Boys Soccer – Shore Sports Network Top 10, Sept. 9
One week of Shore Conference soccer is in the books and the results warrant some serious changes the the bottom of the Top 10. Six of the top seven teams in the preseason rankings avoided stumbling but one of those top-seven teams had a week it would like to forget.
All-in-all, the teams in the top eight still look the part but between the upsets and close calls, last week gave us a window into the kind of parity that could reign at the Shore in 2019.
1. Christian Brothers Academy (1-0, 0-0) Last Week: 1
CBA got a mulligan (no pun intended) when it conceded an early goal at Delran and the game was called due to lightning 10 minutes before halftime. The Colts responded with a strong all-around performance against defending Group IV champion Washington Township in a 2-0 victory. CBA enters the A North schedule still the favorite in the Shore Conference.
2. Manasquan (0-0, 0-0) Last Week: 2
The only Shore Conference team yet to play a game, Manasquan had its opener vs. Brick Memorial rained out on Friday and will open up this coming week against unbeaten Neptune followed by Red Bank Catholic and Ocean. There could be some teams hot on the Warriors’ trail after the end of the week but the chance to prove they are for real is coming.
3. Holmdel (2-0, 0-0) Last Week: 5
Speaking of a team proving it is for real, Holmdel did just that last week with wins over preseason No. 8 Middletown South and No. 3 Freehold Township. The defense looks sharp, sophomore keeper Tommy Chyzowych looks like another strong Holmdel keeper and the attack has plenty going for it with Jack Giamanco up front and Mark Walier even getting involved early. There is less margin for error than in the last two years, but these Hornets have already showed they can still navigate the big game.
4. Jackson Memorial (3-0, 0-0) Last Week: 4
Although Jackson Memorial did not face a ranked team this week, the Jaguars picked up two hard-earned wins over tough teams in Pinelands and Manalapan. In both games, the Jaguars had to come up with a goal after halftime to win, including an overtime game against Manalapan on Friday. With three more games against unranked teams this week, the Jaguars have a chance to keep the wins coming.
5. Wall (2-0, 0-0) Last Week: 6
Expect 2-0 wins to be the norm for a Wall team that routinely keeps opponents off the board and boasts one of the most experienced back lines in the Shore Conference. The Crimson Knights started the year with two of them, the first over a Freehold Boro team that scored four goals in its opener vs. Ocean and the second against St. Rose.
6. Southern (1-0, 0-0) Last Week: 7
The Rams will be trying to keep pace with Jackson Memorial all season and after one week, the two A South rivals are very comparable. Both teams traveled to Manalapan and picked up 2-1 wins and in Southern’s case, it was two second-half goals by star midfielder Kevin Kiernan that secured the win. A trip to play Toms River South under the lights to open this week will be another stern test for the Rams.
7. Freehold Township (1-2, 0-0) Last Week: 3
A tough week got even tougher for Freehold Township when dynamic midfielder Tiron Shatku told coach Josh Mehl he was stepping away from the team to try out for professional clubs in Europe. The Patriots got some relief in the form of a 5-0 win over St. John Vianney, which got them in the win column following a 5-4, overtime loss to Toms River North and a 1-0 home defeat to Holmdel.
8. Middletown South (1-1, 0-0) Last Week: 8
After letting a win slip away at Holmdel, Middletown South took out their frustration on Ocean, beating the defending Shore Conference and Group III champions 6-0. That’s two games against defending state champions to open the season so a 1-1 start for the Eagles is better than a 1-1 start for most other teams.
9. Toms River North (2-0, 0-0) Last Week: Not ranked
The eye-opening win of the first week belongs to Toms River North, which just kept coming in a wild, 5-4, overtime win over Freehold Township on opening night. Between that win and a 1-0 win over preseason No. 10 Point Boro on Saturday, Toms River North has only gotten one goal from a senior and it was the golden goal by Logan Mack in the win over Freehold Township.
10. Matawan (2-0, 0-0) Last Week: Not ranked
The Huskies were not overly convincing in wins over Donovan Catholic and Ranney last week but they were among the teams positioned to take a top-10 spot should any of the original 10 faltered. With Point Boro and Toms River South going a combined 0-4, Matawan’s senior-laden team steps in and will try to hold the spot with upcoming games against Long Branch, Colts Neck and Raritan this week.
Toms River South (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: 9 – The Indians could not find the net in a 2-0 loss to Howell and things won’t get any easier this week when Southern pays them a visit on Tuesday night.
Point Pleasant Boro (0-3, 0-0) Last Week: 10 – Like last year, Point Boro is having trouble scoring out of the gate, losing three games by a combined score of 4-0.
Top 10 Watchlist
Middletown North (3-0, 0-0) – The Lions got off to a hot start last year before going into a tailspin and that experience should serve them well now that they are much more experienced.
Toms River East (2-0, 0-0) – After needing to rally on the road vs. Point Beach, the Raiders put up four goals on Howell to land on the top-10 radar.
Neptune (3-0, 0-0) – A season-opening win over Point Boro and two more routs of Lakewood and Manchester suggest the Scarlet Fliers have some options when it comes to replacing the offense of Wilby Alfred and Mickenna Church.
Freehold Boro (1-1, 0-0) – With Ocean and Wall on the schedule to start the year, the Colonials will take a 1-1 start as the A North schedule approaches.
Lacey (1-0, 0-0) – Lacey got by an improved Rumson team thanks to its returning goal-scoring machine Sean Moffit, who came through with the golden goal.