The seedings for the Boys and Girls 2010 MIAA Soccer Tournament were announced on Thursday afternoon, and with teams getting seeded base solely on their winning percentage, this tournament set up to be one of the most exciting in high school sports.
In 2009, Lexington came in as a No. 2 seed and Lincoln-Sudbury as a No. 5 seed, when they met in the North Sectional finals with Lexington winning 2-1 on penalty kicks.
In 2010, the Minutemen and the Warriors find themselves again ranked second and fifth, and both teams have the ability to win this section. Lexington finished No.1 on ESPNBoston’s final boys' poll and they score as a team with six players having scored four or more goals this season. Jordan Vanderhooft leads that group with eight markers.
Lincoln-Sudbury finished the season 13-2-1(No. 10 on ESPNBoston) and they have Cole DeNormandie up top who can change a game on his own.
Boston City League Champs Madison Park (No. 15 on ESPNBoston) grabbed the top seed in this section with a 14-0-1 regular season record and could pay ninth-seeded Greater Boston League Champs Medford (No. 20 on ESPNBoston) in one of this section’s quarterfinals.
New Bedford (No. 3 on ESPNBoston) and Greater New Bedford are the top two seeds in this section, and for the record the New Bedford won the regular season local derby 3-0. The Big Three Conference flexes it’s muscles with Brockton (No. 4 on ESPNBoston) getting the third seed. But the Bay State Conference put three teams in the top 10 seeding in this section with Walpole at No. 5 (No. 13 on ESPNBoston), Weymouth at No. 6 (No. 11 on ESPNBoston) and Wellesley at No. 10.
The most interesting, potential quarterfinal would be if Brockton met Weymouth. The Boxers have scored three or more goals in nine of their 18 games, while the Wildcats have kept 12 clean sheets though 20 matches. Their first choice keeper Scott Greenwood is just a sophomore. Two other sophomores’ in this section to keep an eye on are Needham’s Mac Steeves, who scored 15 goals to improve on the eight he scored as a freshman, and Attleboro’s Dominik Machado, who is a member of the Revolution U-16 Academy.
The Algonquin Tomahawks (No. 7 on ESPNBoston) have been the class of Central Mass all season long and got the No. 1 seed. But No. 2 seed Leominster handed Algonquin one of their two losses on October 26, in a 1-0 game. The only way they could meet in the post season would be in the Central Final.
Ludlow (No. 8 on ESPNBoston) has won three Western Sectional Finals in a row and come in as the top seed, but Amherst, the No. 2 seed, may have a say in who represents the West this year. Amherst finished above the Lions in the Smith Division this year even though Ludlow defeated and drew with the Hurricanes in their two regular season meetings. Chris Pereira has 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists.) through 18 games for Ludlow and is the marquee man in this section.
The defending champs, Concord-Carlisle (No. 3 on ESPNBoston) come in as a No. 2 seed this year and appear in the tournament for the 26th season in a row. Senior tri-captain Cam McGrory is perhaps the most complete goalkeeper in the state and Ray Pavlik’s team will be well-tested having dropped only three points all season in the Dual County League, which is arguably the toughest in Massachusetts.
But the No. 1 seed in the section goes to the undefeated Winchester Sachems (No.6 on ESPNBoston), who won the Middlesex and have only two draws all season, both to Lexington. Their defense is full of confidence having allowed just one goal in their last six matches. And up top Ryan Connolly and Ben Davis have 27 goals between them.
This section features two undefeated teams, No. 1 seed Sandwich (No. 5 on ESPNBoston) and No. 2 seed Canton (No. 9 on ESPNBoston) and they both seem to have an easy road to the finals, but looks can be deceiving.
Sandwich had only two draws all year, and learned an important lesson after squandering a four-goal lead to Marshfield in mid October. The Blue Knights didn’t allow a goal in five of their next seven matches. The Canton Bulldogs finished the season undefeated for the only time in the programs 28 years.
No. 4 seed Bishop Feehan has won nine of it’s last 10 and could potentially play Tri-Valley Champions Medfield (No. 19 on ESPNBoston) in the quarterfinals. The Warriors have a goal difference of plus-30 entering the tournament.
There could very well be a re-match of the 2009 State Semi-Finals.
In D-III North, keep an eye on Weston, who is just the 11th seed at 7-6-3, but they will be ready for to make another run to the state finals after a tough regular season in the Dual County League, where they registered a 1-0 over Lincoln-Sudbury.
In D-III South, Cardinal Spellman finished the season 18-2 and it will take a major upset to stop them from getting to the state level.
This bracket is unpredictable to say the least, which make the most exciting.
Top-seeded Peabody (No. 3 on ESPNBoston) handed fifth seeded Acton-Boxborough (No. 5 on ESPNBoston) their first regular season loss since 2006 on opening day. A-B ended up losing two games in 2010 -- their only other loss coming to No. 22 seed Lincoln-Sudbury. The two teams could have a rematch if they each reach the semifinals. Colonials goaltender Jessie Wiggins only allowed four goals in 17 games, but the Tanners strike force of Hayley Dowd and Victoria Digiacomo is a tough one-two punch.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed Masconomet (No. 13 on ESPNBoston) lost just once all year -- to No. 21 seed Andover. They have a scoring trio of Gabby Russo, Hannah Nekoroski, and Amy Griffiths making it tough to focus on just one player. No. 3 seed Central Catholic hasn’t been scored upon in their last seven matches, a nice run to be on heading into the tournament.
Whitman-Hanson (No. 1 on ESPNBoston) finished the season undefeated and UCLA-bound Samantha Mewis is the most talented player in the state and also member of the USA Women’s U-20 team. It will be tough for any team in D-1 South to stop the Panthers.
Bishop Feehan lost only one game all season, and it was to an out-of-state opponent. The Shamrocks will most likely play the winner of No. 7 seed Needham (No. 16 on ESPNBoston) versus No. 10 seed Brockton (No. 10 on ESPNBoston), which will be the most interesting matchup of the first round. The Rockets have the second lowest goals against average in Division I at 0.5 and only Whitman-Hanson And Acton-Boxborough are better. Goalkeeper Victoria Tarabelli and senior defender Courtney Steeves will have their work cut out for them against the Boxers forward Morgan Branco.
D-I Central & West
These regions are also wide open. Nashoba and Wachusett look destined to meet each other in one semifinal, while Algonquin and Shrewsbury look ready for the other semi. It will be interesting to see if the Tomahawks can get out of the Central and defend their state title.
In the West, it’s Minnechaug’s title to lose. Lauren MacLellan is a tough forward to contain.
Look for Belmont’s playermaker Katie O’Brien to set up Lauren Thurber as the top-seeded Marauders look ready to make a deep tournament run. Danvers is the No. 2 seed and had impressive regular season wins over Peabody and Central Catholic. But they also lost to No. 4 seed Bishop Fenwick, so the D-II North title is there for the taking.
East Bridgewater is the top seed with a 16-2-0 regular season record. But don’t overlook No. 5 seed Cardinal Spellman, the defending D-II champions will no doubt be out to defend their title.
Shawsheen (No. 20 on ESPNBoston) earned the top seed in D-III North and Nantucket earning the top seed in the South with a perfect 18-0-0 record. Bromfield earned the top seed in the Central and Gateway earned the top seed out West. And with defending D-3 Champion Millis not qualifying for the tournament this year, there will be a new D-III state champion crowned.