Shaker Heights senior Matt Wallace is generally acknowledged as the area's top high school defenseman this season. Here is a sampling of the other top defensemen in each division of the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League:
Ray Degli, Lake Catholic: Rarely makes a mistake; good skater and plays the body well; moves the puck well in the offensive zone.
Dan Drobnick, University School: Sophomore put on a defensive clinic in the Baron Cup; the type of player US can build around the next two years.
Mike Spaeth, St. Edward: Moved to forward late in the season, but some guys are still recovering from his hits as a defenseman; probably the league's most intimidating player, but not a cheap-shot artist.
Greg Godic, Mentor: One of the top sophomores in the area; has good combination of speed and size (6-2, 185); has a plus-41 goal ratio.
Nick Homrock, Gilmour: Another promising sophomore with good size (6-1, 170); can shoot with force and is a physical presence in front of the net.
Jared Lavender, Cleveland Heights: Fourth-year player who was undersized for most of his career and plays smart; positions himself well on the ice.
Paul Adams, Elyria Catholic: Leads team in plus-minus; tough to beat one-on-one.
Kyle Wilson, North Olmsted: Sophomore plays about 32 minutes a night; very agile; solid offensively.
Jim Podojil, Trinity: Big junior (6-3, 200) makes good decisions and stays cool against a rush.
Matt Glass, Chagrin Falls: A veteran who would play on most Red Division teams; passes well and has good slap shot.
Brian Kennedy, Kenston: Played with reckless abandon; suffered season-ending torn Achilles' tendon last week.
Mike Terrell, NDCL: Good speed; top-notch defender and is threat to score from anywhere on the ice.
Chris Gugliemi, Western Reserve Academy: Top defender on perhaps the best defense in the Blue divisions; dangerous with the puck in open ice.
Trevor McGrath, Mayfield: Can skate with the best forwards; major reason the Wildcats gave up fewer than two goals per game in league play.
Alex Schulte, Benedictine: Pushes the puck and can cause trouble on offense; solid player at blue line.
Jared Kleinhenz, Olmsted Falls: Junior led defense with 14 points in league play and works hard in front of the net on defense.
Tom Ostrowski, Valley Forge: Hustler never stops skating hard and diving for the puck, even in blowout losses.
Tony Sileo, Parma: Stocky sophomore impressed several coaches with his tenacity and skating skills.
Jamie Tweddle, Bay: Plays very physical and is good skater; leader on a young defense.
- Tim Warsinskey
© 2002 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.