WEST SPRINGFIELD - This season's separation of Central and Western Massachusetts teams into two girls lacrosse divisions for the postseason could allow for more competitive matches for schools which previously felt they were mis-seeded - which includes Berkshire County schools.
During Friday's MIAA Central/Western Mass. girls lacrosse seeding meeting, the new alignments seemed to leave coaches happy with where their teams were placed in the tournament.
Mount Greylock is the highest-seeded Berkshire County team in the Division II bracket. The No. 8 Mounties will host No. 11 Cathedral. No. 10 Wahconah will travel to No. 7 Tyngsborough. Both games are scheduled for Tuesday, with times to be determined.
Greylock coach Lindsey von Holtz joined the tournament committee this year and is pleased with how the seedings worked.
"It's exciting to look at the bracket and see teams we know we can compete against," she said. "It should be a fun game to watch and a fun game for the girls to play in. Both teams get an opportunity, where before both of us would've played a Longmeadow or a Minnechaug, had a tough game and been eliminated early."
Von Holtz added that the unfamiliarity with Cathedral makes for an exciting game. What could hurt the Mounties, though, is the absence of one of its standouts. Lucy Barrett told The Eagle on Friday that she is likely to miss the Cathedral match due to illness.
Wahconah coach Kathy Budaj said her team's 11-3-2 record is solid, but added that strength of schedule led the Warriors to a lower seed. Despite where they're seeded and their unfamiliarity with Tyngsborough, Budaj said her team will enter the tournament to compete.
"I don't know [Tyngsborough] at all," the coach said. "I know what their record is and I'm looking forward to playing someone we haven't seen before. We aren't just happy to make it. We want to see if we can do something in Western Mass."
During the meeting, there were not any strong objections to the final rankings. The LaxPower.com girls poll uses the same criteria as the boys poll, except the girls poll does not factor in the coaches' poll.
The combining of Western and Central Mass. can be confusing when weighing teams without similar schedules, but the girls coaches and representatives seem to agree with the process.
After competing in Division I last year, Budaj said the bump down to Division II is beneficial to everyone involved.
"We played Northampton the other night," she said. "They were a good [Division I] team. We hung with them for a little bit, but it's hard for the newer programs to compete to the established programs. They're untouchable right now," she said. "We're happy with where we are now and we're looking forward to competing."