LoHud Power Rankings: Usual suspects at the top, then a lot of uncertainty

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TOP 10 OVERALL

1. Arlington (7-0) – No losses for the Admirals, yet, which means they’ll stay put for this set of rankings. They passed their first big test of the season with a 2-0 win over John Jay-EF last Thursday, and will have another tonight when they travel to Mahopac. Arlington is positioning itself for a very good seed and another run at the Class AA title. Previous ranking: 1

2. Mamaroneck (7-0) – I walked away from the Tigers’ 4-1 win over Scarsdale on Friday thoroughly impressed with what I saw from this group. They’ve dominated in every facet of the game, outscoring opponents 29-3 so far. I can’t imagine many teams matching Mamaroneck’s firepower up top with Nick Tunic and Juan Giraldo, who have been the best one-two scoring punch in the section through the opening month. Big league test coming on Tuesday, when the Tigers travel to White Plains. PR: 2

3. Byram Hills (8-0) – There’s only one remaining unbeaten outside of Class AA, and they’ve become the clear-cut favorite in Class A. The Bobcats didn’t allow a goal until their eighth game and have hung some impressive wins on several ranked teams. This group has meshed quickly, and will likely head into Oct. 7’s showdown with Section 9 power Goshen without a loss. PR: 6

4. John Jay-East Fishkill (6-1) – The Patriots’ one blemish came last week against top-ranked Arlington, but other than that, they’ve handled their business. Wins over White Plains, Mahopac and Ketcham have proven that JJEF is among the elite teams in Class AA. But until the Pats can find a way to beat league rival Arlington, they’ll likely remain outside of the top two or three. PR: 3

5. Mahopac (4-1) – The teams start to get more jumbled after the top four, but the Indians seem like as good of a choice as any with only one loss and a few noteworthy wins, such as victories over Greeley and Carmel. Goalkeeping can take you a long way, and many coaches are already referring to Mike Bernardi as the top keeper in the section. PR: 8

6. Spring Valley (5-1) – The Tigers have opened eyes with five straight wins after an opening loss to Pearl River – including a revenge win over PR when they met for the second time. Coach Ryan Marcus has a handful of skilled players that make Spring Valley difficult to defend, and more importantly, he has them all buying into his system. The Tigers are positioning themselves for a league title, and could really grab a firm hold with a win over defending champ North Rockland on Tuesday. PR: Not ranked

7. Pearl River (7-1) – What a start for the Pirates. Expectations were scaled back after graduating many of their key players from last season, but they’ve been playing like a veteran group. They’ve already taken out the large schools from Rockland county – North Rockland, Suffern and both Clarkstowns – and now move into the Class A portion of the schedule, starting with a visit from TZ on Tuesday. PR: NR

8. Lakeland (6-2) – Injuries threatened to spoil the Hornets’ season in the early going, but this group has proven to be resilient, and now they’re getting healthy. Lakeland’s only two losses came against the top two teams in the rankings – Arlington and Mamaroneck – but the Hornets have yet to drop a game against a Class A opponent. Their next five games are very winnable, so don’t be surprised to see them continue to move up in the rankings. PR: NR

9. Ketcham (5-1) – The Indians are often the forgotten team among the Class AA schools in Dutchess county, but it’s been difficult to ignore the success that they’ve been having. Wins over Somers, Carmel and Beacon have been notable, with Ketcham’s one loss coming against John Jay-EF. This is an improving team that seems to be on the rise. PR: NR

10. Keio (4-2) – Not many teams play a schedule as difficult as that of the Unicorns, and so far, they’ve come through very well. One-goal losses to Byram Hills and White Plains come with the territory, but Keio has quality wins over Blind Brook, Ossining and a three-goal victory over Greeley. In a wide open Class A field after Byram, the Unicorns are probably just as good as anyone. PR: NR

On the fringe: Brewster (6-1), Bronxville (7-1-1), Horace Greeley (3-3-1), Port Chester (4-3-1), White Plains (4-3-1)

CLASS AA
1. Arlington (7-0) PR: 1
2. Mamaroneck (7-0) PR: 2
3. John Jay-East Fishkill (6-1) PR: 3
4. Mahopac (4-1) PR: 7
5. Spring Valley (5-1) PR: NR
6. Ketcham (5-1) PR: NR
7. Port Chester (4-3-1) PR: 5
8. White Plains (4-3-1) PR: 6
9. Horace Greeley (3-3-1) PR: 8
10. Yorktown (6-1) PR: NR
On the fringe: Fox Lane (6-1-1); New Rochelle (4-3-1); Scarsdale (3-2-2)
NOTES: After the top three, these rankings were very difficult to put together. We have traditionally strong programs that play difficult schedules — such as PC, White Plains and Greeley — and others that have strong records while playing significantly softer schedules — such as Yorktown and Fox Lane. Ultimately, I ended up putting the teams that I thought would win head-to-head higher up, which left a couple of teams with one or two losses ranked further down… PC has some nice wins over WP, New Ro and Ossining, but the consistency that we’ve seen in the past has not been there. The Rams are getting very familiar with many of the top teams in Class AA, which should benefit them later in the year… White Plains has played some tough out of section competition — tying Newburgh Free Academy and losing to NYC-power MLK — but the Tigers have also lost to Section 1 opponents JJEF and PC. Not many slouches on this schedule, to be sure… Greeley has dealt with inconsistency, but we’ve seen glimpses of why this could be a very dangerous team… Yorktown has rattled off some wins of late, but lost its only game against a ranked opponent (Lakeland). The Huskers will likely finish with a very good overall record, but you have to wonder how they would fare against any fellow top 10 Class AA team… The same can be said for Fox Lane, which has still yet to play a Class AA opponent. I’d have a hard time moving them ahead of teams that play meat-grinder schedules until we see a bit more… I see Class AA as 16 teams deep right now, with Suffern, North Rockland and Carmel as three teams that I didn’t mention that each have at least three wins. You guys want to just start the sectional tourney tomorrow?

