A pre-season poll of Lexington high school soccer coaches shows it's difficult to pick against a state tournament finalist, let alone a state champion.
Defending state champ Tates Creek is the heavy favorite to lead the city girls this season, while 2012 runner-up Paul Laurence Dunbar is the strong boys' pick.
Creek's girls, 23-1-4 last year, field a senior core that includes forward Mallory Eubanks, midfielders Aaron Lankster and Alex Tussey, and defenders Ashley Whaley, Abby Van Bussum, Katie Workman and Mazie Fry.
The Lady Commodores are picked ahead of region runner-up Lexington Catholic, then Henry Clay. Dunbar is fourth in the poll, trailed in order by Lexington Christian, Lafayette, Sayre and Bryan Station.
Dunbar's boys, coming off a 25-4 season, feature a pair of 2012 All-City performers in forward Nathan Jones and midfielder Riley Calhoon. Fellow seniors Alejandro Dugue, a midfielder, and defender Caleb Clay add to the veteran experience.
The Bulldogs are trailed in the poll by Tates Creek and Henry Clay. Lafayette is fourth, Lexington Catholic fifth and Bryan Station is tied with Lexington Christian for sixth, followed by Sayre.
Play begins Monday with the weeklong Fayette County Soccer Spectacular. Girls' matches will be played at Tates Creek, while the boys will go at Bryan Station.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.