Ravens speed up the game, go to no-huddle offense more frequently

Boys lacrosse: The poll

1. Calvert Hall

Coach: Bryan Kelly

Last season: 17-2, ranked No. 2

Postseason: MIAA A Conference finalist

Outlook: The Cardinals are loaded with All-Metro talent and depth at every position, making them the clear favorite in the stacked MIAA A Conference. After reaching the title game last year, they'll have experience and motivation on their side as well.

2. Gilman

Coach: Brooks Matthews

Last season: 13-5, No. 1

Postseason: MIAA A champion

Outlook: An inspired senior class led the Greyhounds to the title last season, setting an ideal example of what needs to be done. With an experienced defense expected to set the early tone, can Gilman find the same magic this year?

3. Loyola

Coach: Jack Crawford

Last season: 8-10, No. 9

Postseason: Missed MIAA A playoffs

Outlook: With only seven seniors last year, the Dons showed their inexperience at times, as they lost six games by two goals or fewer. With 24 returning players, led by a deep and talented midfield, Loyola is expecting to return to form in a big way this season.

4. Boys' Latin

Coach: Bob Shriver

Last season: 11-8, No. 4

Postseason: MIAA A semifinalist

Outlook: With just three starters returning, the Lakers will be a work in progress as they try to catch up with the more experienced teams in the A Conference. But their roster clearly has enough talent to make up ground in a hurry.

5. St. Mary's

Coach: Rob Chomo

Last season: 12-6, No. 8

Postseason: MIAA A quarterfinalist

Outlook: With a dynamic attack and valuable experience everywhere else, the Saints have the parts to be strong contenders. How well the younger players mesh could decide how far they go.

6. St. Paul's

Coach: Rick Brocato

Last season: 13-8, No. 5

Postseason: MIAA A semifinalist

Outlook: The Crusaders have had significant graduation hits the past two years — losing 21 seniors in 2011 and 17 in 2010 — but they still plan to contend with some quality returning players and a new cast ready to step to the forefront.

7. McDonogh

Coach: Andy Hilgartner

Last season: 15-4, No. 3

Postseason: MIAA A quarterfinalist

Outlook: No team in the MIAA was hit harder by graduation than the Eagles, who have big shoes to fill everywhere. The season presents a defining challenge: Can the program continue its successful path, or will the Eagles drop back in the pack?

8. Hereford

Coach: Brian King

Last season: 19-1, No. 7

Postseason: Class 3A-2A champion

Outlook: Is there any stopping the Bulls? Hereford has won four straight state titles and there's no reason to believe it can't make it five in a row with a mix of returning talent and promising newcomers.

9. Severn

Coach: Brian Wood

Last season: 10-12, unranked

Postseason: Missed MIAA A playoffs

Outlook: Returning a wealth of experience at every position and feeding off success found last year, the Admirals are primed to make a push for one of the six playoff spots in the A Conference this season.

10. Glenelg

Coach: Josh Hatmaker

Last season: 19-1, No. 6

Postseason: Class 2A-1A champion

Outlook: The Gladiators have more answers than questions going into the season, which could translate into consecutive state championships. Attack is the team's clear strength, but midfield and defense aren't far off.

11. Winters Mill

Coach: Sal Picataggi

Last season: 13-4, No. 11

Postseason: Class 2A-1A West regional finalist

Outlook: Deep and talented all over the field, the Falcons have the goods to win a state title. Most of the key parts return from last year's team, which gave eventual champion Glenelg all it could handle in a 7-6 regional final defeat.

12. South River

Coach: Paul Noone

Last season: 16-4, No. 10

Postseason: Class 4A-3A state finalist

Outlook: The Seahawks, who lost by a goal to Linganore in the title game, are looking to make another extended playoff run with a largely new cast that is hungry and aware of the program's high standard.

13. Bel Air

Coach: Scoop Kelly

Last season: 14-3, No. 13

Postseason: Class 3A-2A North regional finalist

Outlook: After falling to eventual state champion Hereford in the regional final the past two years, the Bobcats, who return five starters, get a welcome change with a move to 4A-3A.

14. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Kenneth "Bear" Davis

Last season: 4-13, unranked

Postseason: Missed MIAA A playoffs

Outlook: In his first year, Davis, who spent seven years at Robert Morris, brings extensive college coaching experience. Look for the Cavaliers to improve on the go and become a threat in the A Conference.

15. Fallston

Coach: Matt Parks

Last season: 15-3, No. 15

Postseason: Class 3A-2A North regional semifinalist

Outlook: Defense takes center stage as the Cougars have their entire unit back. The question will be who steps in to fill the scoring void left by last year's prominent senior class.

OTHERS CONSIDERED: Annapolis Area Christian (14-5), Friends (16-1, No. 14), Marriotts Ridge (15-3), Mount St. Joseph (3-14), Patterson Mill (12-7), Severna Park (12-6), Westminster (13-3, No. 12)

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