1994 record: 16-2. Coach: Dan Hart.
Top players: Eric Morgan, Sr., A; John Brianas, Jr., A; Josh Morgan, Sr., M; Ryan Sears, Sr., M; Geoff Mears, Sr., M; Brian McNew, Jr., M; Gus Samaras, Sr., D; Ryan Little, Sr., D; Beau Watkins, Sr., D; Tobin Poole, Jr., G; Ryan Van Riper, Sr., G.
Outlook: Although the Panthers lost current college players Dave Winegrad, Jack Copus, Scott Regina, Taylor Boone and Morgan Hurt from the team that won the state Class 3A-4A championship, they are not hurting. "We don't rebuild at Annapolis," said Dan Hart, the 1994 All-Metro Coach of the Year.
"We reload. This isn't the first time we've lost quality seniors. It's not about individuals; it's about a team. The single toughest thing to do in sports is to repeat, but we'll be ready." Hart thinks his players have "a good team concept, with no one having to carry the load." The defense is solid and the goalie combination of Poole and Van Riper, who won five games when Poole was hurt last year, is the best Hart has had. The strong freshman class includes six who will play on the varsity.
1994 record: 13-3. Coach: Clint Gosnell.
Top players: Mike Haertel, Sr., M; Tom Newberry, Sr., G; Neal Weissraar, Sr., A; Jim Polucha, Sr., M; John Makowski, Sr., M; Greg Hausner, Sr., D; Ken Brown, Sr., D.
Outlook: Arundel, No. 12 in the final 1994 poll, lost twice to Annapolis, the last time in the regional final, leaving "us feeling good but not so good," Gosnell said. Not so good because of the loss, but good because graduation took only three players. The memory of the loss lingers, which will serve as motivation when the teams meet April 19.
The Wildcats have a deep, speedy midfield and an experienced attack and defense. Gosnell doesn't have to teach lacrosse skills to the players, just refine them, although sometimes that can be even more difficult. Arundel has to learn to play better defense and, on offense to move off the ball. Although "it won't be a cakewalk," Gosnell feels the team, with no glaring weakness, has the talent and balance to make a run at the state Class 3A-4A championship.
1994 record: 8-5. Coach: Clay White.
Top players: John Lengyel, Sr., A; Gerry Case, Jr., A; Chris Martin, Jr., M; Chris Gable, Sr., D; Matt Allen, Sr., D; Renardo Walker, Jr., D; John Svec, Soph., D; Jamie Powers, Fresh., D; Brian Lawton, Soph., M; George McConochie, Jr., A.
Outlook: After winning two straight state Class 3A-4A titles, Broadneck missed the playoffs for the first time since 1989. Why?
"We were young and inexperienced, and we still are," said White. But we could be dangerous. That could be good or bad, since you don't know how the good young players are going to react."
White applauds the players' "work ethic" as they strive to put Broadneck back in its accustomed place in the playoffs. En route, they hope to avenge drubbings by Annapolis and North County.
1994 record: 7-7. Coach: Brien McMurray.
Peters, Sr., M; Kevin Necessary, Jr., D.
Outlook: McMurray replaces Bob Connor, who in five seasons elevated Chesapeake from 3-9 to 4-8 to 6-8 and then to 7-7 two years running. It has been eight years since the Cougars advanced to the playoffs and that is McMurray's aim.
"If we can upset Broadneck and North County and go 8-4, that would be a step forward," McMurray said. "Because of the transition period, with the new staff, we feel we'll be much tougher at the end of the season. Our long-range goal is to be one of the best teams in the county and qualify for the playoffs year after year."
Although slowed by injuries in the preseason, Chesapeake's attack, paced by Fordyce, Whiteside and Brian Smith, will be a strength. Holmes, the goalie, will be the defensive pillar. McMurray is emphasizing the need for the middies and big sticks to play as a unit to promote team defense.
Glen Burnie Gophers
1994 record: 3-11. Coach: Hank Schorreck.
Top players: Jon Riley, Jr., M; Brendan Spilker, Jr., M; Bug Smith, Sr., M; Steve Meyerer, Sr., D.
Outlook: After six straight 1-11 seasons under four different coaches, rookie coach Schorreck produced a 3-11 record last year. As reasons, he cited "the kids' effort, a little bit of talent" and the promise that he'll be around for a while for coaching continuity.
Except for Meyerer, the defense is inexperienced. Accordingly, Schorreck welcomed Ron Sisk, a 250-pound football center and linebacker playing lacrosse for the first time, two converted midfielders and two JV grads. A good sign: Sixty-three boys turned out for the varsity and JV. Schorreck's goal is to win at least four games.
1994 record: 6-8. Coach: Jon Putt.
Top players: D.J. Knott, Sr., M; Darren Burrell, Jr., M; John Pozniak, Sr., D; Don Messinesse, Sr., D; Jamey Hitaffer, Sr., A; David Hitaffer, Jr., A.
Outlook: Putt takes over for Lou Norbeck, who resigned after five years. In recent seasons, Meade has been stuck at or near the .500 level. To improve, Knott, Burrell, Pozniak and Messinesse will have to be major contributors.
