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2019 Baltimore-area girls lacrosse preseason Top 15 poll

2019 Baltimore-area girls lacrosse preseason Top 15 poll
NDP's Ellie Curry, left, and McDonogh's Kayla Abernathy reach for a loose ball in the second half. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)
1. McDonogh

Coach: Taylor Cummings

Last season: 20-1, ranked No. 2

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Postseason: IAAM A Conference runner-up

Outlook: The heartbreak of watching their national-record 198-game winning streak come to an end now gives way to the Eagles’ hunger to reclaim their spot atop the mountain. Midfielder Emma Schettig, a Maryland commit ranked the No. 6 senior in the country by Inside Lacrosse, and first-team All-Metro midfielder Blair Pearre lead a dominant squad for first-year coach Taylor Cummings, the former three-time Tewaaraton Award winner. The Eagles, ranked No. 2 in the Nike/US Lacrosse High School Girls' Preseason National Top 25, feature 11 Division I signees, including Julia Dorsey, a standout defender who missed all of last season after tearing her ACL in soccer. Highly regarded junior Kayla Abernathy will move into a critical role, taking the majority of draws.

No. 2 Notre Dame Prep

Coach: Mac Ford

Last season: 17-4, No. 1

Postseason: IAAM A Conference champion

Outlook: What can they do for an encore? With 21 returning players, including 16 seniors, the Blazers have the potential to do quite a bit. Ranked No. 4 in the Nike/US Lacrosse High School Girls' Preseason National Top 25, NDP is stacked at the midfield, led by do-everything seniors Ellie Curry (Syracuse) and Brooke Barger (Penn State). Sophomore Nancy Halleron (36 goals, five assists) will pace the attack after ranking third on the team in scoring a year ago. Still, NDP will need to replace the production of All-Metro Player of the Year Hannah Mardiney (Florida), who had 100 points last season.

3. Glenelg Country

Co-coaches: Paige Walton and Brian Reese

Last season: 12-5, No. 3

Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinalist

Outlook: The Dragons feature a massively talented senior class, led by midfielder Shay Ahearn, the No. 2 senior in the nation, according to Inside Lacrosse. Ahearn (Maryland), who finished with 40 goals, 14 assists and 57 draw controls, is one of six Division I signees on a team that also features 17 freshmen and sophomores, many of whom will play significant roles. GCS also will get a boost with the return of midfielder-attacker Kate Sites (Maryland), another top-10 national talent who missed the majority of last season with a hamstring injury.

4. Glenelg

Coach: Nikki Trunzo

Last season: 17-2, No. 4

Postseason: Class 2A state champion

Outlook: A pair of four-year varsity players, midfielder Jenny Giampalmo (Yale) and defender Emily Nalls (North Carolina), lead a team coming off its third state title in as many years. The Gladiators graduated five Division I players, but still start the season ranked No. 12 in the Nike/US Lacrosse High School Girls' Preseason National Top 25. Giampalmo, a midfielder, and Nalls, a defender and midfielder, lead a large senior class that should have no shortage of leadership.

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5. Marriotts Ridge

Coach: Amanda Brady

Last season: 13-3, No. 6

Postseason: Class 2A, South semifinalist

Outlook: A pair of future Maryland players in senior attacker Victoria Hensh and junior midfielder Eloise Clevenger will lead a squad that could pose the biggest threat to Glenelg in Howard County. Both were named first-team all-county a year ago. They are complemented up front by seniors Erin Cooke and Katie Thompson (North Carolina), who should give the Mustangs plenty of firepower in an offense that averaged more than 16 goals per game last season. The attack and defense are loaded with experience.

6. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Tara Restly

Last season: 13-5, No. 7

Postseason: IAAM A Conference quarterfinalist

Outlook: Seven starters are back for the Cavaliers, led by first-team All-Metro goalie Paige Gunning (Vanderbilt) and second-team defender Olivia Malamphy (Boston College). Both were huge reasons this team was able to pull out five one-goal wins a year ago, despite a scoring offense that ranked in the bottom half of the league. All told, 12 seniors, including seven starters, return to a team loaded with Division I talent and impact newcomers.

7. St. Mary’s

Coach: Mindy Jones

Last season: 10-8, No. 9

Postseason: IAAM A Conference quarterfinalist

Outlook: With all but two starters returning, look for the Saints to make a strong push toward the top of the conference. Second-team All-Metro attacker Whitney Albert (Florida) is back after scoring 35 goals a year ago, and should get plenty of help from attacker Maggie Aumiller (Navy) and midfielder Bryce Pfundstein (Johns Hopkins). Jolees Torres, a talented transfer from Calverton, will give the team a strong presence in goal. St. Mary’s already has shown a taste of its potential by playing St. Stephen's & St. Agnes, the No. 8 team in the country, to an 8-8 tie in a scrimmage.

