Elite Sports Physical Therapy Boys Lacrosse Top 10, 5/2/18
The latest edition of the Elite Sports Physical Therapy Top 10 features the most significant changes of the season to date. All 10 teams from last week remain ranked, but we have a new No. 1 team, another team making major moves and some general reshuffling from No. 3 on down.
This was by far the most difficult Top 10 to put together this season. The top two spots were easy, but after that, it was a bear. There are so many ‘Team A beat Team B but lost to Team C and Team B beat Team C’, etc. scenarios. Head-to-head results matter but can’t be the deciding factor at this point. It’s about body of work, best win, worst loss and recent games in ranking these teams. To the coaches who will participate in the inevitable struggle that will be the Shore Conference Tournament seeding meeting, I feel your pain.
The SCT will be seeded Wednesday night and will begin with preliminary-round games on Thursday. The first round is Saturday, the quarterfinals are Tuesday, the semifinals are Thursday at Long Branch and the championship game is Saturday, May 12, at Monmouth University.
Here’s my best effort at trying to sort out the madness in the Shore this season.
1. Christian Brothers Academy (11-0). Last week: No. 2
The Colts jump to the top spot in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 this week after taking down Manasquan, 6-4, in the marquee matchup of the regular season. CBA also posted a pair of shutouts with a 16-0 win over Marlboro and a 13-0 victory over No. 10 Howell. The offense continues to operate with great balance while the defense and goalie Chris Downey – which held the state’s leading scorer, Manasquan’s Canyon Birch, to just two points – has been phenomenal. The Colts should grab the top seed when the Shore Conference Tournament is seeded Wednesday night. This week: Wednesday at Colts Neck; Thursday vs. St. Rose; Saturday first round SCT; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals.
2. Manasquan (11-2). Last week: No. 1
The Warriors were knocked from their perch after a 2-2 week that featured a 6-4 loss to CBA and also a 15-10 setback at the hands of Lawrenceville School. Manasquan was able to rebound with a 19-2 victory over Point Boro and then an 11-5 win over Freehold Township where it broke the game open in the second half. The Warriors certainly haven’t played their best lacrosse of late but should be the No. 2 seed in the SCT and a heavy favorite to reach the final where they hope to see CBA again. This week: Wednesday at Jackson Liberty; Saturday first round SCT; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals.
3. Wall (10-3). Last week: No. 5
Other than Middletown South jumping four spots, the biggest beneficiary of the back and forth from No. 3 down is the Crimson Knights. Wall was 1-1 with a 17-1 win over Point Boro and a 14-10 nonconference loss to St. Peter’s Prep. The rationale in moving Wall to No. 3 was that the Knight’s only conference loss is to Manasquan. It’s not a perfect argument but every other team has a loss to another conference team. The No. 3 spot is a tough one right now but one that should be cleared up by the SCT. Where Wall is seeded is definitely up in the air, but the Knights have as good a chance as any to reach the final four. This week: Wednesday vs. Lacey; Saturday first round SCT; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals.
4. Southern (9-2). Last week: No. 4
Southern holds on the fourth spot after going 2-1 with wins over Toms River North and Egg Harbor while dropping an 8-6 game to a Mainland team that has had a very good season (10-1). Southern does have the loss to Freehold Township in overtime but also owns wins over Rumson, Holmdel and Howell. This week: Wednesday at Brick; Friday vs. Toms River East; Saturday first round SCT; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals.
5. Rumson-Fair Haven (8-7). Last week: No. 6
The Bulldogs are finally over .500 and have put a 1-5 start behind them by going 4-1 and clinching the Class B North division title. Rumson beat St. John Vianney, 16-6, and Red Bank Catholic, 12-3, before going up to Connecticut and taking down Massachusetts’ Concord-Carlisle, 12-11 in overtime. Their four-game winning streak was snapped in a 13-8 loss to St. Peter’s Prep. Rumson’s only conference loss this season is to Southern, 6-5 in overtime. No matter where Rumson is seeded in the SCT there are not a team anyone will be looking forward to facing. This week: Thursday vs. St. Augustine; Saturday first round SCT; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals.
6. Middletown South (12-2). Last week: No. 10
The Eagles are the story of the Top 10 this week with a four-spot jump thanks to a 3-0 week that pushed their winning streak to nine games. Middletown South began the week with a 9-8 win over Freehold Township for the biggest win in program history. The Eagles then defeated Wardlaw-Hartridge, 11-1, before continuing their strong play with a 10-6 win over Toms River East. The Eagles’ loss to Ocean earlier this season prevents them from moving up any higher, but - along with CBA - they are the hottest team in the Shore and a real wildcard in the SCT. This week: Wednesday vs. No. 10 Howell; Saturday first round SCT; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals.
7. Freehold Township (8-3). Last week: No. 3
The Patriots have had a very good season but of late they have been inconsistent, alternating wins and losses in their last six games. They were 1-2 this past week with a 9-8 loss to Middletown South and an 11-5 loss to Manasquan sandwiched around a 16-5 win over Neptune. The loss to Middletown South puts the Patriots’ SCT seed in question, but if they can avoid either CBA or Manasquan in the first two rounds they have a great shot at reaching the final four. This week: Wednesday vs. Middletown North; Saturday first round SCT; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals.
8. Shore (11-2). Last week: No. 7
The Blue Devils dropping one spot has everything to do with Middletown South’s ascension and nothing to do with their own play over the past week. Shore picked up wins over Long Branch, St. John Vianney and Jackson Liberty to run its winning streak five games. Junior midfielder Gil Goldsmith hit a pair of career milestones with his 100th goal and 200th point. Shore’s only losses this season are to Rumson and Middletown South. This week: Wednesday vs. Ocean; Saturday first round SCT; Monday vs. Middletown North; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals.
9. Holmdel (10-4). Last week: No. 8
The Hornets are in the same position as Shore in that their one-spot drop is because of Middletown South jumping four spots and knocking three teams down a peg. Holmdel took care of business on the field with wins over Red Bank Catholic, Long Branch and Pennington School. This week: Wednesday at Red Bank; Saturday first round SCT; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals.
10. Howell (8-4). Last week: No. 9
Howell falls one spot after a 1-1 week that included an 11-3 win over Toms River South and a 13-0 loss to top-ranked CBA. This week: Wednesday vs. No. 6 Middletown South; Saturday first round SCT; Tuesday SCT quarterfinals or regular season vs. Toms River North.
Dropped out: none
Teams to watch:
Ocean (8-3): The Spartans are one of two teams to defeat Middletown South this year, but that is nullified by a loss to Red Bank Catholic. Ocean also has a win over Holmdel and losses to Toms River East and Rumson.
Toms River East (7-3): The Raiders saw their five-game winning streak snapped at the hands of Middletown South. Their best win is a victory over Ocean while they also have losses to Jackson Memorial and Shore.
Colts Neck (5-6): The Cougars are under .500 and won’t qualify for the SCT unless they pull the upset of all upsets Wednesday against CBA, but they have won three in a row and have lost only to teams ranked in the Top 10.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.