The "L" in Loyola, some suggest, stands for "lacrosse." If so, the "D" in "Dons" must stand for "dynasty." In seven seasons under coach Joe McFadden, the Loyola Dons have gone 86-14. They remain the team to beat and are No. 1 in The Evening Sun 1991 rankings until some team, such as Boys' Latin, comes along and beats them.
When the dust settles in the MSA A Conference, Loyola should reign again, with Boys' Latin having the best chance to pull off an upset.
In state association play, look for Dulaney to get a stiff challenge from Howard for the state Class 4A/3A championship. Towson, if it pulls together as a team, could take the Class 2A/1A state championship with challenges from Loch Raven as well as various Howard and Harford county teams.
The Top 20, as selected by The Evening Sun with input from many area coaches, follows. Last year's records and rankings are listed in parentheses.
1 Loyola (12-2, No. 1)
* The Dons return 20 lettermen, including Dave Evans on attack, Mike Vaughan and Brad Hoag at midfield and Chris Ginter on defense. Jason Johnson likely will be in goal, supported by Ginter, a junior, and seniors Dan Radebaugh, Chris Dardozzi, Shaun McKenzie and Brian Doyle. The quality of depth could be Loyola's main asset. The Dons will get better, vowed coach Joe McFadden, a perfectionist.
* The Lakers return lots of experience, including top scorer Kevin Lutz (42 goals, seven assists) and first-team All-Metro defenseman Stan Ross. The midfield is solid with veterans Josh Pomles, Chris McGhay, Chris Krastel and Ryan Smith. Coach Bob Shriver is confident last year's narrow losses can be turned around this season.
3 Severn (18-5, No. 2)
* The Admirals will play without coach Rob White (military duty), but interim coach Pete Trau said scoring will be no problem. The attack returns intact with Matt Long (56 goals), Dudley Dixon (17) and Jason Wade (35) firing away. The midfield is solid with Spencer Reckner and Milford Marchant back. The defense is unsettled. How quickly it jells is the lone question mark.
4 Calvert Hall (6-6, No. 5)
* Coach Mike Thomas sees no holes in his returning lineup, led by premier faceoff man Tony Nugent. Brian Lippa is back in goal and senior Shawn Burke returns to school after a year at Towson Catholic. "We should be right there, behind Loyola and Boys' Latin," said Thomas. "We have two defensemen out, Darby Subotich [surgery] and Lloyd Shiftlett [crutches], but we're hopeful they'll get back soon."
St. Mary's (12-4, No. 4)
* Rob Chomo (42 goals, 21 assists) will lead the Saints' attack and David Jones (24 and 1) anchors the midfield, but coach Jim Moorhead must replace the entire defense. Transfer Tony Souza comes over from Loyola and may help the midfield. Moorhead is confident, but the defense must mature rapidly if the Saints are to challenge for the championship.
@6 Gilman (8-7, No. 7)
* The Greyhounds return defensemen Josh Miller, Don Schline and Andrew Thut, but they're faced with replacing eight of 10 starters, most of them on attack. "We're working hard and the attitude is great, but it will be tough to go .500 in the A Conference," said coach John Tucker.
7 Dulaney (12-0, No. 2)
* Coach Gary Schreiber returns a very strong nucleus, including goalie Craig Laferty, defenseman Dan Evans and a first midfield of Chris Steer, Brad Berzins and Tim Speno. Clark Ledbetter is the lone veteran attackman and the JV has afforded jTC no impact types. Still, the Lions should strut in Baltimore County and defend their state Class 4A/3A championship. Howard may provide the stiffest test.
8 St. Paul's (8-7, No. 8)
* The Crusaders are young, but boast experience for coach Mitch Whiteley. The midfield is intact with Kyle Durkee, John Cougle and Jeremy Bryant returning. The attack returns juniors Tim Whiteley (60 points), Rob Bouse (25) and sophomore Michael Watson (25). Tom Keratzes moves up from the championship JV to anchor the defense in goal.
@Howard (12-3, No. 17)
* The Lions gave Dulaney its toughest test in 1990, falling 9-7 in the 4A/3A tournament, and coach Dan Ross has the makings of the best public school team in the area. Joe Wilson, a second-team All-Metro who is headed to Virginia, heads a veteran defense. Faceoff specialist Lamont Anderson is one of several seniors on a deep midfield, and Scott Frye and Mike McCarthy are proven attackmen.
