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High School Sports

Girls soccer preseason poll for the fall 2014 season

1. McDonogh

Coach: Harry Canellakis

Last season: 14-2-2, ranked No. 1

Postseason: IAAM A Conference champion

Outlook: The Eagles bring talent and depth that is difficult for other area teams to match, which could result in a wire-to-wire No. 1 ranking for a second straight year. All-Metro junior forward Bridgette Andrzejewski is the dynamic catalyst who will take on more leadership after some significant graduation hits. The Eagles averaged a whopping 5.2 goals per game against league opponents last season.

2. River Hill

Coach: Brian Song

Last season: 14-4-1, No. 2

Postseason: Class 3A state champion

Outlook: Looking to capture a third straight state crown, the Hawks have impact players returning at both ends and new talent ready to fill in any blanks. All-Metro forward Alex Hamer and midfielder Jessie Hopkins bring versatile skills on offense, and all but one starter returns on defense. Developing team chemistry will be key because a number of players are taking on new roles.

3. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Ashly Kennedy

Last season: 13-3-1, No. 3

Postseason: IAAM A Conference final

Outlook: Skilled, athletic and confident, the Cavaliers are the team best equipped to knock off defending champion McDonogh in the IAAM. Spalding lost key players to graduation, but this year's senior class had quality playing time and the underclassmen are primed to take on bigger roles.

4. South River

Coach: John Sis

Last season: 14-4, No. 5

Postseason: Class 4A semifinals

Outlook: With experienced talent all over the field, the Seahawks are deep and cohesive, and have exactly what it takes to earn a third straight trip to the state tournament. Getting out of the demanding East region against other powerful Anne Arundel teams is always a chore, but the Seahawks have developed a knack for playing their best in the playoffs.

5. Catonsville

Coach: Gary Lynch

Last season: 17-2, No. 4

Postseason: Class 4A final

Outlook: Lynch, the longtime John Carroll coach, replaces James Fitzpatrick, who guided the Comets to their first state title game last year. Starting with explosive All-Metro forward Jennifer Nonn, Catonsville has the experienced talent to make another playoff run. Can the Comets take the final step to bring home the program's first state crown?

6. Century

Coach: Sara Figuly

Last season: 16-2-1, No. 6

Postseason: Class 2A state champion

Outlook: Century enjoyed a special connection in capturing the program's third state crown and first in 10 years. The Knights plan to use the same formula in a bid to repeat. With seven starters back and others ready to step up, they know what it takes to make another extended playoff run.

7. Broadneck

Coach: John Camm

Last season: 13-2-2, No. 9

Postseason: Class 4A East regional semifinals

Outlook: Always in the mix in Anne Arundel County and the demanding Class 4A East region, the Bruins are waiting to have their big moment. This could be the year. Hailey Small and Bri Harris provide a solid foundation. The Bruins want to play fast and aggressive, with tough defense setting the tone.

8. Severna Park

Coach: Todd Clark

Last season: 14-4, No. 7

Postseason: Class 4A East regional final

Outlook: The dominant team in Anne Arundel not long ago, the Falcons appear to have the pieces to return to their previous form. Eight starters are back, and promising newcomers are pushing hard for playing time. A defense that yielded only seven goals last season is nearly intact, and the offense has depth and versatility.

9. Centennial

Coach: Steve Baxter

Last season: 13-3-2, No. 12

Postseason: Class 3A East regional final

Outlook: With four of last year's top five scorers returning, led by senior forward Anna Mitchell, the Eagles will look to set a fast pace and challenge teams to stay close. The team is young, with only three seniors expected to make contributions, but Centennial already has valuable experience coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to eventual state champion River Hill in the region final.

10. Bel Air

Coach: Josh Clemmer

Last season: 15-3-1, No. 11

Postseason: Class 3A semifinals

Outlook: The program has reached the point that it reloads rather than rebuilds, and that's the case this season after nine players graduated. Junior goalie Andrea Sipos and senior forward Kayla Klock are quality starting points with plenty of surrounding talent. At one point in last year's state semifinal against Huntingtown, a 1-0 loss, Clemmer had eight underclassmen on the field.

11. Severn

Coach: Albert Oni

Last season: 11-9, not ranked

Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinals

Outlook: Last season, the Admirals showed they could hang with perennial power Archbishop Spalding (two 1-0 losses), and their 2-0 semifinal setback to champion McDonogh was a vast improvement from the team's regular-season meeting. Seven starters are back, led by Virginia-commit Jasmine Wright, but the team will need to grind out wins after its top three scorers graduated.

12. Arundel

Coach: Laura Coe

Last season: 14-2-1, No. 8

Postseason: Class 4A East regional semifinals

Outlook: After claiming the Anne Arundel championship with a senior-laden team in 2013, the Wildcats will need to lean on their experienced back line while waiting for promising young talent to emerge. Quickly building chemistry in the middle and finding new goal scorers will be a priority if the Wildcats want to stay among the elite in the area.

13. Atholton

Coach: Stephanie Stoutenborough

Last season: 7-5-1, not ranked

Postseason: Class 3A East regional quarterfinals

Outlook: Last season, a young team showed major potential, highlighted by a win over River Hill. While the roster is still young,, the Raiders have four seniors, and their time could be now. Led by versatile junior Jaylyn Chandler, Atholton will bring skill and pace that will give any opponent a tough time.

14. C. Milton Wright

Coach: Paul Austin

Last season: 12-5, not ranked

Postseason: Class 3A North semifinals

Outlook: Two impressive strings ended for the Mustangs last season as they were unable to win a fifth-straight Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference title or qualify for their fourth-straight state tournament. But they have plenty to build on with a good mix of veteran players and emerging underclassmen. Defense will be a foundation.

15. Notre Dame Prep

Coach: Val Teixeira

Last season: 4-5-4, not ranked

Postseason: IAAM A quarterfinals

Outlook: In his second season, Teixeira is expecting significant strides with improved depth and players who are more familiar with the system. Competition in training has been fiercely healthy with a mix of returnees (eight starters back) and promising newcomers. The Blazers want to keep the ball moving and attack to keep pressure on opponents.

Others considered: Fallston (9-7-1, not ranked); Liberty (10-4-1, No. 15); Loch Raven (16-3, No. 13); Manchester Valley (11-4-2, not ranked); Marriotts Ridge (13-3-2, No. 14); Reservoir (11-5, not ranked); Sparrows Point (14-3, No. 10)

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