As an editor of the Long Reach yearbook, senior Kelly Filipowicz is in charge of the sports section and will design a page for each team to commemorate its season.
The job is just beginning, but Filipowicz knows her performance on the hockey field will affect how the her team is remembered.
"Hopefully I'll get to put something together about winning a championship because I've never won one," she said. "This is my last year to win one, and I really want to go out with a championship."
Filipowicz has done her part to get the Lightning off to a good start. The forward posted six goals and three assists to lead her team to three straight wins entering the week, including victories over Great Mills and Oakland Mills to claim the Long Reach Tournament on Friday.
Putting the ball in the back of the goal is something she has done regularly since entering the starting lineup as a sophomore. Filipowicz, a two-time all-county selection, scored a county-high 19 goals and assisted on nine others last season. She had 20 goals and seven assists as a sophomore.
"Kelly manages to keep pushing through, and she's not going to let anyone slow her down," said Coach Melissa Lennon. "I know other coaches in the county are looking at trying to stop her because they'd be foolish if they didn't."
Filipowicz is used to having all eyes on her because of her last name. Across the hall from the school's trophy case are photographs of the school's top male and female athletes from each year. In 1999, her brother, Joe, a standout in soccer, wrestling and baseball, won the award, and in 2002, sister Kari, who excelled in soccer, basketball and softball, was honored.
"I make a point to look at their pictures every day I go to the field," Kelly said. "I really want to follow in their footsteps."
But Filipowicz chose a different sport in which to make her mark.
"I remember when she first started we made fun of her and called her a little sissy girl because she had to wear a skirt to play her sport," said Kari Filipowicz, who watched with their mother, Sue, as Kelly posted five goals and two assists against Great Mills. "But that's the thing about Kelly: She really doesn't care that much about what other people think. She's a very independent person."
The 5-foot-2 Filipowicz, who first picked up a field hockey stick in the sixth grade when she got bored playing soccer, has developed a talent for seeing a play before it's fully developed. Filipowicz uses her speed to slip past the defense to collect outlet passes and uses deft stick work to dribble past defenders and tuck the ball into the smallest openings in the net.
"She has this crazy shot that no one can stop," said senior defender Lauren Jarrell. "She's not afraid to take a shot as soon as she gets the chance. I go against her in practice, and she's tough to stop."
Long Reach, which finished 9-4-3 last season, returns eight starters -- including senior defenders Kim Baker and Jarrell and goalie Molly Pope -- as it tries to win its first 3A region title since 2001.
"Our plan is to take the next step this season," Lennon said. "With our defense, I think we have some really good seniors who can guide us and see the field, and that helps give us an advantage."
Several other schools also have set high goals this field hockey season. Glenelg, which reached the 2A final for the first time in 25 years, is building a team around two returning starters -- goalie Caitlin O'Neill and midfielder Lauren Capps.
Defending county champion Mount Hebron, which lost in the 3A East region final to then-top-ranked Severna Park, appears primed to win its third county title in five years. The Vikings should boast one of the league's best offenses with returning forwards Sarah Cates and Lauren Sterner, midfielder Megan Bosica and defender Alex Mengel.
River Hill was the only county team to beat Glenelg last year and returns six starters, including midfielders Sara Kate Moore and Lexy Doerr and defenders Danielle Schovee and Cari Haas. Howard features 12 seniors, led by forwards Ashley Oursler and Natalie Lucas.
"We know there are a lot of good teams in our county, and it won't be easy," Kelly Filipowicz said. "But we've always been in the top three teams since I've been here, so now we feel like it's finally our turn."