Breakdown: St. Paul's fans may not want to hear the word 'rebuilding' when it comes to their beloved Crusaders, yet, in essence, the 15 juniors, nine sophomores and freshman on the current roster will be a work in progress.

The most conspicuous returnee — and the one who will draw the most attention from rival defenses — is Spencer Parks (North Carolina), a serious Player of the Year candidate as a hybrid attackman/midfielder.

His senior classmate Gavin Llewellyn (Hobart) is a dangerous dodger from behind the goal and will run on the same unit with sophomore Henry Riehl and freshman Carter Flaig.

Other midfielders include seniors Ben Brehene and Austin Toland (Mt. St. Mary's), juniors Ben Linkous, Andrew Nelson and Greg Louzan and sophomore B.J. Mattheiss.

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Defensive middies, such as senior Sam Sunderland, juniors Maike Mayer (Georgetown) and Jordan Thompson and sophomore Conor Sheehan, will aid junior defensemen Travis Wood (Hopkins), and A.J. Fradkin and sophomore Bennett Moore inside.

They will all be trying to shield senior goalie Will Rego.

The Crusaders, who already boast a pair of one-goal verdicts — and a blowout loss — this season, have enough talent to stay in the hunt if the youngsters grow up quickly.


2011 record: 7-8

Coach John Cummings' quote: "We are very deep and solid on defense, especially at goalie."

Breakdown: That goalie is returning All-American senior Connor Skeen, who will be anchoring a veteran group that includes senior tri-captain Thomas Kibbe, senior Freddy Taylor and junior Drew Turner.

Seniors Aaron Doty, Nick Ridgely and Teo Walker, juniors Paul Dykstra, Thomas Eick and Colin Parts and sophomores Will Huckenpoehler and Brian Pflaum will vie for playing time on defense along with reserve goalie Will Thornton.

Senior tri-captains Dan McGovern and Pat Huckenpoehler headline a midfield that includes seniors Brennan Young and Eric Kimball, junior Quinn Likens, and sophomore Noah St. John.

Senior Drew Evenson and juniors William Atkinson and Harrison Gilbert will also be in the midfield mix.

The attack is spearheaded by seniors Seth Merrick and Christian Starr and junior John Lockwood with juniors Eric Carlson and Charlie Kibbe waiting in the wings.

Juniors John Hunt, Kyle Miller, Alan Buagas and Scott Vinyard are striving for playing time under first-year coach Cummings.

The former Ohio State standout and Loyola Blakefield graduate, whose brother Joe plays for the University of Maryland, returns to the area after coaching in San Diego the past three years.