1. River Hill

Coach: Lynn Paynter

Last season: 17-2, No. 2. Postseason: Lost in Class 3A state championship.

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Outlook: The Hawks return a senior-dominated lineup led by first-team All-Metro selection Megan Rosburg and Sara Okey. Their ability to adjust to new coach Paynter will be a key.

2. Centennial

Coach: Larry Schofield

Last season: 17-1, No. 4. Postseason: Lost in Class 3A East regional championship.

Outlook: The Eagles just continue to reload behind Howard County Player of the Year Liz Brown and Sam Brostrom, both first-team All-Metro performers. Sophomore Trish Mochapetris will be a force in the middle.

3. Mount de Sales

Coach: Monica Owensby

Last season: 19-1, No. 1. Postseason: Lost in MD/DC Private Schools championship.

Outlook: The defending IAAM A Conference champions will be the clear favorites in the league again, and will rely on hitter Hannah Schmidt for a good chunk of their offense. How fast the team adjusts to the loss of Katy Buck, The Sun's 2009 Player of the Year, will be key.

4. Fallston

Coach: Ali Winaker

Last season: 17-2, No. 8. Postseason: Lost in Class 2A East regional championship.

Outlook: The Cougars have a new coach in Winaker, and appear to be the clear favorite in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference. If they can keep everyone healthy, junior Rachel Holehouse and senior Shannon Webb should take this team deep into the playoffs.

5. Towson

Coach: Emily Berman

Last season: 17-1, No. 5. Postseason: Lost in state Class 3A semifinals.