Good Counsel’s Heather Hinz is one of the area’s top goalkeepers. (Courtesy Photo/Dan Dunkers)

Over Jim Bruno’s 31 years coaching Good Counsel girls’ soccer, he had never trained a goalkeeper as athletic as Heather Hinz.

Hinz, a South Carolina commit, was last year’s First Team All-Met goalkeeper after finishing the season with eight shutouts. Hinz is one of the main reasons Bruno believes the Falcons will compete with St. John’s for the WCAC championship this year.

“She can get up and cover those nasty upper-90s balls,” Bruno said. “She’s very fast. She has great vision and her speed off the line — to make decisions coming off her line — it’s just amazing.”

Hinz played in the field growing up, and Bruno said Hinz is so athletic, she would be effective in any position now. The senior is one of eight starters Good Counsel returned from last season, but the Falcons are also dealing with injuries.

Bruno said forward Jameese Joseph, who scored 15 goals last year, returned smarter and stronger. But Chloe Chapman, the fastest player Bruno said he’s ever coached, is dealing with a nagging back injury.

The Falcons added Bullis transfer Laila Booker, who’ll be one of the top players on a deep backline, while defender Danielle Satola still deals with an injury from last season.

Good Counsel spent the past weekend competing in Memphis against some of the area’s top teams and will face McDonogh, perhaps the best team in the Baltimore area, on Wednesday.

“This is not exactly an easy opening schedule for us,” Bruno said.

For Good Counsel to win the conference, it’ll have to get by St. John’s, the defending WCAC and DCSAA champions.

“Our defense is what’s gonna be the key,” Bruno said in August. “You got to be able to defend their speedsters, and you got to be able to dominate their midfield.”

1.St. John’s (1-0) Last ranked: 1

Clemson commit Maliah Morris scored three goals in the Cadets’ 4-0 win over Wootton to begin the season.

2. Spalding (3-0-1) LR: 3

Jenna Snead and Lauren Korsnick have scored in consecutive games as the Cavaliers knocked off two of Maryland 4A’s top teams, Urbana and Broadneck.

3. Good Counsel (1-1-2) LR: 2

The Falcons’ defense struggled as Bruno’s squad tied and lost a game during its challenging Memphis road trip.

4. River Hill (1-0) LR: 5

Forward Brigette Wang’s second-half goal lifted the Hawks to a 1-0 win over Paul VI to open their season.

5. Huntingtown (2-1) LR: 8

The Hurricanes fell to Mercy, one of Baltimore’s top teams, but they have outscored their other two opponents 13-1.

6. Quince Orchard (1-0) LR: 9

In a rematch of last year’s Maryland 4A quarterfinals, the Cougars defeated Whitman, 1-0, behind forward Paige McNeal’s late goal.

7. Paul VI (0-1) LR: 6

The Panthers fell to River Hill, 1-0, in their season opener, despite playing with an extra player in the final 20 minutes.

8. Broadneck (0-1-2) LR: 4

The defending Maryland 4A champions have struggled to start the season without star midfielder Talia Gabarra, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament. They fell, 5-0, to Spalding on Tuesday.

9. Churchill (2-0) LR: NR

The Bulldogs, who returned nine starters from last year, have outscored their opponents 20-0 to begin the season.

10. Severna Park (3-0) LR: NR

The Falcons haven’t allowed a goal through their first three games.

Dropped out: Potomac School, Calvert

On the bubble: Potomac School (1-1), Calvert (4-2), Wilde Lake (0-0)