Defending IAAM A Conference champion: No. 4 Archbishop Spalding
With nine starters back and an influx of new talent, No. 1 McDonogh has an opportunity to make it a special season.
The Eagles have added motivation from last year's heartbreaking loss to Archbishop Spalding in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title game and a heavy duty nonconference schedule to prime them when league play opens.
Bridgette Andrzejewski, Anna Bialczak -- both All-Metro first-team picks last year -- and a healthy Casey Martinez gives the Eagles tons of offensive firepower, and there's talent and organization in back to keep opponents down.
A number of teams will challenge, starting with defending league champion Spalding, which always finds a way to stay in games and grind out wins. Former St. Mary's standout player Ashly Kennedy replaces coach Bob Dieterle, who led the Cavaliers four titles in 11 seasons.
How well the Cavaliers adjust to Kennedy's attacking, high-pressure style will determine how far the team will go. All-Metro first-team goalie Cassidy Babin gives the Cavaliers a calming presence in back and guarantees the team will stay in games.
Kennedy is one of three new coaches in the league, with No. 12 Notre Dame Prep turning to Val Teixeira, who has extensive coaching experience in club ball and is the director of the Premier Soccer Club. At Severn, Albert Oni takes over with a wealth of coaching knowledge. He enjoyed consistent success at Mercy, went on to become an assistant coach with the women's team at Towson University and then was head coach of the Chesapeake Charge (Women's Premier Soccer League).
No. 14 John Carroll has six starters returning, led by senior midfielder Sophie Centi, and Bryn Mawr has one of the league's most dangerous forwards in senior Danielle Hogarth.