For the third year in a row, the Peabody girls soccer team is seeded No. 1 in the Division 1 North girls soccer tournament.
That doesn’t mean the defending state champion Tanners have a favorable path to a repeat, however.
Right off the bat, Peabody (17-1) could see the only team it lost to this season. Acton-Boxboro (8-6-3) visits Billerica (10-6-4) for a preliminary game on Saturday with the winner traveling to Tanner Town on Sunday for a 6 p.m. start.
If the Colonials win, the top-seed will be facing the team that ended its 38-game unbeaten streak just two weeks ago.
“That was an off night for us, but Acton-Boxboro was part of the reason for that,” said Peabody coach Dennis Desroches. “We were on our heels, hesitant to press forward, and we made two mistakes that they capitalized on.”
Should Peabody and A-B meet, it would be the third state tournament game between the programs in four years and the sixth overall meeting in that time.
“We’re very familiar with each other. We know how they play defensively and we have to come up with something to attack that,” said Desroches. “On the flip side they know how we defend and attack.
“We’re certainly not going to overlook Billerica, either. We’ll be prepared for both.”
Peabody has the majority of its starters back from last season’s state tourney winner, notably strikers Hayley Dowd and Victoria Digiacomo. Defender Kara Digiacomo was the Northeastern Conference Large MVP and Cayla Bucci is a player to watch at sweeper. Goalie Caitlin Lodi, forward Madison Doherty and mid Christa Trombley also started during the state title run.
“Our has been together for a good four years and they have experience in big games. The team we have is extremely good at making adjustments,” said Desroches, whose team could face another Dual County team that knocked them out two years ago, Westford, in the quarters.