BLax: Preseason Top 20 is covering boys' lacrosse for the first time in its history, beginning with the 2013 season. To kick off the year we are releasing our selections for the preseason Top 20.
The rankings were based on a number of factors, including: last year's performance, number of Division I commitments in the junior and senior classes, feedback from coaches and strength of schedule.
This year's rankings will be released each Tuesday and will be voted on by Mike Loveday and Tom Peace.
1. Calvert Hall
Last Year's Record: 16-2 (MIAA champions)
Division I Commits: 18
Key Out of Conference Game: March 28 at Conestoga (Pa.)
Conference Game to Watch: April 19 vs. No. 1 Boys' Latin
2013 Outlook: The Cardinals are the defending MIAA champions and return 18 players in the junior and senior classes who are committed to Division I programs. Calvert Hall did graduate an impressive senior class, which included the Baltimore Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year and C. Markland Kelly Ward winner (given to Maryland's top high school lacrosse player), but returning is a senior class that includes midfielder Stephen Kelly (UNC), defender Garrett Epple (Notre Dame), Jordan Germershausen (UMBC) and midfielder John Belz (Maryland). It is a difficult feat to repeat as MIAA champions, but if it can be done the Cardinals have the firepower and experience to do it.
2. Boys' Latin
Last Year's Record: 14-7
Division I Commits: 19
Key Out of Conference Game: March 19 vs. No. 3 Gonzaga (D.C.)
Conference Game to Watch: April 19 at No. 2 Calvert Hall
2013 Outlook: Boys' Latin appears to be the favorite to win it all in 2013. Last year the team went through streaks, winning five straight but losing four in a row also. Now with 12 seniors going Division I combined with seven juniors already committed the Lakers appear to have the right mix of experience and youth. Junior Shack Stanwick (Johns Hopkins) is widely considered the top junior in the nation, but could be the best player overall heading into 2013. Two players transfer in from Georgetown Prep.
3. Landon
Last Year's Record: 13-6 (IAC champions)
Division I Commits: 14
Key Out of Conference Game: April 9 at No. 3 Gonzaga
Conference Game to Watch: April 19 vs. No. 8 Georgetown Prep
2013 Outlook: The Bears started last season slow, opening the year 3-5, but finished the year by winning 10-of-11 including an IAC semifinal victory over rival Georgetown Prep. Gone are two Washington Post All-Met First Team selections, goalie Alex Joyce (Georgetown) and midfielder Hank Brown (Drexel). But Landon is still loaded this season, led by a trio of Virginia commits: senior Michael Rhoads, along with juniors Jack Falk and Austin Petty the Bears could be the favorite to repeat as conference champions.
4. Gonzaga (D.C.)
Last Year's Record: 20-1 (WCAC champions)
Division I Commits: 7
Key Out of Conference Game: April 9 vs. No. 4 Landon
Conference Game to Watch: March 26 at DeMatha
2013 Outlook: The defending three-time Washington Catholic Athletic
Conference champions returns 11 seniors that will play in college, including midfielder Max Planning (Denver) and defender Mat Borda (Fairfield). The Purple Eagles lost just one game last season, a 6-5 loss to McDonogh and enter the season with a 14-game winning streak. Replacing Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year Connor Reed (Johns Hopkins) will be a challenge, but senior Alex Corboy was impressive during the WCAC championship game, tallying four goals and one assist, and could be ready for a stellar senior season.
5. Gilman
Last Year's Record: 12-4
Division I Commits: 8
Key Out of Conference Game: April 5 at La Salle College (Pa.)
Conference Game to Watch: May 7 at No. 7 McDonogh
2013 Outlook: Gilman graduated three Baltimore Sun All-Metro First Team selections from last year's 12-4 squad, but don't expect the Greyhounds to fall back this year. Three players; senior Max Greene (attack/Havard) and juniors William McBride (midfield/UNC) and Tyler Ruhl (attack/Notre Dame) are on Inside Lacrosse's Top 50 Young Guns list. Juniors Chase Campbell (Virginia) and Brendan Barger (Ohio State) will help anchor a defense that allowed double-digits in goals in just six games last year.
6. Loyola-Blakefield
Last Year's Record: 16-4 (MIAA runner-up)
Division I Commits: 6
Key Out of Conference Game: March 23 vs. Garden City (N.Y.)