The Mustangs' main need is a high-powered attack. The Hitaffer brothers are being counted on to generate it. David had 20 goals last year and Jamey had 12 while also handling faceoffs, winning 75 percent of them.
North County Knights
1994 record: 9-6. Coach: Paul Shea.
Top players: Chris Lamy, Sr., D; Ryan Ross, Jr., A; Matt Collins, Sr., A; Tim Walker, Sr., A; Jason Steigler, Jr., G; Chris Magnum, Soph., M; Bob Lincoln, Soph., M; Mike Mecurio, Sr., D; Aaron Walenga, Jr., M.
Outlook: Although not in the top 15, North County received votes in The Baltimore Sun's final 1994 poll. Shea says the Knights were inconsistent, beating a good team one week and then losing to an ordinary one.
The team's strength will be defense, particularly in the goal where Steigler is trying to stave off Mike Hardy, a transfer from Severn. They will battle for the starting assignment every week. The defensive standout is the 6-foot-4 Lamy, the captain and a four-year starter who is headed for Penn State on a scholarship.
"He has speed, strength and size," Shea said. "He's a man among boys."
1994 record: 4-10. Coach: Carl Donski.
Top players: Kevin Doucet, Jr., D; Brian McGeeney, Sr., D; Sam Ostrowski, Sr., M; Matt Herron, Sr., A; Jeremiah David, Sr., A; Brian Wright, Sr., A.
Outlook: Kevin Buckley was going to retire after last season no matter what, but he didn't expect to do so in such frustration. In 14 years as a head coach, he never endured a worse season, losing three games by one goal and three others by two.
Donski inherits a group that figures to play strong defense, helped by Doucet and McGeeney and goalies Glenn Whisman and Keith Mursh. Herron, Ostrowski and David are expected to provide the bulk of the scoring.
"We have good team speed, but lack experience," Donski said. "We have 15 juniors, so next year could our year."
Old Mill Patriots
1994 record: 3-9. Coach: Fran Duffy.
Top players: Joe Venturella, Sr., D; Mike Lloyd, Soph., A; Andy Park, Sr., A; Scott Majoros, Sr., M; Mark Shaffery, Sr., G.
Outlook: As Old Mill's rookie coach last season, Chip Robertson said he "wasn't sure what to make of this team." It went 3-9, and now another rookie coach, Duffy, isn't sure what to make of this one either.
"We're rebuilding," Duffy said, vowing that he has committed himself to Old Mill in the interest of continuity. "We'll have intensity and hustle, a solid defense and a pretty good attack." To attain Duffy's goal of a winning season, the Patriots will have to develop midfield cohesiveness.
Severna Park Falcons
1994 record: 9-3. Coach: Greg Manley.
Top players: Mark Frye, Sr., M; Adam Hurst, Sr., M; Kevin Grizzle, Sr., D; Chad Roberts, Jr., G; Pat Tewes, Soph., G; Sean Harrison, Sr., G.
Outlook: When Ed Ulrich resigned after eight seasons "because I wanted to have a spring," Manley came in, fresh from four years as an assistant under Loyola College's Dave Cottle.
The Falcons' main strength is in the goal, where a freshman, Charles Robinson, is competing with Roberts, Tewes and Harrison. Manley has no inclination to convert a couple of the goalies into field players because he likes the idea of them competing against each other.
"We're looking to win it all," Manley said. "But it's a tough league. We have to beat Broadneck, North County, Arundel and Annapolis -- or at least two of them."
1994 record: 7-7. Coach: Ray Bowen.
Top players: Bobby Procopio, Jr., M; Lee Derrick, Sr., A; Adam Leitch, Soph., A; Jason Teitelbaum, Sr., D; Brian Kilpatrick, So., G; Sean Carroll, Sr., M; J.J. Alcott, Sr., D; Adam Pumphrey, Soph., A; Nick Wolf, Jr., A.
Outlook: Southern would have made the region playoffs last year if it hadn't lost one-goal games to Arundel and Chesapeake and a two-goal game to Broadneck. The Bulldogs' goal is to "catch some big teams off guard and win," said Bowen, and beat fellow Class 1A-2A teams Northeast and South River and gain the playoffs.
The midfield is led by Procopio. Scoring leaders Greg Prochazka and Matt Kitchens are gone, leaving Derrick (10 goals, 14 assists) as the lone returning starter on attack. Last year's goalie and starting defensemen graduated, which means Teitelbaum and Alcott will have to control the action in front of Kilpatrick.
South River Seahawks
1994 record: 6-6. Coach: Greg Carroll.
Top players: Sean Finnelle, Sr., G; Jeff Hoffacker, Sr., M; Adam Ward, Jr., D; Mark Luckett, Sr., A.
Outlook: Carroll, in his 18th season, is moving players around in an attempt to find a scoring combination. The offense, he said, needs work.
One strength is in the goal where Finnelle is backed by John Higdon, a promising freshman.
"We started slow and ended strong last year, because we were so young and inexperienced," Carroll said. "Maybe this year will be the same."