Just over a week and a half into the 2017 Shore Conference boys lacrosse season certain teams are beginning to separate themselves from the pack. There are a few tiers in the Shore Conference landscape and we’re beginning to see who slots in where.

Manasquan and Rumson-Fair Haven remain the top two teams in the Shore, and you’re not going to find much argument against that. Freehold Township has been impressive over its first five games and shown enough to remain in the No. 3 spot. CBA is, well, CBA. The Colts haven’t played since early last week and are still winless, but it’s only a matter of time before they kick into gear.

After those four there are six to eight teams battling it out to climb the rankings. Toms River North is one of those, as the Mariners knocked off a pair of ranked teams from last week with wins over Brick and Brick Memorial. St. John Vianney thrust itself into the top 10 with wins over Holmdel and Ocean, while Wall moves up a spot thanks to the current changes.

Once again the hardest decision was what to do at No. 10. Toms River North had a big week but the Mariners to have a loss to Holmdel. The Hornets are 2-2 but with both losses coming to teams ranked in the top eight (Southern and St. John Vianney), so we’ll give them the nod this week. Can Holmdel hold onto the position or will No. 10 continue to be a revolving door all season?

We’ll get the answer to that question and more in the coming week with some key division games and top-10 matchups in nondivisional action.

 

Records and rankings through Monday, April 10.

1. Manasquan (4-0). Last week: No. 1

The Warriors came up with a huge nonconference win when they went on the road and took down perennial Group III contender Moorestown, 11-8, in a matchup of teams ranked in the state top 20. It’s the biggest regular-season win for the Warriors under head coach Sean Cunningham and reverses an 11-6 loss to the Quakers last season. Manasquan also shut out Colts Neck, 17-0. Brothers Jarrett and Canyon Birch have been on fire to start the season and goalie Tommy Pollock has been sharp in net. With standout sophomore James Pendergist back after missing the first two games the Warriors are nearly whole, missing only Red Bank Catholic transfer James Mele. This week: Manasquan’s nonconference battle royal continues with a game at Bridgewater-Raritan on Wednesday and a game at Madison on Saturday.

 

2. Rumson-Fair Haven (4-1). Last week: No. 2

The Bulldogs outscored Notre Dame, 16-9, before defeating Long Branch, 18-1, to run their winning streak to four games. Rumson’s offense has been balanced with several new starters getting their feet under them and its veteran defense has thrived in an aggressive scheme. Senior goalie Conor Deverin has been great in his first season as the starter to make sure Rumson hans’t missed a beat after graduating All-Shore goalie Kyle Knapp. This week: Rumson takes on Red Bank in the Battle of Ridge Road on Tuesday, travels to Allentown on Thursday and hosts No. 9 Ocean on Saturday.

 

3. Freehold Township (3-2). Last week: No. 3

The Patriots dropped a nonconference game to a very solid Robbinsville team, 11-7, but bounced back in a big way by thoroughly handling district rival Howell in a 14-4 Class A North victory. Scoring depth has been the biggest asset so far for Freehold Township. Six players have at least five goals and four players have 14 or more points. Senior attackman Drew Dunn and junior attackman Chris Novella lead the way with 26 and 22 points, respectively. Senior defenseman Shawn Poole has been excellent on ground balls (32) and sophomore Aidan Purcell has thrived to emerge as the starting goalie. This week: An interesting nondivisional game is on tap for Wednesday when the Patriots head south to take on No. 6 Southern. On Saturday Freehold Township hosts Colts Neck in an A North showdown and then takes on Toms River South on Monday.

 

4. Christian Brothers Academy (0-2). Last week: No. 4

The Colts have been idle since a 9-1 loss to No. 2 Rumson on April 3. The teeth of CBA’s conference schedule doesn’t get going until next week when they will face No. 1 Manasquan and No. 3 Freehold Township. This week: CBA returns to action on Saturday against Neptune in a Class A North game.

