*2016 Shore Conference Boys Soccer Standings*

The Shore Conference Tournament will be seeded on Monday and for the first time since 2011, there is a heavy favorite going into the final week of the regular season. Although it’s easy to look back at last year’s tournament and retroactively tag defending champion Christian Brothers Academy as a heavy favorite going into last year’s proceedings, recall that CBA was not the No. 1 seed in the tournament and had a roster of players that had never even reached the SCT quarterfinals, much less a championship game.

That’s all different this year, as CBA boasts a senior-loaded roster heavy on Division I talent that has rolled through this season so far. The Colts are the No. 3 team in the nation according to Top Drawer Soccer and have only been tested on a few occasions this season. This team looks only slightly more vulnerable than the 2011 team that finished 21-0 and dominated the SCT and there is not an obvious challenger to CBA’s throne.

The parity throughout the rest of the Shore Conference should make foe a competitive tournament, even if it turns out to be a CBA coronation in the final. That conference-wide balance could also make for some interesting discussions while seeding the tournament, some of which are addressed below.

The following is one man’s interpretation of the SCT field based on the overall resumes of the 24 teams currently at .500 or better, with a stress on head-to-head results, results against common opponents and quality wins serving as a tie-breaking between teams that are grouped close to one another in the seeding. In addition to the 24 teams at .500 or better, Point Beach also still has a chance to qualify with a win on Saturday to bring the field up to 25 teams.

Update, Oct. 15: The field is set at 24 teams after Lakewood beat Donovan Catholic on Friday and Point Beach lost to Neptune on Saturday, but a lot of positioning is still up for grabs with a number of crucial games scheduled for Monday. Five division titles still hang in the balance and Class A North will not be decided until after the tournament is seeded.

CBA's Ryan Nigro (right) and Marlboro's Josh Grun (left). (Photo by Matt Manley)

1. Christian Brothers Academy (14-0, 11-0)

Division Wins: Colts Neck (2), Freehold Boro (2), Freehold Twp. (2), Howell (2), Manalapan, Neptune, at Marlboro
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Don Bosco, DeMatha (Md.), Chaminade (N.Y.)
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: At Manalapan
Why They’re Here: The No. 1 seed is all but locked up for the Colts, although they still have yet to lock up the Class A North title. The de facto championship game against Marlboro is not until Wednesday, so while CBA is certain to get an SCT bye, the Colts' round-of-16 game will be their sixth game in 10 days.

2. Marlboro (12-1-1, 10-1-1)

Division Wins: Colts Neck (2), Freehold Boro (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), at Freehold Twp., Neptune
Division Losses: CBA
Division Ties: Freehold Twp.
Non-Division Wins: At Middletown South, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: At Neptune
Why They’re Here: Marlboro’s only loss was in overtime to CBA. After some goal-scoring struggles to open the year, the Mustangs are having no issues finding the net recently.

3. Freehold Township (8-5-1, 7-5-1)

Division Wins: Howell (2), Neptune (2), Colts Neck, Freehold Boro, at Manalapan
Division Losses: CBA (2), at Colts Neck, Manalapan, Marlboro
Division Ties: At Marlboro
Non-Division Wins: Wall
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: At Freehold Boro
Why They’re Here: Thursday's loss to Manalapan might have cost Freehold Township the No. 3 seed, but the three teams right behind the Patriots all failed to win on Thursday as well. It also helps that Manalapan has put together a good season for a team that is not in the tournament, wo with everything else Freehold Township has done, that loss is pretty forgiveable.

4. Matawan (10-2-2, 7-2-2)

Division Wins: Holmdel (2), Rumson-Fair Haven (2), St. John Vianney (2), Shore
Division Losses: At Shore, at Red Bank
Division Ties: Raritan (2)
Non-Division Wins: Manasquan, at Asbury Park, Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: Vs. Red Bank
Why They’re Here: Matawan has the light edge over Toms River South as long as Manasquan is positioned ahead of Toms River North, as those teams represent the best win that both teams have. If Manasquan ends up winning B North and Matawan wraps up A Central, it's hard to argue against the Huskies as the No. 4 seed and maybe even as the No. 3. As it is, there is a healthy debate to be had regarding the No. 4 seed.

