“Last year we were the No. 1 seed and lost right away,” said head coach Tricia Murphy. “So that taste is still in their mouths — and we don’t want that to happen this year. We need to play the full 60 minutes, regardless of what team we play.”
The Panthers (15-2-1) will host 13th seeded Lowell Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in the first round. “I don’t know much about them, but I know they come from a tough (Merrimack Valley) Conference,” noted Murphy.
“One thing we’re really trying to focus on this postseason is not looking ahead whatsoever. We’re preparing on one team at a time.”
Murphy, who expects seniors Kate Silvestri, MaryCate Flaherty and Nicole Woods to give the team some added momentum heading into the state tourney, picked up an extra two non-league games this fall in hopes of preparing the Panthers a little bit more for the postseason.
“With Saugus leaving the NEC, we had a chance to play four non-league games,” added Murphy. “We were able to keep challenging ourselves. We wanted to play the best to see where we stood.”
The Panthers wrapped up their regular season against Acton-Boxboro last Saturday, and despite the loss they’re pleased with the level competition heading into Thursday’s tournament game.
Also in Division 1 North, Danvers (11-5-2) is seeded No. 12 and will travel to Needham for a first-round game Thursday (3:15 p.m.).
In Division 2 North, Ipswich finished the regular season with just two blemishes on its record and drew the No. 3 seed. The Tigers (13-2-3) earned a bye in the first round and will host the winner of the Weston/Bishop Fenwick game Friday (4 p.m.) in the quarterfinals.
The aforementioned Bishop Fenwick Crusaders (10-7-1) are the 11th seed and on the road against Weston tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. (location TBA).
Elsewhere in Div. 2 North, Swampscott (12-3-2) earned the No. 4 seed and will host Wayland in the first round tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. Mabrlehead (10-6-2) is seeded 10th and will travel to Amesbury Sports Park to take on Newburyport in a first round matchup tomorrow afternoon (3:30).