As we wrap up the 2018 Shore Conference boys lacrosse season we present the final Elite Sports Physical Therapy Top 10.

The No. 1 team in the land should come as no surprise. Manasquan started the season in the top spot and finishes there as well. The Warriors won the Shore Conference Tournament where they avenged their only conference loss and went on to win the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 1 championship. Junior attackman Canyon Birch had an all-time season with 123 (!!) goals and 52 assists for 175 (!!!) points to set the Shore Conference single-season record for goals and points while also setting the state record for points in a season.

Right behind Manasquan is Christian Brothers Academy, which was the only Shore team to defeat Manasquan this season. The Colts reached the SCT championship game and suffered just two defeats all season. Rumson-Fair Haven struggled early in the season, and rightfully so considering the schedule, but the Bulldogs were right there at the end with another sectional title. Wall had a banner season to come in at No. 4 and ole’ reliable Southern had another solid year to finish in the top five.

The rest of top 10 wasn’t easy, especially the bottom three, but we’re confident in our selections. A team’s complete body of work obviously comes into play but results late in the season – especially in the SCT or state playoffs - hold more weight.

Without further ado, here is the final Top 10 of the 2018 season. Congratulations to all the teams and their accomplishments this season.

 

1. Manasquan (20-3)

The Warriors began the season at the very top of the SSN Top 10 and, aside from a two-week stint down at No. 2, rode the wave all the way to the end to finish as the No. 1 team in the Shore Conference. The Warriors captured their fourth straight Class B South division title in undefeated fashion and captured their second consecutive Shore Conference Tournament championship with an 11-3 victory over CBA. Manasquan then won the program’s second NJSIAA state sectional title when it defeated Madison, 15-8, to claim the South Jersey Group 1 title. The Warriors’ only conference loss this season was to CBA, which it avenged in the SCT final, and their other two defeats were to Lawrenceville Prep and Mountain Lakes, the latter coming in the Group 1 final. Junior attackman Canyon Birch had a historic season with a Shore Conference-record 123 goals and 175 points, and those 175 points also set a state single-season record. The Warriors graduate just four seniors and with an elite rising senior class plus some impact freshman coming in next year, Manasquan should again be one of the best teams in New Jersey.

 

2. Christian Brothers Academy (19-2)

The Colts put together their best season in a decade by finishing with 19 victories, winning another Class A North division title, advancing to the Shore Conference Tournament championship game for the first time since 2009 and reaching the NJSIAA Non-Public A semifinals for the first time since 2007. A 19-member senior class came together early and CBA began the season with 16 straight wins, including victories over CBA-Syracuse, Don Bosco Prep and Manasquan. The Colts were denied an SCT title by Manasquan but did rebound with a thrilling 9-8 win over eventual Non-Public B champion Pingry. The Colts won a pair of games in the state playoffs, defeating Paul VI and St. Peter’s Prep, before losing to Seton Hall Prep. Senior goalie Chris Downey had a huge year in goal to key CBA’s run while senior attackman Michael Carroll, senior midfielder Luke Valentino and junior defenseman Tommy Gray were all standouts at their respective positions. CBA loses a ton to graduation but has some great players returning and will look to remain one of the best teams in the Shore.

 

 

3. Rumson-Fair Haven (14-10)

It wasn’t a typical year for the Shore Conference’s flagship program, but in the end, it still yielded a state championship. Head coach Marc Moreau lined up a juggernaut of a schedule for a young and inexperienced Bulldogs group, and it paid dividends when it mattered most as Rumson won another Class B North division title and captured its second straight sectional title by defeating Somerville, 12-6, to win the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 championship. Rumson played a who’s who of the best teams in the state, falling early to Chatham, Watchung Hills, Westfield, Seton Hall Prep and Moorestown. The first half of the season produced a 6-6 record but the Bulldogs came together down the stretch to win the division crown and reach the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals. They were barely tested in the sectional tournament, winning games over Lawrence, Lacey, Wall and finally Somerville to win the program’s fourth sectional title. Rumson loses All-Shore defenseman Stephen Edler as well as attackman Wyatt Feinberg, midfielders Peter Lucas and Billy Garavente and goalie Sean Bunnell, among others, to graduation. The bulk of Rumson’s team was sophomores and juniors, however, so with players like Rowan Goldin, Patrick Jamin, Kiel Forlenza and Jack Whitelaw returning the Bulldogs should be a force next season.

 

4. Wall (14-5)

The Crimson Knights had the best season in program history by winning a school single-season record 14 games, advancing to the NJSIAA sectional semifinals for the first time in program history and also reaching the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals. Two of Wall’s losses came to Rumson, one in the SCT and another in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals, while its other conference loss came at the hands of Manasquan. Wall also suffered nonconference losses to Hightstown and St. Peter’s Prep. Their explosive offense was led by senior attackman Mike McIntyre, who scored 73 goals and finished with 111 points. Senior midfielder Will Forte also had a big year with 37 goals and was clutch in Wall’s big games. The Knights lose much of their core to graduation and will return goalie Sean DeMott, defensemen Shane Meyler and Jake Pinkerton and midfielder Logan Peters to lead the way next season.

