We’re a full month into the season and close to the home stretch with the Shore Conference Tournament to begin later this week and the state tournament not far behind. The pecking order in the conference has been, more or less, established and we’ve had some stability in the rankings over the last few weeks. The exception has been the No. 10 spot, which has been occupied by a different team each week. The trend continues this week with a team making its Shore Sports Network Top 10 debut.

As for the Shore Conference Tournament, the cut-off for teams to have a .500 record and qualify for the SCT is Wednesday. The tournament will be seeded on Thursday and first round games will be played on Saturday.

Lacrosse Top 10

1. Manasquan (12-1). Last week: No. 1

The Warriors ran their winning streak to eight games and continued to play fantastic lacrosse in all areas with a 4-0 week. Chief among their victories was an 8-3 victory over Ridge in a battle of top ten teams in New Jersey. Manasquan also took care of its business in Class B South with wins over Lacey (19-3), Point Boro (15-0) and St. Rose (17-1). Their final task of the regular season will be to defeat Jackson Liberty on Wednesday and officially clinch the B South division title. Then it’s on to the Shore Conference Tournament where they will likely be the No. 1 seed. Manasquan’s goals all season have been to win the SCT and the NJSIAA Group II title, and the time to chase both titles is near. This week: Wednesday vs. Jackson Liberty (0-15); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD; Monday at Red Bank (1-12).


2. Rumson-Fair Haven (13-1). Last week: No. 2

The Bulldogs continued to roll with wins over St. Peter’s Prep (14-1), No. 7 St. John Vianney (16-4) and Red Bank Catholic (17-2) to extend their state-best winning streak to 13 games. Rumson has allowed four goals or less in each of its last 10 games and 13 of 15 games this season. That defense coupled with a balanced offense that has multiple players opposing defenses need to account for its easy to see why Rumson hasn’t loss since opening day, to IMG National no less, and is unbeaten with in New Jersey. The Bulldogs’ have already clinched the Class B North division title. They have three nonconference regular season games remaining, but two will likely have to be cancelled as they coincide with Shore Conference Tournament games. Rumson, the defending champion, should be the No. 2 seed in the SCT and will begin their title defense on Saturday. This week: Tuesday at St. Augustine Prep (7-4); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD.


3. Southern (9-2). Last week: No. 3

Southern is also a team on an extended winning streak after a 3-0 week pushed its mark to eight consecutive victories. The Rams crushed Red Bank, 21-1, bested Toms River North, 11-6, and escaped with a 9-8 win over Mainland in overtime. The offensive trio of seniors Will Johnson and Kyle Mulrane, and sophomore Nick Fontana, have been formidable in combining for 107 of the teams 138 goals and totaling 158 points. Senior goalie Tristan Farina has been tremendous with a .758 save percentage and junior Anthony Firmani has been among the best FOGOs in the Shore with a rate of 72 percent. Southern has three regular season games left — all in Class A South — where wins will clinch its fifth straight division title. Then it’s onto the SCT where the Rams should be either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed. This week: Tuesday at Brick Memorial (6-4); Wednesday vs. Brick (5-8); Friday at Toms River East (6-6); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD.


4. Christian Brothers Academy (5-5). Last week: No. 4

The Colts are the classic case of their record not giving a true indication of what caliber of team they are. Three of their losses are against nonconference opponents Don Bosco Prep, Robbinsville and IMG Academy, and the other two are to No. 1 Manasquan and No. 2 Rumson-Fair Haven. CBA solidified its spot at No. 4 and earned a huge Class A North win when it rallied for a 14-12 win over Freehold Township. Following an 8-5 loss to Robbinsville, the Colts took care of business in their quest for another division title with wins over Marlboro (19-1) and Colts Neck (9-5). They need to defeat No. 9 Howell and Middletown South this week to clinch the division crown. It will be an interesting debate to see who gets the SCT No. 3 seed between CBA and Southern. This week: Tuesday vs. No. 9 Howell (10-2); Thursday at Middletown South (8-3); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD.