 

5. Howell (4-1). Last week: No. 5

The Rebels sandwiched a pair of wins over Jackson Liberty and Middletown North around a loss to Freehold Township. An 8-3 win over Liberty was followed by a 14-4 defeat at the hands of the rival Patriots, but Howell bounced by with 10-goal win over Middletown North, defeating the Lions 16-6. As expected, the senior trio of attackmen Drew Bukowiec and Ryan Damelio and midfielder Nico Lorenzo have led the way for Howell. Damelio leads the team in goals (12) and point (18), while Bukowiec and Lorenzo each have 10 goals. Junior LSM Sean Mylod has been an important piece with 26 ground balls and 13 takeaways. This week: Howell will face No. 10 Holmdel on Saturday and square off against Marlboro in a Class A North game on Monday.

 

6. Southern (3-2). Last week: No. 6

The Rams’ only game of the past week was a 20-3 trouncing of Toms River South in a Class A South game. Seniors Kyle Mulrane (19 goals, 5 assists) and Will Johnson (18 goals) have been outstanding while sophomore Nick Fontana is enjoying a breakout season with 14 goals and nine assists. Senior Tristan Farina continues to shine with a .695 save percentage. This week: The Rams can make a major statement when they host No. 3 Freehold Township on Wednesday. Southern also has a nonconference home game against Oakcrest on Thursday.

 

7. Wall (3-0). Last week: No. 8

The Crimson Knights had two convincing wins during the week, beating Red Bank Catholic, 16-2, and taking down rival St. Rose, 17-2, in a Class B South game. Junior attackman Mike McIntyre has 13 goals in three games to lead an offense that is averaging 14.7 goals per game. This week: Wall travels to Brick on Wednesday and then hosts Jackson Liberty on Saturday in a Class B South game.

 

8. St. John Vianney (2-3). Last week: unranked

The Lancers earned themselves a spot in the top 10 by beating Holmdel and Ocean in a three-day span to bounce back from losing their first three games of the season. Yes, St. John Vianney has a losing record, but those losses have come to Non-Public B powerhouse Morristown Beard, Millburn and No. 1 Manasquan. The Holmdel victory was a 12-8 triumph and the win over Ocean was an 8-7 barnburner. Senior midfielder Ryan Gilfillan has 12 goals and five assists, plus 15 ground balls. This week: The Lancers travel to Hightstown for a nonconference game on Tuesday, take on Toms River North in a key nondivisional game on Thursday and travel to rival Red Bank Catholic on Saturday.

 

9. Ocean (4-1). Last week: No. 9

Despite an 8-7 loss to St. John Vianney, the shuffling of the rankings has the Spartans holding onto the No. 9 spot for the second straight week. Following the loss to the Lancers, Ocean dominated Jackson Liberty, 17-3, in a nondivisional victory. Senior Sam Hanna has come out of the gate with a vengeance, posting single-game career-highs in goals (8) and points (11) en route to a 23-goal, 7-assist start over his first five games. Sophomore Holden Lowe has been an assist machine with 15 helpers and senior goalie David Walk has been on top of his game with a stellar .738 save percentage. This week: The Spartans square off against No. 10 Holmdel on Wednesday and will try their hand against No. 2 Rumson on Saturday.

 

10. Holmdel (2-2). Last week: unranked

The No. 10 spot goes to Holmdel this week based on its head-to-head win over Toms River North. The Hornets fell to No. 8 St. John Vianney, 12-8, before bouncing back with an 8-7 victory over Middletown North. This week: It’s a week filled with opportunities for the Hornets as they face No. 9 Ocean on Wednesday and No. 5 Howell on Saturday. They also have a game against Ranney on Thursday.

 

Dropped out: No. 7 Brick Memorial, No. 10 Brick.

 

Teams to Watch

Toms River North (4-1): The Mariners beat Brick and Brick Memorial, both of which were ranked last week, to improve to 4-1. Their lone blemish is an 8-5 loss to Holmdel, which is why the Hornets were tabbed for the No. 10 spot this week. North has a game with No. 8 St. John Vianney on Thursday, so the opportunity is there to make a statement and join the top 10 next week.

Lacey (3-0): The Lions have run through their first three opponents with relative ease, but the competition takes a step up with Brick Memorial on Tuesday. A road win over the Mustangs would have Lacey on the doorstep of the rankings.

Middletown South (3-1): The Eagles continue to improve under head coach Rob Grella and have won three in a row after losing to Shore, 8-7, on opening day. They could very well be 5-1 this time next week as they play Bishop Ahr and Barnegat on Saturday and Monday, respectively.

 

Archive

Week One

 

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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