A new girls lacrosse season bring with it a new look to the Suburban One League.
Say goodbye to the uneven three-conference format and welcome in the nice and neat 10-team, two-conference look.
Most of the old National and Continental — including Central Bucks West, North Penn, Pennridge and Souderton — have combined to form the new SOL National, while Hatboro-Horsham and Abington are leaving that group to join the SOL American.
"The new conference alignment will be interesting and creates a totally different dynamic,' Central Bucks West coach Tara Schmucker said. "Coming out strong will be important and maintaining intensity and poise will be crucial.'
The conference's new look also bring a different schedule, with teams facing each other just once rather than meeting each other twice both home and away.
"With the new alignment and set up of our conference it should make for some interesting, high-intensity games.,' Souderton coach Kelly Kelly said. "We will need to be ready for each and every conference game this season since we only see each team one time.'
For both Souderton and North Penn, runs at the SOL National crowns will be lead by the teams' midfields.
The Indians return a trio of SOL Continental first-team selections at the position in senior Chessie Rahmer and junior Natalie Bulgier and Amber Lambeth.
North Penn's middle boast's a foursome of all-Continental selections — third-teamers senior Ashley Durham and junior Emily Schulze , honorable mention pick senior Julianna Hill and second-team selection senior Kaitlin Suzuki, who is coming off an ACL injury.
CB West should also find its way in the National mix with James Madison signee Elena Romesburg and midfielder Jacqueline leading the way for the Bucks after qualifying of the District 1 postseason in 2013.
Wissahickon has been second in the SOL American hierarchy to Upper Dublin the past few years. The addition of Hatboro-Horsham — winner of the last two Continental titles — will make things interesting as the Trojans rely on a skilled offensive group to keep them in the top tier of the conference.
Over in boys lacrosse, Central Bucks West was the only local side from the SOL Continental to make the District 1 tournament — falling to Great Valley in the first round — with Bucks' 12-man senior class looking to lead West back into the postseason.
"Expectations for this season are raised for the group of players that have worked hard in the weight room and conditioning sessions,' CB West coach Matt Coverdale said. "The large number of returning veterans with varsity experience and an energizing underclassmen group make for an optimistic outlook for the 2014 season.'
Wissahickon and Methacton also made districts, with the later looking to more success in the PAC-10 with the return of conference defender of the year senior Andrew DeSana and last year's leading scorers junior Keith White and sophomore Aidan Denecke.
North Penn struggled with a three-win campaign in 2013, but the Knights do carry a two-game win streak entering its season opener at home against New Hope-Solebury Saturday.
Central Bucks West
Coach: Tara Schmucker (Fifth season).
League: Suburban One League National Conference.
Last Season: 11-7 (6-6 SOL Continental), lost to Mount St. Joseph in District 1 first round.
Key Losses: Jane Savard, Kalin Ojert.
Top Returners:Elena Romesburg (Sr., MF), Sarah Gebre (Sr., A), Jacqueline Fitzgerald (Jr., MF), Meghan Tillger (Jr., A).
Others to Watch: Madison Shield (Sr., D), Amanda Gundlach (Sr., A).Key Returners: Elena Romesburg (Sr., MF), Sarah Gebre (Sr., A), Jacqueline Fitzgerald (Jr., MF), Meghan Tillger (Jr., A).
Outlook: Schmucker is high on the Bucks' mix of youth and experience, the later including all-SOL Continetntal first team midfield selections Romesburg — a James Madison commit — and Fitzgerald.
Schmucker Says: "We have a whole team that can contribute and perform, we just need to continue working on cohesion on each end.'
Coach: Deborah Lawlor (Fourth season).
League: Athletic Association of Catholic Academies.
Last Season: 8-9 (7-6 league).
Key Losses: Nicole Fisher, Christina Guiliani.
Top Returners: Morgan Meehan (Sr., MF), Noelle Buscarino (Sr., MF), Claire Lacon (Sr., GK), Kailie Dunn (Sr., MF), Tara Dingly (Sr., D), Alexa Paul (Jr., MF), Lauren Dempsey (Jr., D), Kelly Pizzirani (Jr., MF).
Others to Watch: Emily Shields (So.), Lindsay Norton (So.), Maddie Meagher (So.), Olivia Meister (So.), Danielle Senour (Fr.), Hailey Durkin (Fr.), Bridget Beck (Fr.).
Lawlor Says: "Leading by example is what this team does best. They work hard, pushing their teammates to the next level, and playing with a desire and pursuit of reaching the goals that we are striving for as a team. The chemistry and work ethic of this team has provided us with a fast start."
