PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Tyler Margraf was a second team all-conference selection who had 29 goals, 31 assists and 63 ground balls. Senior midfielder Brendan Dale led the team with 113 ground balls. He had 21 goals and 17 assists and won 60 percent of his face-offs. Senior midfielder Dave Diaco recorded 12 assists. Others looking to contribute include sophomore defender Dave Osuch, junior defender Turner Smith, who saw action in every game last year, and sophomore midfielder Tim McConnell.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: Holy Cross, West Deptford and Haddonfield will be the main competition in the Olympic Conference National Division.
OUTLOOK: The Crusaders lost some key players to graduation, but have enough experience back to make another run at a division title. The caliber of the returning veterans will keep make Eustace a viable threat.
Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore Collin Coshland started every game in goal last season. Other returning veterans include midfielder Lee Bouggess, attack Tim Poole and senior defender Mike Schlager. Newcomers to watch include attacker Tyler Levine and defender Colin Wharton.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: Defending champion Bishop Eustace and second-place Haddonfield, along with Holy Cross and West Deptford are formidable in the Olympic Conference National Division.
OUTLOOK: New coach Ryan Durham hopes to have the Irish moving up after a one-win season. This is still an extremely young team and the first goal is to show appreciable improvement while having the young players gain valuable experience.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Two players were second-team all-conference performers: seniors Alex Cancell and Max Beck. In addition, midfielder Quinn Mehigan, who missed last season due to injury, was a second-team selection as a sophomore. Senior midfielder Drew Clarkson had 18 goals last season. Other returning veterans include senior defenders Ryan McGrath and Sean Barlow, midfielder Danny Talbot, juniors Tyler Martin and Brad Zembruski, junior defender Ed Schrier and sophomore attack/midfielder Ryan Seward. A key newcomer is sophomore Zack Grace, who had a strong season on JV last year.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: No shortage of contenders here, including Clearview, Washington Township, Eastern, Lenape and Cherry Hill East.
OUTLOOK: After a 3-13 season, the Chiefs now have an experienced group and should contend in the American Division. The return of Mehigan is a major boost for the Chiefs, who obviously missed his leadership and talent last season.
Cherry Hill East Cougars
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Cougars return a number of players who earned all-conference honors. Returning first-team choices are seniors Jared Hand, Sam Kotler and goalie Brett Roseman. In addition, senior midfielder Colin Roualet was a second-team choice. Also back are senior attacks Marc Rothman and Eric Anderson.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: Clearview is the American Division preseason favorite.
OUTLOOK: The Cougars have an experienced group returning from last year’s 6-10 squad. At the very least, this should be the division’s most improved team and there is enough experience to contend for the division title.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior defender Ian Sawyer and senior midfielder C.J. Penberthy were second-team all-conference selections. Other key veterans include attackman Robby Weingart, senior defender Zach Micciche and senior midfielder Alex Haubrich.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: Clearview is the favorite, and several other schools such as Washington Township, Lenape, Cherry Hill East and Cherokee figure to be Olympic American contenders.
OUTLOOK: The Vikings aren’t as experienced as some of the other teams but can’t be discounted either. If the offense is consistent, this will be a dangerous team.
Gloucester Catholic Rams
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior attackmen Anthony Iacovone and Jake Turner were second-team all-conference choices along with junior midfielder Nick Lanciano. Junior attack Steven Jackson is on the ESPN Rise Top 100 Watch List. Other returning starters are sophomore midfielder Pat Richardson, and two defenders, junior Patrick Sheehan and senior Andrew Farrell. Among other expected contributors are sophomore midfielders Kyle Nunan, Tyler Graham and James Higginbotham, junior midfielder Zach Franchi and junior defender Brandon Wethman.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: West Deptford and Haddonfield are the teams to beat in the Olympic Conference National Division.
OUTLOOK: Coach Ryan Murphy has done a nice job bringing along the program in its third season. The Rams were 10-10 last season and, while not yet having achieved contender status, are clearly a competitive team in a program that continues to grow. More of the same should happen this year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior attack Mike Walker was a first-team all-conference choice who will continue his education and lacrosse career at Ithaca. Senior Alex Walter was a first-team all-conference choice. Returning second-team selections are junior attack Greg Halla, senior attack Quinn Jacobs, senior defender Jack Knecht, and junior Gunnar Apgar. Other veterans back are senior defender Brian Robbins and senior midfielder Andrew Augugliero. Also adding depth are junior attack Shane Olimpio, sophomore midfielders Dan Halla and Patrick Porter, sophomore mid/attack Luke Pease, and goalies Jeff Sabatini and Dan Lynch.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: Defending Olympic National champion Bishop Eustace, along with Holy Cross and West Deptford should make the Olympic National race a close one.
OUTLOOK: Damon Legato, formerly a Moorestown head coach with a state championship under his belt, takes over and should continue to have Haddonfield play at a high level. The Bulldogs were 13-6 and finished second to Eustace last year. They should again challenge for the division title and possibly make noise in the state tournament.
