Howard County Times

Howard County 2023 high school girls soccer season preview: Glenelg, Mt. Hebron enter as county title favorites

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Mt. Hebron girls soccer finished as the Class 3A state runner-up last season, and brings back key pieces as they look to take the next step.

Howard County features some of the Greater Baltimore Area’s best girls soccer players and several of the area’s top teams.

Glenelg and Mt. Hebron will look to repeat their deep postseason runs after falling just short in the Class 2A and 3A state championship games, respectively. Marriotts Ridge and River Hill also bring back several talented players and other teams are looking to take the next step.


The 12 Howard County teams are split among 3A South Region I and II and 2A West Region II. Howard, Marriotts Ridge and Mt. Hebron are three of five teams in 3A South Region I, while Atholton, Long Reach, Reservoir, River Hill and Oakland Mills make up 3A South Region II.

Centennial moves into 2A West Region II alongside Glenelg, Hammond and Wilde Lake. The postseason begins with regional quarterfinals on Oct. 25, while the season concludes on Nov. 16-18 with state championship games being held at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex.


Here is a look at the county teams (Note: Not all teams responded to requests for information)


Coach: Robert Thompson, second season

Last season: 4-6-1

Top returners: Senior Katie Wood (GK); junior Keagan Williams (F).

On the field: Wood provides key stability on the backend as an experienced goalie, while Williams headlines the offense after being named second team All-County last year. Seniors Noura Arnaout and Brooke Zahnen are two of the team’s captains and expected to play important roles.

Coach’s outlook: “I am very excited to get the season started and to play.”


Coach: Brandon Basilio, first season

Last season: 4-7-1


Top returners: Seniors Maya Avery and Ella McCann; sophomore Abby DeSema.

Newcomers to watch: Freshmen Elizabeth Brown and Wendy Lin.

On the field: The Eagles are a young team, but both Avery and McCann bring valued senior leadership. Simrah Khan is a younger player who is expected to help bring an added spark offensively with her speed and vision after being called up from junior varsity.

Coach’s outlook: “This team is one that really enjoys being around one another and even more when the ball is at their feet. The seniors guiding their underclassmen to success will be a pivotal point for us this season in order to compete against some of the more veteran teams within the league.”

Chapelgate Christian

Coach: Lydia Radcliffe, fifth season

Last season: 3-7


Top returners: Senior Kya Beans (M); sophomores Tavi Decker (GK), Gia Sabbat (M) and Emma Toczlowski.

Newcomers to watch: Freshmen Joy Phillips and Stefany Ortiz-Rivera.

On the field: Beans headlines the Yellow Jackets in the midfield after scoring 20 goals last season, while both Sabbat and Toczlowski each scored seven times in their freshmen seasons. Decker is back in her second year as the starting goalie after making over 300 saves as a freshman.

Coach’s outlook: “This will be the best season we have had at Chapelgate in a long time. We have a fighting shot. With Joy and Stefany coming in, it fills our hole of missing goal scorers. We have started off the season 3-1 and the two of them together have already scored seven goals. Also having Kya Beans (McDaniel Commit) returning to lead the team in the center of the field is unbeatable. Goalkeeper Tavi Decker was selected for ODP east region team and is carrying the team as a sophomore. Overall, we are playing great quality soccer.”

Stephanie Lathrop was Glenelg's leading scorer with 15 goals and eight assists through the regular season.


Coach: Vincente D’Antuono, fourth season

Last season: 14-4, Class 2A runner-up


Top returners: Seniors Stephanie Lathrop (F), Kailey Kasbeer-Betty (D), Carlin Costell (D), Bella Buscher (GK); sophomore Hannah Lindberg (F).

Newcomers to watch: Junior Elise Choe (D); freshmen Valarie Baldwin (M), Grace Sung (M), Kendal Yonker (D), Esmae Leitzel (D)

On the field: Lathrop, a Purdue commit, is one of the top attacking threats in the area excelling as both a goal scorer and facilitator. Kasbeer-Betty, Costell and Buscher, a Lindenwood commit give the Gladiators tremendous experience on the backline. After excelling as a freshman, Lindberg will provide added offensive firepower.

Coach’s outlook: “Our goal is for the experienced players to set the pace for 13 players new to the varsity level while having fun as they enjoy another high school season. Also, we want the Glenelg players to continue developing a solid program that will be relevant for many years to come.”


Coach: Kelly Shearer, first season

Last season: 0-11


Top Returners: Junior Grace Haber (D); sophomore Alexis Wright (F).

Newcomer to watch: Freshman Harmony Johnson.

On the field: Wright is back and expected to play a key role offensively after missing her freshman season due to injury. Haber provides key stability defensively, while sophomores Vanessa Turpin and Emma Gallagher will bring added depth to the midfield.

Coach’s outlook: “I’m excited about this season for this team! I think this group of girls are very motivated and energized to improve and win some games.”


Coach: Jessica McKay, second season

Last season: 8-5


Top returners: Seniors Mallory Merkey (D/M), Lucy Larson (F), Anna Keller (D) and Grace Nanni (GK); juniors Sydney Rhodes (F) and Avery Graham (D)

Newcomers to watch: Junior Olivia Butt (M); sophomores Noelle Hall (M), Alli Pickett (GK) and Raymah Quist Therson (D).

On the field: Larson and Rhodes headline the Lions’ attack bringing varsity experience. Howard has great depth and versatility in the midfield with Merkey, Butt and Hall. Senior Ciarra Polmeroy-Anderson is back healthy and one of three four captains alongside Merkey, Larson and Nanni.

Long Reach

Coach: Chris Loetell, third season

Last season: 5-6

Top Returners: Seniors Kendall Madison, Alicia Bauer, Lucy Howe, Carly Vincent and Kaylee Plecas; junior Katie Hoffman.


