Bayside Conference title in seven seasons — remain the class of the Mid-Shore, until further notice.
Queen Anne’s graduated 12 seniors in the offseason, and there were plenty of key roles up for grabs.
The midfield will be headed up by Makenzie Demoss (Jr., Old Dominion University), Shannon Donovan (Jr., Queens University), Callie Crawford (Sr., Haverford College) and Sarah Bowyer (So.).
“Basically, we’re bringing back all the players we had when we ended the season last year,” Santos Bates said. “We’re just continuing on where we left off.”
The attacking corps will feature junior Haley Stallings, sophomore Kylie Tulowitzky and freshman Bella Rulapaugh.
Bowyer and Tulowitzky replaced Ascione and Folker after their injuries, and their experience during another state playoff run will be invaluable once the games start counting.
“Last year, we passed the torch midseason with those injuries,” Santos Bates said. “The torch was also passed this preseason, because I believe we have six freshmen who have made varsity who will be playing.”
The defense will be led by Grace Sweetak (Jr., Rollins College), Emma Caulk (Jr., University of Cincinnati), Cara Brown (So.) and Bella Ashley (Fr.), with senior Sydney Fenex manning the goal.
Queen Anne’s backfield boasts a nice mix of experience and youth, and Santos Bates said it will once again be the backbone of her team.
“We definitely have holes at (midfield and defense), but we have had people step into those positions, and I feel that we haven’t missed a beat,” Santos Bates said. “Our defense this year is better than we had last year, so we’re pleasantly surprised and very excited to see what happens.”
The passing of the torch arrived in unexpected fashion this time around, but it did little to temper any expectations for the premier girls’ lacrosse program of the Eastern Shore, and consistently among the very best in the state.
“We have the smallest team that we’ve ever had under my tenure there,” said Santos Bates, entering her 10th season with the program. “So pretty much everybody is seeing playing time, significant amount.
“I think it’s just part of the cycle,” Santos Bates added of the lower than usual turnout. “It’s exciting to have that pressure on you every year, because it makes you work harder.
“We know that teams around us have gotten significantly better,” Santos Bates continued. “That’s a great thing, because it creates competition, and it really shows you what you have.”
Here is a look at this year’s teams:
Kent Island Head coach: Holtzner, 1st year
Outlook: It won’t be a stretch to say that the Buccaneers will pose the biggest threat to the Lions this season.
The loaded Kent Island squad that went 10-4 last season features a host of college lacrosse hopefuls, and Holtzner has the opportunity to immediately make his mark as the head coach after four years leading the junior varsity program, this on top of over 10 years experience working with club teams.
Team captains Sydney Holtzner (Sr., D, Florida Southern) and Caroline Blandford (Sr., M, Marquette) will set the tempo, while Kelly Poole (Sr., Michigan), Kaylen Karnes (Jr., Longwood), Cassidy Creighton (Sr., Elon), and Rachel Ruffennach (Sr., Whitman) also star in the midfield.
“Having athletic players and a deep roster provides very competitive practices,” Coach Holtzner said. “All of our players know each and very week is a tryout for the starting positions, therefore our highenergy, intense work during the week will pay dividends later in the season.”
The attack will feature Gabby Beach (Sr., Monmouth), Morgan Gunn (Sr., A, George Mason), Grace Boyer (Sr., Savannah College
Todd of Art and Design) and Ally Heath (Sr., Campbell). Kyleigh Hession (Sr., Seton Hall) will be starting between the pipes, and Keelyn Haarhoff (Sr., Longwood) was listed as a key defender.
“Returning a large group of veterans should provide the team with leadership and experience on both ends of the field,” Coach Holtzman said. “We will rely on depth from our returning players, and are confident our new team members will embrace the atmosphere and team’s expectations as we forge through the season.”
