For the four Southern Maryland Athletic Conference girls' lacrosse teams that begin play this week in the 3A/2A East Region tournament, the scenario is a lot different than in the past.
Gone from the region are the Anne Arundel County schools that are among the state's best, and chances are better than ever that one of the four SMAC teams will make the state tournament.
Three of the top four seeds -- which are decided by regular season record -- are No.1 Calvert, No. 2 Leonardtown and No. 4 Northern.
Of the six SMAC schools that play girls' lacrosse, two will participate in the 4A/3A East Region, and the remaining teams will be in the 3A/2A East Region.
Great Mills and Patuxent are the only two schools in the 4A/3A East Region that are not from Anne Arundel County, one of the state's lacrosse hotbeds. Patuxent will travel to play North County, while Great Mills will host Arundel.
If Great Mills wins, third-seeded Broadneck would await in the quarterfinals; Patuxent would have to play perennial power and fourth-seeded Annapolis if it wins.
The 3A/2A teams have an easier road. Calvert (10-2) has been the area's top team for the past three years, and this is the Cavaliers' best chance yet at the state tournament.
In each of the past two years, the Cavaliers have lost in the region final to Annapolis, one of the area's best programs. This year, they marched through SMAC play, beating Leonardtown twice with relative ease. Calvert will host Chopticon in a first-round game.
Leonardtown (10-2), which has won six games by one goal this season, will host Northeast of Anne Arundel County on Saturday.
Northern (4-5) will host Stephen Decatur from the Eastern Shore in its first-round game.