Nationally-ranked Calvert Hall and McDonogh lead the way; players to watch for all ranked teams

by Nelson Coffin

After limited fall schedules (or in the spring of 2021 in some cases) in 2020, fall high school sports are back in full force and with their return comes the return of VSN’s Top 20 polls. Admittedly much is unknown, with so many key players having seen little or no high school action in the last 20 months, but we’ve done our homework and have a starting point.

No doubt things will shift along the way, as the real identities of so many teams are revealed, but our initial Top 5 is filled by many traditional area boys soccer powers with nationally ranked Calvert Hall and McDonogh leading the way. Mount St. Joseph, which has also gained some mention in national polls, Severna Park and Archbishop Curley fill out the first five.

Below is the complete VSN Boys Soccer Preseason Top 20, as well as some key facts about each:

Gabe Gilkin (left) and Will Andrus are senior co-captains for Calvert Hall, VSN’s preseason top-ranked boys soccer team.

1. CALVERT HALL COLLEGE (2020 record: 4-2)

Coach: Rich Zinkand

Players to watch: Cody Angelini, Jr., Midfield; Tyler Flynn, Jr., Midfield; Nate Jones, Jr., Goal

Throw in: Quick-starting Cardinals seeking first MIAA A Conference crown since 2016.

2. MCDONOGH SCHOOL (2020 record: Did not play)

Coach: Brandon Quaranta

Players to watch: Jacob Murrell, Sr., Forward; Tyler Tucker, Jr., Midfield

Throw in: Count on the three-time defending MIAA A Conference champ Eagles to be in the thick of the title chase again.

3. MOUNT ST. JOSEPH (2020 record: 8-0)

Coach: Mike St. Martin

Players to watch: Brian St. Martin, Sr., Shan Chung, Jr., Forward

Throw in: Gaels have enough experience and depth all over the pitch to keep things tight in the always competitive A Conference.

4. SEVERNA PARK (2020 record: 5-0)

Coach: Ryan Parisi

Players to watch: Ben Groseclose, Jr., Midfield/Forward; Gus Bachmann, Sr., Midfield; Brandon Asch, Sr., Goalie

Throw in: Always-powerful Falcons should fly high again in Anne Arundel County.

5. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (2020 record: 4-3)

Coach: Barry Stitz

Players to watch: Ricky Schissler, Sr., Midfield; Aidan Diem, Sr., Midfield/Forward; Nick Henderson, Sr., Midfield

Throw in: As usual, Friars have what it takes to make a serious A Conference title run.

6. CENTENNIAL (2020 record: 8-2)

Coach: Justin Thomas

Players to watch: Andrew Fritz, Sr., Midfield/Forward; Cameron Grable, Sr., Midfield; Eddie Aguilar, Sr., Midfield

Throw in: Graduation of Howard County leading scorer Bryson Baker not enough to slow down Eagles for long.

7. PERRY HALL (2020 record: 5-2)

Coach: Pete Eibner

Players to watch: Brennan Eibner, Sr., Forward; Zach Eichelberger, Sr., Forward

Throw in: One-two punch of Eibner and Eichelberger has knockout power.

8. SOUTH RIVER (2020 record: 3-2)

Coach: Marlin Argueta

Player to watch: Christian Gionis, Sr., Center midfield

Throw in: Eight returning starters give Seahawks confidence to thrive in Anne Arundel County.

9. MOUNT HEBRON (2020 record: 9-1)

Coach: Mike Linsenmeyer

Players to watch: Jimmy Linsenmeyer, Sr., Midfield; Liam McCaffery, Sr., Midfield

Throw in: Coming off a perfect spring season, Vikings hope to continue to roll behind Linsenmeyer and McCaffery.

10. CATONSVILLE (2020 record: 2-3-1)

Coach: Brendan Kennedy

Players to watch: Brian Ruppel, Sr., Goal; Nick Sirasky, Sr., Midfield

Throw in: Nine returning starters boost Comets’ chances in Baltimore County — and beyond.

11. C. MILTON WRIGHT (2020 record: Did not play)

Coach: Brian Tully

Players to watch: Jake Kegley, Sr., Midfield; Adrian Gonzalez, Sr., Defense

Throw in: After Class 3A titles in 2017 and 2018 and runner-up in 2019, Mustangs hope to hang another banner in 2021.

12. JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL (2020 record: 1-2)

Coach: Jim Fendryk

Players to watch: Eric Schultz, Sr., Center back; Ryan Skandalis, Jr., Midfield

Throw in: Early wins over Loyola Blakefield and Boys’ Latin School show that the Patriots are heading in the right direction.

13. LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD (2020 record: 2-4)

Coach: Lee Tschantret

Players to watch: Jordy Eckman, Jr., Goalie; Gavin Carmichel, Sr. Defense

Throw in: After a slow start, young Dons look to improve during a marathon 20-game A Conference season.

14. RIVER HILL (2020 record: 7-3)

Coach: Matt Shagogue

Players to watch: Antonio Paulino, Sr., Midfield; Jack Nelson, Sr., Defense

Throw in: Hawks a staple in the Howard County hunt.

15. TOWSON (2020 record: 8-0)

Coach: Randy Dase

Players to watch: Zach Sales, Sr., Midfield; Will Derbyshire, Sr., Midfield; Jackson Kanzler, So., Forward

Throw in: Hit hard by graduation, reigning Baltimore County champs still boast strong returning corps.

16. BROADNECK (2020 record: 2-3)

Coach: Sean Tettemer

Players to watch: Mikey Johnson, Sr., Forward; Gavin Misner, Sr., Defense; Caden Terrelonge, Sr., Defense

Throw in: Bruins will tussle with South River and Severn Park for Anne Arundel County supremacy this fall.

17. LIBERTY (2020 record: 7-0)

Coach: Dave Abarbanel

Players to watch: Jarod Kuether, Sr., Defense; Sam Allen, Jr., Midfield

Throw in: Tenacious Lions likely to roar again in Carroll County.

18. MARRIOTTS RIDGE (2020 record: 6-5)

Coach: Quinn Khouri

Players to watch: Kaden Bryan, Jr., Midfield; Misha Ott, Sr., Forward

Throw in: All-Howard County selection Bryan bolsters a solid midfield.

19. HEREFORD (2020 record: 2-3-1)

Coach: Adam Mizell

Players to watch: Logan Sinsebox, Sr., Goalie; Jake Epstein, Sr., Defense/Midfield

Throw in: Can’t count Bulls out in Baltimore County.

20. RESERVOIR (2020 record: 6-5)

Coach: David Obeng-Darko

Players to watch: Aidan Atang, Sr., Midfield; Owen Bennertz, Sr., Defense

Throw in: Defense should allow Gators to be competitive in rugged Howard County race.