Girls’ teams to watch
▸Acton-Boxborough: The Colonials have nearly as many freshmen (three) as seniors (five), but Lee Billiard’s group has shown plenty of potential throughout a strong preseason, and senior Danielle Cremmen appears ready to make A-B forget about Hayley Brock in the final third.
▸Belmont: The Marauders pulled off quite a run last fall, capturing the Division 2 championship without the help of Globe Player of the Year Laura Thurber, who missed most of the postseason with a knee injury. With Thurber off to Dartmouth, junior Julia Russo will have big shoes to fill, though coach Paul Graham thinks she’ll do just fine: “You don’t replace Laura, but you find other ways.’’
▸Dover-Sherborn: The defending Division 3 South champs return most of their squad, though the loss of Alyssa D’Arcy and Jessica Goudreault to Division 1 programs cannot go overlooked. Junior Julia Perlmutter, who coach David Wainwright says is “still raw, but she’s ready for it,’’ will try to fill D’Arcy’s role in net.
▸Franklin: The Panthers surprised even coach Tom Geysen with their Division 1 South title last season, but will have to find a way to replace the sturdy goalkeeping of Ellie Getchell and the all-around play-making ability of Sarah Doherty.
▸Weston: The defending Division 3 state champs have become a junior-laden squad this season, with at least seven projected starters in the 11th grade. Sarah Peters leads a defensive unit that will look to keep the pressure off keeper Alyssa Duffy - a pure athlete who doesn’t play club soccer but “has fantastic hands,’’ said coach James Blackwell.
Girls’ players to watch
▸Ellen Conway, Acton-Boxborough: The senior keeper didn’t see much time last year, playing behind Globe All-Scholastic Jessie Wiggins, but she is “more than capable’’ of handling the goalkeeping duties, according to coach Lee Billiard.
▸Maddie Dunn, Dover-Sherborn: A strong defender with plenty of attacking ability, the Raiders’ senior captain spent most of last season on the back line but will make the move to center midfield this season.
▸Maddie Linde, Weston: The center forward earned Dual County League all-star honors last season, racking up more than 20 goals and 20 assists, and is considered one of the premier technical players in the state.
▸Shea Newman, St. Mark’s: A standout freshman last season at Medfield, she got 25 goals and 14 assists in the Warriors’ state title run, earning
▸Andrea O’Brien, Concord-Carlisle: A year after scoring 26 goals on her way to earning MVP honors in the Dual County League, the junior shined at the 2011 US Youth Soccer National Championships this summer.
Compiled by Jason Mastrodonato