Last season was a year to remember for the Catonsville and Lansdowne boys soccer teams as both teams captured championships.
The Comets won their first eight games and went on the win the school’s first regional title since 2000. They defeated Perry Hall, 3-0, in the Class 4A North Region I final, avenging a loss during the regular season.
The Comets’ season ended with a 2-1 loss to Northwest in the state quarterfinals. Lansdowne won a divisional title, but lost in the regional playoffs to Dundalk in overtime.
Here’s a look at who will be on the pitch for Catonsville, Lansdowne and Western Tech this season.
Coach: Brendan Kennedy, sixth season
Last season: 12-5-1, 4A North regional champions, lost in state quarterfinals
Players to watch: Seniors Noah Gregory (CM, captain, second team All-State, first team All-County, first team All-Division, 5 goals, 8 assists); Bryan Barrientos, (ST/W, first team All-County, first team All-Division, 14 goals, 6 assists); Mason Lober (CB); juniors Musa Kholti Yamani (CM), Emmanuel Amoako, (ST/W) and Austin Haywood (FB).
Coach’s outlook: We are very excited to begin a fun and competitive fall season. We have a strong core of returning players, as well as some talented and determined newcomers. We hope to compete to repeat to win our region and go far in the state tournament. We also aim to perform consistently and competitively on and off the field.
Coach: Raul Gordon, second year
Last season: 8-5, division champions, lost in regional finals
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Players to watch: Seniors Gio Hernandez, Jason Caballero, Va Sa, Carlos Mata, Walter Ponce; juniors Nico Camacho, Kevin Escobar; and sophomore Kervin Blanco Flores.
Coach’s outlook: It is going to be hard to replace 11 seniors, but we believe we have a solid core of returners and a good crop of new players that should help to balance out the team. We believe we will contend for the division title and regional title. We are hoping to get past the region this year and make a run at states.
Coach: Travis Saulsbury, 10th season
Last season: 4-8-1
Players to watch: Seniors Udoka Chimah, Emmanuel Opoko; sophomores Wyatt Lemmerman and Troy Park.
Outlook: I like our team, we’re a young team that returns seven starters and most of the goal production from last year. This is the deepest team that I’ve had in 10 years of coaching, however, the challenge of being young and not a community-based school is getting these guys to grow and learn quickly how to play with each other. I am optimistic because they all have a desire to play coupled with a good work ethic to improve. I’m also enthusiastic because we got another great group of freshmen who have shown that they can play at the varsity level.
First game: Sept. 6, at Kenwood, 5:30 p.m.