Outstanding strength at midfield should be enough to give Mount Hebron a shot to repeat as Class 2A-1A state champions. Leading the way will be a pair of seniors who have committed to play next year in Division I college programs -- Jason Vettori (Duke) and Carl Bachau (Navy). Both possess tremendous athletic ability and could be the strongest players on the team. Other seniors include defenseman Matt Stronberg, attackman Tom Huppman and goalie Chris Parandian. Overall, the Vikings have good depth but seem to lack a dominating player. Their strength at midfield should once again make them an excellent transition team. Coach Warren Michaels says his midfield is the deepest it's ever been. The one weakness in preseason scrimmages has been an inability to clear the ball, but Michaels feels that will improve with time.
10. C. MILTON WRIGHT
The Mustangs, coming off a 13-2 season and an appearance in the Class 4A-3A state quarterfinals, look like the team to beat in Harford County. Coach Carl Greenberg's squad lost only to county champ North Harford during the season and to Annapolis in the state playoffs. Six starters return from the 1991 squad, along with a lot of depth. Attackmen Chris Lloyd, Brian Moen and Corey Lambroff, middies Scott Panowitz and Joe Milano and defensemen Ryan Arist and Chuck Heinze are among the best in the league. Also back is senior Andy Wishart, the county's most skilled and experienced goalie. Greenberg, in his 12th season, is worried about replacing the leadership he lost to graduation, but expects that should emerge with a few games.
With just seven seniors on their 27-man roster, Towson a Class 2A-1A state semifinalist last season, won't have experience on its side. It will, however, have possibly the top defense in Baltimore County. The Generals, 11-1 last season, feature four defensemen who saw plenty of action last year in juniors James Gohng and Victor Chen and seniors David Byerly and Michael Graebner. The Generals also boast one of the area's top goalies in senior Lance Buckley. Their problems, however, could be putting the ball in the goal. All three attackmen and the top three midfielders from last year have graduated. Michael Ford, a junior attackman, will try to pick up some of the slack, but the question will be how quickly the new players can contribute.
12. SEVERNA PARK
Severna Park missed the playoffs by one game last year, but the Falcons are widely regarded as Anne Arundel County's best public school team this year. Most of their starters are back, including senior attackman Mike Crawford (17 goals, 33 assists). Fellow attackmen Bob Evans and Scott deGraffenreid also are proven scorers, so opposing defenses can't key on just one or two players. The midfield is deep and experienced -- with four seniors and four juniors -- and the defense returns seniors Jay Gibbs, Nick Panagopoulos, Jason Campbell and Justin Perry, and junior keeper Matt Pugh. There don't appear to be any weaknesses on this team, but the Falcons will be tested early, opening the season against county powers Arundel, Broadneck, North County and Annapolis. "This should be our year," says sixth-year coach Ed Ulrich, whose team went 9-3 last spring.
Annapolis, which was defeated by state 4A-3A finalist North County in last year's playoffs, returns potent offensive threats in seniors Dan Flynn (37 goals and 14 assists) and Jon Songey (25 goals and 10 assists). Junior Mike Faioli is the third leading returning scorer with 11 goals and four assists during the 1991 campaign. Anne Arundel County coaches are leaning toward Annapolis as one of the potential 4A League frontrunners, along with Severna Park and Broadneck. Fourth-year Annapolis coach Dan Hart has a strong core of defensemen (including juniors Brendan Bellotte and Craig Harrison and senior Jim Reed) to help Annapolis continue its strong tradition as one of the best teams in the state.
14. LOCH RAVEN
With a solid midfield, an adequate defense and a rising young goalie, Class 2A-1A state semifinalist Loch Raven looks as though it won't allow too many goals. Scoring them, however, might prove to be a problem. Though the Raiders, 9-3 last year, return the entire attack, they lack a standout scorer. Midfielder Ryan Moore will try to pick up some of the slack using his 6-foot-3 frame and accurate shot. Senior Jeremy Lake will lead the defense and junior Andy King looked exceptional in goal during preseason scrimmages. If the Raiders can score goals, coach Pat Neary feels they can improve on last year's record.
Fallston lost in overtime, 7-6, to North Harford in the Class 2A-1A quarterfinals last year, and coach John Conley expects his squad to be even better this year. The Cougars lost seven starters, but have reloaded with a mix of veterans and newcomers. Top returnees include defensemen Nick Gesell, Brian Austin and Jason Alford, middies Dan Bowers, Joe Poling, Ryan Caldwell, Zack Karantonis and Pete Dixon and attackmen Ryan Wegeler and Brad Baker. Conley also expects a lot from freshman middie Todd Paradise and a host of players moving up from JV. In addition, Conley has brought in two new coaches, Towson State alums Lou Deligatti and John Hammond, to help boost the program. The only weakness seems to be in the goal, where Conley is trying out three untested players. Otherwise, the Cougars have the talent and the depth to make a run at the county title.