Coach: Marsi Trainor
League: Philadelphia Catholic League.
Last Season: 12-6, lost to St. Hubert in PCL quarterfinals.
Key Returners: Mel Suskie (Sr., D), Nicole Sciallo (Sr., GK), Erin Brokans (Jr., D), Jackie Shea (Jr., A), Jules LaSanta (So, A), Jacqui Jester (Fr., MF).
Trainer Says: "Once again (our goal is) to make the playoffs. To continue the success of Lansdale Catholic's lacrosse teams, as in year's past.'
Coach: Jami Wilus Behm (12th season).
League: SOL National.
Last Season: 13-5 (9-3 SOL Continental), lost to Upper Dublin District 1 first round.
Key Losses: Hannah Young (Salisbury), Brittany Tyson (Limestone), Jenna Stover (Coastal Carolina), Lauren Green (East Stroudsburg), Gabriella DiDomizio (Sr. — ACL injury, signed with Iona).
Top Returners: Kaitlin Suzuki (Sr., MF), Ashley Durham (Sr., MF), Julianna Hill (Sr., MF), Emily Schulze (Jr., MF), Jen DeLongis (So., A), Chloe Novak (So., A).
Others to Watch: Michelle Lassen (Sr.), Kara Imes (Sr., D), Madison McClure (Jr., D), Sydney Lear (Jr., A), Emily Suzuki (So., D), Michelle Dyck (So., GK), Kaitlyn Phifer (Fr., D), Julia Keffer (Fr., A).
Outlook: The Maidens have changes on both ends of the field — graduating goalie Stover and attack Green, both first team all-conference picks. With no true go-to scorer, creating goals will be a group effort — Wilus Behm saying NP has improved it ball movement on attack.
Kaitlin Suzuki is returning from an ACL injury suffered during the 2013 season and when the senior gets back on the field it will provide a boost to the midfield that features all-Continental picks Schulze, Dunham (both third team) and Hill (honorable mention).
Wilus Behm Says: "We are young in terms of experience and we have an extremely tough schedule. We will need to play together to come up with key wins.'
Coach: Kelly Kelly (Second season).
League: SOL National.
Last Season: 9-9 (6-6 SOL Continental), lost to Garnet Valley District 1 first round.
Key Losses: Alyssa Zielger (West Chester), Bekah Hershey (Lock Haven — field hockey), Kelsey Russell (Sr. — knee injury in fall).
Top Returners: Michelle Goodwin (Sr., D), Chessie Rahmer (Sr., MF), Nikki Palmer (Sr., A), Alexa Schneider (Sr., MF), Natalie Bulgier (Jr., MF), Amber Lambeth (Jr., MF), Jen Bergey (Sr., GK).
Others to Watch: Brittany Roynan (Jr., MF), Emily Hopkins (Jr., D) Rachel Judge (Jr., A), Krista Schneider (So., A), Juliana Ofalt (So., D), Kelly Williams (Jr., GK).
Outlook: Hard work and determination are the two big themes for the Indians this season as they look to return to the district playoffs.
Midfield is a big strength for Big Red, as Rahmer, Bulgier and Lamberth all return after all-SOL Continental first-team years in 2013. Bergey is back in goal after earning third-team conference honors.â-ª Souderton is hosting a Pink Game vs. Central Bucks South April 10 to raise money for Breast Cancer awareness and Susan G Komen Race for the Cure.
Kelly Says: "We have a good group of seniors to lead the way on the field. They have played together since youth ball and are very excited for this season.'
Coach: David Schlesinger (Second season).
League: SOL American.
Last Season: 13-6 (11-3 SOL American), lost to West Chester Henderson in District 1 first round.
Key Losses: Laura Frankenfield, Jackie Hibbs.
Top Returners: Zoe Gomez (Sr.), Audrey Mack, Lauren Irvine (Jr.), Julie Silverman, Rachel Zucker, Taylor Myers, Marie Dickson, Shannon Stagliano.
Others to Watch: Amanda Mitchell (Jr. D), Emily Vervlied (Fr.), Caroline Wilde (Fr.), Christina Tsiobikas (Fr.), Meghan DeGroat (Fr.), Kyra Myers (Fr., GK).
Outlook: The Trojans will have a pretty potent offensive attack, led by Gomez — an all-conference first-team pick — Irvine, Zucker and Myers. Goalkeeper is also a strength with the return of American second-teamer Silverman.
Schlesinger is looking for better team and transition defense as Wissahickon looks to battle with defending champ Upper Dublin and newcomer Hatboro-Horsham — which won the last two SOL Continental titles — for top spots in the American.
