Lake Braddock's girl's soccer team has a 44-6-2 record the past three seasons and the Bruins appear ready to maintain that standard when Northern Region competition gets underway later this month.
Lake Braddock, which finished first in the Northern District last season, is one of the few schools in the region that is returning its starting goalie.
With senior goalkeeper Amy McDowell, halfback Tracey Kennedy and sweeper Michelle Kime, the Bruins' have one of the strongest backfields in the region. McDowell, an all-region team member last year, has started in goal since her sophomore year.
"No one will go undefeated, that's something you can count on," said Lake Braddock Coach Carolyn Rice. "I think we will certainly be one of the top five schools in the area. If you go by our track record, it's one that speaks for itself.
"I think we definitely have the potential to win the district and we have a better shot at states (than last year.)"
The Bruins must first contend with the always-strong Northern District, which includes Robinson, the defending Virginia AAA state champion.
The Rams, who lost five key players, still have the potential to defend their title. Sue Montagane and Kathy Cotton lead the Rams' defense in the center fullback and sweeper positions, respectively.
"Our district is tough. On any given night one team can knock off another, but I definitely think we have the potential (to win the district)," said Robinson Coach Jim Rike. "They have already shown that they can win. They are working hard and are very spirited."
Kathy Daly, a member of the Virginia State under-19 soccer team, is W.T. Woodson's most experienced player. Daly, a sweeper/fullback, directs all important backfield plays.
T.C. Williams and Oakton look like they will have .500 seasons at best. The Titans should get some offense from center forward Renee Fessate.
In the Gunston District, Lee, last year's champion, is expected to hold control again. Cathy Cassady, last year's leading scorer with 30 goals, returns to the center-forward position. Defensively, the keys are Tracy Lucas and Beckie Bonzano.
Lee, beginning its sixth year under Coach Janice Wolfe, has won the district title every season.
The rest of the Gunston District is wide open, but Fort Hunt, last year's third place team, probably has the best shot at runner-up.
Seniors Lucie Tellettier, last year's all-district goalkeeper, and all-district fullback Nikki Westall anchor strong defense.
Groveton will have Erin Yane and Vicky Padgett to give the experience neccessary to challenge the Lancers and the Federals.
Hayfield, which returns its entire team, has Tracey Darke's power shot and Melanie Watson's strong marking in the back to help improve last year's fourth-place finish.
Mount Vernon has senior Lynn James, already being recruited by several universities, to give strength up front as a forward.
In the Potomac District, Jefferson returns its entire team. Stephanie Mitchell and Carol Duffy will score and sweeper Yvonne Morris will be doing her best to keep the opponents from scoring.
Kelly Keffler and Kelly Wirz, all-region and all-district team members, respectively, return to Chantilly. The Chargers, the Potomac District's defending champions, should contend again this season.
Beth Jennings and Elizabeth Stassinos return to Annandale, last season's second-place team.
Falls Church could suprise. The Jaguars have Dawn Cannon and Marla Banks controlling the defense. Cannon, a junior, will be at center halfback.
Fairfax and Stuart are both expecting rebuilding years.
The Rebels have goalkeeping problems but have Katia Lewis, a second team all-region pick and top scorer. Helen Hall and Julie Scherdenske lead Stuart.
In the Great Falls District, Langley, last season's second-place finisher, returns all but two starters and has the experience to capture this year's title.
Langley's will have to contend with Yorktown and Madison, the defending district champion. The Warhawks return their entire defense.
Seniors Christy McDevitt, Kathleen Gujral and Mary Kay Nassetta lead Yorktown.
McLean are led by sweeper Dolly Carter and halfback Gayle Smith.
In the Commonwealth District, Woodbridge, the state runner-up, is hoping for a repeat performance. Winning their district every year since the inception of girls soccer, the Vikings have Virginia State under-19 soccer team member Kim Ferlazzo to contribute scoring.
Potomac has the speed and skill to challenge.
Shelly Chor, a sweeper, will keep Stonewall Jackson's opponents on their toes.