Most high school volleyball teams have experienced significant turnover since the last time they played a complete season in 2019. For some, the pandemic wiped out all of 2020; for others, an abbreviated season served as consolation.

For Holy Cross, a 7-0 run through the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference last year provided a preview of how dominant the Tartans could be.

The team has reached the past 10 WCAC championship games, and Coach Dave Geiser expects the Tartans to be especially strong this fall, with all but one starter returning.

Holy Cross again boasts one of the region’s most feared middle hitters, senior Hannah Sherman, who is committed to play at Louisville, a top-25 NCAA program. The roster isn’t short on talent — or height — with four other players who are at least 6 feet tall.

“We're stronger than last year, and we went undefeated last year,” Geiser said. “I think that next year won't be as good, because I'll graduate six starters.”

These rankings will be updated at the midway point of the season and then again in November once the season is over.

1. Holy Cross

Sherman and senior Sydney Nolan (committed to Winthrop) could emerge as one of the area’s best duos and could have the Tartans pushing for another undefeated year.

2. Loudoun County

The Captains are on track to hoist their 10th straight state title as Coach John Senchak leads one of his most defensive-minded rosters in recent history. Standouts Sarah Jordan, Delaney Brosan and Alayna Johnson are all back after a 16-1 finish last year.

3. Flint Hill

The Huskies, who went 30-1 in 2019, are one of the area’s more unpredictable teams after forgoing the 2020 season, but they hope to rejuvenate their dynasty under new coach Patrice Arrington, a former U.S. national team member. Junior Sydney Bryant was one of the most explosive hitters in the region when she last played for Flint Hill as a freshman.

4. St. John’s

Teams in the talent-filled WCAC should continue to appear high on these lists. Though D.C. Gatorade player of the year Rachel Richardson headed off to Duke, most of the Cadets’ roster is back to challenge Holy Cross.

5. Alexandria City

The young Titans will have a target on their backs after going 17-0 and winning the Class 6 championship, their first state title in program history.

6. Arundel

Though the Wildcats look vulnerable following the departure of senior Brooke Watts from a team that went 5-0, Coach Ashley Yuscavage said that this will be one of the most athletic groups she has led.

7. Langley

After an 11-1 spring season, the Saxons return with a bevy of upperclassmen and a chance to leverage their experience. Helena Swaak (Johns Hopkins commit) and Ijenna Mere should carry the team far.

8. Reservoir

With a team of fluid athletes, led by defensive specialist Gabby Allen, the Gators are building on a 10-0 campaign in which they finished as Howard County champions. Without a chance to compete for a state title last spring, Reservoir will be hungry come playoff time.

9. Northwest

The Jaguars have not played since posting a 14-3 record in 2019, but they have one of the area’s best players in Isabela Neumann and should be in the mix for the Maryland 4A title, even after the departure of Coach Stephanie Blake.

10. Freedom-South Riding

The Eagles won’t have an easy schedule following a Class 5A title loss in the spring, but they retained most of their starters including senior Sarah Malinowski (Virginia Tech commit).

On the bubble: O’Connell, McLean, W.T. Woodson, Riverside, Robinson.