Tonight will mark the seeding of the 2018 Boys Soccer Shore Conference Tournament and if it feels like it has come up quick, that’s because it has. Last year the tournament was moved up by two days from the previous years and this year, it will start even earlier. After the tournament is seeded on Wednesday night, it will begin on Saturday and conclude on Wednesday, October 24 with the championship game at Point Pleasant Boro. That means any public-school team that plays in the final will have four days off before the start of the NJSIAA Tournament the following week as opposed to one under the old schedule.

So that’s the schedule. How about the teams? Heading into the year, there were questions about how the new schedule – in which each team plays its division opponents only one time each as opposed to two – would affect the Shore Conference Tournament. As the cutoff approaches, it appears as though it has favored the “big conference” teams, who now only have to play one another once and can play smaller-school teams to, in theory, bulk up their win total. Class A North is currently tied with Class A South with five guaranteed teams in the tournament thus far and has a chance to add a sixth if Manalapan qualifies. A Central could also end up with five teams if Raritan beats Rumson on Wednesday.

As for seeding the tournament, things have not really gotten much easier. In theory, with more teams crossing over and playing teams from other divisions, there would be more points of comparison between teams. In reality, the schedule just amplifies the nature of the conference and the nature of this year’s Shore Conference is that there are a handful of standout teams and a whole bunch of pretty good ones. As you might guess, the pretty good teams have all beaten up on one another and distinguishing them is no easier than it would be if everyone just played only a few inter-divisional games.

With that being said, we are left with some of the same seeding principles that have governed the process in past years. Should teams get more credit for beating good teams or avoiding bad losses? How much weight should a head-to-head win carry if the losing team in that comparison has an undeniably better resume? Should a team be rewarded for scheduling tough opponents and losing to them when there are teams who scheduled more to their level and produced better results? None of those are new questions and should not catch anyone on the seeding committee by surprise.

One new element the new schedule introduces might be the elimination of priority by standings. In almost every past case, the teams within a given division were seeded by their division standing but with only half as many division games this season, do the standings carry less weight? They would probably have to, right? For instance, Toms River North is guaranteed to finish ahead of Toms River East in the Class A South standings but the Raiders beat the Mariners twice (one in a non-divisional game) and have what appears to be a better collection of wins outside the division.

Okay, you didn’t come here to read these ramblings; you came to see the mock seeds and the mock seeds is what you shall have. As of Tuesday, there are currently 24 teams at .500 or better with now two below .500 but still alive after Middletown South, St. John Vianney, Ranney were eliminated Monday and Long Branch on Tuesday. Here is what we’re looking at right now.

 

Updated with games played on Tuesday, Oct. 9

1. Holmdel (11-0, 5-0)

Division Wins: Manasquan, Monmouth, at Raritan, at Rumson-Fair Haven, Red Bank Catholic
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Middletown South, Colts Neck, Toms River South, at Matawan, Pinelands, CBA
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Shore
Seeding Breakdown: Holmdel likely sewed up the No. 1 seed with its win over CBA and is two more games away from reaching the tournament undefeated. The only possible foil would be if the Hornets fall victim to an upset at Shore, Jackson Memorial beats Toms River North and Freehold Township beats CBA. Barring those stars aligning, the defending champs will enter the tournament the favorite once again.

2. Christian Brothers Academy (10-3, 5-1)

Division Wins: At Freehold Boro, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Middletown South
Division Losses: At Howell
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Delran, Peddie, vs. La Salle (Pa.), vs. Chaminade (N.Y.), at Ocean
Non-Division Losses: At St. Benedict’s, at Holmdel
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Freehold Twp.
Seeding Breakdown: The No. 2 spot is still up for debate and CBA still has a significant hurdle to clear in the form of a road game at Freehold Township. If, however, the Colts can pick up one more win, they should be a relative certainty to be the No. 2 seed given wins over Ocean and Delran, plus a Class A North title.

3. Jackson Memorial (11-1, 6-1)

Division Wins: Brick, at Brick Memorial, at Central, Toms River East, Toms River North, Toms River South
Division Losses: At Southern
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Pinelands, Jackson Liberty, at Manalapan, at Colts Neck, Freehold Twp.
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: Jackson Memorial's convincing win over Toms River North puts the pressure on CBA to close out an outright A North title on the road against Freehold Township. If that, plus a Shore upset of Holmdel, both transpire, the Jaguars have a real case to make that they are the No. 1 seed.

