The Inquirer TOP 10
Last season's records in parentheses.
1. Archbishop Ryan (21-2). Back-to-back Catholic League and District 12 Class AAA titles have raised expectations for the Ragdolls. Ryan is poised for another successful season, with the return of goalkeeper Jazmin Gonzalez, back Kaitlyn McFadden, and forward Jules Blank.
2. Villa Joseph Marie (17-3). Three-time defending District 1 Class AA champions, the Jems have a senior-heavy roster. Villa, a perennial powerhouse in the Catholic Academies, will be very strong in the midfield and should have a lot of offensive firepower.
3. Neshaminy (25-0). If you think losing the best player in the state (Megan Schafer) to graduation and having a new coach (Chelsea Deeter) will hurt the defending District 1 Class AAA and PIAA state champions, think again. The Redskins have plenty of talent returning.
4. Central Bucks East (19-3-3). The Patriots lost a lot of senior leadership from last year's team but still should be a force in the Suburban One League Continental Conference and even the district. They return five starters.
5. Penn Charter (20-2-1). A tough nonleague schedule will make the Quakers battle-tested early, but that's something the defending Inter-Ac League and Independent Schools state champions should be able to handle.
6. Central Bucks West (11-3-5). Seven starters are back for the Bucks, who played in some really tight battles in the Suburban One Continental last season. With Grace Bendon in net and Shae McCarty up top, West will be tough.
7. Downingtown West (11-6). Last year's Whippets got hot late, winning eight in a row. With Shae Yanez in net and all but two starters back, West should start the winning early this season.
8. Downingtown East (19-4). The Cougars have become a consistently successful program, and a lot of turnover in personnel shouldn't change that. Senior defender Maddy Schier and senior goalie Kaelyn Johns should make East difficult to score on.
9. Strath Haven (16-3-2). With the likes of senior midfielder Grace Dickey, junior keeper Katie Fisher, and senior forward Maddy Tannert-Schmidt back this season, the Panthers once again should be at the top of the Central League standings.
10. Spring-Ford (23-3-1). Last year, the Rams went on a remarkable run, breaking program records and having unprecedented success. A good core remains from that squad, including juniors Gabby Vagnozzi, a midfielder, and Laura Suero, a back.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Agnes Irwin (17-4-1), Council Rock South (13-6-2), Owen J. Roberts (10-9-1), Pennridge (15-1-3).