"(Our) freshmen were an outstanding group and we are looking forward to them providing leadership, both on the field and off, to the freshmen class next year," coach John Hull said.
After an impressive season on the varsity level, the Atholton Raiders won't have to look far to rebuild in 2014.
Second-year coach Cliff Walcott's squad finished 8-0-3, outscoring opponents 42-7.
"We were strong in all areas of the game this season, but our chemistry was the real key," Walcott said. "We had each other's back in every battle."
Since August, Walcott instilled a positive mindset in the Raiders, focusing on building individual confidence, as well as an appreciation for the team environment.
Sophomores Congetta Owens and Ileana Thompson, as well as freshman Kelly Flynn, were the key players for the Raiders this season.
"They play on both sides of the ball so well," said Walcott. "It makes the job of those around them a whole lot easier."
In particular, Walcott praised the efforts of Flynn, and even referred to her as his "Rookie of the Year." He added that the team would have been incomplete without her. Her vocal leadership skills, paired with her work ethic, set the freshman apart from her peers.
Going undefeated against the future top players in the county can be a lot to handle. But, unlike some teams, Walcott said his squad didn't like to relish in its triumphs.
"We simply grab the lever and 'flush' last success. I do not allow the girls to 'trip' on their successes," he said. "We approach each new opponent with respect and treat the challenge as though it is a fresh start."
One of the highlights this year for the Raiders was getting revenge over River Hill. A season ago, the Hawks won the match-up 4-1. In 2013, Atholton returned the favor, scoring five goals in a shutout victory. The coach described the win as a moment of euphoria for his club.
Walcott said that his team worked diligently on improving patience with the ball at midfield, as well as switching around while still keeping shape — skills that are imperative at the varsity level.
Howard also went undefeated this season, finishing 7-0-4 in the county, and 7-0-5 overall.
Tessa Walsh, who scored 10 goals and notched five assists on the year, led the Lions offensively.
Walsh recorded either a goal or an assist in all but one game, making her the top go-to scorer for the Lions.
"Tessa's combination of composure on the ball and accurate shot placement made her a threat to every team played," said Lions coach Samantha White.
For her efforts, Walsh received a varsity call-up as the Lions prepared themselves for a playoff push.
Other contributors to Howard's success included freshmen Madde Guerke, Haley Kappey, Lindsey Brown and Logan Filler.
Guerke, a midfielder, had the second-most goals and assists.