1 Severna Park -- Rebuilding is a term that Falcons coach Lil Shelton just never learned. Every year, the Falcons lose 11 or 12 seniors, and every year they pound the competition. Nothing has changed. Last year, the Falcons went 16-0, winning their second straight state Class 4A title, their seventh since 1978. They outscored the opposition, 49-2, and they did not allow a goal until the state semifinal game. The few returning players, including forward Diane Mooney, as well as a host of talent up from an unbeaten junior varsity should fill the spots vacated by players like All-Metro forward Colleen Gately.
2 Fallston -- The area's only other unbeaten team, the Cougars rolled up 15 shutouts as they finished 14-0-2. They polished off the season with the state Class 2A title, a 2-0 win over Parkside. It marked the fourth state title in seven years for the Cougars and Harford County Co-Coach of the Year Alice Puckett. The Cougars have some holes to fill, including a big one left by All-Metro forward Pam Gauss, but they return a strong group led by second-team All-Metro defender Julie Haire.
3 Roland Park -- Coach Debbie Bloodsworth's Reds (11-3) are coming off an unprecedented fifth straight Association of Independent Schools title. The Reds have appeared in the last seven AIS A Division title games. Despite losing their All-Metro midfield of Peggy Boutilier and Brent McCallister, the Reds bring back plenty of solid players on defense especially in goalie Meredith Shuey, halfback Ridgely Bennett and midfielders Lizzy Bennett and Jen Murray.
4 North Carroll -- The Panthers allowed just two goals last season. Unfortunately, one of them came in a shootout loss to Liberty in the Class 2A regional final. Remembering that game gives the Panthers plenty of incentive to build on last year's 11-2 season. Coach Denean Koontz's squad returns enough power to do that, including All-Metro midfielder Jill Ballard, high-scoring forward Amber Bosley and a host of other experienced seniors.
5 Severn -- The Admirals fell to Roland Park, 1-0, in last year's AIS A Division title game, and they'd like to go one step further this season. First-year coach Amy McConnell takes over a 7-4-5 team that returns a strong corps of seniors, including halfback Joyce Wu, who missed the title game last year with an injury, and keeper Jill Stursa. Nine seniors return who have played together for at least three years.
6 Garrison Forest -- Coach Micul Ann Morse's squad usually gets off to a slow start because school doesn't start until mid-September, but the Grizzlies are always ready by tournament time. This year, however, the Grizzlies could get off to a quick start and improve on their 6-4-3 record. They return 11 players and have a strong defense anchored by keeper Jacque Weitzel, Tina Schroeter and Katie Willett.
7 Westminster -- A year ago, the Owls lost all 11 starters and still went all the way to the state semifinal. A 12-3 finish to what could have been a rebuilding year earned Sue Hooper and Brenda Baker All-Metro Coach of the Year honors. This time, the nTC Owls return four solid seniors in goalie Andrea Kirby, forward Ann Brennan, midfielder Megan Magee and defender Nikki Cornell. The newcomers have filled in well enough already to give the Owls a huge victory over Carroll County archrival Francis Scott Key Tuesday.
8 Francis Scott Key -- Eight of 11 starters return for the defending state Class 1A champs who graduated All-Metro defender Becky Tregoning. All-Metro forward Stacey Greene (13 goals, three assists) and second-team keeper Missy Muller lead a strong contingent coming back from coach Mindi Wagner's 13-1-2 team. Early on, the Eagles appeared to have no weaknesses, but Westminster found some and beat the Eagles Tuesday. If they can tighten things up, however, the Eagles could be right back in the race in Carroll County.
9 Notre Dame Prep -- The Pirates lost 13 seniors from last year's 9-1-3 team, but they should fill in those holes nicely with talent from their AIS champion JV. Three top players return -- forward Jenny Chuasiriporn, defender Gretchen Ginter and goalie Ali Helmstetter -- giving the Pirates a sound foundation. Coach Kathleen Gower, the Baltimore City/County Coach of the Year, already likes what she sees from her players.
10 Chesapeake-AA -- The Cougars lost eight players, including two key defenders, but they should give Severna Park its best test in Anne Arundel County. Coach Jerry Raab returns some strong players in forwards Emily Plenge (11 goals, three assists), goalie Holly Colajezzi (who allowed just two goals all season) and defender Rachel Barrett.
11 Bel Air -- The Bobcats went to the state semifinals last season before Linganore eliminated them, 1-0. They finished at 11-2-2. Harford County Co-Coach of the Year Phyllis Hemmes annually loses a lot of players and she's missing seven this time, but the Bobcats always seem to reload. Solid in the defense and midfield, the Bobcats return links Joie Acosta and Carrie Carpenter as well as back Karen Wagner. The Bobcats should offer Fallston its best challenge in Harford County.
12 Centennial -- Coach Gail Purcell thinks she has her best team ever. Only three players graduated from the Howard County championship team that lost in the regional final to Linganore. Despite losing All-Metro midfielder Katrina Wolfe, the Eagles return a strong contingent, including forward Emily Ward, defender Karyn Bruns and goalie Becca Armiger. This team, which finished 10-3-1 last year, should be more balanced than last year's squad.
13 Bryn Mawr -- The Mawrtians should make a strong rebound from their shootout loss to Roland Park in the AIS tournament semifinal last fall. Coach Jeanette Budzik lost a lot of strong defenders from the 8-3-2 squad but she also returns strength everywhere else in midfielders Gailor Large and Emily Hickman, forwards Christine Lazatin and Meredith Mao and goalie Kristin Garro.
14 Dulaney -- The Lions suffered a down year last season, going 5-6. Seven starters return, including a lot of power on the line with Karen Libby, Mary Enock and Courtney Ball. Coach Melba (( Williams' team also should be strong enough defensively with Christina Chillemi and Liz Keible to challenge for the Baltimore County title.
15 Pikesville -- The Panthers reached the state Class 2A semifinal last season where they fell, 2-1, in overtime to Parkside. Ten players, including six starters, return from that 11-3 team. Coach Tim Fowler's team brings back much of its offense, including senior forward Beth Cohen (15 goals) and Stephanie Flax (five goals).
How the poll was compiled: The 1994 preseason field hockey poll was compiled by the local sports staff of The Baltimore Sun.