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High School Sports

March 19, 2004

Anne Arundel County

Two-time defending Class 4A-3A state champ Broadneck's powerful attack vs. perennial power Severna Park's stingy defense - something will have to give this season.

The Bruins, who avenged losses to Severna Park in the regular season and county championship game to capture the East region last season, have a 1-2-3-4 scoring punch in midfielder Allie Johnson, Caroline Coe, Ali Flury and attack Rachel Bruce. The Falcons come back with shutdown defenders in Zara Nematollahi and Erin Kennedy with midfielder Katie Pumphrey providing standout two-way play.

Class 3A-2A state runner-up Annapolis has positions to fill with attack Cara Cerone back to provide offense. South River has a senior-laden team.

Baltimore City

Poly continues to put distance between itself and the other three teams in the city league.

The Engineers improved 2002's 7-6 record to 11-2 last season and went unbeaten in the league in winning their second straight Baltimore City championship.

Not much will change. With 16 players back, including the entire defensive unit, the Engineers are the team to beat once again.

Western and City likely will battle it out for the second spot while Patterson returns to the league after dropping its team midway through last season.

At Western, a mix of veterans and newcomers will have speed and athletic ability. City will be rebuilding although it also returns a few strong players.

Baltimore County

Realignment into divisions for small schools and large schools will leave everyone chasing three-time state champ Hereford in Class 2A-1A.

Even though the Bulls graduated three All-Metro players - Jessica Allen, Mollie Reese and Chrissy Rude - who combined for 143 goals last season, they retain enough talent to stay a step ahead of the 2A-1A competition. Loch Raven and Eastern Tech could be in the battle for second place.

The real race is shaping up in the large schools division. Catonsville, Dulaney and Towson return veteran squads that make it impossible to designate a clear-cut front-runner. Franklin, which lost most of its strength to graduation, could fall off the pace.

Carroll County

After coming within a game of the Class 2A-1A state title last year, Century is looking to finish the job this spring.

Led by returning Carroll County Player of the Year Kelly Kasper (81 goals, 44 assists) and fellow midfield standouts Lauren Schwarzmann (65, 53) and Megan McGuire (65, 36), the Knights have firepower to spare.

Liberty, which last year suffered its first county defeat in six years, returns first-team all-county midfielder Julie Roguski and second-teamers Sue Ackermann (attack) and Kristen Hannon (defense), but also will need to rely on the play of several sophomores and freshmen. Winters Mill features two of the strongest midfielders in the county in juniors Amber Falcone and Lindsay Love.

Harford County

C. Milton Wright hasn't lost a county game in six seasons, but the gap between the Mustangs and the rest of the field was narrowed last year by North Harford.

The Mustangs, state finalists last year, edged the Hawks, 8-7, in two overtimes last season.

Give C. Milton Wright the edge because of the return of Player of the Year Kadie Stamper and a host of other standouts, but North Harford returns comparable talent.

Bel Air could compensate for the loss of its top scorers by spreading the ball around. Fallston has a dangerous attack and should be better this year.

Edgewood and Joppatowne are improving and will be in the middle of the pack.

Howard County

The gap between Mount Hebron and the rest of the county just got a wee bit smaller.

The Vikings have collected 15 of the past 16 county championships, but their aura of invincibility may have taken a slight blow with the graduation of seven All-County first-team players, two second-team selections and three other seniors from last season's 18-0 squad.

Likewise, Glenelg will have to rebuild after graduating eight members of a 14-3 team that advanced to the state semifinals for the fourth consecutive year.

Centennial (11-6), Hammond (8-7) and River Hill (10-4) are on the upswing and could play a role in determining this spring's county champion.

Private schools

Just when it seemed that the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference couldn't get more competitive, it did. About eight teams have a shot at this year's title.

Defending champ Notre Dame Prep, runner-up St. Mary's and Roland Park may have a slight edge on Bryn Mawr, St. Paul's, Mount de Sales and Maryvale. Seton Keough, however, is the team most likely to spoil the party for the traditional powers.

In the B Conference, defending champ Archbishop Spalding may have to fight off Friends again after slipping by the Quakers, 9-7, in last year's final. Park also could contend.

Defending C Conference champ Glenelg Country School could again be tough to beat.

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