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The Shore Conference Tournament was a casualty of the shortened 2020 fall season in New Jersey and while the boys and girls soccer players around the Shore got a lot out of last fall considering the circumstances, missing the SCT left a void within the season, as a whole.

The conference tournament returns this season and on the boys side, there are still some things to be worked out in the two days remaining before the cutoff and three days before the seeding meeting. The top-three teams are basically locked in, although the No. 2 seed is still in play.

After those top three, the field is a total free-for-all, but one thing to keep in mind is that the Class A North division has displayed its collective might throughout the course of the season. It is likely seven of the eight teams from the division will qualify and against the rest of the Shore Conference, those seven teams have combined for a 24-3-1 record.

Division winners typically get a home game in the first round, but with three co-championship in Class B North and no official champion from Class B Central yet, there will be no such guarantee in this field.

*Wednesday Update*

After Central and Brick Memorial both ended five-year droughts by qualifying for the SCT on Tuesday, the field is officially set at 26 teams. While the final number is set, there is still a lot on the table with Wednesday's games as far as seeding goes. The key games to watch will be Howell at Toms River East, Point Boro at Ocean and, to a lesser extent, Jackson Liberty at Toms River South. The Pinelands at Central game would also be important, but a 6 p.m. start time means it will not likely end in time to be considered in the seeding.

CBA senior Dylan Cupo (11) battles Toms River North senior Jimmy Ruppe. (Photo by Ray Richardson)

Updated on Wednesday, Oct. 13

1. Christian Brothers Academy (12-1, 7-0)

Division Wins: At Freehold Twp., at Howell, Long Branch, at Manalapan, at Marlboro, Middletown North, Middletown South
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At St. Rose, vs. Berkshire (Ma.), Toms River North, Ocean, vs. East Brunswick
Non-Division Losses: LaSalle (Pa.)
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: CBA has been No. 1 from the jump and has done everything one could expect to validate its standing. There will be some tough calls in the seeding room but No. 1 won’t be one of them.

2. Toms River North (9-1-1, 7-0)

Division Wins: At Brick, at Brick Memorial, at Central, Jackson Memorial, Southern, Toms River East, at Toms River South
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Marlboro, vs. South Brunswick
Non-Division Losses: At CBA
Non-Division Ties: Freehold Twp.
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Tuesday was supposed to clear up the No. 2 spot, so naturally, the two teams in question finished in a scoreless tie. Toms River North is a division winner and Class A South has put its best foot forward in recent weeks in non-division games, so there is enough there to keep Toms River North at No. 2, although it's no sure thing.

3. Freehold Township (10-2-1, 6-1)

Division Wins: At Howell, Long Branch, at Manalapan, Marlboro, at Middletown North, Middletown South
Division Losses: CBA
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Colts Neck, at Jackson Memorial, at Wall, vs. St. Joseph Metuchen
Non-Division Losses: At Elizabeth
Non-Division Ties: At Toms River North
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Freehold Township's case for No. 2 is that it earned a road draw at Toms River North, played CBA a little bit closer than Toms River North did, and played (arguably) an overall harder schedule. The tie at Toms River North makes for an interesting debate, but ultimately, not a very important one. The difference between the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds are matchups and jersey color on a neutral site, so whichever team settles for No. 3 won’t really lose any opportunity to win the tournament.

4. Manalapan (7-3-3, 4-2-1)

Division Wins: At Howell, Long Branch, at Marlboro, at Middletown North
Division Losses: CBA, Freehold Twp.
Division Ties: At Middletown South
Non-Division Wins: At Red Bank, at Jackson Memorial, at Colts Neck
Non-Division Losses: Allentown
Non-Division Ties: At Monmouth, at Shore
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Manalapan didn't exactly seize the No. 4 seed by finishing its regular season 0-2-2 but at this point, who is the better option? The Braves have two big wins over Marlboro and Long Branch and while the two draws against Monmouth and Shore are somewhat disappointing, both of those teams have been playing well lately. There are some teams that will come for this spot and could have a case, but Manalapan still has the fewest holes in its argument, even if there are, indeed, some holes.

