The Washington Post
For St. Stephen’s/st. Agnes, the mission is to reload and repeat in the ISL
Kathy Jenkins has dealt with young teams before. In 2022, the St. Stephen’s/st. Agnes coach had to replace 17 seniors from the previous season. Despite that, the Saints won the Independent School League AA championship.
She will be tasked with doing it again this season under similar circumstances, with some preseason injuries compounding the effects of graduations. The Saints have seven freshmen expected to see regular time, an unusually high number for Jenkins.
“They’re going to make mistakes . . . but these are athletic, great game sense, hard-working freshmen that have fit in with the older girls,” the coach said. “. . . We’re going to hit bumps on the road, but I’m pretty pleased with how they’ve done so far.”
That mentality — a mix of apprehension and eagerness — pervades most programs in March. The Saints come in at No. 8 in the season-opening rankings. The team they beat in the ISL championship game last year, Stone Ridge, shows up several spots higher.
(Records from last year)
1. Spalding (12-4): The Cavaliers made it to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A conference quarterfinals last season. Gabrielle Greene, a junior attacker/midfielder, could improve on her All-met honorable mention selection from a year ago.
2. Good Counsel (17-4): A win over Bishop Ireton gave the Falcons last season’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title. Junior midfielder and Northwestern commit Hannah Rudolph, who scored six goals in that game, returns after being named WCAC player of the year.
3. Stone Ridge (15-7): One goal separated the Gators from St. Stephen’s/st. Agnes in last season’s ISL AA championship game.
4. Glenelg Country (17-2): The Dragons lost the IAAM A conference championship game to St. Paul’s. Twins and Clemson commits Regan and Blair Byrne combined for 64 goals as juniors.
5. Glenelg (14-1): Midfielder Isa Torres and attack Lauren Lapointe, committed to Virginia Tech and Maryland, respectively, form the backbone of a team trying to improve off a loss in a Maryland 2A region final last year.
6. Visitation (16-6): The No. 2 seed in the ISL AA tournament lost to eventual champion St. Stephen’s/st. Agnes in the semifinal but still has an all-conference selection in junior midfielder Madison Rassas.
7. Paul VI (18-5): The Panthers, who lost in last year’s Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association final, are 2-1 this season after three games in Florida.
8. St. Stephen’s/st. Agnes (20-5): Last year’s ISL AA champs began the season with a 14-7 victory at Yorktown on Tuesday.
9. Dominion (17-2): A win over Western Albemarle last year gave the Titans their third straight state title. Dominion lost All-met first team attacker Molly Battaglia and second-team midfielder Ashlyn Hickey, placing more pressure on second-team goalie Caelan Jones.
10. Marriotts Ridge (15-4): The Mustangs surged to an 11-10 win over Severna Park to claim last season’s Maryland 3A title and bring back All-met first team midfielder and University of Maryland commit Maisy Clevenger.
On the bubble: Bishop Ireton, Broadneck, Oakton, Severna Park, St. Mary’s, Yorktown.