Central Jersey Group IV

Shore Teams in the Field: No. 8 Freehold Twp., No. 11 Long Branch, No. 14 Middletown South
Defending Champion: Hunterdon Central
Top Seed: Hunterdon Central
Favorite: No. 2 Monroe
Sleeper Team: No. 16 Hightstown. Literally every single team in this bracket is good and most of the teams have a pretty decent shot at winning a game. Although Hunterdon Central is the No. 1 seed, the Red Raiders are not as complete as they were a year ago, when they won the Group IV championship by beating Marlboro, Washington Township and Scotch Plains-Fanwood in consecutive games. That gives Hightstown – which has played Pennington twice and St. Benedict’s once while finishing .500 in Mercer County – reason to think big entering as the No. 16 seed. Long Branch has run hot and cold – sometimes within the span of a single game – but could make a significant run with all of the weapons at its disposal. Middletown South held its own against CBA, which should help the Eagles against Princeton.
Prediction: Monroe over Freehold Twp. Central Jersey IV is so wide open that Freehold Township is a legitimate contender at No. 8, but not really a sleeper compared to some of the other quality teams that do not play a home game in round one. The Patriots have raised their game against good teams and if they can get past a quality Sayreville team in round one, they could be very dangerous in the later rounds. Monroe, meanwhile, has been the class of the Greater Middlesex Conference and should be in for a tough test in the semifinals if Princeton pays the Falcons a visit on Nov. 7.

Freehold Township senior Kevin Finn. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Round-by-Round Predictions

(16) Hightstown over (1) Hunterdon Central

(8) Freehold Twp. over (9) Sayreville

(12) Montgomery over (5) South Brunswick

(13) East Brunswick over (4) North Brunswick

(3) Princeton over (14) Middletown South

(6) West Windsor-Plainsboro South over (11) Long Branch

(10) Trenton over (7) Edison

(2) Monroe over (15) Old Bridge



(8) Freehold Twp. over (16) Hightstown

(13) East Brunswick over (12) Montgomery

(3) Princeton over (6) West Windsor-Plainsboro South

(2) Monroe over (10) Trenton



(8) Freehold Twp. over (13) East Brunswick

(2) Monroe over (3) Princeton



(2) Monroe over (8) Freehold Twp.



Central Jersey Group III

Shore Teams in the Field: No. 1 Ocean, No. 2 Toms River South, No. 6 Wall, No. 7 Toms River East, No. 8 Freehold Boro, No. 9 Lakewood, No. 14 Neptune
Defending Champion: Toms River South
Top Seed: Ocean
Favorite: Ocean
Sleeper Team: Neptune. The Scarlet Fliers were a competitive Class A North team that now gets to play in Group III with a lot of teams that did not play the same level of competitions. Neptune has not only gotten results, but it has a legitimately scary scorer in Wilby Alfred, who could be a game-breaker vs. Northern Burlington and again against Wall or Steinert in a potential quarterfinal game. Toms River East could also be a dangerous potential opponent for Toms River South in the quarterfinals, while Freehold Boro has already beaten potential quarterfinal opponent Ocean, 5-1, this year.
Prediction: Toms River South over Ocean. These teams just battled in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals, with Ocean winning 3-2 on a wind-aided 45-yard free kick in the final five minutes, which capped a strong second half for the Spartans. Ocean was the better team on Oct. 23, but Toms River South was on one day of rest after an emotional, shootout victory over CBA. Both teams have some potential stumbling blocks to overcome – namely Allentown for Ocean - but the two are poised to meet up again at Ocean on Nov. 10.

Toms River South junior Clem Slavick heads a ball. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Round-by-Round Predictions

(1) Ocean over (16) Burlington Twp.