5. Marlboro (7-5, 4-3)

Division Wins: At Howell, vs. Long Branch, Middletown North, at Middletown South
Division Losses: CBA, at Freehold Twp., at Manalapan
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Lawrence, Manchester, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Losses: At Toms River North, Toms River East
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Marlboro's win over Rumson on Tuesday night was necessary just to show that the Mustangs are back on track after a messy stretch that included red cards for two key players and playing without said players in a loss to Toms River East. With that in mind regarding the Toms River East game, Marlboro's other four losses are to the top four seeds in this projection and the Mustangs also have a win over a top-10 lock in Long Branch.

6. Lacey (11-0-1, 7-0)

Division Wins: Barnegat, Donovan Catholic, Jackson Liberty, at Lakewood, at Manchester, Pinelands, at Point Boro
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Toms River South, at Southern, Brick Memorial, at Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: Central
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: As the only undefeated team in field, Lacey has the most compelling argument to be the No. 4 seed outside of Manalapan. It can't be Marlboro because Marlboro lost to Manalapan, but if one wanted to make the case for Lacey, it's not too much of a stretch. The Lions don't have any wins that jump off the page, but with no slip-ups outside of a tie to a solid Central side, they also don't have the warts that pretty much every other team has. They also have the edge in results vs. common opponents compared to Long Branch, which tied Lakewood a week after Lacey beat the Piners.

7. Long Branch (10-5-1, 3-4)

Division Wins: Howell, Middletown North, Middletown South
Division Losses: At CBA, at Freehold Twp., at Manalapan, at Marlboro
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Monmouth, at Matawan, Barnegat, at Freehold Boro, at Southern, Rumson-Fair Haven, at Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Losses: At Elizabeth
Non-Division Ties: At Lakewood
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Long Branch should settle in at No. 7 with an argument to be No. 6 thanks to a convincing win over Rumson-Fair Haven. Toms River East beating Howell on Wednesday could give the Raiders a shot to jump into the top seven, but Long Branch should be fairly safe at this spot.

8. Rumson-Fair Haven (7-3-2, 5-0-1)

Division Wins: Holmdel, at Monmouth, at Ocean, at Red Bank Catholic, Raritan
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: Shore
Non-Division Wins: At Brick Memorial, Wall
Non-Division Losses: At Middletown North, at Long Branch, Marlboro
Non-Division Ties: Red Bank
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: While Rumson did most of its winning in Class A Central play, the Bulldogs did pick up an important 5-1 win over Wall, which will serve to keep them in the top eight. The loss to Marlboro on Tuesday was a competitive one, so the Bulldogs shouldn't be tumbling down the board as the seeding nears.

9. Wall (7-3-2, 4-1-2)

Division Wins: At Colts Neck, at Freehold Boro, Matawan, Neptune
Division Losses: At Red Bank
Division Ties: Manasquan, at St. John Vianney
Non-Division Wins: St. Rose, Southern, Toms River East
Non-Division Losses: At Rumson-Fair Haven, Freehold Twp.
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: The win over Toms River East is keeping Wall in the conversation for a round-of-16 home game but Marlboro's win over Rumson probably cost the Crimson Knights in that regard. A head-to-head win over Toms River East lands Wall at No. 9 for the time being, with Toms River East's Wednesday game vs. Howell carrying some weight for Wall and other teams in this seeding range.

10. Toms River East (8-3, 5-2)

Division Wins: Brick, Central, Jackson Memorial, at Southern, at Toms River South
Division Losses: At Toms River North, Brick Memorial
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Pinelands, at Marlboro, Manchester
Non-Division Losses: At Wall
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: Vs. Howell (Wednesday)
Why They’re Here: Toms River East will indeed have an argument to be in the top six of the field with a win over Howell on Wednesday, but there are some pecking-order issues that will likely hold the Raiders back. Wall beat Toms River East head-to-head, Rumson slammed Wall, 5-1, and Long Branch handled Rumson, 3-0. Then again, Toms River East beat Marlboro, which beat Long Branch, so you see where there could be issues seeding this thing.

