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Sports

October 30, 2012

Beverly, Masconomet earn top seeds in Division 1 North field hockey

The top two field hockey teams on the North Shore — Beverly and Masconomet — are also the top two seeded teams in Division 1 North.

The Northeastern Conference champion Panthers (16-1-1) and the unbeaten Cape Ann League champion Chieftains (15-0-3) have identical .917 winning percentages. Beverly won the coin toss and drew the No. 1 overall seed Division 1 North, while the Chieftains are seeded No. 2 as the MIAA released its field hockey tournament pairings yesterday.

Beverly, which has won the NEC five straight years, drew the top seed for the second straight season.

“We’re excited, but looking at how it went last year, we were really excited to be No. 1, and we ended up getting knocked out in the second round,” said Beverly junior captain Nicole Woods. “We know we have to keep working hard in practice and take the tournament one game at a time.”

Beverly will host the winner of a Weston/Methuen preliminary round game on Saturday at 2:30. The Panthers’ turf field, which they played on full time this season, gives them another advantage as they look to become a state power. Beverly also had two solid non-conference games with North Andover, and a notable tie with two-time defending state champion Andover.

“Those games gave us a sense of what we need to do to win in the tournament,” Woods said. “To play a team of that skill level, especially late in a season when both teams are at their peak, shows us what we need to work on.”

Masconomet will host the winner of Reading/Needham on Saturday. The Chieftains are in their first season under coach Leah Gunner, who was recently named Cape Ann League Coach of the Year. Masco experienced an incredible turnaround after not making the state tournament in 2011 and is led by captains Becca Phillips, Marylee Hutchinson and Maura Feltault.

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