2018 Lax Preview:

2018 Lax Preview:

By Nelson Coffin
nelson@iaamsports.com

The most obvious question for the upcoming lacrosse season is whether McDonogh can extend its domination in the A Conference to a full decade after the abrupt departure in January of longtime coach Chris Robinson, the mastermind behind a national-record 177-game winning streak.

That said, Eagles’ new head coach Nancy Love was a longtime assistant to Robinson and, by the way, she will have the most decorated player in the history of women’s lacrosse, three-time Tewaarton Award winner Taylor Cummings, to help guide the program to a ten-peat.

A veteran Mercy team will also be searching for another title in the B Conference as will Catholic High in the C Conference.

Scroll down to get then skinny on your favorite squads.

ANNAPOLIS AREA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

COACH: DEANNA THORPE

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 8-6

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 7-5

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO ST. JOHN'S CATHOLIC PREP, 18-11, B CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Amanda Wadsworth, Maggie Anderson, Julia Dittrich, Madi D'Angelo 

OUTLOOK: With Wadsworth and D'Angelo leading the attack, Anderson anchoring the midfield and Dittrich doingnthe same on defense, Thorpe's first season at the helm looks promising.

"AACS looks forward to a successful year and is led by senior captains, Maggie Anderson and Amanda Wadsworth," Thorpe said. "AACS brings together a balanced and talented team, and looks to have another great year."

ARCHBISHOP SPALDING

COACH: DON RESTLY AND TARA SHEA

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 13-5

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 8-4

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO GLENELG COUNTRY SCHOOL, 10-7, A CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Allie Gigliotti, Jenna Garden, Sam Bousman, Olivia Piccirlli, Alex Schepers, Katie Sheehan

JUNIORS: Paige Gunning, Haley Urgo, Olivia Malamphy, Val Lamore, Pearl Rosemond, Strickland Schumacher, Tori Bates, Arianna Shea, Maria Comella

SOPHOMORES: Kristin O'Neill, Maggie Jordan, Lacey Eden, Lindsay Beardmore

OUTLOOK: With a slew of experienced players returning to the fold joining newcomers Katy Morris, Annie Morris, Lynne Diven, Riley Rafterry-Lee, Opal Rosemond, Meggie Gibbons, Caitlin Koehler, Kyra Farley, Abby Scully, Lilly Grant, the Cavaliers are upbeat about the prospects for another winning season.

A very dynamic offense and an extremely fast and athletic defense should go a long way toward achieving that goal.

BRYN MAWR SCHOOL

COACH: BROOKE MATTHEWS

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 8-9

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 6-6

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO NDP, 14-7, A CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Olivia Rubin, Alex Marino, Helen Mackay

JUNIOR: Virginia Oursler

SOPHOMORE: Abbey Hurlbrink

OUTLOOK: The all-around prowess of Rubin (50 goals, 50 draw controls) should help the Mawrtian immensely in that she takes draws, scores and defends with equal aplomb. Combined with Marino (27 goals, 32 assists), a crafty crease attacker with a deft touch around the goal, Bryn Mawr should be solid at the offensive end.

The Mawrtians will be strong in the middle, too, with Oursler and Hurlbrink taking charge.

Mackay will be the defensive anchor for Matthews, who is in her first year after taking over for Jordy Kirr.

“Our team has great energy and leadership with a lot of returners on the attack and midfield,” Matthews said. “Defense is going to be a major focus for us — asking everyone to step up and be ready down there. We are excited for a competitive season and can't wait to get started.”

GARRISON FOREST SCHOOL

COACH: SUZIE FRIEDRICH

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 12-6

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 8-4

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO NDP, 7-3, A CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Kennedy Lynch, Jilly Quartner

JUNIOR: Kaylan Silva

OUTLOOK: Mainstays on the midfield (Lynch), attack (Silva) and defense (Quartner) give the Grizzlies a solid foundation, although not having a seasoned goalie could make things more difficult for a team that seemingly came out of nowhere last spring to reach the semifinal round of the playoffs.