11. Holmdel (7-4, 4-2)

Division Wins: At Monmouth, Ocean, Raritan, at Red Bank Catholic
Division Losses: At Rumson-Fair Haven, Shore
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Middletown North, Manasquan, Matawan
Non-Division Losses: At Red Bank, at St. John Vianney
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Holmdel is crawling to the regular-season finish line, with losses to Red Bank, Shore and St. John Vianney during a 3-3 stretch that figured to give Holmdel a chance to pad its record. Instead, the Hornets are likely out of the Top 10 and will try to regroup for the postseason, where the program has had plenty of success over the last five years.

12. Monmouth (8-4-2, 4-2)

Division Wins: Ocean, at Raritan, Red Bank Catholic, at Shore
Division Losses: Holmdel, Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Middletown South, Asbury Park, at Manchester, Mater Dei
Non-Division Losses: At Long Branch, at Red Bank
Non-Division Ties: Manasquan, Manalapan
Games Before Cutoff: Vs. Point Beach (Wednesday)
Why They’re Here: Monmouth’s division slate began with a 5-1 loss to Holmdel, but the Falcons worked their way up to a second-place tie with the Hornets. A strong finish to the regular-season includes a draw against Manalapan, which should mean a first-round home game.

13. Ocean (8-4-1, 3-3)

Division Wins: At Raritan, Red Bank Catholic, at Shore
Division Losses: Holmdel, at Monmouth, Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Colts Neck, Freehold Boro, Neptune, at Red Bank, Matawan
Non-Division Losses: At CBA
Non-Division Ties: At Manasquan
Games Before Cutoff: Vs. Point Boro (Wednesday)
Why They’re Here: Injuries have hurt the Spartans in recent weeks, particularly on the defensive side. Ocean has two wins over teams in the field – the best of which is a 4-0 rout of Neptune – so there is a chance the Spartans could be fighting for a home game if they don’t get by Point Boro on Wednesday.

14. Shore (8-3-2, 2-3-1)

Division Wins: At Holmdel, Red Bank Catholic
Division Losses: Monmouth, Ocean, Raritan
Division Ties: At Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Wins: At Jackson Liberty, St. John Vianney, at Donovan Catholic, Asbury Park, at Red Bank, Spotswood
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: Manalapan
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Shore's winning streak ended at five on Tuesday night, but the Blue Devils managed a draw against Manalapan, which should continue to boost their profile. A loss to Raritan will hurt, particularly when trying to climb over some of the Class A Central teams ahead of the Blue Devils in the standings, but when it comes to playing well at the right time, Shore has that part covered.

15. Howell (6-5, 2-5)

Division Wins: At Middletown North, at Middletown South
Division Losses: CBA, Freehold Twp., at Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Colts Neck, Brick, at Point Boro, at Freehold Boro
Non-Division Losses: None
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: At Toms River East (Wednesday)
Why They’re Here: Although Howell had a rough time with some close losses playing in a rugged Class A North division, the Rebels have been dominant outside of Class A North, albeit against three teams not in the tournament. The matchup with Toms River East on Wednesday will be one to watch heading into the seeding meeting and if the Rebels pull out the road win, they should make a pretty significant jump. A loss, meanwhile, probably doesn't change much from their perspective.

16. Neptune (8-3-1, 5-2)

Division Wins: Freehold Boro, Manasquan, at Matawan, Red Bank, St. John Vianney
Division Losses: Colts Neck, at Wall
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Lakewood, Point Boro, at Brick
Non-Division Losses: At Ocean
Non-Division Ties: St. Rose
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: It is never recommended to view the SSN Boys Soccer Preview a forecasting tool, but when it comes to Neptune, we were on the nose. The Scarlet Fliers have lost to the three teams on the schedule that were ranked in the preseason Top 10 and defeated everyone else. At 8-3 and with a Class B North co-title to boot, Neptune is worthy of a home game, even after Tuesday's draw with St. Rose.