5. Freehold Township (8-4). Last week: No. 5

The Patriots squandered an opportunity to move into the top four when CBA rallied past them, 14-12, in a key Class A North game, but Freehold Township was able to get back on track with a 12-6 win over No. 7 St. John Vianney and a 20-5 win over Neptune. Freehold Township has shown enough to prove that when it has it’s ‘A’ game it can be a very dangerous team. A run to the SCT Final Four could be in the cards if they’re at their best, and we’ll likely see Freehold Township earn the No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the SCT. This week: Wednesday at Middletown North (2-11); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD; Monday at Northern Burlington (8-6).


6. Wall (8-1). Last week: No. 6

The Crimson Knights went 3-0 last week to respond from their only loss of the season (19-7 to Manasquan). Wall defeated Donovan Catholic, 18-5, Point Boro, 15-2, and posted an 18-0 shutout of Barnegat. The Knights are tough to get a good read on because despite their 8-1 record and blowout wins they have just one victory over a team with a winning record (St. Rose). The Shore Conference Tournament could provide a chance for Wall to make a statement, but that all depends on where they are seeded. This week: Wednesday at Lacey (7-3); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD.


7. St. John Vianney (7-7). Last week: No. 7

It seems to go against logic that a team could go 1-3 and not drop in the rankings, but that’s the situation for the Lancers. A 15-9 win over Shore was their lone triumph of the week, but with the losses coming to No. 2 Rumson, No. 5 Freehold Township and Somerville it’s tough to punish St. John Vianney. The Lancers also have a win over Ocean so it would be hard to justify flipping the two. Four of St. John Vianney’s losses are out of conference and the other three are to the No. 1, 2 and 5 teams in the Shore, so it will be interesting to see what they can do in the SCT. This week: Wednesday at Long Branch (1-11); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD.


8. Ocean (11-2). Last week: No. 8

The Spartans pushed their winning streak to five games with a 16-1 win over Barnegat, an 8-7 victory over Red Bank and a 9-5 comeback win over Middletown South. Playing in Class B North gives Ocean a solid resume heading into the Shore Conference Tournament, and the Spartans will likely have an intriguing first round game. Senior midfielder Sam Hanna continued his great season, which included five goals in the win over Middletown South where Ocean trailed 5-1 in the third quarter. This week: Wednesday vs. Shore (9-4); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD.


9. Howell (10-2). Last week: No. 9

Howell has also won five games in a row after a perfect week that included a 9-6 win over Brick, a 16-5 victory over Neptune and a 14-5 triumph over Toms River South. The Rebels are an interesting case in that they have a win over No. 3 Southern, but a puzzling 10-9 overtime loss to a 4-7 Marlboro team. Win over lose, Howell’s effort against No. 4 CBA today (Tuesday) can prove a lot, as can the Shore Conference Tournament. Howell is a couple of wins from climbing a few spots in the future rankings. This week: Tuesday at No. 4 CBA (5-5); Wednesday vs. Middletown South (8-3); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD.


10. Jackson Memorial (9-3). Last week: not ranked

The carousel that has been the No. 10 spot in the rankings has yet another new occupant. The Jaguars get the nod this week after an 11-1 win over Colts Neck, a 4-3 win over Brick, an 8-6 win over Toms River North and a 9-5 victory over Donovan Catholic extended their winning streak to five games. Jackson went 4-11 last season, so it’s been a big turnaround season for the Jags and third-year head coach Joe Pienkowski. Senior goalie Dylan Furnback is a Division I recruit and among the best in the Shore and has a standout defenseman, junior Sean Duggan, patrolling the turf in front of him. Senior attackman John Chitren and Dakota Neron have done as was expected of them as upperclassmen, while the combo of sophomore Santo Porazzo and freshman Aaron Hutchinson have helped the offense turn the corner. This week: Wednesday vs. Brick Memorial (6-4); Saturday first round SCT vs. TBD.


Dropped out: Middletown South (No. 10)


Teams to watch:

Lacey (7-3): The Lions earned a big 17-4 win over St. Rose and will get another chance to make statement when they host No. 6 Wall on Wednesday.

Toms River East (6-6): Left for dead following an 0-5 start, the Raiders have turned their season around by winning six of their last seven games. They need to beat rival Toms River South on Wednesday to qualify for the Shore Conference Tournament.


Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.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.


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