“With only three seniors on the roster, I'd say we're pretty young and rebuilding,” Friedrich said. “Last year was one of the best seasons Garrison Forest has ever had, so it'll be tough to equal that, but we have a determined group of players who are competing hard every day.”

GLENELG COUNTRY SCHOOL

COACHES: BRIAN REESE AND PAIGE WALTON

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 15-5

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 8-4

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO MCDONOGH, 12-7, A CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Hannah Glaros, Bobby Haney, Sarah Ayer

JUNIOR: Shay Ahearn

SOPHOMORE: Lindsey Marshall

OUTLOOK: The Dragons should have enough firepower returning to warrant some serious respect in the A Conference battles ahead.

The midfield is the team’s strong suit, featuring Ahearn (29 goals, 17 assists, 94 draw controls), Marshall (33 goals, 9 assists, 64 draw controls) Glaros (42 goals, 7 assists, 5 draw controls) and Ayer.

Haney, who scored 28 goals and added 11 assists, will be the go-to attacker on a unit that was ravaged by the graduation of standouts Julia Sheehan and Alyssa Arnold.

“Replacing their roles and points will be a challenge,” Reese said. “We return a really strong midfield which should be the strength of our team. We are an older and more mature team than we were last year and have returning starters and leaders at every position We will need to be better on the defensive end to really compete with the top teams in the A conference.”

GERSTELL ACADEMY

COACH: JOSH GOCHNAUER

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 3-9

2017 CONFERENCE RECORD: DID NOT PLAY IN IAAM

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO ROLAND PARK, 21-10, NON-LEAGUE

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Jillian Wilson, Georgia Blake

JUNIOR: Carly Merlow

OUTLOOK: Although the Falcons will not be able to play for a conference title this spring, they will be laying the groundwork for what may turn out to be a formidable program.

However, for this season on the offensive end, Gerstell will take advantage of having Wilson lead the midfield unit and Blake do the same at attack.

Merlow’s experience in the goal will also be a plus for the Falcons.

“We should have our best season yet at Gerstell Academy, returning all of our starters from last year,” Gochnauer said. “We also have a core of outstanding returning sophomores and some extremely talented freshman.

“We are grateful for joining the IAAAM, and look forward to hopefully competing with the elite teams in the A conference.”

INDIAN CREEK SCHOOL

COACH: STEVE WILLETT

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 3-10

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 3-9

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO FRIENDS, 16-6, B CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Lucy Baukhages, Colleen Schrum, Katarina Piera, Sydney Williams, Albany Bloor

JUNIORS: Sarah Mathes, Kara Matthews

FRESHMEN: Megan Bunker, Kylie Paquin, Kalle Huff, Cali Schwerdtfelder, Cameron Ramsey

OUTLOOK: Mathes and Baukhages will handle attacking chores while Schrum and Piera will step forward on the midfield.

The defense appears to be a strength with Matthews and Williams holding down the fort in from of Bloor in the goal.

“We hope to be improved over last year,” Willett said. “Our freshman class, although young and inexperienced, is the best freshman class in recent years and should help add some depth to the roster.”

INSTITUTE OF NOTRE DAME

COACH: RANDY BAYNES

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 1-16

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 0-12

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO PARK SCHOOL, 18-6, B CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Meghan Weatherly, Nica Padden

JUNIOR: Kaitlyn Hunsinger

OUTLOOK: Weatherly was second in all offensive categories in 2017 as a midfielder and will be joined in running the offense with Padden, who will split time between midfield and attack. Hunsinger, a year older and more confident, is poised to blossom in the goal circle the spring.

“The staff is also thrilled to be adding several talented freshmen to the roster,” Baynes said. “We are looking to be much improved from 2017.”

JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL

COACH: ABBEY SWIFT

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 5-13

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 4-8

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO ST. PAUL'S, 13–9, A CONFERENCE OPENING ROUND

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIOR: Molly Lynch

JUNIOR: Georgia Ceanfiagone

SOPHOMORE: Katie Hormes

OUTLOOK: Lynch and Hormes are a potent one-two punch in the midfield while Ceanfiagone anchors the defense for the Patriots.

"After graduating a group of seasoned players last year, we have some younger players that are ready to step in to continue building the John Carroll program," Swift said. "At first glance, it may seem like a rebuilding year, but our veteran players are paving the way for our team to have a lot of potential this season. We as coaches are really looking forward to the 2018 season."

MCDONOGH SCHOOL

COACH: NANCY LOVE

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 22-0

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 12-0

2017 FINAL GAME: BEAT NDP, 12–9, A CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Maddie Jenner, Julia Hoffman, Rachel Anderson, Julia Cooper, Anna Robinson, Megan Mix, Hannah Rothe

JUNIORS: Blaire Pearre, Emma Schettig, Sami Thacker, Emma Tilson, Abbie Wilhelm

SOPHOMORES: Kayla Abernathy, Ava Class

OUTLOOK: After earning 177 consecutive wins and nine consecutive A Conference crowns, no team in the nation has a bigger target on its back.

Throw in the fact the Chris Robinson is no longer the coach and it’s easy to see why some opponents might feel that the Eagles are ripe for the picking.

Yet former assistant Love knows her stuff, too, so count on the McDonogh still presenting a formidable group to contend with on the field.

With Jenner taking the draws and Hoffman, Anderson, Cooper, Robinson, Mix and Rothe adding senior leadership, McDonogh has the talent to get the job done even though it will be missing star defensive middle Julia Dorsey due to an injury.

“Our team has the challenge to step up and fill some big shoes of some our 2017 graduated players, Andie Aldave (Notre Dame), Margaret Donovan (Princeton) and Katie May (UMD),” Love said. “Plagued by some injuries in the past year, the Eagles are working their way back to recover and build from these setbacks, mainly recovering from the loss of Dorsey, a two-sport athlete committed to playing soccer and lacrosse at UNC.  As always, we expect lots of strong competition.”

Although the coaching staff has changed, its determination to win yet another title remains firmly intact.

“Our all-female coaching staff of four consists of three McDonogh alumnae, including Mary Beth Todd and three-time Tewaaraton winner Taylor Cummings, who will return to her alma mater,” Love said. “We also welcome Eva Winiarski, who competed at the D-1 level after graduating last year from Drexel University.”

MERCY HIGH SCHOOL

COACH: BRIAN CASSERLY

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 12-2

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 0-12

2017 FINAL GAME: BEAT FRIENDS, 14-7, B CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIOR: Kaitlyn Kozlowski

SOPHOMORE: Bailey Krahl

OUTLOOK: Things are looking very good for the Magic, considering that every starter returns, including Stevenson-bound midfielder Kozlowski (32 goals, 7 assists, 92 draw controls) and attacker Kraal (55 goals,13 assists).

“We are very excited to get the season started and have the opportunity to defend the B conference championship,” Casserly said. “We have added several new players to the program and believe they will make an impact this season. I think staying healthy will be a major factor in our overall success. “

MOUNT DE SALES ACADEMY

COACH: ERIC PFEILER

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 3-15

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 1-11

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO GLENELG COUNTRY SCHOOL, 15-6, A CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Malaina Dunn, Sophia Stewart, Sydney Skalstad

JUNIOR: Mary Blee

SOPHOMORE: Sloane Skalstad

OUTLOOK: Dunn will be the most experienced retiring defender for the Sailors, who boast Stewart and the Skalstad as seasoned midfielders while Blee is the main attacker returning to the fold.

“We look to build on what we started last season with our underclassman replacing our four seniors,” Pfeiler said. “But with that said, we do have eight returning starters who are more than capable to lead this team. We used many players in 2017 and because of their game experience we will be a little more prepared to hit the ground running filling the void of our graduated seniors.

