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January 30, 2014

Kick Saves: Junior captains driving Masconomet through change

Any way you sliced it, 2013-14 was going to be a season of changes for the Masconomet co-op girls hockey team.

The Chieftains had just one senior coming back, and graduated their all-time leader in every goaltending category, plus their leading scorer. They also saw longtime co-op partner North Andover join Haverhill’s new team.

On top of that, Masco had adjust to a new coach at midseason, with Andrew Boepple taking the reigns back from Nicole Twomey.

Through it all, the Chieftains have stayed strong and stuck together. That’s a credit to their leadership, which fall largely on the shoulders of junior captains Jensena Moner, Dana Valletti and Ashley Hodge.

“We knew we had to step up and upperclassmen and kind of hold everything together. The great thing was that we didn’t really need to,” said Valletti, a top-line left wing. “Everybody stepped up. We didn’t need to take any drastic measures.”

It’s been an up-and-down year, which could be expected when a team skates 10 freshman and seven sophomores. The Chieftains started 3-1-1, then lost three straight, won a game and lost their last two by a combined three goals.

That leaves Masco 4-6-1 overall, needing an attainable 11 points in their last nine games to make it three straight state tournament appearances.

“We might not be where we want to be yet, but we definitely have the ability to put it together,” said Boepple. “The girls have set their minds that they want to be in the tournament and that’s something they can certainly do.”

Moner, who centers the top-line, leads Masco with seven goals, 11 assists and 18 points. Sophomore Maddy Werner and freshman Adara Nazarian have added some scoring punch, and versatile skaters like Meg Hubbard, Sydney Sheerin, Lily Dow and Kylie Currier have helped anchor a defense that’s had a variety of faces dues to injuries and position changes.

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