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High School sports

Boys lacrosse preseason Top 15 poll

1. McDonogh

Coach: Andy Hilgartner

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Last season: 14-5, ranked No. 2

Postseason: MIAA A final

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Outlook: A gifted defense — many believe to be the best in the entire country — is the biggest reason why the Eagles stake claim to the No. 1 preseason spot. All-Metro first-teamer Arman Medghalchi leads the deep defensive group that will be able to contain the best attacks in the league. Midfielder Barrett Sutley and attackman Jackson Morrill are the seniors poised to be catalysts on offense.

2. Calvert Hall

Coach: Bryan Kelly

Last season: 12-6, No. 5

Postseason: MIAA A quarterfinal

Outlook: Young and inexperienced no more, the Cardinals are ready to re-emerge as a prime contender with a quality mix of skilled seniors and underclassmen. Four proven underclassmen spark the attack, led by junior JT Bugliosi and sophomore Jacob Kelly; senior talent dominates the midfield and four-year starting goalie Joe McSorley provides comfort in back.

3. Boys' Latin

Coach: Brian Farrell

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Last season: 15-5, No. 4

Postseason: MIAA A semifinal

Outlook: Farrell, a 2006 alum, takes over for legendary coach Bob Shriver, who stepped down after 36 seasons, 500-plus wins and six league titles. Expectations remain high for the perennial power with talent at every position. Goalie Jack Pezzulla is the anchor in back; Logan Wisnauskas and Luke Shilling are a dynamic one-two punch on attack; Greg Ey and Jack Glatz are the glue in the middle.

4. St. Paul's

Coach: Rick Brocato

Last season: 13-6, No. 3

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Postseason: MIAA A semifinal

Outlook: The Crusaders' roster — talented, experienced and balanced — has the making of a special season that could end with the big win. The senior class is formidable: Mitch Gordon and Joe Pollard lead an imposing attack; Tyler Rockhill takes charge in the midfield; and John Faus is a quality anchor in back. Junior goalie Alex Rode is primed for a breakout season.

5. Loyola Blakefield

Coach: Ben Rubeor

Last season: 9-5, No. 6

Postseason: MIAA A quarterfinal

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Outlook: Rubeor returns to his alma mater after leading St. Mary's to the championship last season. A strong senior class is in place — led by attackman Cole Williams — and promising underclassmen give the Dons quality talent at every position. If the Dons can maintain a positive attitude to produce consistent effort each day, Rubeor believes they can go far.

6. St. Mary's

Coach: Victor Lilly

Last season: 12-6, No. 1

Postseason: MIAA A champion

Outlook: With senior attackman Jake Carraway the lone starter back and a new coach in former assistant Lilly, the Saints will be a continued work in progress. Lilly, who has been with the program since 2004, said little will change, so expect the Saints to get up and down the field with a grinding style that emphasizes sound defense. Senior midfielder Kane Randolph is a key cog.

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7. Mount Saint Joseph

Coach: Stephen Berger

Last season: 8-10, not ranked

Postseason: Did not qualify

Outlook: The Gaels made steady strides in Berger's first season last spring and the trend should continue as they try to contend for a coveted playoff spot. They have a hungry core returning led by a dynamic one-two punch in midfielders Bryan Costabile and Drew Harrison. Jake Brothers is a quality faceoff specialist and goalie Ben Heinzman is strong in back. The Gaels could end up the area's biggest surprise.

8. Gilman

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Coach: Brooks Matthews

Last season: 6-8, No. 10

Postseason: did not qualify in MIAA A

Outlook: With three starters back, the Greyhounds have an uphill climb to return to the playoffs after last year's sub .500 record. Scoring was a chore last season and they graduated 90 percent of their production, leaving senior Christopher Williams (27 goals, 26 assists in 2015) to lead a new core. Seniors David Sturtz and Justin Edwards provide talent and experience on defense.

9. Howard

Coach: Jimmy Creighton

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Last season: 19-0, No. 7

Postseason: Class 4A-3A champion

Outlook: Most of their prolific attack graduated after claiming the program's first state crown, leaving the Lions to lean on an experienced defense while a new cast steps up to produce goals. Goalie Collin McClelland joins defensemen Vanden Vale and Josh Vetter to provide the base with midfielder Alex Stephanos and attackman Tristan Kelehan the starting points on offense.

10. Westminster

Coach: Steve DeFeo

Last season: 15-1, No. 8

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Postseason: Class 4A-3A North, Section I final

Outlook: In a region playoff game more suited for a state final, the Owls fell to eventual state champion Howard by a measly goal last season. A strong nucleus returns to make amends. Senior Blake Ruby leads a potent attack; junior Noah Park brings size and an wicked shot to the midfield; and junior goalie Johnathon Hulsman returns after spending last season at Calvert Hall to strengthen the defense.

11. Fallston

Coach: Matt Parks

Last season: 14-3, No. 13

Postseason: Class 2A-1A South final

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Outlook: The Cougars saw their run of three straight state titles end last season with an upset loss against Southern-AA in the region final, giving them added motivation this spring. They will be tough to stop on offense with midfielder Dylan Wolf and attackman Ben Claffee — both juniors —the two primary sources. The Cougars will lean on senior goalie Liam Wilcox, a three-year starter, while a largely new defense comes together.

12. Glenelg

Coach: Josh Hatmaker

Last season: 11-5, not ranked

Postseason: Class 3A-2A South final

Outlook: Last season, Glenelg failed to reach the state tournament after eight straight appearances, leaving a bad taste. Kevin Wynne returns after a spell at St. Paul's to join Carson Marshall on attack; the midfield returns its top two lines with Brett Wasson the glue; and the defense is cohesive with Connor Stanley the anchor. The Gladiators appear poised to start another string.

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13. Severn

Coach: Jamie McNealey

Last season: 6-9, not ranked

Postseason: did not qualify in MIAA A

Outlook: McNealey returns for his second stint at his alma mater, he last coached the Admirals in 2003, and has a good mix of seniors and underclassmen to work with. A good chunk of the experience is on a senior-laden defense with returnees Liam McFaden and Jacob Mandish working in front of goalie Tyler Gilmore. The Admirals could challenge for a playoff spot in the tough MIAA A.

14. Severna Park

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Coach: Dave Earl

Last season: 10-6, not ranked

Postseason: Class 4A-3A East, Section I semifinals

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Outlook: After claiming the program's fifth state championship in 2010, the Falcons have fallen off in recent years. Behind a deep and skilled midfield led by senior Ethan Carr, they are determined to change that in Earl's second season at the helm.

15. Dulaney

Coach: Kyle Fiat

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Last season: 14-4, No. 14

Postseason: Class 4A-3A state semifinal

Outlook: With an experienced group returning coming off last year's state tournament run, the Lions are the favorites in Baltimore County with Hereford and Franklin among the others expected to be in the hunt. The Lions are primed to build off last year's state tournament run with depth at midfield and on defense. Garrett Michel, a three-year starter, setting the tone on attack.

Others considered: Annapolis (11-4, not ranked), Bel Air (9-5, not ranked), Broadneck (12-4, not ranked), Dulaney (14-4, No. 14), Franklin (12-4, No. 15), Hereford (13-5, not ranked) John Carroll (13-8, not ranked), Liberty (14-4, not ranked), Mount Hebron (15-2, not ranked), River Hill (12-5, No. 12), South River (15-3, No. 9).


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