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It's March 30, and that means that we're officially back. Finally, it is high school lacrosse season in the Garden State.

The season begins today and with it comes a fresh start. Everyone is 0-0 and ready to attack their goals, whether that be a state championship, competing for a division title, or simply improving on last year's results.

On paper, this looks to be one of the deepest seasons of Shore Conference lacrosse. While there is a clear No. 1 team in the Shore, the rest of the Brielle Orthopedics/Shore Sports Network Preseason Top 10 is not as clear-cut as it has been in previous seasons. It's eady to envision a season with a ton of movement in the rankings as many of the top teams take turns knocking each other off. That should, theoretically, make for a great Shore Conference Tournament down the road.

Last season, the Shore Conference had a record year with three sectional champions who advanced to the state championship round. Three teams also finished ranked inside NJ.com's state top 20. Our top teams have been competing for state championships for a while now. Depth has always been the Shore Conference's issue beyond its top four or five teams, but this year looks like it could be different.

It should be a fun ride.

With that, let's get to the 2022 SSN Boys Lacrosse Top 10.

 

2022 Brielle Orthopedics Shore Conference Boys Lacrosse Top 10 - Preseason

 

1. Rumson-Fair Haven (Last season: 20-1; Final rank: No. 1)

The reigning Class B North, Shore Conference Tournament, and NJSIAA South Group 2 sectional champions start this season right where they ended last season, and despite graduating some exceptional players including SSN MVP Patrick Jamin, Specialist of the Year goalie Ryan Croddick, and First Team All-Shore attackman Luke Devlin, the Bulldogs don't show any signs of slowing down.

Rumson has a total of five returning All-Shore players, led by First Team All-Shore senior attackman Christian Bockelmann, First Team All-Shore junior defensemen Beau Kemler, First Team All-Shore junior LSM Matthew Bockelmann, and Second Team All-Shore midfielders Cole Cashion and Philip Passalaqua. Cashion, a junior will move to the midfield after playing attack last season, leaving Bockelmann, a Yale recruit, and senior Dan Garvey, a Stevens Tech recruit, to lead the attack line. Cashion (Yale), Passalaqua (Haverford), and senior Tommy French (Babson) look to be the first-line middies with Kemler (Villanova), Bockelmann (Brown), and junior Luke Jamin leading the way on defense.

If you had to search for weaknesses for Rumson it would be in goal and at the face-off X simply due to inexperience at the varsity level. Rumson, however, has traditionally been very strong at both positions even when entering the season with unproven players. Will Setteducate and Marshall Halfacre are the Bulldogs' goalies while seniors Noah Beacher and Braiden Spagnuola and sophomore DJ Devine are listed as FOGOs on the roster.

Rumson has done it all throughout its program's history, including being the only Shore Conference team to win a group state title. The Bulldogs' only loss last season came in their final game when they fell to state power Summit in the Group 2 final. They enter the season ranked No. 5 in the state and their ultimate goal is to get back to a state final and bring home another championship.

 

2. Manasquan (Last season: 17-4; Final rank: No. 2)

The Warriors took a slight step back last season after three straight years as the No. 1 team in the Shore Conference but showed the depth of their program in capturing a third straight NJSIAA South Group 1 sectional title and reaching their fifth consecutive Shore Conference Tournament final.

Manasquan's 2021 team was largely comprised of first-year starters after graduating a generational 2019 class and then having the 2020 season canceled due to the pandemic. Stalwarts like senior defenseman Dylan LeBlanc (Loyola) and senior midfielder Robert Pendergist (Jacksonville) turned in First Team All-Shore seasons as juniors while players like junior attackman Matt Porazzo (Monmouth), senior defensemen Ryan Bilello (Colgate), senior goalie Carter Groezinger (Embry-Riddle), and senior FOGO Max Pauwels (Quinnipiac had breakout seasons to help lead the Warriors to more championships.

