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In the first week of the girls lacrosse season many teams showed potential with key victories over county foes, in addition to Mt. Hebron, Howard and Centennial showcasing their talents in spring tournaments over the break as well.

What we learned:

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Mt. Hebron is for real. First-year coach Lindsay Menton has her team playing at a high level with big wins over Towson (13-6), North Harford (14-4) and Manchester Valley (7-6). Centennial is an up-and-comer. After narrowly losing a back-and-forth battle against North Carroll in the opening round of the North Carroll Tournament Saturday, the opposing Panthers coach credited the "leaps and bounds" the program has made from last year to this year. Glenelg Country is the favorite to repeat as IAAM Conference B champs. The Dragons opened up their season with a 17-10 win over Mercy, a rematch of last year's B title game. Glenelg Country not only brings back top performers in Alyssa Arnold, Megan Hooper, Julia Sheehan and Julia O'Loughlin, but also showcased some of its top underclassmen in its first three regular season wins.

The weeks top performers:

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Jordan Stevens, Mt. Hebron: The Florida-bound commit has looked dominant through the Vikings first three games, especially during their two big wins against Towson and Manchester Valley. In Mt. Hebron's opener against the Generals, Stevens registered five goals and two assists, then in the victory over the Mavericks tallied two goals and two assists. She did all of it while helping her team start the season with a perfect 3-0 mark.

Juliet King, Reservoir: The junior was moved from defense onto the starting midfield line this season and in the Gators season opener against rival River Hill, registered a team-high four goals — including the game-tying goal in regulation and the game-winning goal in overtime to help Reservoir claim the12-11 season-opening win over the hosting Hawks.

Caroline Kwon, Glenelg: Kwon is one of the best defenders in the county, and she showed why during the Gladiators 9-7 win over Howard in the team's season-opener. Glenelg runs a complex zone defense, and in it Kwon drew two charges called on the Lions, including a game-clinching one late that forced a turnover and solidified the Gladiators win.

Team by team breakdowns:

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Atholton: The Raiders opened up the season with a 17-0 win at Oakland Mills, with senior Meaghan Quinn leading the way, registering three goals and five assists. Atholton has over two weeks in between its next contest, but the time off might serve helpful as the extra practice time allows new coach Kelly McGrath to implement her ideas with her talented group. The Raiders have the potential to emerge as a top team in that middle tier and will have a good matchup against Reservoir on April 6 to see where they stand in their group. (STOCK: UP)

Centennial: The Eagles opened up with a 17-1 win over Hammond, as seniors Devin McIntyre and Sam Courtemanche each recorded four goals apiece in the outing. Centennial traveled to North Carroll Saturday and took on the Panthers and then Old Mill in the consolation game later that afternoon. The Eagles played North Carroll tough, but it took them a few minutes to find a groove offensively and off the draw, but once they did, they got it going, knotting up the game three separate times and even taking the lead early on the Panthers. Ultimately, Centennial came up a few goals short, taking its first loss of the season, 14-10, but bounced back in the following game and besting the Patriots, 16-10. The Eagles have a tough task in their next matchup, but also could be a good barometer of where they stand amongst the best in the county as they head to Glenelg April 6. (STOCK: UP)

Glenelg: The Gladiators opened up their season with an impressive win over host Howard on March 22. The Lions played stout defense against them, but Glenelg showed its veteran poise, not getting rattled when losing the lead, or when the game started getting chippy toward the end of the contest. Instead, the Gladiators upped their aggressiveness on defense, while getting their offense to flow and little more smoothly in the second half of action. Glenelg finished strong, netting three consecutive scores to take the season-opening win and giving long-time coach Ginger Kincaid her 300th career win. The Gladiators will play again Saturday at Western Regional Park in an early season tournament against Winters Mill and South Carroll then get back to county play April 6, as they host their first contest of the season against Centennial. (STOCK: UP)

Hammond: The Golden Bears had a rough start to the season, taking a 17-1 loss against visiting Centennial March 22. Senior Zoe Pekins notched the lone goal for Hammond, as the senior midfielder looks to have a strong final season for the Golden Bears. Hammond gets back on the turf Saturday and will try and register a couple wins on the year, as they host a tournament that pits them against Patapsco and Catoctin. (STOCK: EVEN)

Howard: The Lions opened up the year with a tight 9-7 loss to visiting Glenelg Tuesday, March 22. The Gladiators dominated possession to start, but Howard hung in with top-notch 7-v-7 defensive play and great goaltending by Sam Sagi. However, down the stretch its lack of depth showed a little bit, as fatigue may have set in as the Lions started drawing fouls and eventually garnered five yellow cards in the game, including two to star midfielder Katie Schluederberg. The Gladiators took advantage of Schluederberg's absence and tallied three consecutive goals at the end to win it. Howard then hosted Patterson Mill and Dulaney at Rockburn Park Saturday, in its annual Karl Wolf Tournament. After routing the Huskies, 23-6, Howard fell to Dulaney 14-10 after storming out to a 6-0 advantage early in the first half. Despite their 2-1 mark, the Lions show glimpses of a great team, once they hit mid-season form and start finishing games, they'll be scary. (STOCK: EVEN)

