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Boyertown

Mercury-area team-by-team season preview

Boyertown

Head coach

Sean Kooker, 2nd season

Last year’s record

8-6, PAC-10, 8-10 overall, PAC-10 playoffs, District 1 qualifier

Players to watch

Michael Palladino, Sr., attack; Codey Prindle, Sr., goalie; Justin Endy, Sr., def.; Kyle Lee, Sr., def., Alex Firsching, Sr., attack.

Outlook

The Bears were packed with seniors – most notably top 2 scorers Chris Stutzman (Susquehanna) and Brock Johnson (King’s College) and PAC-10 defenseman of the year David Pettine (Misericordia) – last year on the way to the PAC-10 playoffs and districts. It will take some new faces to step up in 2015. “We have a young squad and they are eager to hit the grass running. We have several returning seniors and some athletic underclassmen,” coach Sean Kooker said. “The team is carrying 56 players on the roster this year as we develop our raw, young talent for the future. Hopefully, we will surprise some people and turn some heads.” The Bears have come on strong down the stretch the past few years, something that will have happen again if Boyertown is to return to the postseason.

Daniel Boone

Head coach

Sean Wambaugh, 1st season

Last year’s record

0-14 BCIAA, 1-16 overall

Players to watch

Zack Dickinson, attack; Ben Linsey, goalie; Nick Morse, def.; Jack Orendorff, def./LSM; Frank Peterson, attack; Sean Seifert, attack; Hunter Theobald, mid.; Nathan Wisler, mid.; Quinn Wisler, attack.

Outlook

With three wins over the span of four seasons, it would be fair to say Daniel Boone has had its growing pains. New coach Sean Wambaugh, who replaced Matt Mogavero, hopes a more experienced squad can keep the Blazers get closer to the competition. “We are looking to become a much more competitive lacrosse team, better than any team ever before at Daniel Boone. We have an experienced team this year,” Wambaugh said. “The strength of the team is our drive to improve. Many players on our team have shown in offseason winter workouts that they want to improve as lacrosse players. I see that great drive continuing throughout this season. Our goal this year is to begin to put Daniel Boone High School on everybody’s radar.”

Hill School

Head coach

Dave Mullen, 2nd season

Last year’s record

3-2 Mid-Atlantic Prep League, 6-9 overall

Players to watch

Conor Rayfield, Sr., def. (All-Area 2nd team); Zack Keller, Sr., mid.; Jake Saenz, Jr., Aidan Coll, Jr., attack; Ben Bala, Jr., mid.

Outlook

The Blues caught a tough break when both goalies on the roster went down with injuries last season forcing first-year head coach Dave Mullen to adjust on the fly. A season later, Hill has added new recruits to stabilize the situation in the net and bring back a quality core led by defenseman Conor Rayfield and attackmen Jake Saenz and Aidan Coll. It’s also added a couple postgrads to bolster the defensive unit. Added up, Mullen is looking for Hill to be back in the MAPL title picture after a quality preseason trip to Florida. As always, the Blues go through the gauntlet with their early-season non-league schedule. “By the time Game 6 hits we’ve played some serious teams,” Mullen said. “There’s a lot of good pieces in place, but we’re still working to be in the elite.”

Methacton

Head coach

Nat Ryan, 6th season

Last year’s record

6-8 PAC-10, 7-11 overall

Players to watch

Michael DelVecchio, Sr., attack; Keith White, Sr., attack (All-Area honorable mention); Colton Marin, Sr., def.; Conner Derrickson, Sr., mid.; Kyle Derrickson, So., def. (All-Area honorable mention); Aidan Denecke, Jr., attack; Connor Stevenson, Jr., attack/mid.

Outlook

Methacton has missed the PAC-10 playoffs the past three seasons by one place in the standings. That hasn’t sat well with the Warriors and they are poised to change it this spring. Outside of top defenseman Andrew DeSana (Seton Hill), Methacton brings back the bulk of its core, including goalie Jake Blitzer, Goucher commit Michael DelVecchio and All-Area players Keith White (Stevenson commit) and Kyle Derrickson. “We return a lot at the defense and attack, with everyone in those positions having starting experience. Our midfield is inexperienced but there is young talent ready to step in and fill those roles. I expect us to be stout defensively with a group headed up by four-year starter Jake Blitzer,” coach Nat Ryan said. “I’m excited about this group of young men.  This is as experienced of a team as I’ve ever coached and is comprised of players of great character and skill.” When mid-May arrives, there’s a fair possibility the Warriors will be calling their playoff drought a thing of the past.

