No. 10 Terps are tops in state WOMEN'S PREVIEW


Maryland is looking for its first NCAA tournament berth and is ranked No. 10 in the nation. Other top Division I teams in the state include Loyola, which should contend for its second straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title, and Navy, which could surprise some teams in its third year as a varsity program.

In Division III, the College of Notre Dame is looking for its fourth straight Top 10 ranking in the South Region, and Salisbury State is aiming for back-to-back titles in the Capital Athletic Conference.

Division I

* Loyola -- The defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Greyhounds, who went 11-10 last season, return eight starters, including defensive standouts Diane O'Connor, Kiera Scharfenberger and Lynn Tasca. Erin Gilroy and Mary Clark are being rotated in goal this year.

* Maryland -- The Terps, who were 7-10-2 last year, return five starters. The core of the Terps will be the experienced group of midfielder Michelle Salmon, defender Tricia Taliaferro, sweeper Erin Taylor and forward Michelle Demko. Maryland is off to a school-best start of 4-0 and has allowed only one goal this season.

* Mount St. Mary's -- The Mountaineers are coming off their best season with a 6-8 record in the program's four-year history. The Mount has only one senior and three juniors on the squad, and will rely on Christy Wicks and Becky Mann for scoring.

* Navy -- The top 10 scorers return from last year's 7-9-2 squad. Sophomore Cori Thornton, who has 20 goals and four assists in 21 games, and Carrie Dalton are the top offensive threats.

* Towson State -- The Tigers, who were 5-10-1 last year, enter their first season in the North Atlantic Conference. Senior Courtney McClelland and Amy Pfaff, both Big South second-team selections, return to lead the offense.

* UMBC -- Ten starters, including five All-Big South performers, return for the Retrievers, who were 9-7-1 last year and made the ECAC tournament. Denise Schilte, Kasy Kruger and Laura Dvorak lead the offense, and Nadine Henchcliffe starts her third season in goal.

Division III

* Goucher -- The Gophers lost one starter from last year's 12-3-2 team. The offense centers around Sarah Weaver, a first-team CAC performer, and Tri Belsley and Kristin Carey.

* College of Notre Dame -- The Gators lost four starters, but

two-time MVP and regional All-American Corina Riismandel returns. Notre Dame, ranked No. 8 in the Mid-Atlantic Region, also will receive scoring from Kristine Scelfo and Stephanie Otto.

* Western Maryland -- The Green Terror, 6-9-1 last season, has eight starters returning. The defense is anchored by first-team All-Centennial Conference goalkeeper Julie Backof and returning backs Becky Duex, Niki Grandrimo and Mary Ellen Sheehan.

* Frostburg State -- The Bobcats, who were 9-7-1 in their inaugural season, have six starters back. The senior combination of Bridget Kelly, Dina Lastner and Kellie Moran are the top goal scorers.

* Johns Hopkins -- The Blue Jays are young, with 13 underclassmen. Hopkins, which went 4-7-3, is led offensively by Becki Shapack, Kerrie Cathcart, Meg Filbey and Allison Better.

* St. Mary's -- The Seahawks are 3-0 behind a school-record three consecutive shutouts by freshman Valerie Taylor.

* Salisbury State -- The Sea Gulls won the CAC in their first Division III season and return six all-league performers. First-teamers Ava Tasker, Vicki Prince and Mandy Brooks have led Salisbury State to a 2-0 record this season.

* Villa Julie -- The Mustangs, who were 5-8 last season, start eight freshmen. Freshman Jen Monaldi is the top offensive threat, and Laurie Shuster heads the defense.

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