How the Teams Stack Up

The Contenders

McDonough: The Rams return nine seniors from a team that won eight of its final 11 games after starting 0-2-2. The seniors include F Kevin Padgett--a returning first-team all-SMAC selection--F Michael Bond, MF David Kegg and D Chris Kidwell. McDonough scored 54 goals last season while allowing 19. Due to construction on their home field, the Rams will play their home games at White Plains Park.

St. Mary's Ryken: The Knights have talent, experience and depth--and it took all of that to beat then-No. 3 Chesapeake, 2-1, in the season opener. They return seven seniors to the starting lineup, including standout F Jeff Brooks and D Pat Warring. Daniel Sidorowicz returns in goal. Also back are MF Tommy Clagett, F Dabren Wills and W Joe Parker.

Thomas Stone: The Cougars return eight starters from last year's team that shared the Maryland 3A championship with Linganore after a 1-1 double overtime tie in the final. Senior F Brian Moroz (14 goals, 6 assists) was the league's leading goal scorer in 1998 and senior MF/F Jimmie Dade had 10 goals and 11 assists. Solidifying the defense are senior Shawn Moses, junior Dave Bonney and junior GK Ryan Tomosko.

Westlake: The Wolverines lost only two seniors from last year's regional semifinalists, but they were good ones: all-SMAC MF Greg Bennett and all-SMAC D Kevin Smith. The top two scorers--senior Fs Matt Voelker and Robbie Wible--are back, however, after scoring 10 goals apiece last year. Also back are senior MF Tyler Clark and junior D Jared Brenner.

Up-and-Coming Teams

La Plata: Last year's SMAC champions were hit hard by graduation, including the loss of SMAC most outstanding player Andrew Wildermann (8 goals, 10 assists). The Warriors will be led by all-SMAC GK Mike Consalvo, F Josh Parrot and MF Nick Marquez.

Leonardtown: Leonardtown has had to move several players around after losing seven players to graduation. Senior F Daniel O'Brien, an all-SMAC performer, returns alongside senior MFs Mike Mutzhler, Jeff Talley and Mike Shutty.

Northern: Senior MF Marc Dare is the lone returning starter for the Patriots. The varsity team includes seven talented sophomores, many of whom will start. Northern is most experienced on defense, where juniors GK Tim Finley, D Nate Klahr and D Billy Lucas all return.

Patuxent: The Panthers lost seven seniors from last year's team but bring back 11 this fall. Leading the way are the senior captains, MF Dan Wilson and D Rick Young. Also back is junior GK Jeff Graham.

Rebuilding Programs

Calvert: The Cavaliers are still at least a year away. They have two seniors on the roster and will start a number of sophomores, including D/GK Jason Cranford, MF Nathan Graham and MF Ryan Papa--all three of whom started in 1998. Also back are senior F/MF Jon Cox and junior D Andrew Woodford.

Chopticon: The Braves' biggest problem is generating offense. In its first four games this year, Chopticon has netted just three goals. The team fields just four seniors, but fortunately for the Braves, one is returning all-SMAC D Brad Newkirk. Also back are seniors GK Robert Crowley, F Alan Roache and stopper Tim Zeltwanger.

Great Mills: The Hornets have six seniors returning, led by F/MF Brett Darcey and D James Lacer, but they are still inexperienced up front. First-year coach Chris Myers said his team must take more shots. Junior Eric Thortenson will be in goal.

Lackey: The Chargers are another young group. They return three starters, including senior MFs Mike Balengee and James Pickle, and have three seniors on the roster. The rest of the players--mostly sophomores--are new to the varsity level.

Players to Watch

F Jeff Brooks, St. Mary's Ryken: The returning all-SMAC and All-Extra selection led the Knights with 13 goals and 10 assists last season. A senior, Brooks has a quick first step and good ball control skills.

MF/F Jimmie Dade, Thomas Stone: Dade, a senior, is a returning all-SMAC and All-Extra selection who can play any position for the co-defending state 3A champion Cougars. But Dade's specialty is moving forward into the attack--he racked up 10 goals and 11 assists last year.

F Brian Moroz, Thomas Stone: As a junior last fall, Moroz registered a league-high 14 goals, including the game-tying goal in the state final. He's a returning all-SMAC and All-Extra selection and had six assists last year.

D Brad Newkirk, Chopticon: Newkirk, a senior, is a tough defender and a returning all-SMAC and All-Extra selection. He had one goal and one assist last season.

D Pat Warring, St. Mary's Ryken: Warring is an aggressive sweeper with good ball control. The returning all-SMAC and All-Extra selection had four assists last year as a junior. Spent nearly a month this summer with Brooks training in Brazil.

CAPTION: Pat Warring, shown airborne on the back of Thomas Stone's Brian MacFarlane on Tuesday, is an all-SMAC and all-Extra defender for St. Mary's Ryken.

CAPTION: Teams at a Glance (This chart was not available)