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From left, Calvert Hall's Jacob Kelly, Brendan Curry, and JT Bugliosi celebrate during their victory over McDonogh, 12-6, in the MIAA A Conference championship last season.
From left, Calvert Hall's Jacob Kelly, Brendan Curry, and JT Bugliosi celebrate during their victory over McDonogh, 12-6, in the MIAA A Conference championship last season. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Top 15

1. Calvert Hall

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Coach: Bryan Kelly

Last season: 17-2, No. 1

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Postseason: MIAA A champion

Outlook: The Cardinals’ time arrived in a big way last season as they went undefeated in league play on their way to the program’s first title since 2012. Many of the key components — led by All-Metro Player of the Year attackman Jacob Kelly — return with the same high expectations. Midfielder Connor Maher and defenseman George Walsh bring fine play and leadership, and senior Peter Ilardo returns after missing last season with a knee injury. The Cardinals will look to do the same as last year — play consistently, confidently and together — in a bid to repeat.

2. McDonogh

Coach: Andy Hilgartner

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Last season: 17-4, No. 2

Postseason: MIAA A final

Outlook: Another big senior class — 18, with several three- and four-year varsity players — could make for another special season as the Eagles challenge for their second MIAA A crown in three years. All-Metro seniors BJ Farrare, Chris Smith and Jack Simmons are the glue. The Eagles have eight starters returning from last year’s team and their attack gets a boost with the return of Andrew Hurdle, sidelined last year with an injury.

3. Boys’ Latin

Coach: Brian Farrell

Last season: 13-6, No. 3

Postseason: MIAA A semifinal

Outlook: With 24 returnees, including seven starters, the Lakers have the necessary ingredients to make a push for another MIAA A championship. Chris Brandau is the area’s top returning goalie and his twin brother, Matt, leads a potent attack. Add do-everything midfielder Michael Ubriaco in the mix and the team has high-character leaders all over the field. All three seniors were All-Metro picks last season. Sophomore attackman Brendan Grimes is a big, strong lefty who already showed he can dominate as a freshman.

4. Severna Park

Coach: Dave Earl

Last season: 20-0, No. 4

Postseason: Class 4A-3A state champion

Outlook: The Falcons have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack among the area’s public schools, finishing their second straight season with a perfect mark. Is a third straight state crown on the way? Despite graduating a sensational class, talent remains. Midfielders Josh Coffman and Chase Cope have game-changing talent; attackman Jack Thomas is a proven finisher; and goalie Shane Carr anchors the defense.

5. Loyola Blakefield

Coach: Ben Rubeor

Last season: 8-9, No. 5

Postseason: MIAA A semifinals

Outlook: With the A Conference stacked with talent, senior leadership often comes into play to take a team over the top when the playoffs arrive. The Dons believe they have a committed 2018 class that could make for a special season. Ryan Dunn, Alex Reid and Connor Hume should score plenty of goals and Liam Bateman leads a quality midfield. Rubeor, a 2004 alum, is coaching his final season before Boys’ Latin assistant Gene Ubriaco takes over.

6. St. Mary’s

Coach: Victory Lilly

Last season: 13-7, No. 7

Postseason: MIAA A quarterfinals

Outlook: Coming off a disastrous one-win season in 2016, the Saints showed character and pride in picking up the pieces to qualify for the MIAA A playoffs last season. It’s something they can build on with a quality core returning. All-Metro junior attackman Ian Krampf, already a two-year captain, is the driving force with senior Taylor Bohanan another scoring option up front and sophomore midfielder Alex Wicks coming off a strong freshman season to lead the middle. Goalie Aleric Fyock and defenseman BJ Burlace are mainstays in back.

7. Gilman

Coach: Brooks Matthews

Last season: 8-8, No. 8

Postseason: Did not qualify in MIAA A

Outlook: After failing to make the playoffs the past three years, Matthews has seen a welcome sight in early practices — talented depth at every position, which has promoted competitive play. Midfield is the deepest area with seniors Piper Bond and Will DeMuth and junior Logan Paff the catalysts. Senior Zander Martin is the leader on defense, which welcomes Friends junior transfer Noah Klein in goal.