CLASS A
1. Byram Hills (8-0) PR: 1
2. Pearl River (7-1) PR: 4
3. Lakeland (6-2) PR: 6
4. Keio (4-2) PR: 7
5. Brewster (6-1) PR: NR
6. Tappan Zee (6-2) PR: NR
7. Nyack (5-2) PR: 2
8. Edgemont (5-2) PR: NR
9. Pelham (3-3-1) PR: 5
10. Somers (3-3) PR: 3
On the fringe: Lourdes (5-4), Saunders (5-3), Sleepy Hollow (4-2)
NOTES: There’s no questioning Byram at No. 1, and Pearl River has earned its way into the two-spot. Lakeland and Keio could be knocking on the door soon, though… Brewster is one of those teams that not many people were talking about in the preseason, but is quickly changing the perception. Some of the Bears’ wins have been the type of games that any teams in the top 10 would win, but they have beaten a solid Carmel team and their only loss came by one goal against No. 5 overall Mahopac… TZ has forced its way ahead of Nyack with a hot start and a head-to-head win… In its first season in Class A, Edgemont has yet to lose to a Class A opponent. The Panthers only two losses came early against AA schools Scarsdale and New Ro, but they’ve won three in a row since. This is a team with some legitimate offensive capabilities… Pelham has been up-and-down, which made it difficult to keep the Pelicans in the top eight… After starting 3-0, Somers has dropped three straight. It’s worth noting that those three losses came against Lakeland, Ketcham and Arlington — with each of those teams being ranked in the top 10 overall.

CLASS B
1. Bronxville (7-1-1) PR: 2
2. Valhalla (7-2-1) PR: 1
3. Blind Brook (4-3) PR: 4
4. Briarcliff (5-3-1) PR: 3
5. Irvington (6-1-1) PR: 6
6. Hastings (6-1) PR: 9
7. Woodlands (6-1) PR: 10
8. Westlake (4-3-1) PR: 5
9. Rye Neck (4-4-1) PR: 8
10. North Salem (3-4) PR: 7
On the fringe: Albertus Magnus (2-5), Dobbs Ferry (4-4), Pleasantville (3-5)
NOTES: I swapped the teams at the top, which I think has been justified by some impressive wins from Bronxville. The Broncos beat a Rye Neck team that split with Valhalla, while also picking up a nice win over Pelham… Putting Blind Brook in the third spot ahead of some one-loss teams might be a controversial choice, but not when you consider that the Trojans play the most difficult schedule of any team in Class B. They lost to Greeley, Keio and Carmel, but also pleasantly surprised with a huge win over Port Chester… Briarcliff has lost a couple games of late, but remain ahead of Irvington and Westlake thanks to head-to-head wins… If not for the loss to Briarcliff, you could make a case for Irvington in the top three… Hastings has handled its business while playing a relatively easy portion of its schedule, but still has not had a win over a ranked opponent… The same can be said for Woodlands, with the exception of a 2-1 win over Schechter… Westlake has dropped two in a row, but remains ahead of Rye Neck due to a head-to-head win… Rye Neck split with Valhalla, but has struggled against other ranked Class B teams, with losses to Blind Brook, Bronxville and Westlake… All of North Salem’s losses have come against AA and A teams.

CLASS C
1. Haldane (5-3) PR: 2
2. Solomon Schechter (2-3) PR: 1
3. YMA (3-4) PR: 5
4. Tuckahoe (1-6) PR: 3
5. Hamilton (0-8-1) PR: 4
NOTES: These rankings might not be as cut-and-dry as they seem. Haldane has been the most consistent team in the class, but the Blue Devils did lose 1-0 to YMA. Schechter’s record doesn’t look great, but the Lions play the toughest schedule of any Class C team. And while YMA has the win over Haldane, they also have some other head-scratching losses. I’m putting Haldane at No. 1 for now, but not confidently… YMA is surprising some people. They beat Tuckahoe on Friday and word is that goalie Alberto Sanchez is playing very well.

Photo by Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News

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About Author

VINCENT Z. MERCOGLIANO has been with The Journal News and LoHud.com since March 2010. He graduated from New Rochelle High School in 2005 and from Hofstra University in 2009 with a degree in broadcast journalism. He currently covers boys soccer, wrestling and baseball, while assisting with LoHud's Yankees coverage.

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