LoHud Power Rankings: Final edition of 2013

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For the final time in 2013, I’ve come up with a fresh set of power rankings. These are how I viewed each team at the conclusion of the season, so postseason performances obviously weighed heavily into my thought process. At some point in the near future, I’ll take a crack at ranking who I think the top teams will be in 2014, but consider these a final set of grades for 2013…

TOP 10 OVERALL

1. Arlington (19-1-2) – Let me just put this out there right off the bat: I messed up moving the Admirals out of the top spot a few weeks ago. Mamaroneck was red-hot and Arlington was looking a bit more vulnerable, but when push came to shove, the Class AA title stayed put. I think it’s fair to say that this Admirals’ team wasn’t quite as dominant as the 2012 team that won a state title, but with back-to-back section championships, they were still the class of Section 1. Previous ranking: 2

2. Horace Greeley (10-6-4) – Surprised to see the Quakers this high? Granted, they had their ups-and-downs during the regular season, but you know the old saying: It’s not how you start, but… You get the picture. Greeley finished the season playing as well as any team in the section, upsetting previously unbeaten Mamaroneck in the semis before pushing Arlington to the brink in an OT loss in the Class AA final. The Quakers came together at the right time and went on a run that should carry over plenty of momentum into next season. PR: Not ranked 

3. Mamaroneck (18-1) – No doubt, the Tigers will have all offseason to wonder about what could have been. I’m sure that many Mamaroneck fans will point to the fact that top scorer Nick Tunic played less than a half in the semifinal loss to Greeley due to an ankle injury, and it’s hard not to say that it affected the outcome. When healthy, the Tigers probably had the best offense in the section — a fast-striking, crisp attack that was a lot of fun to watch — and they were the only local team to win all 16 of their regular season games. A great season, indeed, but Greeley won when it counted, and that’s why I had to bump them ahead of Mamo in the final rankings. PR: 1

4. Pelham (15-6-1) – We knew that the Pelicans could have something special if they got healthy and were able to put the team that they envisioned in the preseason on the field, and they didn’t disappoint. Pelham rattled off 12 straight wins before an OT loss to Goshen in the regional final, giving the program a run unlike anything that it had seen in the past two decades. The headliners were Aidan Murray and Charlie Livingstone — who went on an incredible goal-scoring tear in the playoffs — but the Pelicans were strong in every facet of the game. Byram Hills was the top-ranked Class A team all season, but Pelham left no doubt by knocking off the Bobcats on its way to the Class A title. PR: On the fringe

5. John Jay-East Fishkill (14-4-1) – You could argue that the Patriots deserve to be higher — especially considering the fact that they took eventual champ Arlington to PKs in the Class AA semis — and you’d have a valid case to make. The fact is, the field is very crowded at the top, but there’s no question that JJEF was capable of competing with any team in the section. Year in and year out, it has been one of the most consistent programs in the section since I’ve been around. PR: 4

6. Byram Hills (16-2-1) – Losing two of its final four games was not the way that the Bobcats envisioned their season ending, but I still believe that they were the second-best team in Class A. They ran into a red-hot Pelham team in the semis, but there is certainly something to be said about going undefeated in a league that featured Greeley, Keio and Port Chester. Byram might not have had the firepower of years past, but only allowed seven goals and got a huge lift from the goal-scoring exploits of David Lachs. PR: 3

7. Mahopac (11-5-2) – The Indians got toughened up while playing in the strongest league in Section 1, and were probably just a small notch below league rivals Arlington and JJEF. Many coaches that I’ve spoken to consider Mike Bernardi to be the best keeper in the section, and he’ll be back next year to lead a Mahopac team that could compete for a Class AA title. A very positive season in coach Jim Gencarelli’s first-year at the helm. PR: 5

8. Ketcham (11-6) – The Indians took a huge step in the right direction this season, proving that they could hang with the likes of Arlington, JJEF and Mahopac in the toughest league in the section. Playing that type of competition so often couldn’t have been easy, but RCK responded with its best season in recent memory. Can the Indians take the next step in 2014? PR: 9

9. Pearl River (14-4-2) – Not many people — myself included — were picking the Pirates to make it to the Class A final, but that’s exactly what they did. There were questions about the difficulty of Pearl River’s schedule while playing almost exclusively Rockland county competition, but the Pirates showed up big-time in the postseason. This tough-nosed group really came together at the right time and pulled off a huge win in the semis over a Keio team that many thought was heading for the title game. A tremendous job by coach Damon O’Keefe to lead this relatively young team to new heights. PR: On the fringe

