Green Hope was undefeated in girls lacrosse in 2012 and defeated Charlotte Catholic for the N.C. High School Athletic Association championship. The Falcons are heavily favored again this season.
New coach Joe Nassif has three returning all-America selections: junior Katherine Smith, who led Green Hope with 73 goals and 24 assists; senior Maggie Auslander (65 goals and 34 assists despite a late-season broken arm) and Julie Hagen.
Also returning from the 20-0 campaign are senior Kate Murphy (31 goals, 32 assists), Mackenzie Koeller and keeper MaryCate Kapopoulos.
Other teams to watch
Ravenscroft: The Ravens (20-2) won the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association championship with a 16-6 victory over Charlotte Country Day. The Ravens dashed through the playoffs, beating Forsyth Country Day 20-4 and Charlotte Providence 20-8.
East Chapel Hill: The Wildcats (11-6) lost to Green Hope 17-14 in the state semifinals. Senior high school all-America selection Sydney Holman (64 goals, 24 assists) led East in scoring in 2014. Sophomore Elizabeth Jenson and senior Allison Morsberger also return.
Cardinal Gibbons: The Crusaders (15-3) lost a squeaker to East Chapel Hill in the third round 10-9. Junior Shelby Scalin (68 goals) leads the veterans. The Crusaders’ three losses were to East and to state finalists Green Hope and Charlotte Catholic. Claire Nelson was an academic All-America as was defender Kathleen Mills.
Apex: The Cougars (16-3) won the state title in 2011, but were eliminated in the second round of East Chapel Hill. The other losses were by three goals and one goal to state titlist Green Hope. Beth Fellows was a 2012 academic all-America pick. Also back are Mia Castagnero and Jessie DeLuca.
Wakefield: The Wolverines (12-4) finished second in their league behind Gibbons in 2012.
Panther Creek: The Catamounts (11-6) advanced to the second round in 2012 and return defender Rachel Ungro and Jill Green..
Broughton: The Caps (8-7) upset Greensboro Page (13-4) in the first round of the NCHSAA playoffs.
Athens Drive: The Jaguars (8-8) return their top five scorers from a year ago, Olivia Chason, Kieran Garvey, Colleen Kennedy, Stephanie Few and Rachael Oury.
J. Mike Blake contributed to this story.