Boys soccer preview: The poll

1. McDonogh

Coach: Steve Nichols. Last season: 20-1, ranked No. 1. Postseason: MIAA A Conference champion.

Outlook: The Eagles, who are ranked second nationally behind Brentwood (N.Y.) in the ESPN Rise poll, are loaded with NCAA Division I-caliber talent and are heavily favored to win their third consecutive conference title.

2. Mount St. Joseph

Coach: Mike St. Martin. Last season: 15-7-1, No. 5. Postseason: MIAA A Conference finalist.

Outlook: The Gaels will figure heavily in the conference championship race. The duo of sophomore Jalen Robinson and senior Geaton Caltabiano gives Mount St. Joseph two of the top playmakers in the area.

3. Archbishop Curley

Coach: Barry Stitz. Last season: 13-10-1, No. 10. Postseason: MIAA A Conference semifinalist.

Outlook: The Friars will be tough to beat with the return of senior sweeper Oumar Ballo, a two-time first-team All-Metro pick. Stitz expects a "big year" from Mikias Teketele, one of the most dangerous forwards in the area.

4. Perry Hall

Coach: Daniel Skelton. Last season: 17-3, No. 2. Postseason: Class 4A state finalist.

Outlook: Perry Hall looks solid with eight returning starters and another eight returning lettermen. "I am very excited about the potential this team has," Skelton said. The Gators lost to a tough Bowie squad in the 4A final.

5. Marriotts Ridge

Coach: Kevin Flynn. Last season: 16-1-2, No. 4. Postseason: Class 2A state semifinalist.

Outlook: The Mustangs return a pair of 13-goal scorers in senior forward Josh Stover and junior forward-midfielder Patrick Sullivan. With 18 returning lettermen, including seven starters and the first six players off the bench from last year, they have depth at each position.

6. Fallston

Coach: Christopher Hoover. Last season: 16-3, No. 3. Postseason: Class 3A state finalist.

Outlook: The Cougars return only three starters, but Hoover has built a program that allows him to reload. Gabe Kuhn, a transfer from John Carroll, will help anchor a talented midfield.

7. River Hill

Coach: Matt Shagogue. Last season: 12-3-1, No. 7. Postseason: Class 2A South finalist.

Outlook: The Hawks have four All-Howard County players returning: Corey Krewson, Tony Riso, Jon Talbot and Jason Plumhoff. River Hill should challenge Marriotts Ridge for the county and regional titles.

8. Severna Park

Coach: Roy Dunshee. Last season: 15-2, No. 8. Postseason: Class 4A state semifinalist.

Outlook: The Falcons return six starters as well as five other lettermen who played significant minutes last season. Dunshee expects several players from last year's junior varsity to have an immediate impact.

9. Chesapeake-Anne Arundel

Coach: Chris Collins. Record: 12-3-1, No. 13. Postseason: Class 4A East semifinalist.

Outlook: The Cougars have eight returning starters and 12 returning lettermen. The challenge will be replacing some of their talented defenders who were lost to graduation, Collins said.

10. Gilman

Coach: Jon Seal. Last season: 13-6-3, No. 9. Postseason: MIAA A Conference semifinalist.

Outlook: The Greyhounds are looking to build on one of their most successful seasons, as they beat several traditional powers last year. Gilman returns all but two starters from last year's team.

11. Loyola

Coach: Lee Tschantret. Last season: 8-7-1, unranked. Postseason: First round, MIAA A Conference playoffs.

Outlook: The Dons have one of the top goalies in the area in Tim Peitsch. The strengths for Loyola, which has five returning starters, are controlling possession and depth at both ends of the field.

12. Broadneck

Coach: Sean Tettemer. Last season: 12-4, unranked. Postseason: Class 4A East semifinalist.

Outlook: The Bruins return seven starters and are equipped to make a deep run in the playoffs. Broadneck has depth at each position and will be difficult to contain if it can develop offensively.

13. Calvert Hall

Coach: Andy Moore. Last season: 6-8-3, unranked. Postseason: Did not qualify for MIAA A Conference playoffs.

Outlook: The Cardinals are looking to rebound from a season in which they didn't make the playoffs for the first time in recent memory. They will rely heavily on Zach Wenger, who is regarded as one of the top midfielder-defenders in the state.

14. Liberty

Coach: Todd Muschik. Last season: 15-3-1, No. 6. Postseason: Class 2A state finalist.

Outlook: The rugged Lions made an impressive run through the state playoffs before losing, 1-0, in the Class 2A final to J.M. Bennett. The Lions return six starters and 13 seniors.

15. Loch Raven

Coach: Joe Fiedler. Last season: 11-6-1, No. 14. Postseason: Class 2A state semifinalist.

Outlook: The Raiders return only three starters from last year's team, but Fiedler has a way of getting the most out of his players. Loch Raven will be anchored by junior midfielder Seth Moses, who played for the Casa Mia Bays under-15 national championship team.

Others considered: Boys' Latin (12-5-3, No. 12), C. Milton Wright (8-4, unranked), North Carroll (10-1-2, unranked), Parkville (13-3, unranked), Reservoir (10-5-1, unranked), Towson (12-4-1, No. 15)

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