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The 2013 Shore Conference boys soccer season has been a unique one and that manifests itself in a wide-open Shore Conference Tournament that will begin on Oct. 24. It is not unusual for a tournament to look wide open, but two factors make this year unique.

First, there is a legitimate chance a double-digit seed could win the tournament. In a normal year, there are usually about four teams that look championship caliber, but in this field, that number is more like 10 or 11, perhaps more.

Secondly, there is no clear No. 1 seed. There is usually plenty of debate in the SCT seeding meeting but the No. 1 seed usually is not much of a topic of conversation, perhaps because there is not much difference between the No. 1, 2, 3 or 4 seeds. But if the No. 1 seed is at all coveted, there will be five teams with a reasonable case to be the top seed. Class B North champion Ocean is the defending tournament champion, Rumson-Fair Haven and Holmdel are Class A Central co-champions, and the Class A North winner is usually the top seed.

The tournament itself has a chance to be a free-for-all, but the insanity may begin in the seeding meeting rather than the pitch. Here is one man’s look at the field, to be updated each night prior to Monday’s seeding meeting.

*-Denotes a game on the day of the cutoff, Oct. 21. Games played on that date will be taken into consideration for teams that have already qualified, but any team in the field must have a .500 winning percentage by Sunday, Oct. 13.

Updated through games played on Oct. 19

 

Rumson's Jamie Martin (left) and Holmdel's Jack Flanagan battled twice during the regular season and could be in store for another meeting in the Shore Conference Tournament. (Photo by Matt Manley)

1. Rumson-Fair Haven (12-1-1, 9-1-1)

Division Wins: Monmouth (2), Raritan (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), St. John Vianney (2), at Holmdel, at Raritan
Division Losses: Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Ties: Raritan
Non-Division Wins: At Marlboro, at Red Bank, Shore
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Freehold*
Why They’re Here: Holmdel was here 24 hours ago, so why the sudden change. Quite simply put, Red Bank made the tournament and Brick Memorial did not, meaning Rumson has an extra win over a tournament team. That team also has a win over top 10 Ocean, which further strengthens the Rumson case. It is that close between the Bulldogs and the Hornets, so every little detail matters.

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

Division Wins: Manasquan (2), Monmouth (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), St. John Vianney (2), at Raritan, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Losses: Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Ties: Raritan
Non-Division Wins: At Brick Memorial, Shore
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here: Despite a win over Rumson in the more recent game between the teams, the Hornets drop below the Bulldogs for the reason listed above. Now, the two A Central foes will watch Monday to see what Manalapan does, which could be the last domino to fall in determining the No. 1 seed.

3. Manalapan (11-2-1, 10-2-1)

Division Wins: CBA (2), Marlboro (2), Middletown North (2), Middletown South (2), Colts Neck, at Freehold Township
Division Losses: At Colts Neck, Howell
Division Ties: Freehold Township
Non-Division Wins: At Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Howell*
Why They’re Here:  With a win over Howell on Monday, Manalapan will have a pretty ironclad resume when compared to the two Class A Central teams. That hypothetical win would mean Manalapan has at least one win against each A North team, which is more impressive than what the two A Central teams have done. To make a long story short, Manalapan is playing for the No. 1 seed on Monday.

4. Freehold Township (10-4-1, 9-4-1)

Division Wins: Colts Neck (2), Marlboro (2), Middletown South (2), at CBA, Howell, at Middletown North
Division Losses: CBA, at Howell, Manalapan, Middletown North
Division Ties: At Manalapan
Non-Division Wins: Freehold
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here:  It seemed as though Freehold Township might limp into the SCT, but Wednesday's performance in a 2-1 win over Colts Neck suggests otherwise. With two wins over the Cougars, a top-five seed looks likely, especially if CBA loses to Colts Neck on Monday.

5. Ocean (10-1-4, 7-1-4)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Matawan (2), Freehold, at Neptune, Red Bank
Division Losses: at Red Bank
Division Ties: Wall (2), at Freehold, Neptune
Non-Division Wins: Montclair, at Brick, at Shore
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here:  The Spartans are not locked in at No. 5 by any means, and could fall to No. 7 if Toms River North beats Toms River East. That being said, Ocean should get some respect for being the defending champion and current division champion despite a modest resume.

6. Toms River North (8-3-3, 8-2-3)

Division Wins: Brick (2), Brick Memorial (2), Southern (2), Jackson Memorial, at Toms River South
Division Losses: Lacey, Toms River South
Division Ties: At Jackson Memorial, at Lacey, Toms River East
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: At Monroe
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here: In the wake of Lacey's win over Toms River North, Class A South is going to be quite the mess through which to sort on the night of the seeding meeting. Toms River North and Jackson Memorial could end up in a virtual tie and considering the Mariners are 1-0-1 against the Jaguars, they would still be ahead in the seeding.