8. South River

Coach: Caroline Cochran

Last season: 18-2, No. 10

Postseason: Class 4A state champion

Outlook: The defending Class 4A state champions return a plethora of top talent, led by senior attacker Kathleen Sullivan (Army West Point). A year ago, she led the Seahawks with 55 goals and 22 assists, and also played a key role in the draw circle to earn first-team All-Metro honors. A strong defensive unit, led by Caitlin McGuirk and Rylee Kelly, also will play a key role on a team that features five juniors with to Division I commitments.

9. Roland Park

Coach: Meg Miller

Last season: 12-9, No. 8

Postseason: IAAM A Conference quarterfinalist

Outlook: Several top-level college prospects, along with talented newcomers, will again make this a dangerous team. The Reds, who early last season torched eventual A Conference champion Notre Dame Prep, 12-4, bring back junior midfielder Shannon Smith, who has committed to North Carolina, as well as senior midfielder Kiki Shaw (Virginia), goalie Amber Bustard (Loyola Maryland) and defender Mary Griffin.

10. St. Paul’s

Coach: Mary Gagnon

Last season: 10-6, No. 5

Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinalist

Outlook: Eight starters, including the entire starting defense, return from a team that defeated Glenelg Country, took Notre Dame Prep to overtime and twice played well against McDonogh. Midfielder Shelton Sawers (Florida) led the Gators in ground balls, draw controls and goals a year ago, and sisters Alex and Lizzy Pirisino, a midfielder and defender, respectively, are both committed to James Madison. Gerstell transfer Leah Warehime, a sophomore, is set to start in goal for a squad that will be a factor if it can overcome early injury troubles.

11. Hereford

Coach: Anne Ensor

Last season: 16-3, No. 12

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Postseason: Class 2A state finalist

Outlook: Second-team All-Metro midfielder Isabella Peterson returns to lead a team that last season pushed Glenelg to the brink before falling, 6-5, in the Class 2A state title game. Peterson (James Madison), who led the Bulls in both points and draw controls, is one of nine starters to return. Senior defender Rachel Saunders (Virginia Tech) and attacker Libby May (Maryland) also will play key roles, along with several talented freshmen.

12. Westminster

Coach: Jackie Stevens

Last season: 16-3, No. 14

Postseason: Class 3A state champion

Outlook: After claiming their first state championship last season, the Owls return eight starters, led by second-team All-Metro midfielder Anna Ruby, their leading scorer (59 goals, 13 assists) and draw specialist (11 draw controls). The return of midfielder Hannah Dintino (36 goals, 17 assists) and attacker Chloe Sedlar (30, 27) should give the team another potent offense, while senior defender Haleigh Moore and goalie Sara Tyssowski will anchor the defense.

13. Severna Park

Coach: Kaitlyn Hines

Last season: 13-6, No. 13

Postseason: Class 4A East finalist

Outlook: The strength of this team is its midfield, led by seniors Alex Miller (Johns Hopkins) and Rachel Spilker (Penn State). Another senior, attacker Hunter Chadwick (Northwestern), had 47 goals and 16 assists a year ago to help the Falcons claim the regular-season Anne Arundel County title. Severna Park edged eventual Class 4A state champion South River in their first matchup last year, and should again be the Seahawks’ top threat.

14. Century

Coach: Becky Groves

Last season: 12-5, unranked

Postseason: Class 2A state semifinalist

Outlook: Ten of last season’s 12 starters return for the Knights, who should compete with Westminster and South Carroll for the Carroll County title. Junior Grace Bruce (54 goals, seven assists) and sophomore Demma Hall (50 goals, 20 assists) will lead a potent midfield, while junior Tina Haspert (50 goals, 25 assists) will do the bulk of the work up front. Last season, all three made first-team all-county.

15. Catonsville

Coach: Cantey Bailey

Last season: 11-5, unranked

Postseason: Class 4A North quarterfinalist

Outlook: Finishing with three straight losses dimmed what had been an otherwise stellar season for Bailey’s team, which returns five players who either have signed with or committed to Division I programs. Senior defenders Amber Stephen, Emma Meacham, Abbi Boehl and Savannah Beaver (Arizona State) should help make the Comets’ transition to a new goalie easier, and a stacked midfield will help soften the blow of graduating three starting attackers.

Others considered: Bel Air (15-3), Bryn Mawr (10-6), Dulaney (13-6), Mount Hebron (13-6), South Carroll (11-2), Towson (12-3)

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