With nine starters returning from a team that qualified for the Class 1A semifinals a year ago, Mountain Ridge enters the season as the team to beat.
However, Northern and Allegany return significant production, Hampshire are yet to lose in four games to start the year and Bishop Walsh brings back five senior starters.
Here’s a breakdown of what to look for in women’s football this year:
Head Coach: Adam Sterne
Last year’s record: 10-6-2
Key losses: Ryland Kienhofer (defense), Rachel Bush (defense), Hayleigh Groves (midfielder), Jordan Chaney (midfielder, team leader in assists with 12 and second in scoring with 10 goals)
Key returners: Lya Smith (Central Defensive Midfielder, Co-Defensive Player of the Year), Maddie Poland (Midfielder), Adri Meadors (Defense), Sam Preaskorn (Defense), Olivia Looker (Defense, Fort Hill transfer) , Shylah Taylor (keeper, 61 saves), Avery Miller (forward, 20 goals)
Quote from the coach: “Our team will look different from last year because of the team dynamics. We are young and will rely on roster changes and adjustments throughout the season to prepare for each opponent. The bench will be asked to step up to play more than in years past.
Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.