Starting with the faceoff, local stick squads hope to fashion solid components of a winning season, including defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic A Conference champion Gilman, runner-up Calvert Hall and serious contenders Loyola Blakefield, Boys' Latin and St. Paul's.
Reigning B and C conference kingpins Friends and Lutheran, respectively, are also looking to remain at the top of their respective leagues while public school rivals Dulaney, Loch Raven and Towson hope to find similar paths to success.
Check below to see which squad will draw your attention this season.
2011 record: 11-8
Coach Bob Shriver's quote: "Not many of our seniors are experienced. After playing behind other guys last year, it's time to do it themselves this year."
Breakdown: The Lakers have already had at least one close encounter — a 9-8 nail-biter over Philadelphia's Penn Charter that junior midfielder Michael Lynch ended with his third goal of the game — in its preseason, and that's a good thing according to Shriver.
"It will take us a couple of close ones like that to get us ready for the conference," he said.
BL's defense, which allowed as many as 10 goals only twice last season, should be a strength again with junior Colby Caplin between the pipes and senior Matt Rees and Robbie Burd leading the close defense with juniors Mac Pons and Tom Brown.
Senior longsticks Nick Shepherd and Brett Radcliffe will join in the fun on the talented Laker backline.
On attack, the Lakers are covered with senior Grey Pyke, junior Colin Heacock and sophomore Shack Stanwick taking charge.
Junior Andrew Roswell and sophomore Colin Chell will take attack/midfield hybrid roles, although the first midfield line boasts Lynch, fellow junior Ben Pridemore and sophomore Tally Bruno.
Look for sophomore Keegan O'Connor to share second unit with Roswell and Chell.
Junior Bryan Lichtenauer (Ohio State) and sophomore Hunter Moreland (John Hopkins) will join forces at the faceoff 'X.'
2011 record: 17-2
Coach Bryan Kelly's quote: "Our biggest strength is our balance, from top to bottom"
Breakdown: Kelly, who coached the Cardinals to the 2004 MIAA A Conference crown, is looking to add another title with an experienced group of seniors, some talented juniors and even a couple of sophomore stars.
Kelly, though, is taking nothing for granted.
"We're good," he said. But we're a work in progress."