We're just days away from the start of the Shore Conference Tournament, and geez did that come fast.

Over a month into the season it's the same trend that has been ongoing for the past three weeks. The top five teams in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 are pretty cut and dry. After that it's been a game of musical chairs. This week is no different, as the top five remains unchanged while the bottom five has a different team in every spot, including a new team entering the rankings altogether.

The cutoff for teams to have a .500 record and qualify for the Shore Conference Tournament is Wednesday. The Tournament will be seeded on Thursday at Long Branch High School, which is the site of the semifinal games. Monmouth University will once again host the SCT championship game.

 

 

1. Rumson-Fair Haven (9-3, 6-0 B North). Last week: No. 1

The Bulldogs went 3-0 this past week with divisional victories over Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank and Ocean to all but lock up their sixth straight undefeated run through the division. A win over Holmdel Tuesday night can officially clinch the Class B North title. Senior attackman Robbie Garavente had a huge game in the win over previously-undefeated Ocean with seven goals, and fellow senior attacker Henry Sillen had 14 points in three games. Rumson is expected to be the No. 1 seed for the Shore Conference Tournament, which will be seeded on Thursday. The Bulldogs will also host St. Peter's Prep on Thursday.

 

2. Manasquan (11-2, 5-0 B South). Last week: No. 2

The Warriors earned lopsided victories over St. Rose and Donovan Catholic to move one win away from clinching the Class B South division title. A win over Point Boro on Wednesday will officially clinch their second straight division crown. The offense continues to hum along, scoring at least 15 goals in its last four games, led by attackmen Jarrett Birch and Canyon Birch. The Warriors are expected to earn the No. 2 seed in the Shore Conference Tournament. In addition to Wednesday's game against Point Boro, Manasquan heads out to Somerset County to face Ridge on Friday for a nonconference test.

 

3. Southern (10-0, 6-0 A South). Last week: No. 3

In picking up wins over Brick, Toms River South and Howell, the Rams improved to 10-0 as the Shore Conference's only unbeaten team. Their 14-2 victory over Toms River North means they only need to defeat Brick Memorial on Wednesday to clinch their fourth straight Class A South division title. Senior attackman Nick Simonelli continued his great season with 21 points in three games. Southern is also scheduled to face No. 7 Freehold Township on Friday, but that game may not be played because of the Shore Conference Tournament.

 

4. Ocean (11-1, 6-1 B North). Last week: No. 4

The Spartans suffered their first loss of the season in a 13-4 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Rumson, but rebounded with a 16-12 victory over Red Bank Catholic. It's been a banner season for Ocean, which is off for the rest of the week besides any Shore Conference Tournament games. A pair of players hit career milestones as senior attackman Joey Appio recorded his 200th career assist and 300th career point, and senior midfielder Connor Daly scored his 100th career goal.

 

5. Christian Brothers Academy (7-5, 5-0 A North). Last week: No. 6

The Colts went 1-1 this week with a 19-1 win over Neptune and a 9-8 overtime loss to Watchung Hills. They close out their division schedule with a game at Middletown South on Wednesday and at No. 7 Freehold Township on Thursday. Wins in those games would give CBA the outright division title.

 

6. Wall (11-2, 5-1 B South). Last week: No. 9

Monday's 17-7 victory over Middletown North was the program's 100th career win - all under head coach Chris Knight. The Crimson Knights also recorded an 18-9 win over Donovan Catholic and a 12-6 win over Barnegat to run their winning streak to four games. Senior attackman Mike Steppe is among the top scorers in New Jersey after an 18 goal, four assist week put him at 50 goals and 33 assists for the season. Wall is scheduled to play No. 9 Howell on Saturday in addition to any Shore Conference Tournament games.

 

7. Freehold Township (8-3, 4-1 A North). Last week: No. 10

The Patriots dismantled rival Howell, 16-4, before defeating Middletown South, 12-5, to push their winning streak to five games. Junior attackman Josh Nastarowicz had 13 points in two games to continue his fine season. Freehold Township plays at Middletown North on Wednesday and hosts No. 5 CBA on Thursday. Wins in both games would clinch a share of the Class A North division title.

 

8. Shore (9-4, 5-2 B North). Last week: not ranked

The Blue Devils make their season debut in the top 10 after a 2-1 week. Shore has won six of its last seven games, and after falling to No. 4 Ocean, 10-8, beat Holmdel, 12-7, and Red Bank, 16-11. Senior midfielder Doug Goldsmith is among the state leaders in scoring with 41 goals and 39 assists - plus 96 ground balls - while his freshman brother, Gil, has 32 goals and 26 assists. Shore closes out its regular season schedule with a game against Long Branch on Wednesday before participating in the Shore Conference Tournament.

 

9. Howell (8-5, 4-2 A North). Last week: No. 6

The Rebels drop three spots after going 1-2 this past week. After a 16-4 loss to rival Freehold Township, Howell bounced back with an 11-7 victory over Middletown North. The Rebels then gave undefeated Southern its biggest test of the season before falling, 11-8. They have three games scheduled the rest of the week, plus the Shore Conference Tournament, so there is an immediate opportunity to rebound. Howell hosts rival Colts Nick on Wednesday, East Brunswick on Thursday and heads to No. 6 Wall on Saturday.

 

10. Toms River North (8-2, 5-1 A South). Last week: No. 7

The Mariners defeated Toms River East, 10-4, before falling to No. 3 Southern, 14-2. They host rival Toms River South in the lacrosse version of "The Civil War" on Tuesday night before the start of the Shore Conference Tournament later in the week.

 

Dropped out: No. 8 Brick Memorial (10-2, 4-2 A South)

 

Teams to watch:

Jackson Liberty (9-4, 3-2 B South): The Lions have won six straight games and will look to make it seven in a row heading into the SCT when they face St. Rose on Wednesday.

Red Bank Catholic (7-6, 3-4 B North): The Caseys have alternated wins and losses in their last six games. They'll try to rebound from a loss to No. 4 Ocean when they travel to face St. John Vianney on Wednesday before participating in the SCT.

 

Lacrosse editor Bob Badders can be reached at badders@allshoremedia.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.