Chris Carroll (front), Ben Alexander, Seth Walker and Brady O’Connor will lead No. 1 Calvert Hall.
Calvert Hall College High boasts seven academy soccer players, including two Division 1 commits, three others with D-1 offers and loads of additional experienced talent. It all adds up to a preseason No. 1 ranking for the Cardinals, as VSN announces its boys’ soccer Top 20.
Nothing will come easy to the Towson school as its league, the MIAA A Conference, dominates the top of the poll with Archbishop Curley at No. 2, Mount St. Joseph at No. 3, Loyola Blakefield at No. 4, and defending champion McDonogh at No. 5.
Defending Class 4A state champion Perry Hall starts the season at No. 6.
Here is the complete VSN Boys Soccer Preseason Top 20:
1. Calvert Hall College (2015 record: 13-6; Final VSN Top 20 ranking: No. 4)
Player to watch: Benjamin Alexander, Sr., forward
Throw in: Coach Rich Zinkand and a talent-rich roster seek Cardinals’ first MIAA A Conference crown since 2003.
2. Archbishop Curley (17-9; No. 2)
Player to watch: Brenden Hollingsworth, Sr., midfielder
Throw in: With nine returning starters, Friars have what it takes to make another serious A Conference title run.
3. Mount St. Joseph (11-10; No. 9)
Player to watch: Tyler Collins, Jr., center back
Throw in: Gaels have enough experience and depth all over the pitch to keep things tight in the always competitive A Conference.
4. Loyola Blakefield (10-9; No. 6)
Player to watch: Alex Ried, Jr., forward
Throw in: Turning around last season’s lack of a finishing touch— the Dons were shut out five times in a 10-9 campaign — could key 2016 resurgence.
5. McDonogh School (21-0-1; No. 1)
Player to watch: Jayson Cyrus, Jr., defense
Throw in: Having only lost once in 42 matches in his two years at the helm, coach Brandon Quaranta has the savvy to keep the Eagles in the thick of the A Conference title chase.
6. Perry Hall (17-3; No. 3)
Player to watch: Jack Muller, Sr., striker
Throw in: Defending Class 4A state champs’ goal to hang another banner in November will be aided by addition of Calvert Hall senior transfer Reugo Nnadozie.
7. Meade (17-2; No. 5)
Player to watch: Samuel Solomon, Sr., forward/midfielder
Throw in: Mustangs look to get back to 4A state final after heartbreaking loss to Perry Hall last November.
8. Mount Hebron (13-3; No. 7)
Player to watch: Johnny Linsenmeyer, Sr., midfielder
Throw in: With Howard County Player of the Year Linsenmeyer anchoring the midfield and five other seasoned performers surrounding him, Vikings should be a state title contender.
9. Manchester Valley (4-11; not ranked)
Player to watch: Austin Lowe, Sr., striker
Throw in: Merger acquisitions from now-closed North Carroll, which went 16-3 while earning a Class 1A state crown, up the Mavericks’ expectations exponentially.
10. Catonsville (14-2-1; No. 11)
Player to watch: Matt Rehder, Sr., back
Throw in: Defending Baltimore County champions, who return the entire starting midfield, seek someone to fill the void left by graduation of last year’s leading scorer Jake Parrott.
11. C. Milton Wright (12-6-1; No. 12)
Player to watch: Ryan Miller, Jr., goalkeeper
Throw in: Boasting six returning starters, including an All-Harford County keeper Miller, Mustangs hope to erase memory of Class 3A state title game setback last November.
12. Broadneck (10-5-1; No. 15)
Player to watch: Joseph Velazquez, Sr., forward
Throw in: The Bruins will make a run at the top of Anne Arundel County.
13. Centennial (13-4-2; No. 13)
Player to watch: Ammar Narmouq, Sr., midfielder
Throw in: The Eagles upset the apple cart in Howard County last fall, rising into the league’s upper echelon and advancing to the 3A East Region title game. They look to build on that success in 2016.
14. Fallston (14-3-1; No. 8)
Player to watch: Jake Kauffman, Jr., forward
Throw in: Nine returning varsity performers and a slew of talent from last year’s excellent JV squad give the Cougars plenty of heft in 2016.
15. Friends School (17-4; No. 20)
Player to watch: Steven Bogusky, Jr., right wing
Throw in: Could be a breakthrough year in the MIAA B Conference for the Quakers, who outscored opponents by a whopping 86-14 last season.
16. Severn School (18-4-2; No. 14)
Player to watch: Spencer, Wright Sr., midfield
Throw in: Senior-laden midfield and veteran keeper give Admirals the nucleus for a solid chance to repeat in MIAA B Conference.
17. South River (12-2-2; No. 16)
Player to watch: Mason Rienhart, Sr., defense
Throw in: Looks like another strong defensive year for the Seahawks, who conceded just one goal in Anne Arundel County play last fall.
18. Dulaney (4-11-1; not ranked)
Player to watch: Jordan Fields, Sr., forward
Throw in: St. Paul’s transfer Fields brings scoring punch lacking in Lions’ close losses last year.
19. River Hill (12-3; No. 17)
Player to Watch: Gianni Gupta, Sr., midfielder
Throw in: Heavy graduation losses aside, six veteran players bolster a team that will also feature a slew of newcomers eager to please.
20. North Harford (9-2-2; not ranked)
Player to watch: Khaled Abuhontash, Sr., forward
Throw in: Hawks have ample goal-getters in Abuhontash and fellow senior T.J. O’Donnell.