Top players: Seniors Braeden Beliczky (MF), Tommy Chaisson (D), Sam Harris (F), Zack Haussler (GK), Bryce Helensky# (D) and Adrian Mobeka (MF); juniors Praveen Morgan (MF/F), Zack Rodriguez (F) and Nick Stamatakis (F); freshman Brady Barajas (MF).

What you need to know: For the third straight season, the Gladiators improved their win total in county play in 2012. With eight players back that played major minutes from that squad, the potential is certainly there to continue that trend.

The senior contingent of Chaisson, Harris, Haussler and Helensky will serve as captains. All four bring “experience, commitment and dedication to the program,” according to Coach Shearer. Haussler is especially important as a returner in goal, having a level of experience and skill that will make him one of the team’s biggest strengths.

The junior class should make major contributions as well, with Stamatakis, Rodriguez and Morgan headlining that group. Shearer says that the emphasis in the preseason is on family after he and his wife just welcomed a newborn to the fold during tryouts. 

Hammond

Coach: Brett Cutler

2012 record: 1-9-1, 4-10-1

Top players: Seniors Nathan Borowski (D), Jake Fenicle (MF), Alex Gladstone (F), Scott Lastova (GK) and Alex Pecas (D); junior Orlando Canales (F); sophomore Darren Ketchum (D/MF).

What you need to know: There may only be four starters back, but there are 12-13 total guys that played significant minutes in end-game situations for the Golden Bears. Seven of the team’s nine juniors, for example, were on varsity last year.

All four of the tean’s captains — Borowski, Fenicle, Lastova and Pecas — are seniors and three-year varsity players. Coach Cutler says they helped organize and run the team’s off-season program. “(They bring) great experience, excellent fitness and skill … (they are) very active leaders on the field,” he said.

The team will be building from the back and three of the team’s starters on defense were playing at different positions a year ago. Ketchum will be among the keys on that unit.  There’s potential up top to be strong as well, with Canales and Gladstone bringing great energy to the offense.  

Howard

Coach: Nils Schroder

2012 record: 2-9, 6-10

Top players: Seniors Andrew Accardi, Jon Binkley, Scott Bruner, Ryan Dean, Kyle Lowenkron, Josh Nicodemus and Justin Simmons.

What you need to know: The Lions are coming into this fall with a clean slate, having graduated 14 seniors and bringing back only two full-time starters. Coach Schroder says that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering he “doesn’t have a lot of bad habits to fix,” after the team won just two county games in 2012.

The roster is small, placing a premium on staying healthy, but there is some definite talent to work with. The senior group, which includes new goalie Accardi, is “aggressive, passionate and has a big desire to win,” according to Schroder. The midfield unit is young, however, could develop into a strength for this year and next. Getting scoring chances shouldn’t be a problem, the key will be finding ways to finish them. 

Long Reach

Coach: John Horner

2012 record: 0-11, 0-13