10 Severna Park (13-3, No. 19)
* The Falcons return 17 lettermen, most of whom started or played a lot. The attack is solid with juniors Michael Crawford (57 points), Scott DeGraffenreid (31) and Bob Evans (18). Travis Gray, Paul Rakowski and Steve Spence will lead the midfield. Peter Ulrich and Matt Pugh are battling to start in goal.
11 Towson (9-1, No. 16)
* The Generals should march to the Class 2A/1A state championship. Six midfielders return, led by David Brewer, Alex Galiani and Jamie Warner. Chad Henry, Dan Mason and Mark Bresee return on attack. The defense is young, but anchored by Lance Buckley, who shifts from midfield to his natural position.
12 Annapolis (12-5, No. 18)
* "We may have no aces, but we've got four or five kings," said coach Dan Hart. The defense is experienced with Dean Samaris, Chad Clay and Aaron Sames back. The Panthers should challenge for the Anne Arundel County title. They return eight of nine midfielders, led by Christian Boone (27 goals, 16 assists), and Chris Turner (17 and 21) paces the attack. "There are five teams in the county who can win it all," said Hart, counting his team among them.
13McDonogh (12-4, No. 15)
* The good news is that the Eagles' attack boasts Spencer Rice (53 points) and David Pitt (46). The bad news? Rice had surgery on his fractured foot last month and may be out until mid-April. Coach Andrew Motsko said the main problem has been replacing three of the top five middies. Jeremy Carpenter and Josh Hantman will lead the way. If Rice gets back soon, the Eagles may soar.
14 Arundel (7-6, unranked)
* The Wildcats will be in the fight for the Anne Arundel County title if injuries don't spoil the season. Right now, midfielders Jeff Farr, Cory Turner and Jason McNemar are hurt, but coach Clint Gosnell is still optimistic. Travis Loving anchors the defense in goal, supported by veterans Brant Sheldon, Graham Niemi and Pat Beach or Eric Johnson. Transfer Matt Agee (St. Mary's) will help when he rounds into shape.
15 John Carroll (11-5, No. 14)
* Goalie Stash Rote and defensemen Dave Stever, Brian O'Mailey and Pete Tapley return. Zack Thornton will head the midfield and defender Baird Babb could shift there to help. The attack features Brian Turk and holdovers Tim Ferriter, Greg Rogers and Chris Marshall. Coach Boo Smith cited midfield inexperience as the main weakness.
16 ereg,12 Broadneck (8-6, unranked)
* A strong midfield includes Mike Norton, Steve Bruso and John Hanna. Senior Bryan Bowman will be counted on to settle the young defense, while Marc Whynock shifts from midfield to join Greg Jackson and Jeremy Ogas on attack. "We may have more depth than ever," said coach Clay White.
18,1817North Harford (14-1, No. 9)
* The Hawks of coach John Grubb should improve as the young attack gains experience. Until then, a very experienced defense will carry the load. It includes seniors Chris Gress, Jason Ketner and Chris Beall supporting goalie Tom Murrell. Tim Lucky, Brett Schreiber and Steve Overby are solid at midfield and senior Justin Smith has shifted from midfield to attack, where he'll join players up from the championship JV squad.
18 North County (new school)
* Coach Paul Shea guided Andover (14-3) to the state Class 2A/1A finals last year. Now merged with Brooklyn Park, the Knights may have the best goalie in the area in Tim McGeeney, who's very interested in Loyola for next season. Veterans Karl Wick, Joe Ross and Jim Ray lead the defense. Seniors Chad Stewart, Dae Sik Ham and Chong Yi provide speed for the midfield and senior Bob Wolfe is a proven scorer (34 goals).
19 South Carroll (12-1, unranked)
* The Cavaliers return goalie Mike Gaffney, defensemen Greg Sherwood and Karl Streaker, middies Craig Frizzell and Brian Wilson, and attackman Kyle Blough (45 points). That plus an 8-3 junior varsity is the good news. Coach Gene Brown, however, frets over attackman David Edlemann, who may be out with a knee injury. "Our depth is down, but we have some players on the first unit," said Brown, citing Westminster and Liberty as teams to watch in Carroll County.
20Catonsville (7-4, unranked)
* Coach Terry Lathroum is confident summer camps have helped his Comets improve. Goalie Bill Griffin returns, as do defensemen Ian Rehmert and Andrew Lample. Kevin Dingle is back after running track last spring. Four-year letterman Greg Miller leads the midfield and Tom Hiebler, Jeff LaNoue and Dan Clark, all juniors, will spearhead the attack.