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 College and McDonogh School 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., Goalie
Throw in: Quick-starting Cardinals (defeated Mount St. Joseph and McDonogh last week) 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 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 regular 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., Goal: 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 graduations, 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 Severna 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., Goal; 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.