James Farinacci joins Porazzo to lead the attack line while Pendergist, Blake Gorski, Dan Hyland, Niland DiLuchio, and Brody Muly lead the way in the midfield. LeBlanc will miss time early this season due to an injury suffered during football season so Bilello will spearhead the close defense with sophomore Kyle Capadanno stepping in to play significant minutes. Sophomore attackman Nick Carabetta, sophomore midfielder Joe Carabetta, freshman attackman Brandon Kunz, and freshman LSM Parker Harms should see plenty of time, as well.

 

3. Southern (Last season: 16-5; Final rank: No. 6)

The Rams were in the midst of a solid but unspectacular season last year before catching fire in the state playoffs to win the South Group 4 sectional title. The challenge now is to build off those performances and put it all together from start to finish. Expectations are high for Ocean County's standard-bearer as they return nearly their entire starting lineup while adding an impact transfer.

Southern has a stacked first offensive six with senior attackmen Ryan Sininsky, Jack Kolbe, and Jake Cornelius along with senior midfielders Jake Washco and Zach Washco and junior midfielder Joey DeYoung. Sininsky (NJIT) was a Second Team All-Shore selection last season who scored 64 goals while Kolbe, a Merrimack recruit, comes over as a transfer from Robbinsville where he scored 57 goals as a junior. Cornelius is a Drew University recruit. The Washco twins are committed to Eastern University and combined for 67 goals and 34 assists last season while DeYoung (Hofstra) had a breakout season with 43 goals and 17 assists.

Senior FOGO Kurt Falk missed time with an injury last season but was very effective when on the field. Defensive middies Anthony Arch, a sophomore, and Xander Murray, a junior, also return. Defensively, Second Team All-Shore close defender Nate Committee (Bellarmine) leads the way in front of Second Team All-Shore goalie Tyler Sininsky (NJIT), who was incredible during the state tournament last season. Senior defensemen Brock Lefkus (Anderson Univ.) and Ty Smith also return as starters along with senior LSM Chris Laureigh.

The Rams have won seven straight Class A South division titles and are the heavy favorite to win the division once again. If Southern plays to its potential it should be right there competing for SCT and state sectional titles.

 

4. Wall (Last season: 16-4; Final rank: No. 3)

The Crimson Knights are coming off the best season in program history, and despite graduating SSN Offensive Player of the Year and current Rutgers freshman Logan Peters, Wall returns multiple starters to make a run at the program's first championships in 2022.

Senior midfielder Matt Dollive, a Rutgers signee, leads the way for Wall after a First Team All-Shore junior season and will be joined on the first middie line by Connor Moore and William Madden. Junior John McCurry, a Navy recruit, had an excellent sophomore season with 62 goals and 18 assists, leads the way up top with Jack Meyer and Eugune Haghighi stepping in as first-year starters.

Senior Jake Davis, a University of Pennsylvania football recruit, is a returning starter as a defensive midfielder while Jack Belko will also serve as a short-stick defensive middie. Wall's back end is certainly a strength with senior Third Team All-Shore selection Charlie Sasso (Monmouth-football), junior University of Denver recruit Billy Carr, and Third Team All-Shore LSM Dominick Giglio (Monmouth) back after very strong 2021 seasons. Michael D'Amico will step in as a close defensive starter while senior goalie Aiden Kessler backs it all up after a very good junior year in which he earned First Team All-Class B South honors from the coaches.

One area of uncertainty for Wall is at the face-off X where they will have to replace standout Kyle Wenzel. Robert Langworthy and Michael Hoarle are both candidates to step in as the starting FOGO.

Wall didn't win any championships last season due to the fact the Knights had to contend with Manasquan in Class B South and ran into Rumson in both the Shore Conference Tournament and in the NJSIAA South Group 2 final. Wall is going to have to get through two of the Shore Conference's best teams to get over the hump but has the talent and experience to have another great year.

 

5. Shore (Last season: 13-5; Final rank: No. 5)

The Blue Devils have been a consistent top-10 team over the last few years under head coach Gregg Malfa and in 2022 return a talented and experienced team that should be a factor in Class B North, the Shore Conference Tournament, and the state playoffs.