Lenape Indians (pictured)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior attack James O’Donnell was a first-team all-conference choice. Second-team choices were junior attack Reed Hofmann, sophomore midfielder Justin Holl and junior goalie Eric Leonard. Other returning starters include sophomore attack Andrew Streilein, senior midfielder Jason Gerst, junior defender Matt Belanger and senior defender Mike Cunningham. Returning letter winners are junior midfielders Andrew O’Neil, Dave Magill and Tom Pearsall, senior midfielders Alex Fishman and Dylan Trost, junior attack Alec Leong, and junior defenders Casey Fayan and Sean Devlin. Among the key newcomers are senior defenders Nik Venuto and Dan Walker, sophomore midfielders Jon Muncey and Andrew Shellam, sophomore attack R. Brooks Long and freshman midfielder D.J. Fehte-Cantera.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: Clearview is the favorite, but Washington Township, Cherokee, Cherry Hill East and Eastern should make this an interesting race in the Olympic Conference American Division.
OUTLOOK: Coach William Sutphin returns an experienced group from last year’s 10-8 team and the Indians should be serious division contenders. At the very least, the win total should be improved.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: A number of players are already college recruits: Alex Martinelli and Matt Olbrich are headed to Delaware, Danny Willis will attend Villanova and Alex Melekos will attend Gettysburg. Also returning is Michael Handlan, who plays attack.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: The Quakers play in one of the toughest lacrosse conferences in the state, the Skyland Conference. Last year, five of the 10 conference teams ended up playing in a state final. Bridgewater, Immaculata, Ridge and Hunterdon Central are among the heavyweights.
OUTLOOK: Moorestown traditionally suffers more losses than many of the top South Jersey teams, simply because of the difficult schedule. Moorestown went 13-8 last year and was among South Jersey’s top teams. The same should happen again, but the Quakers will compete for a sectional and possibly state title. This is a team that will be better in the second half of the season since the Quakers have to replace 17 of last year’s seniors.
Moorestown Friends Foxes
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Returning starters for first-year coach Michael McGinn are junior long stick middle Tim Latimer and sophomore goalie Carl Durkow. Other players with varsity experience include seniors Cliff Burgess, Matt Gaiser and Kyle Whittal, and sophomore Tyler Mills.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: Defending Friends League champion Shipley, along with Academy of New Church, remain the teams to beat.
OUTLOOK: The Foxes lost several players to graduation, so it will be challenging to match or surpass last year’s 10-3 record, but McGinn says there is a lot of enthusiasm and he’s confident that this will be highly competitive squad once again.
Paul VI Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Sam Jarvis is the leader at midfield, where he had 13 goals, seven assists and 92 ground balls. Senior Mark McClernan is excellent on face-offs and contributed six goals. Junior Gabriel Romano had 13 goals and seven assists. Senior John Abruzzo is the Eagles’ most versatile player, according to coach Steve Halla. Junior Zachary Mangaro had seven goals and 13 assists.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: Shawnee is the favorite in the division, while Kingsway and Seneca are expected to have contending teams.
OUTLOOK: The Eagles were 3-15 last season and have optimism to improve the win total, but this team is still at least a year away from contending for a division title.
Seneca Golden Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior defender Sean Grey was a first-team all-Olympic Patriot choice who is a four-year starter and Wagner recruit. Junior midfielder Tyler Schulte was a second-team choice who had 44 goals and 22 assists. Senior attack Dylan Shulte had 55 goals and 27 assists. Senior attack Jack Blythe had 36 goals and 29 assists. Other veterans include junior faceoff man Matt Southwick, junior midfielder T.J. Johnson, junior midfielder Joey Pawlowski, sophomore long pole Alex Weightman, senior midfielder Dan Eiding, and defensive poles Riley Harris and Nick Molnar.
BIGGEST?COMPETITION:? Shawnee remains the favorite to win the Olympic Patriot Division title.
OUTLOOK: Seneca should provide substantial competition. The Golden Eagles have the potential to be a Top 10 team.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior attack Owen Demmerly was a consensus all-South Jersey choice after totaling 82 goals and 33 assists. The team boasts many returning players with strong records, including senior goalie James Bickel, who had 16 saves last season, senior midfielder Kevin Lubinski, and junior Robby DiOrio who scored 33 goals and 58 assists. Sophomore goalie Reece Tursi is a transfer from Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s Prep and a key addition.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: The Renegades appear to be the class of the Olympic Conference. As for South Jersey supremacy, St. Augustine likely enters the year as the No. 1 team in the area.
OUTLOOK: The Renegades have won a division title in each of their nine seasons under coach Tim Gushue and that streak should continue. This is a team capable of going far in the sectional and state tournaments.
Washington Township Minutemen
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior midfielders Ian Mitchell and Chris Paulo, senior attack Nate Rhoads, and senior attack Frankie DiStefano are fourth-year starters, while senior goalie D.J. Cheney and junior attack Ryan Maiden are third-year starters. In addition, junior attack Steve Gagliardi was a first-team all-conference choice and senior defender Patrick Mullin was a second-team choice.
BIGGEST COMPETITION: Clearview enters as the favorite in the Olympic American while Eastern, Cherokee, Cherry Hill East and Lenape could also contend.
OUTLOOK: The Minutemen will be competitive, but after graduating four first-team all-conference players, but there are some big holes to fill.
Click here for the spring schedules.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Spring Sports Preview, January, 2012.
For more info on Suburban Family Magazine, click here.
For information about advertising in Suburban Family Magazine, click here.
To find out where to pick up your copy of Suburban Family Magazine, click here.