1 Fallston -- The defending Class 1A-2A state champion Cougars have nine regulars returning from their 17-0 season in 1994. This year, Nancy Ferguson's team makes the jump to Class 3A-4A. Senior striker Beth Blasi, last season's Harford County Player of the Year, leads a potent attack up front. She has scored 37 goals and added 20 assists over the past two seasons and has Courtney Benner (17 goals, eight assists last season) to work with again up front. The defense yielded 14 goals in 17 games last season with returning goalie Emily Weibel recording nine shutouts.
2 McDonogh -- The Eagles are coming off a 21-0-2 season that saw them dominate the Catholic League for a second straight year. However their season is off to a shaky start. The Eagles forfeited their season opener to Loch Raven Thursday. Because of disciplinary action, the Eagles did not have enough players to field a team. Things should be a lot tougher this season for the Eagles with 10 players gone -- including the majority of their defense. Senior striker Laurie Schwoy -- a two-time All-American and The Baltimore Sun's 1994 Player of the Year -- is back and she brings with her lofty offensive numbers (69 goals, 23 assists in 1994). Senior Julie Baker, a first-team All-Metro choice last season, also returns at center midfield.
3 Centennial -- See capsule.
4 Perry Hall -- Last year's state runner-up in Class 3A-4A lost only one starter and is clearly the class of Baltimore County's Division I. There may not be a team in the area that has more experience and talent throughout the middle of the field. Stephanie Koman returns in goal. Lisa Goddard is back to sweeper with Susan Fortkiewicz in front of her at stopper. Jessa Phoebus scored nine goals and added 16 assists at center midfield and Aubrey Schaeffer, a transfer from Mercy, is a welcome addition up front.
5 Arundel -- Coach Paul Yannuzzi has 15 players returning from last year's 10-2-1 team. The Wildcats were a game away from winning the Arundel County championship last season and that's their aim this season. The senior-laden Wildcats are led by striker Kristen Smeby (eight goals, six assists in 1994) and midfielders Christy Nichols and Sally Schoenfeld. Junior forward Jill Jones is expected to make a big impact up front.
6 Loch Raven -- A strong nucleus returns from last year's 12-2 team that was upset by Hereford in the regional. Anthony Menegatti is taking over the coaching chores from his father, Lou, who's recovering from bypass surgery. The strength is in back with junior sweeper Nicole Froman, a first-team All-Metro selection. Having her back there has enabled junior Susan Giannacinni to move up to striker after playing defense last season. Senior Bridget Harthausen is the mainstay at midfield with senior Terri Hendricks in goal.
7 C. Milton Wright -- Peter Griffiths, an assistant coach with the Mustangs last year, takes over for Ken Dawson and has a lot of returning players to work with. Everything starts from the back for the Mustangs with senior sweeper Miranda James, a converted striker from last season who earned second-team All-Metro status. Senior striker Becky Gerhart had at least a goal or an assist in nine of the Mustangs' 12 regular-season games and added three more goals in postseason play. Senior Erin Updegrove, a two-time all-Harford performer, returns in goal.
8 Dulaney -- The Lions have a nice mix of veteran players and talented newcomers for new coach Amy Green after last year's 13-1 season that ended with a 4-1 loss against Perry Hall in the region playoffs. Center midfielder Ali Schuch and stopper Kristen McLewee give the Lions a solid start in the middle of the field. Both seniors were second-team All-Metro picks in 1994. Schuch will look for junior Heidi Levine up front to score some goals. Sophomore Tricia Dabrowski will have to come up big in goal.
9 Severna Park -- The Falcons, a Class 3A-4A state semifinalist a year ago, have one of the stingiest defenses in the metro area led by three-year starting goalkeeper Shannon Chaney, who's allowed 15 goals the past two years. Senior defenders Jess Miller and Susan Starke also return. Coach Joyce Stefancik will rely on senior Beth Anne Houck to solidify the midfield with senior Lindsey Poland (eight goals, eight assists last season) moving up to forward after playing midfield last year.
10 Oakland Mills -- See capsule.
11 Liberty -- The Lions made a third straight state playoff appearance in 1994, losing to eventual Class 1A-2A champ Fallston. A good portion returns this season led by junior forward Shanna Ziegenfuss (24 goals) and senior Michelle Clawson, who likely will move to center midfield after spending most of last season at stopper. Clawson was a first-team All-Metro selection and Ziegenfuss was a second-teamer in 1994. The Lions have a lot of speed along the outside and junior goalkeeper Angie Primavera has improved her game.
12 Old Mill -- The Patriots have 14 players back from last year's team that reached the Class 3A-4A state semis. The depth and experience has enabled coach Bruce Sponsler to shuffle his lineup to field the best possible team. Senior Carina Sonberg was an All-Arundel striker with 15 goals after moving up from defense. Defenses can't just key on Sonberg with senior Alicia Curran returning up front. Senior midfielder Beth Walker is a three-year starter and the defense is set with senior captain Sara Kurzontkowski leading the way.
13 Hereford -- The Bulls made an incredible playoff run last season, reaching the state semis for the first time in school history. Junior goalkeeper Kate McFarlane, a first-team All-Metro pick, was the main catalyst. In the region playoffs against Loch Raven, her 26 saves in the double shootout win was the difference. Junior Kristy Kane will help anchor the defense. Sophomore Amy Casner is the prime threat up front with senior Stacy Zahner and junior Jen Jones anchoring the midfield.
14 Wilde Lake -- See capsule.
15 South River -- The defending Anne Arundel champs return their county's top player of a year ago in senior striker Jess Marion, who had 22 goals and five assists. Senior Lorrie Estes will work up front and should get a lot of chances with opponents keying on Marion. Junior Theresa Beckett, a transfer from Riverdale Baptist, is a welcome addition at midfield with Tammy Mitchell and Val Smith anchoring the Seahawk defense.
How the poll is conducted: The Girls Soccer Top 15 is compiled by the local sports staff of The Baltimore Sun.