4. Ocean (11-2, 6-0)

Division Wins: Colts Neck, Matawan, at Middletown North, Neptune, at Red Bank, at St. John Vianney
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Freehold Boro, Middletown South, at Rumson-Fair Haven, Long Branch, at Point Boro
Non-Division Losses: Manasquan, CBA
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: None
Seeding Breakdown: Howell's loss to Middletown North bumps Ocean back up to No. 4 and just like that, the top-four teams are the same ones that have occupied that space for most of the year. Ocean will be no worse than the No. 5 seed and the only way the Spartans drop from No. 4 to No. 5 is if Freehold Township beats CBA.

5. Freehold Township (7-3-1, 4-2-0)

Division Wins: At Freehold Boro, at Howell, at Long Branch, Marlboro
Division Losses: Manalapan, at Middletown South
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: St. John Vianney, Rumson-Fair Haven, at Fair Lawn
Non-Division Losses: At Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Ties: Toms River North
Before the Cutoff: Vs. CBA
Seeding Breakdown: With a head-to-head win over Howell, the Patriots deserve to be ahead of the Rebels in the seeding if they are going to be seeded back-to-back. That gets a little trickier if Howell finishes ahead of Freehold Township in the division standings, which will happen if Howell beats Manalapan and the Patriots lose to CBA. If, however, Freehold Township beats CBA, a No. 3 seed is likely.

6. Howell (9-4, 4-2)

Division Wins: CBA, Freehold Boro, at Long Branch, Middletown South
Division Losses: Freehold Twp., at Marlboro
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Toms River East, Brick, Brick Memorial, St. Rose, Southern
Non-Division Losses: At Toms River South, at Middletown North
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: At Manalapan
Seeding Breakdown: A loss at Middletown North pretty much dashes any hopes Howell had for a top-five seed, although a CBA loss to Freehold Township would at least open the door for the Rebels to get back in the conversation. The loss to Toms River South could be chalked up to playing the second game of a back-to-back in Ocean County, but Monday's loss to a Middletown North side that just ended an eight-game losing streak is a little more unsettling.

7. Southern (7-4-1, 4-1-1)

Division Wins: Brick Memorial, at Central, Jackson Memorial, at Toms River South
Division Losses: At Brick
Division Ties: At Toms River North
Non-Division Wins: At Atlantic Tech, Manalapan, Lacey
Non-Division Losses: At Long Branch, at Shawnee, at Howell
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: A loss to Brick might weigh Southern down in a climb toward the top five, but the Rams have some noteworthy wins: Jackson Memorial, Toms River South, Manalapan and Lacey. Even if Manalapan misses the tournament, those other three wins are a pretty strong foundation for an overall top-eight body of work.

8. Manalapan (5-5-2, 3-2-1)

Division Wins: Freehold Boro, at Freehold Twp., at Marlboro
Division Losses: At CBA, Middletown South
Division Ties: Long Branch
Non-Division Wins: At Middletown North
Non-Division Losses: At Southern, Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Ties: At Bridgewater-Raritan
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Howell
Seeding Breakdown: Manalapan barely survived a scare from Franklin on Tuesday and still must beat Howell on Wednesday to qualify, but the Braves are still in the hunt for a top-10 spot given wins over Freehold Township, Marlboro and Freehold Boro. If Manalapan beats Howell on Wednesday, this should be about where the Braves land.

9. Wall (10-3, 4-2)

Division Wins: Matawan, at Middletown North, at Neptune, Red Bank
Division Losses: St. John Vianney, Colts Neck
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: St. Rose, Rumson-Fair Haven, at Marlboro, Manasquan, at Shore, Raritan
Non-Division Losses: Freehold Boro
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: Like most teams in the field, Wall is going to be a hard one to seed. The Crimson Knights lost their opener to Freehold Boro, won nine games in a row, then lost two more in a row to teams that might not make the tournament – St. John Vianney and Colts Neck. Factor in that the Colts Neck loss was ugly (4-0) and Wall is not a top-10 lock. A win over Raritan Monday probably solidifies the Crimson Knights as a top-10 team and it will be interesting if word gets to the meeting of a Wall win over Ocean on Wednesday night.

