During that time, Morgan and some of the current coaching staff began a movement to find and get the best in-state talent to commit to the school.

This year's team has nine players in addition to the freshman trio who are from the state: Bailey Bodell, Kayla Clarke, Shannon Collins, Megan Gibbons (McDonogh), Marisa Kresge (Severna Park), Maisie McCune, Kristene Mumby (Marriotts Ridge), Shade Pratt and Kristen Schmidbauer (Glenelg).

"I think that representing Maryland is a huge honor," said Gibbons, who is seeking a fifth year after suffering a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Alabama game Sept. 6. "The soccer program here is the best you could ask for, so why go anywhere else when you can have it in your own state?"

Finding talent within the state hasn't been the coaching staff's only objective, though. Morgan and crew also made a concerted effort to bring the best talent to Maryland.

In 2008, that resulted in the 14th-ranked freshman class in the nation, and this year Spivey, Barger and Prior-Brown were a part of the fifth-ranked recruiting class.

"They're in their hometown, they're solid players and they'll be a good example for all the kids growing up in the community," Oni said. "I think they're going to raise the bar. That whole program is very impressive, and … for the players themselves, I think they're in a great environment to help them accomplish their goals."

Those expectations include an ACC championship, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and an NCAA championship.

"I think that all of the goals we've set and the expectations everyone has of each other are very reasonable," Barger said. "Even though some of the expectations seem a little harsh, I think that all of those expectations and goals are set to make our team better."

rwalker@baltsun.com

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