Head coach: Scott Greene, fifth year (53-31-6 career record)
Last year: Morristown-Beard went through an up-and-down season, finishing with a 14-12-1 record. It finished out the year strong, winning its final three regular season games to finish at .500 to qualify for the state tournament. It won the Mennen Cup with a 4-3 win over Morris Knolls-Hills, and defeated Seton Hall Prep in the Non-Public first round before falling to Don Bosco Prep in the quarterfinals.
Key losses: Noah Jones, D/F (22 g., 17 a.); Andrew Low, F (13 g., 19 a.); Billy Moloney, D (5 g., 22 a.); Charlie Guida, F (6 g., 17 a.); Dylan Strauss, F (5 g., 15 a.); Jake Ochab, D (2 g., 11 a.); Henry Fernandez, F; Will Sgro, D; Rowan Posner, F.
Top returners: Hollis Humphries, F, Sr. (31 g., 23 a.); Hutch McDonald, F, Sr. (1 g., 13 a.); Evan Jones, D, So. (1 g., 9 a.); Nick Squashic, F, So. (5 g., 3 a.); Peter Cross, F, Jr.; Lucas Krzanowski, D, So.; Brendan Tartaglione, F, Jr.; Kevin McIntyre, F, Sr.; Jack Scordley, F, Sr.; Mack Plante, D, Sr.; Casey Connor, G, So. (.890 sv %); Julian Melendez, G, Sr. (.850 sv %)
Potential incoming impact players: Charlie Fernandez, F/D, Fr.; Kevin Fraga, F, Fr.; John Gonnella, F, Fr.; Grayson Strauss, D, Jr.; Ryan Tartaglione, F, Fr.; Logan Turner, D, Fr.; Nicholas Zayas, D, Fr.
Burning question: How quickly will Morristown-Beard’s young players adapt?
After three-straight Mennen Cup titles, Morristown-Beard will play one of its youngest rosters in years, with several underclassmen set to play big roles this winter. It graduated a very talented senior class last year, led by players such as Jones and Low. There is a lot of talent that needs to be replaced, and while there is certainly a nice crop of incoming talent coming in, it does take time to adapt to the varsity level sometimes. Morristown-Beard got out to a slow start last season and was able to rebound, it will hope to get out to a quicker start this year.
Outlook: As young as Morristown-Beard may be this year, this is a program that always is accustomed to reloading rather than rebuilding.
Sophomore goalie Casey Connor showed promise during his freshman year, and if he continues that upward trend, the Crimson should be in good shape. Humphries and McDonald each put up solid production at forward last season, while sophomores Evan Jones and Lucas Krzanowski both figure to play bigger roles on the blue line.
Until proven otherwise, Morristown-Beard has to be considered the pre-season favorite for the Mennen Cup title. But as already mentioned, it will come down to how quickly this team comes together with so many new faces this year.
E-mail Mike Gurnis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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