The status quo held in Nassau last season as Farmingdale, Garden City and North Shore each defended its county titles, but with this year's conference realignments, things are no longer as simple as A-B-C.
Nassau added intrigue to its regular season with an augmented ability-based grouping that features the county's 10 best teams in a so-called "power league." Those three defending county champs, for example, will now battle as Conference I rivals before returning to their respective classes for the playoffs.
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Farmingdale, winner of seven straight Nassau A titles, is the No. 1 seed in the power conference. The Dalers graduated two All-Americans, but have a deep squad led by Maryland-bound midfielder Nadine Hadnagy and attack Amanda Turturro. Samantha Brescia and Courtney McPartland anchor the defense, and Olivia Kirk is a solid goalie.
Massapequa, the runner-up, is buoyed by the return of USC-bound midfielder Danielle Doherty, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL. The Chiefs are an athletic group with midfielder Kristin Yevoli and attacks Morgan Lukaszewicz, Hayley Burke and Brianna Gibbons.
Semifinalist Port Washington will be in the mix. The Vikings have speed and feature midfielder/defender Brenna Betsch, Natalie Ledwitz, Mia Walker and goalie Michele Lammers.
Kayla Flynn, Kelly Backus and Danielle D'Angelo return to anchor a stout defense that led Oceanside to the semis. Courtney Collins, Heather Burns and Sydney Oshinsky are scorers. Baldwin (Jessica Markowitz and Kelsey Cohen) and MacArthur (Alex Goodelman and goalie Sam Santeramo) will be competitive. Midfielder Connor Bird and sophomore attack Morgan Lannig power Syosset, and East Meadow has Emily Fitzsimmons and Lindsey Hoffman.
Garden City has won a record seven consecutive state championships . . . and is seeded third in Conference I. Graduating eight All-Americans in two years raises doubt, but this program has responded repeatedly. The Trojans' defense is intact, led by Linda Marie Attanasio, Liz Furman and Carly Knowles. Krista Dampman, Lily Schmitt and Jackie Jahelka will play key roles on offense, and Taylor Carpentier steps in at goalie.
Runner-up Wantagh returns 10 starters including All-American attack Colleen Lovett, Catie Ingrilli, Brenna Connelly and goalie Sophia Gambitsky.
Manhasset, seeded second, kept most of its core, including All-American midfielder Julia Glynn, Natalie Stefan, Lindsey Ronbeck, Sarah Barcia, defender Emily Markham and goalie Kelsey Quackenbush.
Long Beach, a semifinalist, overcame superstorm Sandy's aftermath and is expected to contend again. The Marines are led by Liz Rourke and Catie Breglia.
Plainedge is sparked by attack Kelly Curran, Jessica Fischetti, Jacqueline Kennedy and defender Erica Carney. "Defense-first" will be the philosophy of new coach Dane Solomon. South Side graduated five starters but will be competitive with midfielders Michaela Lynch and Liz Hoeffner and defender Michaela Beck. Hewlett is led by midfielders Val DeNapoli and Emily Cohen. Division, a playoff team last season, is led by attack Jessica Minuto and defender Gina Fader.
Floral Park, coming off its first Conference III title since 2000, has talent in Jocelyn Penteck, Jessica McAllister and Kayla Buzzeo, and Jeanna Orfanos' return will add offensive thump. Lynbrook (Jennifer Baran and Julia Sarnataro) and New Hyde Park (Jill Graziano and Laura Rice) will be in the mix.
Two-time defending champ North Shore graduated L.I.'s leading scorer Amanda Johansen. But Tess Korten, Tara Feehan, Carly Comitino, Meaghan Brennan and Carlee Janelli give the Vikings enough offense to pick up the slack and goalie Alexis Greene is solid.
Runner-up Cold Spring Harbor is seeded sixth in Conference I. The Seahawks are led by midfielder Jillian Lee, Courtney Burke, Holly Logan and Katherine Rueger. Eighth-grade attack Kate Kotowski could become a potent scorer.
Semifinalist Locust Valley has firepower with Bairre Reilly and Taylor Bleistein, and Emily Schlicht and Julia Vezza control the defense. Seaford returns star attack Emma Schait along with Ali Glazer and defenders Emily Palermo and Laura Weisberger. Friends Academy is led by Alexa Landow, Alix Heffron and Rose and Margot Mangiarotti.