5. Toms River South (12-2-1, 12-1-1)

Division Wins: Brick (2), Brick Memorial (2), Jackson Memorial (2), Southern (2), Toms River East (2), at Central, at Toms River North
Division Losses: Toms River North
Division Ties: Central
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: At Donovan Catholic
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here: Donovan Catholic's struggles this season have not helped Toms River South, which won a Class A South title but does not have much to go on outside the division. Fortunately for the Indians, Southern has a win over Pinelands, Jackson Memorial beat St. Rose and Brick Memorial just beat Freehold Boro - all results that give A South some bargaining power at the meeting. As of Saturday, Matawan's non-division work gives the Huskies the edge, but Toms River South's divisional profile is a little better.

6. Middletown North (10-3-1, 10-3-0)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Middletown South (2), Monmouth (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), at Ocean, Wall
Division Losses: Manasquan, Ocean, at Wall
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: Manalapan
Monday Opponent: Vs. Manasquan
Why They’re Here: The Lions take a huge leap with Saturday's win over Ocean and can cement a top-five spot by beating Manasquan Monday and winning a share of B North. Under that scenario, Middletown North will have beaten every team in the division at least once and none of the other B North teams have done much outside the division either. Middletown North's draw against Manalapan got a lot better after the Braves beat Freehold Township.

7. Ocean (11-3, 10-3)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Manasquan (2), Middletown South (2), Monmouth (2), at Middletown North, at Red Bank Catholic
Division Losses: Wall (2), Middletown North
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Freehold Boro
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: Vs. Red Bank Catholic
Why They’re Here: Ocean went from B North frontrunner to out of the running for an outright title. The Spartans are still in position to win a share of the B North title as long as Middletown North can beat Manasquan - certainly no given. Ocean owns a pair of wins over Manasquan, so even if the Warriors take the division crown for themselves, Ocean would benefit from sweeping a division champ.

8. Manasquan (11-3-1, 10-2-1)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Monmouth (2), Middletown South (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), Middletown North, at Wall
Division Losses: Ocean (2)
Division Ties: Wall
Non-Division Wins: Point Beach
Non-Division Losses: At Matawan
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: At Middletown North
Why They’re Here: With a win and a draw against Wall and a home win against Middletown North, the Warriors have built a solid resume that stacks up against any team in the Nos. 7 through 16. The B North title is now within their grasp and all the Warriors have to do to claim it is beat Middletown North. While that is a simple premise, it is a difficult task, especially on the road.

9. Wall (10-4-2, 9-2-2)

Division Wins: Monmouth (2), Ocean (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), at Long Branch, Middletown North, Middletown South
Division Losses: Manasquan, at Middletown North
Division Ties: At Manasquan, at Middletown South
Non-Division Wins: At Red Bank
Non-Division Losses: St. Rose, at Freehold Twp.
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: Vs. Long Branch
Why They’re Here: Wall bounced back from a tough 1-0 loss to Manasquan by stunning Ocean for the second time this year in overtime. With two wins over the Spartans and a chance to win a share of the B North title still on the table, the Crimson Knights could keep climbing, perhaps as high as No. 4.

10. Toms River North (11-3, 11-2)

Division Wins: Brick (2), Brick Memorial (2), Central (2), Jackson Memorial (2), at Brick Memorial, Southern, at Toms River East, at Toms River South
Division Losses: At Southern, Toms River South
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: At Kearny
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: Vs. Toms River East
Why They’re Here: Beating Toms River South on Thursday only delayed the Indians' eventual Class A South celebration, but it was still a big boost for the Mariners' SCT profile. Although they don't play prior to the meeting, the Mariners could benefit from a Middletown North win because they would have a strong case to jump Manasquan and Ocean in that scenario.

11. Colts Neck (7-7, 6-7)

Division Wins: Manalapan (2), Freehold Boro, Freehold Twp., Howell, at Neptune
Division Losses: CBA (2), Marlboro (2), at Freehold Boro, at Freehold Twp., at Neptune
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Red Bank
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: At Howell
Why They’re Here: A win over Freehold Township is carrying Colts Neck's resume, but the Cougars can also thank Manalapan for a strong finish. Colts Neck beat the Braves twice this season and Manalapan has proved tough against other teams - the Braves beat Freehold Township, hung around against CBA and Marlboro and tied Middletown North. The Cougars have bee inconsistent, but the top end of their resume is worthy of top-10 consideration.