Long Reach: The Lightning kicked off their season at home against Wilde Lake and fell to the Wildecats 16-5. In the loss they showed their balance offensively, getting five goals from five different players. Despite giving up 16 goals in the loss, Vanessa Fillers registered 12 saves in the outing. Long Reach has a long hiatus before its next matchup and hope to clean up a bit defensively when they travel to Anne Arundel County's Glen Burnie in an out of county matchup. (STOCK: EVEN)

Marriotts Ridge: The Mustangs come into the year with big expectations, as they return the main core of their successful 12-2 season. They quickly earned a week-one win over Liberty on Tuesday, March 22, handily defeated the Lions 19-3. Marriotts Ridge took the week off, but is back in action this week playing in the Catonsville Tournament before getting back to another Arundel matchup against a solid South River Team on April 6. (STOCK: UP)

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Mt. Hebron: It seems like the Vikings are playing with a chip on their shoulder after getting a little underestimated entering the year. They followed up their impressive 13-6 beating of visiting Towson with a 7-6 win over perennial Carroll County power Manchester Valley in the Fight for Five Tournament, which came right after they defeated North Harford 14-4 in the opening round. Mt. Hebron is looking like a complete team, as it plays as cohesive as any group in the county. It has Florida-commit Jordan Stevens leading the way offensively, but everyone in the lineup contributes. However, what is putting the Vikings over the top is their impressive play on the defensive side, where they have let up just 16 goals in their first three games. Their biggest test comes early in the season, taking on juggernaut McDonough, who is about to set a national record for most consecutive wins for a program. (STOCK: UP)

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Oakland Mills: The Scorpions are trying to reboot the program and build toward future seasons. They had a great turnout during preseason and have stocked their roster with some solid athletes. Unfortunately their first game of the season was against last year's 3A/2A South region finalist Atholton, who return its main core from that team this season. Oakland Mills took its first lump of the year, taking the 17-0 defeat at home, but with a couple weeks of practice time under its belt are looking to regroup for its next outing Wednesday, April 6 at Arundel County's Meade. (STOCK: EVEN)

Reservoir: The Gators opened up their season with a rivalry game against River Hill on Tuesday, March 22 and the two teams did not disappoint. Junior Juliet King, who was one the Gators best defenders behind the restraining line last season, moved into the midfield for first-year coach Pamela Harrison's club and netted four goals in Reservoir's season-opener, including the game-tying and game-winning overtime goal. The midfield line looks to be a strength of the Gators this season, especially with King moved into the starting rotation, along with draw specialist Michelle Armstrong and Alex Sadzewicz, who each recorded three goals in the win over the Hawks. Reservoir gets back on the field Saturday as it takes on Churchill, but a big county test looming is an April 6 game against Atholton. (STOCK: UP)

River Hill: The Hawks took a tough loss against visiting Reservoir on Tuesday, March 22 in the team's home opener, getting narrowly edged in overtime – the second year in a row the Gators handed the Hawks an extra time defeat. But during the game, River Hill showed some flashes of a lot of growth from last season when they finished 6-9 overall. They too have a long hiatus before getting back on the field, but when they do it will be back at home hosting Hammond on Wednesday, April 6. A home win will definitely get the team's confidence back up as it dives into the bulk of its schedule. (STOCK: EVEN)

Wilde Lake: The Wildecats impressively started their season by earning a 16-5 victory at Long Reach on Tuesday, March 22. They had balanced scoring, as seven different girls got on the board and three registered at least three goals. Junior Tess Kostelec led Wilde Lake with four goals and four assists, while senior Kate Glaros followed with three goals and two assists, reiterating their statuses as some of the best midfielders in the county. Junior Jenna Oler played well in goal, registering 13 saves and allowing just five goals in her season debut. The Wildecats appear ready to try and double their win total from last year's 4-11 team. (STOCK: UP)

Glenelg Country: It always gives a team confidence when they can open up a new season by defeating the same team that they beat in last year's championship game, especially when it's by seven goals. The Dragons, after opening up their season with an eight-point win over Friends, followed it up with a 17-10 victory over Mercy, who they defeated last season to clinch the IAAM B conference title. Glenelg Country not only brings back some its best pieces from last year's squad, but have brought up some freshmen who are stars in the making. Olivia O'Leary in the midfield, Alli Bateman at attack, Addie Schmidt on defense and Avery Dyer in the goal are just some of the first-year's who are already standing out for the Dragons. (STOCK: UP)

Chapelgate: After starting the season with back-to-back losses to Frederick Christian Academy and Gerstell, the Yellow Jackets earned their first win of the season after handily defeating Mt. Carmel 12-2. Chapelgate has a lot of new talent, but first-year coach Ualani Schmitt is a perfect fit to develop the up-and-comers and establish a solid program this season in C conference. After nearly two weeks off, Chapelgate will try and pick up its second consecutive win when they host Catholic at home on Wednesday, then delves straight into a full slate of games the following week, playing Key, Oldfields and Beth T'Filoh on April 4, April 6, and April 8, respectively. (STOCK: EVEN)

mdippolito@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/@MonicaDIppolito

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