For the second straight season, the Masconomet Regional field hockey team enters the Division 1 North state tournament as the No. 2 seed.
With a 17-0-1 record overall, the Chieftains went undefeated for the second consecutive year in a row. The Cape Ann League champions are a force on both ends of the field; with 10 shutouts this season they’re more than capable of bringing the defensive pressure, but are also known for their scoring prowess.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better season,” said Masconomet senior forward Belle Ives. “We have such great chemistry even off the field and actually enjoy spending time with each other.
“We’re looking to keep the journey going, hopefully all the way to the finals.”
Masco will host 15th seeded Arlington in a first round game Thursday at 2:30 p.m.. The Chieftains are a fairly experienced team when it comes to the state playoffs, having made a deep run last year.
“We talked a lot about what’s expected of our team now,” added Ives, a Salem News all-star as a junior in 2012. “We took the regular season very seriously, but the intensity picks up in the tournament. Things that we could get away with in the regular season could be the difference between a win and a loss in the playoffs.”
Since head coach Leah Gunner took over the program last fall, the Chieftains are unbeaten in 36 games and have yet to lose during the regular season.
“I knew the talent was there, having coached junior varsity as well,” said last year’s Salem News Coach of the Year. “These girls just never give up. I really see their willingness to learn.”
Beverly High, which won the Northeastern Conference for the sixth straight season this fall, drew the fourth seed in the Div. 1 North tournament.