Boys Soccer – SSN Top 10, Sept. 10
Although there are still teams waiting to open their season, the Shore Conference soccer season is off and running and after a one light week of games, there is some movement in the Shore Sports Network Top 10. This week's wet weather forecast suggests it will be another light week of games so we still might be another week away from business as usual.
1. Holmdel (1-0) Last Week: 1
The defending Shore Conference and Group II champions handled their business in taking down Middletown South, 4-0, in their opener. A showdown with Freehold Township was postponed due to heat and as a result, Holmdel will not play its first home game until Saturday against Colts Neck.
2. Christian Brothers Academy (2-0) Last Week: 2
Some other teams have scored more goals, but it would be hard to find a more impressive start than the one CBA is off to. The Colts blanked Delran, 2-0, in the season opener, then hammered Peddie, 5-0 on Saturday.
3. Ocean (2-0) Last Week: 3
With six goals in two wins to open the season, the Spartans are looking every bit as good on field as they do on paper with all of their returning talent. Ocean beat a top-10 Freehold Boro side 3-0 to start things off and overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit behind a Santieno Harding second-half hat trick to beat Middletown South, 3-1.
4. Jackson Memorial (3-0) Last Week: 4
The highest-scoring team at the Shore through one week is looking like a team that could make a serious challenge for the Shore Conference Tournament title. Jackson Memorial put up 10 goals on rival Jackson Liberty and then scored eight in an 8-2 win over Manalapan. The big win, however, was a 2-0 decision against Pinelands, the preseason No. 5 team in the Shore Conference.
5. Howell (1-0) Last Week: 6
A pair of free kick goals conceded by the Rebels made things interesting at Toms River East, but Howell led the whole way and got the job done. A match at Toms River South would have been a fun top-10 challenge to open the year but the heat knocked that one out.
6. Toms River South (0-0) Last Week: 7
The Indians are still waiting to play their first game of the season after the Howell game was postponed and are scheduled to open the 2018 campaign Tuesday at Southern.
7. Freehold Boro (1-1) Last Week: 9
Despite losing its opener, Freehold Boro climbs a spot after winning at Wall, which was a team very close to the top 10 to open the season. On top of that, the loss came against No. 3 Ocean, so with two tough games to open the season, the Colonials are right where they want to be through one week.
8. Monmouth (2-0) Last Week: 8
The Falcons held off an improved St. John Vianney side to kick off its season and blanked Mater Dei behind a Brian Waltsak hat trick. Monmouth will have a chance to inch up over the course of the season but hold at No. 8 for now.
9. Freehold Township (1-0-1) Last Week: 10
The Patriots conceded a tying goal in the final 10 minutes while playing shorthanded in their opening-day draw vs. Toms River North and that probably cost them the No. 7 spot in the rankings for the time being. Freehold Township bounced back nicely in a 5-0 rout of St. John Vianney and their tough schedule will give the Patriots every opportunity to move up.
10. Toms River North (1-0-1) Last Week: Not ranked
An impressive come-from-behind draw at Freehold Township got Toms River North in the conversation and a 4-0 win over Point Pleasant Boro got the Mariners in at No. 10. Goal-scoring was inconsistent during last year’s 7-8-2 campaign, so the six goals in two games against two traditionally-stingy teams is a welcomed site.
Pinelands (0-2) Last Week: 5 – A 2-0 loss to Jackson was competitive before Pinelands went down a mand and the Wildcats then lost a 4-3 overtime game at Toms River East, so while the start is not ideal, it’s also not panic time. Pinelands is still on the fringes of the top 10 and will have chances to get back in.
On the Bubble
Toms River East (1-1) – Opened the season against two top-10 teams and split the week, beating Pinelands in overtime and dropped a 3-2 game against Howell.
Wall (1-1) – Miss a chance to jump into the top 10 by losing to No. 9 Freehold Boro, but bounced back by rallying from a two-goal deficit to beat St. Rose, 4-2.
Southern (2-0) – Scored four goals in each of first two games, including a 4-0 win over Manalapan.