7. Christian Brothers Academy (9-3-1, 9-3-1)

Division Wins: Howell (2), Marlboro (2), Middletown North (2), Middletown South (2), Freehold Township
Division Losses: Manalapan (2), at Freehold Township
Division Ties: Colts Neck
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Colts Neck*
Why They’re Here: The Colts could still snag a share of the Class A North title with a win over Colts Neck and a Manalapan loss to Howell on Monday. Since Manalapan beat CBA twice, the Braves are not falling below the Colts, so CBA's ability to rise in the rankings depends solely on its game against Colts Neck.

8. Colts Neck (7-3-3, 7-3-3)

Division Wins: Marlboro (2), Middletown North (2), Middletown South (2), Manalapan
Division Losses: Freehold Township (2), at Manalapan
Division Ties: Howell (2), CBA
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: CBA*
Why They’re Here: Colts Neck might have missed out on a top-five seed by losing to Manalapan on Friday, but a win over CBA on Monday would give the Cougars a reasonable argument for a top-five spot.

9. Jackson Memorial (11-4-2, 8-3-2)

Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Southern (2), Toms River East (2), at Brick, Lacey
Division Losses: at Lacey, at Toms River North, at Toms River South
Division Ties: Toms River North, Toms River South
Non-Division Wins: Old Bridge (forfeit), Linden, Long Branch
Non-Division Losses: Manalapan
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: Brick*
Why They’re Here:  The Jaguars put to rest some concerns about their ability to win away from their home field by winning at Toms River East on Thursday. Jackson could probably make a case for the No. 7 or 8 seed, and if the Jags win their last two and CBA beats Colts Neck, that case gets stronger.

10. Lacey (8-4-2, 7-4-2)

Division Wins: Brick (2), Toms River South (2), Brick Memorial, Jackson Memorial, at Toms River North
Division Losses: Toms River East (2), at Brick Memorial, at Jackson Memorial
Division Ties: At Southern, Toms River North
Non-Division Wins: At Manchester
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here:  Like Jackson Memorial, Lacey needed a big win on the road and they got just that by winning at Toms River North in overtime on Thursday night. With two losses to Toms River East, the Lions are limited in how high they can go, but a top 10 spot looks likely.

11. Howell (6-5-2, 6-5-2)

Division Wins: Middletown North (2), Freehold Township, Middletown South, Manalapan, at Marlboro
Division Losses: CBA (2), at Freehold Township, Marlboro, at Middletown South
Division Ties: Colts Neck (2)
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: Manalapan*
Why They're Here: Now that the Rebels are officially in, they have a strong case to sniff the top 10. The committee tends to reward quality wins more than it punishes "bad" losses, which will help Howell's case. A win over Manalapan could mean a top 10 spot, especially since No. 9 Jackson Memorial lost to the Braves.

12. Toms River South (7-5-2, 7-5-1)

Division Wins: Southern (2), Toms River East (2), at Brick, Jackson Memorial, at Toms River North
Division Losses: Lacey (2), Brick, Brick Memorial, Toms River North
Division Ties: At Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: At Monsignor Donovan
Why They’re Here:  The Indians are in after a 3-0 win over Southern and despite losses to non-tournament teams Brick and Brick Memorial, Toms River South should be somewhere near the top 10 thanks to two wins over Toms River East..

13. Wall (7-1-6, 5-1-5)

Division Wins: Freehold (2), at Long Branch, at Neptune, Red Bank
Division Losses: At Matawan
Division Ties: Ocean (2), Long Branch, Neptune, at Red Bank
Non-Division Wins: St. Rose, Summit
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: At Manasquan
Before the Cutoff: Matawan
Why They’re Here: The Crimson Knights got their revenge against Matawan Saturday and with the 3-0 win over the Huskies, they will start pushing for a top-10 spot.

14. Monsignor Donovan (10-2-2, 10-2-0)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Lakewood (2), Manchester (2), at Central, Jackson Liberty, Point Boro, Pinelands
Division Losses: Central, at Point Boro
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: South Brunswick, Toms River South
Why They’re Here: Losses by Matawan and Raritan give the Griffins a chance to jump up for a home game and a tie against Toms River South puts them ahead of Toms River East, which lost twice to the Indians. The Griffins were a No. 15 seed last year and were an overtime penalty kick away from possibly going to the semifinals, so this is a live No. 14.

15. Toms River East (6-5-2, 6-5-2)

Division Wins: Lacey (2), Southern (2), Brick, at Brick Memorial
Division Losses: Jackson Memorial (2), Toms River South (2), Brick Memorial
Division Ties: At Brick, at Toms River North
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here: There are enough quality wins on the Raiders' resume for them to earn a home game. As a team, Toms River East has been hot-and-cold, but its best game is good enough to beat anybody. A win over Toms River North could result in a jump to No. 14, Monsignor Donovan going to No. 13, and Wall dropping to No. 15.

16. Raritan (9-4-2, 6-4-2)

Division Wins: Manasquan (2), Monmouth (2), at Red Bank Catholic, St. John Vianney
Division Losses: Holmdel, Red Bank Catholic, Rumson-Fair Haven, at St. John Vianney
Division Ties: At Holmdel, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Wins: At Neptune, at Mater Dei Prep, Henry Hudson
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here:  Raritan has two quality ties against both the No. 1 and 2 seeds, but only one win against a team in the tournament. That makes the Rockets somewhat tough to seed, but they do have a good case to host a first-round game.

17. Matawan (6-5-1, 6-5-1)

Division Wins: Neptune (2), at Freehold, at Long Branch, Red Bank, Wall
Division Losses: Ocean (2), Long Branch, at Red Bank
Division Ties: Freehold
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Wall
Why They’re Here:  The Huskies probably needed to pull out a tie against either Ocean or Wall to secure a home game. That is still a possibility, but a stronger push to the finish line would have guaranteed it.

18. Red Bank Catholic (7-7-1, 5-7-0)

Division Wins: Monmouth (2), at Manasquan, at Raritan, at St. John Vianney
Division Losses: Holmdel (2), Rumson-Fair Haven (2), Manasquan, Raritan, St. John Vianney
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Red Bank, St. Rose
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: at Middletown North
Why They're Here: Wins over Raritan, Red Bank and St. Rose are a solid group of wins to take into the seeding meeting and considering Red Bank has a win over Ocean, RBC should be able to crack the top 20.

19. Red Bank (7-7-1, 6-5-1)

Division Wins: Long Branch (2), at Freehold, Matawan, at Neptune, Ocean
Division Losses: Freehold, at Matawan, Neptune, at Ocean, at Wall
Division Ties: Wall
Non-Division Wins: Manasquan
Non-Division Losses: At Red Bank Catholic, Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They're Here: Wins over Ocean and Matawan and a tie against Wall are better than the best results that some of the teams above the Bucs have, but a .500 record and a head-to-head loss to Red Bank Catholic makes Red Bank a candidate to travel in the first round.

20. Shore (11-6-0, 9-2-0)

Division Wins: Henry Hudson (2), Mater Dei Prep (2), Ranney (2), at Asbury Park, Point Beach, St. Rose
Division Losses: Asbury Park, at St. Rose
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Sayreville, Point Boro
Non-Division Losses: Don Bosco Prep, at Holmdel, at Rumson-Fair Haven, Ocean
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Point Beach*
Why They’re Here: The Blue Devils have not been as sharp as they have been in past years, but they still hold an edge over their division competition and most of Class B South with an out-of-division win over Point Boro. Shore needs to beat Point Beach on Monday to win B Central and stay in the top 20.

21. Point Boro (11-4-0, 10-2-0)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Manchester (2), Pinelands (2), at Central, at Jackson Liberty, Lakewood, Monsignor Donovan
Division Losses: Jackson Liberty, at Monsignor Donovan
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: St. Rose
Non-Division Losses: East Brunswick, at Shore
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Lakewood*
Why They’re Here: A loss to Jackson Liberty on Thursday drops Point Boro into a first-place tie with Monsignor Donovan, which means the Panthers will also fall behind Monsignor Donovan in the seeding. Outside of that, Point Boro is pretty solid in this spot.

22. Central (8-2-1, 8-2-1)

Division Wins: Jackson Liberty (2), Pinelands (2), at Barnegat, Lakewood, Manchester, at Monsignor Donovan
Division Losses: Monsignor Donovan, Point Boro
Division Ties: At Lakewood
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Manchester*
Why They’re Here: Central could go ahead of Point Boro, but the two teams won't play until Oct. 29 and without a win over the Panthers, the Golden Eagles will have trouble breaking into the teens.

23. Jackson Liberty (9-4-0, 9-4-0)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Lakewood (2), Manchester (2), Pinelands (2), at Point Boro
Division Losses: Central (2), at Monsignor Donovan, Point Boro
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Why They’re Here: The Lions picked up their first win over a tournament team by beating Point Boro on Thursday and will have a chance to up the ante against Lacey on Friday..

24. Point Beach (10-3-0, 9-2-0)

Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Mater Dei Prep (2), Ranney (2), at St. Rose
Division Losses: St. Rose, at Shore
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Neptune
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: Shore*
Why They’re Here: There have been some good turnaround stories in the Shore Conference this season, and the one at Point Beach may take the cake. The Garnet Gulls have a chance to win the outright Class B Central by beating Shore at home on Monday, which could propel the Garnet Gulls into the top 20.

25. Asbury Park (8-3-0, 8-3-0)

Division Wins: Henry Hudson (2), Mater Dei Prep (2), Ranney (2), St. Rose, at Shore
Division Losses: Point Beach (2)
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At St. Rose*
Why They’re Here: The division title is not a possibility after a loss to Shore on Tuesday, but with some good individual talent, the Blue Bishops will be a tough draw for a host team in the first round.

26. St. Rose (8-8-1, 8-3-0)

Division Wins: Henry Hudson (2), Mater Dei Prep (2), Ranney (2), at Point Beach, Shore
Division Losses: At Asbury Park, Point Beach, at Shore
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: At Wall, at Neptune, St. John Vianney, at Point Boro, at Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Ties: Manasquan
Before the Cutoff: Asbury Park*
Why They’re Here: A loss to Point Beach on an overtime penalty kick took a chance of a division title off of the plate of the Purple Roses. A win over Asbury Park on Monday would likely get St. Rose out of the last spot.