Two local coaches felt the weight of seeing their respective teams named the top seed in state-tournament play yesterday.
The Amesbury girls and Pentucket boys soccer teams drew top seeds in their respective tournaments when the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association released its pairings.
The Amesbury girls had their best season in program history, finishing 15-0-2 with a cast of seniors that includes All-Cape Ann League selections in Megan Cullen, Emily Martin and Erin Leary. The Indians are the top seed in the Eastern Mass. Division 2 North tournament, making a postseason appearance for the third year in a row. The Indians fell in the first round each of the last two years, but they entered those games as the lower seed.
“I definitely think there’s a lot more pressure,” said Amesbury coach Cathy Berry, who was named CAL Division 2 Coach of the Year. “Everyone knows we’re No. 1, everyone will be looking at us. The pressure of being the No. 1 seed is that you’re expected to win, to be successful. There’s a lot more pressure, particularly in the first round.”
The Indians will begin their postseason push Sunday night (7 p.m.) when they host the winner of the preliminary-round matchup between No. 16 Gloucester and No. 17 Arlington Catholic at Landry Stadium.
There is a chance the Indians could meet rival Newburyport (13-2-2) in the Division 2 North semifinal. The Clippers drew the No. 4 seed, and will open against Wakefield Sunday (1 p.m.) at Cherry Hill.
Amesbury beat Newburyport 3-0 when the teams met October 5.
“We knew there was a good chance they’d be on our side,” Berry said of Newburyport. “It’s quite the rivalry, along with (No. 2) Hamilton-Wenham).”
The Pentucket boys soccer team is ranked No. 1 in the Eastern Mass. Division 2 North tournament after posting a 14-2-2 regular-season record.