The strength of the county's girls soccer program has never been more evident than it is this season.
Five teams have made it through the non-league section of their schedule undefeated.
Hammond, Centennial, Mount Hebron, Glenelg and Wilde Lake all areunbeaten, and Oakland Mills has lost just once. Atholton also has turned its program around and has a winning record.
Oakland Mills appears to have dropped off a notch this year but boasts a 3-1 record anyway, including two shutouts. A 4-1 loss to Centennial in a non-league game was a big disappointment, although the score had been 2-1 until an Oakland Mills player was ejected and the Scorps had to play onedown.
Two key starters, Tyann Blissett and Mandi Kolste, are injured and the Scorps need them back quickly if they are to defend theircounty title.
The speedy Scorps have beaten John Carroll, Edgewood and Towson.
The Hammond-Centennial game on Oct. 8 looks like it may decide the county title. Each team has a bunch of excellent players.
Hammond, ranked No. 2, is led in scoring by speedster Kisha Jett, who has seven goals and one assist. Teammate Samantha Andersch has five goals and four assists. Kacy Williams and Jacie Rieschich havebeen outstanding at center halfback and sweeper respectively.
Centennial is 4-0. Kelly Butler leads in scoring with four goals and three assists. Allison Bielski has three goals and four assists. And Vicki Brunt has three goals and three assists.
First-year coach Rick Pizzaro is pleased with his defense, which has allowed only four goals, but not with the team's shooting accuracy.
"We outshot Howard, 18-5, but won only 3-2," he said. Howard scored with four minutes left to tie that game. But Centennial won it on a shot by Bielski off a corner from Brunt with two minutes left.
"That Howard game was tough," Pizzaro said. "I was visualizing overtime."
Wilde Lake has allowed only four goals in five games and can't be counted out of the title chase. Renita Young leads the team with seven goals and three assists and Nikki Krupp has five goals.
"Our defense is playing welland I like our schedule," Coach Rick Wilson said. "Our games againstCentennial, Hammond and Oakland Mills are all at home and none are back-to-back."
Sweeper Piper Schubert leads the defense along with Tara Tidgwell, Carrie Brelsford, Ryan McDonogh and Carrie Chao.
Another team that shouldn't be taken lightly is Mount Hebron, which is 5-0.
Sophomore Bromley Whitt leads the Vikings in scoring with sixgoals, and junior Lori Pasquantonio has given the team three goals and three assists. Sweeper Sue Otto is a strong player.
Mount Hebron hasn't played a ranked team yet, so it is hard to gauge exactly howgood they are.
Another up-and-coming team is Glenelg, which was 4-0-1. Joanna Tammero leads the team with five goals.
Atholton is having a surprising season with a 2-1-1 record, after winning just once last year.
Howard is a disappointing 1-3, but Shannon Bagrosky scored five goals for the Lions.