Varsity Softball

March 19, 2009

the poll

1. Chesapeake-AA

* Last season: 24-2, ranked No. 1

* The Cougars return nine players, including pitcher and two-time All-Metro Player of the Year Lauren Gibson.

2. Broadneck

* Last season: 18-4, No. 3

* The Bruins could be headed for a third showdown with Chesapeake in the Class 4A East regional final.

3. Archbishop Spalding

* Last season: 17-1, No. 2

* The Cavaliers will rely on strong pitching in a bid to repeat as Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champions.

4. Franklin

* Last season: 22-1, No. 6

* The Indians will be led by pitcher Jordan Eades, who helped them to an undefeated regular season and 3A North crown.

5. Arundel

* Last season: 14-6, No. 4

* The Wildcats will look to topple powers Chesapeake and Broadneck in Anne Arundel County.

6. Hammond

* Last season: 18-4, No.7

* The Golden Bears return pitcher Stephanie Speierman, the county's Player of the Year last season.

7. Atholton

* Last season: 17-6, No. 5

* The Raiders are looking to build on last season's trip to the 3A title game.

8. Institute of Notre Dame

* Last season: 10-14, No. 10

* The Indians will try to avenge last year's loss to Spalding in the IAAM A Conference championship game.

9. Northeast

* Last season: 15-6, No. 8

* The Eagles should be strong again with the return of pitcher Heather Brown.

10. Fallston

* Last season: 14-7, No. 9

* The Cougars are coming off their third consecutive winning season and return solid veterans.

11. Mount de Sales

* Last season: 12-8, No. 11

* The Sailors could battle Spalding and IND for IAAM A Conference supremacy.

12. John Carroll

* Last season: 11-8, No. 13

* The Patriots should remain competitive in the tough IAAM A Conference.

13. Eastern Tech

* Last season: 17-5, No. 15

* The defending 2A East champion fell just short in its bid for a state title.

14. Glenelg

* Last season: 12-6, No.12

* The defending Howard County champion will get a tough early test against Chesapeake-AA.

15. Western Tech

* Last season: 13-6, No. 14

* The Wolverines are shooting for a return trip to the state tournament.

OTHERS CONSIDERED: Century (16-8, not ranked), North Carroll (11-8, not ranked), Perry Hall (15-4, not ranked), Seton Keough (8-8, not ranked), Severna Park (12-8, not ranked)

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