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Boys lacrosse: The poll

1. Boys' Latin

Coach: Bob Shriver Last season: 14-4, ranked No. 5

Postseason: MIAA A Conference quarterfinalist

Outlook: The Lakers have star power and have depth all over the field, making them the early favorite in the demanding MIAA A Conference. Senior midfielder R.G. Keenan dominates on faceoffs to help set the table for a veteran attack led by senior Patrick Foster and Wells Stanwick.

2. St. Paul's

Coach: Rick Brocato Last season: 15-7, No. 6

Postseason: MIAA A Conference quarterfinalist

Outlook: If there's a team best suited to match No. 1 Boys' Latin goal for goal, it's the Crusaders, who have a talented and experienced lineup. Midfield is the team's biggest strength, with seniors Pat Powderly and Alex Chay leading a deep group. The big concern is replacing graduated standout goalie Harry Krieger.

3. Calvert Hall

Coach: Bryan Kelly Last season: 14-4, No. 2

Postseason: MIAA A Conference finalist

Outlook: The Cardinals took a significant graduation hit, particularly on attack, but they have a number of quality players back to remain in the hunt. Tony Rossi and Paul Castronova are talented midfielders, and opponents will have a tough chore getting shots past goalie Greg Dutton.

4. St. Mary's

Coach: Matt Hogan Last season: 15-3, No. 3

Postseason: MIAA A Conference semifinalist

Outlook: With experienced talent all over the field, the Saints could be the last team standing in the MIAA A Conference. Senior midfielder Mark McNeill has the ability to take over games, and goalie Dominick Lamolinara is as sturdy as they come in back.

5. Gilman

Coach: Brooks Matthews Last season: 15-1, No. 1

Postseason: MIAA A Conference champion

Outlook: After graduating the program's finest class, the Greyhounds will search for a new identity with a solid group that already knows how to win. Matthews believes teams go only as far as the seniors take them, and he has been impressed with his solid cast led by midfielder Duncan Hutchins.

6. Loyola

Coach: Jack Crawford Last season: 11-7, No. 4

Postseason: MIAA A Conference semifinalist

Outlook: The Dons have a good mix of talented returning players and eager newcomers to make some noise in the MIAA A Conference. Senior Emmett Cahill, a three-year starter, brings a lot of skills and tone-setting intensity to anchor the defense, while the Dons will rely on a balanced attack to score.

7. McDonogh

Coach: Andy Hilgartner Last season: 11-7, No. 7

Postseason: Did not qualify for MIAA A Conference playoffs

Outlook: After falling just short of making last year's postseason, the Eagles are banking on a hard-working senior class to push them forward. Tyler Frederick and Kyle Rice are three-year starters on attack, and Joe Meurer is a steadying influence on defense.

8. Hereford

Coach: Brian King Last season: 19-1, No. 9

Postseason: Class 3A-2A state champion

Outlook: After claiming their second straight state title, the Bulls have their top two players back in attackman Rustin Bryant and defender Matt Dusek. King said the two All-Metro second-team selections are not only the most talented players on the team, but also the hardest-working to set a positive tone.

9. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Zack Burke Last season: 13-10, No. 12

Postseason: Did not qualify for MIAA A Conference playoffs

Outlook: After making the playoffs for the first time in 2008, Spalding slipped last season, in part because of injuries. With six future Division I players - midfielder Brian Cooper and defenseman Chris Picirilli leading the way - the Cavaliers are counting on a bounce-back season.

10. Fallston

Coach: Matt Parks Last season: 15-3, unranked

Postseason: Class 3A-2A North regional semifinalist

Outlook: One goal separated Fallston and two-time defending state champ Hereford in last year's regional playoffs. The Cougars bring back the majority of their starters - led by senior midfielder Mike Antinozzi - and are determined to make it their year.

11. Broadneck

Coach: Clay White Last season: 12-5, unranked

Postseason: Class 4A-3A East semifinalist

Outlook: With 15 players returning, the Bruins have difference-makers at every position to earn them the slight nod as the early favorite in Anne Arundel County. Cameron Rowe and Zach Treakle run a strong defense, and midfielder Mark Brashears is a catalyst in the middle to go with a balanced attack.

12. Severn

Coach: Brian Wood Last season: 7-10, No. 10

Postseason: Did not qualify for MIAA A Conference playoffs

Outlook: The Admirals are young and likely a year or more away from challenging the upper echelon in the MIAA, but Wood likes what he sees from his hard-working group. The veteran mainstays are defenseman Drew Foard and attackman Alec Cramer, with a talented sophomore class hoping to grow up fast.

13. Severna Park

Coach: Larry Kramer Last season: 14-3, No. 13

Postseason: Class 4A-3A East finalist

Outlook: The Falcons are deep and talented at every position, with defenseman Connor Hunt the starting point. Adam MacBride leads the attack, with midfielder Kyle Zorn bringing versatile play to the middle and goalie Steve Lusby the anchor in the cage.

14. Mount St. Joseph

Coach: Tony Brockmeyer Last season: 9-8, No. 8

Postseason: Did not qualify for the MIAA A Conference playoffs

Outlook: Hit hard by graduation, the Gaels are a young group that is showing improvement with every practice. What little experience returns is mostly on defense, so Brockmeyer is counting on goalie Zach Hynson, a three-year starter, to keep things close, with help coming from defenseman Conor Casey.

15. Friends

Coach: Rick Matthews Last season: 3-10, unranked

Postseason: Did not qualify for MIAA A Conference playoffs

Outlook: After struggling in the A Conference last year, Friends moves down to the B Conference, where it should have instant success. Seven returning players give the Quakers experience all over the field, led by senior tri-captains Max Reamer, Tim Hornig and Charlie Sotir.

Others considered: Archbishop Curley (11-6, unranked), Arundel (10-7, unranked), C. Milton Wright (10-3, unranked), Catonsville (14-4, unranked), Centennial (15-4, No. 15), Glenelg (14-4, unranked), John Carroll (12-4, unranked ), Pikesville (15-3, No. 14), South River (18-11, No. 11)

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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