Around The Area

Boys Soccer

September 02, 2004

Anne Arundel Co.

Class 4A runner-up Old Mill and county champ Glen Burnie were hit hardest by graduation, leaving perennial power Severna Park and upstart Broadneck as the teams setting the early standard.

With seniors dominating last year's All-County honors - 23 of 27 selections from the public schools on the first and second teams - new players will have to take on lead roles for their teams this fall.

The Falcons, under new coach Bob Thomas, always have plenty to choose from, and the Bruins, while still young with only four seniors, look to build on last year's 8-6-2 season with six starters back. Chesapeake could find itself back in the upper-tier mix.

Baltimore City

Nicholas Greer hopes to guide Poly to a third consecutive city championship, replacing Robert Wood as coach. Poly returns six starters, including second-team All-City/County player Lucianno Brunetti.

Patterson coach John Miller is excited about his squad's potential with senior striker Lemuel Lyons and senior sweeper Matt Robinson returning. The Clippers, who will meet Poly Sept. 28 and Oct. 14, also return six starters.

City and W.E.B. DuBois hope to build on their improvement last season, with Mervo and Digital Harbor rounding out the six-team league.

Baltimore County

One season ago, the county produced two state championship teams and one state semifinalist. Play this year could reach similar levels.

In the 4A-3A Division, a talented Perry Hall squad looks to dethrone Patapsco. But 4A state champion Kenwood, 3A state co-champion Towson, Dulaney, Franklin, Parkville and Catonsville could all be factors in a balanced conference.

Sparrows Point is the defending 2A-1A Division titlist and defeated Patapsco for the overall county crown. But the Pointers graduated a number of quality players and will be challenged by 1A state semifinalist Loch Raven, Eastern Tech and Owings Mills.

Carroll County

Liberty and Century should be two of the top contenders in a county where coaches expect a wide-open race with improved competition across the board.

Liberty lost just three starters from a 12-2-2 team that claimed the county title a year ago, and returns four All-County selections.

Century, the defending Class 2A state champion which knocked off Liberty in the regional finals, finished 11-2-3 last season and returns county Player of the Year Steve Romeo. Key losses on defense, however, could be a detriment.

Other teams that figure to be in the mix include North Carroll, Westminster and Francis Scott Key.

Harford County

Fallston and Aberdeen shared the county title last year, and both again have talent, as does Bel Air.

Losing only a few starters from last year's 11-5 team, Fallston also should be strong.

Bill Wardle takes over for longtime coach Matt Roberts at Aberdeen. The Eagles lost at least five key players from last year's 12-3 team that took a piece of its first Harford title in 24 years.

Senior midfielders Alex Pfau and Jeremy Hammer will help coach Dominic Rose's team at Bel Air, featuring a defense that won't give up many goals.

C. Milton Wright could be a sleeper.

Howard County

Look for River Hill to dominate the county as it takes an 11-game unbeaten streak into the season. The Hawks, county co-champs with Oakland Mills last season, won their fifth state title in eight seasons last year.

Mount Hebron, with a strong center midfield, should offer the toughest challenge to the Hawks, but the Vikings need a consistent scorer to step forward.

Oakland Mills, Glenelg, Centennial and Atholton all should field strong teams. Hammond is a dark horse with talented sophomores.

Oakland Mills (Mike Libber) and Hammond (Rick Bantz) have new coaches.

Private schools

McDonogh returns nine starters, and if injuries don't strike again, the Eagles are the preseason favorites to win the Maryland Scholastic Athletic Association A Conference. The Eagles are not as deep as other teams such as Calvert Hall and Curley, however.

The Friars return six starters, including Shawn Houseknecht (13 goals, 15 assists).

Calvert Hall returns 15 lettermen and Loyola, Archbishop Spalding, Gilman, St. Paul's and Mount St. Joseph should all be competitive.

Boys' Latin (B Conference) and Sts. Peter & Paul (C Conference) each seek their third straight title.

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