Maryland is the home of the back-to-back POWERADE FAB 50 National Champions, so the road to the title runs through the Free State.
While McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) holds the title, there are several teams in the state that have legitimate shots at taking the crown. The IAAM is to girls' lacrosse what the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association is to the boys and boasts several teams capable of knocking off McDonogh this season.
Not to be overshadowed, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) is the best of Interstate-270 and the Washington, D.C. area and plays a tough national schedule that puts the Falcons into contention for a national title each year.
The Starting Lineup
(Position: athlete, year, high school (State), college commitment)
G: Molly Wolf, Sr., Bryn Mawr (Baltimore), Loyola
D: Elizabeth Bannantine, Sr., McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.), Princeton
D: Sofia Robins, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.), Boston
D: Kate Lazzeri, Fallston (Fallston, Md.), Navy
D: Kate Walker, Sr., Bryn Mawr (Baltimore), Yale
M: Taylor Cummings, Sr., McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.), Maryland
M: Erica Bodt, Sr., John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.), Syracuse
M: Brooke Boyd, Sr., St. Paul's (Brooklandville, Md.), Virginia
M: Kelly Boyd, Sr., St. Paul's (Brooklandville, Md.), Virginia
A: Corinne Etchinson, Sr., McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.), Georgetown
A: Lauren Lea, Archbishop Spalding (Severn, Md.), Florida
A: Amanda Ackerman, Kent Island (Stevensville, Md.), Penn State
Sizing Up The Region
John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) finished 9-4 last season and returns three starters. In 2012 the Patriots team will look to strong leadership from senior Erica Bodt (Syracuse) who has been a varsity starter since her freshman year and captain since her sophomore year. Coach Krystin Porcella will have a young team this season, but the U-19 National Team coach will have speed in the midfield behind senior Leah Pace, sophomore Meredith Haggerty and junior Ally Kozel.
Maryvale Prep (Baltimore, Md.) had an 8-8 record last year, though it played well in the IAAM conference, going 7-6. The Lions will be led by new head coach Jessica Vitrano Randisi and look to get back to their winning ways in 2012. Prep has a group of talented senior midfielders in Sam Darcangelo (Florida), Carly Ross (Florida) and Flannery Carney (Yale). Overall, 11 players from Prep are committed to college and boast an underclass group with stud goaltender Caroline Federico (Johns Hopkins), middies Kaitlan Moynihan (Navy) and Emma Tizard (Vermont) and attacker Amanda Bochniak (Marquette).
McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) is the two-time defending POWERADE FAB 50 National Champion and will once again start the season in the Top 5 of the rankings, if not at No. 1. The Eagles return nine starters and 14 players from last year's team, including 13 players who have either committed or are expected to commit to D-I programs. McDonogh returns starters at every position and is riding a 51-game winning streak. ESPNHS No. 1 Taylor Cummings leads a midfield group that also includes seniors Liz Bannantine (Princeton), Mallory Schonk (Vanderbilt) and Sofia Robins (Boston). The junior class boasts eight Division I commits, including five ESPNHS Top 50 juniors, including No. 5 Casey Blake (Duke) and No. 15 Samantha Burgess (Florida).
Notre Dame Prep (Baltimore, Md.) went 10-7 last year, but with 11 players committed to Division I programs returning the Blazers should be a contender for the IAAM title this season. Notre Dame is led by ESPNHS 100 athlete, Hannah Hartman (Notre Dame). The schedule is daunting even without looking at the non-conference schedule, but the Blazers will travel to play St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.) and Manhasset (N.Y.) this season.
Roland Park (Baltimore, Md.) had an impressive 2011 season as the Red's posted victories over John Carroll, Bryn Mawr and Notre Dame Prep. Key contributors from last season's team return with Betsy Angel (James Madison), Christa Reece (Denver), Jenna Reifer (Johns Hopkins) and Aubrey Todd (Harvard) leading the way. Rising juniors to watch are Emma Gaurino (Michigan) and Erika Brager (Jacksonville).
