Some teams become synonymous with excellence in a given sport. Mention Elizabeth Seton and local girls soccer afficianados immediately recognize it as the area standard for success.

Seton finished 11-2-1 last season, its worst record in the team's six-year history. Until Holy Cross upended the Roadrunners last October, 2-1, they had never lost a game.

A beneficiary of top-notch Bowie youth soccer feeder programs, Seton may not be as physically tough on defense as last season, but should make up any loss in muscle with increased speed and versatility.

"We'll have 16 returning players including seven seniors, but we'll have to see where they'll play and how the pieces best fit. A lot will depend on the new kids and how the others have worked on their game over the summer," said Lonergan.

Other coaches would gladly exchange their problems for Seton's dilemma regarding positioning. Kerry Breslin (fullback/halfback), Erin Colgan (fullback), Kristin Ickrath (halfback), Mary Jacobs (fullback), Bridget McGowan (fullback), Jill McLaughlin (utility) and goalies Debbie Belus and Michelle Springer are established select players, many of whom have played together for years.

This will be a rebuilding year for Holy Cross (7-2), but this campaign might lay the foundation for the best teams in the school's history. The good news is that Coach Sandy Young has four freshmen who played on the Maryland state select team; the bad news is that the seasoning process could be painful as those talented freshmen and other underclassmen learn the high school ropes.

Senior Kristian Finn, Cindy Herkle and Dana Harveywill provide the necessary stability, but the play of underclassmen Sharon Fegan, Lisa Marcinko, Ann Jacusczak and freshman Katie Torpey will be pivotal to the Tartans' title hopes.

Pallotti (6-5) could contend for the title but must overcome injuries that have sidelined three potential starters.

Midfielder Donna Curry is a three-year all-league selection, who along with fullback Mary Margaret Landi and goalie Donna Payne should make defense their team's strong suit. Coach Bob McDonald has six good strikers, but senior Jennie Fleming and two freshmen Suzanne Campbell and Mary Lou Dovel will start.

Regina (0-10) should be better as Coach Dick Goetzinger regroups around talented returness like four-year starter Loretta Capitello (halfback), Julie Schell (outside wing), Katherine Lamon (outside wing), Anne Dempsey (center forward), and Kelly Ballenger (halfback). If the Raccoons can find more underclassmen help like freshman goalie Joanne Best, they will quickly improve.

Sue Dredger resigned as LaReine's (4-6) coach earlier this summer, and the Royals have not found a replacement despite a stong nucleus led by four-year captain Paula Steinhilber at wing and last year's most valuable player Mary Kay Eskew, at centerhalfback.

Holy Names (6-5), likewise, returns a promising group of experienced performers in Cindy Deffinbaugh (forward), Liz Doyle (wing), Susie Steffes (goalie), and Lourdes Ramos (center halfback).