With the regular season now officially underway (although the game schedule really doesn’t pick up until next week), I took some time to breakdown the league title pictures from around Section 1 and make my predictions. There have been some realignments this season, which has left us with a few power leagues and then some others that appear to be much more winnable. Here goes nothing…
LEAGUE 1-A—Arlington, Carmel, John Jay-EF, Ketcham, Mahopac, Somers
Projected champ – ARLINGTON: The defending Class AA state champs will have plenty of competition in one of the most stacked leagues in the section, but I think they’ll have too much firepower when it’s all said and done. John Jay-EF, Mahopac and Somers each have the potential to take a game from the Admirals, but I can’t see them losing enough times to cost them the league title.
LEAGUE 1-B—Beacon, John Jay, Lakeland, Lourdes, Yorktown
Projected champ – LAKELAND: The Hornets have played in the same league as Arlington in recent years, but now that they have been separated, the path to a league title should be much easier. Beacon will certainly have its say, but Lakeland has been one of the premier programs in the section and will relish the chance to take first place here.
LEAGUE 1-C—Arlington B, Brewster, North Salem, Pawling, Poughkeepsie
Projected champ – NORTH SALEM: Don’t count out Arlington B – especially considering the talent that North Salem has lost to graduation – but the Tigers are going to be my pick here, despite being the smallest school in the league. Year after year, North Salem seems to find ways to knock off the big boys, and this league should be significantly weaker than it has been in quite some time.
LEAGUE 1-D—Haldane, Hen Hud, Panas, Peekskill, Putnam Valley
Projected champ – HEN HUD: The Sailors are the defending champs here and look poised to repeat as most of the other teams in the league are in rebuilding mode. Haldane may be Hen Hud’s biggest threat.
LEAGUE 2-A—Roosevelt, Solomon Schechter, Tuckahoe, Woodlands, YMA
Projected champ – SOLOMON SCHECHTER: The defending Class C champs are coming off of a tremendous season, and the good news is that they played a lot of young players on their run to the title. A big portion of the Lions’ core is back, which makes them the front-runner here, but don’t sleep on Woodlands.
LEAGUE 2-B—Mamaroneck, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Scarsdale, White Plains
Projected champ – WHITE PLAINS: I see this as a very tight three-team race between Mamaroneck, Scarsdale and White Plains, but WP has the track record. The Tigers have won nine league titles since 2000, and are bringing back most of their starters from last season. I really like Scarsdale’s midfield, but the lack of a proven keeper and striker may cause some initial growing pains.
LEAGUE 2-C—Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Irvington, Sleepy Hollow
Projected champ – IRVINGTON: Last season, this league came down to Irvington and Hastings, and that may very well be the case again. The asset that the Bulldogs have that no one else in the league does is a proven scorer up top in Ben Ovetsky.
LEAGUE 2-D—Gorton, Lincoln, Riverside, Saunders, Yonkers
Projected champ – YONKERS: Say what you will about the Bulldogs in recent seasons, but they’ve constantly dominated in league play. Don’t expect that to change.
LEAGUE 2-E—Bronxville, Eastchester, Edgemont, Pelham, Scarsdale B
Projected champ – PELHAM: This will be a very interesting race to watch this season, with Edgemont, Bronxville and Pelham each looking like contenders. Each team brings back a good deal of experienced players, but I think that the Pelicans have the most high-end talent. They’re poised for a big year, but these will be some fun games to watch.
LEAGUE 3-A—Blind Brook, Hamilton, Rye, Rye Neck, Valhalla
Projected champ – VALHALLA: It’s tough to pick against the two-time defending Class B champs (I’m sure the Blind Brook people will let me have it for this), but I really like the Vikings this season. Valhalla came on strong last season with a run to the Class B semis and brings back more starters than any team in the league.
LEAGUE 3-B—Briarcliff, Croton-Harmon, Fox Lane, Harrison, Pleasantville, Westlake
Projected winner – BRIARCLIFF: The Bears won this league last season, and should be the favorite to repeat with several returning starters. The darkhorse is Harrison, which played much better late in the season after starting 0-5.
LEAGUE 3-C—Byram Hills, Horace Greeley, Keio, Ossining, Port Chester
Projected winner – PORT CHESTER: This league only got tougher in the offseason with Keio moving in, but the Rams are still the team to beat. Really, any of the five could end up winning it, but PC has the recent track record. It usually comes down to the Rams and Byram, and they have had the Bobcats’ number of late.
LEAGUE 4-A—Clarkstown North, Clarkstown South, North Rockland, Ramapo, Spring Valley, Suffern
Projected winner – NORTH ROCKLAND: The Red Raiders should experience some growing pains after losing several starters from last season’s Class AA runner-up team, but I still see them as the team to beat. Spring Valley and Clarkstown North should be their biggest competition.
LEAGUE 4-B—Albertus Magnus, Nyack, Pearl River, Tappan Zee
Projected winner – NYACK: Pearl River was a heavy favorite in this league last season, but the Indians pulled off a shocking run to the league title. If you look at each team’s roster heading into this season, Nyack is bringing back more experienced players, which makes the Indians the favorite to retain the title.