Teammates surround Scarborough goalie Ariella Swett after a semifinal playoff victory over Falmouth in February. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

1. Scarborough: The Red Storm (14-5-1 last year) came close to reaching the state title game for the first time since Scarborough won it all in 2014. In the South title game, the Red Storm led eventual state champion Cheverus 2-0 after two periods before losing in overtime. This year, Scarborough has the talent and experience to get there. The Red Storm had an impressive start with a 2-0 win over North power St. Dominic. New coach Taylor Fowler has a strong sophomore class, led by goalie Ariella Swett. Among the other sophomores are forwards Evelyn Boardman, Ashlyn Libby and Ashley Farrington, and defenseman Maya Sellinger. Senior forward Carrie Timpson is back, and the Red Storm have some freshmen who will contribute.

2. Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland: The Capers were 10-10 last year, but they were in the thick of things, taking Scarborough to double overtime in the South semifinals before losing 1-0. In this year’s opener, Cape topped Greely 8-1. Much of the Capers’ defensive might is back, with goalie Katherine Blackburn and defensemen Abbey Agrodnia, Annie Guimond and Josie Boeschenstein. All-State forward Sophia Venditti has graduated, but Cape returns forwards Koto Yamada and Nicoletta Coupe.

3. Cheverus/Old Orchard Beach: After winning the state championship and finishing 18-2-1, the Stags scrambled to assemble a roster this year. No players are coming from Kennebunk High this year, with Kennebunk’s Abby Lamantagne taking her All-State abilities to prep school. Cheverus’ roster is thin, but there is talent, led by returning goalie Trinity Atwater and explosive forward Lucia Pompeo (who scored the only goal in the Stags’ 1-0 win over York last Saturday). Hannah Woodford has moved from forward to strengthen the defense.

4. York/Traip/Marshwood: Youth and experience are why the Wildcats have hopes of improving on last year’s 7-11-1 record. Two seniors lead the way – Erin Gray, one of the area’s top goalies, and forward Sophia Santamaria, who scored 38 goals last season. Second-year coach Kevin Purdy expects Santamaria to have more support this year, with the addition of freshmen forwards Maggie Hanlon, Liz Buckley and Ella Moon. Sophomore Jill Carr is back on defense.

5. Portland/Deering: The Bulldogs are young and are coming off a 5-14 season. But there is reason for optimism, starting with the return of junior forward Caroline Lerch, one of the area’s best. She scored four goals in Portland’s season-opening 8-1 win over Brunswick. Forwards Lucy Howe and Margaret Smith should also contribute. Senior Elena Clifford leads the defensive unit, along with Zoe Cheever. Anna Gannon returns as the starting goalie.

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