As the girls lacrosse season gets into gear, here is a look at how the Harford County varsity teams are shaping up.
Head coach: Katie La Rue (first year)
2012 record: 10-5
Top returning players: Kayla Gardner, Sr., (Attack); Montaiju Galmore, Sr., (Defense); Emma Boyson, Sr., (Defense); Morgan Tucker, Sr., (Attack)
Key newcomers: Natalie Muneses, Jr., (Midfield); Abbey Sasdelli, Jr., (Midfield)
Outlook: "We have a great set of girls this year, everyone is devoted to making this team the best they can be and I know we can do really well this year," Eagles coach La Rue said.
Head coach: Shannon Esposito (third year)
2012 record: 9-8
Top returning players: Cassidy Jones, Jr., (Attack); Shannon Williams, So., (Midfield); Morgan Hollenback, So., (Midfield)
Key newcomers: Natalie Neff, Fr., (Defense); Katie Clelland, Sr., (Attack)
Outlook: Coach Esposito says this year's Bobcats' team is "Young but talented, with a very good group of senior leaders on the team."
C. Milton Wright
Head coach: Brent Ritz (eighth year)
2012 record: 14-5
Top returning players: Abby Smucker, Sr., (Midfield); Sarah Piazza, Sr., (Midfield); Heather McKee, Sr., (Goalie); Holly McKee, Sr., (Defense); Liz Burgee, Sr., (Defense); Brooke Williams, Sr., (Attack); Katie Burgee, Jr., Midfield); Maggie Gallagher, Jr., (Midfield); Lauren Haggerty, Jr., Midfeld); Mackenzie Cunningham, So., (Defense)
Key newcomers: NA
Outlook: "We return nine of 12 starters this season. We will look to compete for another UCBAC title and a very talented region with Hereford, North Harford and Towson awaits us in the playoffs," Mustangs coach Ritz said. "We are once again hoping to return to the state tournament and this time come away with a title. We have several players with extensive playoff experience and will look to them to lead our team this year. Players are working hard to find their new roles as we seek to develop a unified team identity. As we have just progressed through our scrimmages, several promising new faces have emerged that we hope can strengthen our team." The Mustangs main players to watch are Smucker (53 goals, 28 assists, 55 ground balls), Gallagher (28 goals, 5 assists, 25 ground balls) and defender Cunningham.
Head coach: Carolyn Wiland (11th year)
2012 record: 5-7
Top returning players: Kara Andrews, Sr., (Midfield); Ladae Boykin, Jr., (Attack); Alyssa Rankin, So., (Midfield); Caitlin Rankin, So., (Midfield); Savannah Kerr, Jr., (Goalie)
Key newcomers: Shania Stamper, Jr., (Defense)
Outlook: "We are looking forward to a very exciting season," Rams coach Wiland said. "We only lost four seniors last year so the majority of the team is back, stronger, faster and hungrier than ever."
Head coach: Michael McTeague (eighth year)
2012 record: 14-4-1
Top returning players: Lindsay Summers, Sr., (Attack); Logan Gasior, So., (Defense)
Key newcomers: Rachel Barile, Sr., (Attack); Becky Street, So., (Midfield); Kayla Reilly, Jr., (Midfield); Megan Reilly, Jr., (Defense); Megan Shock, Jr., (Midfield)
Outlook: "It will be a rebuilding year as we lost 18 seniors from last year's team. We have five returning players, with only one being a starter," Cougars coach McTeague said. "Our talent is balanced and if we work hard on playing together, reducing mistakes and being able to play ball control, we have a great opportunity to be successful."
Head coach: Emma Little (third year)
2012 record: 8-3
Top returning players: Brittany Bowman, Sr., (Defense); Gabby Spalt, Sr., (Attack); Becca Williams, So., (Center)
Key newcomers: Courtney Poole, Fr., (Attack); Lexi Chavis, Jr., (Defense)
Outlook: Tech graduated 11 seniors at the end of last season, but there is excitement to have a young team that is ready to play, according to Cobras coach Little. "We'll look to senior Bowman to lead the defense and senior Spalt to lead the offense on the field," Little said. "This year's team is a tight knit group and they work together with a strong sense of trust in each other."