Owen J. Roberts

Head coach

Jeff Neese, 15th season

Last year’s record

11-3 PAC-10, 16-6 overall, PAC-10 runner-up, District 1 second round

Players to Watch

Sam Garges, Sr., attack (All-Area first team); Jack Colt, Jr., attack (All-Area HM); Austin Delgatto, Jr., attack (All-Area second team); Ben Hiltebeitel, Sr., mid.; Eric Antich, Sr., mid. (All-Area second team); Chris Kent, Sr., mid; Dan Hughes, Sr., def. (All-Area HM).

Outlook

Two streaks continued in 2014 for the Wildcats, one welcomed, one not. OJR returned to the PAC-10 final for the 8th straight year but were on the wrong side of Spring-Ford in the final for the 4th straight season. Goals likely won’t be the issue in the Wildcats’ attempt to get back atop the PAC. All-Area first teamer Sam Garges (43 goals, 26 assists in 2014) and second teamer Austin Delgatto (74 goals, 17 assists) lead a potent attack that will be bolstered by second team midfielder Eric Antich. “We should have a strong midfield presence this year, along with a very strong returning attack,” coach Jeff Neese said. “Our goal is to be right in the mix for PAC-10 title.” But Neese believes the competition is on OJR’s heels. “Every year the PAC-10 is getting better and better. This year it should be it’s best ever. We enjoy that challenge.”

Perkiomen School

Head coach

Tim Gaiser, 1st season

Last year’s record

5-5 overall, Tri-County League champions

Players to watch

Alex Williams, Sr., def.; Ryland Patterson, Sr., attack; Connor Bade, Sr., def.; Ben Williams, So., goalie; Logan Rhoads, Fr., attack; Jay Yang, Sr., mid.; Bobby Lee, Sr., mid.

Outlook

The Panthers are winners of four of the last five Tri-County League championships and return a strong senior core as they look to make it three titles in a row. According to new coach Tim Gaiser, Perkiomen will have be in search of some offense. “We will be looking to have Patterson and Cassel be major contributors on our offense as well as freshman Rhoads. We will have a strong returning defense. Williams, Bade, Hampton will be heavily relied on to shut down opposing offenses.”

Perkiomen Valley

Head coach

Bryan Churchey, 3rd season

Last Year’s Record

11-3 PAC-10, 13-7 overall, PAC-10 Final Four, District 1 qualifier

Players to watch

Tim Mallon, Sr., LSM (All-Area HM); Nick Scenna, Sr., def.; Connor Dee, Jr., attack (All-Area HM); Ben Minardi, Jr., mid./FO; Peyton Rieser, Jr., mid./FO; Brendan Dudley, Jr., LSM/def.; Dylan Pool, Jr., LSM; Shawn Coulter, So., mid./attack (All-Area HM); Nick Marren, So., def.; Kevin Mo, So., GK; Matthew Baker, So., attack; Dan Devlin, Sr., def.; David Kline, Sr., def.; Jake Willis, Sr., mid.; Matt Baker, Jr., attack; Connor Willey, So., mid.; Brian Fehr, Fr., attack.

Outlook

The 2014 Vikings were as close as any previous team to breaking up the Spring-Ford/Owen J. Roberts stronghold on the PAC-10 title picture. Coach Bryan Churchey is all about maintaining the upward trend in his third season but his team must do so by finding new scoring after the graduation of All-Area first teamers Sean Tornetta (Monmouth) and Shawn Dickey (UMass-Lowell). “Last year’s group set a new standard for our program and this year’s squad is determined to take that standard to a new level. We bring back a lot of depth on the defensive side of the ball but are very young on offense after graduating roughly 60-percent of our offensive production from a year ago. We have holes to fill offensively but the dedication and commitment we’ve seen thus far to earn those vacated reps has been fun to watch as a coaching staff,” Churchey said. PV can be counted on to contend for a PAC-10 playoff place – how far it goes will come down to how the team improves throughout the season.