Conference Game to Watch: May 3 at No. 1 Boys' Latin
2013 Outlook: Loyola reached the MIAA championship game last season and graduated 20 seniors from the team. However, the Dons return 20 underclassmen, including Devin McNamara who was one of three juniors to earn Baltimore Sun All-Metro First Team honors. McNamara scored 41 goals and added 31 assists and is committed to Villanova. Also returning is attacker Jake Clise (Maryland) who tallied one goal and one assist in the championship game. Midfielder Kevin O'Toole (Johns Hopkins) also returns. The Dons boast an impressive out of conference schedule with Garden City (N.Y.), Haverford School (Pa.) and Malvern Prep (Pa.).
7. McDonogh
Last Year's Record: 9-8
Division I Commits: 8
Key Out of Conference Game: March 9 vs. St. Andrew's (Fla.)
Conference Game to Watch: April 12 at No. 4 Loyola-Blakefield
2013 Outlook: The Eagles could be the sleeper team in the MIAA this season. After an up-and-down season last year the Eagles returns four seniors committed to Division I programs, including Austin Frederick (Villanova) who earned Baltimore Sun All-Metro Second Team and All-MIAA honors as a midfielder last season. The Eagles are another team in the MIAA that boasts a talented junior class. Midfielder Brinton Valis (Johns Hopkins) and defender Alex Hurdle (Notre Dame) are both listed among Inside Lacrosse's Top 50 juniors.
8. Georgetown Prep
Last Year's Record: 15-6
Division I Commits: 15
Key Out of Conference Game: March 22 vs. Gilman at Towson
Conference Game to Watch: April 16 at Landon
2013 Outlook: The Little Hoyas were another perennial powerhouse that suffered through a subpar season last year, but do not expect it to linger into 2013. Senior attacker Bear Altemus (Princeton) is one of four seniors committed to Division I programs, but it's the Little Hoyas junior class that could propel them to a championship run. The midfield will be strong with Townsend Brown (Virginia), Brendan Collins (Notre Dame) and long stick Zach Blumenstein (Johns Hopkins). A pair of future D-I goalies give Prep depth and talent: Will Railey (Virginia) and Matt Vierheller (Mount St. Mary's). The Little Hoyas lost five games by one goal, but with a deep bench this year and the amount of underclassmen that played last season those results could turn around this season. "We played a lot of young guys last year who got a lot of time," coach Kevin Giblin said. "I believe it's when we lost to Gonzaga and we looked out at the field and we had eight sophomores out there. We thought it stings losing, but the future could be bright."
9. Bullis
Last Year's Record: 14-4 (IAC runner-up)
Division I Commits: 3
Key Out of Conference Game: March 16 vs. Episcopal Academy (Pa.)
Conference Game to Watch: April 12 vs. No. 5 Landon
2013 Outlook: 2013 was a banner year for Bullis, reaching the IAC championship game and posting wins over DeMatha, Georgetown Prep and Landon. Two-time Warrior 40 selection and Washington Post All-Met First Team selection Nick Fields along with Alex Robinson (Georgetown) returns at long-stick midfield. Senior goalie Brandon Burke (Brown) who earned All-Met Honorable Mention honors also returns.
10. Hereford
Last Year's Record: 19-1
Division I Commits: 6
Key Out of Conference Game: March 27 vs. No. 6 Gilman
Conference Game to Watch: April 12 at Dulaney
2013 Outlook: The Bulls have won four-straight Class 3A/2A state championships and return many key players from last year's team, including the entire defense led by xxxx. Hereford coach Brian King is confident in this year's team, evidenced by the team's brutal schedule that includes St. Paul's, Gilman and Loyola-Blakefield. "We want to win in May. You're not going to get better unless you get punched in the face," King said.
The Next 10
11. South River
Last Year's Record: 20-0
13. Severna Park
Last Year's Record: 12-5
14. Calverton School
Last Year's Record: 17-2 (MILL Champions)
14. St. Paul's
Last Year's Record: 3-15
15. Glenelg
Last Year's Record: 17-3
16. DeMatha
Last Year's Record: 11-10 (WCAC runners-up)
17. St. Mary's Ryken
Last Year's Record: 14-5
18. Severn
Last Year's Record: 15-7
19. St. Mary's
Last Year's Record: 10-7
20. Westminster
Last Year's Record: 16-3