Teams at a glance

September 02, 1999|By GLENN P. GRAHAM

Annapolis Area Christian Eagles

1998 record: 5-12-2

Coach: Tim McCuen

Top players: Garth Thorpe, Jr., G; Stephen Deterbing, Sr., D; Alex Bitzer, Jr., M; Luke Palumbo, Jr., F; Jon Beaton, Sr., D; Matt Holland, Sr., F; Ryan McCuen, Jr., F.

Outlook: New coach McCuen plans more emphasis on offense. The Eagles will be aggressive, pressuring the ball. A solid defense will enable them to take chances. Thorpe, a competitor, returns to the goal with sweeper Deterbing and Beaton reliable. Juniors dominate the midfield with Andrew Whitely and Jes Steigerwald joining Bitzer. Palumbo, a standout wrestler, brings a relentless work ethic up front with Ryan McCuen and Holland.

Annapolis Panthers

1998 record: 3-9-1

Coach: Sandy Gelrod

Top players: Will Phillips, Sr., M; Cole Gelrod, Sr., GK; Pat O'Brien, Sr., MF/F; Bret McConnaughhay, Sr., MF/F; Joe Feldman, Sr., D; Ryan O'Connor, Jr., D.

Outlook: Gelrod, an assistant the last two seasons at Annapolis, takes over as coach with a simple plan -- Get players to play their best and let wins and losses take care of themselves. Phillips, one of the county's most talented players, can control a game at center midfield. Gelrod will play three up-front and four midfielders for a better offensive push. Striker Josh Lesko and midfielder David Wooster, both senior lacrosse standouts, return and provide athleticism. The Panthers lost a lot on defense and will count on Cole Gelrod's play in goal along with sweeper Joe Feldman.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1998 record: 8-10-1

Coach: Jose Florez

Top players: Chris Dehenzel, Sr., GK; Lance Beaty, Jr., MF; Adam Thomas, Jr., MF; Ian Breckenridge, Sr., D; Sean Wright, Jr., D.

Outlook: Florez brings 15 years of club coaching experience, twice leading the Laurel Wildcats Under-15 team to Maryland Cup championships. Look for the Cavaliers to keep the ball on the ground with short passes and play an attacking style. A good mix is back with 12 seniors, 10 juniors and three sophomores, including nine starters. Dehenzel returns in goal, backed up by junior Anthony DiGiulan. Wright is at sweeper, and Breckenridge is a strong marker. Florez will look for his midfield to score as much as his strikers with Beaty and Thomas in the middle and Florida transfer Mantini a strong addition up front.

Arundel Wildcats

1998 record: 10-5-1

Coach: Nick Jauschnegg

Top players: Eric Camacho, Jr., MF/F; Gary West, Jr., M; Bray Russell, Jr., MF; Phil Cooke, Jr., D; Brian Morrison, Sr., G; Kristian Gaj, Sr., F; Scott Bujac, Sr., F.

Outlook: Jauschnegg is building a young team around the little experience he has. Camacho, West, Russell and Cooke are the starting points, with Morrison looking solid as he prepares for his first season in goal. Bujac switches from midfield to forward with Gaj. Juniors Eric Cole, Lou Verdi and Kevin Funk are defensive newcomers. By far, the biggest loss is Kyle Beckerman, an All-Metro first-team midfielder last fall and an Under-17 national team star for the past year. He is competing in games this fall leading to FIFA's Youth World Championships in New Zealand in November and will finish high school at the Bolitieri Academy in Bradenton, Fla., which other U-17s also are attending.

Broadneck Bruins

1998 record: 6-7-1

Coach: Jon Braun

Top players: Patrick Cording, Sr., MF/F; Jimmy Melton, Sr., D; Jeremy Horine, So., F; Adam White, Jr., MF; Doug Coe, Jr., D; AJ Saggese, So., D; Dan Solan, Jr., MF/F; Andy Couch, Jr., D.

Outlook: The young Bruins are looking for an identity, and Braun plans to give everyone on his 18-player roster the chance to step up. Defense seems set. Coe will be sweeper, with Saggese solid at stopper. Seniors Matt Stover and Rick Burkhart give Braun options in goal. A big concern is at midfield. White, Cording and Horine are talented returnees who could provide answers on offense.

Chesapeake Cougars

1998 record: 17-3

Coach: Earl Eckhardt

Top players: Scott Mucci, Sr., D; Mike Jungerheld, Jr., M; Adrian Titus, Jr., F; Jon Philipp, Jr., D; Brian Smith, Sr., D.

Outlook: The Cougars will be hard-pressed to duplicate their first Class 4A state title last fall. The big question is on offense, where Eckhardt lost 44 goals to graduation. Jungerheld (seven goals, three assists) will assume more of a lead role, and Titus (five goals, nine assists) is another threat. Three of four defensive starters are back. Mucci and Smith are in the middle, with Philipp the county's top marking back. Seniors Mike Schlein and Mike Filetta are vying for the goalie job.

Glen Burnie Gophers

1998 record: 10-4-1

Coach: John Camm

Top players: Steve Arnwine, Sr., D; Salvatore Montavago, Sr., F; Josh Curry, Sr., GK; Ronnie Smith, Jr., MF; Joe Pierpoint, Sr., D; Jason Fridley, So., F; Casey McCormick, Jr., MF.

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