1 Severna Park -- See capsule.
2 Fallston -- The Cougars turned in the most impressive defensive performance of 1994, racking up 15 shutouts and allowing just one goal as they claimed their second straight state Class 2A title. The Harford County champs (16-0), who have not dropped a game in more than two years, lost half of that stellar defense but they return strong backs Barbara Ordes and Katie Wirth as well as All-Metro midfielder Rachel Simon. Whatever the Cougars have lost on defense, they could make up for on attack. All-Metro Co-Coach of the Year Alice Puckett expects to have more speed, better stickwork and more power as the Cougars move up to Class 3A.
3 Garrison Forest -- The Grizzlies pulled off a rarity en route to the AIS A Division championship last year -- an undefeated season. They boasted one of the stingiest defenses around, allowing three goals in 14 games and giving up one in the AIS tournament. The Grizzlies posted 11 shutouts. Most of that defense is gone, but the Grizzlies (11-0-3) should rebuild quickly with the help of veteran goalie Jacque Weitzel, an All-Metro second-teamer, and halfback Cortney Foster. A powerhouse attack could make up for any defensive lapses because five veterans return on the line for All-Metro Co-Coach of the Year Micul Ann Morse.
4 Westminster -- The defending Carroll County champs bring back seven starters from an 11-4 team that lost to Northern of Calvert County in the state Class 4A semifinal. The Owls graduated the county's top scorer, All-Metro forward Kristy Matthai, but they return plenty of attack potential in Ann Brennan (nine goals, 10 assists) and Megan Magee. The Owls also return strength on defense with Nikki Cornell and Netia Little as well as plenty of depth for coaches Brenda Baker and Sue Hooper. A bit of extra incentive comes with the memory of tough losses in the state semifinals for the past two years.
5 Byrn Mawr -- The Mawrtians reached the AIS A Division tournament championship last year for the first time in four years. Even though they lost eight starters to graduation, the Mawrtians (10-3-2) should have enough strength to make another run at the title. Despite their youth, they have plenty of skill, stickwork and athletic ability. Returning All-Metro midfielder Emily Hickman and defender Gailor Large and adding transfer Kim Smith to the line gives Jeannette Budzik's squad a solid foundation.
6 Roland Park -- Losing 2-1 to Garrison in the AIS A Division semifinal kept the Reds out of the title game for the first time in seven years last season. Even though they lost all of their field defenders to graduation, Debbie Bloodsworth's Reds (10-3-2) return enough experience at midfield and on the line to make a run at their eighth title in 16 years. The rebuilding defense has the luxury of returning goalie Meredith Shuey while forwards Hedy Born and Lizzy Bennett and midfielder Jen Murray should keep the attack running smoothly.
7 Centennial -- The Howard County champs enjoyed their best year ever in 1994, going 14-1 and winning their first regional title before falling, 1-0, to Leonardtown in the state Class 3A semifinal. Most of their scoring graduated with All-Metro Player of the Year Emily Ward, but Gail Purcell's Eagles return a balanced attack led by veteran Allison Altscher that could make up for Ward's 18 goals. Also back is All-Metro second-team midfielder Liz Sturm and goalie Becca Armiger.
8 Friends -- The Quakers' 9-8 record last season was a bit deceptive because they won their half of the A Division. In the tournament, the Quakers fell in double-overtime in the opener. With a strong returning nucleus, they have speed, power and finesse. Most of the attack returns, so the rebuilding job comes on defense, where Carol Samuels' teams usually shine. The experience of forwards Lydia Reis and Susannah Gust and midfielders Emily Santos and Simone Stalling should keep the Quakers competitive.
9 North Carroll -- After losing nine senior starters from last year's 10-4-1 team, the Panthers should be rebuilding. However, ......TC strong defense should keep coach Denean Koontz's squad competitive. A defense anchored by returning goalie Becky Bosley will be the Panthers' strength with Jackie Chase, Diana Vaughan and Tara Walker all returning to the backfield. The big question is who will score, but there is plenty of potential here for a balanced attack.
10 Severn -- See capsule.
11 Liberty -- The Lions (10-4) shared the Central Maryland Conference title with Westminster last year, and their defense could carry them right to the top again. Seniors are the core of that defense led by Jessica Horneman, Ashley Meehan and third-year goalie Heather Carter. Some questions remain about the offense, although Danielle Gray and Kelly Grammes return with 10 goals between them.
12 Spalding -- See capsule.
13 Chesapeake-AA -- See capsule.
14 St. Mary's -- See capsule.
15 Francis Scott Key -- The Eagles are looking for their 12th straight regional championship, but they have some inexperience to overcome. Eight seniors are gone from last year's 8-7 state Class 1A semifinalists. Still, the Eagles bring back a handful of capable players for a solid foundation, including All-Metro forward Stacey Greene. The defense should be coach Mindi Wagner's strong point with returning backs Jen Wildesen, Carrie Kibler and Kristi Muller.
How the poll is conducted: The Field Hockey Top 15 is compiled by the local sports staff of The Baltimore Sun.