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Some major re-shuffling of the middle of the Shore Sports Network Top 10 this week after the first three rounds of the Shore Conference Tournament. The top two teams remain the same with undefeated Southern and No. 2 Rumson set to meet today in the Shore Conference Tournament championship game. The bottom two teams also remain the same with Barnegat and Toms River North holding at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively.

Jackson Liberty makes its debut in the rankings after knocking off Barnegat and stunning Howell in the SCT. Manasquan ascends to the top three after reaching the SCT semifinals and playing very well against Southern, while Freehold Township is also in the top four after a historic win over CBA.

The rest of the top 10 and teams to watch are below as we begin what will be the final week for some teams.

 

1. Southern (16-0). Last week: No. 1

The Rams defeated Manasquan 8-4 in the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament to advance to the SCT final for the third straight season. Along the way Southern beat Brick 17-1 and Toms River North 11-4 to clinch the Class A South title for the third straight season. In the SCT the Rams defeated Brick 22-5 and Ocean 15-4 to reach the semifinals. Senior attackman Dylan Jinks eclipsed 400 career points in the win over Ocean. The Rams will now try to make history by defeating Rumson today in the SCT final. They are trying to become the first Ocean County team to win the tournament. Southern is also the top seed in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV state tournament and will host Marlboro on Friday in the first round.

 

2. Rumson-Fair Haven (12-5). Last week: No. 2

The Bulldogs put on a defensive clinic in a 6-0 victory over Freehold Township in the SCT semifinals to reach the championship game for the sixth consecutive season. Rumson is the four-time defending champion and will face Southern for the title for the third straight year today at Monmouth University. Since the last rankings Rumson also defeated Red Bank Catholic 9-1 and Red Bank 12-3 to lock up the Class B North division title, and topped Colts Neck 13-2 and Barnegat 18-4 in the SCT. The Bulldogs enter today’s SCT final on an eight-game winning streak. They are also the No. 3 seed in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group I state tournament and will host Delran in the first round on Saturday.

 

3. Manasquan (13-3). Last week: No. 5

The Warriors gave top-ranked Southern all they had in an 8-4 loss in the SCT semifinals, leading 3-0 at one point and staying tied through the third quarter until the Rams pulled away. Manasquan had been on a nine-game winning streak entering the SCT semifinals, and since the last rankings had wins over East Brunswick and Donovan Catholic before topping St. John Vianney and Jackson Liberty in the SCT. Manasquan only needs to beat Point Boro on Wednesday to clinch the Class B South division title. The Warriors are the No. 5 seed in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group I state tournament and will host Middle Township in the first round on Saturday.

 

4. Freehold Township (13-5). Last week: No. 6

The Patriots beat CBA 9-8 on an overtime goal by senior Billy Sasso to reach the SCT semifinals for the first time in program history, where they ultimately fell to Rumson 6-0. Earlier they beat Howell 9-2 to force a three-way tie atop Class A North. Freehold Township also defeated Middletown South 18-4 before a first-round win over Lacey, 9-3, in the SCT. The Patriots take on Colts Neck today where a win will clinch a tri-championship in A North with Howell and CBA. The Patriots also will play a home game in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV state tournament as the No. 7 seed. They will host Egg Harbor Township on Saturday.

 

5. CBA (11-4). Last week: No. 4

The Colts fell to Freehold Township 9-8 in overtime in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament. Prior to that they defeated Neptune 17-0 to ensure at least a share of the Class A North division title, and beat Wall 13-4 in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament. CBA earned the No. 7 seed for the NJSIAA Non-Public A Tournament and will host Don Bosco Prep on Saturday. They have a tune-up game against state top 20 Pingry today.

