757Teamz high school boys soccer preview: Jamestown, Princess Anne, Kellam aim to defend state titles


State title talk

Hampton Roads was well represented in last year’s Virginia High School League state tournaments. Kellam (Class 6), Princess Anne (Class 5) and Jamestown (Class 4) all brought home state championships and are looking to do so again this year. In order to repeat, though, they’ll have to fend off an ever-growing talented pack of teams in 2024. Landstown, Smithfield and Cox all lost a state title game last year and are hungry to return and avenge losses from 2023. Norfolk Academy, Poqouson and Tabb all made the state semifinals last season. Kecoughtan and Granby, who advanced to the state tournament for the first time, represented the 757 in the Class 5 tournament that was littered with teams from Hampton Roads.

Top talent returning

Six of the 16 players named to the All-Tidewater first team return this season: Kecoughtan’s Tre Barrett, Jamestown’s Max Cooper, Cox’s Josh Haggerty, Princess Anne’s Michal Korba and Maciej Majcherczyk and Landstown’s Ryan Walsh. Nine members of the All-Tidewater second team return as well: Cox’s Dax Booth and Sam Braidwood, First Colonial’s Ryan Buckon, Lafayette’s Atticus Kamara, Granby’s Diddier Martinez, Princess Anne’s Kishin Togashi, Landstown junior Kamar Wilson and Gloucester’s Kohlby Wilson.

Eagles star returns

Jamestown junior Max Cooper put on a show during his sophomore campaign and was a finalist for the All-Tidewater Player of the Year that ultimately went to Kellam’s Hamilton Howes. Cooper led Hampton Roads with 44 goals and guided Jamestown to its first state title since 2015. He earned an All-Tidewater first-team nod last year and was named Class 4 Player of the Year. Cooper also tallied nine hat tricks last year.

Preseason Poll

1. Jamestown

Coach Phil Geyer said the Eagles lost some important pieces from last year’s championship team, but are still talented enough to win it again this year. Jamestown returns five starters from last year’s team, including junior Max Cooper, who was named the Class 4 Player of the Year after finishing with 44 goals and 11 assists. Other players who will play a key role in Jamestown’s potential title defense: goalie Caleb Nixon, who gave up no goals in the state tournament last year; – Sam Forrester, Vincent Agbeibor and Camden Anderson.

2. Princess Anne

Coach Sonny Travis said the Cavaliers graduated eight seniors from last year’s team — the first to win a boys soccer title in school history — and will be young in some spots. Travis said Princess Anne will rely on a strong defense in 2024, which will likely be led by the likes of junior Maciej Majcherczyk and junior Kishin Togashi. Princess Anne also returns junior Michal Korba, who totaled 16 goals and eight assists last year.

3. Cox

Coach Santo Ripa and the Cox boys are looking to make another deep run into the state tournament after falling in the Class 5 championship game to Princess Anne. Ripa said this year’s squad is senior heavy — lead by Dax Booth, Gabe Zarate, Josh Haggerty and Sam Briadwood — with the experience to finish the job this year. “Some of these guys have won a state title, lost in a state final, and are hoping to pursue another for their final year of high school,” Ripa said. “We are hoping to chase postseason play. That said, we have a lot of work to do as we prepare.”

4. Granby

After making the state tournament for the first time in school history, Granby is looking to return again this year. Coach Mark Denny and the Comets return their top two scorers from last year’s team in Diddier Martinez and Brock Johnson. Martinez finished with 26 goals and 16 assists and earned a plethora of accolades, including an all-district, all-region, all-state, All-Tidewater and was Eastern District Player of the Year.

5. Smithfield

Smithfield finished a stellar campaign with a 1-0 loss to Jamestown in the Class 4 championship game. “We lost a lot but replaced (them) with a lot of younger, good soccer players,” coach Jason Henderson said. “We will not be the team that dominated the field this year however I see (us making) a far run.” Smithfield returns impact seniors Colson Turner and Tanner Clifton and expects sophomores Carter Geotz and Logan Young to produce this year.

6. Kellam

After going undefeated and winning the school’s first state championship last year, Kellam looks to be headed toward a rebuilding phase this year. Coach Craig Powers said the Knights lost most of their team from a year ago and only Trystan Kidd, Jashuan Johnson, John Maggio and Caleb Perry are the only players on this year’s team who played in the state final. “We will start four sophomores,” Powers said. “Our younger players will have to mature quickly if we want a spot in the tough region playoffs.”

7. Landstown

The Eagles’ group of seniors — including Virginia commit Kamar Wilson, Virginia Wesleyan commit Joe McDonald and Jace McSwain — have been to back-to-back Class 6 Region A finals and state tournament semifinals. “The team will have strong leadership and experience moving into the 2024 season,” coach Sean Stowe said.

8. Great Bridge

Great Bridge returns several pieces from last year’s team that went 14-1-2 and just missed out on a state tournament appearance. The Wildcats return seniors Carson Danner – who was a first team all-region and second-team All-Tidewater – along with sophomore Jack Otley and Niko Panayiotou, who were both all-region players in 2024.

9. Kecoughtan

The Warriors finished last year 14-2-3 before losing to Princess Anne in the first round of the Class 5 state tournament. The Warriors return Kenneth “Tre” Barrett who led the team with 27 goals and 17 assists last year.

10. Hickory

The Hawks went 12-1-3 and finished 7-0-2 in the Southeastern District last season. Hickory will look to bounce back in 2024 after missing the Class 5 state tournament in 2023.

11. Menchville

Menchville finished 12-1-3 last year, including an 8-1 mark in the Peninsula District, after falling to Kecoughtan in the Class 5 Region B semifinals. The Monarchs return seniors Trisan Klompenhouwer, Zach Robinson and Zack Silcox. Head coach Bryce Fail said Niles Oscacio and Grady Morello are two underclassmen who could make an impact. “Lost some very important players to our team last year but we have some younger players looking to step up and fill their roles,” coach Bryce Fail said. “We are hoping to make another run for the regional trophy.”

12. Norfolk Academy

The Bulldogs finished last season with a 13-5-3 record and reached the VISAA Division I semifinals before losing to eventual champion Collegiate School of Richmond.

13. Ocean Lakes

Coach Dave Wiggins said 2024 looks bright for Ocean Lakes. “We hope to evolve match by match as a team, avenging a couple tough losses along the way,” Wiggins said. “As always, we’d like to win the games we’re “supposed to win” and split the ones in which we’re the underdogs.” After a 11-5-2 campaign last year, Ocean Lakes returns several seniors, including “big and powerful” center back Dylan Tamayo who scored six goals last year.

14. Tabb

Tabb finished last season 12-6-2 and made it to the Class 3 semifinals before being eliminated by Charlottesville. Coach Scott Kuhnle feels Tabb is looking to find its new identity as a team, after losing 21 players from a state championship and semifinalist teams over the last two years.

15. First Colonial

First Colonial finished last season 12-4-2 and third place in the Beach District with a 7-2-1 record. The Patriots were eliminated from the Class 5 Region A Tournament by eventual state champion Princess Anne. First Colonial is returning its top two scorers from last season in Ryan Buckon and Ben Curulla.

Michael Sauls, (757) 803-5774,