Coach: Maureen Hammond
2012 record: 1-10, 3-13.
Top players: Senior Hannah Tolson (D); juniors Taylor Zucco (MF), Emily Taylor (D) and Kathleen Mensing (F).
What you need to know: Coach Maureen Hammond enters her second year at the helm of the Gladiators’ girls soccer program, and her attitude on her team’s prospects this season depends on how much work her team is willing to put in.
“We have a talented group of girls, and our success will be determined by how hard they work at practice everyday to make eachother better,” she said.
Still, Hammond said the competition will be stiff for every county school this season.
“I think this is going to be a great year for Howard County soccer,” she said. “I think any team could be county champs.”
Coach: Mike Koplow
2012 record: 0-11, 1-13.
Top players: Seniors Renae Tucker (F) and Laura Khoury (D); junior Brigid Mangan (GK); sophomore Zoe Perkins (MF).
What you need to know: “We will ‘win’ every game,” said coach Mike Koplow of his squad this year. While statistics are important to Hammond, Koplow said his focus will be on his group’s teamwork and consistent play in games. “We will win, regardless of what the scoreboard says,” he said.
Koplow believes his team has all the “ingredients” to thrive in the county, and this season’s success depends solely on how his team operates as a unit. When that happens, he said his team is a pleasure to watch.
“Hopefully those things will come together from game one,” he said.
Coach: Nick Zaron
2012 record: 6-5, 8-7 overall.
Top players: Seniors Christine Robinson (CM), Katie Cocozza (CM) and Maddie Barrow (RM); junior Nia Elbeck (F).
What you need to know: A slew of injuries proved costly last season for Howard. Though the Lions failed to make it far in the postseason, coach Nick Zaron said the amount of experience that the underclassmen were able to get during that time was valuable.
It’s the consistent play, according to the third-year head coach, that will be the ultimate deciding factor when it comes to Howard’s success this season. “At times last year we were a very dangerous and tough team,” he said. “In many of our games we lost, we started off with the lead, but took mental breaks and let teams back in the game.”