 

6. Ocean (12-2). Last week: No. 8

The best season in the short history of the Spartans program reached another milestone when Ocean beat Toms River North 12-5 to reach the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament. The Spartans were eliminated there by top-seeded Southern, 15-4. Ocean also posted a 14-2 win over Shore, a 17-7 win over Middletown North, an 11-5 triumph over Red Bank Catholic and a 15-0 victory over Ranney in regular-season games. The Spartans are the No. 5 seed in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II state tournament and will host Red Bank in the first round on Saturday. They conclude their regular season today with a game against Toms River East.

 

7. Howell (12-3). Last week: No. 3

The Rebels fall four spots after a 2-2 period in which they fell to Freehold Township 9-2 and were stunned by Jackson Liberty, 14-13 in overtime, in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament. They posted a 9-5 victory over Middletown North to clinch at least a share of the Class A North division title and rebounded from the loss to Liberty with a 15-10 win over Wall. The Rebels are the No. 9 seed in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV state tournament and will travel to face Eastern on Saturday. They have two regular-season games remaining, today against Jackson Memorial and Thursday night against Toms River North.

 

8. Jackson Liberty (10-6). Last week: not ranked

The Lions make their debut in the top 10 after a 4-2 week that featured two wins over teams ranked in the top 10. They defeated Barnegat 7-6 for a huge Class B South win and stunned Howell 14-13 in overtime on a goal by Matt Ferullo in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament. Howell was the No. 5 seed and Liberty was the No. 12 seed. The Lions would fall to Manasquan 7-3 in the quarterfinals, and also dropped a regular-season game to Lacey, 8-3. They also posted a 15-0 win over Neptune. Juggling the final three spots in the rankings wasn’t easy, and what gave the Lions the advantage was those two wins over ranked teams plus the head-to-head win over Barnegat.

 

9. Barnegat (8-4). Last week: No. 9 

An up and down week saw the Bengals drop a 7-6 game to Jackson Liberty before rebounding with an incredible win in the SCT to hold down their spot at No. 9. After falling to Liberty the Bengals defeated Wall 10-8, then shocked Red Bank Catholic with a 15-14 win in the first round of the SCT. The Bengals were down 7-1 after the first quarter but clawed back to eventually take the lead with five goals in the final 2:48 of the game, including the game-winning goal by Ricky Gerena with eight seconds to go. Barnegat was eliminated by Rumson in the quarterfinals, 18-4. The Bengals bounced back with a 19-5 win over Marlboro and a 19-0 victory over Long Branch. They conclude their regular season today against Donovan Catholic, and on Saturday will travel to eighth-seeded A.L. Johnson in the first round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group I state tournament as the No. 9 seed.

 

10. Toms River North (10-3). Last week: No. 10

The Mariners defeated Toms River East 17-1 before falling to Southern 11-4 in the Class A South title game and dropping a 12-5 contest to Ocean in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament. They bounced back with a 10-1 win over Toms River South and a 9-7 victory over Colts Neck. They have a solid matchup for their regular season finale on Thursday when they take on Howell. The Mariners are the No. 13 seed in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV state tournament and will travel to face fourth-seeded Cherokee on Saturday.

 

Teams to watch:

Lacey (12-5): The Lions were close to being ranked yet again this week, but with Liberty’s quality wins and head-to-head losses to both Barnegat and Toms River North they sit just on the outside. The Lions are the No. 6 seed in South Jersey Group III and will host Colts Neck in the first round on Saturday.

Red Bank Catholic (9-6): The Caseys drop out of the top 10 after three straight losses and defeats in four of their last five games. They will try to bounce back in the NJSIAA Non-Public A state tournament against St. Peter’s Prep on Saturday.

St. John Vianney (9-8): The Lancers knocked off Red Bank Catholic 6-5 for their first ever win over the Caseys, then beat Holmdel 5-2 to get back over .500. SJV has only lost to one team outside of the top 10, and that was a month ago. Since a five-game losing streak in early April, the Lancers have won seven of 10 games. They take on Hillsborough today and travel to face Bergen Catholic in the NJSIAA Non-Public A state tournament on Saturday.

 

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