Carroll Christian Patriots
Coach: Mark Campbell. 1994 record: 8-6
Top players: Levi Haines, Sr., MF; Steve Rill, Sr., D; Chip Leonard, Sr., GK; Casey Davis, Jr., F; Greg Shipe, Jr., F; Steve Parker, Jr., D; Jeremy Rodriguez, Jr., F; Frank Pinto, So., MF; Mark Elban, So., MF; Paul Albaugh, So., D.
Outlook: The Patriots are coming off a second straight winning season and continue to be on the rise. Campbell, in his fourth year, has more depth than he's ever had and the new additions are blending in with a strong group of returning players.
The defense has been the team's strength the past couple of seasons and the same will hold true this year. Leonard gives Campbell experience and reliability in goal. Albaugh will be the sweeper with Rill in front of him at stopper. Parker is a welcome addition at one fullback slot with Lieb on the other side.
The midfield will center around Pinto, who does a good job of controlling the ball and distributing to others. Elban will drop back to midfield after playing up front last year and Campbell said he looks very comfortable at his new position. Haines provides a steadying influence at midfield. "We have a lot more depth on offense and it's exciting to be able to position some people differently and not lose any force," Campbell said.
Davis is the Patriots' prime finisher and has two new wings to work with in Shipe and Rodriguez. Shipe is a transfer and Rodriguez returns to the team after not playing last season. "Casey will be our go-to guy and we'll be looking for him to catch all the stuff dumped to him inside," Campbell said. "We'll need the wings to stay wide to open things up. The three really work well together."
Halfback Josh Ridgely and wing Mike Craig will be other key contributors with Brad Dean backing up Leonard in goal. All three are sophomores.
Francis Scott Key Eagles
Coach: G. Hibberd. 1994 record: 7-6
Top players: Robbie Green, Sr., F; Mike Crawmer, Sr., MF/G; Billy Baker, Sr., F/MF; Shaun Diehl, Sr., MF; Jessie Oakes, Sr., MF; Ryan Etzler, Sr., F/MF; Andy Hosmer, Sr., D; Eric Koeppen, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Eagles return the county's leading scorer from a year ago in Green (10 goals, six assists), and Hibberd believes there's plenty of support around him. The big question is in back with the goalie position still up for grabs late in the preseason and only one starter returning on defense. "It's going to be exciting at both ends," Hibberd promises.
Green, in his fourth year on varsity, caught some opponents off guard last season with his ability to score and pass. This season, teams will make it a priority to shut down the striker. Hibberd and the Eagles are expecting it. "We have enough help around him that if he gets too much attention, we'll have some others scoring," Hibberd said. "We're looking to knock the ball around. I don't see this as a kick the ball to Robbie Green and let him see what he can do. He'll be able to free up others and we have enough experience on the upper line that they'll come through."
Baker, Etzler and Kemp will rotate up front with Green. Hibberd also is expecting some scoring out of his midfield with Oakes, a transfer from Westminster, a big addition in the middle. "He has real good ball control, is in excellent condition and plays with a lot of savvy," Hibberd said. Crawmer, another four-year varsity player, is a constant threat with his long throw-ins and passing ability. Hibberd may use him in goal if one of the three other keepers -- Mike Corsini, Mark Krida or Dan Shorb -- don't step up. "The concern is huge in the sense if no one plugs the hole and Mike has to do it, we'll be weaker out in the field," Hibberd said. "Mike gives us a lot with his throw-ins and passing and we may give up a goal to get that." Krida has good size and looks to be the one who will step up. Hosmer, the lone defensive starter back, will have to take control at either sweeper or stopper. Every Hibberd team has a strong marking back; this season it's Koeppen.
Coach: Lee Kestler. 1994 record: 6-9
Top players: Matt Horrell, Sr., MF; Jamison Combs, Jr., MF; Tim Chairs, So., MF; Roy Geiser, Sr., MF; Jeff Wharton, Jr., MF; Todd Tupis, Sr., F; Thiago Marchi, Sr., F; Mike Silva, Jr., GK; Craig Wentz, Jr., D.
Outcome: There's no question the Lions' strength is at midfield this season, and Kestler is looking at a couple of different formations to get the most out of it. Silva has taken charge in goal and his improved play is needed with a lot of new faces on defense.
The Lions will use four and sometimes five midfielders at a time in an attempt to shut down opponents before they get started. Horrell, Combs and Chairs are the keys. Horrell missed the first half of last season with a foot injury and is looking to make up for it this year as a team captain. Combs, the other captain, is a proven defender who also will be expected to provide more offense. Chairs made a big impression as a freshman and will bring more size this fall. He also will be used up front.
"We're looking for a lot of work out of our midfield," Kestler said. "If we can terminate things at midfield, some of the other parts
won't matter as much."
Silva came into the preseason with a more confident presence and his work ethic has always been there. "John's improved on his communication and isn't hesitant to take charge. He's also done a much better job in the air, coming out strong and handling crosses," Kestler said. Wentz is the only other returnee on defense and has impressed Kestler with his vocal play in the middle.
The Lions will run two players up front with Tupis and Marchi, an exchange student from Brazil, will likely start. Kestler won't lose much when junior Ben Stoltenberg comes off the bench.