Havre de Grace
Head coach: Sarah Scholl (eighth year)
2012 record: 9-6
Top returning players: The Warriors have 10 returning starters, but coach Scholl says, "I am choosing not to recognize individual players at this time, but rather the team as a whole for their hard work and dedication."
Key newcomers: NA
Outlook: "Losing only one senior last season has made it an easier transition for us as we move forward in preparation for this season," Scholl said. "We have moved up to the Chesapeake Division and are looking to use the new challenges we will face as a way to improve as a program. I am confident in my girls and know they will continue to work hard and as the season progresses."
Head coach: Krystin Porcella (ninth year)
2012 record: NA
Top returning players: Jordan Clarke, Sr., (Defense); Caroline Sdanowich, So., (Defense); Emory Gaeng, So., (Attack); Grace Richards, So., (Attack); Kara Klages, So., (Midfield); Mackenzie Reese, Sr., (Midfied); Caroline Haggerty, Sr., (Midfield); Haley Kyger, Jr., (Midfield)
Key newcomers: NA
Outlook: The 2013 Patriot team has a good balance of seniors and underclassmen who have game experience, according to coach Porcella. "This year's team will be more focused on the midfield with depth and speed," Porcella said. "Seniors Clarke and Hannah Griffith will anchor the defense while senior midfielders Haggerty and Reese, along with junior Kyger and sophomore Klages will lead the speedy midfield. Sophomores Richards and Gaeng will run the offense. Every game in the IAAM A Conference is tough, so the Patriots will rely on its depth and experience to push the ball in transition looking for quick opportunities to score."
Head coach: Valerie Costantino (fifth year)
2012 record: 5-7
Top returning players: Christina Miller, Sr., (Attack); Katelyn Fabi, Sr., (Midfield); Diamond Gibbs, Sr., (Defense); Rodneisha Scott, Jr., (Midfield); Felicia Okoye, Sr., (Goalie); Emily Murphy, Jr., (Attack)
Key newcomers: Jillian Graul, So., (Midfield); Trenae Thomas, Jr., (Midfield); Victoria Mantz, Jr., (Midfield)
Outlook: Joppatowne has a strong core group of players from last season, as well as some young talent new to the squad, according to Mariners coach Costantino. The team is excited for the competition and they have a positive outlook for the season.
Head coach: Tara Buecker (seventh year)
2012 record: 10-5
Top returning players: Katie Clark, Jr., (Attack); Hannah Russo, Sr. (Defense); Leah Monticello, Sr., (Midfield); Emily Clark, Sr., (Midfield); Morgan Knox, Sr., (Attack); Audrey Byrd, Sr., (Midfield/Defense); Maddy Dolinar, Sr., (Midfield); Haley Ensor, Jr., (Goalie); Katie Owens, Sr., (Defense)
Key newcomers: No real newcomers, but watch for junior midfielders Sophie Crowther and Nicole Latgis to step up at the varsity level this year.
Outlook: "We have a strong core group coming back this season and we have a lot of experience and talent on our roster," Hawks coach Buecker said. "The senior group will be looked to be smart leaders on the field and to play a focused and aggressive game up and down the field. To be a competitive team again this year we need to continue to believe in each other on attack and to support one another on defense through solid communication and team defense. Our midfielders will need to continue their determined work ethic between the restraining lines."
Head coach: Jess Smith (seventh year)
2012 record: 7-11
Top returning players: Allie Poust, Sr., (Attack); Brittie Andrews, Sr., (Attack); Amy Bednarek, Sr., (Attack); Ronelle Bautista, Sr., (Defense); Gabby Vujanic, Jr., (Midfield); Sam Herman, So., (Midfield)
Key newcomers: EJ Karwatka, Fr., (Attack); Sarah Alders, Fr., (Attack)
Outlook: After graduating five key starters in 2012, the Huskies look to build on the talent and experience of a core of six seniors, plus several experienced underclassmen in the midfield." The 2013 team is eager to learn and with a strong group of sophomores and freshmen, promises to show a great deal of development throughout the season," Huskies coach Smith said. "The Huskies hope to continue to challenge for a regional championship in 2013."