Crowley’s leadership will be paramount.
“D’s been on the team since she was a freshman and to watch her grow has been an inspiration,” Simpson said of Crowley. “You’re always going to get 110 percent from her. Attitude, leadership, athleticism ... you couldn’t ask for a better captain.”
Goalie Kyra Wolonsavich, a junior transfer from Bishop Fenwick, has enabled senior Casey Cook to move back to midfield. Senior Kristen O’Connor, committed to Bryant College, is an excellent defensive midfielder and had an accurate foot for free kicks and set pieces on offense.
The combination of Cook and O’Connor, plus Sarah Visnick, in the middle could help Beverly shore up one of its few weak spots.
“Our focus is in the middle. We maybe weren’t the strongest midfield last year and that’s what we want to improve on. We really need to put everything together in that spot,” said Simpson, who has been impressed with freshman Kadrianna Letts in the preseason as well.
The Panthers know they’ll be challenged in the Northeastern Conference, a league that looks to have improved depth compared to a year ago. Beverly has a non-league game with perennial power Danvers on Sept. 10 in a game that highlights two of the top teams in Division 2 statewide.
The Falcons return 14 varsity players, including Rhode Island commit Kylie Plaza in the middle. Their depth and strength in the possession game will be second to few, and they’re looking to collect even more goals with top scorers Shannon Pohle and Delaney Zecha back.
Then there’s Peabody, which graduated five four-year starters. The Tanners have won four straight NEC titles and are unbeaten in their last 32 league matches (31-0-1) dating back to 2010. They’re led by three-year starters Madison Doherty (a Providence College commit) and Caitlin Lodi at goalie.