Newcomer to watch: Freshman Lyric Stevenson.

On the field: The Lightning bring back key veterans with five seniors each with varsity experience. Stevenson and sophomore Haley Ruddy are also expected to be in increased roles with Ruddy entering her second season as a starter. Alaina Norton played in more of a reserve role last year, but is expected to get more playing time this year as a key striker.

Coach’s outlook: “Although we lost several strong seniors I still expect us to very competitive every game and exceed our win total from last year. Our rising seniors, junior and sophomore classes are as strong as ever. I also expect we will go further in the playoffs. Our team was disappointed by our playoff exit last year and are using that as motivation this year.”

Bridget Ford was Marriotts Ridge's fourth leading scorer with two goals and six assists through the regular season.

Marriotts Ridge

Coach: Kudzai Dzimiri, second season

Last season: 12-2

Top returners: Seniors Anna Hendrickson (M) and Bridget Ford (CB).


Newcomers to watch: Junior Morayo Omitowoju; freshmen Marleigh Swidersky and Jenna Cratin.

On the field: The Mustangs will need to replace the production of 2022 Howard County Times player of the year Giavana Liberto. Hendrickson will play a key role in that after scoring nine goals and two assists last season, being named first team All-County as a junior. Sophomore Allison Custer will provide added depth and versatility to the midfield, while Ford brings key experience defensively.

Coach’s outlook: “Despite graduating nine seniors last year including the player of the year, I anticipate that this team will still compete with the best teams in the county. We’ve brought up a handful of underclassmen that will provide great depth in talent and will complement our existing juniors and seniors in our pursuit to winning counties, and hopefully, states.”

Mt. Hebron's Leen Jawhar scored 14 goals for the Class 3A runner-up VIkings last season.

Mt. Hebron

Coach: Tim Deppen, 22nd season

Last season: 13-3-1, Class 3A runner-up

Top returners: Seniors Leen Jawhar, Iva Damyanova, Emma Schwartz, Ainsley Wilson, Sheridan Stokes, Ellie Fiedler; juniors Maria Brogno, Ava Skaggs and Kaitlyn Magdar.


Newcomers to watch: Senior Olivia Hoover; junior Emily Canseven.

On the field: The Vikings bring back key pieces all over the field, including two of last year’s leading scorers in Jawhar (14 goals, two assists) and Brogno (seven goals, six assists). Damyanova and Skaggs bring further explosiveness on offense. Wilson, Magdar, Schwartz, Stokes and Fielder are all returning defensive starters from a unit that had 11 shutouts in 16 games and allowed only six total goals. Canseven, who started in goal in 2021 when Mt. Hebron won a state title, is back healthy, while Hoover is also back to 100% after an injury-riddled junior year.

Coach’s outlook: “My expectation/outlook for this group is that we pick up right where we left off in terms of defending well and shutting down other teams’ attacks and continue with the same focus and intensity that we carried throughout the season last year.”

Oakland Mills' Anica Munoz, left, fights for the ball against River Hill's Marella Virmani, right, during a game last season.

Oakland Mills

Coach: Alex Douyon, fourth season

Last season: 10-6-1, Class 2A West Region I finalist

Top returners: Seniors Brenna Carter and Paige Andrews; sophomores Anica Munoz, Almira Rafiq and Mackensey Smith.


Newcomers to watch: Senior Isabella Farro and freshman A’Kera Godfrey.

On the field: The Scorpions graduated their leading scorer, Kaity Browne, and an integral part of their defense, Rebecca Fairbanks, both first team All-County performers. Despite those losses, Andrews provides key stability in goal, while Carter, Munoz, Rafiq and Smith all add experience. Farro should also bring a spark, particularly on set pieces after missing last season due to injury.

Coach’s outlook: “We’re looking forward to improving every game while we are rebuilding. We’ve graduated some key pieces and will look forward to the challenges that come with each game.”


Coach: Darius Qualls, first season

Last season: 1-11

Top returners: Seniors Skylar Zook (GK), Nia George (M), Maya Gunning (CB), Kendall Hartman (M); junior Madi Ellis (F); sophomores Giada Monti (M) and Jamison Smith (CB).


On the field: Ellis will be relied upon to create scoring opportunities while Smith and Gunning will play key roles defensively, igniting transition opportunities. In the midfield, Monti, George and Hartman each showed their effectiveness on both ends of the field, while Zook’s leadership in goal will be integral.

Coach’s outlook: “I admire the character, commitment and teamwork from all of our Reservoir Gator players. I look forward to a more competitive outlook as we continue to play against some of the most well-coached teams in Howard County.”

River Hill

Coach: Brian Song, 19th season

Last season: 9-5-3, Class 3A quarterfinalist

Top returners: Seniors Zareen Mathew, Greta Hanson and Julia Purdue.

Newcomers to watch: Freshmen Emily Ma (M) and Charlotte Laraway (GK).


On the field: Hanson brings key experience on the backline for the Hawks after being named second team All-County last season. Sophomore Camille Nesmith will be the starting goalie this year with great size and will be an integral player.

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Coach’s outlook: “I think we should be able to compete this year as long as we stay healthy as we are not really deep this year.”

Wilde Lake

Coach: Matthew Aubin, first season

Last season: 3-10

Top returners: Tiffany Blakey, Sophia Julian, Madi Merchant and Reese Churilla.

Newcomers to watch: Madison Brock and Madison Mitchell,


On the field: The Wildecats bring back several players with varsity experience under a new coach and will look to improve from last season.

Coach’s outlook: “The team came together, this offseason through workouts, team bonding events, and study sessions. We will be ready.”