All eyes are on Century coming into the fall.
After going undefeated during the spring, the Knights will be under the guidance of new head coach Chris Little. Little, who will be aiming to keep the team’s momentum going, has been with the girls program in some capacity for three seasons.
The 2019 Century squad reached the state semifinals with a 16-1 record and have posted a 24-1 in their last two campaigns.
In the spring, they scored 21 goals and allowed just one and they have 19 returning players. Among that group is senior Haley Greenwade, who was named Carroll County Times Girls Soccer Player of the Year the last two seasons while combining for 31 goals in those two campaigns.
Even with a deep team with a lot of experience, Little isn’t overlooking anyone this fall.
“Carroll County will have very strong girls programs as all the schools have great coaches and players,” Little said. “Manchester Valley and Liberty are always very competitive games.”
Three county squads will be tested right away in early-season tournaments. On Sept. 4, Manchester Valley will play in the Arundel Tournament and Westminster will play in the Mercy Tournament. On Sept. 11, Century plays in the Parr Memorial Tournament at Sparrows Point High.
All public school teams will be gearing up toward the regional tournament, which begins with the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Oct. 27.
Westminster and Manchester Valley will play in the Class 3A West Region I. Century, Liberty and Winters Mill plays in Class 2A West Region I, while South Carroll and Francis Scott Key play in Class 1A North Region I.
Gerstell Academy plays in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference.
Coach: Chris Little (1st season)
Record last season: 8-0
Players to watch: Seniors Jane Brewer (D), Haley Greenwade (F), Mia Graff (G), Anna Hackett (M), Lauren Hackett (D), Caroline Little (M), Olivia Mead (D) and Lexi Rosati (M); juniors Emily Beall-Dennell (M), Alayna Gifford (D) and Melody Levia (F/M); sophomore Harli Hamlett (F).
Kickoff: “We have a very challenging out of county schedule with matches against IAAM A conference powerhouses Mercy and McDonogh,” Little said.
Century is two-time defending county champions and looking to improve upon the 2019-2020 seasons. In addition to Player of the Year Greenwade, the Knights also bring back a first team All-County goalie in Graff — who had seven shutouts last year — and second team performers in Mead, Brewer and Little.
Francis Scott Key
Coach: Scott Matteson (5th season)
Record last season: 0-8
Players to watch: Senior Ash Watkins (D).
Kickoff: “We had four seniors leave from last season. Kallie Palumbo and Emma O’Donnell were four-year varsity players and Palumbo will playing for McDaniel College this fall. We have another young team this season with only four seniors again, but I have 15 varsity players returning and a good crop of new players coming on this season. Watkins was a captain last season as a junior and will be commanding the back line again this season,” Matteson said.
Coach: Danielle Prietz (8th season)
Record last season: 5-3
Players to watch: Seniors Grace Culver (M), Val Davis (D), Lauren Mondor (G) and Jordan Townshend (M).
Kickoff: Liberty has a great balance of seniors and juniors, while also adding a talented group of sophomores to the team this year.
“We have a very experienced defense that combines a senior goalie with four senior defenders. The midfield is laced with speed and strength. The midfield is a set of players that will play different roles in multiple formations. Offensively we will be attacking with speed, this team is geared for transition. The coaching staff is very excited to be back on the field with this talented set of players,” Prietz said.
Coach: Hogan Allen (3rd season)
Record last season: 4-3-1
Players to Watch: Seniors Taylor Dadds and Taylor Shank; junior Casey Meredith.
Kickoff: Shank and Dadds return after making first team All-County in the spring. Both players accumulated two goals and an assist and Meredith is a three-year starter.
Manchester Valley enters the season with a ton of young talent, Including some new faces. Sophomore Kourtney Hill will help anchor the defense with freshman goalie Emma Lander. Freshman Caitlyn Shank will balances out the midfield.
Coach: Andrew Isacco (12th season)
Record last season: 5-3
Players to watch: Seniors Madelyn Boyce (F), Isabelle Gapen (M) and Payton Wenczkowski (M); junior Lauren Chesney (D); sophomores Callie Chesney (D) and Maddie Witter (M).
Kickoff: Lauren Chesney is back after making first team All-County, helping lead the team’s defense on the way to allowing just 1.8 goals against per game. Wenczkowski was a second team All-County performer as a junior.
Coach: Danielle Midkiff (4th season)
Record last season: 3-5
Players to watch: Seniors Syd Hetrick (G) and Taylor Speigle (M); junior Ella Boussy (S).
Kickoff: Despite posting an under .500 record, the Owls had one of the county’s top defensive units during the spring. The team allowed just 1.1 goals per game and, among its season highlights, earned shutout wins over Liberty and South Carroll.
Coach: Denny Snyder (10th season)
Record last year: 4-3-1
Players to watch: Kiyomi Mastro, Amanda Scholze and Alex Powell.
Kickoff: “Every match is going to be the game of the year. We graduated a lot of seniors so we are going to take it one game at a time and try to get better as a team. I am cautiously optimistic about this team for the upcoming season. They have all worked hard in the off-season and they are coming together as a team,” Snyder said.
Mastro and Powell each had three goals in the spring, while Scholze added three assists.
Coach: Giuliano Celenza (7th season)
Record last season: 3-5
Players to watch: Seniors Natalie Leonardson (M) and Kylie Redman (M).
Kickoff: “We are really young. I’m probably going to end up starting two sophomores and four or five freshmen. I have two or three starting seniors,” Celenza said.
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Gerstell, playing its third season in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference, opens on Aug. 31 at home against Annapolis Area Christian. League play begins Sept. 13 at St. Mary’s.