1. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Bob Dieterle. Last season: 19-1-3, ranked No. 1. Postseason: Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champion.

Outlook: The Cavaliers have the area's top defense and will rely on balanced scoring as they look to defend their conference crown. Dieterle has eight returning starters, and they have been getting a steady push in practice from skilled newcomers.


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2. McDonogh

Coach: Harry Canellakis. Last season: 21-1-1, No. 2. Postseason: IAAM A Conference finalist.

Outlook: First-year coach Canellakis has a gifted group to work with, starting with a strong senior class and dynamic sophomore forward Ashley Spivey. Look for the Eagles to be organized in back, sturdy at midfield and imaginative up front, as they look to unseat defending champ Spalding.

3. Arundel

Coach: Laura Coe. Last season: 14-3-1, No. 6. Postseason: Class 4A East finalist.

Outlook: A tough 1-0 loss at Leonardtown in the regional final has the Wildcats plenty motivated. With eight starters back and quality talent up from the junior varsity, they have the potential to win a state title.

4. John Carroll

Coach: Gary Lynch. Last season: 10-5-2, No. 7. Postseason: IAAM A Conference quarterfinalist.

Outlook: The Patriots have the right mix of experienced players and promising newcomers to make an impact in the demanding IAAM. Lynch said as many as eight sophomores and freshmen could receive quality minutes.

5. Mercy

Coach: Albert Oni. Last season: 11-6-1, No. 11. Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinalist.

Outlook: With six starters back from last year's team that made a strong playoff bid, the Magic appears primed to make a run at its first league championship. Oni said his team's strength is its balance, with every player understanding her role.

6. South River

Coach: John Sis. Last season: 13-2-2, No. 8. Postseason: Class 4A East semifinalist.

Outlook: With eight starters back, the defending Anne Arundel County champs have the goods to win their first state title since 1997. Goals will be hard to come by against the Seahawks, who have a cohesive back line led by goalie Lyndse Hokanson.

7. Glenelg

Coach: Dean Sheridan. Last season: 10-7-1, No. 15. Postseason: Class 1A state champion.

Outlook: The Gladiators, who return 10 starters, have been willing to take some early-season lumps in recent years by playing one of the area's toughest schedules, but the results are undeniable: three straight state titles.

8. Severna Park

Coach: Todd Clark. Last season: 10-4, unranked. Postseason: Class 4A East semifinalist.

Outlook: Strong in back, smooth in the middle and creative up front, the Falcons have plenty of pieces for first-year coach Clark, who coached the junior varsity last year. Seven starters return, and there's plenty of new talent to fill voids.

9. River Hill

Coach: Brian Song. Last season: 16-1-1, No. 3. Postseason: Class 2A state champion.

Outlook: The Hawks took a significant graduation hit and then lost standout midfielder Anna Kim for the season with a knee injury. With strong play in back as a starting point, Song is confident there's enough talent to uphold the team's lofty standards.

10. Fallston

Coach: Alyson Cammann. Last season: 17-1, No. 4. Postseason: Class 3A state finalist.

Outlook: Gone is last year's formidable front line, leaving the Cougars to lean on defense while they find a new cast to produce offense. Help is on the way with a surplus of talent up from last year's undefeated junior varsity.

11. St. Vincent Pallotti

Coach: Michele Rodriguez-Smith. Last season: 7-8, No. 14. Postseason: IAAM A Conf. quarterfinalist.

Outlook: Most of the experience is in the middle or up front, so the Panthers hope to score plenty of goals while the defense gets settled. If all the parts fit under first-year coach Rodriguez-Smith, Pallotti should be able to stay with any team in the IAAM.

12. Eastern Tech

Coach: Kim Williams. Last season: 14-2-1, No. 5. Postseason: Class 2A state finalist.

Outlook: After losing in the state title game in heartbreaking fashion for a second straight year, the Mavericks remain determined to take the final step. A mix of returning talent and promising newcomers will try to make it happen.

13. C. Milton Wright

Coach: Paul Austin. Last season: 10-3, No. 10. Postseason: Class 4A North quarterfinalist.

Outlook: Last season ended with an early loss in the playoffs, leaving the Mustangs eager to make amends. Austin said some of last year's reserves will have their chance to shine, and a strong freshman class could make an immediate impact.

14. Reservoir

Coach: Josh Sullivan. Last season: 10-5, unranked. Postseason: Class 3A East finalist.

Outlook: After making an impressive run to the regional title game last year, can the high-powered Gators pick up where they left off and join the top echelon in Howard County?

15. Loch Raven

Coach: Anthony Menegatti. Last season: 10-4-2, No. 12. Postseason: Class 2A North finalist.

Outlook: The philosophy at Loch Raven is pretty basic: Play hard and play together, and win with balanced scoring and tight marking on defense.

OTHERS CONSIDERED: Catonsville (9-5, unranked), Centennial (7-6, unranked), Century (12-3-2, No. 13), Hereford (11-4-1, unranked), Perry Hall (9-7, unranked), Wilde Lake (12-4, No. 9)