1. Scarborough: The Class A South runner-up returns all but one starter from last year – including its top two goal scorers in Gaby Panagakos (22 goals and six assists) and Leah Dickman (13 goals and nine assists). Scarborough has experience and depth with 10 seniors on its roster, all of whom Coach Mike Farley said will play significant minutes. The Red Storm also return playmaking midfielder Lauren Sabatino and will benefit from newcomer Molly Murnane, a forward who moved from Maryland. They will retain their starting backs – including Ellie Patten (one goal and six assists) – as well as goalkeeper Emily Royce (six shutouts).

2. Yarmouth: The defending Class B champions will be under the leadership of a new coach, Chris Coleman, who had coached at Sanford. Yarmouth (16-1-1) graduated a few key players such as Katie Clemmer, who totaled 10 assists and 17 goals – including two in the state final against Waterville – to help the Clippers earn their first state title in 13 years. But they return another top goal scorer in senior midfielder Sarah D’Appolonia (17 assists and 16 goals) as well as a solid defense. Coleman said the team has a strong technical ability and depth in every position.

3. Gorham: The 2016 Class A South champions return eight solid seniors and two talented juniors in midfielder Emma Forgues – last year’s leading scorer with 17 goals and five assists – and Hallie Shiers, a forward who Coach Jeanne Zarrilli said is likely to be a top offensive threat. Anchoring the defense will be senior Maddie Hincher, while Michelle Rowe will replace three-year starting goalkeeper Emma Smith. The Rams have lost a notable senior class after their 16-1-1 season. But they took Scarborough to penalty kicks in a tournament game over the summer, proving that it’s never safe to underestimate Gorham.

4. Camden Hills: The Windjammers made history last season by defeating Gorham 1-0 in overtime for their first state title. Camden Hills (17-1) graduated forward Charlotte Messer, who contributed 17 assists and 26 goals – most notably the winner in the Class A championship game. But the team is returning eight starters with a good blend of experience and youth. Sophomore forwards Kristina Kelly (32 goals) and Ella Pierce (14 goals) scored a combined 46 goals as freshmen, and junior midfielder Kassie Krul (seven goals and 13 assists) will also contribute heavily to the Windjammers’ offense.

5. Windham: The Eagles will be tough to score against with their veteran experience in the back. They return two key seniors in defender Sara Barrett and goalkeeper Kaitlyn Roberts, who played vital roles in the team’s 11-3-3 season. After falling 2-0 to Scarborough in the Class A South semifinals, Coach Deb Lebel said the team is still putting together the pieces to build off players’ strengths. But with a strong freshman class, Windham should be in the playoff mix again this fall.

6. Marshwood: The Hawks have one more year with senior forward Marin Smith on their roster. Opponents recognize the powerful striker as a scoring threat and often double- or even triple-team her. Coach Chelsea Watson said Marshwood will look to relieve that pressure and free up Smith to lead the offense. The team graduated a solid core of midfielders in Reagan Nichols, Paige Singer and Molly Ferguson, but Courtney Thim, Casey Perry and Ella Nelson are stepping up to fill the void. Watson said the team, which finished 10-4-1 after falling to Falmouth in the Class A South quarterfinals, has more depth than in the past two years.

7. Falmouth: The Yachtsmen will make their debut in the SMAA, allowing them to compete against Class A teams before the playoffs. Last fall Falmouth (11-5) made it to the regional semifinals, where it fell to the eventual state runner-up, Gorham. Coach Andrew Pelletier said the Yachtsmen are younger but stronger than last season, returning their top goal scorers in forwards Amelia Waite (14 goals, 11 assists) and Madison Wolf (12 goals, eight assists) while adding nine promising freshmen – four or five of whom Pelletier said will be in the starting lineup.

8. Cheverus: The Stags’ 10-4-1 season ended in the Class A South quarterfinals last fall. They went 0-3-1 against Scarborough, Windham and Gorham – the teams traditionally in the hunt for a regional title. But Cheverus returned eight starters, including sophomore forward Emma Gallant – the SMAA rookie of the year who had 12 goals and five assists – and talented sisters Michaela Jordan (defense) and Lauren Jordan (forward). Coach Craig Roberts said if the Stags play with greater urgency, they can advance past the first round of the playoffs.

9. Greely: The Class B South-runner-up ended last season 12-5 after falling to the eventual the state champion, Yarmouth. Greely graduated three key players, including midfielder and Maine Soccer Coaches Association All-South pick, Ellie Schad. Coach Josh Muscadin downplayed the Rangers’ potential this year – stating that the team is “young” and still “learning a lot” – in an effort to avoid putting a target on their backs. But behind Yarmouth, most Class B teams already know Greely ranks as one of the teams to beat.

10. York: The Wildcats return eight starters from an 8-4-4 season, which ended with a 4-0 loss to Greely in the Class B South semifinals. A versatile player, senior Payton Humphrey is a Maine Soccer Coaches Association’s All-South pick whose skills will be used in multiple positions. York’s greatest strength will be a midfield led by halfbacks Halee Bando, Ellie Bychok and Delaney LaBonte. Though the team lacks depth, Caldwell said the Wildcats are much stronger than last year and – barring injuries – will likely score more goals than they have in the past five years.

– Taylor Vortherms