Outlook: Despite significant graduation hits, including two-time All-Metro Player of the Year Jacob Kelly, the two-time defending MIAA A champion Cardinals have quality talent remaining and others ready to step up to maintain their status as the area’s top team. The Cardinals will possess the ball and score plenty of goals with Daniel Kelly and Jack Sawyer leading the attack and All-Metro midfielders Grant Mitchell and Cole Herbert dominating the middle. A largely new defense has talent but inexperience with Jake Snyder the lone starter back and Jackson Marshall taking over in goal.
Outlook: Junior Brendan Grimes is the area’s top returning attackman and he has quality company in Cameron Spencer and Ben Smith to help the Lakers score plenty of goals. The defense has a good foundation led by Blake Gable and Reagan McNemar with goalie JT Morton in his first season as a starter. The Lakers lost a handful of quality players to graduation and faceoff specialist Payton Giberson transferred, leaving the team with some holes to fill. Farrell has been impressed with the leadership he’s seen from his returnees and the promise shown by the newcomers to keep the Lakers in the championship mix.
Outlook: The Eagles might not have the same depth and as big a senior class as past years, but they do have a talented, tight-knit group with strengths at key positions. Attackmen Liam Powderly and Matt Hilgartner, along with midfielder Dane Swanson are proven players on offense; Gable Braun is a top faceoff specialist; and senior goalies Evan Long and Patrick Scarborough provide much-needed stability in back with Jackson Bonitz the team’s lone defenseman returning with considerable experience. If the defense — a longstanding team strength — comes together, the Eagles can make a formidable run for the title.
Outlook: The Greyhounds have a couple things working in their favor as they aim for a playoff spot: experienced talent covering the entire field and added motivation with Matthews coaching in his 15th and final season. Their defense might be the best in the league with goalie Noah Klein playing behind Xander Martin, Hank Bethel and Jack Stuzin. William Godine and Logan Paff are the midfield glue with a junior-laden attack led by Billy Spillman. The pieces and intangibles are in place for a significant resurgence at Gilman.
5. St. Mary’s
Coach: Victory Lilly
Last season: 11-6, No. 6
Postseason: MIAA A quarterfinal
Outlook: Despite losing 20 graduates from last year’s team, the Saints still have some of their top talent back to make another playoff push. Attackman Ian Krampf, midfielder Alex Wicks and defenseman BJ Burlace all have game-changing talent and others return to solidify each area on the field. Jack Kerr and Zach Dudley will share faceoff duties, and the Saints will need players from last year’s JV team to provide the depth needed to hang in the conference.
Outlook: Ubriaco, a longtime assistant coach at Boys’ Latin, takes over for Ben Rubeor and has high expectations as the Dons look to continue to be a formidable foe in the area’s toughest league. Throughout the preseason, he has been impressed with the team’s athleticism, speed and competitiveness with a midfield led by Alex Breschi and Chase Llewellyn its biggest strength. Attackman Jack Koras will be counted on to produce on attack, while goalie Kevin Ellington is the anchor in back. The Dons graduated eight starters from last year, so they’ll need others to take on bigger roles and new leaders to emerge.
Outlook: The Crusaders are looking to bounce back after missing out on the playoffs last season and Whitty believes the needed foundation is set to do just that. All-Metro long pole Mason Woodward is the leader who gets everybody going with endless energy and high skills. He’s one of 21 seniors. The attack returns intact with last year’s leading scorer Andrew Milani bringing a more well-rounded game this season. Seth Higgins comes over from Gerstell as one of several key transfers who will help shore up the midfield, and Woodward also will play some at close defense.
Outlook: The Admirals are looking to make a third straight trip to the MIAA A playoffs with a senior-laden group that goes into the season with more positives than question marks. Attack and midfield will start out as the team strengths while a largely new defense gets settled. Defenseman Owen Cauley will be leaned on in the back with Henry Rentz a key cog in the midfield and Jon Jarosz the catalyst on attack. With 14 seniors providing leadership, the best midfield depth in years and a physical, athletic group, Christie believes his Admirals can hang with the top teams.
