Around The Area

High School Sports

Fall Preview

Boys Soccer

September 04, 2001

Anne Arundel County

A host of returnees makes Severna Park a challenger to Chesapeake. South River and Glen Burnie also welcome back their share of experienced players.

For the first time, however, Severna Park is not in the larger schools classification (Class 4A), but is now a 3A team. Despite moving down, it should be more difficult for the Falcons to advance to the final four with last year's top-ranked Mount Hebron and last year's No. 10 River Hill in the same region.

Chesapeake is expected to challenge in the 4A East again, but South River, which has moved up from 3A, and Glen Burnie should also be in the hunt. Veteran assistant Ron Smith has succeeded John Camm as Glen Burnie's new coach.

Baltimore City

The annual battle between Patterson and Poly should resume, with the former returning seven starters and the latter eight. Others such as Mervo, City and Forest Park will be hard-pressed to keep pace.

Defending champ Patterson is led by second-team All-City/County forward Bobby Oxendine, fellow forward David Brunetti, midfielder Gino Zarro and sweeper John Robinson.

Poly should again prove a formidable opponent. Matt Wood returns to his sweeper position, but could also see action elsewhere on the field.

Poly has picked up Gilman and Boys' Latin of the MIAA and has added Luciano Brunetti, a forward-midfielder and the younger brother of Patterson's David Brunetti.

Baltimore County

Dulaney, most formidable on defense, will face stiff competition in its quest to defend its county title, most notably from Franklin, Eastern Tech and Perry Hall - all of which return the bulk of their teams from last fall.

Although the 4A regional champion Lions always are in the hunt, they lost two strong scorers, one a second-team All-Metro, to graduation.

Franklin, a 3A state runner-up, will be bolstered by the return of seven starters. Eastern Tech, which dropped from 3A to 2A this fall, will benefit from the return of its top two scorers.

Regional finalist Perry Hall has eight starters back, including its top scorer and defender. Sparrows Point, a Class 1A state semifinalist, has nine starters back.

Carroll County

Liberty, which claimed Carroll County and Central Maryland Conference titles a year ago before falling in the regional title game, must replace five starters, including three-quarters of its defense. Led by a pair of All-County attackers, however, the Lions again are considered the early favorites.

South Carroll, Liberty's chief competition last season, looks to retool after graduating most of its lineup. Coach Ed DeVincent said his squad may be less aggressive while trying to shore up its defense.

Francis Scott Key, North Carroll and Westminster all look for improvement after two-win seasons. Carroll Christian, which last year won its five-state regional tournament, lost its all-time leading scorer.

Harford County

State semifinalist C. Milton Wright has a new coach in Brian Gunter, but should again be strong. The Mustangs return 12 seniors and some good, young additions from a talented JV.

Fallston returns seven seniors from a team that won the county but lost to Bel Air in the regional semifinals. The defense should be the core of the team this year. The backline also will be the strength of Bel Air's team.

Matt Rankin takes over as coach at Edgewood, and the Rams return an experienced team. North Harford took its lumps last year, but a far more experienced nucleus returns. The Hawks may be the surprise team in the county. Aberdeen had a great year last season, and a core of veterans return.

Howard County

Oakland Mills, River Hill and Centennial are the front-runners in the county championship race.

The Scorpions return seven starters, including the entire defense, but must replace their offense. The defending state 1A champions are quick and athletic.

River Hill puts its pride on the line after posting what it considered a subpar season following three state championships. Skill and depth are the ingredients expected to lead the Hawks' charge back to the top.

Centennial, second in the county last season but upset by Howard in its first regional contest, returns a team that posssses speed, technical ability and an excellent midfield.

Private schools

McDonogh coach Steve Nichols has All-Metro Brian Yi among seven Olympic Development Program regional players who will take aim at defending the progam's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title.

Runner-up Calvert Hall could score more, and that will be needed against McDonogh. MIAA A Conference rival Loyola has talent and depth. Archbishop Curley has a solid defense returning in hopes of regaining the A Conference title it won two years ago. St. Paul's, last year's B Conference champ, has moved up to make a tougher A Conference.

Watch for improved Gilman in the B Conference, and Mount Carmel looks like a favorite to defend its C Conference title.

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