High school preview rolls into new states

High school preview rolls into new states
by Will Parchman
September 18, 2013

We continue our five-part journey through the ranks of the nation’s fall high school soccer ranks with a number of compelling teams and players on paths earmarked for state titles. That includes the most successful high school soccer coach in the country’s history, an unbelievable girls dynasty in New Hampshire and more.

Missouri (boys only)
Christian Brothers (St. Louis) (25-5-1): When it comes to high school boys soccer coaching, Christian Brothers head man Terry Michler is the dean. He's the country's all-time winningest high school coach with 862 wins in 42 years at Christian Brothers, including seven state titles. The most improbable came last year, when CBC upset heavy favorite Chaminade 2-0 in the Class 3 title game on a chilly November evening. Michler's side this year won't fly under as many radars, if it ever will again after this long at the helm. There are six starters back, including the nucleus of the stout back line in Tommy Lee and A.J. Palazzolo.

Whitefish (15-0-0):
Whitefish has won each of the last two Class A state titles, and the Bulldogs have had the luxury of playing the title game on their own field both times. Still, they more than deserved a 2012 title in which they shredded three postseason opponents a combined 17-1. The massive bonus for Whitefish, which won its latest title while fat snowflakes coated the field, is that there were only four seniors on the 2012 iteration. Hopes are high for a Class A three-peat.

Billings Central (15-0-0): Central set a national girls record by winning 48 consecutive games from 2008-2011. While that's since been eclipsed by Idaho's Bishop Kelly, the Rams continue to gore state opposition. They topped Columbia Falls 6-0 last fall to win their fifth consecutive Class A state title. In a sure sign of Central's overwhelming dominance, Columbia Falls had outscored opponents 49-1 en route to the title game. Feared striker duo Allie Lucas and Holly Davison will be broken up this year after Davison graduated.

Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) (14-2-2): The Gaels, who are consistently one of the top across-the-board high school athletic programs in the nation, hadn't won a boys soccer state title since 2007. That changed last year when Gorman broke Green Valley's back with a 1-0 win an Austin Moore goal. After four years of pushing, Gorman's highly touted senior class finally had its Division I trophy. Moore was at the head of that senior class, and a new cast of contributors must step up if they want a repeat. 

Pahrump Valley (22-2-0): Girls soccer in Nevada had for years circled around Clark County, which bucked the state trend by having its girls soccer season in the winter. It deprived the state of a true 4A girls state champ, which has finally changed. With girls now completely in the fall, Pahrump Valley has taken the I-A title and run with it by winning the last two state titles. Last year, a 3-0 win over Faith Lutheran got it done in the final, and Sydney Sladek polished a crazy junior year with 78 goals to break a 13-year-old Nevada state record. 

New Hampshire
Windham (16-3-0):
The Division 2 champs in 2012, Windham had a rocky road to the top. Tight battles throughout the playoffs spilled the Jaguars into the state final against No. 1 seed Hollis-Brookline, which had beaten the No. 2 Jaguars earlier in the regular season. Windham got the better of the exchanges in the playoffs with a thrilling 3-2 victory in the state final. After a glut of regular-season injuries, Windham healed up at just the right time. They'll go for a repeat this season. 

Exeter (19-0-0): Exeter is in the midst of a remarkable run most high school programs never even sniff. The Blue Hawks won their first ever state title in 2006, and they've since won six titles in the last seven seasons. Right now, Exeter is shooting for its fifth consecutive Class L/Division 1 state title. Considering the program is 122-8-3 since 2006, it would be foolhardy to bet against them. With eight seniors expected back, including leaders like Sydney Petersen and Jessica Long, it'll take something special to stop Exeter from its fifth straight.

New Jersey
Delbarton (Morristown) (23-1-0):
Most of the high school attention in New Jersey turns to St. Benedict's (for good reason), but Delbarton has carved out a dynasty of its own. Dr. David Donovan has a 344-68-21 record in 20 years at the helm, and the team snapped St. Benedict's run of 12 years unbeaten in New Jersey in 2003. After winning the NJSIAA Non-Public Class A title last season, the program took a trip to Spain to train, and the list of returners should cement Delbarton's 2013 as a memorable one. Jared Stroud and Tommy Griffin are both talented academy players, while forward Mike Mosher had 11 goals and 15 assists a season ago.

Montgomery (Skillman) (23-1-2): Any team that can emerge from the Skyland Conference without many nicks is enormously impressive. It's arguably the most competitive single girls' soccer district anywhere in the country. The conference generated two state champs last year, one of which was Montgomery, which captured the NJSIAA Group 4 with a 1-0 win over Ridge. The most encouraging thing for Montgomery's repeat bid (2012 was the program's first ever outright title) is the return of State Player of the Year Colby Ciarrocca, a PDA player who assisted in the goal in the state title game. Considering the fortified pipeline here, this could be only the beginning of Montgomery's run.

New Mexico
Eldorado (Albuquerque) (15-5-1):
There isn't a program in the state (and perhaps in the the state's history) that can boast consistency of the kind Eldorado has enjoyed over the past eight years. The 5A outfit has been in the state title game in seven of the last eight years with four state titles since 2005. Real Salt Lake's Devin Sandoval is a product of that run, and Eldorado is loaded again for 2013. Avenging a state title-game loss to hated rival La Cueva from last season is top of the agenda. With players like Corey Carabajal on the roster, don't look past them.

Albuquerque Academy (20-3-0): The Chargers are a force in the state's 4A classification, and they proved it once again in 2012. An all-too-easy 3-1 win over Aztec handed Academy a fifth consecutive state title, few of which have even been close. The Chargers will enter a new era this season after longtime Academy coaching staple stepped down from his post as the girls coach after being at the wheel for every one of those five titles. If Academy can make it a sixth straight with a new coach pulling the strings, the Chargers have to be in rarified national air.

New York
Arlington (LaGrangeville) (22-1-0):
When the legendary Gary Montalto stepped down in 2009 after 31 years and more than 500 wins, nobody knew where Arlington was headed. Turns out it was in the same direction, as Craig Sanborn has 43 wins over the last three seasons, which includes a AA state crown in 2012. As with any title contending program, the Admirals have a glut of talent to replace, which includes striker Jeffrey Greblik's 21 goals and 11 assists. But with players like David Verdis back, Arlington will again be a shoe-in for 20-plus wins and to compete for yet another state title.

St. Anthony's (Melville) (19-2-1): No girls program in New York has loftier expectations (and more weight behind them) than the always competitive St. Anthony's. The program smack in the center of Long Island has two straight New York Catholic High School Athletic Association titles, the last of which was a mighty impressive 6-0 dusting of Staten Island's Notre Dame Academy in the state final. Coach Dave Prutting has 11 players back who had starting experience during last year's 19-win campaign. Combine that with a coach that sports 405 wins in his 21 years at the rudder, and it'll be a massive shock if St. Anthony's doesn't win its third straight in 2013.

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