Centennial could be one of the more interesting teams in the county. Senior Carolyn Eichhorn will challenge River Hill's Street and Hamer as a possible Player of the Year candidate. Her defensive skills proved difficult for opposing schools in the county. Last season, she took almost every goal and corner kick for her team. A threat in the box, three of her six goals in 2012 came on penalty shots.

Some important dates early in the season include Sept. 10, when River Hill visits Reservoir and Marriotts Ridge travels to Glenelg. Look for Atholton at Centennial on Sept. 17 to be a compelling match-up as well.

Here's a thumbnail look at the teams across the county heading into the season (For expanded capsules, visit us at explorehoward.com):

*2012 First-team all-county; # 2012 Second-team all-county

Atholton

Coach: Stephanie Stoutenborough

2012 record: 8-3 county, 10-5 overall.

Top players: Senior Emily Howell (D); sophomores Jaylyn Chandler (F), Emma Johnson (MF) and Jess Braun (MF).

What you need to know:  The Raiders don’t return many starters from last year’s lineup, so coach Stephanie Stoutenborough said she will rely on young talent to fill the void.

Stoutenborough expects defense to be the “backbone” of the team this season, especially with experienced players like Howell coming back.

Freshmen Sofia Harrison (D) and Ashley Ensor (MF) are expected to take advantage of the opportunity to play on varsity and make an impact right away.

Centennial

Coach: Steve Baxter

2012 record: 6-4-1, 6-7-2.

Top players: Seniors Carolyn Eichhorn* (D), Mary Anderson (D) and Ruthie Lucas (MF/F); junior Anna Mitchell (F).

What you need to know: Eichhorn, a 2012 first-team all-county selection, will anchor the defense for the Eagles this season. Six starters return, yet only three are seniors.

“Our biggest factor will be the physical and mental maturation of our younger players,” said coach Steve Baxter. In 2012, three sophomores and four freshmen saw significant playing time for the Eagles.

“Their progression is critical to our success,” he said.

One weak spot on Centennial’s roster seems to be a lack of consistent goal scoring threats. Junior forward Anna Mitchell scored seven goals, while racking up three assists for the Eagles in 2012. Baxter expects her to lead his offense this season as well. 

Glenelg