After two consecutive Maryland 2A championships, expectations at No. 2 Glenelg remain high even after the departure of two of the program’s most prolific players.
Two-time All-Met Player of the Year and record-breaking scorer Alyssa Parker is at Maryland and All-Met midfielder Mary Kate Olson plays for Franklin & Marshall, but Coach Ginger Kincaid says the standard set for her second-ranked Gladiators is as high as its been in her 36 seasons at the Howard County school.
“Alyssa and Mary Kate left a legacy behind,” Kincaid said. “They brought the level of play up and the kids that are left feel stronger for having played with them on the same team.”
Glenelg returns six starters to this year’s squad, including four who started in the state title game in each of the last two seasons.
Junior midfielder Morgan Philie – who qualified for the futures Olympic team this summer – will be counted on to replace Parker as the focal point of the Gladiators’ attack, and fellow returning starters Danielle Baker (15 goals, 17 assists last season), Emily Russo (five goals, seven assists) and Stephanie Asher (21 goals, three assists) will also help fill the void.
“When Alyssa had a ton of goals  and a ton of assists , we still had 152 goals last season so other people were scoring too,” Kincaid said. “We certainly still have players who can put the ball in the net.”
The Gladiators (2-1) opened their season with a 2-1 overtime loss to top-ranked South River on Saturday, but rebounded with a 6-0 win later Saturday against Holy Cross and an 11-1 win over Long Reach in their county opener Tuesday.
Over the weekend, the Highlanders traveled to the Surf and Turf Virginia Beach Tournament and faced four teams from that area, the strongest in the state for field hockey.
After a 6-1 confidence-shaking loss to Westfield last week, the Highlanders (2-5-1) needed that trip to recalibrate. The benefits from the tournament were not necessarily evident in the 1-2-1 record in Virginia Beach, but they showed Tuesday.
“The girls focused on two things: Quick free hits and quick possession with the ball,” McLean Coach Summer Vanni said. “Every single line did that very well and kind of kept South County on their heels.”
Senior Kat Mulligan scored the first goal off an assist from junior Christi Geisler early in the game and senior Sofia Andreoli assisted senior Ava Mirzadegan on the second goal shortly before halftime.
McLean hosts Langley at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in their annual Rotary Cup game and Liberty District opener.
“The non-conference stuff gives us a good view of what we’re going to face, but we need to win our district games and see South County in a more important game and beat them when it matters,” Vanni said.
Vanni also heads the McLean Youth Association field hockey program. She said there are 115 players signed up to start youth league Saturday.
Each of the losses taken by the top eight schools in the poll came against either a higher-ranked team or a team from outside The Post's coverage area... Westfield has won its past four games by a combined score of 20-2, while Lake Braddock has won six straight games by a combined score of 18-5... South River and Wootton both earned ties in games that were shortened by weather.
(Records through Tuesday)
1. South River (3-1-1) LW: 1
2. Glenelg (2-1) LW: 2
3. Broadneck (3-1) LW: 4
4. Severna Park (3-1) LW: 5
5. Westfield (6-2) LW: 6
6. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (2-2) LW: 3
7. Lake Braddock (6-2) LW: 8
8. River Hill (4-0) LW: NR
9. South County (6-3) LW: 7
10. Wootton (2-0-1) LW: 10