Howard County girls soccer preview

September 03, 2014|By Glenn Graham | The Baltimore Sun

This week, Varsity Letters will take an in-depth look at the boys and girls soccer programs in various counties and leagues in the Baltimore area. On Wednesday, Howard County will be featured. Also, please be sure to check out the complete boys and girls soccer preview section, which is online now and running in today's print edition of The Baltimore Sun.

Here's a closer look at the Howard girls:

After winning their second straight Class 3A state crown, River Hill is deservedly the highest-ranked public school in The Baltimore Sun’s Top 15 preseason poll, coming in at No. 2 behind McDonogh.

And while the Hawks lost some key pieces in front and back, they have always been the type of program that has players well prepared to take on bigger roles when it is their time. That is the case this year with All-Metro second-team forward Alex Hamer and midfielder Jessie Hopkins set to supply much of the offense.

The margin of error will be limited in Howard County, with a number of other teams primed to step up.

Centennial, starting at No. 9, seems best suited to give the biggest push, with four of the team’s top scorers back, led by versatile senior forward Anna Mitchell.

At Atholton, the No. 13 Raiders are young, talented and ahead of schedule with proof coming in an upset win over River Hill last season. Junior midfielders Emma Johnson and Jaylyn Chandler provide skill and energy in the middle, and a fresh batch of sophomores and freshmen will play big roles.

What separates Howard County from most others is top-to-bottom depth.

Marriotts Ridge, Reservoir, Mount Hebron, Wilde Lake and Glenelg are among the other candidates for fine seasons. The county is loaded with freshmen talent, so look for a number of first-year players develop and take on important roles to their respective team's success.

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