Ludlow, Franklin are preseason soccer Nos. 1

The new soccer season gets started this week and with its beginning comes our preseason statewide MIAA Top 20 polls.

Perennial power Ludlow takes the top spot for the boys, as the Lions try to end a two-year drought without a West sectional title. The Lions are followed by 2012 state champions Needham, which returns almost all of its starters from the team that was a minute away from winning its second straight D1 South title.

Last year’s No. 1, Somerville, drops down to No. 10 after the loss of All-American Thayrone Miranda, but the Highlanders are a strong program that, due to injuries, showed its depth in 2013 and could be back among the contenders this fall. The team that beat Somerville in the 2013 final is also back in the top 20, but will have the challenge of replacing star goalie Alex Kraver (and an early season meeting with Ludlow).

One of the strongest brackets should be D2 North, which has three teams in the top 10, including No. 3 Concord-Carlisle, which looks poised to return to the sectional final with a heavily recruited back line and talented roster from back to front. Last season’s champion Masconomet and finalist North Andover are also in the top 10 teams.

On the girls’ side, 2012 champion Franklin is the top team with 10 returning starters from last year’s state semifinalists. With a roster led by Hockomock League MVP Taylor Cogliano and Eastern Mass. All-Star Nicole Ellin, the Panthers are a favorite to bring home a league title. They are followed by last year’s regular season No. 1 Central Catholic. The two juggernauts meet on Oct. 11, which already looks like one of the games of the season.

Division 2 seems to be one of the most competitive brackets on the girls’ side as well with four teams from D2 in the top 13 to start the season. All four of those teams were sectional finalists in 2013. In addition, Sandwich and Dartmouth are both in the “Last 10 Out” and reached the semifinals of D2 South last season.

For the complete boys' poll, click HERE.

For the complete girls' poll, click HERE.

Players to Watch:

Boys: Edmilson Andrade, Sr. F (New Bedford); Nicholas Drost, Sr. F (Belchertown); Mike Goncalves, Sr. F (Ludlow); Robert Hurstak, Jr. GK (Lincoln-Sudbury); Noah Martins, Sr. F (Dartmouth); Tyler Morin, Sr. M (Algonquin); Lewis Mustoe, Jr. F (Lexington); Aram Ouligian, Sr. M (Needham); Mitchell Palmer, Sr. F (Concord-Carlisle); Matt Rodrigues, Sr. M (Attleboro).

Girls: Francesca Calabraro, So. M/F (Oliver Ames); Abby Clapp, Sr. F (Marshfield); Taylor Cogliano, Sr. M/F (Franklin); Eve Goulet, Sr. D (Sutton); Maddie Jolin, Sr. F (Bishop Feehan); Alexandra Spangler, Sr. M (Acton-Boxborough); Kayla Steeves, Sr. M (Needham); Hannah Volpe, Jr. M/F (Notre Dame Academy - Hingham); Ali Wiggins, Sr. F (Central Catholic).

Conference poll breakdown:


Bay State - 2

Catholic - 2

DCL - 2

Midland -2

ACC - 1

Big 3 - 1

Cape Ann - 1

Churchill - 1

Dual Valley - 1

GBL - 1

Hockomock - 1

MVC - 1

OCL - 1

Patriot - 1

Smith - 1

TVL - 1


DCL - 3

Patriot - 3

Bay State - 2

Hockomock - 2

Midland - 2

Cape Ann - 1

Catholic - 1

Dual Valley - 1

EAC - 1

Middlesex - 1

MVC - 1

Smith - 1

TVL - 1