The talent that Severn (Annapolis, Md.) has assembled is encouraging with attacker Allie Foard (High Point), Alexa Kunowsky (Vanderbilt) and Beth Wilertz (Florida). Besides playing the grueling IAAM schedule, the Admirals also play out of state games against Manheim Township (Lancaster, Pa.), and the top team from Delaware, Cape Henlopen (Lewes, Del.).
St. Paul's (Brooklandville, Md.) boasts six players going D-I -- four in the senior class and two in the junior class. Four players from the Gators are in the ESPNHS Top 100, including the Boyd sisters (Brooke and Kelly) who are committed to Virginia. Maddy Aldave (Johns Hopkins) and senior defender Olivia Schneider (Villanova) round out a stellar senior class. As for underclassmen, middie Shelby Wells (Delaware) and attacker Amanda Sutor (Michigan) lead the way.
Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) finished at No. 6 in last year's POWERADE FAB 50 and returns five starters. Goalie Meagh Graham (Virginia Tech) along with defenders Sammi Wilson (Virginia Tech), Mary Pat Scanlon and Jen Morrissey should provide the Falcons with a stout defense. Caroline Peters (Vanderbilt) is the No. 6 junior and along with No. 47 junior Shea Cassidy, the Falcons boast an impressive lineup. Once again Good Counsel will face a tough schedule with games against St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.), St. Paul's and Garnet Valley (Glen Mills, Pa.).
Broadneck (Annapolis, Md.) finished 14-4 last season and returns eight players committed to Division I programs. The Bruins junior class boasts five college-bound athletes, including two High Point commits: Zoe Earnest and Kacy Koolage who will anchor the midfield.
Severna Park (Severna Park, Md.) is the defending 4A/3A state champion and returns a core of players from the title team. Severna Park had an amazing game in the state finals last year knocking off highly touted Westminster to gain its10th state crown. SP finished 17-4 and in the Top 30 of the ESPNHS Powerade FAB 50. Junior midfielder Morgan Toggler (Maryland), who is an ESPNHS Top 50 Junior, returns after a totaling 30 goals and 11 assists last season. Other players coming back for the Falcons are senior middies Erika Spilker (Penn State) and Alexandra Adams (Boston University) along with junior attacker/middie Courtney Wells (High Point).
South River (Edgewater, Md.) boasts a roster with six players committed to Division I programs, including junior Bucknell commit Elizabeth Duswalt in goal. Four of the Seahawks college-bound athletes are juniors, but the senior leadership will come from Hannah Street (Lehigh) and Ally Van Sloun (Cincinnati).
Century (Eldersburg, Md.) was the Class 3A/2A West regional champions last spring, and finished with a 12-2 record. Century was led by junior standouts Alice Mercer (Maryland), Angela Flister (Florida), and Brooke Dolan (Frostburg State). The Knights should have another productive 2012 season with the three star seniors coming back and the rising junior talent with Abby Remenapp (Jacksonville), Kailey Wolfe (Penn) and Morgan Marrale (Old Dominion).
Fallston (Bel-Air, Md.) had a great run in 2011, reaching the state semifinals in the 3A/2A bracket and winning the North Regional Championship. The Cougars only had only two losses last season and return a strong team that has the potential to go all the way in 2012. Fallston had six girls commit to Divsion I schools, most notably Navy commit Katie Lazzeri who made the Top 10 of the ESPNHS Top 25 defensive midfielders. The midfield will be a strong area this season for the Cougars with Courtney Laubach (Ohio State), Jenna Mosketti (Penn State), Paulina Christ (UMBC), and Samantha Nolan (UMBC). Also watch for senior attacker Heather Summers (Columbia).