10. Marlboro (6-4-2, 2-3-1)

Division Wins: Howell, Long Branch
Division Losses: At CBA, at Freehold Twp., Manalapan
Division Ties: At Freehold Boro
Non-Division Wins: At Brick, Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank, Toms River East
Non-Division Losses: Wall
Non-Division Ties: Toms River North
Before the Cutoff: At Middletown South
Seeding Breakdown: There is no greater turnaround story at the Shore than Marlboro, which was very young, very inexperienced and very injured last year, when the Mustangs went 1-14-2 and winless in Class A North play. Under new head coach Ryan Morris, Marlboro has returned to contention and done so by going toe-to-toe with some of the Shore’s best. A win over Howell should play well in the room and none of the losses should bury the Mustangs. A win over Middletown South on Wednesday would make it pretty hard to deny the Mustangs a top-10 seed.

11. Manasquan (9-4, 5-1)

Division Wins: At Monmouth, Raritan, at Rumson-Fair Haven, Red Bank Catholic, Shore
Division Losses: At Holmdel
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Brick Memorial, at Ocean, Long Branch, Matawan
Non-Division Losses: At Neptune, at Wall, at Middletown South
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: Manasquan is probably the hardest team to seed. The Warriors have a very strong win over Ocean and beating Monmouth and Long Branch last week showed they can win with a lot on the line. Although the 6-0 Neptune loss was ugly, it was on a rainy afternoon during the second week of September and, based on Manasquan’s eight goals allowed in its other 12 games, was most likely a fluke. If the committee can get past that Neptune loss, Manasquan has the look of a team that deserves serious top-10 consideration.

12. Toms River North (7-3-3, 4-2-1)

Division Wins: Brick, at Brick Memorial, Central, at Toms River South
Division Losses: At Jackson Memorial, Toms River East
Division Ties: Southern
Non-Division Wins: Point Boro, Donovan Catholic, at Jackson Liberty
Non-Division Losses: At Toms River East
Non-Division Ties: At Freehold Twp., at Marlboro
Seeding Breakdown: Toms River North’s best result is probably a tie vs. Freehold Township and maybe the best thing going for the Mariners right now is how the rest of A South has played outside the division. Toms River North has been fine in that regard, but wins over Point Boro, Donovan Catholic and Jackson Liberty don’t move the needle much.

13. Toms River South (6-4-1, 3-3-1)

Division Wins: Brick, Central, Toms River East
Division Losses: At Jackson Memorial, Southern, Toms River North
Division Ties: At Brick Memorial
Non-Division Wins: Jackson Liberty, Howell, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Losses: At Holmdel
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: This year’s Toms River South team was not a ready-made contender like the last few Indians teams have been, but there was always the potential for the three-time defending sectional champions to rally for a postseason run. It appears that is what is happening, especially after Toms River South just picked off a red-hot Howell team to give the Indians at least an outside shot at a top-10 seed.

14. Freehold Boro (6-5-1, 1-4-1)

Division Wins: Middletown South
Division Losses: CBA, Freehold Twp., at Howell, at Manalapan
Division Ties: Marlboro
Non-Division Wins: At Wall, Point Boro, Brick, at Jackson Liberty, at Colts Neck
Non-Division Losses: Ocean
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: None
Seeding Breakdown: While Freehold’s record doesn’t jump off the page, the quality of opponents it has played should. Four of the Colonials’ five losses have come against teams that are almost certain to fall in the top eight seeds and another against Manalapan that was the second of a back-to-back on the road. On the other hand, it’s possible that Freehold Boro’s only win over a tournament team will be the 1-0 win over Wall in Wall’s opener.

15. Toms River East (7-5, 3-3)

Division Wins: Brick Memorial, Central, at Toms River North
Division Losses: At Brick, at Jackson Memorial, at Toms River South
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Pinelands, Point Boro, Toms River North, at Manalapan
Non-Division Losses: Howell, at Marlboro
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: The Raiders lost another one-goal game on Monday, meaning they have now lost five games by one goal each. Two wins over Toms River North and one each over Pinelands and Manalapan make for a potential top-10 resume but losing to Marlboro on the road Monday coupled with an earlier loss to Brick probably ends that dream.

