Meanwhile, Duxbury — which opted not to practice Christmas week — has also started strong. The Dragons lost five players from last season: Three seniors graduated and two underclassmen transferred.
“I think we’re definitely a younger team, but that doesn’t really mean anything,” said Dragons coach Friend Weiler. “A lot of the younger girls are really hard-working and focused, and I think with time we’re just going to keep getting better. I think we can win it again.”
Junior defenseman Ally Hammel has stepped up as the unit’s defensive leader. Myette — perhaps the state’s top goalie, who recorded eight shutouts and a .928 save percentage last season — returns to net. And the tenaciously aggressive sophomore line of Marissa Fichter, Jane Dudley, and Meredith Wright, who exceeded expectations in their freshmen campaign, has already wrought havoc on opponents.
Perhaps no Dragon understands the friendly rivalry more than Murphy (team-leading 52 points last season), who will play lacrosse at the University of Massachusetts Amherst next year.
“It’s always good to beat the best,” said Murphy. “They are a great team, so it gives us confidence and gets us fired up when we beat them.”
Added Weiler: “It tells us where we stand. They’re a great measuring stick or barometer [as to] what we’re doing well and what we need to work on.”
Up and coming
A few other girls’ teams are emerging as contenders:
Braintree: The return of sophomore goaltender Rachel Brazil (1.72 GAA) should keep the Wamps, who got off to a 3-0-1 start, in the mix.
Norwood: The Mustangs (3-1) bring back their top two scorers in junior Emily Kelly and sophomore Kacie Smith from a squad that fell in the Division 2 quarterfinals last season to Belmont, 5-2. Defensively, they’ll rely on senior defensemen Heather Folan and Katie O’Brien.
Walpole: The return of junior Brooke Matherson — one of the state’s elite defensemen — should help a team that relies on defense. Senior goaltender Bethany Welch anchors the back line.
Paul Lazdowski can be reached at email@example.com.