12. Asbury Park (11-1, 10-0)

Division Wins: Henry Hudson (2), Keyport (2), Point Beach (2), St. Rose (2), Mater Dei, at Ranney
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Roselle
Non-Division Losses: Matawan
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: Vs. Ranney
Why They’re Here: The Blue Bishops will be an interesting test case when it comes to B Central seeding because they, themselves, have not defeated a Shore Conference team outside of B Central. They have, however, dominated the division – including a St. Rose team that has a win over Wall. Even in losing to Matawan, 2-1, Asbury Park demonstrated it is worthy of consideration for the top eight, although may come up short with little work outside of B Central.

13. Pinelands (13-2, 12-1)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Donovan Catholic (2), Jackson Liberty (2), Lakewood (2), Manchester (2), at Lacey, at Point Boro
Division Losses: Lacey
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Ranney
Non-Division Losses: At Southern
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: Vs. Point Boro
Why They’re Here: Losses to Lacey and Southern provide just enough pause for Pinelands to be in the top 10, but the Wildcats put some of that to rest by routing Lacey 4-0 this past week. If Pinelands can beat Point Boro for a second time, the Wildcats will have a strong top-10 case as a division champion.

14. Point Pleasant Boro (14-1, 12-1)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Donovan Catholic (2), Jackson Liberty (2), Lacey (2), Lakewood (2), Manchester (2)
Division Losses: Pinelands
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: St. Rose, Point Beach
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: At Pinelands
Why They’re Here: The Panthers have a pretty strong case to be the No. 9 team, but the one anchor at the moment is a 4-1 loss to Pinelands. A second convincing win over Donovan Catholic helps them jump up a spot and there is still potential to climb up as high as No. 6 if the Panthers can beat Pinelands on Monday. That would make them 15-1 with a 13-game winning streak and two wins over a team that beat current No. 5 Toms River South (Donovan Catholic).

15. Central (10-4-1, 9-4-1)

Division Wins: Brick (2), Brick Memorial (2), Southern (2), Toms River East (2), Jackson Memorial
Division Losses: Toms River North (2), at Jackson Memorial, Toms River South
Division Ties: At Toms River South
Non-Division Wins: Lacey
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: At Donovan Catholic
Why They’re Here: Central doesn’t really have any more chances to wow the seeding committee, but the Golden Eagles have a chance to jump the loser of the B South championship game as long as they beat Donovan Catholic on Monday.

16. Raritan (9-2-3, 6-2-3)

Division Wins: Red Bank (2), St. John Vianney (2), Rumson-Fair Haven, at Shore
Division Losses: At Holmdel, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Ties: Matawan (2), Shore
Non-Division Wins: Lakewood, at Keyport, at Monmouth
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: Vs. Holmdel
Why They’re Here: Heading into the week, Raritan did not own a win over a tournament-qualified team, but that changed when Lakewood rallied to qualify and, more recently, when the Rockets beat Shore. Raritan has had a great overall year and now the resume is beginning to reflect that. They don't have as high of a seeding ceiling as Matawan, but a win over Holmdel Monay and a Class A Central title would certainly help the Rockets climb,.

17. Shore (6-5-4, 5-3-3)

Division Wins: St. John Vianney (2), at Holmdel, Matawan, Red Bank
Division Losses: at Matawan, Raritan, Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Ties: At Raritan, at Holmdel, at Red Bank
Non-Division Wins: Long Branch
Non-Division Losses: Somerville, Monroe
Non-Division Ties: At Donovan Catholic
Monday Opponent: At Rumson-Fair Haven
Why They’re Here: Saturday's loss to Raritan will likely cost Shore a home game and a game against Rumson on Monday will likely not have the potential to change any opinions.

