Massachusetts Boys Division 1 Top 20
|13||St. John's Prep||13||8||3|
The tradition is in place, an expectation of excellence established. Players come and players go but it seems of little consequence to No. 1 BC High (20-3-2). Coach John Flaherty’s clubs are always ready to rock and roll.
The two-time defending Division 1A Tournament and Catholic Conference champion Eagles return 14 players and remain perched atop our HNIB News pre-season Massachusetts Boys Division 1 Top 20 to start this season. You know, you have to beat the champ to be the champ…
Can No. 2 Xaverian (17-8-1) recreate its magic from a season ago when it dazzled with three wins in the 1A? The Hawks boast perhaps the premier forward pair in the state in seniors Ryan Pomposelli (17-20-37) and Matty Ryan (18-22-40).
No. 3 Pope Francis (18-2-3) may be bit younger than the teams that endured 1A OT title game losses to B.C. High each of the past two years but the Cardinals possess a difference-maker in junior goalie Ben Zaranek, a three-year starter.
Among the Publics, No. 4 Hingham (19-6-1) is perhaps the best at re-loading year in and year out. Although 14 seniors graduated from last year’s 1A semifinal squad, coach Tony Messina anticipates this club will be just fine.
No. 5 Framingham (17-5-2) is aiming for a return to the 1A Tournament. Senior Jake Handy, a Bay State Conference all-star last season, posted gaudy 1.35/.933 numbers and gives the Flyers the chance to win every time out.
Expect No. 6 Arlington (15-5-3), the Middlesex League Liberty Division champion, to make a big push. Four-year senior forward Anthony Messuri, a Northeastern commit, and goalie Nate Brennan are key cogs for Coach John Messuri’s Spy Ponders.
Defending Division One State Champ No. 7 Duxbury (22-5-0) of the Patriot League may actually have arrived a year early last season under veteran coach John Blake. A dozen seniors return from that team looking for a repeat.
No. 8 Austin Prep (16-6-3), a perennial 1A qualifier, is chasing its ninth consecutive Catholic Central Large crown. Senior captain and four-year varsity regular Chris Roy leads the way for coach Bill Pappas.
Perhaps no team has more depth than No. 9 Braintree (13-7-1) of the Bay State Hegert Division. The Wamps welcome back 21 players, including 10 forwards.
New coach Gino Khachadourian takes the reins for No.10 Winchester (17-8-0), a State Finalist last season. Senior forward Ryan McCarthy and junior goalie Robert DiVincenzo should rank among the very best at their positions in D1.
No. 11 Burlington (14-8-2), the Middlesex League’s Freedom Division champion, welcomes back 16 players including standout senior forward Ryan O’Halloran (46 points).
No. 12 St. Mary’s (16-5-1) returns 18 players with varying degrees of experience and is especially deep on defense.
No. 13 St. John’s Prep (13-8-3) of the Catholic Conference is younger than usual but is generally a quick study under veteran coach Kris Hanson and his staff.
No. 14 Catholic Memorial (14-8-1) will rely on impressive depth and features junior Captain Will MacNeil up front and senior Captain Kevin McCarthy on the blue line.
No. 15 Marshfield (14-7-2) will play an Independent schedule this season before joining the Patriot League a year from now.
No. 16 Melrose (12-5-5) of the Middlesex Freedom, No. 17 Reading (12-7-4) of the Middlesex Liberty, No. 18 Wellesley (12-8-2) of the Bay State Carey, No. 19 Needham (14-8-1) ,the Bay State Herget champ; and No. 20 Andover (13-7-2) of the MVC/DCL One round out the preseason rankings.