Top seed Austin Prep (20-0-0) headlines a strong 27-team field for the MIAA Division 1 girls’ hockey tournament, with each of the top six seeds entering with two losses or fewer.
Austin Prep has held the top spot in the Globe’s Top 20 all season. By outscoring opponents, 103-8, during the regular season, the Cougars have found success by approaching the season one game at a time.
“Been doing this too long to know that once you hit the postseason it’s a brand-new season,” said Austin Prep coach Stephanie Wood. “We know every opponent is going to be a challenging game in the postseason. We just run our team, and wherever the chips fall, they fall.”
The Cougars are one of two unbeatens topping the field, along with Patriot League champion Duxbury (19-0-2). The Dragons are led by a core of 10 seniors, including goaltenders Erin Matthews and Sue Bird, who have split time throughout the season and have allowed a combined 29 goals.
“The camaraderie between the seniors has been great,” said Duxbury coach Paul Reissfelder.
Rebounding from an 9-9-3 record and a first-round exit as an 18th seed last year, top seed Walpole (16-3-1) enters the tournament coming off the best season in program history .
“It was a great turnaround,” coach Joe Verderber said. “The top seed, that’s what you strive for. We can’t slide under the radar like we did last year, and now we’ve got to show up.”
Defending champion and Bay State Conference foe Wellesley poses the biggest threat to Walpole.