When league play begins for the Harford County boys lacrosse teams, look for a lot of defensive battles to break out. It's no surprise that most of the players who stand to have the biggest effect on the league are midfielders and defensemen. Although some surprises are sureto develop, here's a look at the preseason Top 10.
* Chris Gress (senior, defense, North Harford) -- A third-year starter, Gress may be the best of the county's defensemen. He's dependable and "gives 101percent all the time," says Coach John Grubb. Gress' experience has taught him to read the opposition, and he seldom makes mistakes.
* John "Scoop" Kelly (senior, attack, Fallston) -- Probably the most promising attackman in the league, Kelly has a strong shot and anexplosive move to goal. At 6-3, Kelly is an imposing figure one-on-one and is quick. At the same time, Kelly can also be a team player, so look for his assist numbers to be good.
* Tim Lucky (senior, midfield, North Harford) -- Another Hawks veteran, Lucky is one of the top faceoff men in the state. Lucky is quick and wins about 85 percentof his faceoffs. But he also does about everything else on the fieldwell. Excellent in transition, Lucky is fast and can go to the goal.He also plays intimidating defense.
* Tom Murrell (senior, goal, North Harford) -- The Hawks were 9-1 with Murrell in the goal last year, and he looks even better this year, says Grubb. A hard worker, Murrell returned this season with more confidence and even better stickwork. Aggressive and quick, Murrell takes control of the Hawks' defense and works well with his defensemen.
* Omar Rahmaan (senior, midfield, Edgewood) -- One of the most durable middies around, Rahmaan does "everything but fill the water bottles," says Rams' coach Bill Larkin. The Rams' leader at midfield, Rahmaan handles the faceoffs, sets up the offense, scores (19 goals, 10 assists) and plays great defense.
* Brett Schreiber (senior, midfield, North Harford) -- A perfect complement to Lucky, Schreiber is the Hawks' Hoover cleaner at midfield. He vacuumed up enough ground balls to lead the team last year.Schreiber is also solid in every part of his game. An excellent player in transition, he shoots well and plays tough defense.
* Chris Shue (senior, defense, C. Milton Wright) -- Shue's checks are among the best in the league. Aggressive and physical but never out of control, the 6-1, 200-pounder is intimidating one-on-one. Quick and smart,Shue has good stickwork and field sense.
* Israel Sostrin (senior, midfield, C. Milton Wright) -- Sostrin just doesn't know how to go less than all out. A true team player, he will often go for the assist rather than the goal. Well-rounded on basic skills, Sostrin is strong on transition, easily scarfs up ground balls and hounds the opposition on defense.
* Brian Turk (junior, attack, John Carroll) -- This lefty should step up to lead the Patriots in scoring. Last year, he put up 25 goals and 15 assists. This season, he could easily improve on those numbers. A solid all-around attack player, Turk can go right or left and can shoot or step back and feed.
* Andy Wishart (junior, goal, C. Milton Wright) -- An excellent quarterback for the Mustangs, Wishart is aggressive and excels in one-on-one situations. He also has a quick stick and great anticipation. A smart player, Wishart also works well with his strong defensemen.