(8) Freehold Boro over (9) Lakewood

(5) Moorestown over (12) Pennsauken

(4) Allentown over (13) Ewing

(14) Neptune over (3) Northern Burlington

(6) Wall over (11) Steinert

(7) Toms River East over (10) Lawrence

(2) Toms River South over (15) Westampton Tech



(1) Ocean over (8) Freehold Boro

(4) Allentown over (5) Moorestown

(14) Neptune over (6) Wall

(2) Toms River South over (7) Toms River East



(1) Ocean over (4) Allentown

(2) Toms River South over (14) Neptune



(2) Toms River South over (1) Ocean



Central Jersey Group II

Shore Teams in the Field: No. 1 Holmdel, No. 2 Monmouth, No. 3 Rumson-Fair Haven, No. 11 Raritan, No. 13 Matawan
Defending Champion: Bernards
Top Seed: Holmdel
Favorite: Holmdel
Sleeper Team: No. 11 Raritan. Defending sectional champion Bernards drew a No. 12 seed and a first-round game at North Plainfield, which gives the Mountaineers a chance to win a game or two before running into Holmdel. The reason Raritan has a little more potential is the Rockets have already beaten the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the bracket, so if they have to do it again in order to reach the championship game, there is precedent. Raritan also barely came up short against Holmdel in the first meeting between the teams, although the Rockets lost the second one, 5-0. Robbinsville as a No. 15 is also dangerous, but will have to deal with Joel Burgos and Monmouth in the first round.
Prediction: Holmdel over Rumson-Fair Haven. Rumson might be due for a couple big wins after losing some competitive games in recent weeks, but the status of Owen Greengrove (concussion) keeps the Bulldogs a question mark. The good news for them is they made a run in this section without him last year and there is not a juggernaut team in their way until the final. Monmouth is certainly in play to make the finals as well, especially considering Joel Burgos is back and scoring goals again. In the end, though, Holmdel is head and shoulders above every other team in the bracket and it would take a Herculean effort and some serious luck for any team in the bracket to beat the Hornets.

Holmdel junior Anthony Arena. (Photo by Steve Meyer)

Round-by-Round Predictions

(1) Holmdel over (16) North Star Academy

(9) A.L. Johnson over (8) Metuchen

(12) Bernards over (5) North Plainfield

(4) Governor Livingston over (13) Matawan

(3) Rumson-Fair Haven over (14) Hillside

(11) Raritan over (6) Carteret

(7) Spotswood over (10) Voorhees

(2) Monmouth over (15) Robbinsville



(1) Holmdel over (9) A.L. Johnson

(12) Bernards over (4) Governor Livingston

(3) Rumson-Fair Haven over (11) Raritan

(2) Monmouth over (7) Spotswood



(1) Holmdel over (12) Bernards

(3) Rumson-Fair Haven over (2) Monmouth



(1) Holmdel over (3) Rumson-Fair Haven



Central Jersey Group I

Shore Teams in the Field: No. 2 Asbury Park, No. 12 Point Beach, No. 13 Shore, No. 16 Henry Hudson
Defending Champion: Asbury Park
Top Seed: Highland Park
Favorite: Asbury Park
Sleeper Team: Shore. The Blue Devils are playing their best soccer heading into the tournament and despite the power-point formula treating them unkindly, they are as battle-tested as any team in the section. Shore played three games against Holmdel, playing them progressively tougher each time, and also travelled to play Haddonfield, albeit in a blowout loss. Central Jersey Group I is notorious for double-digit seeds making runs, and with teams like Shore, No. 11 New Egypt and No. 12 Point Beach – another team to watch from the Shore – this bracket is once again begging for chaos.
Prediction: Shore over Asbury Park. While Asbury Park has had mixed results over the last month – strong performances in tough losses to Point Boro and Freehold Township, but a road loss to Ranney – the Blue Bishops appear to be primed and ready to defend their title. Davensky JoinVilmar will be a problem for any team the Blue Bishops play and he’ll have to live up to that potential for Asbury Park to make another run. New Egypt or Florence will be a tough test in the semifinals, but the Blue Bishops should cruise up to that point. On the other side, Shore and Point Beach could very well meet in the quarterfinals, although neither first-round game will be easy. Highland Park had a strong showing in the GMC Tournament and will have home field advantage, so while the Owls are beatable, they are not necessarily ripe for the picking.

Shore junior Leonardo Montesinos. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Round-by-Round Predictions

(1) Highland Park over (16) Henry Hudson

(8) Manville over (9) South River

(12) Point Beach over (5) Bound Brook

(13) Shore over (4) South Hunterdon

(3) Florence over (14) Middlesex

(11) New Egypt over (6) Stem Civics

(10) South Amboy over (7) Piscataway Tech

(2) Asbury Park over (15) Riverside



(1) Highland Park over (8) Manville

(12) Shore over (13) Point Beach

(11) New Egypt over (3) Florence

(2) Asbury Park over (10) South Amboy



(12) Shore over (1) Highland Park

(2) Asbury Park over (11) New Egypt



(12) Shore over (2) Asbury Park


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