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Chopticon

Head coach: Calvin Brien (first season)

Last year: 10-6, 8-4 (fifth in SMAC)

Athletes to watch: G Doug Dixon (Sr., All-County), A Chad Knodle (Sr.), D Matt Sciarra (Sr.), D James Sciarra (Sr.), M Erik Bazyk (Jr.), U Scot Lucas (So.)

Key personnel losses: M Mike Gregory (All-County, All-SMAC), M Matt Hileman (All-County), HC Mike Boyle

Strengths: Brien listed a number of strengths for the Braves this season, number one being the work ethic of the team. He admitted that the Braves may not win games with fancy plays, but by out-working opponents.

Brien also listed the high value of groundballs, hustle, toughness and physicality as strengths that will play key roles in the team’s success.

Weaknesses: Brien admitted that the coaching change may be a tough adjustment, mainly because he has been head coach for just more than a month. He is hoping that the response from the team is a positive one. In building relationships with the players, Brien wants the coaching transition to go as smoothly as possible.

Coach’s comments: “I am very excited to enter this season. Our team has responded well to this head coaching transition so far. In addition, I am very impressed with the hard work and talent I have seen across our entire roster this preseason. ... We have two simple goals this season: Achieve a 3.0 team grade point average and win SMAC.”

Key games: March 22 at Northern, April 2 vs. Leonardtown, April 8 vs. Huntingtown, April 16 vs. Patuxent, April 23 vs. Great Mills

JAMES A. McCRAY III

Great Mills

Head coach: Arturo Leon (sixth season)

Last year: 4-11, 4-8 (tied for eighth with North Point and Thomas Stone)

Athletes to watch: A Ryan Lindsay (Jr., All-County), M Khaleel Bremby (Sr.), M William Ironmonger (Sr.), A Zach Lusk (Sr.), A Eugene Wright III (Sr.), D Mark Hicks (Jr.)

Key personnel losses: D Robert Conley (All-County), A Phillip Lindsay (All-County)

Strengths: Leon pointed to his roster when finding the team’s strengths this season. He stated that the team is filled with hard-working athletes who are motivated to find success through hard work. He also said that the players this year are motivated to “be the change needed to shift the athletic culture of Great Mills lacrosse.”

When asked how excited he was to be back with his team, Leon responded, “Like a kid on Christmas Eve.”

Weaknesses: Leon pointed to one thing and one thing only when it came to an area of concern for the Hornets. He admitted the roster is full of athletes with minimal lacrosse experience. However, through coaching and game experience, that should change for the Hornets.

Coach’s comments: “Our goal is to give 100 percent at what we’re doing in the moment and never quitting. We want to be able to play a tough transition game and play our games at our tempo and not be dictated by the opposition’s tempo.”

Key games: March 22 at Patuxent, April 3 vs. Huntingtown, April 23 at Chopticon, April 26 vs. Northern, May 3 vs. Leonardtown

JAMES A. McCRAY III

Leonardtown

Head coach: Neal McKinney (first season)

Last year: 11-4, 9-3 (fourth in SMAC)

Athletes to watch: A Tim Connor (Sr., All-County), D Chad Selph (Sr., All-County), A Dakota Lowe (Sr.), D John Sierra (Sr.), G Nickey Wright (Sr.), A Nick Pontorno (Jr.)

Key personnel losses: A Nick Stailey (All-SMAC, All-County AOY ), D Connor Duffy (All-SMAC, All-County), HC Bart Rogers (All-County COY)

Strengths: McKinney inherits what he calls a “core group of leaders.” He said the Raiders program is lucky to have senior leadership at every position entering this year. He said that senior leadership will be vital for a team with a bunch of underclassmen that will play important minutes throughout the season.”

Weaknesses: McKinney is slightly worried about the time it may take for the team to adjust to a new coaching staff with new ideas and philosophies. However, he said that the team is working day in and day out to make the proper adjustments in order to be ready to compete this season.

Coach’s comments: “Entering my first year as head coach, I am thrilled for the opportunity to coach this group. The Leonardtown lacrosse team has always been a team that is deep in tradition, and this group is driven to take Leonardtown lacrosse to new heights. The team’s goals are to win the conference and make some noise at the regional level.”

Key games: April 2 at Chopticon, April 19 at Huntingtown, April 26 at Patuxent, May 3 at Great Mills

JAMES A. McCRAY III

St. Mary’s Ryken

Head coach: John Sothoron (25th season)

Last year: 14-5, 6-2 WCAC

Athletes to watch: M Nathan Blondino (Sr., All-County, All-WCAC), M Romar Dennis (Sr., All-WCAC, All-County), D Jack Bradenburg (Sr., All-WCAC, All-County), M Matt Yates (Sr., All-County), G Garrett Egnaczyk (Jr., All-County), M Garrett Wayson (Sr.), M/D Conor Walsh (Sr.)

Key personnel losses: D Troy Mendenhall (All-WCAC, All-County), M Connor Summers (All-WCAC, All-County), D Andrew Morgan (All-County), M Preston Dabbs (All-WCAC, All-County)

Strengths: Aside from being a really close-knit group, Sothoron said that his offense is senior-heavy, which should bode well for getting points on the board and wins. He also used the words dedicated and hard working to describe not only the preseason attitudes, but the offseason attitudes as well.

Weaknesses: Sothoron said that depth is always a concern. He explained that you can never have enough depth. He also mentioned that the loss of his main face-off attack, Dabbs, will leave big shoes to fill. Lastly, despite having a mainly new defense, Sothoron has mentioned that the defense has been a pleasantly surprising to him and assistant coach Chris Perkinson.

Coach’s comments: “We’re shooting for that game at College Park [site of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament championship game], that’s our goal. We are trying to get back to that championship game, and we couldn’t have asked more from these kids. It’s a pleasure to be their coach.”

Key games: March 28 vs. Gonzaga (D.C.), April 9 vs. Paul VI (Va.), April 19 vs. DeMatha

JAMES A. McCRAY III