Boys Soccer – SSN Top 10, Oct. 3
The last week of Shore Conference boys soccer was unpredictable enough to yield some significant turnover in the new Top 10. Four new teams enter this week’s rankings, including two teams debuting for the first time all year and another that was last seen in the top 10 during the preseason edition.
If last week gave us a new collection of the Shore’s best, this week could go a long way in sorting through the best of the best. Classes A North and B North have a big week of games upcoming and the week caps off with a Friday slate of games that includes four matches with top 10 teams squaring off against one another.
1. Christian Brothers Academy (10-0, 7-0) Last Week: 1
The Colts are currently a Top 10 team in the nation, according to Top Drawer Soccer, and there is not much evidence that any Shore Conference team is going to have much of a chance to play with them. Marlboro gave them a good fight in an overtime loss, but that was in the first full week of the season and CBA still outshot the Mustangs 16-4.
2. Marlboro (9-1, 7-1) Last Week: 2
It is going to take at least a couple more losses for Marlboro to relinquish its position as the No. 2 team in the Shore Conference. After beginning the season with a bevy of 1-0 games, the Mustangs have begun to find the scoring touch with 15 goals in their last five games.
3. Toms River South (8-1, 8-0) Last Week: 4
Most teams are going to slip up over the course of a season and it’s starting to look like Toms River South’s loss to Donovan Catholic was more of a bad day against a local rival than a sign of a nosedive. The Indians responded to that loss to the Griffins by beating Southern, Brick and Jackson Memorial this past week by a combined score of 7-0.
4. Freehold Township (7-3, 6-3) Last Week: 10
With a team loaded with first-year starters and a first-year coach, it’s no surprise that Freehold Township has picked things up as the season has progressed. The Patriots went 3-0 this week with wins over Freehold Boro, Howell and Colts Neck, with the former and the latter coming into the week ranked ahead of the Patriots.
5. Ocean (8-1, 7-1) Last Week: 5
Ocean’s response to its first loss – a 3-2 overtime defeat at the hands of Wall – was not as resounding as that of Toms River South. After handling Red Bank Catholic to start their week, Ocean needed to rally from a 1-0 deficit to beat Long Branch, 3-1, and needed overtime to beat a one-win Monmouth team.
6. Matawan (7-2-1, 6-2-1) Last Week: Not ranked
The Huskies debuted in the top 10 two weeks ago and are back after a week-long hiatus. A Central appeared to be sorting itself out, but Red Bank threw a wrench into the top four by beating both Matawan and Holmdel this week. While that loss to the Bucs is a blemish, it was on the road and it’s countered by a 3-0 win over Manasquan and a first-place standing in a very competitive A Central.
7. Manasquan (7-2-1, 6-1-1) Last Week: Not ranked
Even with some new pieces in the starting lineup, the Warriors have progressed since last year and are in position to take their challenge for the B North title all the way to the end. They earned a scoreless draw against Wall and beat Middletown North at home, and also pushed Ocean in a 2-1 road loss. A rematch with the Spartans at the Sea Girt Army Camp on Tuesday will be a big one for the two teams who currently occupy the top two spots in the B North standings.
8. Middletown North (6-1-1, 6-1-0) Last Week: 3
To this point, the Lions’ profile seems to be that they whip teams with losing records and have to scratch and claw against teams around .500 or better. They outscored Red Bank Catholic and Monmouth 17-0 in three games, while outscoring the rest of its schedule 7-4 in five matches. A win over a surging Wall team is still a pretty big one and Middletown North also has yet to play Ocean.
9. Asbury Park (7-0, 7-0) Last Week: Not ranked
For the first time in a long time, the Blue Bishops are in the top 10 picture and it is well-deserved. They are one of two unbeaten teams remaining in the Shore Conference and with the way they have dominated the B Central competition, it may be a while before they drop from the ranks of the undefeated. This week presents two stern tests – one from St. Rose on Tuesday and another on Friday in the form of No. 6 Matawan.
10. Wall (6-3-2, 5-1-2) Last Week: Not ranked
After a subpar start to 2016, the Crimson Knights have climbed back into the top 10 picture thanks to a five-game winning streak. An overtime win over Ocean was easily the most noteworthy win of the five, but don’t discount Saturday’s 4-1 decision over Red Bank. Prior to that game, the Bucs were unbeaten over their past four matches with wins over Matawan and Holmdel.
Toms River North (6-3, 6-2) Last Week: 6 – It was a bit of a shaky week for the Mariners, who not only lost to Southern 3-0, but also barely got by Brick Memorial.
Pinelands (8-2, 7-1) Last Week: 7 – A loss to Lacey bumped the Wildcats from the Top 10, but they remain in the discussion for a spot going forward as long as they sit atop the B South standings.
Freehold Boro (4-6, 4-4) Last Week: 8 – The Colonials had a challenging week with games against Freehold Township and CBA, so they also will not be far from climbing back in with a couple of wins this week.
Colts Neck (5-5, 4-5) Last Week: 9 – The season started with some promise, but a 3-0 beginning by the Cougars with a win over Freehold Township has turned into a fight to stay .500.
Top 10 Watch List
Point Boro (8-1, 7-1) – With a seven-game winning streak heading into the week, the Panthers will look to keep pace with Pinelands all the way to their Oct. 17 showdown.
Central (8-2, 7-2) – The marquee win is not there yet, but the Golden Eagles have been solid and still have a shot at an A South crown.
Southern (6-3, 5-3) – The Rams picked up a huge 3-0 win over Toms River North this past week, which should indicate that Southern is legitimately an SCT first-round threat and might even get a home game.
Holmdel (5-3-1, 4-3-1) – A win over Raritan early in the week put Holmdel in the A Central driver’s seat, but losses to Red Bank and Matawan dropped them down in the standings and out of the rankings.
Raritan (7-1-2, 4-1-2) – The Rockets remain the arguable favorite in A Central, but their best result this year is a draw against Matawan.