16. Pinelands (9-3, 7-0)

Division Wins: At Barnegat, Donovan Catholic, at Jackson Liberty, Lacey, at Lakewood, at Manchester, Point Boro
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Shore, Brick
Non-Division Losses: At Jackson Memorial, at Toms River East, at Holmdel
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: Pinelands deserves credit for playing a strong out-of-division schedule, especially since the Wildcats traveled to play Holmdel, Jackson Memorial and Toms River East. They did not pick up any wins in those games and that will limit how high they can climb, but Pinelands will most certainly get a home game and will be an uncomfortable game for somebody if the Cats can reach the round of 16.

17. Lacey (10-2, 6-1)

Division Wins: At Barnegat, Donovan Catholic, at Jackson Liberty, at Lakewood, Manchester, Point Boro
Division Losses: At Pinelands
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Red Bank, St. Rose, at Central, at Brick Memorial
Non-Division Losses: At Southern
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: Lacey just saw its nine-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of Southern and the Lions probably needed that win to get a home game in the first round. A win over Point Boro on Tuesday means the Lions have to go ahead of Neptune given Neptune failed to beat both Point Boro and Lakewood.

18. Neptune (9-3-1, 4-2-0)

Division Wins: Colts Neck, at Middletown North, Red Bank, at St. John Vianney
Division Losses: At Ocean, Wall
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Manasquan, Point Beach, at Ranney, Monmouth, Long Branch
Non-Division Losses: At Point Boro
Non-Division Ties: Lakewood
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Matawan
Seeding Breakdown: The loss to Point Boro really anchors Neptune down, not because it is any worse than the worst losses other teams have but because there are so many teams in this area of the seeding that have a win over Point Boro. Throw in a tie vs. Lakewood - albeit a Lakewood team playing with more firepower earlier in the year - and it's hard to make the case that Neptune should come in higher than Lacey, Pinelands, Toms River East or Freehold Boro.

19. Lakewood (8-3-1, 4-3-0)

Division Wins: At Barnegat, at Donovan Catholic, Jackson Liberty, Manchester, at Point Boro
Division Losses: Lacey, Pinelands
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Brick, Asbury Park, Point Beach, at Central
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: At Neptune
Seeding Breakdown: After a 7-0-1 start, Lakewood has hit a snag with a 1-3 stretch in its last four games, with the one win a minor miracle vs. one-win Central after trailing 3-0 with seven minutes left. On top of the recent struggles, Lakewood does not have much on the resume that stands out other than a draw at Neptune in Neptune’s first game of the season. With a resume that is on the light side and the Piners’ play trending in the wrong direction recently, this is probably as high as Lakewood can hope to be.

20. Point Pleasant Beach (9-2-1, 6-0-0)

Division Wins: At Asbury Park, Henry Hudson, at Keyport, Mater Dei, Ranney, at St. Rose
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Mater Dei, at Ranney, Manville
Non-Division Losses: At Neptune, at Lakewood
Non-Division Ties: Donovan Catholic
Seeding Breakdown: Point Beach has had three chances to go outside of B Central to prove itself and Shore Conference teams and none of those opportunities went well. Lakewood and Neptune each put up six goals against the Garnet Gulls and three-win Donovan Catholic earned a draw, but an unbeaten B Central mark might actually be enough to get the Gulls out of the last spot in the seeding.

21. Monmouth (8-4-1, 2-3-0)

Division Wins: Shore, Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Losses: At Holmdel, Manasquan, at Raritan
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: St. John Vianney, at Mater Dei, at Central, Henry Hudson, Red Bank, Jackson Liberty
Non-Division Losses: At Neptune
Non-Division Ties: At St. Rose
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Red Bank Catholic
Seeding Breakdown: Although Monmouth plays in a tougher division that Point Beach, the Falcons have a tie vs. St. Rose, which Point Beach just beat on the road. As it stands right now Monmouth has not beaten a team that is currently in the SCT and the only shot the Falcons will have is against Red Bank Catholic on Wednesday.