 

5. Southern (14-4)

Despite major losses to graduation the year before and losing their top scorer during the season, the Rams put together another solid season to further cement their status as one of the Shore’s most reliable and consistent programs. Southern had just two conference losses all season, one in overtime to Freehold Township and another to No. 1 Manasquan in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals. Southern’s other losses came to Mainland (8-6) and to Monroe in the state tournament. The Rams posted wins over Howell (twice), Holmdel, No. 3 Rumson-Fair Haven and No. 8 Ocean. They captured their sixth straight Class A South division title and increased their A South winning streak to 37 games. They also reached the SCT semifinals for the sixth time in seven years. The Rams lose several important players to graduation, including face-off specialist Anthony Firmani, midfielders Ryan McWhorter and Ryan Comfort, defenseman Luke Gerhardt and goalie Luke Maul. Returning to lead the way next season will be attackmen Aniello Russo, Cade Johnson and Nick Stankus, defenseman Noah Wasacz and long-stick midfielder Brandon Durst.

 

6. Freehold Township (12-5)

The Patriots finished with double-digit wins for the sixth straight season while reaching the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals and qualifying for the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 4 playoffs. Freehold Township had a 6-5 overtime win over Southern and also defeated district rival Howell twice. Senior attackman Chris Novella led the offense with 40 goals and 60 points and sophomore Brendan Doel had a breakout season with 22 goals and 32 assists. Junior goalie Aidan Purcell also had a very good year with a.657 save percentage and 175 saves. Novella is lost to graduation but the Patriots return almost their entire team next season.

 

7. Shore (16-4)

The Blue Devils were another team which turned in a banner season, winning a school single-season record 16 games. Following a season-opening loss to Middletown South, Shore won 14 of its next 15 games, losing only to Rumson-Fair Haven during the regular season. The Blue Devils’ other losses came to No. 2 CBA in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals and to sectional finalist Madison in the South Jersey Group 1 quarterfinals. Shore picked up wins over Toms River East, No. 10 Lacey, St. Rose, No. 8 Ocean and Holmdel (twice) during the season. Junior midfielder Gil Goldsmith had a monster year with 102 points and 146 ground balls while senior attackman Ryan Morris was right behind him with 93 points. Shore loses Morris and defenseman John Salerno to graduation but brings back nearly everybody else to build on their success next season.

 

8. Ocean (9-6)

The Spartans are a perfect case of big wins outweighing losses, and that is precisely why they earned the No. 8 spot in the final top 10. Ocean had losses to unranked teams Toms River East and Red Bank Catholic but posted a pair of impressive wins over Middletown South. The Eagles had a win over Freehold Township, who beat Southern, who beat Rumson, so the trickle-down results meant the Spartans needed a place in the rankings. Ocean’s other losses came to Rumson, Southern, Shore and Somerville. Aside from the wins over Middletown South, Ocean also defeated Holmdel and St. John Vianney. Holden Lowe led Ocean’s offense with 40 goals and 65 points and senior defenseman Richie Bianchi was a first-team All-Shore selection. Bianchi will move on to Monmouth University but the rest of the team returns next season.

 

9. Middletown South (15-4)

Middletown South entered the season with only one returning starter but was able to turn in a great season by going 15-4 to set the program single-season wins record. A season-opening 8-2 win over Shore set the tone, and following back-to-back losses to Ocean and CBA, the Eagles won 10 straight games to earn a top-eight seed for the Shore Conference Tournament. They fell to rival Ocean in the first round but rebounded to nearly knock off Roxbury in the first round of the North 2, Group 3 state playoffs. The Eagles’ signature victory this season came on April 25 when they defeated Freehold Township, 9-8, to finish as the top public school in Class A North. Rossi led the Eagles with 45 points while Connor Ard scored 36 goals and Matt Tardy tallied 24 goals and 35 points. Middletown South returns most of its roster next season and has a chance to improve on its breakout season.

 

10. Lacey (9-7)

If you look solely at the wins and losses on the schedule it was an up and down season for Lacey. But the Lions’ losses were to some of the best teams in the Shore and they closed the season strong to earn a place in the final rankings. Lacey defeated Holmdel, 12-10, in the first round of the South Jersey Group 2 playoffs and then pushed Rumson before falling 17-11. Lacey also had an impressive showing in a 14-13 overtime loss to Shore where it nearly completed a wild fourth-quarter rally. Lacey’s other losses were to Manasquan (twice), Allentown, St. Rose and Wall. Junior attackman Dylan Vitale had a big year with 58 goals and 24 assists while senior JoeCarlo Chimenti scored 38 goals with 62 points and junior Dominic Waltonowski notched 23 goals and 37 assists. Lacey’s loses its backstop, senior goalie Justin Covey, to graduation along with Chimenti, midfielder Clayton Humcke and FOGO Mike Gallicchio but return four of their top five scorers next season.

 

Top 10 Honorable Mention

Holmdel (12-7): The Hornets qualified for the both the SCT and South Jersey Group 2 playoffs and posted wins over St. Rose, Howell and Colts Neck.

Howell (10-8): The Rebels’ staunch defense led the way in 2018 as Howell picked up wins over Brick Memorial, Toms River North, Colts Neck and West Windsor-Plainsboro South to highlight their season.

Toms River East (10-7): The Raiders put together their first winning season since 2012 and reached the South Jersey Group 3 quarterfinals.

Jackson Memorial (9-6): The Jaguars earned wins over Toms River East, St. Rose, Toms River North, Brick Memorial and Brick while three of their losses came to top-10 teams.

St. Rose (9-11): The Purple Roses had two of the top players in the Shore in senior attackman Shane Reilly and senior midfielder Mike Kinsel, and played well in the second half of the season, including a win over No. 10 Lacey.

 

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.

 

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