Mercy gains top billing; players to watch for all ranked teams

by Nelson Coffin

As the 2021 girls high school soccer season prepares to get underway there is a little Magic in there.

Not only is the entire region captivated with the prospect of a normal fall season, there is a great deal of interest in the potential of young and extremely talented Mercy team, which enters the fall as our No. 1 team.

Of course, lurking just behind in the IAAM A Conference. and in our Top 5, are perennial powers IAAM powers (No. 2) McDonogh School and (No. 4) Archbishop Spalding.

Rounding out our Top 5 are No. 3 Broadneck and No. 5 Perry Hall.

Below is the complete VSN Girls Soccer Top 20 as well as capsule on each team, including players to watch.

Mercy, with junior Sydney Feiler (left), and seniors Carsyn Hyman and Alex Jankowski, aims for its first IAAM A Conference soccer crown this fall.

1. MERCY (2020 record: 2-1)

Coach: Doug Pryor

Players to watch: Alex Jankowsky, Sr., Forward; Sydney Feiler, Jr., Midfield

Throw in: Magic loaded with young talent, hungry for first-ever IAAM A Conference crown.

2. MCDONOGH SCHOOL (2020 record: Did not play)

Coach: Harry Canellakis

Players to watch: Kelsey Smith, Sr., Midfield; Olivia Ozbolt, Sr., Midfield

Throw in: Eagles in a rare position of being the hunter instead of being hunted.

3. BROADNECK (2020 record: 4-0-1)

Coach: John Camm

Players to watch: Eva Mowery, Sr., Forward; Carly Johnston, Sr., Midfield/Defense

Throw in: University of South Florida recruit Mowery’s scoring prowess fuels Bruins’ offense on a deep and well-rounded team.

4. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING (2020 record: 2-1)

Coach: Ashly Kennedy

Players to watch: Emma Murray, Sr., Goal; Reagan Mallia, Sr., Midfield; Sophie Thibeault, Jr., Midfield; Meghan Bernetti, Jr., Defense

Throw in: Despite having only three seniors, Cavaliers remain in hunt for IAAM A Conference laurels.

5. PERRY HALL (2020 record: 3-3)

Coach: Matt Smoot

Players to watch: Kyleigh Gough, Sr., Midfield/Defense; Delaney Forrester, Sr., Goal; Kamryn Williams, Sr., Forward

Throw in: A stout defense and Williams’ scoring prowess look to push Gators toward the top in Baltimore County.

6. SEVERNA PARK (2020 record: 3-1-1)

Coach: Rick Stimpson

Players to watch: Ava Schultz, Jr., Midfield; Hannah Verrault, Jr., Midfield; Sofia Espinosa, Sr., Midfield/forward

Throw in: Eight returning starters boost Falcons’ chances in tough Anne Arundel County race.

7. RIVER HILL (2020 record: 5-3-2)

Coach: Brian Song

Players to watch: Caroline Duffy, Sr., Goal; Kaitlyn Heitzman, Sr., Defense

Throw in: As usual, Song’s squad boasts a formidable defense.

8. NOTRE DAME PREPARTORY (2020 record: 3-1)

Coach: Val Teixiera

Players to watch: Olivia Rockstroh, Sr., Forward; Tricia Kohler, Soph., Forward

Throw in: Quick transition from defense to offense a strong suit for the Blazers.

9. DULANEY (2020 record: 2-2-1)

Coach: Maurice Boylan

Player to watch: Brianna Alvarez, Sr., Defense; Brooke Knabe, Jr., Defense

Throw in: Organized defense should boost Lions in Baltimore County.

10. CENTURY (2021 record 4-0-1)

Coach: Chris Little

Players to watch: Haley Greenwade, Sr., Forward; Mia Graff, Jr., Goalie

Throw in: Greenwade, the two-time reigning Carroll County Times Player of the Year, will lead Knights’ charge.

11. EASTERN TECH (2020 record: 2-2-1)

Coach: Kim Williams

Players to watch: Alexis Keller-Posen, Jr., Defense; Sophia Johnson, Jr., Defense

Throw in: Mavericks remain strong in defensive third.

12. ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL (2020 record: Did not play)

Coach: Joie Gill

Players to watch: Kendall Steer, Sr., Center midfield; Norah Heacock, Jr., Defense; Lauren Steer, Jr., Forward

Throw in: Steer sisters and Heacock provide senior leadership for youthful Gators.

13. RESERVOIR (2020 record: 9-2)

Coach: Phil Ranker

Player to watch: Karis Turner, Sr., Forward; Margot Laughner, Sr., Defense

Throw in: Explosive offense propels Gators in Howard County..

14. JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL (2020 record: Did not play)

Coach: Hayley Howe

Players to watch: Macy Vail, Sr., Forward; Sydney Queen, Sr., Forward/Midfield; Madison Shaffery, Sr., Forward

Throw in: Experience and depth are Patriots’ calling cards.

15. MARRIOTTS RIDGE (2020 record: 8-1-1)

Coach: Darius Qualls

Players to watch: Caroline Albert, Sr., Goal; Megan Wagner, Sr., Midfield: Anna Page, Sr., Defense

Throw in: ‘D’ makes a difference for Mustangs in quest for another Howard County title.

16. TOWSON (2020 record: 3-1-2)

Coach: Lauren Hanley

Players to watch: Mia McCoogi, Sr.,Defense; Lauren Karwacki, Sr., Center back; Lucy Vettori, Sr., Midfield

Throw in: Strong team dynamic and deep bench propel Generals.

17. MOUNT HEBRON (2020 record: 7-2)

Coach: Tim Deppen

Players to watch: Kate Hanks, Sr., Midfield; Lauren Gustafson, Sr., Defense

Throw in: Yet another competitive team in serious contention for Howard County supremacy.

18. HEREFORD (2020 record: 8-0)

Coach: Brad Duvall

Players to watch: Lauren Orren, Jr., Midfield; Ainsley Yates, Jr. Forward

Throw in: Life without Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year Payton Patrick (South Carolina) could be markedly different for retooling Bulls.

19. MOUNT DE SALES ACADEMY (2020 record 0-2)

Coach: Dave Manser

Players to watch: Caroline Sloop, Jr., Forward; Kate Durig, Sr. ,Midfield; Erin Antone, Jr., Defense, Sophia DiPino, Jr., Midfield; Mary Rose Goff, Sr., Outside back

Throw in: Sailors appear to be ready to contend again in IAAM B Conference.

20. C. MILTON WRIGHT (2020 record: Did not play)

Coach: Andrew Harrell

Players to watch: Elise Graf, Sr., Forward/Midfield; Sean Luk, Sr., Midfield

Throw in: Return of Academy players gives Mustangs a big lift.