Broward County boys’ soccer teams missed the mark last season in their respective bids to bring home state championships.
Cypress Bay, winner of four state titles in the past six seasons, couldn’t kick start another repeat run like it did from 2011 to 2013 but hopes to climb back to the top this time.
The Lightning once again enters the season as one of the county’s most balanced teams with potent scoring options and a stout defense led by senior William Fiero.
Cypress Bay is attempting to win its fifth state title, which would tie St. Thomas Aquinas and Plantation American Heritage for the most by a Broward County team.
Some of the county’s top talent, however, could reside on the north end in a district that includes defending Class 5A state champion Boca Raton.
Both Douglas and Monarch hope to have the right formula to break through the division and challenge the Bobcats and Cypress Bay for a chance to play for a state championship.
Monarch, which has not made it to state since 2009 and has played only three regional playoff matches since then, has one of its strongest teams in recent memory.
Seniors Kevian Ferraz, Rodrigo Da Silva and Matheus Guimaraes led the Knights’ experienced core of players.
Douglas brings back one of the state’s best goalkeepers in Ryan Irwin and a strong defensive group that anchored the Eagles to an undefeated regular season.
South Broward enjoyed its best campaign in five years, winning its first district championship since 2011 and going unbeaten until a regional semifinal loss to eventual Class 4A state champion Miami Belen Jesuit.
The Bulldogs graduated top scorer Sofien Mebrek, but return a solid team led by senior defender Flavian Hunter that could make another deep postseason push in Class 4A.
Aquinas and Heritage are each looking for a return to the prominence they each enjoyed only five years ago.
St. Thomas has one of its deepest teams in years according to coach John Walsh. If its experienced roster — led by seniors Trevor Walsh, Gabriel Mesa, Michael Luke and Brandon Golding — jells, the Raiders will have a chance to contend with Belen, Doral and South Broward as they try to win their first state title since 2011.
Heritage has not won a state title since 2012. A Patriots team led by senior forward Landon Lupo might have what it takes to make a run in Class 3A.
Dec. 9-10: Ransom Everglades tournament.
Jan. 12-14: Montverde Invitational.
Jan. 23-25, 27-28: Districts.
Feb. 2: Regional quarterfinals.
Feb. 7: Regional semifinals.
Feb. 10: Regional finals.
Feb. 15-18: State final four at site TBA.
2015 STATE CHAMPIONS
Class 5A: Boca Raton; 4A: Belen Jesuit; 3A: Ponte Vedra; 2A: Ransom Everglades; 1A: Scheck Hillel.
1. Cypress Bay; 2. Douglas; 3. Monarch; 4. St. Thomas; 5. North Broward Prep; 6. American Heritage; 7. South Broward; 8. Cardinal Gibbons; 9. Somerset Academy; 10. University School.
On the rise: Cooper City, Everglades, Western, Pine Crest, Westminster Academy.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS
Forwards: Juan Bolivar, South Broward, Sr.; Rodrigo Chavarria, Somerset Academy, Sr.; Landon Lupo, American Heritage, Sr.; Kyle McKendrick, South Plantation, Sr.; Mateo Pieschacon, Cypress Bay, Jr.; Midfielders: Kevian Ferraz, Monarch, Sr.; Felipe Mendes, Douglas, Sr.; Patrick Sastre, Westminster Academy, Sr.; Joseph Vinson, American Heritage, Jr.; Trevor Walsh, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; Defenders: Danny Espinosa, North Broward Prep, Jr.; William Fierro, Cypress Bay, Sr.; Flavian Hunter, South Broward, Sr.; Santiago Latorre, Monarch, Sr.; Alex Wallace, American Heritage, Jr.; Goalkeepers: Ryan Irwin, Douglas, Sr.
For complete team outlooks go to www.miamiherald.com/sports/high-school/
TEAM-BY-TEAM OUTLOOKS – CLASS 5A
MONARCH (Coach Stephen Lorenc, 14th year at MON, 31st overall, 430-169-76). Last year: 13-6-3. Top players: M Kevian Ferraz, Sr.; F Rodrigo Da Silva, Sr.; F Matheus Guimaraes, Sr.; D Santiago Latorre, Sr.; M Pietro Nicolau, Sr.; F Davi Da Cruz, So.
