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As part of Shore Sports Network's 2022 boys lacrosse preview, we will take a look at some of the top returning players at each position in the Shore Conference.

The goal scorers garner many of the headlines. These are the guys deployed to stop them. Whether at close defense or roaming the field as long-stick midfielders, these "poles" can turn the tide of a game by locking down an opposing offensive threat.

These are the defensive standouts who shined in 2021 and are looking to do more of the same this spring.

Shore Conference Defensemen to Watch in 2022 (Listed in alphabetical order)

Riley Bell, Sr., Brick

Bell was a Second Team All-Class A South selection last season when he collected 44 ground balls and added a goal and two assists.

 

Ryan Bilello, Sr., Manasquan

A returning Second Team All-Shore selection who is committed to Colgate University, Bilello was a force in the back end for a Warriors’ defense that allowed just 4.4 goals per game. He posted 34 caused turnovers and corralled 52 ground balls as Manasquan delivered another successful season by going 17-4, winning the Class B South division title, reaching the Shore Conference Tournament championship game for the fifth straight season, and winning their third consecutive NJSIAA South Group 1 state sectional title. Manasquan concluded the season ranked No. 2 in the SSN Top 10 and No. 12 in New Jersey.

 

Matthew Bockelmann, Jr., Rumson-Fair Haven

A returning First Team All-Shore selection, Bockelmann was among the best sophomores in all of New Jersey in 2021 serving primarily as Rumson’s long-stick midfielder. He was rock-solid for a Bulldogs defense that yielded just 3.6 goals per game and also provided offense with five goals. His versatility helped Rumson go 20-1, win the Class B North division title, capture its seventh Shore Conference Tournament title, win the NJSIAA South Group 2 sectional title, and finish the season ranked No. 1 in the SSN Top 10 and No. 5 in New Jersey. Bockelmann is committed to Brown University.

 

Billy Carr, Jr., Wall

A University of Denver recruit, the 6-foot-4 Carr is a returning Second Team All-Class B South selection after picking up 25 ground balls and helping Wall to its best season in program history as the Crimson Knights went 16-4, reached the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals, advanced to the NJSIAA South Group 2 sectional final, finished No. 3 in the SSN Top 10, and finished the season ranked No. 14 in the state.

 

Nate Committee, Sr., Southern

A physical defender, Committee is Southern’s top defenseman and helped the Rams go 16-5, win its seventh straight Class A South division title, reach the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals and capture the NJSIAA South Group 4 state sectional title. He led the way defensively for a Rams team that allowed just 5.04 goals per game and was tremendous during its run to the Group 4 final as Southern allowed just 4.2 goals per game in five NJSIAA Tournament contests. Committee is verbally committed to Bellarmine University. He is also a standout on the gridiron and was an All-Shore defensive end.

 

Nick Cosimano, Jr., Red Bank Catholic

Cosimano was one of the top fielders last season in picking up 105 ground balls, which is third-most of any returning player in the Shore Conference.

 

Colin Devine, Sr., Middletown North

The Kean University recruit was a Second Team All-Class A North selection last season and is back to lead the way for Middletown North. Devine had 16 ground balls last season and added five goals and two assists.

 

Jake Gallo, Sr., Brick Memorial

Gallo collected 66 ground balls last season and was a Second Team All-Class A South selection by the coaches.

 

Dominick Giglio, Jr., Wall

Giglio was a disruptive defensive presence as Wall's LSM and collected a team-high 89 ground balls for a defense that allowed 6.4 goals per game. His efforts helped Wall to its best season in program history as the Crimson Knights went 16-4, reached the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals, advanced to the NJSIAA South Group 2 sectional final, finished No. 3 in the SSN Top 10, and finished the season ranked No. 14 in the state. Giglio is committed to Monmouth University.

 

Thomas Halmi, Jr., Colts Neck

The Cougars will field a young and inexperienced team under new head coach Matt Norman but will have a standout veteran to rely on in the back end. Halmi, who is committed to Air Force, picked up 42 ground balls and added three goals and two assists last season as a sophomore.

 

Shayne Hughes, Sr., Howell

Hughes was a Second Team All-Class A North selection last season when he had 14 caused turnovers and 22 ground balls.

 

Beau Kemler, Jr., Rumson-Fair Haven

Kemler debuted as one of the best sophomores in New Jersey playing a major role on one of the state’s elite teams. The Villanova recruit was a stalwart in the back end for a Bulldogs defense that yielded just 3.6 goals per game and also delivered four goals and one assist. His emergence as a shutdown defender helped Rumson go 20-1, win the Class B North division title, capture its seventh Shore Conference Tournament title, win the NJSIAA South Group 2 sectional title, and finish the season ranked No. 1 in the SSN Top 10 and No. 5 in New Jersey.

 

Dylan LeBlanc, Sr., Manasquan

LeBlanc had an outstanding First Team All-Shore season as a junior with 41 caused turnovers and 57 ground balls for a stout Manasquan defense that allowed just 4.4 goals per game. A Loyola recruit, LeBlanc’s play was a major reason why the Warriors were able to post another standout season with a 17-4 record, the Class B South division title, their fifth straight Shore Conference Tournament championship game appearance, and their third straight NJSIAA South Group 1 state sectional title. Manasquan finished the season ranked No. 2 in the SSN Top 10 and No. 12 in New Jersey. LeBlanc is still making his way back from an injury suffered during football season so we likely won't see him take the field until later in the season.

 

Brock Lefkus, Sr., Southern

Lefkus is a key member of a strong Southern defense and was a Second Team All-Class A South selection last season. He is committed to Anderson University.

 

Charlie Sasso, Sr., Wall

While known more for his performance on the gridiron where he is a three-time First Team All-Shore linebacker and signed to Monmouth University, Sasso brought the same physicality, intensity, and leadership to a Wall lacrosse defense that yielded 6.4 goals per game. His 34 ground balls were the most among Wall’s close defenders. His play helped Wall go 16-4, reach the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals, advance to the NJSIAA South Group 2 sectional final, finish No. 3 in the SSN Top 10, and conclude the season ranked No. 14 in the state for the most successful season in program history.

 

Mason Shenk, Sr., St. John Vianney

A Binghamton University recruit, Shenk is a standout pole for the Lancers who picked up 59 ground balls last season.

 

James Vitale, Jr.,  St. Rose

The Purple Roses' LSM was a Second Team All-Class B South selection last season when he collected 66 ground balls.

 

Jackson Whitacre, So., Shore

Whitacre showed talent and poise as a freshman starter for the Blue Devils to collect 20 ground balls and earn Second Team All-Class B North honors from the coaches.

 

Max White, Sr., Shore

Shore's LSM last season, White had 17 ground balls and was a Second Team All-Class B North selection by the coaches.

 

 

 

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