In recent years, two teams have had a stranglehold on local girls lacrosse -- Loch Raven and Severna Park.
Both are two-time defending state champs, Loch Raven in Class 2A-1A and Severna Park in Class 4A-3A. Both won countless state/regional titles before the state sanctioned true state championships for the first time in 1990.
But in girls lacrosse, the streak is the thing.
Loch Raven has the longest active winning streak, 52 games, after a 20-4 victory over Centennial on Tuesday. The Raiders haven't lost since 1987.
Severna Park's 57-game streak was ended by Chesapeake last spring in their regular-season meeting. The Falcons rebounded quickly and beat Chesapeake in the Class 4A-3A state title game, 9-5.
The Falcons should face their toughest test from Annapolis, and Chesapeake and Old Mill could also be competitive in the Friendship Division of Anne Arundel County. Southern and Broadneck should battle in the Bay Division. Although they're not in a conference, St. Mary's should also be tough in Anne Arundel County.
In Baltimore County, Loch Raven should run away with the Class 2A-1A division. Perry Hall and Dulaney should contend for the Class 4A-3A division title; Catonsville has an outside shot.
Mount Hebron faces a fight from Centennial and Glenelg in Howard County, but should hold onto its top spot. In Harford County, Class 2A-1A state finalist Fallston already has beaten top rival Joppatowne and should cruise to the county title. Liberty and North Carroll are favored in Carroll County.
In the Association of Independent Schools, defending champion Roland Park takes on runner-up Notre Dame Prep and Bryn Mawr in the A Division East. In the West, Seton Keough's top rivals are Garrison Forest and St. Paul's. In the B Division, John Carroll will try to defend its title against Park and Oldfields.
G; Here is a look at The Baltimore Sun's preseason top 15:
1 LOCH RAVEN
The Raiders finished 1991 with the No. 1 ranking, and they haven't lost a game during coach Wendy Galinn's four years. This season, the defense needs work after losing four starters, but the Raiders return a powerful attack and blazing speed in the midfield. Senior center Suzanne Waire, the only non-senior on last year's All-Metro team, and junior Michelle DeJuliis, also a three-year starter, are among the top players in the metro area. Shelley Klaes, Robyn Disney and Heather Kormanik also return on attack.
2. SEVERNA PARK
Questions arose about Carin Peterson's Severna Park team last season, when graduation and injuries left the Falcons younger than usual. But they won 14 games and a fifth straight title. The midfield has senior Nicki Cecere, junior Stephanie Roberts and sophomore Erin Wylde -- all exceptionally talented players -- and the attack includes juniors Liz Warfield and Gabrielle Cormier and sophomore Tressa Campbell.
3. MOUNT HEBRON
The Vikings return 10 starters from last year's 11-3 squad that fell to Loch Raven in the state playoffs for the second year in a row. With so much talent back, coach P. J. Kesmodel is hoping his squad can break through and reach the title game. The Vikings have no problems on attack, where four of the top five scorers return, including seniors Megan Drake (37 goals) and Andrea Cuzmanes (26), a second-team All-Metro pick.
4. ROLAND PARK
The Reds finished 9-4-2 last year en route to the AIS A Division championship. Those four losses came by a total of five goals, and the Reds should be even better this year. Wendy Kridel, The Sun's Coach of the Year last year, has almost everybody back. On attack, senior Melissa Bristow (39 goals) leads the way.
5. SETON KEOUGH
Coach Sue Behringer's squad finished 15-3 last year before falling in the AIS tournament quarterfinals. It returns plenty of power, led by seniors Erin Welsh (52 goals, 36 assists) and Helen Marie Meiser (34, 22).
The four-time defending Harford County champions surprised almost everybody by reaching the Class 2A-1A state title game last year. Coach Nancy Ferguson returns seven starters from that 14-1 squad, including junior playmaker Cindy Jenkins, who led the county in scoring, and fine senior goalie Tammy Kloiber.
7. BRYN MAWR
The Mawrtians have a history of splendid seasons, but they usually peak before or early in the AIS tournament. Last year's 11-2-1 squad fell to Roland Park in the semifinals. After losing nine starters, however, the Mawrtians may start off slowly enough to peak at the right time. Seniors Antre Gibbs, a speedy center, and Jenny German are back on attack.
8. NOTRE DAME PREP
The Pirates lost 9-8 to Roland Park in the AIS title game last year to finish a 7-4 season. Notorious for slow starts, the Pirates may struggle a little after losing two key line defenders. Mary Bartel's squad always has a strong goalie, and returning starter Meg Cortezi is no exception.
Annapolis opened its bid to join Anne Arundel County's upper echelon with an 8-4 victory over Broadneck on Tuesday. The Panthers return 12 players, including senior offensive spark plugs Cory Harmon (38 goals, 10 assists) and Ali Nadich. Third-year coach Sue Chittim's team has a strong defensive unit.
For the first time in sixth-year coach Linda Kilpatrick's tenure, the Bulldogs had a losing record and failed to make the playoffs last year. Nine starters are back, including senior attackmen Talaya Barnett (28 goals, four assists) and senior midfielder Liza
Bigger (28 goals). The entire defense is back.
11. ST. MARY'S
With nine seniors back from last year's 10-5 squad, coach Tina Lewnes' St. Mary's team is poised for another winning season. Unfortunately, the conference-less Saints have nowhere to go in the postseason. The speedy Saints from Annapolis return a veteran attack that includes senior Kirsten Bowman (30 goals, 10 assists).
A blend of experience and talented newcomers could make Severn School a team to be reckoned with this season in the AIS. Cathy Carper's Admirals, who finished 10-3-2 last year before bowing to eventual champion Roland Park in the semifinals of the AIS tournament, return senior scoring ace Anne Schorreck (35 goals, 10 assists).
The Gladiators should take a big leap in the standings this season from their 5-7 finish a year ago. Five of those losses came in overtime. Coach Ginger Kincaid has strength all over the field interspersed with talented youngsters. They have lots of speed in the midfield. Seniors Katie Stermer and Sarah Jones lead the attack, while seniors Michelle Hooker and Alex Sellner return at defense wing.
First-year coach Leeann Shuck and her assistant, Laura Elsey, were members of Broadneck's 1987 state/regional championship team, and the duo brings a talented group into the 1992 season. Unlike many teams in Anne Arundel County, the Bruins have a proven goalie in senior Paige Bowman, but she'll share time early with senior Wendy Baxter.
15. PERRY HALL
The Gators graduated only three players from the 9-2 squad that reached the Class 4A-3A semifinals, but injuries have hit them hard in preseason. If they can rebound from those injuries, the Gators should make a run at returning to the final four. Junior midfielder Kerri Johnson, a second-team All-Metro pick, leads the offense.