8. St. Paul’s

Coach: Trey Whitty

Last season: 14-6, No. 6

Postseason: MIAA A quarterfinal

Outlook: A three-sport standout at St. Paul’s (1999 grad) who went on to have a fine lacrosse career at Virginia, Whitty replaces 18-year coach Rick Brocato. Whitty spent the past four seasons as defensive coordinator at McDonogh, where he enjoyed success. The Crusaders’ energy and expectations are high. They’ll rely on an experienced defense led by captain Nick Hapney and a deep midfield in which fellow captain Logan Zimnoch brings dazzling skills. A junior-laden attack will look to get up to speed quickly.

9. Hereford

Coach: Sal Picataggi

Last season: 15-4, No. 10

Postseason: Class 3A-2A state semifinals

Outlook: The Bulls have been stuck on nine state titles since 2013 and are determined to change that. They have the goods to get it done. Senior long pole Scott Middleton is one of the area’s most dominant players in the middle; JD Nozemack leads a powerful attack that returns intact; and defenseman Troy Tuveson and goalie John Talbott are the key pieces in back.

10. Severn

Coach: Joe Christie

Last season: 11-8, No. 11

Postseason: Did not qualify in MIAA A

Outlook: Christie, a former standout defenseman at Drexel, takes over for Jamie McNealey with a quality nucleus to build around. After reaching the semifinals in a breakthrough 2016 season, the Admirals took a step back last season when they didn’t qualify for the postseason. Dylan Gergar is a dynamic force on attack and midfielder Henry Reitz anchors a talented midfield to get him the ball. Owen Cauley will be leaned on to anchor the defense.

11. Westminster

Coach: Steve DeFeo

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Last season: 16-2, No. 9

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Postseason: Class 4A-3A state semifinals

Outlook: Despite graduating a strong senior class, the Carroll County champion Owls are poised to stay on top and challenge for a state championship. It starts with the dynamic one-two scoring punch of senior Alec Kozlowski and Bubba Love, who combined for 83 goals and 61 assists last season. The team’s dynamic offense, also featuring Patrick Stewart, Conner Covey and Chase Buckwalter, will need to carry the load early while some new pieces on defense get comfortable.

12. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Brian Phipps

Last season: 5-13, not ranked

Postseason: Did not qualify in MIAA A

Outlook: With a blend of experienced talent and promising newcomers, look for the Cavaliers to make a jump forward with bigger things to come in future years. Senior midfielder Niklas McFarland and senior defenseman Kian Olexo both return from knee injuries to provide valuable leadership along with stability at their positions. On attack, senior Dan Shay and sophomore Russell Melendez are key parts to the team’s deepest area.

13. Howard

Coach: Jimmy Creighton

Last season: 11-6, not ranked

Postseason: Class 4A-3A East Section I final

Outlook: With seven starters back and standouts in important spots, the Lions are well-equipped for a successful season. The starting point is at the faceoff X, where senior Felix Knorr won at an astounding 81 percent rate last season. Senior attackman Mark Bruner can turn the surplus of possessions into goals and the Lions are experienced and sturdy in back, led by junior Ben Stephanos and senior Wes Mills.

14. John Carroll

Coach: Brian King

Last season: 15-5, No. 12

Postseason: MIAA B champion

Outlook: After capturing three straight B Conference titles — going undeafeated in league play the past two seasons — the Patriots are making the jump to the A Conference this spring. It’s a tall order for the program, which hasn’t beaten an A Conference foe in 25 years. The Patriots might take some lumps against the upper echelon teams, but are expected to improve as they get acclimated. Attackman Jude Brown and midfielder Jake Krieger — both seniors — are quality starting points.

15. Glenelg

Coach: Josh Hatmaker

Last season: 13-7, No. 15

Postseason: Class 3A-2A state final

Outlook: A mostly young roster put it all together last season to make an impressive run to the state title game, winning ten straight before a 5-4 loss to Northern-Calvert. It gives the Gladiators plenty to build on as they chase after the program’s fourth state crown. Midfielder Tyler Reiff is the catalyst with a balanced attack in front of him led by Tyler Nalls. Goalie Robbie Noyes and defensemen Jordan Nalls and Mason Steinberg are poised to pick up where they left off last season.

Others considered: Fallston (15-5, No. 10), Marriotts Ridge (11-6, not ranked), Mount Saint Joseph (3-10, not ranked), Southern-A (13-5, No. 12), South River (13-5, No. 14)

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