Brielle Orthopedics/Shore Sports Network Boys Lacrosse Top 10 for May 25
This is it, the final stretch of the season where champions will be crowned, legacies will be made, and the state's very best will clash to determine the undisputed king of New Jersey high school boys lacrosse.
Just seven Shore Conference teams remain standing in their respective quests for a state championship. Wednesday will see that number pared down to at least five when six teams take the field in NJSIAA Tournament sectional semifinal games. Southern will host Howell in South Group 4, Manasquan and Wall clash in South Group 2, Rumson-Fair Haven will host Hopewell Valley in South Group 2, and Shore will travel to Haddonfield in South Group 1.
Rumson, Southern, and Manasquan are all defending champions (Manasquan was in South Group 1 for the past several seasons). Wall is seeking its first sectional title after reaching its first final last season, while Howell and Shore are both aiming to reach a sectional title game for the first time in program history. The stakes are, obviously, very high.
It's likely there won't be much movement in the Brielle Orthopedics/Shore Sports Network Top 10 the rest of the way since only seven teams remain, but No. 1 is still up for grabs given the top three teams are all in South Group 2. Red Bank Catholic, which has reached the Non-Public B semifinals, could also earn its way back in by the time the final buzzer has sounded.
With that, let's get to the latest Shore Conference boys lacrosse rankings.
Brielle Orthopedics Shore Conference Boys Lacrosse Top 10
1. Rumson-Fair Haven (18-4). Last week: No. 1
The Bulldogs rolled to their second straight and eighth overall Shore Conference Tournament title with a 12-7 victory over Wall. Along the way, Rumson also beat Brick Memorial, No. 8 Red Bank, and No. 4 CBA by a combined score of 48-10. Rumson then began its title defense in the NJSIAA South Group 2 playoffs with dominant wins over Oakcrest (19-1) and Cranford (18-1). Yes, the game vs. Wall in the SCT final was a tight contest for most of the way, but Rumson has proven to be on a different level than nearly everyone in the Shore. Now, they'll have to prove it again in what should be a tough sectional final game this weekend. Rumson has been the Shore's No. 1 team all season and has also been a top-10 team in the state for most of the year, and the Bulldogs can win the whole thing if they put it all together over the final weeks of the season. Rumson remains the Shore's only boys lacrosse team to win a group state title and in the final year of the Tournament of Champions, they can make history once again. Next game: Wednesday vs. Hopewell Valley in the South Group 2 semifinals.
2. Wall (17-3). Last week: No. 3
The Crimson Knights move up to No. 2 in the Shore this week, their highest ranking in program history, thanks to a big 7-3 win over Manasquan in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals. That victory avenged a 9-6 loss to their archrivals back on April 2. Wall was defeated by No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven, 12-7, in its first Shore Conference Tournament championship game appearance but rebounded with state tournament wins over Barnegat (16-3) and Holmdel (15-6) to continue their superb season. To get to a sectional final, Wall will once again have to get through Manasquan on the road as the two meet in the South Group 2 semifinals. A win there would likely give Wall a rematch with Rumson where they would go after their first sectional title. Next game: Wednesday at No. 3 Manasquan in the South Group 2 semifinals.
3. Manasquan (15-4). Last week: No. 2
Entrenched at No. 2 since the preseason, the Warriors drop one spot after falling to Wall, 7-3, in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals. It was a solid defensive game for Squan but playing without standout junior attackman Matt Porazzo and then losing star senior midfielder Robert Pendergist to an injury early really zapped the Warriors' offense against a sturdy Wall defense. Manasquan responded with emphatic state tournament wins over Cedar Creek (18-4) and Allentown (16-4) to return to the sectional semifinals and set up round three with Wall. The teams have split games this season and the winner of the rubber match most likely gets a date with No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven in the championship game. Porazzo and Pendergist returning would obviously be a huge boost. Next game: Wednesday vs. No. 2 Wall in the South Group 2 semifinals.
4. Christian Brothers Academy (12-9). Last week: No. 4
The Colts reached the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals where they fell to No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven, 16-6. CBA then lost a triple-overtime game, 8-7, to state-ranked Pingry before starting the Non-Public A state tournament with a 10-9 victory over Bergen Catholic. The win matched up CBA with the state's No. 1 team, Don Bosco Prep, and the Ironmen scored a decisive 21-4 victory to end the Colts' season. It was a solid campaign for a young Colts team that should be a force in the next few years. CBA went 12-9 playing a very aggressive schedule that included Bergen Catholic, Iona Prep, Pope John, Lawrenceville Prep, Georgetown Prep (MD), and St. John's College High School (DC). They own wins over No. 9 Middletown South, No. 7 Howell, and No. 5 Southern. Next game: Season complete.
