Can Jericho win its third consecutive state Class A title? Coach Dani Braga believes the Jayhawks' defense is up to the task.
It centers around senior captains Jack Roberts, a sweeper, and midfielder Michael Blumberg.
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"I think our defense has been instrumental in winning the state championship," said Braga, whose team is coming off a 20-1-1 season. "This year is no different. You can't win games if you let in goals."
Keying the defense is Jake Zorfas and goalkeeper Reed Ginsberg.
South Side, which came within an overtime goal of upending Jericho in the Nassau championship game, returns four starters, led by senior goalkeeper Thomas Germano, whom South Side coach Fred Paul called "one of the best keepers in the county."
Keep an eye on Roslyn's midfield, featuring junior Nick Markman and senior Brandon Friedman. Junior center Zachary Moskowitz and freshman forward Andrew Markman should score. Goalie Ethan Rousso and Alex Goodman lead the defense.
Senior Patrick Quigley's versatility, speed and ability to play anywhere on the field is going to make Wantagh a team to watch.
Scott DeBenedittis is back after leading Syosset to its first county AA championship since 1998. Also returning are senior midfielders Nico Valentino, Nat Mori, and back Doug Enga.
Goalie Dan Vitiello is one of five seniors back for Massapequa, the county runner-up last season, which has the talent to return to the finals. Midfielder Brendan Gallivan and defenders Chris McGrath, John Romano and Kevin Mazol are the other seniors on board.
Hicksville, which dropped a 2-1 decision to Massapequa in the quarters last season, is always a tough out.
MacArthur will play a 4-4-2 set, featuring four midfielders, four defenders and two strikers, said coach Andy Atkins. Leaders include goalie Kevin Mayer, strikers Frank Micieli, Anthony Rocchio and midfielder Ben Zilka.
Plainview JFK returns nine seniors, led by senior captain and center back Brett Mendelsohn, senior midfielder/striker Zachary Zeises and junior midfielder Matthew Fernbach. Sophomore David Geyer is preparing for his second season as the starting goalkeeper.
County champ Carle Place has eight returning starters, led by seniors Dylan Klein, defender Matt Carr and goalkeeper John Guzzo, who led Class B with seven shutouts last season.
Wheatley, which is coming off a 2-1 defeat to Carle Place in the Nassau Class B semifinals last season after winning the Long Island title in '11, is looking to get back to prominent grounds behind the play of senior forward Brian Delay. The Wildcats have 15 seniors returning, nine of which are starting. The whole back line is back, featuring goalkeeper Andrew Tripi and sweeper Matthew Huhn.
Oyster Bay is counting on three returning starters -- junior defender Thomas Carchietta, senior defender and captain Mark Stutzmann and sophomore defender/midfielder Kevin Velasquez to help the Baymen get back to the postseason.
CLASS CMidfielders Andrew Stingi, Jon Nierenberg and Max Heffron lead returning champion Friends.