Reservoir's Amanda Jackson is more than a goal scorer, she has the ability to change games. (Staff photo by Brian Krista, Patuxent Publishing / September 6, 2011)

Put four names in a bag, say, Reservoir, Marriotts Ridge, River Hill and Glenelg.

Draw them out, one by one. One will be the county champ. One will be spoiler. The third will comete for a Class 3A state title and the last for a Class 2A state title.

But which team will achieve what?

That's parity. That's what this fall season promises: parity and surprises.


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"Reservoir is the team to beat," Marriotts Ridge coach Robin Grey said. "Since Josh (Sullivan) has taken over the program, Reservoir has become a powerhouse. They believe in his system and execute it beautifully. They might have lost some key players in (Katlyn) Axenfeld, but their core remains. Plus, they have a huge threat in Amanda Jackson. I expect us to be in the hunt for the county title (along with Glenelg, River Hill, and Centennial), but right now I give the edge to Reservoir."

Jackson, who helped the Reservoir Gators win their first state title a year ago, has "the ability to take over the game from an offensive or defensive perspective," coach Josh Sullivan said. "She is the best player I have ever had the chance to coach and see on the field. She's absolutely a game-changer."

Delaney Reiff, another Gator, is fresh off a summer season that included playing for the SAC-15 team that finished second in the nation. And new Wilde Lake coach Robin Sawyer said Reservoir's Michele Viegas is the "total package in midfield."

Sullivan worries about youth. "I graduated quite a bit and we have some holes to fix. But all in all, the biggest thing that I'm concerned with is experience. It's something you can't coach. I think what this team needs is time to get to know one another out on the field."

Grey lost Player of the Year Alex Price, but said that is only a small nick in the Mustangs' plans for a second straight county title, at the least.

"Yes, we're young, but I wouldn't call us rebuilding so much as reloading," she said. "The talent is definitely there. It is just a matter of finding a combination that works and building chemistry from there."

River Hill is always talented and could easily be the best team by the end of the season. Centennial and Atholton are always strong and upset-minded. Steve Baxter at Centennial said he has a Player of the Year candidate in defender Jordan Coburn, who is already committed to Virginia Tech. While Jackson is a game-changer on offense, Coburn does the same on defense, Baxter said.

And if you are listing other early Player of the Year candidates, don't overlook Wilde Lake's Gillian Sawyer, Glenelg's Danielle Burris and Marriotts Ridge's Maria Hochuli.

Here's a quick look at the teams as the season starts.

Atholton

2010 record: 5-4-2 county, 5-6-2 overall

Top returning players: Seniors Amy Weinberg (GK), Emily Pattillo (D) and Desiree Bodziony (M); junior Katrina Macadoff (F).

Scouting report: Look for Macadoff (four goals, four assists) and all-county second-team pick Bodziony to lead the Raiders' offense. "We have many scoring options. We need to score early and often," coach Stephanie Stoutenborough said. "We have a lot of speed that we will use to attack. We have height right up the middle so we will dominate in the air."

The Raiders get a boost from the return of senior defender Adriana Vitagliano, who did not play as a junior. "She's a tough and strong defender," Stoutenborough said. She'll compliment goalkeeper Weinberg, who can dominate the air.

"We will need everyone working together to achieve our goals. We don't just rely on one player to win the game," she added.

Centennial