Shore returns four All-Shore players with senior midfielder Jamie Mazzacco and senior attackman Carson Cooke earning Second Team All-Shore honors and sophomore midfielder Sam Madalone and junior goalie Walker Hunter being selected as Third Team All-Shore members. Cooke, sophomore Carson Spallone, senior Ryan Turner, and junior Ben Levy will be Shore's main attackmen. Mazzacco, who is committed to Williams college for football, leads the midfield along with Madalone, senior Andrew Decker, juniors Aidan Murphy and Aidan O'Brien, and sophomore Lucas White.

The Blue Devils should be strong defensively with one of the Shore's best goalies between the Pipes. Hunter (Fairfield) led the Shore Conference in save percentage (67%) and was third with 193 saves last season. Sophomore defenseman Jackson Whitacre and senior LSM Max White lead the way among the poles.

There are no cheap championships in New Jersey high school lacrosse with just four Shore Conference divisions and only two state sections per group. Shore understands this well as a member of the Class B North division and being aligned in either Group 1 or Group 2 every season. It's been either Rumson, Manasquan, or both standing in their way every season. While the Blue Devils may not be able to take down those two titans, they should be a formidable squad again.

 

6. Howell (Last season: 12-6; Final rank: No. 7)

The Rebels were solid in 2021 and return most of their starters to make a run at a division title and push deep into the Shore Conference and state tournaments.

Howell returns its top four scorers and its starting goalie and totals three returning All-Shore players. Senior midfielder Tyler Burns (Georgian Court) was a Second Team All-Shore selection last season and leads a talented midfielder group along with Third Team All-Shore selection senior Doug MacKenzie (Georgian Court), CJ Calafiore, and Dax Kukan. Junior attackman Nate Lorenzo was Howell's leading scorer last season with 32 goals and 20 assists and leads the way up top along with senior Vin Burns (Georgian Court) and junior Jack Marich.

Senior Colin Fay, a Belmont Abbey recruit, was a Third Team All-Shore selection last year and returns as one of the top goalies in the conference. Senior close defenseman Shayne Hughes leads the group of poles with junior Shawn Megill, senior Adam Conviser, and freshman Colin Finnegan comprising the rest of the starting defense.

Howell also has senior Glenn Giordano back at the face-off X. He missed the second half of last season due to an injury.

The team to beat in Class A North is usually CBA but this season Howell enters as the favorite. Can the Rebels overtake a young Colts team and also fend off challenges from Middletown South and Manalapan? With the talent in place, this is the year to do it.

 

7. Christian Brothers Academy (Last season: 15-5; Final rank: No. 4)

CBA is a Shore Conference stalwart, the gold standard in Class A North, and a fixture in the top five every season. On paper and at least early in the season, this will be a unique year for the Colts as they return just four starters and have youth and inexperience up and down their roster.

After graduating First Team All-Shore goalie Noah D'Andrea and Second Team All-Shore attackman Dan Martin, Second Team All-Shore defenseman Aidan Quinn, and Second Team All-Shore FOGO Jared Lucich, the Colts are in rebuilding mode and will look to a new cast of players to keep their winning tradition going. The biggest name back is junior attackman Nick Blalock, who had a breakout sophomore season with 36 goals and 10 assists. A lot will be on his plate as CBA's clear No.1 offensive option, especially with junior attackman Brendan Donnelly out for a month or more after suffering an injury during a scrimmage. The other returning starters are senior defensive midfielder Max Avrillon and senior defenseman Peter Canterino.

There is talent, it's just unproven at this point. Junior attackman Ian Macrae and sophomore attackman Ryan Martin could become standout scorers while seniors Aidan Guinnesssey and Sean Tennyson lead the midfield. Senior Ty Feiler could be another starter at attack while the defense looks to be junior Ryan Caufield and freshman Luke Krebs alongside Canterino in close defense with freshman Quinn Kelly at LSM. Sophomore Brandon DeSena steps in as goalie and junior Aayush Dave is listed as the team's face-off specialist.

 

8. Red Bank (Last season: 10-7; Final rank: No. 8)

Red Bank is one of the more intriguing teams in the Shore Conference thanks to returning seven starters and hiring former Rumson-Fair Haven head coach Andy Eastwood to lead the program.

