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South Hadley boys lacrosse earns No. 2 seed in Division 2 tournament

The South Hadley boys lacrosse team has been a fixture on championship Saturday the last handful of years, and if the seeds hold the Tigers will return to the Western Massachusetts Division 2 title game.

South Hadley completed a 14-5 regular season and earned the No. 2 spot behind only top-seeded and undefeated Longmeadow (20-0).

“After we lost to Longmeadow and Minnechaug last week, we weren’t sure if we might slip a spot, so we’re certainly happy to get the No. 2,” South Hadley coach Kyle Cloutier said.

The Tigers host the winner of Thursday’s first-round matchup between No. 7 East Longmeadow (13-5) and No. 10 Pittsfield (12-5). The quarterfinal date and time are yet to be announced.

In their season opener, the Tigers defeated East Longmeadow 15-4. They didn’t face Pittsfield or potential semifinal opponent No. 3 Mount Greylock (18-2).

“East Longmeadow’s a very solid program, and they seem to get better as the season goes on,” Cloutier said. “We don’t know a ton about Pittsfield, but we’ll do our homework on them if that’s the matchup.”

South Hadley began the season with Justin Pontz in goal before an injury sidelined him in mid-April. He returned to play in the season finale and should get the starting nod over replacement Jake Lesieur, who played very well filling in.

“There’s competition there in goal, which is a positive for us,” Cloutier said. “Pontz has the postseason experience, but Jake’s done a great job for us.”

Tom Crotty, Sam Duda and Evan Marcus all surpassed the 30-goal mark during the regular season. Marcus led the squad with 38 assists and 72 points.

“We’re confident and our kids are excited, and hopefully we can put our full focus into the playoffs,” Cloutier said. “Obviously we have a ton of experience and if we play our best, we feel we can get a win against anyone we may face.”

Longmeadow beat South Hadley in both meetings, but the second was a 12-11 overtime loss for the Tigers on May 22.

“This is a really strong field,” Cloutier said. “Longmeadow is clearly the favorite, but there are good teams throughout the field. It should be a great tournament with close games.”

Amherst Regional picked up the No. 5 seed and will host No. 12 Wahconah (8-8) at 7 p.m. Thursday night in the first round.

After a six-game winning streak put the Hurricanes at 7-2, they lost four of their next five. However, they recovered to take their last three.

Girls Division 1

South Hadley (11-7) closed the regular season on a five-game winning streak to earn the No. 4 seed, a first-round bye and a home quarterfinal game with No. 5 Lee (13-1) at a date and time to be announced.

The high-scoring Tigers are led by Meg Ginley, Brooke Marion, Maddie Brandts and Kelly Pouliot, who all surpassed the 40-point mark. Ginley had team highs in goals (45) and points (67).

No. 6 Belchertown (15-4-1) won the Valley League title and will take on league rival and No. 11 Monson (9-8-1) in the first round at 2 p.m. Thursday. The Orioles won both previous meetings, but by only two and three goals, respectively.

No. 7 Northampton (9-9) won four of its last six to earn a playoff spot. The Blue Devils, led by Molly King (58 points), host No. 10 Mount Greylock (11-5) in the first round 7 p.m. Thursday.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Once again the Amherst Regional baseball team enters the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament with one of the strongest pitching combinations. With how the seeding played out on Tuesday afternoon, coach Greg Vouros can now use it to his advantage. The Hurricanes (14-6) were awarded the No. 3 seed and the last of three first-round byes in a 13-team field. …

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