Schlesinger Says: "We will be very young, but very talented this season. We expect to improve as the season progresses and to contend for our league championship.'
Central Bucks West
Coach: Matt Coverdale.League: Suburban One League Continental Conference.
Last Season: 8-10 (6-6 conference), lost to Great Valley in District 1 first round.
Key Losses: Riley Kratzke, Sam Piccone, Will Bone, Matt Kalapos.
Top Returners: Jimmy Steigerwald (Sr., A), Jimmy Seykot (Sr., A), Corey Schott (Sr., MF), Kevin Ernst (Sr., MF), Kyle Schechter (Sr., D), Grant Udinski (Sr., D), Mike Harvan (Sr., GK).
Others to Watch: Clark Hawes (Jr., MF), Pat Kiel (Jr., D), Tim Kiel (So., LSM).
Outlook: The Bucks reached the postseason after splitting their 12 Continental games in 2013 — sweeping the three teams below them in the standings, but losing all six to those ahead of them (CB East, CB South and Hatboro-Horsham). An experienced West side is looking to breaking into that top portion of the conference.
West return 12 seniors, including all-conference picks Schechter (second team, defense) and Schott (honorable mention, midfield).
Coach: Nathanael Ryan.
Last Season: 10-10 (9-5 conference), lost to Owen J. Roberts in PAC-10 semifinals, lost to Ridley in District 1 first round.
Key Losses: Luke Herber, Kevin Markle, Ben Miller, Ben Schimpf, Matt McClay, Zach Roumaya.
Top Returners: Andrew DeSana (Sr., D), Dom Germano (Sr., MF), Keith White (Jr., A).
Others to Watch: Nick Mazza (Sr., MF), Hunter Mycek (Sr., D), Owen Sullivan (Sr., MF), Joe Ruhl (Sr., MF), Jake Blitzer (Jr., GK), Connor Derrickson (Jr., MF), Michael DelVecchio (Jr., A), Aidan Denecke (So., A), Kyle Derrickson (Fr., D).
Outlook: Graduation took its toll on the Methacton midfield, but the Warriors bring back many of last season's top players on attack and defense. DeSana was the conference's defender of the year while White (second team all-PAC-10) and Denecke led the team in scoring.
Ryan Says: "It terms of returning starters, I believe we return as many as anyone in the league. Again, our league has some depth and it will be a challenge to earn a spot in the final four but we believe that we can compete across the league.'
Coach: Rich Smith (Fourth season).
League: SOL Continental.
Last Season:3-15 (1-11 conference).
Key Losses: Kyle Heinig.
Top Returners: Matt Brady (Sr., MF), Matt McConaghy (Sr., D), Chris Barr (Sr., GK), Scott Keffer (Jr., A), Sawyer Koch (Jr., MF), Luke Homan (So., A).
Others to Watch: Jacob Walters (Sr., D), Zach McKelvie (Jr., A).
Outlook: Last year was a tough go for North Penn, but the Knights do enter 2014 on a two-game win streak thanks to victories over Pennridge and New Hope-Solebury. Smith sees staying healthy as a big factor in NP improving its position in the Continental. McConaghy should be a defensive anchor after taking making all-conference third team at the position last season.
Smith Says: "We are looking to become a more balanced team. Our league is too difficult and we cannot afford to take a bunch of league loses. We must approach every game like it's a league championship game.'
Coach: Mark Princehorn (First season).
League: SOL Continental.
Last Season: 6-12 (3-9 conference).
Key Losses: Tyler McDougall, Quinn Sherer, Ridge Shultz, Peter Walbrant.
Top Returners: Drew Nice (Sr.), Cameron Trick (Sr.), Hunter McGowan (Sr.), Chris Malanga (Sr.), Cory Anlauf (Sr.), Nick Anderson (Sr.), Johnny Rice (Sr.), Remi Reeves (Sr., GK).
Others to Watch: Sean Readinger (Jr.), Vinny Stranges (Jr.), Greg Gibbs (Jr.), Anthony Potts (Jr.), Kyle Curran (Jr.).
Outlook: Defense should be a strength for the Indians, who have added depth to an experienced group in front of all-conference honorable mention goalkeeper Reeves.
Trick headlines an attack first-year coach Princehorn says is still trying to find a ' true identity.'
Princehorn Says: "We have an extremely athletic group of kids, who are led by a great group of seniors. Our experience and combination of young playmakers will give us the opportunity to play a very fast and physical brand of lacrosse.'
Follow Mike Cabrey on Twitter @mpcabrey.