*We are more than aware of the teams we face but we must be more disciplined and consistent in every aspect of this game in order to compete at this level,” he added.

NOTRE DAME PREPARATORY SCHOOL

COACH: MAC FORD

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 19-3

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 11-1

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO MCDONOGH SCHOOL, 12-9, A CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Caitlynn Mossman, Hannah Mardiney, Sarah Cooper, Annika Meyer

OUTLOOK: With 42 players on the roster, there’s plenty of talent and depth to propel the Blazers this spring.

The best of the bunch are high-level Division I recruits Mossman and Mardiney, prolific attackers headed to Boston College and Florida, respectively. Cooper (Syracuse) and Meyer (Johns Hopkins) bring a similar level of talent to the defense.

“We have a very aggressive schedule both in and out of our league based on last year’s national rankings,” Ford said. We have seven returning starters, but depth in all areas. If our senior and underclass players step into their new roles, we have a chance to be very competitive.”

PARK SCHOOL

COACH: ROBIN CARDIN LOWE

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 11-4

2017 B CONFERENCE RECORD: 10-2

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO FRIENDS,11-9, B CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Kenya Boston, Leah Genth, Maddie Willis

JUNIOR: Sydney Lowe

OUTLOOK: “We are showing lots of promise and working hard to fill in the gaps that come from last year's graduation,” Robin Cardin Lowe said.

To that end, the Bruins will boast all-around offensive threat Sydney Lowe with Boston chipping in from the attack unit and Genth contributing from the midfield.

Willis is the defensive rock that Park will lean on when times get tough.

ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL

COACH: KIM MCNEMAR

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 10-7

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 7-5

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO GARRISON FOREST SCHOOL, 9-8, A CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Sierra Cockerill, Cabrini Class, Chelsea Kovinsky

JUNIORS: Kiki Shaw, Mary Griffin, Amber Bustard

SOPHOMORE: Shannon Smith

OUTLOOK: There is plenty of highly-recruited talent to lift the Reds back to the upper echelon of the A Conference, given the prowess of attackers Cockerill (Syracuse) and Kovinsky (Southern Cal), middies Class (Arizona State) and Shaw (UVA), defender Griffin (VA Tech) and goalie Bustard (Loyola MD).

“The Reds graduated a talented senior class, but are returning a lot of experience on both ends of the field,” McNemar said. “The coaching staff is excited about this energetic group and the high skill level they bring to the field every day. Teamwork, leadership and hard work will see RPCS through one of their most competitive schedules they have seen in years.”

ST. MARY’S HIGH SCHOOL

COACH: MINDY JONES

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 6-11

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 3-9

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL, 13-8, A CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIOR: Julianna Sanchez

JUNIORS: Bryce Pfundstein, Whitney Albert, Maggie Aumiller, Grace Isham

SOPHOMORES: Marielle McAteer, Kaitlyn Panebianco

OUTLOOK: A combination of speed and youth could make for some fun times in Annapolis this spring, according to Jones.

Look for Pfundstein and McAteer to bolster the midfield while a veteran attack unit of Albert, Aumiller, Sanchez and Panebianco run the Saints’ offense and Isham spearheads the defense.

“We are a young and dynamic team that is returning seven starters,” Jones said. “We are going to look to use our speed and many offensive threats to be successful.”

ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

COACH: MARY GAGNON

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 10-9

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 5-7

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO MCDONOGH, 18-3, A CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Darby Welsh, Clare Boone

JUNIOR: Shelton Sawers

OUTLOOK: Maryland commit Welsh has the “speed, skill and grit to be be a top midfielder” in the league, Gagnon said.

She’ll run on the same unit with Florida-bound speedster Sawers, who, Gagnon said, is one of the fastest middies in the league.

Boone, a goalie headed to Yale in the fall, will be the backbone of the defense.