17. Brick Memorial (4-4-2, 3-2-2)

Division Wins: At Jackson Memorial, at Toms River East, Toms River South
Division Losses: Southern, Toms River North
Division Ties: At Central, at Brick
Non-Division Wins: At Donovan Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Rumson-Fair Haven, at Lacey
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Brick Memorial is officially in the field for the first time in five years and the Mustangs should surge toward the middle of the field thanks to a win at Toms River East and an overall solid showing in Class A South divisional play. An early loss to Southern and a tie with Brick hurt Brick Memorial's case for a home game, but the other three losses are to teams in the Top 10 (Toms River North, Lacey and Rumson).

18. Manasquan (5-5-4, 4-1-2)

Division Wins: Freehold Boro, at Matawan, at Red Bank, St. John Vianney
Division Losses: At Neptune
Division Ties: Colts Neck, at Wall
Non-Division Wins: Brick
Non-Division Losses: Middletown North, at Holmdel, at Middletown South, at Point Beach
Non-Division Ties: At Monmouth, Ocean
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: While Neptune has been predictable in winning a B North title share, Manasquan has been anything but while doing the same. The Warriors have four ties against teams that opened the season either in the top 10 (Wall, Ocean, Colts Neck) or right on the cusp of it (Monmouth) but also have losses to Middletown South and Point Beach that may end up knocking them out of the running for a home game.

19. Pinelands (8-3, 6-1)

Division Wins: Barnegat, at Donovan Catholic, at Jackson Liberty, Lakewood, at Manchester, Point Boro
Division Losses: At Lacey
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Ranney, at Brick
Non-Division Losses: At Toms River East, Toms River South
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: At Central (Wednesday)
Why They’re Here: Pinelands’ run of four consecutive division titles (one of which was last year’s “unofficial” title) came to an end during the regular season and with just one win over Ranney to supplement their six division wins, the Wildcats likely won’t have enough to host a first-round game. With that being said, Pinelands has become a perennial winner and could make a case to be ahead of division co-champions Neptune and Manasquan, especially if Point Boro can knock off Ocean on Wednesday.

20. Point Pleasant Boro (9-4, 5-2)

Division Wins: At Barnegat, at Donovan Catholic, Jackson Liberty, at Lakewood, Manchester
Division Losses: Lacey, at Pinelands
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Brick, St. Rose, at Central, at Mater Dei
Non-Division Losses: At Neptune, at Howell
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: At Ocean (Wednesday)
Why They’re Here: Point Boro has played its way back onto the SCT scene after a few rebuilding seasons and is still in the running for a home game. With head-to-head losses to Pinelands, Howell and Neptune, the Panthers are behind some teams in this part of the field, but that could change Wednesday night if Point Boro were to knock off Ocean on the road.

21. St. John Vianney (6-4-2, 3-2-2)

Division Wins: Colts Neck, Freehold Boro, at Red Bank
Division Losses: At Manasquan, at Neptune
Division Ties: At Matawan, Wall
Non-Division Wins: Red Bank Catholic, at Southern, Holmdel
Non-Division Losses: At Ranney, at Shore
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: St. John Vianney needed to make a statement to get out of the bottom of the rankings and the Lancers did just that Tuesday night by upsetting Holmdel behind a Johnny Troiano hat trick. Troiano is the top scorer in the Shore Conference and his huge season has put the Lancers in position to be a dangerous team heading into the postseason.

22. Jackson Liberty (8-4-1, 3-3-1)

Division Wins: Barnegat, Donovan Catholic, at Manchester
Division Losses: At Lacey, Pinelands, at Point Boro
Division Ties: Lakewood
Non-Division Wins: At Jackson Memorial, Central, Point Beach, at Freehold Boro, Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Shore
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: At Toms River South (Wednesday)
Why They’re Here: Jackson Liberty falls into the category of no bad losses without any major standout wins, although for the Lions, beating Jackson Memorial – even in a down season for their crosstown rival – is a big deal. A win over Central also comes into play with the Golden Eagles qualifying on Tuesday.

