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Shore Sports Network Lacrosse Top 10, 4/8/14


1. Rumson-Fair Haven (4-0): The Bulldogs are off to a 4-0 start with conference wins over Holmdel and Jackson Memorial along with nonconference wins over Caldwell and Notre Dame. After winning its third straight Shore Conference Tournament title last season and advancing to the Group I final for the first time in program history, Rumson is clearly the team to beat in the Shore Conference. In the Shore, Rumson faces No. 6 Manasquan on Wednesday and Shore on Saturday.


2. Southern (1-1): The Rams dropped their season-opener to Lenape, 8-6, before rebounding with a 23-4 thrashing of Toms River North. Southern had a banner season last year when it reached the final of both the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Group IV tournaments, and has the talent and experience necessary to return in 2014. The Rams are the clear favorite in Class A South and one of South Jersey’s best teams. They face Brick Memorial on Wednesday and rival Jackson Memorial on Saturday.


3. CBA (4-0): The defending Class A North champions are out to a 4-0 start that includes an 8-4 win over No. 8 Colts Neck. The Colts aren’t the juggernaut program they once were, but are a consistent contender in the Shore and will compete for the SCT title this season. They face No. 9 Freehold Township in a crucial divisional match on Wednesday and take on Howell in another important A North game on Friday.


4. Red Bank Catholic (4-2): The Caseys defeated No. 5 Red Bank 12-11 on Monday to equal their win total from last season. With senior experience coupled with some impressive young talent, it will be interesting to see how far RBC can go this season. They own a victory over Monroe and played tight with Watchung Hills. Saturday’s game at No. 9 Freehold Township will provide more answers.


5. Red Bank Regional (5-1): The Bucs were cooled off by rival Red Bank Catholic on Monday, but are out to a 5-1 start that includes an overtime victory over No. 6 Manasquan. Red Bank’s offensive has been on fire in the early going, led by Jake Smolokoff and Karl Hottman, with at least 10 goals in all five games so far. They battle No. 8 Colts Neck on Wednesday and Wall on Saturday.


6. Manasquan (4-1): An overtime loss to Red Bank is the only thing separating the Warriors from a 5-0 start. They have wins over East Brunswick, Jackson Memorial and Shore in the early going under first-year head coach Rob Hoffman. They get a crack at top-ranked Rumson-Fair Haven on Wednesday.


7. Holmdel (2-2): The Hornets have been hard to gauge so far, losing big to Watchung Hills while hanging close to Rumson in a 6-3 loss. Their wins have been lopsided but against inferior competition, so, although they have the track record as a top-10 program, the jury is still out on Holmdel. The Hornets travel to undefeated Roxbury on Thursday and host Monsignor Donovan on Saturday.


8. Colts Neck (3-1): The Cougars’ defense has been sharp thus far in allowing 16 goals through four games. They dropped an 8-4 contest to CBA, but rebounded with wins over Ocean and East Brunswick. A big divisional game versus No. 5 Red Bank looms for Wednesday and presents a chance for the Cougars to jump into the top five.


9. Freehold Township (3-1): Despite playing without 50-goal scorer Steven O’Brien and standout junior Brandon Nunez through the first couple weeks, the Patriots went out to a 3-0 start that included a 9-6 win over Howell. A stunning 6-5 loss to Toms River South dropped the Patriots into the bottom of the top 10, but this is a team with top-5 talent that should bounce back as the season progresses. They get a big chance at vindication on Wednesday when they host CBA, followed by a Friday contest against Marlboro and a Saturday game with No. 4 RBC.


10. Lacey (4-1): A season-opening victory over Wall and a win over Jackson Memorial have the Lions out to a strong start one year after qualifying for the SCT and state tournament for the first time. A 10-8 loss to Marlboro was a setback, but they responded with a 12-10 victory over Ocean. Games against Brick on Wednesday and Toms River South on Friday will give a good indication as to where Lacey stands both in A South and among the Shore’s best.


Also considered: Howell, Wall, Barnegat.