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Fall Sports Previews: 3 things to watch for girls soccer in 2019

Winters Mill's Amanda Scholze moves the ball downfield while covered by Liberty freshman Jordan Townsend during the first half of their game in Eldersburg Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.
Winters Mill's Amanda Scholze moves the ball downfield while covered by Liberty freshman Jordan Townsend during the first half of their game in Eldersburg Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Carroll graduated a variety of talent from the 2018 season, but a two-time Carroll County Athletic League champion is back, and another squad has a new coach.

Winters Mill returns with a solid defensive core to defend its county titles despite graduating a few first-team all-countians that were crucial to the squad’s success.

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Manchester Valley will have a new coach at the helm this season with Hogan Allen, who takes over for Denise Hoff. Hoff coached the Mavericks for three seasons and the team went 22-23-3 overall, and 8-8-1 in county play during that time.

The Mavericks advanced to the Class 3A West Region final last fall, the farthest of any Carroll team. The county returns a solid foundation of veteran athletes prepared to shake things up this season.

Here are three things to watch for girls soccer this fall:

Falcons prepared to defend county title once again

Two years ago, Winters Mill won its first county title since 2009 and earned a trip to the Class 2A state semifinals. Last fall, the went 4-1-1 in Carroll County Athletic League play to capture a second straight title, but fell to Liberty in the opening round of the Class 2A West playoffs in penalty kicks.

The team saw an early-season deficit that resulted in two ties and three losses prior to turning things around and have compiled a 10-1-1 record against county foes in the regular season over the last two years. Winters Mill has had the last three Times Players of the Year — Anna Diffendal won twice in 2016 and 2017, and Erin Snyder was awarded the honor in 2018.

Snyder, who graduated this past spring and headed to York College for soccer, led the Falcons with 18 points (seven goals, four assists). Kyla Holt, the team’s scoring leader, also graduated, but returning is first-team all-county defender Megan Paschall, who helped anchor the team’s defense as a junior.

With a solid core of the Falcons’ defense returning, the team should have an impact in defending their county title for a third straight season.

Liberty likely to be a balanced threat

Liberty returns eight starters from last year’s squad that finished third in the county behind Winters Mill and Westminster. The Lions defeated the Falcons and tied the Owls in the regular season. They got past Winters Mill a second time in the Class 2A West playoffs.

Kasey Lamb, a first-team all-countian graduated after leading the Lions with 22 points (seven goals, eight assists). Two of those eight returning starters are first-team all-countians Grace Maciejewski and Caitlin Mulholland. Maciejewski helped the Lions post five shutouts as a junior and Mulholland led the county with a 92.0 save percentage in goal.

The Lions lost just five regular-season games last fall, and four were by one goal. Their roster boasts 12 seniors, 10 juniors and one sophomore who should equally contributed to the team’s balanced front.

Fresh talent slated to emerge across county

The 2018 Times all-county first team boasted 16 athletes and 12 of them graduated. Maciejewski, Mulholland, Manchester Valley senior Kenzie D’Anthony, and Paschall are the lone four athletes returning from that group.

Seven of Carroll’s top 10 scorers from 2018 graduated and Winters Mill lost three athletes from the first team. Westminster took second in the county behind the Falcons last fall and graduated four first-team all-countians.

Briana Bush, a Manchester Valley grad, led the county in scoring with 27 points, and the opportunity for fresh faces to emerge as some of Carroll’s top talent is up for grabs. Francis Scott Key’s Marina Weller, who led the Eagles with 18 points last year, and Liberty junior Maia Burger chipped in to the Lions’ offense with 12 points.

Century lost two of its top scorers in Megan Snyder and Emily Rusk, both members of the 2018 all-county team. South Carroll will be without leading scorer Megan O’Neill and defender Sarah Langille, who led a defense that allowed just 14 goals all season.

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Look for sophomores Haley Greenwade (Century) and Jordan Townsend (Liberty) to give their respective teams a boost on offense this year.

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