minimize our errors and capitalize on our opponent’s mistakes.”
A well-blanced scoring attack is led by junior Liz Furfari (15-12-27), along with juniors Kyleigh Remmes (15 pts) and Talia Quinn (13 pts) and sophomore Meghan Gorman (18 pts). Juniors Jessica Daniels and Kate Crowther and sophomore Nicole Connors patrol the blue line while sophomore Lilly Potts will be in goal.
#26 Archbishop Williams (10-10-0): The Bishops had to win their last four games just to qualify, so they enter the post-season on a high note.
“Making the right decisions with the puck, strong team defense and good goaltending will hopefully move the Lady Bishops along,” said coach Mark McHale.
Up front, sophomore Mackenzie Heath (22 pts), junior Chelsea Taxter (19 pts) and sophoomore Nicole Hersey (13 pts) have been leaders, while senior captain Hannah Bell (13 pts) is back after missing several games with an injury. Defensive leaders will be junior Kim Dunn and sophomores Mary Kate Clougherty and Abby Dacosta. Sophomore Ali Delmonte has been solid in goal.
#27 Dedham (9-9-3): The Marauders also played well down the stretch to qualify, going 3-0-1 in their last four. Despite their record, they can’t be taken lightly.
“We had to play some pretty good hockey lately to achieve the goal of making the tournament,” said coach Christine Gurskis.
Senior Sarah Stapleton has been an offensive catalyst along with sophomore Bridget Crowley. Senior Sam Hickey headlines a defense that rosters four eighth-graders. “They have all stepped up and done a great job,” said Gurskis.
#28 Sandwich (8-8-4): The Blue Knights are extremely young, but did have a tourney berth as a goal.
“We are not built to go very far so our mission is to gain the experience and build on that,” said coach Steve Noll.
Freshmen Kileigh Holt (15 pts), Katlyn Ramsey (14 pts) and Victoria Viseglio (10 pts) and senior Marilena Currey (1o pts) power the offense, while sophomores Trinity White and Kari Gould both had four goals from their blue line positions. The backbone of the team is sophomore goalie Delaney Corcoran.
#29 Oakmont Regional (8-8-2): The Spartans made the post-season for the first time in the program’s three-year history.
Sarah Craig and Cassidy Driscoll are key forwards for coach Joelle Vautour. Stephanie Caban is solid on defense and junior Bridgitte Martin is a returning player in goal.