LYNN — For a third season in a row, the Ipswich High girls soccer team went head-to-head with Weston. It’s become almost a given that the two teams will see each other somewhere along the Division 3 tournament route.
In 2010, just like yesterday’s Division 3 North final, the Highlanders captured the title with a 2-0 victory over Ipswich. In each instance, they scored one goal in each half while holding the Tigers off the scoreboard completely.
Last year, the two teams met in the first round, and Ipswich pulled off a 1-0 victory to advance to the quarterfinals.
“I was told what had happened the last three years,” said Weston head coach Rich Daestrela, in his first year with the team. “It was amazing, and the girls were excited for this matchup again. For the girls, it was more about the big rivalry, and we wanted this really bad.
“The last time the teams played on this field (Manning Field), we won. That feeling was still there, so I didn’t really have to say anything to motivate the girls because they were ready to go.”
Going into the tournament, the odds were against Weston and Ipswich meeting once again this November. Being on opposite sides of the brackets with Ipswich the No. 14 seed and Weston being the 17 seed in a 19-team field, they needed to get by some tough, higher-ranked competition to make it to the North final.
The Tigers (11-5-7) played with the upper hand a year ago with a senior-heavy team led by Hannah Weagle. This season was different, as Weston had the edge in age and experience.
“Last year, I thought we had the more experienced group,” said Ipswich head coach Nancy Waddell. “We had a lot of girls with a lot of varsity experience, (but) I think this year was the reverse. Now their senior class is very strong — and we obviously had a hard time containing them up front.”