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Broadfording, Grace battle for supremacy

September 02, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Two of the best boys soccer teams in Washington County will likely battle for the Mason Dixon Christian Conference regular-season and tournament titles this year.

Broadfording and Grace Academy may be small schools, but their squads are talented enough to challenge any team in the county.

While the rosters of the public school teams changed quite a bit from 2008, the core of the Lions and Knights remained intact. Expect both teams to dominate their competition -- except perhaps each other.

"I've watched Broadfording and it should be a good battle," Grace coach Andrew Serafini said. "We played against them in summer league. The Torres brothers are amazing. We won the indoor league at HCC and did not lose in the summer league."

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The Torres brothers -- senior Stephen and sophomores Andrew and Michael -- are in the middle of everything for the Lions. Stephen was an All-Area Second Team honoree in 2008 after scoring 19 goals. Andrew had 13 himself, and Michael already has a two-goal game this season against Heritage Academy.

"Michael's come on quite a bit, he's going to be quite an asset to the team," Lions coach David Grimm said. "All of them can play. ... We should have a good season. Hopefully we'll end up being at the top of the MDCC this year."

Grace will have something to say about that. The Knights have two All-County Second Team performers back -- sophomore forward Luke Bunting, a 20-goal scorer last year, and senior midfielder Caleb Serafini, who had six goals and 12 assists. Bunting may be the county's best finisher.

"He plays on a premier team in Harrisburg. He has the body (6 feet), He's a big kid, size 13 shoes, plays under control and has scored some amazing goals," Andrew Serafini said. "A lot of kids can do some neat stuff and can't finish. He can finish. I expect he'll play at the next level."

The Knights also welcome back senior goalkeeper Kenny Frederickson, who had eight shutouts last year.

Boonsboro

Four key pieces of the Warriors' scintillating run to the Maryland Class 1A state final in 2008 -- Shane Lowery, Keith Welch, Steve Kopp and Ryan Barrett -- graduated, leaving plenty of holes to fill.

Senior forward Micaiah Jessie scored 14 goals in 2008 and should lead this year's group. Junior Kenny Kopp joins Jessie up front, junior Mitchell Stenersen and sophomore Josh Hayden anchor the midfield, and senior Jake Spence leads the defense. Junior goalkeeper Paul Jordan made some huge saves against Williamsport in last year's 1A West final.

Broadfording

There are no questions about the offense. In addition to the Torres trio, senior forward Gabe Hirsch scored 16 goals last year.

The Lions will score goals in spades. The question is, how good is their defense -- which will surely get tested by rival Grace.

Clear Spring

Of the county's public-school teams, the Blazers may be in the best shape with eight starters back. Junior forward Matthew Blair, who scored 10 goals a year ago, leads the way. Senior Alec Long -- fully recovered from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma -- and juniors Devin Repp and Blake Vincent anchor the midfield, with junior Gavin Myers and senior Tyler Forrest patrolling the back line and senior Ryan Cooper in goal.

Injuries derailed a significant portion of the Blazers' season last year, but coach Mark Myers said the squad is in good health to start this season.

Grace Academy

Three seniors -- midfielder Zack Morgan, defender Nick Montoya and Spencer Horst -- provide depth behind the Knights' electric offensive stars.

Horst is a versatile player who could play in defense or midfield. Montoya transferred from Smithsburg and will anchor the back line.

Heritage Academy

First-year coach Austin Prejean moves up from coaching the junior high squad last year. He said the defense -- led by senior Josh Long, sophomore goalkeeper Chad Lowery and freshman Collin Poyle -- is the team's strong point.

Senior J.R. Dudeck and sophomore Mark Taggert will play up front. Prejean hopes a group of freshmen will eventually contribute offensively.

North Hagerstown

The Hubs lost one offensive star -- All-Area First Team forward Michael Baer, who had 20 goals in 2008 -- to graduation, but gained another in senior midfielder Tyler Sterling, who transferred from St. Maria Goretti. Sterling, an All-Area First Team pick himself, had 12 goals and 11 assists last year.

Senior Nelson Moreno will join Sterling up front, with senior Alex Henry and juniors Max Psillas and Dino Gilmanov playing in the midfield and senior Kelton Miller anchoring the back line.

Smithsburg

First-year coach Gerry Johnson is in full-blown teaching mode with an eye on future seasons as much as this oneƂ -- which could be rough after the departures of All-County First Team honorees Steve Kretzer and Zach Carson, the cornerstones of the squad the past two seasons.

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