Girls’ players to watch
Alex Dalton , Notre Dame-Hingham: It is hard not to take note of a returning All-American. The University of Notre Dame recruit led Cougars in goals (87), ground balls (105), caused turnovers (25), and draw controls (74). Coach Meredith Frank expects Dalton to help the team be competitive in an “especially strong” Division 1 South.
Lily and Katie Smith , Duxbury: Senior captain Hannah Murphy gets all the attention, but don’t turn a blind eye to the Dragons’ junior twins. The pair assisted Murphy in running the table en route to a Patriot League title during field hockey season, and could very well do the same in lacrosse. Lily was a Patriot League all-star as a sophomore in 2012.
Marina Burke , Westwood: The Harvard-bound senior captain of the two-time defending state champions put together a solid junior year, but she was far from the star on a team that featured three graduates now playing Division 1 last season. “She was awesome last year,” said coach Leslie Frank, “but now she has to take it one step further.”
Molly McCormack , Scituate: Who would step between the pipes was a question mark entering last season, but this time around not so much. The sophomore goalie will be the starter again this year after receiving some key playoff experience during the team’s trip to the Division 2 South semifinals in 2012.
Paige Canavan , Archbishop Williams: The senior captain will anchor the defense for a team that posted an 18-2 regular-season record last year. The four-year starter will also be the most experienced member of the Bishops’ defensive corps, having registered more than 1,000 minutes in 2012 while finishing in the top two on the team for ground balls.
Five girls’ teams to watch
Archbishop Williams: Outside of defensive stalwart Paige Canavan, the Bishops also return seniors Meg Kiley (85 goals, 31 assists in 2012) and Blayne Baker (40 goals, 46 assists), both of Braintree. Bridget Delaney, a senior from Weymouth, will be back between the pipes a year after her 5.72 goals-against average and .577 save percentage earned her Catholic Central League goalie of the year honors.
Duxbury: The defending Patriot League champs won’t have an easy road to yet another title, but they do have the means to get there. The Dragons’ high-powered offense features a trio of seniors — captain Hannah Murphy, UConn recruit Emily Giumetti, and Tina Balzotti — and juniors Lily and Katie Smith. Sophomore Charlotte Wahle has big shoes to fill in goal, replacing three-year starter Sophie Fitzpatrick.
Scituate: A run-in with Hopkinton ended the Sailors’ 2012 season in the Division 2 South semifinals, but after graduating a pair, the core of the team returns. Basketball star Kelly Martin will carry the load on offense, assisted in part by sophomore Maria Garman. Seniors Nikki Begnal and Morgan Sheehan return on defense.
Walpole: With an experienced group back, second-year coach Mike Tosone is “cautiously optimistic.” Senior captains Seana Cofsky, Erin Richardson, and Michaela Tosone, the coach’s daughter, will be held responsible for controlling the game’s pace from the midfield. Seniors Holly Norberg and Stephanie Barmakian, both returning starters, will stabilize the defense, but one question mark may be in goal, where there are three candidates.
Westwood: Coach Leslie Frank and the Wolverines are shooting for their third straight state title, but a three-peat will not be easy. Westwood, which said so long to three players who are playing collegiately, will look to cocaptains Marina Burke and Meghan Kelly for production and leadership. Juniors Ella Hazar, Kim Egizi, and Jamison O’Neil will need to take the next step.