Defense will take center stage when the local lacrosse season gets underway, forcing teams to put a premium on every possession.
Read on to see who will be on the field for your favorite area prep team this spring.
2011 record: 11-6
Coach Aaron Stubbs's quote: "We are very athletic on defense and I'm hoping those guys will be pushing the ball very well."
Breakdown: Catonsville will rely on an experience defense with seniors Joe Tebo, Cassidy Higdon and sophomore Stephen Ruppel, a returning varsity veteran.
"Our defense looks promising," Stubbs said.
Veteran senior goalie Jon Reymann is back between the pipes with junior David Ossing in a reserve role.
Other defensive candidates include senior Chris Blair, juniors Trey Weinkam and Connor Stuart-Paul and freshman Jake Bredeck.
Senior Troy Redd handles faceoffs and will work in the midfield with senior Collin Miller and junior Tim Burk.
Seniors Doug Valderas, Ian McFaddden, Chris LaVeck and Will Barbagallo, juniors Lou Persico, Anthony Robertson-Wynn, Kody Scott, Kyle Reymann and Joseth Hylton and freshman Connor Hurd are also in the midfield mix.
Seniors Dillon Hanlon and Arthur Schorr and junior Drew Carlson will try to replenish the lost goal production of graduated leading scorer Sean Urban.
Junior Parker Croom and sophomore Dillon Hannah will also work on attack.
Although Stubbs prefers a run-and-gun style attack, he will have to wait until his attack and midfield gets up to speed.
"It really has become a game of defense," Stubbs said, noting that unit will get a true road test when it challenges Mount St. Joseph on March 24 at 1:30 p.m.
"It's a good game for the community, and a lot of the kids know each other," Stubbs said.
Mount St. Joseph
2011 record: 3-14
Coach Dave Slafkosky's quote: "I like this group. I think they have a lot of potential."
Breakdown: Potential is one thing, garnering a rare victory in the tough Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference is another.
"I'd take a win in the league," Slafkosky said. "We haven't won in that league in three years."
Slafkosky's team prepped for the season with a trip to California and prepare to enjoy some hometown flavor when it hosts Catonsville High, March 24 at 1:30 p.m.
Slafkosky's crew includes several Catonsville residents, including junior goalie Colin Reymann, senior midfielders Garrett Widlake, Conrad Ordakowski and Steve Nutting and sophomore midfielder Clay Kirby.
Injured senior Jimmy Klose (shoulder) is also from the Catonsville area.
Backing Reymann in the crease are senior Tommy Sears and junior Conor Lawson.
Experience on defense comes from returning varsity starters Matt Lucas (Mercer University) and Tommy Koenig.
Senior Nick Fairley and junior Jack Cook round out the defense.
Senior John Doherty (Cabrini College) moved into a fulltime role in the midfield after being the faceoff specialist last season.
Alex Kraus joins the midfield along with faceoff specialist Mike Monaghan.
Seniors Joe Rolando (Christopher Newport) and Craig Costabile (Fordham) and junior Michael LeClair hope to thrive in a patient attack.
"If we are going to win in the league, it's going to be close and we are going to have to win at the end of games," Slafkosky said.
2011 record: 2-11
Coach Nathan Brook's quote: "Most of our experience is on defense and a few of those guys will help us out on attack."
Breakdown: Senior Jacob Adcock is a four-year varsity performer and he's joined in the back by senior Kevin Harrison and juniors Ryan Ashley and Davon Charles.
Senior Tim Jacobs and junior Sammad Husam should help the defense in front of sophomore goalie Tony Simuel.
"I'm hoping I can feel pretty comfortable with him," said Brooks, who moved Simuel from the midfield last season because of an injury to the starting keeper. "He's a pretty athletic kid."
Although the midfield is lacking in depth, Brooks is eager to see the emergence of speedy juniors Richard Sofoluke, Tavon Green, and Kwame Adjei.
Senior Gregory Alegbe and junior Timi Adukuli should bolster the midfield while juniors Mike Smith, Neel Patel and Junior Fuondijing add versatility to the midfield and attack.
Senior Julian Patton and junior Jason Hallam could provide a shooting spark.