Westminster's Alec Kozlowski (6) in action during a 4A/3A state semifinal boys lacrosse match between Churchill and Westminster.
Westminster's Alec Kozlowski (6) in action during a 4A/3A state semifinal boys lacrosse match between Churchill and Westminster. (Daniel Kucin Jr. / Carroll County Times)

Century

Coach: Jeremy Benson, 3rd year

Last year’s record: 9-7, 3-3 county

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First game: Wednesday vs. Franklin, 4

Key losses: Lane Cavey, Ashley Roberts, Colin Welch

Key returners: Alex Kristian, sophomore D; Brett Kropinski, junior A/MF; Jalen Stanton, junior MF; Carter Truby, junior A; Chris Yanchoris, senior GK

Outlook: Yanchoris, a two-time first-team all-county pick, led Carroll in saves last spring (208, 68.0 save pct.). He’ll be leading the Knights’ defense, with first-team all-countian Kristian in front of him. Kropinski was Century’s second leading scorer a year ago. “This year’s team is a healthy combination of senior leaders, and young talent with varsity experience,” Benson said via email.

Francis Scott Key

Coach: Butch Fitzgerald, 1st year

Last year’s record: 3-10, 0-6 county

First game: Friday at Catoctin, 7:30

Key losses: Cole Falkenstine, Luke van der Meulen

Key returners: Kyle Hoeflich, junior D; Sam Kefauver, junior G; Cole LaPierre, sophomore A; Colton Price, junior A; Bobby Sylves, junior MF; Colin Tucker, senior D

Outlook: The Eagles are young, and have a first-year coach, and they’ll need to replace their top scorer and face-off man from 2017 in van der Meulen (15 goals, 20 assists). “Our coaches fully expect to improve on last year’s record and run deep into postseason play,” Fitzgerald said via email.

Gerstell

Coach: Sean Todd, 6th year

Last year’s record: 16-3

First game: Wednesday at Woodson, 6

Key losses: Jake Higgins, Cam Mullinix, Joey Tabak

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Key returners: Noah Betz, senior D; Seth Higgins, sophomore MF; Michael Ippolito, senior A; CJ Kovalsky, senior A

Outlook: The Falcons played in the MIAA B Conference title game last spring, and Todd said via email this year’s squad might be the most balanced he’s had. Seth Higgins (21 goals, 35 assists) is poised to lead the offense, and Ippolito is back after missing most of last year with an injury. Todd said the defense should be tight with Betz, Laz Friedberg, and Brian Warehime.

Liberty

Coach: David Griffin, 1st year

Last year’s record: 8-11, 1-5 county

First game: Wednesday vs. Walkersville, 7

Key losses: Mark Conway, Jason Stead

Key returners: Grant Cavender, senior D; Jake Griffin, senior A; Kevin Lynch, senior D; Zach Morris, senior GK; Noah Rohrer, senior MF

Outlook: The Lions struggled during the result season but made a run to the 2A-1A state semifinals, and they bring back their leading scorer in Jake Griffin (44 goals, 22 assists). They also return Morris, who made 146 saves in 2017. “Should be very competitive this year, strong on both sides of the field,” David Griffin said via email.

Manchester Valley

Coach: John Piper, 9th year

Last year’s record: 7-8, 4-2 county

First game: Wednesday at Catonsville, 6:30

Key losses: Andrew Epply, Andrew Helphenstine, Josh Henderson, Dan Johnston, Dan Mangold, Connor O’Donnell, Jon Swartz

Key returners: Riley Larrimore, senior A; Owen McCallum, junior A/MF; Brandon Smith, senior A/MF; Allen Thomas, senior A/MF; Cody Upman, junior MF

Outlook: Larrimore, a first-team all-county choice in 2017, finished fifth in Carroll in scoring (49 goals, 20 assists) and is back this spring. Man Valley has 11 seniors and 12 juniors, so experience is also on its side. The offense likely gets another boost with Thomas’ return after he totaled 25 goals and 11 assists. The Mavericks had a tough playoff draw last year with state finalist Glenelg in the first round.

South Carroll

Coach: Brad Widner, 3rd year

Last year’s record: 14-6, 5-1 county

First game: Wednesday vs. Linganore, 6:30

Key losses: Sam Crossman, Kyle Dizon, Jake MacKenzie, Kyle Worsley

Key returners: Kyle Covell, senior D; Jacob Snell, senior MF; Dylan Wilson, senior MF

Outlook: The Cavaliers are coming off a season that ended with a state championship game appearance, but this spring will be a fresh start of sorts. SC lost three of the county’s top scoring leaders in Worsley, Dizon, and Crossman. And it lost goalie Evan Hock (149 saves) to injury in the preseason. “The players are working hard and are beginning to mesh as a team,” Widner said via email.

Westminster

Coach: Steve DeFeo, 8th year

Last year’s record: 16-2, 6-0 county

First game: Wednesday at Mount St. Joseph, 4:30

Key losses: Joey Conklin, Ryan McManus, David Welsh

Key returners: Chase Buckwalter, junior MF; Conner Covey, sophomore MF; Brandon Kim, senior MF; Alex Kozlowski, senior A; Bubba Love, junior A

Outlook: The reigning county champs lost the Times Player of the Year in McManus, but it doesn’t appear they’re ready to give up their title without a fight. Love (40 goals, 36 assists) was third in Carroll in scoring a year ago, and he should have plenty of help from Kozlowski (43, 25), Buckwalter (17, 27), Covey (34, six), and senior attackman Patrick Stewart (21, 19).

Winters Mill

Coach: Jeff Beeker, 3rd year

Last year’s record: 6-9, 2-4 county

First game: Thursday at Atholton, 5:30

Key losses: Ethan Grandinetti, Tanner Tobias, Jeremy Witzler

Key returners: John Bodden, D; Brian Deckelman, MF; Justin Hulse, A; Jansen Pusateri, D; Reed Stewart, A

Outlook: Witzler is gone, so the Falcons need to replace their top scorer from a season ago (32 goals, 23 assists). Beeker has a handful of players poised to take over, including midfielder Kaden Ross, a transfer from Gerstell who his new coach called “scary good.” Pusateri and Bodden should anchor WM’s defense.

Compiled by Pat Stoetzer

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