1. Yarmouth: The Clippers are coming off a fourth straight Class B state title and are ranked 21st nationally. Eleven goal scorers return from last season’s 18-0 team, led by dangerous senior striker Eric LaBrie, who collected 26 goals and 11 assists. Classmate Jack Jones is back at midfield with senior Jack Romano, and juniors Liam Ireland, John Clinton and Jason Lainey. Juniors John D’Appolonia, Aidan Hickey and senior Michael Guertler lead the defense. With a current winning streak of 23 games and unbeaten streak of 31, Yarmouth remains the team to beat not only in Class B but in all of Maine.

2. Portland: Two years ago the Bulldogs reached the Class A South final. Last fall they progressed a step further to the state championship game before losing 1-0 in overtime to Lewiston. Six starters return from that 13-4-1 club but the defense took a hit with the graduation of Quinn Clarke and goalkeeper Rowan Daligan. Still, all-SMAA senior forward Pedro Fonseca leads a returning group of 12 that also includes seniors Tyler Lemay (defense) and Sam Nkurunziza (midfield), and junior midfielders Alex Millones and Tahn Tiparos. Keto Tchiputo is a talented transfer from Deering whose experience and skill set will help.

3. Gorham: The Rams are bidding to earn a spot in the Class A championship game for the second time in three years and claim their eighth state title, although the last came in 1981. Gorham went 13-3 last fall and reached the regional final before falling 2-1 to Portland on penalty kicks. Junior Andrew Rent is as good a midfielder as any in the state and leads five returning starters. The others are seniors Trevor Gray in goal, all-SMAA defender Michael Knight, and senior midfielders Cooper Lyons and Kevin Mollison. Coach Tim King said a strong group of juniors is ready to step into starting roles, resulting in a squad with plenty of depth and talent.

4. Falmouth: Despite losing 14 players to graduation, Coach Dave Halligan is optimistic that his young squad can develop into a formidable playoff contender. Certainly, Falmouth – coming off a 13-3 season that ended in the regional semifinals – will be stingy on defense, with sophomore Alvaro Fuentes-Cantillana (nine shutouts, 0.56 goals-against average) back in goal. Senior defenders Seamus O’Brien, Owen Mahoney and Kyle Bouchard also return. At 6-foot-7, classmate Niklas Hester might be the tallest midfielder in Maine. Junior Tom Fitzgerald (six goals, five assists) leads a promising group of attackers that includes classmates Adrian Friedman, Josh Lefevre and Joe Dye.

5. Freeport: Excitement is building in Freeport with a new turf field, lights making night games possible, and a new coach in Bob Strong. The Falcons have 13 seniors back from a 9-7 season ending in a Class B quarterfinal loss to eventual champion Yarmouth. Defense should be a strength, with athletic goalkeeper Atticus Patrick and fellow senior Caleb Arsenault leading the way. Strong is counting on junior Jesse Bennell to control tempo from the midfield. Up front, seniors Eriksen Shea, Bill Antoine (a transfer from Yarmouth) and junior Will Winter are the main threats.

6. Cape Elizabeth: The Capers have plenty back from a team that went 10-5-1, culminating in a 1-0 loss to York in the Class B South semifinals. John O’Connor and Nick Aceto lead a talented senior class that includes Sam Dresser, Phillip Tarling and Harry Baker. “We may not be as deep as we have been in the past,” Coach Ben Raymond said, “but our top guys will be able to compete with everyone in our league.” Juniors Charlie Dall, Killian Lathrop, Jack Dresser, Jonas Moon and Andrew Carroll are experienced veterans. Nick Clifford, Dylan Hewitt and Archie McEvoy saw significant time as freshmen last fall.

7. Cheverus: Coach Matt Andreasen sounds an optimistic tone for the Stags, who are coming off a 9-6-1 season that ended in the Class A South quarterfinals with a 3-2 loss to eventual regional finalist Gorham. Eight returning players will enter their third season as starters under Andreasen, also entering his third season at the helm. Michael Nason (seven goals) returns as a midfield mainstay. Jack Mullen is the primary scoring threat. Tanner LaFlamme and Nolan Doherty complement Nason in the midfield. All are seniors. Junior goalkeeper Harrison Bell has two years of starting under his belt.

8. Waynflete: If the Flyers can survive a difficult regular-season schedule – Coach Brandon Salway calls it the toughest of his 30 years – they should be primed for success in the Class C state tournament. Seven starters return from a 10-4-2 team that pushed eventual state champion Maranacook to a second overtime in the regional semifinals before falling 2-1. Junior Luca Antolini will return to goal (he was a freshman starter) after earning all-conference honors as a field player last fall. Classmate Askar Hussein is a scoring threat. Seniors Thorne Kieffer and Miles Lipton will help control midfield. Sophomores Joey Ansel-Mullen and Patrick Shaw add spark.

9. Mt. Ararat: The Eagles have plenty back from a team that fell in double overtime to Mt. Blue in the Class A North quarterfinals to end a 7-5-3 season. Among the 16 returning players are seven starters, including four-year starters Max Spelke at midfield and dangerous forward Travis Nadeau, who was injured in the fourth game last fall and lost for the season – but still led the team in scoring (10 goals) for a third straight year. Seniors Ethan Rac, Maximo Varela and Alex Bryant provide veteran leadership and experience, as do juniors Trevor York and Mason Brigham. “Every game in the KVAC is tough,” Coach Jack Rioux said. “On any given day anybody can beat anyone.”

10. South Portland: Despite allowing only four goals all season and going undefeated (13-0-1) in SMAA play, the Red Riots lost their first playoff game on penalty kicks after a scoreless tie against eighth-seeded Thornton Academy. Rebounding from that won’t be easy, particularly without an exceptional Class of 2018, but South Portland does return six starters. Leading the way is senior Cooper Mehlhorn, who had seven goals and seven assists last fall, and Aleks Kaurin, likely the top returning defender in the SMAA.

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