1996 record: 14-2 (NCAA semifinalist)
Coach: Diane Aikens (ninth year, 94-43)
Top returnees: Kerri Johnson, Sr., M; Michelle Meyer, Sr., M; Stephanie Roberts, Sr., M; Erica Attonito, Sr., A; Allison Valentino, Sr., A; Erin Wylde, Soph., M; Liz Schaffner, Jr., D; Robyn Disney, Sr., D; Dana Hoffman, Jr., G.
Outlook: Nine starters, including five All-Americans, return for Aikens, last season's National Coach of the Year, making the Greyhounds one of the most experienced teams in the nation. An NCAA semifinalist three of the past six seasons, Loyola could take the final step forward this year. "We really are looking to making our mark once and for all this year," Aikens said. Look for the Greyhounds to post big goal totals behind first-team All-American midfielders Johnson and Meyer. Attonito and Valentino add scoring balance. Hoffman is back in goal after sitting out last year to concentrate on academics.
1996 record: 19-0 (national champion)
Coach: Cindy Timchal (seventh year, 88-7)
Top returnees: Sascha Newmarch, Jr., M; Cathy Nelson, Jr., A; Ryan Laubach, Sr., D; Sarah Forbes, Sr., M; Caryl Duckworth, Sr., M; Ginette Chelius, Jr., M; Dana Gwaltney, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Terps are seeking their third consecutive national title and to extend their current winning streak of 36 games. Maryland's top two scorers -- Kelly Amonte and Karen MacCrate -- are gone, but Forbes, Newmarch and Nelson should keep the " Terps on their high-scoring pace. Last season, Maryland averaged 14 goals and allowed just four a game. Gwaltney leads the defense in front of outstanding redshirt freshman goalkeeper Alex Kahoe.
Mount St. Mary's
1996 record: 6-9
Coach: Jenny Held Miller (second year, 6-9)
Top players: Randi Paige, Jr., G; Kelly Angelo, Jr., D; Michelle Naklicki, Jr., D; Kelly Shearer, Fr., D; Molly McGrath, Soph., A; Jen Stocker, Jr., A; Erica Hensley, Fr., A; Beth Fischer, Fr., A.
Outlook: In only its second season, the Mount is looking toward a winning record and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title. Stocker, who was not recruited out of high school, had an excellent year, scoring 3.6 goals per game, an effort that ranked third in Division I. Paige returns in goal after showing some strong flashes last year. Miller, who upgraded her schedule with Johns Hopkins and UMBC, also has 12 talented freshmen who should have an immediate impact. Their adjustment to Division I could determine the Mount's success.
1996 record: 7-10
Coach: Ashley Duncan (third year, 12-18)
Top returnees: Amy Buck, Soph., A; Karen Chesley, Sr., A; Liz Wilson, Sr., M; Kathy Cafferty, Jr., M; Megan Drake, Sr., M; Robyn Harry, Soph., DW; Amy Dean, Sr., DW; Jen Smarrelli, Sr., D; Sallie Neal, Sr, D; Denise Perrone, Sr., D; Linda Sulinski, Sr., G.
Outlook: With 17 letter winners returning from last season's conference runner-up, the Tigers are looking to break onto the national scene. "We have some high expectations for ourselves this season," Duncan said. "We want to win the America East championship and earn a national ranking." Towson's attack is stable with Chesley and Buck. Drake, an all-league performer at attack, has moved to the midfield. Duncan said her defense is much improved, with Sulinski and freshman Jacquie Sica battling for the starting goalkeeper's job.
1996 record: 4-11
Coach: Monica DiCandilo (first year)
Top returnees: Kelly Anderson, Sr., M; Dani Fostik, Sr., G; Willow Waldrop, Jr, A; Heather Kormanik, Jr, M; Makendra Phoebus, Sr., D; Debbie Krastel, Soph., D; Lauren Perkins, Fr., M; Tammy Lukiweski, Fr., M; Lori Grant, Fr., D.
Outlook: A new era begins for the Retrievers as DiCandilo becomes only the second coach in school history, taking over for Kathy Zerrlaut, who coached for 24 years. She faces numerous holes to fill with few players. "I'm going to have to ask a lot of the team, because we're low in numbers, and an injury could really hurt us," said DiCandilo, a former Loyola assistant. "With having so many freshmen on the team, we're going to have to ask them to play as if they were seniors." The defense has veteran standouts Fostik and Phoebus. The attack will need to develop as UMBC lost its top goal scorer (Emily Petrlik) and top passer (Gina Tirocchi). Kormanik enters as the most proven scoring threat.
Pub Date: 3/04/97