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May 24, 2014

NEC foes Beverly, Danvers to battle in tourney opener

It’s not that either coach necessarily wants to see the other team in their opening tournament game, but both Beverly’s John Pynchon and Danvers’ Tim Murphy agree that a postseason matchup between two of the Northeastern Conference’s best boys teams is great for local lacrosse.

Beverly and Danvers will meet for the third time this season on Friday night (6 p.m.) at Endicott College under the lights in a Division 2 North quarterfinal game.

The Panthers finished the season 11-8 and earned the No. 3 seed in the section while Danvers enters the tournament at 10-8.

Beverly won both of this season’s meetings (10-5 and 12-2), but both happened in April.

“Very rarely do you get another opportunity to take a shot at one of your biggest rivals,” Murphy said. “We were kind of anticipating Wakefield (No. 2 seed) or Winchester (No. 4) and we were feeling confident with a rematch with Wakefield, but Beverly is perfect for us. We felt like we deserved to be in the top of the Northeastern Conference and this is another opportunity to prove that we were right.”

Pynchon knows the Danvers team he sees on Friday night will be stronger than the team his Panthers matched up with in April.

“I’m excited. Danvers is a good team and it was probably the first time I left a seeding meeting and I’m not scrambling for information. We’ve never played a team in the first round when I’ve been here that we’ve already played in the regular season,” Pynchon said.

“I think we’ll see a team that’s playing with more experience. They’ve had a whole other month of experience playing good teams. They beat Marblehead soundly, 13-3, two weeks ago and then they’ve played some tough out of conference teams as well.”

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