COOPER CITY (Coach Sean Lucena, 1st year). Last year: Regional semifinalist. Top players: M William Upegui, Sr.; M Diego Mendoza, Sr.; D-M Alfonso Mendoza, Sr.; D Miguel Gonzalez, Sr.; D Lucas Cusnir, Sr.
SOUTH PLANTATION (Coach Akram Molaka, 22nd year). Last year: 7-8-4. Top players: F Kyle McKendrick, Sr.; D Gabriel Sandobal, Sr.; M Dagoberto Guido, So.; M John Louis, Jr.; D Justin Lewis, Sr.; M Wilber Flores, Sr.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (Coach John Walsh). Last year: 9-6-3 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: M Trevor Walsh, Sr.; F Gabriel Mesa, Sr.; M Michael Luke, Sr.; F-M Brandon Golding, Sr.; D Liam Nagy, Sr.; F Nick Fezza, Jr.
SOUTH BROWARD (Coach Vladimir Borombozin, 10th year, 88-42-30). Last year: 14-1-3 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: D Flavian Hunter, Sr.; F Juan Bolivar, Sr.; M Agustin Cuina, Sr.; D Damian Fernandez, Jr.; F Ilya Chakyr, Sr.; GK Angel Garcia, Sr.
AMERICAN HERITAGE (Coach Todd Goodman, 3rd year, 34-6-7). Last year: 16-3-4 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: F Landon Lupo, Sr.; D Jerry Cabrera, Sr.; F Malcolm Tilokee, Sr.; GK Jonathan Gomes, Sr., D Joseph Vinson, Jr.; D Alex Wallace, Jr.
COCONUT CREEK (Coach Marc Dennie-Foster, 1st year). Last year: 4-6-1. Top players: M0F Javel Black, Sr.; D Dore Ramjas, Jr.; M Daniel Jimenez, Jr.; M-F McKenzie Sammy, Fr.; GK Kervens Pierre, Sr.; M Juan Hoyos, Jr.
NORTH BROWARD PREP (Coach Diego Cardona). Last year: 13-4-7 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: Danny Espinoza, Jr.; Sergil Olkhovskyi, So.; Evan Von Oehsen, Jr.; Chris Vinasco, So.; Andrew Lyew, So.; Jeremiah Edouard, So.
CARDINAL GIBBONS (Coach Rafael Ferreiro, 12th year, 115-55-26). Last year: 13-3-5 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: D Ryan Cedeno, So.; M Enrique Vicentini, Sr.; GK Sebastian Llanes, So.; D Johny Kass, Jr.; M Eddie Catapano, Sr.; M Vincenzo Forte, So.
NSU UNIVERSITY SCHOOL (Coach Thiago Oliveira, 8th year). Last year: 11-4-4. Top players: M Cory Adika, So.; F Liam Borbely, So.; M David Mizrahi, So.; GK Ricardo Kiblisky, Jr.; D Juan Zarate, So.; D Joaquin Rodriguez, Jr.
PINE CREST (Coach Todd Nobles, 11th year). Last year: 9-7-2. Top players: D David Lederman, Sr.; M Joseph Murciano, Sr.; M Garon Joannou, Sr.; F Ryan Sullivan, Jr.; GK Max Marchette, Sr.
WESTMINSTER ACADEMY (Coach Diego Phillips, 3rd year at WA, 15th overall, 163-68-12). Last year: 15-3-2 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: F Patrick Sastre, Sr.; D Travis Singh, Sr.; F Patrick Lynch, Jr.; M Mike Hunter, Jr.; D Gabe Joannou, So.; GK John Kelly, Sr.
POSNACK (Coach Pedro Yunes, 1st year). Last year: 4-7-2 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: D Max Freund, Sr.; M Will Schertzer, Sr.; D Josh Tashof, Sr.