Phoenixville

Head coach

Grady Wise, 4th season

Last year’s record

0-14 PAC-10, 0-16 overall

Players to watch

Scott Welsh, Sr., attack; Jack Leven, Sr., attack; Donnie Jackson, Sr., mid.; Mike Wisser, Sr., mid.; Mike Thum, Sr., mid.; Adam Mittnacht, Jr., mid.; Jake Lewis, Jr., mid.; Owen Carney, Jr., mid.; Daniel Jackson, Fr., mid.

Outlook

Phoenixville endured a winless season a year ago and has found it difficult to gain traction in the league landscape. The Phantoms may not be able to compete for a league title, but coach Grady Wise is determined to narrow the gap. “(Our goals are to) uphold a commitment to the team and each other, improve team chemistry and work ethic, maintain a positive attitude, compete in closer games with PAC-10 schools and non-league opponents and cultivate a culture of improvement throughout the season and offseason,” Wise said.

Pope John Paul II

Head coach

Matt McMillen, 3rd season

Last year’s record

4-10 PAC-10, 6-12 overall

Players to watch

Wayne Mitchell, Sr,. attack; Jake Koury, Sr., attack; Armen DiFilippo, Sr., attack; Ryan Todd, Jr., attack; Jake Bevenour, Sr., mid.; Keith Destefano, Sr., mid.; Michael Frazier, Sr., goalie; Chase Lynch, Sr., def.; Colin Dahl, Sr., def.; Nick Kelly, Sr., LSM; Joe Kelly, Jr., LSM.

Outlook

The Golden Panthers have inched forward in each of their first four seasons, putting together quality results in the back end of last season by playing competitively with some of the league’s best. This season, coach Matt McMillen is optimistic PJP can do more than inch forward while returning the entire attack unit, led by Wayne Mitchell and Jake Koury, as well as midfielder Jake Bevenour. “PJP boys lacrosse is positioned to take another step forward this year. The team will feature a lot of experienced upperclassmen with a mix of talented underclassmen,” McMillen said. “(Our) goal is to beat some previously unbeaten PAC-10 opponents and make the conference playoffs for the first time in school history.”

Pottsgrove

Head coach

Fred Michaels, 4th season

Last year’s record

2-12 PAC-10, 2-16 overall

Players to watch

Brendan Wurtz, Jr., mid.; John Gresko, Sr., attack; Will Wallace, Sr., mid.; Kyle Rodgers, Sr., attack; Jarad Ludy, Sr., def.

Outlook

They upped their win total by one last year, but things haven’t been so easy for the Falcons in the last few years. Along with the graduation of All-Area first teamer Riley Michaels (Cabrini), it could be another uphill battle for Pottsgrove. “We are a small group this year with many new faces. Our overall approach to this season is communication and teamwork,” coach Fred Michaels said.

Spring-Ford

Head coach

Kevin Donnelly, 11th season

Last year’s record

14-0 PAC-10, 19-3 overall, PAC-10 champion, District 1 second round

Players to watch

Kevin Todd, Jr., attack (All-Area second team); Jake Hvazda, Jr., attack (All-Area HM); Zach Hare, Sr., mid. (All-Area first team); Carter Gensler, Jr., mid. (All-Area HM); Connor Crawford, Sr., def. (All-Area HM); Liam Hare, Jr., def.; Parker Hartline, Sr., def. (All-Area HM).

Outlook

It would have been fair to ask questions of Spring-Ford ahead of last season considering it had graduated nearly its entire core, including Division 1 players like Paul Major and Ian Hare. Then the Rams went out and ran the PAC table anyway and played a tight game with eventual District 1 champ and PIAA finalist Avon Grove in a season-ending loss in districts. They must replace Mercury All-Area Player of the Year goalie Matt Messerle and top attack Alex Marte, but there won’t be any underestimating Spring-Ford this year. It has returning depth and talent at every position, led by All-Area first teamer Zach Hare in the midfield and second teamer Kevin Todd on attack. Aspirations for a 5th straight PAC title and a deep run at districts would not be unreasonable. “The team is looking forward to building on the tradition that has been built by teams before us,” coach Kevin Donnelly said. “We are ready for the challenge of the season and competing against some of the top teams in the area and out of conference. We are hoping that we come together as a team and fulfill the potential that we have.”

Compiled by Austin Hertzog, ahertzog@pottsmerc.com

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