23. Central (6-5-2, 2-3-1)

Division Wins: At Jackson Memorial, Toms River South
Division Losses: Brick, at Toms River East, Toms River North
Division Ties: Brick Memorial
Non-Division Wins: At Point Beach, at Barnegat, Donovan Catholic, at Red Bank
Non-Division Losses: Point Boro, at Jackson Liberty
Non-Division Ties: At Lacey
Games Before Cutoff: Vs. Pinelands (Wednesday)
Why They’re Here: Central did exactly what it needed to do by convincingly beating Red Bank on Tuesday to qualify for the tournament and adding some style points to the resume. The Golden Eagles have some issues within their body of work -- losses to Jackson Liberty and Point Boro make it hard for them to make a big jump in the seeding -- but they also tied unbeaten Lacey and just beat a Red Bank team that has taken down some big names this year (Wall, Holmdel and a draw vs. Rumson).

24. St. Rose (4-3-1, 4-0)

Division Wins: At Asbury Park, Keyport, at Mater Dei, Point Beach
Division Losses: None
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: None
Non-Division Losses: At Wall, CBA, at Point Boro
Non-Division Ties: At Neptune
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: St. Rose earned a draw at Neptune that should get the Purple Roses some respect in the room but it's unclear how much that will help them in ultimately boosting their seeding. They haven't played either of the other two Class B Central teams to qualify (Ranney and Henry Hudson) and are 0-3-1 outside of divisional play, albeit against quality opponents.

25. Ranney (8-2, 4-1)

Division Wins: At Asbury Park, Henry Hudson, Keyport, at Mater Dei
Division Losses: At Point Beach
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Manchester, St. John Vianney, Asbury Park, Point Beach
Non-Division Losses: At Pinelands
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: At Lakewood (Wednesday)
Why They’re Here: Ranney eliminated Point Beach on Monday after losing to the Garnet Gulls last week, which should have the Panthers back on track. They got off to a promising start that included wins over Manchester and St. John Vianney, but the loss to Point Beach and the postponement of the St. Rose game had taken some wind out of their sails heading into the week.

26. Henry Hudson (7-5, 3-2)

Division Wins: Asbury Park, at Keyport, at Mater Dei
Division Losses: At Point Beach, at Ranney
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Edison Academy, Keyport, Mater Dei, at Asbury Park
Non-Division Losses: Lakewood, Manville, East Brunswick Tech
Non-Division Ties: None
Games Before Cutoff: None
Why They’re Here: Henry Hudson is in the field and with losses to Lakewood, Point Beach, Ranney, Manville and East Brunswick Tech, the Admirals are a virtual lock for the No. 26 and final seed.

 

 

Eliminated

Lakewood (4-5-2, 2-4-1)

Division Wins: At Barnegat, at Donovan Catholic
Division Losses: Lacey, Manchester, at Pinelands, Point Boro
Division Ties: At Jackson Liberty
Non-Division Wins: At Keyport, at Henry Hudson
Non-Division Losses: Neptune
Non-Division Ties: Long Branch

Middletown North (6-8, 1-6)

Division Wins: At Middletown South
Division Losses: At CBA, Freehold Twp., Howell, at Long Branch, Manalapan, at Marlboro
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: At Manasquan, Rumson-Fair Haven, at Red Bank Catholic, at Raritan, Red Bank
Non-Division Losses: Holmdel, Southern
Non-Division Ties: None

Point Pleasant Beach (5-6, 4-1)

Division Wins: At Asbury Park, Henry Hudson, Mater Dei, Ranney
Division Losses: At St. Rose
Division Ties: None
Non-Division Wins: Manasquan
Non-Division Losses: Central, Brick, Manchester, at Jackson Liberty, at Ranney
Non-Division Ties: None

Toms River South (4-5-1, 1-4-1)

Division Wins: Brick
Division Losses: At Brick Memorial, at Central, Toms River East, Toms River North
Division Ties: At Jackson Memorial
Non-Division Wins: Middletown South, at Pinelands, Barnegat
Non-Division Losses: At Lacey
Non-Division Ties: None