Here are the questions we’re asking as girls’ soccer kicks off this week.
How far can Imani Dorsey take Good Counsel?
Last year, a Good Counsel team loaded with talent cruised to a 16-1-2 record and went undefeated on its way to a WCAC title. They graduated leading scorer and two-time All-Met Player of the Year Midge Purce, who’s headed to Harvard, but should have no trouble making up for the loss of her scoring.
Waiting in the wings is Duke commit and U.S. U-18 women’s national team player Imani Dorsey, who missed almost all of last season due to injury. Dorsey scored 22 goals as a sophomore in 2011 before being limited to six goals in six games in 2012. Good Counsel Coach Jim Bruno, who’s coached the Falcons for almost three decades, said Dorsey is “one of the most complete players I’ve ever coached.”
Whether Dorsey regains or surpasses her 2011 form, Bruno’s squad will see no shortage of tough games in their title defense. Bishop O’Connell’s only two losses in a 14-2 2012 season came to Good Counsel. Holy Cross’s only two losses came to O’Connell, and the Tartans played Good Counsel to a scoreless draw. St. John’s, the 2011 champions, should also be in the mix.
In Montgomery County girls’ soccer, it’s relatively easy to predict which teams will finish near the top of the standings. What’s nearly impossible is predicting the order they’ll be in.
When asked who he thought would win the league in 2013, Churchill Coach Haroot Hakopian said “pretty much anybody” of the four or five top teams could not only win the league, but also contend in the state tournament.
It’s hard to bet against last year’s champions Bethesda-Chevy Chase and their formidable senior midfielder Eliza Doll, who led her team in goals and assists in 2012. But if not for an early goal in last year’s playoffs, it might have been Whitman on top at the end, and they’ve got a lot of young talent and a highly talented Aliza of their own in the midfield in Aliza Wolfe. Wolfe was a second-team All-Met selection in 2012.
With the exception of a 1-0 midseason loss to Arundel, South River dominated its Anne Arundel competition on its way to an 18-2 record and 4A state championship. It’s hard to imagine things would go much differently for the Seahawks this season: of 14 players to score a goal in 2012, South River returns 13 of them.
That baker’s dozen includes leading scorer and Maryland lacrosse committ Kacie Longo, who notched 28 goals in 2012. She and the powerful Seahawks offense will be backed in goal by sophomore keeper Emily Proctor, who held off Bethesda-Chevy Chase in penalty kicks in the state final.
Winning in Howard County girls’ soccer is a lot harder than River Hill made it look in its perfect 2012 season. But All-Met Coach of the Year Brian Song and his defending state championship squad may make it look easy again in 2013. Howard County’s leading scorer forward Sheridan Street is back, as are opportunity-generating midfielders Alex Hamer (10 goals, 13 assists in 2012) and Jen Voyton (11 goals, nine assists). Also back is keeper Julia Caine, who was in net to close out the championship win and allowed just one goal while splitting time in 2012.
The Hawks will need all those weapons as they traverse a challenging Howard County landscape peppered with potential contenders Atholton (10-5-0), Centennial (6-7-2), Marriotts Ridge (9-6-1) and Reservoir (7-6-2).
With Michigan-bound keeper Megan Hinz backing a high-octane corps of field players, Good Counsel is loaded from back to front once again. . . . First-team All Met goalie Cassidy Babin returns to anchor a Spalding team that took home the IAAM-A title in 2012, a year in which the Cavaliers drew with both Good Counsel and Bishop O’Connell . . . . O’Connell will need juniors Stephanie Page and Lauren Harkes and sophomore Julia Phillips to step up offensively if they want to duplicate last year’s two-loss campaign, as the Knights lost a combined 47 goals to graduation in leading scorers Morgan Reuther and Kara Deguisto.
1. Good Counsel (16-1-2)
2. South River (18-2)
3. River Hill (19-0)
4. Spalding (15-3-3)
5. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (13-4)
6. National Cathedral (16-2-2)
7. O’Connell (14-2-2)
8. Holy Cross (13-2-1)
9. Whitman (12-3)
10. Sidwell (16-4)
Bubble: Atholton (10-5-0); Georgetown Visitation (11-6-2); Flint Hill (11-5-2)
(Final 2012 records)