The latest Sports Breakdown features Wilde Lake High School lacrosse star Grayson Corbett sharing some of her techniques and tricks for scoring a goal in lacrosse. (Jon Sham/Baltimore Sun Video)

The 2013 girls lacrosse season is like a game of hide-and-seek: ready or not, here it comes.

Unpredictable weather swings, including a record amount of snow, has made for difficult going. Practices have taken place in the gym, the parking lot, the cafeteria and rented facilities, including turf fields.

“I think we’ve had four days of practice,” said Mt. Hebron coach Trish Derwart. That’s “real” practice, not patching together something for Plan B.

For the public schools, regular season games start March 21. The teams will be ready, one way or another, but with the choppy preseason, expect everyone to get off to a slow start and grow as the season progresses.

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Teams to beat

Even with Zoe Stukenberg (three-time Player of the Year) and talented defender Alex McKay having taken their games to the NCAA Division I level, Marriotts Ridge, the defending Class 3A/2A state champion, is favored to repeat as county champion.

Although the Mustangs have won three of the last four titles, they aren’t overlooking anyone.

“We never take anyone lightly,” said Amanda Brady, the team’s first-year coach. “Any given day ….”

Archrival Mt. Hebron is one squad that the Mustangs will keep a keen eye on. Tradition favors the Vikings, who have won eight of the last 12 county titles, but this year’s team is young and still developing its chemistry.

Glenelg and River Hill will factor heavily in who wins the county title. Competition is so tight that a single loss can knock a team out of championship contention.

Centennial, Howard and Atholton occasionally flirt with joining the above four teams in the top tier, but in reality don’t be surprised if everyone just ends up chasing Marriotts Ridge.

Wilde Lake, Long Reach, Reservoir, Oakland Mills and Hammond have their own little rivalry going on.

Wilde Lake’s Grayson Corbett is the county’s top returning scorer. She scored 86 goals last spring, more than anyone else, and has signed to play collegiate lacrosse at Hofstra University.

Among the private schools, Glenelg Country plays in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference where Park and Friends are expected to have strong teams again.

Chapelgate, competes in the IAAM C Conference. The Yellowjackets lost to Indian Creek in last year’s championship game. St. Timothy’s and Catholic are also contenders.

“I would say six of the eight teams in our league are going to be extremely difficult and close games,” said Chapelgate coach Colleen Norton.

From 10 to six

A rule change this year should clean up congestion around the circle on the draw. Instead of a maximum of five players from each team allowed between the restraining lines for the draw, now it’s a maximum of three players from each team. However, once the whistle blows, additional players can enter the midfield area.

“I think it is something that should have happened long before,” said Centennial coach Rachel Burton. “It will cut down on fouls off the draw and give more emphasis on the technical aspects of the draw.”

“I think it is brilliant,” said Wilde Lake coach Davia Procida. “Now we are depending on our players to make plays, rather than referees to look for empty stick checks, fouls and other calls during a draw control.”