Shore Sports Network Boys Lacrosse Top 10, 5/10/16
With the Shore Conference Tournament in full swing there has been more than enough time for teams to establish themselves and prove exactly where they belong in the conference's hierarchy.
There are still some big games to play that will decide the SCT championship, plus the state tournament is right around the corner, but there has been enough results to make the picture more clear than ever.
Rumson-Fair Haven remains at the top and the favorite to take home the SCT championship, while Manasquan remains No. 2. Rumson, Manasquan and undefeated Southern, which comes in at No. 3, have not lost within the conference this season. Look out for CBA, which seems to be peaking at just the right time. Ocean has one loss and remains dangerous with Joey Appio and Erik Rant leading a high-octane offense.
Wall, Freehold Township and Shore each advanced to the SCT quarterfinals, so the top eight looks good. The question is what to do with No. 9 and No. 10. Howell has lost two of its last three while Toms River North is on a three-game losing streak. Jackson Liberty, meanwhile, fell in overtime to Shore for its first loss in eight games.
See how it all shakes out in the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10.
1. Rumson-Fair Haven (12-3, 7-0 B North)
The Bulldogs pushed their winning streak to six games with a 15-4 win over Holmdel, a 7-4 victory over St. Peter's Prep and a 16-2 win over Point Boro in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament. Rumson is the top seed in the SCT and looking to reach the championship game for the eighth consecutive year. The Bulldogs host rival Shore Regional in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Rumson won 14-1 when the teams met on April 13.
2. Manasquan (12-3, 5-0 B South)
The Warriors fell to Ridge, 14-8, in a tough nonconference game on the road, but bounced back to trounce Lacey, 23-8, in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament. Junior attackman Jarrett Birch went bonkers with 10 goals in that win as Manasquan blew open a game that was surprisingly just a 9-6 lead for the Warriors' at halftime. Manasquan received the No. 2 seed for the Shore Conference Tournament where it will attempt to reach the final for the second time and first since the SCT's inaugural year in 2005. The Warriors host rival Wall in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, and already own a 16-5 win over the Crimson Knights back on April 23.
3. Southern (11-0, 6-0 A South)
Still undefeated are the Rams, who defeated Red Bank Catholic, 16-5, in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament in their only game of the week. They are the No. 3 seed and the defending SCT champions. Southern has reached the SCT final in each of the last three seasons. It seems like everyone is waiting for the Rams to slip up, but all they do is keep winning. They'll try to keep it going against sixth-seeded Freehold Township in the SCT quarterfinals on Tuesday.
4. CBA (10-5, 7-0 A North)
The Colts have been kind of under the radar this season, which seems weird because they are one of the Shore's best and most consistent programs. They really opened eyes this week by going 3-0, including a 14-4 dismantling of Freehold Township to clinch the Class A North division title. It was the best game I've seen CBA play in person in a while, and if that team shows up for the rest of the Shore Conference Tournament the Colts can win the whole thing. I was impressed enough to jump them back over Ocean and into the No. 4 slot this week. The Colts are also the No. 4 seed in the SCT and defeated St. John Vianney 14-3 in the first round. They host fifth-seeded Ocean on Tuesday in the quarterfinals in what should be a great game. CBA hasn't reached the SCT final since winning its fourth title and second straight in 2009.
5. Ocean (12-1, 7-1 B North)
The Spartans were seeded fifth in the Shore Conference Tournament and took care of Brick Memorial, 18-10, in the first round to reach the quarterfinals for the second straight season. Senior attackman Joey Appio had seven more assists and is closing in on the state record for career assists. He entered Tuesday with 211 assists and the record is 217 by Glen Ridge's Alex Lopes. The Spartans will look to reach the SCT semifinals for the first time when they take on fourth-seeded CBA on Tuesday.
6. Wall (12-2, 5-1 B South)
This was a tough call between the Crimson Knights and Freehold Township. The Shore Conference Tournament seeding committee had Freehold Township sixth and Wall seventh, but since I had the Knights sixth last week and they won their only game I'm not dropping them. Wall downed Howell 13-6 in the first round of the SCT with senior attackman Mike Steppe leading the way with six goals. Wall will be a big underdog against rival Manasquan in the quarterfinals, especially since the Warriors won 16-5 in the first meeting.
7. Freehold Township (10-4, 5-2 A North)
The aforementioned Patriots didn't play well in a 14-4 loss to CBA, but that was more about CBA putting forth its most complete game of the season. Freehold Township has won seven of eight since a 3-2 start to the season, so the team has been playing very well as of late. Seeded sixth in the Shore Conference Tournament, the Pats got an overtime goal by Mike Colicchia to escape with a 9-8 win over 11th-seeded Toms River North in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament. Now the Patriots get a crack at undefeated Southern in the quarterfinals. Last year they stunned CBA in overtime to reach the SCT semifinals. Can they do it again this season?
8. Shore (11-4, 6-2 B North)
The Goldsmith connection finished off a fantastic, back-and-forth game against Jackson Liberty in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament as senior midfielder Doug Goldsmith found freshman brother Gil Goldsmith for the overtime game-winning goal in a thrilling 12-11 win. It is the first SCT win for Shore in program history. The road gets exponentially tougher for the eighth-seeded Blue Devils in the quarterfinals with top-seeded Rumson lurking. The Bulldogs won 14-1 when the two teams met during the regular season.
9. Jackson Liberty (10-5, 4-2 B South)
A four-game losing streak bounced the Lions from the rankings back in mid April, but after winning seven of their last eight games they have returned. Liberty had a win over St. Rose, 13-3, to close out its division schedule before falling to Shore, 12-11 in overtime, in the 8-9 matchups in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament. Senior Tyler Kalmowitz had three goals, including the game-tying goal with 6.9 seconds left to force overtime. The Lions will now turn their attention to the South Jersey Group III playoffs.
10. Howell (8-6, 4-2 A North)
Seeded 10th in the Shore Conference Tournament, the Rebels fell to Wall, 13-6, in the opening round. They will try to rebound when they close out their division schedule against rival Colts Neck before the start of the South Jersey Group IV playoffs.
Dropped out: No. 10 Toms River North (8-4, 5-2 A South)
Lacrosse editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.