1 Centennial -- What can a team that went 22-1 and won its third straight 3A state championship do for an encore? How about winning a fourth title? To have a chance, the Eagles will have to overcome the loss of All-Metro hitter Carlyn Cangiano and veteran coach Bill Shook. But they appear to have reloaded, not regressed. Former assistant Mike Bossom takes over a team that returns powerful 6-foot-1 middle hitter Krisha Svehla and outside hitters Kelly and Jen West. Centennial also has an experienced setter in Sheri Kujawa.
2 Broadneck -- Not many teams can lose their coach, setter and one of their best hitters and still be ranked this high. But the Bruins, a fixture in the region playoffs, remain strong with the return of 5-11 All-Anne Arundel County hitter Katie Forthofer (163 kills, 39 aces), who played both outside and the middle. She eases the loss of Julie Barr. Returning seniors Theresa Koester (5-11), Taci Williams and Amanda Barchanowicz also started last year. Junior setter Kara Johnson is a prime candidate to replace Krissi St. Clair. Six-foot junior Lisa Goodhue will start at middle hitter. New coach Tom Cole, formerly an assistant to Glenn Brainer, has set his sights on making the 3A state finals.
3 Glen Burnie -- Five starters are back, including 5-8 first-team All-Anne Arundel County hitter/setter Heather Hutson (177 kills, 65 aces), and her sister, sophomore hitter Amy Hutson. They join senior hitter Denise Warren, senior setter/hitter Meghan Matukonis and junior middle blocker Stacey Ellenberger as returning starters. Four other players are back, and a couple of newcomers could make an impact. Coach Juanita Milani's team is poised to go farther than last year's first-round exit in the region playoffs.
4 Loch Raven -- Coach Carol McPherson has four starters back from a team that compiled a 16-2 record and advanced to the region final. Seniors Shannon Towner and Kelly Powell are sensational. Towner was an All-Baltimore County setter and has tremendous leaping ability. Loch Raven needs to find a middle hitter and improve its serving, but the team will be among the best defensively.
5 Perry Hall -- Coach Pam Wilt's squad is brimming with talent. Junior middle hitter Erica King was one of the top defensive players in Baltimore County last year, but she may wind up on the outside to take advantage of her hitting prowess. The same is true of senior Jasmine Gieron. Senior setter Jessica Pataki also returns.
6 Mount Hebron -- Five starters are back from a team that won 11 matches and lost to Centennial in the region final. Included in the mix are outside hitter Lia Kaltreider, middle hitters Dani Vissers and Kathy Doyle and setter Sylvia Kaltreider. This team should challenge Centennial for supremacy in Howard County.
7 Severna Park -- With every starter gone from last year -- including three first-team All-Metro selections -- and just one player, junior hitter Julie Allen, who saw significant playing time, it's hard to imagine Severna Park extending its streak of 4A state titles to four. But coaches in Anne Arundel County still fear the Falcons, winners of 53 best-of-five matches in a row. Among the returnees are senior hitters Nicole Merrill and Sherri Patton, senior defensive specialist Cara Voegtlin and junior hitter Lauren Butler. Sophomore middle hitter Jodi Blair (5-10) will be among the inexperienced starters.
8 Glenelg -- The Gladiators won their first 2A state championship last year, and if they are to repeat, it will be because of a more balanced attack. They have no choice. All-Metro hitter Marisa Davidson graduated from a team that went 17-2, its only losses coming to Centennial. Coach Marlene Janis has a pair of versatile and skilled players: Elisa Davidson and Susan Geisler. They are formidable outside hitters who double as setters.
9 Catonsville -- Coach Debbie Clem's team is coming off an 11-2 campaign and returns supreme setter Tricia Uttenreither (214 assists). Uttenreither, a senior, also will help her team with her serving (96.5 percent efficiency, 27 aces). Senior Kristie Deickman is the top hitter. Catonsville has better height than last year, and good reason to look forward to the season.
10 North Carroll -- The Panthers must overcome the loss of last year's Carroll County Player of the Year, Joy Huber, who helped them to a 15-2 record. Having eight seniors back, including hitters Kandi Lippy and Katy Wilhelm and setter Amy Baker, will be a tremendous help. Sophomore hitters Karen Carter and Carisa Kreichauf will provide a huge lift as well.
11 Chesapeake-AA -- The Cougars made tremendous strides last year, recovering from a slow start to go 7-7 and barely missing the playoffs. This year, they are ready to post a winning season and contend for a spot in the state playoffs. There are strong hitters scattered all over, including second-team All-Anne Arundel County selection Jamie Parsons, and fellow seniors Becky Adamarczyk, Dawn Faber and Jen Miller. In all, five starters return.