Defending MIAA A Conference champion: Loyola
As usual, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference is stacked with talented teams filled with difference-making players.
McDonogh solidified its No. 1 preseason ranking with solid 2-0 wins over the weekend against Archbishop Spalding and No. 13 Perry Hall.
From there, five of the next six teams in the preseason poll come from the MIAA with defending champion Loyola starting at No. 2. The league's depth also showed Friday when No. 15 St. Paul's upset No. 4 Gilman, 2-1.
McDonogh seniors George Campbell and Connor Smith head the list of dynamic players in the league to give the Eagles the tag as favorite. At Loyola, the Dons will lean on Gavin Barger with a number of standouts lost to graduation from last year's title team.
Versatile senior Sam Wancowicz leads a senior-dominated Gilman team. Archbishop Curley, which started at No. 5, features a potent offense led by Tre Pulliam, Eric Spalt and Kyle Mizell.
No. 6 Calvert Hall is looking to return to prominance with playmaker Tiger Wittman in the middle and Joshua Bender a steady anchor in the back. No. 7 Mount St. Joseph can't be overlooked with an experienced defense the Gaels' biggest strength.
Can St. Paul's. which moved up from the MIAA B Conference, handle the season-long grind in the top conference?