Cambridge-SD Head coach: Shannon Bone, 4th year
Outlook: An experienced group of seniors — Micah Slacum (M, Lynchburg), Emily Brohawn (D), Allison Loeffler (A) and Jordan LeCompte (A) — afford the Vikings continuity coming off a 5-9 campaign, which featured more than a few narrow losses.
“This season we are looking to maintain consistency and to continue the growth of the program,” Bone said. “We are looking to expand our depth on the team and have high hopes for a great season.”
Cambridge-SD graduated only four players from last season. Elizabeth Dodge (D), Jenna Rue (G), Karlie Hughes (M) head up the junior class, while the sophomore group will feature Bayley Tracy (last season’s leading scorer), Morgan Tracy (M) and Sarah Lewis (D).
Samilia Bryden-Clarke (Jr., A/M), Maddie Fleming (Jr., A/M), Alyssa Diaz (Jr., A) and Haley Pietras (Jr., D, returning from elbow injury) round out those looking to jockey for playing time.
“Our freshmen class of seven have been a great addition to the team and we look forward to their growth throughout the season,” Bone said. “As for college prospects, we have multiple players currently in the recruiting process.”
Easton Head coach: Smith, 2nd year
Outlook: Elizabeth Connelly (So.), Macy Schmidt (So.), Kathleen Crouch (Jr.) and Anna Roser (Fr.) will be starting on attack, while seniors Ellie Roser (Furman) and Lexi McDaniel (Campbell) and sophomore Myia Jeter head up the midfield for the Warriors, who posted a 7-6 mark in 2017, including a 14-7 win over Saints Peter and Paul in the Talbot Lacrosse Association Bull Roast.
Easton will have to go without the services of senior standout Tatum Crouch (Savannah College of Art and Design), who has an ACL injury.
“Losing a great player and senior leader in Tatum Crouch a couple of weeks before the start of the season (is going to be a challenge),” Smith said. “We’re building an offense where all seven players are a threat to score.”
Erin McDonald (Sr.), Jaylen Howie (Sr.), Abi Detrich Robert (So) and Lily Osborne (Fr.) will spearhead the defense along with goalie Emily Griffith (So.).
Smith listed the team’s leadership and defense as strengths, while noting depth at midfield will be a hurdle.
“Should be an exciting year,” Smith said. “The Bayside Conference will again run through the traditional powers of Queen Anne’s, Stephen Decatur and Kent Island. Easton hopes to be included in that discussion if everything falls into place.”
Kent County Head coach: John Andrew McCown, 1st year
Outlook: First-year head coach McCown, who was the assistant with the program last season during a 5-8 run, will lean on Caroline MacLeod (Sr. M), Haley Williams (Sr., A), Alison Rameika (Sr., G) and Taiyana Goldsborough (Jr., M/D).
Kate Ervin (Fr., M), Olivia Jones-Barst (Fr., D), Mallory Helfenbein (So., M) and Lisa Robinson (So., D) will pace the underclassmen in playing time.
“We have a full team and 13 freshmen this year,” McCown said. “We have a skilled team that can take us into postseason success this year.”
North Caroline Head coach: Katie Lowman, 1st year
Outlook: Lowman, who previously was the head coach at Saints Peter and Paul (2014 and 2015) and also served as an assistant with the Sabres along with Easton, inherits a program that has been on the rise in recent years, including a 9-5 showing in 2017.
Caroline also won its firstever playoff game (17-8 over Kent County) last season, and broke into the top 100 in the state rankings for the first time.
“We are a young but talented team with most of our starting lineup returning,” Lowman said. “And with the addition of some talented freshmen, this looks to be a strong season with the promise of improving on the 2017 record.”
Natalie Calloway (Jr., captain), Kaylee Jester (Jr., Slippery Rock), Madi Beatty (So.) and Camryn Pepper (So.) head up the offense, while Kylie Phillips (Jr., captain, Meredith), Pearl Sutton (So.) and Corinne Webb (Fr.) will start in the midfield.
“Coming in as a new coach to a developing program, it’s good to see some of the non-traditional teams