Around The Area

September 03, 2002

Anne Arundel County

Reclassification upset the apple cart for Severna Park and South River last season.

After four straight Class 4A state titles, the Falcons moved down to 3A and were upset by Fallston in the East regional final. A talented mix of experienced players and newcomers have something to prove.

South River won the 3A state crown in 2000, then made the jump to 4A last season and fell early in the playoffs. With 13 seniors returning and an air-tight defense, the Seahawks could show biggest among the big schools.

Tracy Crane takes over at Chesapeake, which has nine starters back from last year's state qualifying team, and Melissa Quigley steps in at Broadneck, which returns only three starters. Also, watch out for Arundel (10-5-1), which has 12 returning players.

Baltimore County

Towson and Hereford ruled the county last season, with the Generals taking the championship and then suffering their only loss to Hereford in a regional final shootout. Hereford lost twice to the Generals before edging them in the regional final and later taking a share of the Class 2A state title.

Both teams suffered significant losses to graduation -- none bigger than Hereford's goalie, All-Metro Player of the Year Christina Restivo -- but each returns a solid nucleus. They also tend to rebuild in a hurry.

Dulaney has the potential to overtake both teams with a veteran backfield and hungry line. Loch Raven and Catonsville could surprise.

The weaker Mallard Division also appears to be a three-team race, with defending champion Dundalk trying to hold off Owings Mills and Eastern Tech.

Carroll County

Westminster is again the target, and several teams are taking aim.

The Owls, who last year claimed a share of the Class 4A state title, return a strong group of seven seniors. Mary Beth Francis, a JV assistant last season, takes over as coach.

With a strong midfield and third-year starting goalie Abby Treworgy, South Carroll also is expected to contend.

Defending county and Central Maryland Conference champion North Carroll (11-3) features the county's top scoring threat in senior Lisa Engel.

Francis Scott Key (10-5-1), which lost in the regional semifinals to eventual state co-champion Bethesda-Chevy Chase, should again be in the thick of the chase.

Century enters its first varsity season after going 6-2-2 at the JV level a year ago.

Harford County

There's no official county championship game, but the title just might come down the final game of the season anyway.

Defending champion Fallston and perennial contender Bel Air each return 10 seniors and could be headed for a season-finale clash with the title on the line.

In the meantime, the two have different holes to fill. Fallston returns experience on the line but has some refurbishing to do in the backfield. Bel Air boasts its strength in the back and needs to groom some new scoring talent.

C. Milton Wright should still be in the race despite graduating 12 players. The Mustangs have a new goalie, but they also have a solid field defense and promising newcomers on attack.

North Harford returns seven starters and boasts a lot of speed but will be rebuilding on defense.

Howard County

The county race is a crowded one.

Defending champion Long Reach has a new coach, Patricia Payne, and graduated three All-County players. But the Lightning returns second-team All-Metro player Rashmi Bhanot.

Led by second-team All-Metro player Emily Goldman, Mount Hebron returns a core of seven seniors from its third-place team that lost in the state final to Fallston.

Centennial returns six starters from its fourth-place team, including Team Maryland players Nadia Clendening and Dayna Eng.

Finishing second last season, River Hill returns five seniors. Glenelg should be competitive with four strong sophomores.

Oakland Mills and Howard have new coaches in Heather Vorderbrueggen and Rick Oursler, respectively.

Private schools

The battle for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title should be every bit as tight as the 0-0 draw in the tournament championship between Bryn Mawr and St. Paul's.

The Mawrtians have rebuilt nearly from scratch the past two years to earn at least a share of the title. This season is different: They return about half of their starting lineup. St. Paul's brings back all but four players. Roland Park looks to be right in the hunt with six returning starters.

Garrison Forest and Archbishop Spalding, coming off big moves in 2001, could gain even more ground with strong returning contingents.

In the B Conference, Glenelg Country School should make a strong run at its third straight title. But look for St. Timothy's to provide the biggest threat to the Dragons.

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