The 2011 defending state 3A/2A State Champion, Marriotts Ridge (Marriottsville, Md.), enters the 2012 season poised for another run at the title. The Mustangs return nine starters and have a strong core of players to engineer another 18-win season. The key for the Mustangs success last season was the defense anchored by ESPNHS Top 100 stars Molly Fleming (Maryland), Alex McKay (UNC) and Anne Zabel (UMBC). Coach Natalie Gaieski hopes the offense, led by ESPNHS Top 50 junior Zoe Stukenburg (Maryland) who had 45 goals and 34 assists last season steps it up this year with the strong defense. Some other girls to watch for are attackers, Tori Thompson (UConn), Nicole Grote (New Hampshire) and goalie Stephenie Ortell (Rochester).
Manchester Valley (Manchester, Md.) returns 11 starters from last year's team. Although it plays in the smallest class in Maryland, Manchester Valley was a tough opponent to FAB 50 teams Winters Mill (losing by one) and Westminster (smallest margin Westminster won game).
Patterson Milll (Bel Air, Md.) returns 10 starters and is expected to be strong at attack and defense this season.
Queen Annes (Centreville, Md.) reached the state semifinals last spring with a 16-0-1 record and were the 2A/1A East regional champions. QA returns one the top players in the state in junior middie Mollie Stevens (Florida) who is the No. 12 junior in the ESPNHS Top 50 Juniors list.
Winters Mill (Westminster, Md.) returns seven starters from the defending Class 2A/1A state championship team. Five players are committed to D-I programs, including ESPNHS 100 star Madison Cyr (Penn State). Defense should be a strong point with five starters returning to that side of the field. Besides Cyr, Winters Mill has a slew of good players to watch this season starting with senior middies Felice Artuso (SDSU) Sydney and Shelby Trentzsch who are both committed at Vanderbilt and junior defenders Caitlyn McMunn, Maddie Bodden and Delaney Norris (George Washington).
Underclassemen To Watch
(Position: athlete, year, high school (State), college commitment)
Goalie: Caroline Federico, Jr., Maryvale Prep; Meagh Graham, Jr., Good Counsel, Virginia Tech; Gabriella Antonelli, Jr., Queen Annes, Lasalle,
Attack: Casey Black, Jr., McDonogh, Duke; Sammy Burgess, Jr., McDonogh, Florida; Shea Cassidy, Jr., Good Counsel; C.C. Finney, Soph., Roland Park; Nicole Grote, Jr., Marriotts Ridge, New Hampshire; Stephanie Lazo, Jr., St. Mary's, Penn State; Abby Remenapp, Jr., Century, Jacksonville,
Midfield: Haley Bordner, Jr., Century; Samantha Brookhart, Jr., Mount Hebron (Ellicott City, Md.), Towson; Samantha Burgess, Jr., McDonogh, Florida; Meredith Haggerty, Soph., John Carroll; Devon Horine, Jr., McDonogh, Navy; Grace Muller, Jr., McDonogh, Notre Dame; Caroline Peters, Jr., Good Counsel, Vanderbilt; Abby Smucker, Jr., C. Milton Wright, Penn State; Mollie Stevens, Jr., Queen Anne's, Florida; Zoe Stukenberg, Jr., Marriotts Ridge, Maryland; Morgan Torggler, Severna Park, Maryland; Posey Valis, Jr., McDonogh, Virginia; Casey White, Jr., Queen Annes, James Madison;
Defense: Maggie Preas, Jr., McDonogh, Virginia; Hannah Rees, Jr., McDonogh; Sammi Wilson, Jr., Good Counsel; Virginia Tech;
Games To Watch
April 2: Notre Dame Prep at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes
April 5: Notre Dame Prep at Manhasset (N.Y.)
April 14: Good Counsel (Md.) at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.), at Spring Fling
April 21: Maryland/New York Challenge (matchups not set)
How This Region Affects The FAB 50
With the Spring Fling at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes and the Maryland/New York Challenge in April, the Maryland area will be a key state in the battle for the FAB 50 National Championship.
McDonogh is expected to be the early contender, but with a tough IAAM schedule and whoever they play at the challenge, the Eagles will have to earn its third-straight title.
Good Counsel can vie for a title with a win over St. Stephen's & St. Agnes on April 14 as the Saints are expected to be a team gaining serious preseason No. 1 consideration.