There's good news and bad news: Almost the entire team returns; however, its record last year was 0-12.
Coach Andy Cassilly said, "We're not deep, but we're better -- and bigger and stronger.
"Last year, we'd have good practices, then go into a game and be intimidated. This time, the players are a tight group. There is much more enthusiasm and a positive attitude."
The Eagles have experience at every position.
Senior Mike Ruth, a starter last year, will share time in goal with sophomore Paul Gasdia, and senior Kevin Simon is a top defenseman. Senior Pete D'Amico is a midfield leader (his brother Andy will miss the season with a knee injury, but is expected to return at full strength next year). Senior Chris Myers, the second-leading scorer of a year ago, heads the attack.
"This team is a little older -- last year the starters included three sophomores and two freshmen -- and we have some seniors who are three-year players," Cassilly said. "We are hoping to get the program turned around."
Bel Air Bobcats
As the school's JV coach for the past six years, new coach Bill Zimmerman has the advantage of having seen practically all the varsity players go through his program.
"Our strength is the offense we're using. It is the same one I used last year, so most of the players know it. Now, the problem will be getting them to play together with the veterans," he said.
Senior Mike Velez and junior John Helmer return on attack, and although they were chiefly feeders last year, both can score. Junior Chris Forbes heads an experienced midfield, which should contribute three or four more scorers, including seniors Chuck Bell, Scott Snyder and Mark Seidl.
Junior Adam Casper was the leading JV scorer last season.
Senior Jim Reynolds is the one holdover on defense, but senior Dave Kennedy has been moved back from midfield and adds experience to the lineup in front of junior goalie Brian Keiser. Among the defenders are juniors Mike Pennington, Jeremiah Bowling and Rob Glassman, and sophomore Doug Shuman.
"Our defense will be a weak point for a while because we don't have a top player back there yet," Zimmerman said.
C. Milton Wright Mustangs
The defense is a strength and the attack is a question mark, as the Mustangs aim to extend their unbeaten record in the county. They won seven on their way to a 12-0 regular season. They finished 14-2 overall with a holiday tournament loss and a setback in the Class 3A regional final.
Senior Adam Miller and junior Jason Parks are challenging to be the starting goalkeeper behind a defense that includes three-year starter Chuck Heinze, two-year starter Justin Lassahn and four-year veteran Ethan Kushner.
Junior Jason Tharpe is the lone non-senior among key midfielders that number Josh Peters, Jesse Sostrin, Ryan Strausburg, Matt Jenkins and Danny Hurley. The attack lost scoring star Chris Lloyd, but returns senior Corey Lambroff (30 goals).
"We graduated about 110 goals, and although we have some good scorers back, this will be a question mark for us until we get into some games," said coach Carl Greenberg.
For the second year in a row, the Cougars should provide the chief opposition for C. Milton Wright in the chase for the county championship. A year ago, they were 11-4 after beating Joppatowne for the Class 1A regional title, then lost an overtime decision to Mount Hebron in the semifinals of the state tournament.
Although most of those starters are gone, plenty of talent remains. Senior attackmen Brad Baker and Zach Karantonis combined for 75 goals a year ago. Junior Fred Sheckells was a midfield starter, and senior Chip Turner is the only returning starter on defense.
The midfield leaders likely will come from among seniors Dan Bowers, Jason Haslback, Pete Dixon and Tim Maurer, although the best of the group might be sophomore Todd Paradise, a starter last season.
Junior Kenny Poling came along to provide defensive support at the end of last season and senior J. C. Waller should help, but coach John Conley, beginning his third season, sees some JV players as having to move in and contribute. Goalie Jamie Auer was in and out of the starting lineup last year, but started the playoff games. That experience should help this time around.
Havre de Grace Warriors
Dean Freeman, who played at Joppatowne and has a solid lacrosse background, took over as head coach just a month ago and has inherited a senior-dominated team that seeks to improve on last year's 5-7 record.
Jason Bernard is a key veteran, returning to an all-senior first midfield as a 32-goal scorer. He will be joined by Dave Redding and Blaine Miller, who will handle faceoffs.
The most experienced attack unit has seniors Sean Smith, Ryan Kinsey and Ryan Miller.
Seniors Curtis Carter and Brad Gladfelter are the top players on defense, with two sophomores vying for the third spot on the first unit. Sophomore Sean McCone will start in goal for the second year.
Freeman said: "I have been impressed with their stickwork. We're capable, but we need to jell. Our seniors have to take charge."
John Carroll Patriots
The Patriots walked into a buzz saw last year, going 2-13 in their first season in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference after dominating the old BB Conference for several years.
Seniors Jeff Raymond and Chris Smith, both returning starters in the midfield, are expected to be one of the strengths of this team.
Among the remaining veterans are senior Drew Beynon and junior Tony Coatsolonia on attack, senior Matt Hopkins on defense and junior Kevin Stever in goal.
There is also a mixture of seniors, players from the JV and transfers Adam Parris from Gilman and Sean McDonough from Aberdeen. Seniors Mark Leary and Todd Adams are on attack. Midfielders Joe Hughes, Shane Gray and Matt Brown have JV experience, as do defensemen Dave Rosso and Jason Driggs.
"We are just so far behind right now," coach Boo Smith said. "Where other teams in the conference have been able to get in some quality outdoor practice time, we have not, so it has only made our situation worse."
This certainly will be a rebuilding program, as coach Bill Waibel lost nine of 10 starters from a year ago. Tim Brenneman, a senior attackman, is the lone holdover.
Brenneman was a feeder, working from behind the goal last year, but he is moving to a wing to take advantage of his experience and scoring potential. He had 15 goals last season, when the Mariners went 6-6 and lost a regional playoff game to Fallston.
Others with varsity experience include senior Sam Almengor and junior Bo Duval on attack; and seniors Cory Doss and Todd Baldwin in the midfield and Dan Higgins on defense. Among newcomers who will be counted on are junior defenseman Jay Lawhorn and sophomore midfielders Russell Peters and Tim Brown.
Junior Sean Dobbs, a backup last year, will start in goal.
"We're still young and inexperienced, but we should be able to show improvement as we go along," Waibel said.
North Harford Hawks
After two straight state finalist entries, the Hawks had a blend of veterans and new people finish 9-5 last season. It marked the first time in four years that coach John Grubb started a sophomore.
The rebuilding process will continue this season, as Grubb, beginning his 16th year, works in players from last year's 11-1 JV.
Leading the veterans are senior Ted Eyler and junior Jay Heil on defense; a second midfield of seniors Adam Piterra, Shane Winberg and Keith Chesla; and junior Jon Wright on attack. Josh Gottschalk returns for his senior season after a season-ending injury last spring.
In goal, senior Rob Smith and sophomore Ben Preibe are pushing for the starting role.
"We have a lot of players to bring along, but they have a great attitude. We'll get better as the season progresses," Grubb said.
Note: Edgewood High could not be included in this preview because attempts to reach the team's coach were unsuccessful.