Although Oakland Mills finished with a .500 record last year, the Scorpions never lost by more than a single goal. Many of those losses came in overtime.
Chris Marsiglia's squad finished 5-5-2 overall and 2-3-2 in Howard County, good for fifth place. Now, many of those veterans are gone, but the youngsters are hungry to keep improving the team's record.
"We were a very skilled team last year," said Marsiglia, whose squad won just three games in 1991. "The biggest difference this year is our inexperience. We have a young team, but they make up for it with their intensity and aggressiveness. Even though they're inexperienced, they could easily do better than the team last year."
Only three starters return, and they should be the hub of the team.
Leading the returnees is All-Metro keeper Kelly Naylor. A two-time All-County first-teamer, Naylor averaged 10 saves and saved 93 percent of the shots taken against her.
An All-Metro second-team pick in 1991, she notched three shutouts and allowed more than one goal only once the entire season. Her highlights included a 14-save effort against Glenelg and a 20-save game against Atholton.
The Scorpions return another fine defensive player in senior halfback Xochitl Strobehn. Aggressive with big hits, Strobehn will quarterback the defense along with Naylor.
On the forward line, the Scorpions return Angela Menegay, who should be the key in a balanced attack. Oakland Mills will need her leadership because almost everyone around her moves up from JV.
Joining Menegay on the line will be junior Amy Fry and sophomore Kathy Hurley. Juniors Ruth Pultyniewicz and Ashleigh Snell also should see plenty of action.
Juniors Nicole Cousins and Mandy Weidner could earn spots on the line or in the midfield.
Sophomore Ann Ryder already has sewn up a starting midfield position. Ryder has solid defensive skills but also can score. She could be the key to the Scorpions' transition.
Defensively, returning seniors Karissa Cook and Karen Keczmerski could earn their first starting assignments at halfback. Junior Katie Ellis will start at sweeper. Kim Arnold, who also could play in the midfield, might get the nod at a halfback spot.
Junior Ruthie Michner will back up Ellis at sweeper while junior Jenny Saffle will be the reserve goalie.
Their non-league schedule includes North Carroll, Walkersville and Towson before they open their county schedule with defending county champ Glenelg on Oct. 7.