22. Barnegat (6-4, 3-4)

Division Wins: Jackson Liberty, at Manchester, at Point Boro
Division Losses: At Donovan Catholic, Lacey, Lakewood, Pinelands
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Keyport, Central, at Ranney
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: Barnegat qualified for the SCT for the second straight year by beating Ranney on Saturday in convincing fashion. That makes three wins outside of B South for Barnegat and the other two are against teams that will not be in the tournament.

23. St. Rose (6-6-2, 4-2-0)

Division Wins: Asbury Park, Henry Hudson, Keyport, at Mater Dei
Division Losses: Point Beach, at Ranney
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Point Boro, at Central
Non-Division Losses: At Wall, at Lacey, at Howell, at Donovan Catholic
Non-Division Ties: Monmouth, at Manchester
Seeding Breakdown: Between some injuries, disappointing results and close calls, this season has been a grind for St. Rose, but Purple Roses still managed to qualify for the counference tournament. A tie against Monmouth at least introduces the possibility of a higher seed, but a tie against Manchester keeps the Rose behind both Barnegat and Monmouth.

24. Red Bank Catholic (6-6, 1-4)

Division Wins: Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Losses: At Holmdel, Manasquan, at Raritan, Shore
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Asbury Park, Henry Hudson, Manchester, at Keyport, at Ranney
Non-Division Losses: At Middletown South, at Marlboro
Non-Division Ties: None
Seeding Breakdown: RBC made the tour through B Central (minus St. Rose and Point Beach) to get into the tournament, so the Caseys will be somewhere near the back of the line. That being said, it has been a while since RBC has been in the SCT, so getting in is a great accomplishment, regardless of how it happened.

 

Still Alive

Raritan (5-6, 3-2)

Division Wins: Monmouth, Red Bank Catholic, at Shore
Division Losses: Holmdel, at Manasquan
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Keyport, at Middletown South
Non-Division Losses: At Red Bank, Union, at Matawan
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Rumson-Fair Haven
Chances to Qualify: Very good. Raritan was the only team to fall below .500 with a loss on Monday, but they are still sitting pretty. Rumson continues to play hard despite a 1-10 record and the Bulldogs will embrace a chance to play spoiler on Wednesday, so Raritan will still have to earn it. Ultimately though, beating a 1-10 team to get into the tournament is a favorable challenge.

Colts Neck (5-6, 4-2)

Division Wins: At Matawan, Red Bank, St. John Vianney, at Wall
Division Losses: At Neptune, at Ocean
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Middletown South
Non-Division Losses: At Holmdel, Jackson Memorial, Freehold Boro, Shore
Non-Division Ties: None
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Middletown North
Chances to Qualify: Good. After beating Wall handily on Friday and slipping up against Shore on Saturday, Colts Neck came through with a big win over Middletown South, which was also fighting to stay in the SCT running. The Cougars need only beat 4-8 Middletown North to get in, but the Lions are suddenly rolling after consecutive wins over Matawan and Howell.

 

 

Eliminated

Long Branch (6-8-1, 1-4-1)

Middletown South (6-8, 2-4)

St. John Vianney (5-8, 2-4)

Ranney (6-7, 4-1)

 

Current Projected Matchups

Opening Round

(24) Red Bank Catholic at (9) Wall

(23) St. Rose at (10) Marlboro

(22) Barnegat at (11) Manasquan

(21) Monmouth at (12) Toms River North

(20) Point Beach at (13) Toms River South

(19) Lakewood at (14) Freehold Boro

(18) Neptune at (15) Toms River East

(17) Lacey at (16) Pinelands

 

Round of 16

(17) Lacey/(16) Pinelands winner at (1) Holmdel

(18) Neptune/(15) Toms River East winner at (2) CBA

(19) Lakewood/(14) Freehold Boro winner at (3) Jackson Memorial

(20) Barnegat/(13) Toms River South winner at (4) Ocean

(21) Monmouth/(12) Toms River North winner at (5) Freehold Twp.

(22) Barnegat/(11) Manasquan winner at (6) Howell

(10) Marlboro at (7) Southern

(9) Wall at (8) Manalapan

 

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