Acie Newton

Loyola goalkeeper Acie Newton (Karl Merton Ferron / The Baltimore Sun / April 12, 2013)

The boys lacrosse season has started for the private schools, and the public schools will begin play on Friday. That means it’s time to start rolling out the projections for this season’s top teams.

In the coming days, Varsity Letters will count down the top-five teams. The area's preseason No. 1-ranked team will be posted Wednesday. The entire Top 15 poll, along with the top players to watch, will be available online Wednesday night and the entire preview package will be in Thursday's print edition.

Here’s a look at No. 4 Loyola:

Coach: Jack Crawford


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Last season: 13-8, No. 1

Postseason: Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion

Top players: Ryan Conrad, Jr., MF; Acie Newton, Jr., G; Alex Roesner, Jr., A.

Outlook: The Dons enjoyed the most improbable playoff run in MIAA history last season, qualifying for the after they played their final regular season game (Mount St. Joseph’s overtime win against St. Mary’s was the clincher) and then claiming three upset wins as the sixth seed.

Can they do it again?

Loyola returns a number of key contributors who led to last year’s title, and Crawford  makes excellent adjustments suited for the postseason.

Conrad gives the Dons a dominating player in the middle, and he will be leaned on heavily to provide stability and leadership.

Roesner must emerge as the Dons' go-to attackman with the graduation of Devin McNamara, and Newton has shown he can come up with timely saves. An experienced defense helps in front.

The Dons have the postseason blueprint for success and the players that have experienced it -- that will make them a dangerous team.  Will any team want to open the playoffs against Loyola?