SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

November 1, 2012

Boys soccer pairings: Masconomet earns No. 1 seed, Prep fourth in Div. 1

Regular season hard work pays off come playoff time as Masconomet drew the No. 1 seed overall in the Division 1 North state tournament.

The Cape Ann League Large champions aren’t taking their top seed spot for granted and as far as the Chieftains are concerned, their undefeated record (16-0-2) is wiped clean. In the playoffs, they will be starting from scratch.

“Going in we know that the brackets reflect records, but the winners reflect the intangibles,” said head coach Dave Mitchell who guided last year’s team to state finals in a tight loss to Ludlow.

The boys are hoping to get back there, but are reminded that last year’s loss is to be left in the past — this is an entirely new season, and team for that matter.

“We really made an effort to leave last year’s accomplishments behind us,” added Mitchell. “We’re looking at a whole new set of challenges and put together a new group of seniors.”

The Chieftains will begin defense of their North title as they host the winner of the Cambridge/Chelmsford matchup on Sunday at 1 p.m.

With a combined 14 shutouts between keepers Derek Grammer and John Black, Masco has outscored its opponents 60-4. In the final five games of the regular season, Grammer and Black didn’t give up a single goal.

It’s still undecided who will start in goal in the first round. Grammer was nearly unbeatable in last year’s playoffs and allowed a mere four goals in six postseason contests.

“It all depends on who we face, because each keeper has a certain set of skills,” said Mitchell. “We’re hoping to get a good look at Cambridge and Chelmsford and then we’ll evaluate the situation.”

Led by senior captain and CAL Player of the Year, Chip Sherman, the Chieftains have a well-balanced offense. Masco knows just how important generating offense can be, as two of its tournament games last year came down to penalty kicks.

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