Around The Area

High School Sports

Fall Preview

Girls Soccer

September 04, 2001

Anne Arundel County

Even with a new coach, Severna Park remains the favorite to win the school's fourth consecutive county championship. Losing just five players from a squad that grabbed the Class 4A state crown helps.

Broadneck may pose the most serious challenge. The Bruins return their entire starting lineup, including leading scorer and senior striker Stephanie Jones.

Youthful South River looks to return to the county championship game, while Arundel has a veteran roster of 10 seniors and four juniors.

The sleeper may be Old Mill, which graduated just two starters and added a transfer from St. Mary's in junior back Mandy Williams.

Baltimore City

The race for the Baltimore City crown could get more crowded this season with Southern looking to crack the elite level maintained by City, Western and Poly.

Coach Bob Keaton's Bulldogs finished 3-7 a year ago but made a big improvement in their ability to stay in every game. At least one opposing coach expects the Bulldogs to contend for the title.

Still, the odds-on favorite would have to be defending champion City (9-3), which finished last season unbeaten against city opponents. Coach Lisa Twiss graduated just two starters.

Poly (8-3) also returns a solid contingent and got a strong influx of young talent. Western suffered the most turnover, returning just four starters.

Baltimore County

Divisional realignment will keep defending county co-champs Hereford and Dulaney from a title-game rematch, lumping both into Division II.

The Bulls have the early edge with seven veterans, but Dulaney likely will reload fast after losing eight starters. Loch Raven could play the spoiler.

Parkville appears a nose ahead in Division I, but Eastern Tech, Franklin or Perry Hall could close that narrow gap fast. The Knights lost five starters but remain strong down the middle.

In Division III, Carver A&T appears to be the favorite, dropping down from Division I while defending champ Western Tech moves up. The Wildcats return 13 players and a strong defense.

Carroll County

In Carroll County, parity is the key word, with a handful of teams capable of vying for county supremacy.

South Carroll features a wealth of top returning players, including two first-team all-county selections. And although North Carroll graduated several impact players, the Panthers again will look to push the ball with two of the area's top playmakers.

Even teams that finished below .500, including Liberty and Westminster, seem as good as any team in the county.

At Francis Scott Key, one of the county's top defenses returns. If the Eagles can find a way to score goals, they could improve dramatically on last year's three-victory season.

Harford County

Bel Air is loaded with experience and once again should be the team to beat in the county as the Bobcats attempt to win their fifth consecutive title.

They should also be one of the best public schools in the area behind the play of three-year starter Colby Bugda, a first-team All-Metro selection last season whom Bel Air coach Bill Zimmerman believes will be even better this year. Bel Air narrowly fell to River Hill, 1-0, in the Class 3A state title game.

North Harford should be Bel Air's biggest obstacle in the county, with a solid group of players returning.

Fallston and C. Milton Wright should also field competitive teams that could make some noise during the season.

Howard County

River Hill, which finished undefeated and ranked No. 1 last season, was hit hard by graduation, losing Metro Player of the Year Shannon Jackson, among others. Still the Hawks should be the team to beat in the county and will have a decent shot at capturing their third consecutive Class 3A state title.

Glenelg could provide a formidable challenge as the Gladiators return second-team All-Metro defender Lindsey Lewis, who helped them win a second straight Class 1A state title last season.

Mount Hebron and Wilde Lake also return talented players from strong seasons of a year ago, but the surprise of the league could be Centennial, which has a talented freshman class expected to be ready to contribute right away.

Private schools

One coach in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference considers St. Mary's such an overwhelming favorite that he said the Saints' first string should be ranked No. 1 and the second string No. 2.

Coach Jerry Tobin's Saints won last year's title over McDonogh, 2-0. Should they stumble, McDonogh, Notre Dame Prep and John Carroll will be ready to take advantage, with dark horse Mount de Sales close behind.

In the B Conference, St. John's at Prospect Hall also could repeat. Without a senior, the Vikings (17-5-1) beat Mount Carmel, 4-1, for the crown, avenging two regular-season losses. The Cougars, 1999 champs, look to rebound with Pallotti, Key School and Severn likely in the hunt.

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