“We are very young this season with a whopping nine freshmen on the varsity,” Gagnon said. “But these freshmen are strong, athletic kids who know the game of lacrosse. Combined with a talented core of upperclassmen, SPSG lacrosse looks to have a successful season, getting stronger as the season progresses. We return seven starters and Darby from her ACL Injury. (She missed all of last season). For us to be competitive in the IAAM A (Conference), our young players must step up and complement our returners. We have more depth this season and the talent to compete at the top of this league.”

ST. TIMOTHY’S SCHOOL

COACH: MARJORIE BLISS

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 11-6

2017 C CONFERENCE RECORD: 9-4

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO CATHOLIC, 11-6, C CONFERENCE FINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Isabel Klose, Mia Bryant, Avy Rohr

JUNIOR: Olivia Risser

SOPHOMORES: Abbey Walsh, Morgan Gurley

OUTLOOK: Having made it to the conference finale last year, St. Tim’s would like an encore performance in 2018.

To that end, St. Tim’s has some savvy veterans to lead the way, including Klose and Rohr on the midfield, Walsh on attack and defenders Bryant and Gurley protecting Risser in the goal circle.

“We know this will be a challenge because each year we are different, as are the teams we compete against,” Bliss said. “However, we have a solid group of returning players who are motivated and driven to achieve this goal. Additionally, we have some talented newcomers who are challenging the returning players.”

ST. VINCENT PALLOTTI

COACH: MARK MOZIER

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 10-3

2017 C CONFERENCE RECORD: 14-5

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO ST. TIMOTHY’S, 12-10, C CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Quai Skeete Ridley, Caroline Falcone, Nicole Gore, Raquel Guzman

JUNIORS: Alexandra Eubanks, Mya Spivey, Pasheun Perry

FRESHMEN: Yasmeen Whitaker, Symone Williams, Ally Miller

OUTLOOK: Skeete Ridley, who totaled 55 goals and 90 draw controls, and midfield mate Falcone (44 goals, 45 draw controls) lead the charge on offense with Eubanks Mya Spivey shoring up the defense.

“For the past two years we have had a 100-goal scoring player, and this year shouldn't be different,” Mozier said.

Despite having nine freshmen Mozier said that a rebuilding mold isn't good enough.

“(We have) the want-to to go deep into the playoffs and play in the championship,” he said. “The theme of the team is support and being positive. It's not a turnover when we drop it if we get it back.”

Gore, Guzman and Perry will also be counted on to help the Panthers compete at a high level, as will rookies such as Miller, Whitaker and Williams.

SEVERN SCHOOL

COACH: ERIN DE FALCO

2017 OVERALL RECORD: 9-11

2017 A CONFERENCE RECORD: 4-8

2017 FINAL GAME: LOST TO BRYN MAWR SCHOOL, 8-6, A CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

SENIORS: Reegan Morris, Hanna Ramsey

JUNIORS: Sydney Kirchenheiter, Cam Levin

OUTLOOK: The Admirals lost 12 seniors, including two top scorers and a goalie.

“We return seven starters with a total of 10 varsity players returning,” De Falco said.

Even so, the entire starting defense returns with the addition of Ramsey in goal and Morris on low D.

All 10 returning varsity players will make a huge impact this season, including Kirchenheiter, a midfielder who was fourth on the team in goals, and third in assists and draw controls (33). She also led in ground balls and was second with caused-turnovers (23).

“Sydney is an all‐around great athlete and hustler with incredible knowledge for the game,” De Falco said. “She will be a huge factor to both our offensive and defensive game this year.”

Levin, an attacker committed to Elon, notched 23 goals and was a team leader in points and ground balls.

“Cam is the only returning starting attacker this year,” De Falco added. “She will be our leader on the offensive end. She has an incredible shot and will be a big factor in 2018 season.

“We lost some offensive threats this season,” De Falco said. “However, we return a handful of strong juniors to step up and make a difference on the offensive end. To win in our league this season, we will need to capitalize on our speed in the midfield and the strength of our veteran defense.”