New faces and burgeoning identities are common themes for Harford girls lacrosse this season.
Aberdeen boasts a new, experienced staff following a down year. This season, in part, will be a way to establish a new identity and culture. The same goes for first-year coach Chase Koraun at Edgewood. And while John Carroll lacks any seniors, it does have a strong four-girl junior class.
Bel Air has nearly a decade of experience at the helm but a bevy of new faces who will see significant minutes. That group will be led by the Bobcats’ only senior, midfielder Brooke Keesey.
The outlier of the county is North Harford, which returns 13 seniors and 10 starters.
Kendall Fortune, a senior midfielder committed to West Chester University highlights that group after leading the Hawks in draw controls (79) and goals (47) a year ago. Jody Cadden was a close second on the stat sheet with 49 draw controls and 26 goals. The fellow senior midfielder is committed to Millersville.
According to area coaches, C. Milton Wright and Fallston should return to the top of the conference, both coming off double-digit-win seasons. The Cougars have finished as 1A state runners-up each of the last two seasons and has sights set on taking the next step, though they’ll have to navigate heavy graduation losses. Bel Air and North Harford are the projected next tier in the standings.
Here’s a look around the county:
Coach: Bridgette Morrissey, first season
Last season: 2-13, regional semifinalist
Top returners: Seniors Anella Tabafunda (M) and Ayushi Patel (D); junior Jenna Stevens (M).
Newcomers to watch: Freshman Ellie Bienkampen (G).
Team outlook: “Aberdeen High School had a losing season in 2022 with only a few wins. This year, the team has a new coaching staff with 15+ years of experience, and many new players with lacrosse experience. We will be working hard to turn around the program.”
Coach: Kristen Barry, ninth season
Last season: 9-6, regional finalist
Top returners: Senior Brooke Keesey (M); sophomores Paige Feick (M) and Riley Manzo (M).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors Carrie Ermentrout (M) and Maggie Ermentrout (D); sophomore Darby Doehring (M).
Coach’s outlook: “Our team has a lot of new faces this year, but hungry to prove themselves and ready to compete with the best in the county. Positive team energy, grit and willingness to learn all characterize this 2023 team.”
C. Milton Wright
Coach: Faye Brust, fifth season
Last season: 10-3, regional finalist
Top returners: Seniors Katie Rosko (M) and Cailin Hetrick (M); junior Shelby Sullivan (A).
Newcomers to watch: Sophomores Sam Wolfkill (A), Emma Jankowiak (A) and Alix Bramble (G).
Coach’s outlook: “This year we will be looking to fill in our midfield and draw as we graduated a lot in that position. Our attack is already working well together and we are building off of our successes from last year. Our defense will be solid as we have a few seniors on the defensive end who will lead our newcomers. I am excited to see what so many new faces can bring to our program and where we will go this year.”
Coach: Chase Koraun, first season
Last season: 4-8, region quarterfinalist
Top returners: Seniors Candace Cole (A), Alanna Miller (D) and Temi lawal (D); sophomore Moezella Robinson (M).
Newcomers to watch: Sophomore Lilly Smeltzer (D); freshmen Molly Rohner (D), Pyper Crothers (G), Amyriah Camp (M) and Mallory Hax (M).
Coach’s outlook: “We are a team looking to figure out our identity. We have experience and a boat load of youth. We look forward to seeing how they can blend together.”
Coach: Maddie Palko, fourth season
Last season: 12-3, 1A state finalist
Top returners: Seniors Ally Schromsky (M) and Hailey Johnson (D); juniors Ava Lambros (A) and Ayla Galloway (M); sophomore Sydney Grafton (A).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors Cameron Rohner (G), EK Roeder (G), Kyleigh O’Mailey (A) and Delaney O’Mailey (M); sophomore Natalie Wirth (M); freshman Natalie Schromsky (M).
Coach’s outlook: “With two injuries in preseason (Anna Miller and Harper Canatella), and graduating 13 seniors, we have several positions available. We are looking to see who will rise to the occasion and fill those open spots. We’re excited to have Ally Schromsky and Sydney Grafton back from their injuries, and we’re excited to see them healthy and playing well on the field. Ultimately, who can pick up our style of play and mesh with the team defensively or offensively will determine who goes into those spots. This group has unlimited potential, but their success will ultimately be determined by how well they gel as a team, push each other to be better, and work through the challenges the season will bring.”
