Classical has been a perennial playoff team, making the cut in each of the last six seasons. The Rams are coming off another Lynn City Tournament victory after topping St. Mary’s, 3-1, in Saturday’s final. The Rams’ roster is on the young side, but players like Jenna Tobin, Alytah Noum and Emily Silva have some valuable tournament experience under their belts. The Rams’ biggest strength may be their serving game, with Pamela Diaz leading the way as one of the premier servers in the Northeastern Conference.
If the Rams can pull off the upset against Lawrence, No. 3 Andover will be waiting for them in the quarterfinals. Andover has knocked the Rams out of the tournament two years in a row.
Also in Division 1, Peabody earned the seventh seed with a 15-5 record. The Tanners got a tough draw, facing off against a tough North Andover team, the 10th seed at 11-6. But Peabody has a strong squad that is loaded with nine talented seniors. Juniors Martyna Kot and Tatiana Correia have also emerged as key players for Peabody. The Tanners advanced to the quarterfinals last year after topping Billerica in their playoff opener, but fell to Methuen, 3-1. This year’s Tanners playoff run begins Thursday at 6 at Peabody High.
Finally in Division 1 is an all-NEC matchup between No. 8 Marblehead and No. 9 Beverly, Thursday at Marblehead High at 6.
Marblehead (13-5) is coming off a strong regular season in which only one of its losses came against a league opponent (a 3-1 loss at Danvers). The Magicians saw the Panthers in their season opener at the beginning of September, and while Marblehead came away with a 3-0 sweep, two sets went to 28-26 before Marblehead closed out the match with a 25-16 win.
In Division 2, there will be a couple more local matchups. Swampscott earned the No. 12 seed at 9-7, and will head to No. 5 Lynnfield Thursday at 6.
The Big Blue will have their work cut out for them against a Pioneers squad that went all the way to the Division 3 state semifinals last season. While much of that Lynnfield team graduated, the Pioneers are a perennial playoff team. However, Lynnfield will be making adjustments as well, as it moves up a division.
Also in Division 2 is Fenwick, which snuck into the playoffs under the wire to earn the No. 13 seed at 10-10. The Crusaders will have a tough road as they travel to No. 4 Danvers, the NEC champions, Friday at 6.
In Division 3, No. 16 Winthrop will travel to No. 1 Notre Dame Thursday at 6, while No. 2 Mystic Valley will host No. 15 Mt. Alvernia Friday at 6.