Coach: Steve DeFeo
Last season: 18-1, No. 8
Postseason: Class 3A state champion
Outlook: A quick scroll down the Owls roster spells bad news for Carroll County and the entire Class 3A field. The defending state champions have game-changing talent all over the field led by midfielder Christian Etchison, last year’s Carroll County Times Player of the Year, and high-scoring attackman Bubba Love. Chase Buckwalter, Conner Covey and Evan Park also return to give the Owls dominant play at midfield, and goalie Logan Covey teams with defensemen Noah Baugher and Andrew Burns to hold down opponents. The Owls are well-positioned to win the program’s third state crown.
10. Severna Park
Coach: Dave Earl
Last season: 17-2, No. 7
Postseason: Class 4A champion
Outlook: The three-time defending state champions enter this season with more questions than at anytime in their recent run, needing to replace a good chunk of last year’s powerful offense. Attackman Michael Harmeyer, who scored the overtime game-winner in the title game, returns and will play a vital role while a largely new cast — mostly in the midfield — gets settled. The Falcons’ entire defense returns with goalie Shane Carr providing confidence and big-game experience. They also will lean on the team’s winning culture to help maintain their lofty standard and remain the team to beat in Anne Arundel and 4A.
11. Archbishop Spalding
Coach: Brian Phipps
Last season: 7-10, not ranked
Postseason: Did not qualify in the MIAA A
Outlook: With a mix of returning talent and promising newcomers from last year’s league-winning JV team, Spalding is determined to take the next step and reach the playoffs this season. Attackman Burke Webb, midfielder Will Sherwood and defenseman Ryan McDaniel provide the Cavaliers with skill and experience at each position on the field. A capable junior class with attackman Russell Melendez and midfielder Tucker Denault are among the other returnees expected to step up, and newcomers Saam Olexo and Sam Beall will be counted on to shore up the defense.
Coach: Josh Hatmaker
Last season: 15-2, No. 13
Postseason: Class 2A South Section I finalist
Outlook: After winning the Howard County crown, Glenelg ended last season on a sour note after falling to eventual state champion Marriotts Ridge by a goal in the region playoffs. In addition to having returning talent all over the field, the Gladiators have added urgency for a season full of promise. Attackman Michael Doughty is the offensive catalyst and leader, Tyler Reiff and Ryan Hopkins anchor a deep and athletic midfield that can get the ball up in a hurry, and Drew Sotka will be a key on defense. Skilled, athletic, experienced and motivated, the Gladiators are primed to defend their county crown and challenge for a state title.
13. Marriotts Ridge
Coach: Tony Incontrera
Last season: 17-2, No. 9
Postseason: Class 2A champion
Outlook: Fresh off the program’s first state crown, great comfort lies in back with standout goalie Colin Kelley returning for his fourth season as a starter. Defensemen Ricky Fedorchak and Andrew Page further bolster the defense, which will be leaned on heavily with the Mustangs losing six of their top seven scorers from last season. With faceoff specialist Andrew Luciano returning, the Mustangs offense should have the ball plenty to jell. If they can find consistent scoring, the Mustangs will be a strong contender in Howard and make another formidable playoff run.
Coach: Sal Picataggi
Last season: 16-3, No. 12
Postseason: Class 2A finalist
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Outlook: Led by a tight senior class, the Bulls seemed poised to add to their record nine state titles last year, but fell short with a loss to Marriotts Ridge in the championship. The missed opportunity is providing motivation for the returning players and they have some quality starting points to make another push. Attackman Jake Furman provides instant offense, and a deep and athletic midfield — led by Grafton Griffey and faceoff specialist Connor Dunay — is the team’s strength. Look for Towson and Dulaney to present a formidable challenge for the defending Baltimore County champions in league play to help the Bulls prime for the playoffs.
Coach: Clay White
Last season: 12-6, not ranked
Postseason: Class 4A East finalist
Outlook: White enters his 33rd and final season at Broadneck and the Bruins are equipped to make it a special one with a talented group determined to see him go out on a high note. Senior midfielder Vinny Facciponti wins faceoffs, scores goals and consistently influences games to lead a deep midfield. Attackman Keegan Houser is a steady scorer and the defense is experienced with goalie Ben McGrady the anchor. The Bruins can have their season go from good to great if they can get past Anne Arundel and state champion Severna Park.
Others considered: Centennial (12-6, not ranked), C. Milton Wright (10-10, not ranked); Gerstell (11-8, not ranked), Mount Saint Joseph (6-11, not ranked), Patterson Mill (14-6, No. 15), Towson (14-5, not ranked)