Madison sophomore Carly Frederick helps lead a balanced attack for the defending state champion. (Richard A. Lipski/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

The way the Madison girls’ lacrosse team ended the 2011 season — unbeaten and with the school’s first Virginia state championship — the Warhawks earned an extended celebration. So when it came time to schedule this year’s spring break trip, Coach Amanda Counts opted to take her team to Hilton Head, S.C., for some fun in the sun.

The seventh-ranked Warhawks hung out on the beach and at the pool and even got in some outlet shopping while staying in villas on the island. But the trip was hardly a break from lacrosse. Madison played a pair of games against South Brunswick (N.J.) — winning both — and practiced twice on non-game days.

“I hope the girls would agree that it was a good balance of everything,” Counts said. “Everything was pretty structured, but they had time to relax on the beach and at the pool, too. We try and hide the work into the plan.”

That plan produced an utterly dominant team in 2011. The Warhawks outscored opponents 407-152 in going 21-0, and won all but two games by at least eight goals.

Madison graduated only three seniors from that team — one being All-Met midfielder Allison Hahn — and returned 84 percent of its scoring, making the Warhawks a logical preseason favorite to repeat as Northern Region champions. Senior Julia Kehoe, junior Carly Frederick and sophomore Katie Kerrigan lead a balanced attack that averages 16.6 goals per game through five games this spring.

Senior Megan Bisson, junior Alex Roop, Kehoe and freshman Katie Sciandra have all missed time this spring, and the loss of junior goalie Taylor Rivera-Silva to a lower back injury was the most troubling. But freshman Sigourney Heerink has held her own in Rivera-Silva’s absence, starting all five games and keeping her team on track.

“You could look to your bench and see all the girls standing and not in uniform and have that be overwhelming,” Counts said. “But it is nice to be able to step back and see the outcome.”

Through it all, the Warhawks continue to extend the area’s longest winning streak — which sits at 26 heading into Friday’s key Liberty District tilt against Langley. But Counts and her players don’t talk about the streak — they prefer to focus on the task at hand.

“Being unbeaten is great, but we prefer to play the best we can... and not be beaten,” Counts said. “It’s nice to know that we’re not at full strength and we’re still playing well enough to win games.” . . .

Some of the area’s best private school teams will match up with top competition from across the nation on Saturday in Alexandria. Top-ranked Georgetown Visitation, Good Counsel and host St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes highlight the 12-team field at the 21st annual Spring Fling. The event, which also features Holy Cross and Holy Child from the Washington area, includes 11 games over four sessions, beginning at 10 am. ....

No. 4 Severna Park (5-0) enjoyed a strong spring break, avenging a pair of private school losses from last season at the Anne Arundel Community College tournament. The Falcons, who have won four of the past five Maryland 4A/3A titles, held off Severn, 11-9, behind four goals from junior Morgan Torggler last Thursday. Two days later, Torggler, a Maryland commit and second-team All-Met pick last season, scored five goals in a 13-10 win over Spalding.

Severn boys ready for conference play

Life in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association’s A Conference — already regarded as one of the top high school leagues in the country — got tougher for the Severn boys’ lacrosse team in 2010. The Admirals were placed in the conference’s Red division, adding an extra game annually with Loyola-Blakefield, Calvert Hall, St. Paul’s and McDonogh.

Coach Brian Wood’s squad struggled to meet the challenge, recording just one win against its new division-mates the past two years with a 4-22 overall conference record.

“Honestly,” Wood said, “nobody in the world should have to do that.”

Severn doesn’t have to worry about the unbalanced schedule anymore. The MIAA-A eliminated divisions for this spring and switched back to a more traditional schedule with all the teams playing once. Now the seventh-ranked Admirals, who have not made the conference playoffs since 2006, just have to take advantage of the level playing field.

Led by 13 seniors, Severn (11-1) has begun that effort with a near perfect month to start the season. The Admirals haven’t lost since falling to No. 6 Bullis, 5-4, in their March 10 season opener. They began their MIAA-A schedule Tuesday by beating neighborhood rival Spalding, 6-5, for their 11th straight win.

Severn’s veteran defense has paced the fast start, allowing less than five goals per game. On offense, the Admirals’ top midfield line features three Division I recruits in seniors Mark Cohen (UMBC) and Nick Manis (Maryland) and junior Brett Bedard (North Carolina).

Wood believes the Admirals have the talent to better compete with the conference’s elite this time around, and he hopes the players use memories of their recent struggles to craft a memorable senior season.

“They took it on the chin for a while, and now their older, bigger and stronger,” Wood said. “All the hard work is paying off. I think a big part of it is determination not to let it happen again.” . . .

South River, last season’s Maryland 4A/3A runner-up, moves into The Post’s Top 10 this week after one of the area’s most impressive spring break performances. The host Seahawks (5-0) beat then-No. 9 St. Mary’s Ryken (8-1) on Saturday to win the Greg Carroll Invitational. Junior Ben Chisolm, a Maryland recruit, had 10 goals during the two-game event. . . .

Briar Woods went out of its way to schedule Virginia AAA schools last season to prepare itself for the rigors of the postseason. The Falcons (5-0) won their first AA Dulles District title and reached the state quarterfinals for the first time, but finished the year with a 1-3 mark against AAA foes.

So far this spring, the team has flipped the script. Briar Woods already avenged losses to Madison and Stone Bridge while beating Ashburn rivals and first-year AAA Cedar Run entrant Broad Run. But a win against one of the Northern Region’s perennial powers would go a long way toward proving the Falcons are ready to compete with the best teams in the state. They’ll get that chance on Friday when they visit reigning Northern Region champion Chantilly on Friday. The Falcons face Dulles District rivals Tuscarora on Thursday.

Seniors Connor Cashman and Kevin Cuellar pace a Falcons attack that’s averaging 13 goals per game. The Chargers (7-1) are fresh off a three-game sweep at the West Springfield Spring Break Invitational and boast an experienced offense led by seniors Daniel Decenzo and Luke Bowers.