5. Southern (14-3). Last week: No. 5
After falling to CBA in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals and dropping a 10-9 overtime game to Shawnee, Southern got back on track with state tournament wins over Toms River North (21-3) and Old Bridge (13-2). The Rams are the defending South Group 4 champions and with a senior-laden roster are looking to repeat and take another crack at winning the program's first group state title. To get there, they'll have to get through No. 7 Howell in the semifinals. The two teams have produced some great battles in recent years and this one could be more of the same with a spot in a sectional final on the line. Next game: Wednesday vs. No. 7 Howell in the South Group 4 semifinals.
6. Shore (12-3). Last week: No. 6
The Blue Devils reached the South Group 1 semifinals by defeating Hackettstown (18-2) in the first round and then using a great defensive second half to shut down Delaware Valley in an 8-3 victory. Shore has a legitimate shot to win its first sectional title in program history but will have to win two very tough games, starting with a drive to South Jersey on Wednesday. Next game: Wednesday at Haddonfield in the South Group 1 semifinals.
7. Howell (14-6). Last week: No. 7
Howell fell to No. 3 Manasquan in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals and then lost to state No. 16 Scotch Plains-Fanwood before the start of the state playoffs. Those setbacks against state-ranked opponents seemed to have prepared the Rebels for the road ahead as they picked up wins over Rancocas Valley (15-8) and Cherokee (8-7) to reach the South Group 4 semifinals. The road win over Cherokee on a sweltering Saturday morning was one of the best games of the season, a one-goal game throughout that culminated with Howell junior attackman Nate Lorenzo scoring the go-ahead goal off an assist from senior midfielder Tyler Burns with just three seconds left. To reach the first sectional final in program history, Howell will have to get through defending champion and top-seeded Southern Regional. There's a good amount of history between these two programs in big games and the latest edition should be a fun one. Next game: Wednesday at No, 5 Southern in the South Group 4 semifinals.
8. Red Bank (10-7). Last week: No. 8
Red Bank closed its regular season with a 12-2 win over Middletown North and then lost to Millburn, 10-3, in the first round of the North Group 3 playoffs. It was a solid first season under head coach Andy Eastwood that saw the Bucs earn wins over St. Joseph (Metuchen), Red Bank Catholic, No. 9 Middletown South, and No. 10 Holmdel. Next game: Season complete.
9. Middletown South (9-6). Last week: No. 9
Middletown South's lone game last week came in the first round of the North Group 3 state playoffs. The Eagles hung tough with Randolph before losing 12-7 to end their season. Middletown South was a top-10 team all season that posted wins over Red Bank Catholic, and St. Joseph (Metuchen) and had all four of their conference losses come against ranked teams. Next game: Season complete.
10. Holmdel (13-7). Last week: No. 10
The Hornets reached the quarterfinals of the South Group 2 state tournament thanks to a 14-4 win over Delran in the opening round. Holmdel rallied to stay close in the first half with No. 2 Wall in the quarterfinals before the Crimson Knights pulled away in the second half for a 15-6 victory. Holmdel split games with No. 8 Red Bank this season and had one-goal losses to No. 7 Howell and No. 6 Shore. Senior attackman Kyle Kapcsos set the program's single-season record with 93 points on 53 goals and 40 assists. Next game: Season complete.
Dropped out: none
Keep an eye on:
Red Bank Catholic: The Non-Public B section is wide open and Red Bank Catholic is now two wins away from a state title. The Caseys beat Eastern Christian, 18-3, in the first round and then went down the Parkway and came away with a 9-7 victory over Holy Spirit. The 6th-seeded Caseys await the winner of Wednesday's game between 7th-seeded Bishop Eustace and 2nd-seeded Rutgers Prep. Gil St. Bernard's is the No. 1 seed. A run to the final could be enough to put RBC back in the top 10. They have a victory over No. 10 Holmdel from earlier this season to bolster their case, as well. Next game: Either Friday or Saturday vs. Bishop Eustace/Rutgers Prep in the Non-Public B semifinals.
Track the Rankings Throughout the Season: