A little more than a week into the 2015, the top 10 is a tale of two halves. The top five remained exactly the same as it was in the preseason installment, while Nos. 6 through 10 went through a complete overhaul. That is pretty reflective of how things looked on paper early one – the top five teams stood out, while the next five offered lots of options. Four new “options” enter the top 10 picture this week, one of which was not really on the radar when the season opened.

 

1. Freehold Township (1-0-1, 1-0-0) Last Week: 1

The Patriots haven’t dominated on the scoreboard by any stretch, but with a draw against a quality St. Joseph Metuchen team and a hard-fought win over rival Marlboro, they have certainly handled their business. A showdown with No. 2 CBA on Thursday is fast approaching.

2. Christian Brothers Academy (1-1-0, 1-0-0) Last Week: 2

The Colts are the only top five team to lose, but it came against a quality Peddie squad on an own goal and it followed a resounding 8-0 win over what figures to be a at least decent Middletown North team. With CBA and Freehold Township playing one another this week and Shore and Ocean clashing on Saturday, the top two likely won’t be the same next week.

3. Ocean (2-0-0, 1-0-0) Last Week: 3

The Spartans can make a case to be No. 1 so far based on two lopsided wins over Brick and Red Bank Catholic, but not enough has happened among the top five to move teams around at this point. As previously mentioned, that will change by the end of this week, when the top two teams go head to head and Ocean travels to No. 5 Shore.

4. Manalapan (1-0-0, 1-0-0) Last Week: 4

The Braves outlasted Howell in a very competitive game and if anyone was down on Manalapan after the close call, the Rebels turned around and wiped out a Freehold Boro team that got off to a great start. There is still a lot to prove for a lot of Manalapan’s lineup, but the Braves passed the first test and remains an A North contender.

5. Shore (2-0-0, 1-0-0) Last Week: 5

A shaky second half against Point Beach notwithstanding, Shore has played as well as any of the other top-five teams and the Blue Devils enter the week with a chance to climb in the rankings with Ocean coming in to play a big Saturday match.

6. Toms River North (1-1-0, 1-0-0) Last Week: 7

The Mariners battled a very good Kearny team to a 1-0 loss in the opener and rolled through Lacey, 3-0, in the A South opener, which gives Toms River North the best results of any A South team to this point. The Mariners will have to get through Brick Memorial and Toms River East this week.

Rumson-Fair Haven has done plenty of celebrating during its 4-0 start. The Bulldogs make their top 10 debut this week at No. 7. (Photo by Matt Manley)

7. Rumson-Fair Haven (4-0-0, 2-0-0) Last Week: Not ranked

The Bulldogs are the Shore’s only 4-0 team, a start that began with an overtime win over a Long Branch team that debuted in the top 10. Three of the four wins are by a one-goal margin, so while the Bulldogs have been dominant in the win-loss columns, they have been finding ways to win more than dominating.

8. Wall (2-0-0, 1-0-0) Last Week: Not ranked

The Crimson Knights have an inexperienced lineup and started the season by beating two teams – Colts Neck and St. Rose – facing the same plight. Colts Neck went on to tie Holmdel, so that seems to suggest Wall is about ready to have its usual competitive season.

9. Howell (1-1-0, 1-1-0) Last Week: Not ranked

The Rebels pushed No. 4 Manalapan in a 1-0 loss, then delivered a statement with a 4-0 result over Freehold Boro – which opened its season by beating Jackson Memorial and routing St. John Vianney. With more experience on the team than last year, Howell looks like a possible surprise team early on.

10. Point Pleasant Boro (2-0-0, 1-0-0) Last Week: Not ranked

The defending Class B South champions have scored three goals in each of their first two matches and with the rest of B South off to a so-so start, it appears the Panthers are indeed the favorite to repeat again this year.

 

Dropped Out

Jackson Memorial (1-1-1, 0-0-1) Last Week: 6 – A close loss to a solid A North team (Freehold) and a draw against a capable Toms River East team is no reason to panic.

Holmdel (1-1-1, 0-1-0) Last Week: 8 – After an impressive opener against Toms River South, Holmdel slipped up in a loss to Matawan and barely escaped with a draw at Colts Neck.

Toms River South (1-1-0, 1-0-0) Last Week: 9 – The performance against Holmdel was not as bad as the 3-0 margin of defeat and the Indians bounced back with an 8-0 laugher against Brick.

Long Branch (2-1-0, 0-0-0) Last Week: 10 – The Green Wave faced a 0-2 start before rallying to beat Asbury Park, which sparked a stretch in which it has scored seven goals in its last 88 minutes.

 

On the Bubble

Matawan (2-0-0, 1-0-0) – The Huskies are the next in line after beating Holmdel this past week and announcing to the Shore that they plan on defending their A Central title.

Freehold Boro (2-1-0, 0-1-0) – The 4-0 loss at Howell was a bucket of cold water for a Colonials team that won two impressive games to open the season.

Colts Neck (1-1-1, 0-1-1) – With a win at Brick Memorial and a draw against Holmdel that was seven seconds away from being a win, the Cougars have performed well with very little varsity experience on the field.