The Inquirer TOP 10
PRESEASON BOYS' SOCCER
Records are from last season.
1. Moorestown (19-5-1). Fresh off winning a South Jersey Group 3 title, Moorestown returns some of the area's top talent on offense and defense. Senior forwards Michael Kassak and Michael Handlan are superior athletes who netted 20 goals each last season. Senior goalie J.T. Bretschneider recorded 10 shutouts in 2012, including a 1-0 win over Kingsway in the South Jersey Group 3 final.
3. Timber Creek (18-4-2). Perennially flirting with the No. 1 spot in South Jersey, Timber Creek again will field one of the area's deepest and most experienced sides. Senior forward Alex Kourahanis recorded 15 goals and 15 assists last year and is the area's only returning Inquirer first-team all-South Jersey player. He is complemented by senior midfielder Gian Duclos, who recorded nine goals and 11 assists in 2012, and senior defender Christian Morgan.
4. Cherry Hill West (10-4-3). The Lions looked increasingly strong throughout 2012, going 5-0-1 over their final six regular-season games before taking Washington Township to penalty kicks in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs. Losing star goalie Sean Mullarkey hurts, but West returns most of its 2012 core, led by forward Gabe Watkins and midfielder Colin McBride.
5. Haddon Township (15-5). The Hawks likely would have found their way into the Top 10 even without the addition of Kyler White, a junior playing his first year of high school soccer after a stint with the Philadelphia Union Academy. White, whose natural position is goalie, will be South Jersey's most athletic forward this year. Six-foot-three goalie Scott LaPan and senior back Kyle Wade are other standouts on a solid team.
6. Haddon Heights (19-3-3). Fresh off winning the state Group 1 title, Haddon Heights must replace Inquirer player of the year Jon Weaver and one of the area's top defenders, Kevin Miller. But the team returns enough to challenge for another title, leaning much more heavily on its offense, including senior midfielder Kevin Nelan, junior forward Jesse Weik, and junior midfielder Andrew Hicks.
7. Cherokee (11-7-4). The Chiefs hope to take a step forward under second-year coach Glenn Thomsen. The team, as usual, won't lack talented players even as it might not field a true superstar. Striker Steve Scian, who recorded nine goals and 11 assists last season; goalie Austin Cutillo, who had nine shutouts last year; and defender Joey Dikmak lead a balanced team.
8. Clearview (14-5-2). The Pioneers feature one of the area's true up-and-coming stars in forward Gavin Bright, who recorded 17 goals and four assists as a sophomore in 2012. Bright is complemented by a strong supporting cast, including four players who are also returning starters. Clearview is poised to top last year's 14 wins.
9. Kingsway (19-4). The Dragons return a solid group of starters from a team that won a competitive Tri-County Royal Division and advanced to the South Jersey Group 3 final. Despite graduating one of its strongest senior classes in recent memory, Kingsway will remain competitive largely because of its senior captains, defender Garrett Hoagland and midfielders Benny Gialloreto and Alec Sery.
10. Delran (16-6-1). The Bears are consistently among the area's top teams, and that shouldn't change. Senior forward Doug Denny is the top returning player, but Delran should be strong all over the field, including senior midfielder Tristan Rafanello and senior keeper Nick Stone.
- Chris Melchiorre