The Baltimore Sun

1. Arch. Spalding

Last season: 19-0-2, ranked No. 1

After winning their first Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference crown last year, the loaded Cavaliers are the clear favorite in the area's toughest league.

2. McDonogh

Last season: 13-5-3, No. 5

With talent up front and in the back, the Eagles appear to be the team that best stacks up with Archbishop Spalding.

3. John Carroll

Last season: 16-3-2, No. 4

Only four starters return, but the Patriots will be tough to score on and resourceful enough on offense to have a say in the IAAM A Conference.

4. River Hill

Last season: 20-0, No. 2

This year's senior class is primed to lead the defending Class 3A state champion Hawks, who are coming off a storybook season that produced the program's fifth state crown.

5. Severna Park

Last season: 13-3, No. 9

Now in Class 4A, the Anne Arundel County champion Falcons will rely on a balanced senior class in pursuit of the program's seventh state crown.

6. St. Vincent Pallotti

Last season: 16-2-1, No. 3

One of the toughest assignments in the IAAM A Conference this fall will be breaking through the Panthers' stingy defense.

7. C. Milton Wright

Last season: 11-3-2, No. 11

The fast and deep Mustangs plan to maintain their top status in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.

8. Mount Hebron

Last season: 14-3-1, No. 6

Despite a heavy graduation loss, the Vikings have enough experience and a talented sophomore class to have a say in a balanced Howard County league.

9. Institute of Notre Dame

Last season: 10-4-2, No. 8

Fast, aggressive and physical, the Indians are always in the thick of things in the IAAM A Conference.

10. Fallston

Last season: 10-5-1, unranked

With 10 starters back, the Cougars are primed to challenge fellow Harford County team C. Milton Wright for the top spot in the UCBAC.

11. Catonsville

Last season: 12-3, unranked

The Comets, whose losses last year were each by one goal, have the talent and depth to take charge in Baltimore County.

12. Centennial

Last season: 8-6-1, unranked

After an uncharacteristic mediocre season in 2006, the Eagles have the necessary ingredients to find themselves among the elite again in Howard County.

13. Arundel

Last season: 7-5-3, unranked

Will the experienced and talented Wildcats be the team to push Severna Park in Anne Arundel County?

14. Liberty

Last season: 12-3-1, unranked

Eight returning starters and a talented front line gives the Lions a slight edge in a balanced Carroll County field.

15. Eastern Tech

Last season: 11-4-2, No. 15

After failing to reach the state tournament last year for the first time since 2000, the Mavericks are hungry for a return visit.

Others considered -- Chesapeake-AA (10-5-1, unranked), Glenelg (11-5-3, No. 10), Loch Raven (11-3-1, No. 13), Notre Dame Prep (4-7-2, unranked), South River (7-4-4, unranked).

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