Perhaps it wasn’t the outcome Ipswich was hoping for, but for the most part Waddell has to be happy with the run the Tigers made in the state playoffs.
Ipswich started the tournament with seven wins and the same number of ties. It was difficult for the Tigers to produce much offense in the regular season, but when the tournament started, that didn’t seem to be a factor.
“I think when you’re a team like us that plays more with your heart than your skill, when you get to the tournament, you have to lay it all on the line,” Waddell said. “That’s what they’ve been doing every game this tournament. I can never question the heart of this team; they know that if you don’t win today, there’s no tomorrow — and they played their hearts out.”
True to form, the tournament has brought out the best of what Ipswich has to offer. Senior defenders Courtney Long and Maddie Howe, both named to the Cape Ann All-League team, helped keeper Molly Markos record three shutouts during the Tigers’ run.
But for the most part, the tournament comes down to matchups, and aside from Weston, the Tigers played theirs perfectly. Knocking off third-seeded Shawsheen Tech in a 2-0 first-round victory on the road was an achievement within itself, and the Tigers built off that momentum of being the underdogs in most of the tournament games, including wins over No. 6 Marian (3-1) and seventh-seeded St. Mary’s of Lynn in the sectional semifinals (1-0).
“We really pushed in the tournament to get those goals in,” Waddel added. “We matched up pretty well with some of the teams, which obviously helped. St. Mary’s was a good match for us because they had a strong offense, and obviously we have strong defense, but played quality opponents.