10. Keio (12-7) – The way that the season ended for the Unicorns had to be a bit of a disappointment, but there’s no denying how tough this team could be to play against. Despite often using only two subs, Keio could be downright explosive. Its precision passing game was lethal on turf, but tended to falter on grass, as we saw in the semifinal at Pearl River. But a quarterfinals win over Lakeland and some quality wins while playing a brutal schedule proved that the Unicorns were a top 10 team. PR: On the fringe

On the fringe: Blind Brook (15-5-1), Lakeland (14-4), Port Chester (10-7-1), Scarsdale (10-6-2), Yorktown (14-3)

CLASS AA
1. Arlington (19-1-2) PR: 2
2. Horace Greeley (10-6-4) PR: 10
3. Mamaroneck (18-1) PR: 1
4. John Jay-East Fishkill (14-4-1) PR: 3
5. Mahopac (11-5-2) PR: 4
6. Ketcham (11-6) PR: 7
7. Port Chester (10-7-1) PR: 8
8. Scarsdale (10-6-2) PR: NR
9. Yorktown (14-3) PR: 6
10. Spring Valley (13-4) PR: 5
On the fringe: Carmel (8-9), North Rockland (10-6-1), White Plains (9-7-1)
NOTES: As I’ve written many times, League 1-A was the deepest in Section 1, and that’s why it has four teams in the top six… PC and Scarsdale crack the top eight thanks to first round wins over Spring Valley and North Rockland, respectively… Yorktown and Spring Valley had great regular season records, but neither played a particularly difficult schedule, and it was reflected in first round losses.

CLASS A
1. Pelham (15-6-1) PR: 4
2. Byram Hills (16-2-1) PR: 1
3. Pearl River (14-4-2) PR: 5
4. Keio (12-7) PR: 3
5. Lakeland (14-4) PR: 2
6. Edgemont (12-5) PR: 7
7. Tappan Zee (12-4-2) PR: 6
8. Eastchester (10-8-1) PR: 9
9. Nyack (10-6-1) PR: 8
10. Sleepy Hollow (9-8-1) PR: NR
On the fringe: Brewster (9-8-1), John Jay (5-12-1), Somers (6-12)
NOTES: Pelham is the clear No. 1 after winning a title, but I felt that Byram showed enough to prove it was the next best team in the class. The Bobcats didn’t lose to any Class A opponent other than the Pelicans… Pearl River is ahead of Keio thanks to a head-to-head win, and that’s why Keio is ranked in front of Lakeland. It’s probably worth noting that Lakeland beat PR at the Westchester vs. Rockland Challenge, and I think that the Hornets were the best team not to make it out of the quarterfinals… Edgemont stumbled a bit down the stretch, but did take Pelham to OT in the quarters… Great bounce back season for TZ after failing to qualify for sectionals last season, but some scoring issues make it hard to put the Dutchmen ahead of any team in the top six… Eastchester moves into the top eight thanks to advancing past Nyack on PKs in the first round.

CLASS B
1. Blind Brook (15-5-1) PR: 1
2. Bronxville (15-4-1) PR: 2
3. Valhalla (12-4-2) PR: 3
4. Briarcliff (13-5-1) PR: 4
5. Irvington (13-2-4) PR: 5
6. North Salem (13-5) PR: 6
7. Woodlands (13-5) PR: 8
8. Westlake (11-5-1) PR: 7
9. Rye Neck (8-7-3) PR: 9
10. Hastings (10-7) PR: 10
On the fringe: Dobbs Ferry (6-9-2), Pleasantville (4-13), Putnam Valley (4-11-2)
NOTES: This is the only class where the No. 1 team stays the same, as Blind Brook validated its ranking with a third consecutive section title. In fact, the top six remains the same from the previous rankings, so I guess you could say that I had the best handle on this out of the four classes… Although Valhalla got knocked out in the quarters, I still believe that the Vikings were the third-best team in the class. Their loss came in OT against the eventual champs, and they beat Briarcliff head-to-head. Briarcliff beat Irvington, so that’s how everything fell into place… Woodlands moves past Westlake thanks to a head-to-head win in the first round.

CLASS C
1. Haldane (12-7-1) PR: 2
2. Solomon Schechter (9-6) PR: 1
3. Hamilton (4-12-1) PR: 3
4. Tuckahoe (3-14) PR: 4
NOTES: Haldane jumps back ahead of Schechter thanks to a head-to-head win in the section final. That’s about as simple as it gets.

Photo by Peter Carr/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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