"We're looking to get something from our strikers, but the majority of the offense will come off restarts," Kestler said. "Timmy and Jamison have the long throws and we have the height to make things happen inside the 18."
North Carroll Panthers
Coach: Denny Snyder. 1994 record: 3-10
Top players: Barrett Gugliotta, Sr., D; Ryan Appling, Sr., D; Jeff Oyan, Sr., D; David White, Sr., D; Scott Hensley, Sr., MF; Zac Ward, Sr., MF: Tony Reightler, Jr., F; Ryan Bowles, Sr., F; Justin Malbrough, Jr., GK.
Outcome: Snyder, taking over for longtime coach Ed Powelson, zTC is confident the Panthers -- who have 10 seniors -- are ready to be competitive. "The key right now is the kids need some confidence. They've played together before and it's a matter of them starting to believe in themselves," Snyder said. Sweeper Gugliotta and stopper White key a defense that's intact from last season and the group will work in front of newcomer Malbrough in goal.
All the problems the Panthers had scoring last season seemed to vanish in preseason scrimmages this year. Snyder hopes it continues throughout the season.
At halfback, Hensley and Ward will look to control the middle. Snyder expects to get a lot of work out his outside midfielders Derek Easter and Joe Dressel -- both seniors. When they get tired, juniors Todd Collins and Chuck Colgan will run. Newcomer Reightler, who scored 14 goals last season on junior varsity, will be up front with an improved Bowles.
"I've been happy with the defense and tickled with what I've seen on offense. We have a lot of kids who are hungry to finish," Snyder said.
"We want to stay healthy and play good fundamental soccer. We'll build up and use the outside. The midfielders will need to distribute the ball and support. We'll work some overlaps, give-and-go's and have to move without the ball."
South Carroll Cavaliers
Coach: Charlie Fazenbaker. 1994 record: 14-1-1
Top players: Brandon Dorsey, Sr., MF; Andrew Kelley, Sr., G; Ken Jenkins, Sr., MF; Shawn McLellan, Sr., D; Chris Woodward, Sr., F; Mike Amoss, Jr., D; David Fetterhoff, Jr., D; Brian Gehle, So., D.
Outcome: Most of the main components from last year's team have taken their skills to the college level. Left behind are five regulars and a new cast of talented underclassmen.
Fazenbaker has a pretty good foundation with Dorsey, Kelley
and Jenkins -- the three tri-captains -- and fellow seniors McLellan and Woodward. "The seniors have brought a lot of leadership and are putting the pressure on the younger players saying 'Look, we like what we've done the past couple of years and we want it to continue,' " he said.
The top priority in the preseason has been restructuring the defense, where only Kelley remains. Amoss, who returns to South Carroll after attending Calvert Hall last year, will be at sweeper with Gehle, a sophomore, at stopper. McLellan will start on one side with Fetterhoff and junior James Lawson also vying for time.
Fazenbaker called the midfield and forward positions "The little brother's team." Midfielders Mark Ensor, Mark Oswiecimka, Nathan Hendrickson, Jenkins and forward James Smyrnioudis all have older brothers who played for Cavaliers. Dorsey is the stabilizing influence at midfield and Woodward and sophomore Mike Rabinovitz will do a lot of the running up front.
"We have the ability. It's been a long rocky road, but we're getting there," Fazenbaker said. "The juniors and sophomores are playing varsity ball for the first time and it's a big step from junior varsity, but they're getting there slowly but surely. If we can keep playing the ball control game we should be competitive. If we get away from that we'll have problems."
Coach: Chuck Beaver. 1994 record: 9-2-1
Top players: David Johnson, Sr., MF; Brian Anderson, Sr., MF; Roland Backhaus, Sr., GK; Chris Boundy, Sr., F; Todd Erpelding, Sr., D; David Goldman, Sr., D; Steve Hann, Sr., F; Brian Tozer, Jr., MF; Ryan Surber, Sr., MF.
Outlook: Much like county rival South Carroll, the Owls lost a lot to graduation but appear to have some new talent. Only three starters return, but the Owls have a handful of players who played some varsity last season. It could give the Owls an edge in the county race.
"The bottom line is I can't go out on a limb and say this and say that with so many untested places," Beaver said. "I'd love to say we're going to be rock solid on defense and score plenty of goals, but we'll just have to wait and see."
Beaver does know what he has in Johnson, a solid two-way midfielder who scored five goals and added two assists last year. He produced the offensive output playing a defensive midfield position. This season, he'll move up to center midfield and try to be an even bigger factor on attack. Tozer (three goals, two assists) is another key returner who will make things happen in the middle for the Owls. Outside midfielders Surber and Anderson are two who will play a bigger role this season. Beaver said Jan Kunze, an exchange student from Germany, has blended in well with the midfield group.
Another welcome addition for the Owls is Hann, who transferred from Sherwood, where he played football. He spent his first two years of high school playing soccer at Georgetown Prep and should help offset the losses of Jason Hewett (eight goals, seven assists in 1994) and Jason Safely (10 goals). Boundy and Silfee will also give the Owls offense a boost this season.
Backhaus has looked good in his first varsity season in goal.