Manley's Blog

Now We’re Talking

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on October 13, 2010

The SCT is still a week away, but this week is the one in which the postseason feel starts to kick in. Teams are playing for divisions, postseason berths and straight-up bragging rights and there is probably something riding on most of the games from now until the end of the season (with the obvious exception of those tune-up games between the SCT and the state tourny). Take tomorrow, for instance…

Dusting Off the Public Championship Trophy

Freehold Township and Howell play for a possible No. 2 seed int he SCT, as well as the Class A North public title, which has not been relevant since 2004 because public schoold have been outright champions since then. Both have nearly identical resumes and have some influential games after tomorrow’s meeting that could impact seeding. Howell is trying to avoid a two-game losing streak, which could add a little more drama to Friday’s showdown with Holmdel. Ryan Morris is back for Freehold Township after missing the last meeting between the teams, a 2-2 tie. Howell probably should have won that game three different times in overtime, but they also needed a great shot by Rob Hart in the 74th to tie it.

Your Turn Raider Nation

Last year’s SJ IV semifinal between TR South and TR East was a classic game with a classic atmosphere at TR South. Tomorrow’s atmosphere at TR East should have a similar atmosphere as the two teams play for an A South title and hopefully, the game matches the atmosphere. East dominated the first meeting 4-1, but the Raiders also dominated TR North the first time the two teams played before dropping the second meeting to the Mariners 3-1. The Indians played a spirited game in a 2-0 win over TRN on Friday and the defending Group IV champs are trying add an A South title banner to the gym, something last year’s team did not do.

Playoffs Come Early

Brick and Pinelands play what amounts to a likely elimination game for the Shore Conference Tournament, assuming all the scheduled games for the next few days are played. Pinelands will have to play Lacey and Toms River South before the cutoff and if those are both must-win games for the Wildcats, they may be on the outside looking in. Brick, meanwhile, plays Ocean and Jackson Memorial, which could also turn out to be elimination games for their opponent as well. Brick won the first meeting in overtime on their home field and both teams are playing better now than they were then. Should be a close one.

No Margin for Error

Marlboro, Southern and Monsignor Donovan face absolute, must-win scenarios Wednesday for SCT purposes. Marlboro will play a hungry Midd. South team still playing for a NJSIAA playoff berth and the Eagles will have extra incentive after losing a heart-breaker to Marlboro in the last meeting. Even if Marlboro survives Wednesday’s game, they must beat CBA (11-1), East Brunswick (11-0) and Colts Neck (9-2) over a four-day span to get in. Donovan has a three-game gauntlet of its own against Wall (twice) and Toms River East and the Griffins must win each game to qualify, starting with Wall at home under the lights. Southern starts its quest at home against Brick Memorial, which nearly knocked off the Rams in the first meeting, a 2-1 Southern win in overtime. The road will get tougher over the weekend against Point Boro on Saturday, followed by a Monday showdown with Lacey that will still be important for state tournament standing if the Rams lose on Saturday.

Sleepers Look to Gain Steam

Manalapan and Toms River North each got off to slow starts this year, but each is looking dangerous going into the postseason. Manalapan is 7-3 over its last 10 games with wins over Freehold Township, Howell and Wall, while Toms River North has taken down Toms River East and Jackson in winning four of five. The Braves will try to hand CBA its first loss within the Shore Conference this year, while the Mariners face Jackson for the second time in five days with the hope of a second straight win over the Jaguars.

I’ll have Player of the Week from last week up before I hit the road tomorrow and, of course, highlights from Free Twp-Howell and TRS-TRE.


2 Responses

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  1. RankingsRebel said, on October 18, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Matt, this in in regards to your rankings on 10/18. You got it right with CBA and Holmdel but you contradict yourself when you defend the Manalapan ranking by saying it’s more about who you beat than it is who you lose to. So tell me Matt, just who did Howell beat to deserve the #3 ranking? Same for FT. No way that A-North should have 4 top 10 teams, not this year. And Manalapan 6. You give them a nod for beating Howell and FT but you still leave Howell and FT at 3 and 5. huh??? I mean, why not put Marlboro in top 10 for beating East Brunswick. You say yourself that A-North is down? Come on Matt think a bit more about what you write.

    • mattmanley said, on October 19, 2010 at 10:09 pm

      Sorry I didn’t respond sooner sooner Rankings Rebel. I don’t see where there was a contradiction. Before Monday, A North’s only loss outside the division was Midd. North to Manasquan. Monday changed that with FT losing to TRN and SJV beating Midd. South, so the seeds woud have reflected that with Manalapan dropping a tick and TRN coming in. And just because A North is down doesn’t mean they don’t get four top 10s. Last year, A North had the Top 2 seeds (Marlboro and CBA), No. 5 (Free Twp) and No. 8 (Colts Neck) in the tourny and three of them made the quarterfinals. A North only has four teams in the tournament to last year’s five and only three of the teams, IMO unquestionably deserved Top 10 seeds. (Manalapan was debatable at the time of the cutoff). A North is down, but they are still the standard until somebody beats them.

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