Eastwood was RFH's head coach from 2014 through 2016 and during his tenure, Rumson went 53-15 and won three division titles, the SCT in 2014 and 2016, and in 2015 became the first Shore Conference boys lacrosse team to win an NJSIAA group title by beating Mountain Lakes, 9-8 in overtime, to win the Group 2 crown. He takes over a team that returns three of its top four scorers from a season ago.

Junior attackman Ryder Villani netted 42 goals and 22 assists last season and sophomore attackman Andrew Pape had a tremendous freshman year with 28 goals and 27 assists. Senior midfielder Henry Spencer spearheads the midfield after a junior season in which he had 34 goals, 17 assists, and 60 ground balls. Other key returners for the Bucs include senior defenseman Sean Masonius, junior goalie Gavin Lisko, senior defenseman Carter Gibson, senior LSM Donovan Bradley, junior attackman/midfielder Trey Lynch, junior LSM Andrew Savko, senior midfielder Matt Lynch, junior defenseman Alec Teter, sophomore attackman Matt Kelly, and senior Bryce Fernandes.

 

9. Middletown South (Last season: 11-4; Final rank: No. 9)

The Eagles lost a good chunk of their core from last season's team that won the first state playoff game in program history but have one of the Shore's top midfielders back to lead the way under veteran head coach Sal Guastella.

Senior Luke Rohrmann had a breakout junior season with 35 goals and eight assists and returns as the offensive centerpiece. Junior midfielder/FOGO Beau Servidio is also back after winning 62% of face-offs last season. Other returners for the Eagles include senior John Beyer and junior Steve Kirchner at attack, senior Brendan Gilbert and sophomore Colin Gallagher in the midfield, senior Alec Piasecki at LSM, junior Kevin Dunphy, junior Ryan Dunphy, sophomore Owen Richter, senior Quinn Beyer, and sophomore Will Nugent on defense, and junior Lucas Campos in goal.

 

10. Manalapan (Last season: 7-8; Final rank: not ranked)

For the 10th and final spot in the preseason rankings, we went with a program that is just in its second season at the varsity level but showed great promise in its inaugural season.

Manalapan has eight returning starters, led by sophomore midfielder/face-off specialist Grant Carle, who was a Second Team All-Class A North selection last season when he had 13 goals and 13 assists and won 76% of face-offs. Senior Frankie D'Amore and sophomores Anthony Macchio and Marc Stefanelli each eclipsed 10 goals last season and will look to step up their offensive production after the graduation of leading scorer Mike DeMayo.

Sophomore close defensemen Aidan Wilmot and Jake Horowitz also return along with sophomore Justin Miller, who can play close defense and LSM. Senior Alex Kaplan and sophomore Antonio Santana both saw time in goal last season and give Braves' head coach Nick Filippone two options between the pipes.

Junior defenseman Preston Birnie, junior attackman Adam Vender, sophomore attackman Christian Zidarski, and senior defensive midfielder Jimmy Bruno are newcomers who could have expanded roles this season.

Manalapan has three ranked teams ahead of it in Class A North alone with Howell, CBA, and Middletown South, but the Braves look like a program on the rise with plenty of young talent.

 

Keep an eye on:

Jackson Memorial: Senior attackman Matt DeRosa, sophomore attackman Drew Barocas, senior midfielder/FOGO Charlie Harrison, and junior defenseman Mike Rauch lead the way for the Jaguars under first-year head coach Pat Conti.

Red Bank Catholic: The Caseys struggled to a 4-12 record last season but could be primed for a bounce-back year. Junior midfielder Torin Harmon, senior attackman Anthony Muniz, and junior defenseman Nick Cosimano lead the way.

Holmdel: The Hornets closed the season strong last year but graduated many of their top scorers. They do return standout attackman Kyle Kapcsos (38g, 22a), midfielder Will Gilfillan, defenseman John Fanzini, and goalie Andrew Arredondo to make a push at a top-10 spot throughout the season.

St. John Vianney: The Lancers had just three wins last season but are a team to watch with former Manasquan head coach Nick Schmidt taking over the program. Senior defenseman Mason Shenk, a Binghamton recruit, is SJV's top player.

 

 

 

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