How the Teams Stack Up

The Contenders

Great Mills: With three talented seniors and a promising freshman class, hopes are high for the Hornets this season. Senior D Bethany Stevens, senior MF Emily McNamara and senior F Emily Kane, last season's top scorer, are expected to lead this year's team. McNamara and junior MF Sarah Winegrad will be the key distributors on offense.

Leonardtown: The defending Maryland 3A champions will have few problems on offense with the return of junior F Cyprian Gillingham (26 goals, 18 assists) and sophomore midfielder April Lockley (18 goals, 7 assists). The Raiders lost their four starting defenders to graduation, but junior GK Carolyn Matasick (12 shutouts) and D Amanda Roderick (7 goals, 3 assists as a forward last year) will help keep the defense strong.

McDonough: Junior F Julia Lufriu (15 goals, 4 assists), senior F Courtney Johnson (8 goals, 8 assists) and senior MF Jackie Curry (5 goals, 15 assists) lead a potent attack. Sophomore D Stephanie Starkey and senior D Amy McCarter will lead the defense.

Northern: The Patriots are coming off their best season since Northern began its girls soccer program in 1996. The four senior captains on the team--MF-F Larissa Johnson, D Lauren Webster, MF Blake Harahush and F Kim Booros--are expected to provide leadership, while junior sweeper-stopper Deborah Sampson will anchor the defense.

St. Mary's Ryken: Junior Megan Schmidt and sophomore Suzanne Arata form the top strike partnership in the SMAC, scoring 18 and 16 goals, respectively, last fall. The Knights also have stability in the middle of the field with senior center midfielders Shannon Schmidt and Carianne Santangelo, and senior sweeper-stopper MaryBeth Griffin.

Westlake: On defense, junior sweeper Stefanie Langton organizes and mops up and junior stopper and captain Casey Neagle marks the opponents' best players. On offense, junior F Elizabeth Gallacher and sophomore MF Deanna Evans lead the way, and junior MF Lindsey Holley and sophomore MF Heather Jones contribute as well.

Up-and-Coming Teams

Calvert: First-year coach Jack Brown thinks his team could surprise opponents this year with the talented threesome of senior D Carly Hallstead, senior D Sharon Harmon and junior MF Christine Deska. Junior D Carly Chapple, junior F Aubrey Houston and sophomore F Jennifer Carnucci also will help the Cavaliers.

Chopticon: The Braves have a good mix of youth and experience and are expecting big things from senior F Heidi Morazes, sophomore F Amanda Eller and junior MF Kiera Lewis. Coach Chuck Connor is shooting for at least a .500 season for the first time in three years.

La Plata: First-year coach Dan Vamos has been working on endurance and conditioning with this year's team, hoping to avoid the injuries that plagued the Warriors last season. Senior midfielders Leah Barrett and Jenna Holcombe will engineer the offense, while junior stopper Shanann Cooksey will lead the defense.

Thomas Stone: The Cougars will be anchored by their four seniors: MFs Kim Simone and Brandy Merriman and Ds Beth McLaughlin and Megan Forbes. Simone and McLaughlin, who is playing her third position in three years, are the only three-year starters on the squad. Freshman MF Jenny Savoy and junior MF Pam Shall also will contribute.

Rebuilding Programs

Lackey: The Chargers lost their entire front line and starting goalkeeper to a combination of academic ineligibility and too many missed school days. However, senior goalkeeper Denise Artamn returns from a serious car accident a year and a half ago, and sophomore Rachel Moore plays in goal as well. Senior captain and sweeper Julie Brewer will solidify the defense when she returns from a sprained ankle in about two weeks.

Patuxent: The Panthers want to make sure no opponent thinks of them as "an easy win" after this season, said first-year coach Jamie Webster. The senior tri-captains--MFs Jessica Adams and Jen O'Donnell and sweeper Julie Briggs--are expected to lead Patuxent in its third season. Briggs, however, broke her nose in the season opener. She's expected to return in October.

Players to Watch

F Cyprian Gillingham, Leonardtown: As a sophomore in 1998, Gillingham was a major part of the Raiders' record-breaking season. She set school records for goals (26) and assists (18) for the state 3A champions. She now has 44 goals and 26 assists in her short career. The school record for career goals is 66, and 34 for career assists, set by Amy Herndon from 1994 to 1997.

MF Heather Jones, Westlake: Jones, a sophomore, led the Wolverines in scoring last fall with 13 goals and eight assists. She has excellent shooting ability with both feet but is an unselfish team player. Jones also is one of the fastest players in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference.

MF April Lockley, Leonardtown: The sophomore left midfielder had a tremendous debut for the Raiders last season, scoring 18 goals and adding seven assists. The exceptionally fast Lockley has a lethal left-footed shot and prevents teams from paying too much attention to Gillingham.

F Julia Lufriu, McDonough: The three-year starter had 15 goals and four assists for the Rams last season. A junior, Lufriu has remarkable shooting and ball-handling skills, and Coach Jerry Curry said Lufriu "is the player anyone would want on her team."

MF Shannon Schmidt, St. Mary's Ryken: The senior center midfielder had 24 assists and engineered one of the SMAC's most potent attacks last year. The four-year starter has never missed a game for the Knights and her father and coach, Dick Schmidt, believes that this year is "her time to shine."

CAPTION: Teams at a Glance (This chart was not available)