18. Southern (9-6, 7-6)

Division Wins: Jackson Memorial (2), Toms River East (2), at Brick, at Brick Memorial, Toms River North
Division Losses: Central (2), Toms River South (2), Brick, at Toms River North
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Pinelands, at Lacey
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: Vs. Brick Memorial
Why They’re Here: Despite losing to Central again, the Rams are in the tournament and will get a chance to compete on the SCT stage as part of a turnaround season for the program. With Toms River North beating Toms River South on Thursday, the Rams have a little more sizzle in their resume and could still move up under the right circumstances.

19. Jackson Memorial (8-7, 6-7)

Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Toms River East (2), Brick, Central
Division Losses: Southern (2), Toms River North (2), Toms River South (2), at Central
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Freehold Boro, St. Rose
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: At Brick
Why They're Here: The Jaguars are in, which means some team is going to have to deal with Mike Schoener in the first round of the SCT. With two losses to Southern and Donovan's win over Toms River South, Jackson Memorial's ceiling is probably No. 19.

20. St. Rose (10-5, 8-3)

Division Wins: Henry Hudson (2), Mater Dei (2), Point Beach (2), at Keyport, Ranney
Division Losses: Asbury Park (2), at Ranney
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Wall, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Losses: At Point Boro, at Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here: St. Rose’s win over Wall will carry a lot of weight in the tournament, but it can only help St. Rose so much. A win over Ranney on Friday bought St. Rose a few spots in the seeding, but Thursday's loss at Jackson Memorial means No. 20 is where that climb would stop.

21. Holmdel (7-4-1, 6-4-1)

Division Wins: Rumson-Fair Haven (2), St. John Vianney (2), Raritan, Red Bank
Division Losses: Matawan (2), at Red Bank, Shore
Division Ties: At Shore
Non-Division Wins: Ranney
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here: The Hornets have a decent collection of results but don’t have much of a chance to dramatically change their seeding outlook. Raritan's tie against Matawan on Thursday and win over Shore on Saturday may give Holmdel a chance to boost its stock a little bit if the Hornets can beat Raritan on Monday.

22. Lakewood (9-8, 7-7)

Division Wins: Donovan Catholic (2), Manchester (2), Barnegat, Jackson Liberty, at Lacey
Division Losses: Pinelands (2), Point Boro (2), at Barnegat, at Jackson Liberty, at Lacey
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Henry Hudson, at Keyport
Non-Division Losses: At Raritan
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They're Here: Lakewood qualified for the SCT thanks to a five-game winning streak and an 8-2 stretch following a 1-6 start. The Piners not only beat Donovan Catholic twice during that run, but they also challenged Point Boro and Pinelands in losses to both.

23. Donovan Catholic (7-7-2, 6-7-1)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Manchester (2), Jackson Liberty, Lacey
Division Losses: Lakewood (2), Pinelands (2), Point Boro (2), at Lacey
Division Ties: At Jackson Liberty
Non-Division Wins: Toms River South
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: Shore
Monday Opponent: Vs. Central
Why They’re Here: Donovan Catholic has one of the best wins on the board (Toms River South), but the Griffins don't have any other wins or ties against tournament teams and they also have a loss and a tie to teams outside the tournament. A win over Central on Monday would help all of the B South teams, and the Griffins would certainly be one of the benficiaries.

24. Ranney (9-4, 8-2)

Division Wins: Henry Hudson (2), Keyport (2), Mater Dei (2), at Point Beach, St. Rose
Division Losses: Asbury Park
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Monmouth
Non-Division Losses: At Holmdel, Pinelands
Non-Division Ties: None
Monday Opponent: At Asbury Park
Why They’re Here: The Panthers have challenged themselves outside of B Central, but have not come up with the results. Although wins over St. Rose and Point Beach are proof Ranney is respectable, the Panthers need a win over Asbury Park on Monday to climb up in the seeding.

 

Eliminated

Point Pleasant Beach (6-8, 6-5)

Jackson Liberty (5-8-1, 3-8-1)

Lacey (6-8, 6-6)

Rumson-Fair Haven (5-9, 4-7)

Red Bank (5-7-1, 5-5-1)

Middletown South (5-9-1, 4-8-1)

Brick (5-10, 4-8)

Freehold Boro (5-9, 5-7)

Manalapan (5-7-1, 5-7-0)