New coaches take over the girls lacrosse squads at Mount de Sales, Seton Keough and Lansdowne with higher expectations, while veteran coaches for girls lacrosse squads at defending Baltimore County champion Catonsville and Division III champion Western Tech look to maintain their success.
Read on to see who plays for your favorite local team.
Record last year: 17-2
Coach Becky Clipp's quote: "We are stronger this year than we were last year. They have so much talent and they are so athletic. Even our bench is going to be good."
Breakdown: Catonsville came close to playing for a state championship last season, but fell one game short after bowing to Severna Park in a Class 3A-4A state semifinal.
The Comets lost only three senior starters from that squad and the remaining returning players are focused on going to the state championship — and winning it.
Although Rachel Schwaab is now starting as a freshman at Temple University, where she has compiled 20 points (14 goals, 6 assists), the Comets return several other players who will be performing at the next level.
Senior midfielders Deb Milani (University of Maryland) and Claudia Flister (Johns Hopkins University) and senior defender Maddie Hunt (University of Colorado) have some unfinished business before they head to college.
Hunt spoke about her spring season's goal during an official college signing ceremony in early February.
"I want to win a state championship more than anything, so I think we are going to go full force. I think we are going to have a great chance of winning this year, and I'm looking forward to it," she said.
After a month of preseason, Clipp knew they meant business.
"They are really, really focused and they work hard," Clipp said. "Anything I throw at them, they pick up right away."
The Comets return 16 varsity veterans, including senior goalie Grace Campbell (University of Scranton), senior attacker Rachel Saks (York College) and junior attacker Brook Stevens (High Point University).
Senior Kendall Law and sophomore Lauren McDonald also return to attack.
McDonald was a starter last season before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament during soccer season seven months ago.
"She is doing great," Clipp said.
Senior Sydney Corbitt also returns along with juniors Chloe Corbitt, Maddie Schwaab, Anna Higdon, Madi Lazorchak and sophomores Jenn Nonn, Natalie Croom and Catherine Sweeney.
Freshmen midfielders Andrea McTaggart, Lila Nazarian and Brianna Spinnato didn't waste any time making an impact on a team that also features sophomores Renee Gast and Emma Clark and juniors Kali Martin and Meghan Sadler.
Record last year: 5-8
Coach Holly Ziegler's quote: "They are very dedicated and motivated to become better lacrosse players."
Breakdown: Senior midfielder Alice Rowe returns for her third varsity season after being named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2011 and 2012.
In addition to winning more than half of the draws last season, the southpaw also scored 63 goals.
Seniors Tatiana Salgado-Gibb and Taelor Johnson add experience in the midfield.
Goalie Chelsea Ring hopes to get protection from the rest of the squad that incudes Kayla Airey, Kimberly Bittings, Briana Hefferman, Charlene Hernandez, Tc'ore Jordan, Annabel Leija, Savannah Luers, Emily Marion, Brittney Maske, Twila McAdams, Taylor McDaniel, Gabrielle Mendez, Sirena Mendez, Amalia Moctzuma-Aguillon, Rebecca Needleman, Alexus Walters and Cheyenne Wroten.
"I have a great group of athletes, some who have played and some who have never played before," Ziegler said.
Record last year: 6-3
Coach Drew Daudelin's quote: "They are really smart and eager to learn and they are very aggressive."
Breakdown: The Wolverines graduated nine starters from a squad that went unbeaten (6-0) in Division III last spring.
Western Tech remains in Division III with Milford Mill, New Town, Randallstown, Woodlawn and Overlea and the Wolverines got off to a good start with a 7-4 win over Overlea on March 21.
The returning starters from last season include senior attacker Ruhma Sufian and her younger sister, junior midfielder Minal Sufian, junior midfield/defender Bailey Nance and senior goalie Lezah Calvin.
Nance and Calvin have experienced help in the back from senior Destiny Allen along with juniors Melanie Johnson and Zanaeh Rogers.
Versatile junior Tamiera Williams may help on the back line along with junior Simone Nicholson.
"We are trying to instill a more aggressive defense and our stickwork is coming along," Daudelin said.
Senior Kara Broadus and junior Lilly Ellis will start in the midfield with junior Aniya Morina and freshmen Taylor McFadden and Jewel Parker waiting in the wings.
Additional offense will be provided by senior Sheritha McLean and junior Angela Buchanan.
Seniors Alecsa Agbayani and Raven Penn and juniors Rebecca Garcia and Kirsten Loeb could also aid the attack.
Penn is returning after a torn anterior cruciate ligament last season.
Junior Anya Byrd is the backup goalie.
Mount de Sales
Record last year: 9-8
Coach Mary Gagnon's quote: "I'm happy at this point. We just have to have the poise to finish games."
Breakdown: Gagnon, who coached at Mount de Sales from 1998 to 2003, returned this season and her squad had a tough season opener.
She knew her team let one slip away when they had a one-goal lead and the ball with 1:23 left in regulation and lost, 10-9, to Maryvale Prep in double-overtime in the season opener.
They bounced back with a 17-10 win over Liberty the next day.
The Sailors boast a host of seasoned veterans led by senior captains Katie Sauter, Gabby Cha, Caroline Williams and Julianna Shearer.
Cha, a midfielder, will play at Towson University next year and attacker Shearer plans to play lacrosse and field hockey at Marquette University.
Sauter and Williams headline a defense that includes senior Angela Koener, juniors Lauren Hiltz, Samantha Giles and Maggie Leppard and sophomores Lacey Cole and Amanda Seidl.
In addition to Shearer, other valuable scorers on attack include juniors Eve Lukowski and Amanda Ignacio and freshmen Hannah Ignacio and MacKenzie Griffin.
Sophomore Amanda Donovan has varsity experience in the midfield where she'll join Cha, freshman Becca Boyle and senior Carly Williams and junior Allyson Hynson.
Willams and Hynson are currently recovering from injuries.
Sophomores Maddie Fields and Maggie Smith share goalie chores.
"I like our teamwork," Gagnon said. "We have 20 players and I'm confident in all of them."
Record last year: 5-13
Coach Amanda Malkowski 's quote: "Our ladies have adapted well to the new offense and style of play the coaching staff has brought with them."
Breakdown: Hard work and dedication, fueled by the 10 returning veterans, surfaced in the first two games under Malkowski and assistant Joey Hines.
The Gators defeated St. John's, 12-8 in the opener and lost a tight 7-6 battle to defending Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference champion Friends.
Seniors Anna Stumme (Catholic University), Karli Zeps (McDaniel College), Emani Byrd (Frostburg University) and Allison Connell headline an experienced midfield.
Goalie Becca Wallace and defender Allison Mitchell are seniors on a defense that includes varsity returnees junior Ashley Lemanski and sophomore Emily Lemanski.
Returning attackers are junior Christine Tomasic and sophomore Erin McCourt.
Newcomer and Mount de Sales junior transfer attackman Angela Fratantuono should help the unit.
Junior Maggie Zaleski, sophomore Zoe Smith and freshman Emmi Webber add depth to the attack.
Midfield additions include junior Mackenzie Rynn and sophomore Breanna Durham, while junior Emma Bogner pitches in on defense.
"There is still much room for improvement and we will continue to work hard to reach our goal at the end of the season," Malkowski said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun