Boys Lacrosse Top 10, 4/26
Heading into the final week of April we're at the same point we've been all season. The top five teams in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 are fairly entrenched in their spots, while the bottom five continues to be fluid. While there weren't the upsets this week that occurred two weeks ago, there will still be some movement.
The jockeying comes from Toms River North's 5-4 win over Brick Memorial that handed the Mustangs their first loss of the season. Every other top 10 team didn't suffer any losses within the Shore, but a few did venture outside where they were defeated by nonconference foes.
The Shore Conference Tournament cutoff is May 4 and the SCT will be seeded the following day, so several big games are on the schedule this week. Division titles will be up for grabs and playoff positioning will be at stake as the season begins to creep toward the stretch run.
Here is the latest Shore Sports Network Top. All records and results are through Monday, April 25.
1. Rumson-Fair Haven (6-3, 3-0 B North)
The Bulldogs went 1-2 this past week, although both losses came to top-flight nonconference opponents. After a 17-0 win over Ranney, Rumson fell to St. Augustine Prep, 6-5, and then lost to Bergen Catholic, 8-6. Senior attackman Robbie Garavente reached 100 career goals during the game versus Bergen Catholic. Those losses certainly don't hurt Rumson, but having held second-half leads in both games and not being able to finish won't sit well with the reigning Group I champs. The Bulldogs will try to bounce back with a trio of big games, two against rivals, this week. They host Red Bank Catholic on Tuesday, travel to Red Bank on Friday and take on undefeated and No. 5 Ocean on Saturday in a huge Class B North game.
2. Manasquan (9-2, 3-0 B South)
A 12-3 loss to Summit, the No. 2 team in The Star Ledger Top 20 and the No. 1 team in the LaxPower New Jersey computer rankings, handed the Warriors their second straight loss, but Manasquan rebounded nicely with lopsided wins over Barnegat and Wall to remain firmly in control of B South. The most eye-opening stat of the season comes from junior FOGO Matt Thermann, who had won 75 percent of face-offs while picking up 87(!) ground balls. That was early last week, and he may be over 100 already. Dang. Manasquan will look to keep rolling with games against rival St. Rose and Donovan Catholic this week.
3. Southern (7-0, 4-0 A South)
The Rams have quietly went about their business in remaining unbeaten, and romped Lacey, 16-6, in their only game last week. Senior attackman Nick Simonelli joined the group of players around the state that have put up 10 or more points in a single game by scoring five goals and adding five assists. Southern closes its regular season schedule with four of five games coming against ranked teams, however, so the tests are coming. It starts this week with a game against Brick before a crucial division game against No. 7 Toms River North on Friday. The Rams then meet No. 6 Howell on Monday.
4. Ocean (9-0, 5-0 B North)
The Spartans move up after a pair of wins ran their season record to 9-0 ahead of a crucial stretch of games. Ocean jumped out to a big lead on Red Bank and held on for a 12-9 win, then dismantled a solid St. John Vianney team, 16-2. Senior midfielder Erik Rant had a state-best 44 goals through Monday, and he and senior attackman Joey Appio were each top 10 in the state in scoring. Three huge games are on the schedule this week as they travel to face a red-hot Shore Regional team on Wednesday before a major clash with top-ranked Rumson-Fair Haven on Saturday afternoon. Ocean then takes on Red Bank Catholic on Monday.
5. CBA (6-4, 4-0 A North)
The Colts drop one spot to No. 5, but that really has more to do with Ocean being unbeaten and deserving to move up than anything CBA has done wrong. The Colts went 2-1 this past week with victories over Colts Neck (11-7) and Marlboro (17-0), while losing to Don Bosco Prep, 6-4. CBA has two games this coming week, at Neptune on Wednesday and at Watchung Hills on Monday.
6. Howell (7-3, 3-1 A North)
Things start to get a little tricky here with several teams owning wins over one another, but I like the Rebels to jump to two spots to No. 6 after a 2-0 week. Howell handed No. 7 Toms River North its first loss with an 11-5 win two days before the Mariners beat previously undefeated Brick Memorial. The Rebels then topped Neptune, 13-8, and doubled up Middletown South, 10-5. Three massive games are on the schedule this week as Howell visits rival and 10th-ranked Freehold Township on Wednesday, hosts Middletown North on Friday and welcomes No. 3 Southern to town on Monday.
7. Toms River North (7-1, 4-0 A South)
The Mariners began last week by losing 11-5 to Howell to end their unbeaten start to the season, but they totally redeemed themselves by edging No. 8 Brick Memorial, 5-4, to hand the Mustangs their first loss and keep pace with Southern in Class A South. They followed that up with an 11-7 win over Brick. Toms River North has two more Class A South games this week, both of which are on the road. They head to rival Toms River East on Wednesday before heading south for a big-time showdown with No. 3 Southern on Friday.
8. Brick Memorial (9-1, 4-1 A South)
The Mustangs had their undefeated run snapped by Toms River North in a 5-4 loss, resulting in a drop two spots in the rankings. Brick Memorial did rebound with two straight wins over Toms River South and Long Branch. Senior attackman Billy Porter became the program's all-time leading scorer with 130 points. Brick Memorial is an interesting team because they've beaten only one team with a winning record: No. 9 Wall. The Crimson Knights keep playing well, however, so that bodes well for the Mustangs and, quite frankly, keeps them in the rankings. Brick Memorial plays at Lacey on Wednesday and host Ranney on Monday.
9. Wall (8-2, 3-1 B South)
The Crimson Knights went 2-1 with victories over St. Rose and St. John Vianney. Their only loss came to No. 2 Manasquan, 16-5. In a 6-5 overtime win over St. John Vianney, senior attackman Mike Steppe scored his 100th career goal. Wall has a pair of division games this week against Donovan Catholic and Barnegat. The Knights will also travel to Middletown North on Monday.
10. Freehold Township (6-4, 2-1 A North)
The Patriots went 3-0 with wins over Marlboro (14-3), Neptune (14-5) and Red Bank (15-8) to shake off a loss last week to rival Colts Neck. Chris Novella, Drew Dunn and Josh Nastarowicz each turned in eight-point games during the week. Freehold Township can jump up in the rankings when they host rival Howell on Wednesday. The Patriots also play at Middletown South on Saturday.
Dropped out: none
Teams to watch:
Shore (7-3, 3-1 B North): The Blue Devils are playing like a top-10 team team right now, but there was just nowhere to put them. If a current ranked team falters Shore will be in next week assuming they maintain their level.
Jackson Liberty (6-4, 1-2 B South): The Lions have had an up and down season, but they've won three straight to right the ship after suffering four consecutive losses. They also own a 13-6 win over Howell during the first week of the season.
Lacrosse editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.