Can Westlake make a run?
The Wolverines, the defending SMAC champs, return eight starters from last season's 12-4 team, including junior forward Lauren Russell, sophomore goalkeeper Casey Durham and senior forward Liz Striegel. Senior center midfielder Lauren Bigler hopes to overcome a nagging knee injury and help limit opposing forwards. Coach Will Morris says depth could be a concern.
Who could knock off the Wolverines?
Leonardtown has nine healthy starters returning from last year's 12-4 team. The Raiders will look to midfielder Heather Cooke to help replace the 17 goals that Zehra Oztas scored as a senior last season. Patuxent lost three key players to graduation but returns the bulk of its defense, which allowed just eight goals last season. Among the returners on defense are Kelley Mills and Ashley Gardner.
How will region realignments affect the postseason?
Four teams were affected by the changes. Leonardtown, a 3A South Region finalist last season, moves up to the 4A East. Patuxent, a 4A East quarterfinalist, drops to the 2A South. Great Mills moves from the 4A East to the 3A South, and McDonough goes from the 3A South to the 2A South.
MF HEATHER COOKE, Leonardtown, Sr.
The first-team All-State selection had 13 goals and nine assists last season. She is expected to lead the Raiders' offense.
F MAGGIE DELORME, Patuxent, Sr.
The hard-working captain isn't a prolific scorer, but she is the catalyst of the Panthers' attack.
MF LEANNE EDGAR, Chopticon, Soph.
A smart player who had 10 goals and nine assists last season, she leads a deep Chopticon team that returns 10 starters.