Coach: Katie Freeman, fifth season
Last season: 9-5, regional finalist
Top returning players: Seniors Sophia Albi (M), Ashley McElwain (S), Eve Hamilton (A/M), Caroline Proctor (A) and Maggie D’Angelo (D); juniors Jordan Strang (M), Samantha Bianchi (D) and Cece Kerarney (D); sophomores Lauren Kunes (M) and Emma Rose (M/D).
Newcomers to watch: Senior Megan Trostle (G); sophomores Nina Humpf (A) and Annika Devos (G); freshman Sadie Atkinson (A).
Coach’s outlook: “We will rely on the strength of our returning starters as well as some new players that we’ve added to this year’s team. Our goal is always to be competitive in every game we play, improve upon last year’s results, and hopefully compete for a regional championship.”
Havre de Grace
Coach: Mel Rimel-Holloway, sixth season
Last season: 8-7
Top returners: Seniors Allie Greeley (G) and Brooke Bailes (A); junior Kayleigh Bolen (D); sophomores Natalie Burton (A) and Elle Gasdia (A/D).
Newcomers to watch: Freshmen Sophie Molyneaux (M) and Sophia Holloway (D).
Coach’s outlook: “This lacrosse season will be a growing year for the Havre de Grace Warriors girls lacrosse program. Each player, returning and new, brings their own dynamic to the team. This year, the Warriors will work on improving skills, being good teammates, and growing the love of the game. The Warriors will work; both mentally and physically, for a positive outcome, win or lose. We are wishing all teams the best of luck this season!”
Coach: Laura Seifert, first season
Last season: 2-14 overall
Top returners: Juniors Natalie Kelly (M), Lydia Ward (M), Julia Ward (G) and Caitlyn Durchanek (A).
Newcomers to watch: Freshmen Lizzie Hanifee (M) and Pieper McCue (M).
Coach’s outlook: “With the core group of returning Juniors and some new young talent, we are looking forward to seeing a creative, fast-paced team this season. We expect our underclassmen to step up each game’s challenge and our upperclassmen to lead by example. We’re excited to see a new style of play and strategy from this team.”
Coach: Patty Murdy, sixth season
Last season: 8-4, regional semifinalist
Top returning players: Seniors Kendall Fortune (M), Jody Cadden (M), Alyssa Edwards (G), Grace Underwood (D), Claire McMahon (A), Riley Stoneback (M), Reese Lynch (M) and Lindsey Bittner (D); sophomores Reagan Cadden (D), Lena Rockhill (A) and Claire Moffitt (M).
Newcomers to watch: Junior Caroline Nicholson (A/M).
Coach’s outlook: “North Harford is looking at a very competitive and rewarding 2023 season. With 13 solid returning seniors and 10 returning starters we anticipate depth and strong leadership at every position. We have two senior veteran goalies Alyssa Edwards and Reilly Holmstrom who will help lead a strong defensive unit. In addition to many offensive threats on the team, Kendall Fortune will return to lead the attack.”
Coach: Rob Persing, second season
Last season: 4-9
Top returners: Seniors Caitlyn Welker (M/D) and Taylor Brown (G); juniors Addie Harmel (M), Ava Lopano (M), Hannah Persing (A/D) and Hannah Kries (A/M); sophomores Gabby Eraso (M/D), Payton Chase (D/M) and Maddie Tunney (A).
Newcomers to watch: Freshman Sam Chittum (M/A).
Team outlook: “We hope to improve on our record from last year. I think the girls have improved since last year and are more determined to win more games and go to states.”
Coach: Mary Dunman, 11th season
Last season: 10-4, regional champions and state semifinalist
Top returners: Senior Emily Baker (D), Quinn Distler (D) and Taylor Young (M); juniors Samantha Peterson (G) and Sarah Murrell (M).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors Emma Emory (D) and Ella Schwacke (M); freshmen Mckenna Elliot (M) and Sarah Kilby (M).
Coach’s outlook: “Our coaching staff is proud of our returning players. They have one thing on our minds: get back to the semifinals. We will use the season to work on what we need to make it back to the semifinals and succeed.”