Reigning Southwest Wake Athletic Conference boys soccer champ Apex (21-2-1, 15-1) will have to rebuild its attack this season. The Cougars graduated their top nine scorers from a year ago, but do return midfielders Michael Beall, Luc Madrid and all-conference defender Thomas Zygmuntowicz.
Green Hope (16-5-3, 12-3-1), led by new head coach David Corsbie, has a slew of returning players including all-conference selections Zach Curtis, Parker Washburn, Camden Holbrook and Griffin Brookshire.
Middle Creek (18-6, 12-4) has N&O All-Metro pick Chris Wallace (17 goals, 13 assists), all-conference goalkeeper Cameron Cornwell and standout defender Eder Montalvo back from a team ousted by Apex in the second round.
Holly Springs (13-6-3, 10-5-1) returns goalkeeper Hunter Nordberg (58 saves). Nordberg faced just 94 shots last season thanks to the Golden Hawks’ defense. Jared Waskey and Zach Wiltrout are back to lead the scoring attack.
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Cary (10-12, 7-9) is hoping for a playoff berth this year and will return all-conference picks Logan Griffin and Quinn Dunphy.
Panther Creek (8-10-2, 7-9) returns seven starters led by all-conference players Archie Filliter (13 assists) and Parker Cross (16 goals). Goalkeeper Grant Stidham and seniors Alec Romick, Jack Self are also back.
Athens Drive (8-10, 6-10) has four returning starters including all-conference players Brice Moltzon (11 goals, 6 assists) and Pa-lieu Ann. Cobi Moltzon and Wael Nabih give the Jaguars a solid midfield.
Fuquay-Varina (4-17, 2-14) returns almost all of last year’s team, including Bogdon Roberson, Brandon Sylvester and Caz Dabrowski.
Apex Friendship (0-21, 0-16) is still looking for its first win after coming close a few times last year. The Patriots bring back all-conference midfielder Ulises Sanchez. Nick Piraino and Jaden McCane help lead the way for a school returning everyone.
LAST 10 SWAC CHAMPIONS
2014: Green Hope
2013: Green Hope
2012: Green Hope
2011: Green Hope
2009: Green Hope
2008: Panther Creek
STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS AMONG ALL SWAC TEAMS
Apex (2005), Athens Drive (1987, 1993, 2003), Cary (1998), Green Hope (2011, 2012)