Well, folks, it's tourney time again.
And with that, as always, comes the uncertainty of another postseason. There are plenty of local teams that have established themselves atop their brackets with others sitting in the middle of the pack and even two squads that will battle it out this weekend in a final push for a postseason berth.
But as we've learned, regular season success and seeding often don't translate well to the postseason. It's just all about getting in.
Once there, anything can happen.
Let's start with the top dogs, all three of which hailing from Manchester Essex.
Manchester Essex Girls Lacrosse (14-2, No. 4 seed in Div. 2 North)
The Hornets had a monster year but flew somewhat under the radar on the statewide scale. Despite their nearly blemish-free resume, the Hornets are still ranked just No. 9 in Division 2 by the Boston Herald.
That shouldn't matter much to them, though. Manchester Essex has proven to be a tough out all season, losing only to Masconomet (No. 4 seed, Div. 1 North) and Marblehead (No. 2 seed, Div. 2 North) during the regular season while throttling plenty of good teams along the way.
The Hornets open up what they hope will be a long tournament run Tuesday, hosting Shawsheen, before a potential rematch of last year's Div. 2 North quarterfinals. Then, the Hornets dropped a tight, 13-11 decision to Cape Ann League rival Ipswich. This year, the Hornets have already beaten the No. 5 seeded Tigers, and a win over Ipswich could very well propel them very deep in the tournament.
Manchester Essex Girls Tennis (17-0)
This one shouldn't surprise anybody. Through the years, the Hornets have established themselves as a perennial powerhouse, routinely competing for state titles and taking home the hardware in 2011. This season was no exception.
The Hornets welcomed the return of senior Brittany Collens, one of the state's top players who's set for a Division 1 scholarship to New Mexico State in the fall. She and Michelle Fuca -- last year's No. 1 singles player -- have paced the Hornets' dominant season, as Collens and Fuca are each unbeaten in the top two singles spots, respectively.