With most eyes focused on high school football during the past week, soccer might have slipped to the back of the priority list. But this year, we’re dedicated to giving high school soccer the attention it deserves.
Last season we saw Massachusetts produce several Division 1 players and a plethora of memorable moments. And with super-star athletes like Cole DeNormandie (Lincoln-Sudbury) and Thomas Ballenthin (Lexington) back in action, this fall will surely present us with some flashy highlights.
We’ll be around Eastern Mass. throughout the season checking out the action, and please drop us a note regarding big games or interesting story ideas at email@example.com.
Without further ado, the much-anticipated Globe Top 20 is here. And possibly to your surprise, it isn’t the defending Division 1 champion Catholic Memorial holding the top spot.
1. Lexington (19-1-3 in 2009) – Many coaches thought Lexington was the best team in the state last year, but the Minutemen lost a hard-nosed overtime game to CM in the EMass title game. They return 13 players off last year’s squad and will be the favorites in Division 1.
2. Lincoln-Sudbury (15-3-3) – LS played Lexington wire-to-wire before losing in penalty kicks in the D1 North finals, but DeNormandie is back for his senior season and might be the best player in the state.
3. Brockton (16-4-2) – The Boxers will have to replace Admilson Timas (13 goals, 14 assists), but they should have enough talent to fill in the holes.
4. New Bedford (17-1-1) – The only loss came at the hands of Brockton and many coaches believe New Bedford might make the next step this season.
5. Catholic Memorial (18-3-3) - They are the returning champions, but some were surprised by their postseason run last year and replacing five Division 1 athletes, including their top goal-scorer and keeper, will be difficult.
6. Concord Carlisle (17-3-3) – The favorites in Division 2, the Patriots will go for two in a row.
7. Framingham (16-2-3) – The Flyers were among the best in 2009 but will have to replace a large portion of their starting roster.
8. Sandwich (18-1-3) - The Blue Knights are trying to make it five straight years as the Atlantic Coast League champs.
9. Somerville (13-4-3) - There’s a lot of optimism surrounding the Highlanders this season, after falling just short to LS in an overtime thriller during the D1 semis.
10. Brookline (14-4-2) - Brookline had a quiet, yet successful season last year and returns a core group of talented players.
11. Masconomet (15-3-2) – The Chieftains gave CC a good scrimmage in the preseason and should compete for the Cape Ann League title.
12. Weston (15-2-6) – The pressure is on to repeat as D3 champs.
13. Cardinal Spellman (24-1-0) - No team could compete with the Cardinals until Weston shocked them in a four-goal victory for the EMass championship last year.
14. North Andover (17-2-2) - The loss of Jay Marchand (20 goals) to BB&N and the graduation of Gareth Dudney (19 goals) will be hard to replace, but the Scarlet Knights have skilled youngsters who could surprise.
15. Wilmington (18-1-3) - The Wildcats looked great last season but lost a lot of seniors to graduation.
16. King Philip (13-6-3) – Without Hockomock MVP Matt Heagney, the Warriors will still contend for the league title.
17. Falmouth (14-2-2) - Falmouth made a nice comeback against Westport to open the season with a 3-2 win.
18. Hopkinton (15-3-4) – The Hillers are always competitive and will look to avenge their overtime loss to Sandwich in the D2 South finals.
19. Canton (14-2-4) – Canton couldn’t sneak by Hopkinton in the D2 South last year but will make things interesting in the Hockomock.
20. Winchester (12-4-4) - Could be the sleeper pick of 2010; the Sachems will try to contend with Lexington in the Middlesex League.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.