Cardinal Gibbons went undefeated en route to the N.C. High School Athletic Association championship, and the Crusaders still have plenty of firepower.
Boston College recruit Jordan Lappin had 84 goals last year with 32 assists while Elizabeth Wilson added 51. Gibbons also has one of the top draw winners in Cassie New and goalies in Gabby Young.
Cap-8/Greater Neuse 4A
Teams: Broughton, Enloe, Heritage, Leesville Road, Millbrook, Rolesville, Sanderson, Wake Forest, Wakefield.
Also known as “Conference 4,” Broughton (13-3) edged Wakefield (17-2) for the league title, but Wakefield won the playoff match that was stopped at halftime due to lightning.
Broughton, which returns all but two starters, is using that incident as motivation for this year. The Caps’ defense will be led by Reed Proctor and Marcy Waters, while seniors Carol Seigler (38 goals, 33 assists) and Sydney Russell key the attack. Margaret Anne Warner and E.J. Fuller lead in the midfield.
Wakefield, which fell in the East final to Gibbons, brings back Hanna Anderson (40 goals) and Andee Abrams (39).
Millbrook (12-5) is led by Olivia Luckinbill (35 goals) and Heritage (8-8) by Caroline Savage (34).
Enloe (4-11) only lost two seniors and brings back goalie Jennifer Lee, team MVP Gabi Tran and juniors Maryssa and Alex Almasy and Cheyne Hoke.
Rolesville (0-13), in its second year, is led by goalie Lauren Hairston. Jade Williams, Crystin Williams, Makayla Gomez, and Jordan Reeves and the rest will be coached by Sasha Vedock.
Southwest Wake 4A
Teams: Apex, Apex Friendship, Athens Drive, Cary, Green Hope, Holly Springs, Middle Creek, Panther Creek.
Also known as “Conference 3,” Apex (15-2) has dominated the league in recent years.
Tess Meurling (Old Dominon recruit), Ellie Bromley (East Carolina), Emily Beckman (Wofford ) and Mia Weigmann give the Cougars one of the strongest midfields. However, Apex will be without Graci Fulkerson (78 goals, 36 assists) – the Arizona State recruit injured her foot and will miss the season.
Middle Creek (14-2) is led by Sam Caputo (41 goals) while Green Hope (9-6) has has Alicia Brunetti (46 goals) and Holly Springs (7-8) has Samantha Volz (80 goals).
Apex Friendship (5-6) should make a big leap after returning its entire team.
Teams: Cardinal Gibbons, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, East Chapel Hill, Jack Britt, Jordan, Pinecrest, Riverside, Terry Sanford.
This mishmash of 4A, 3A and 2A teams stretches from the western Triangle down to Fayetteville.
Cardinal Gibbons is the clear favorite to win the league, but far from the only strong team.
Chapel Hill (14-4) returns Lundy Fine (31 goals), Shannon Wulff (55 goals, 43 assists), Anne Crabill (50 goals), Alleigh Kempf (30 goals), goalie Olivia Rice and faceoff expert Julia Ziaee.
Carrboro (8-8) has veterans Isabel Chung, Flora Devonport, Catherine Strong, Katie Fesperman and Taylor Gosk. Abby Seagroves is the goalie and Sarah Seagroves provides versatility. Mackenzie Cox scored 73 goals.
East Chapel Hill (9-10) returns Reilly Reed (52 goals).
Durham Academy (11-5) was the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association runner-up and is led by Duke recruit Madi Dunk (47 goals) and UNC recruit Hannah Pope (50 goals).
The Cavaliers will be pushed by Saint Mary’s (7-7-2), which returns all-state player Pell Williamson, and Ravenscroft (9-10).
J.H. Rose, which is in Conference 2, went 10-6 last year thanks in part to 45 goals from Emma Blake Byrum.