By Matt Jenkins
---- — The Masconomet girls lacrosse team drew the highest seed in Division 1 North among the local teams, but that doesn’t mean the Chieftains’ draw is any easier than the other three North Shore teams in the section.
Masco finished the regular season 15-5 and won the Cape Ann League Division 1 title. The fourth seed the Chieftains earned is the highest in program history and it gives them a bye into the first round, but it is there were they will likely face 13th-seeded Concord-Carlisle.
Concord-Carlisle went 8-9-1 this season and will host Cambridge in the preliminary round.
One of Masco’s five losses this season came at the hands of C-C, in a 12-8 setback in late April.
“We talked about it and the girls are kind of excited to play them again,” Masconomet coach Alan McCarthy said. “We lost 12-8 but we got out to a 4-1 lead. We feel like it’s a team we can play with. We feel like we can compete with them.”
Masco — with players like Kathleen Gillespie and Amy Arnold — should be pretty well equipped to play with anyone in the bracket.
Gillespie leads the team in points, draw controls, ground balls and turnovers caused. She’s scored 54 goals and dished out 34 assists this year.
The University of Florida-bound Arnold has 60 goals and 17 assists, to go along with 45 draw controls.
Becca Phillips and Rachel Rogal are also dangerous scorers for Masco while sophomore goalie Lili Miller has been outstanding. Marylee Hutchinson has played well on defense for Masco.
Also in Division 1, reaching the state tournament was more of an expectation than a goal for Peabody, but the Tanners were happy to earn a little home field advantage.
Peabody will host Central Catholic on Wednesday (5 p.m.) in a first round matchup of 6 and 11 seeds.
Having that home field advantage could be important for the Tanners, according to coach Dennis Desroches.
“Securing home field for the first round was a huge accomplishment for our team because the last four years we’ve had to travel, regardless of our record,” Desroches said. “Central Catholic is from the Merrimack Valley Conference and they play an extremely tough schedule. Every game is like a tournament atmosphere and they’ll be well prepared. They’re strong in all phases of the game.”
The same could be said about Peabody, a balanced team that finished 12-4 this season.
Sisters Nicole and Sarah Napolitano give Peabody a dangerous duo, and Aly Bortone has come on strong lately. Courtney Smith has also been consistently good on offense for the Tanners.
Kristine Feudo, Christa Trombley, Victoria Digiacomo and Madison Doherty have been exceptional on defense this season, and Bianca Muscato is a two-way standout for Peabody.
“This lacrosse bracket, if you look from top to bottom and even in the middle, Lincoln-Sudbury and Concord-Carlisle, you’re talking about some of the best teams in the state,” Desroches said. “Their records are deceiving because their losses come against each other and they’re playing the best teams. Central Catholic, playing in the MVC, they probably are the toughest opponent we’ve faced all year just based on their schedule.”
Also on the same side of the North Division 1 bracket sits 19th-seeded Salem. The Witches finished the regular season 11-7 and captured the Northeastern Conference South title. The Witches play at No. 14 Methuen on Monday (2 p.m.) in a preliminary round game.
Beverly (9-9), which won its final two games to qualify for the postseason, drew the 18th seed and will travel to play No. 15 Lexington on Monday (6 p.m.) in the prelims.
Marblehead, powered by a balanced attack and the leadership of captains Cassie Rodgers and Meggie Collins, finished 15-5-1 this season and picked up the No. 2 seed in Division 2 North.
The Magicians will host No. 15 Wilmington on Wednesday (4 p.m.) in the first round. Marblehead defeated Wilmington twice this season, 12-8 and 19-12.
“Wilmington is very athletic, they are strong and they have a couple midfielders that really control their game,” Marblehead coach Annie Pugh said. “We need to play our top game from start to finished and hopefully that’s going to put us out on top.”
It’s possible that Marblehead could meet No. 7 Bishop Fenwick (12-6) in the quarterfinals if the Crusaders can take care of No. 10 Weston in the first round. Fenwick will host Weston (10-8) on Tuesday (5 p.m.).
Ipswich (11-4-1) drew the No. 5 seed in Div. 2 and will host No. 12 Arlington Catholic (11-7-1) on Tuesday (2:30 p.m.).
Hamilton-Wenham, meanwhile, is the No. 8 seed in the section and will play No. 9 Austin Prep at home Tuesday (4 p.m.).