LOWELL -- Last year, a pair of Merrimack Valley Conference boys soccer teams emerged with surprisingly successful seasons, and they'll look to build on that this fall.
Chelmsford finished with a record of 12-6-1 under first-year head coach Chris Martinez in 2017. Meanwhile, Dracut put together a state tourney run that lasted all the way until the Middies reached the Division 3 North semifinals.
A strong nucleus of talent is back for both programs in 2018, including Chelmsford senior midfielder Josh Ofosu and Dracut senior midfielder Matt Robichaud -- both were Sun All-Stars in 2017.
Elsewhere in the MVC, Lowell looks to compete for a league crown with another talented roster led by senior midfielder George Zuleta, and Tewksbury will attempt to rebound from last year's disappointing two-win campaign.
Over in Central Mass., North Middlesex has an experienced group back that helped the Patriots win 11 games last year.
Head coach Jeff Waldron believes his team has what it takes to make some noise with senior Owen Marr anchoring the defense.
Tyngsboro, meanwhile, will be under the direction of first-year head coach Adam Boisvert.
Lowell Catholic, coming off a 12-4-4 showing last year, should contend in the Catholic Central League Small.
Follow Matt Langone on Twitter @MattLangone