Manley's Blog

SCT First Round Picks

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on October 21, 2010

I just filled out my bracket over at Bracket Maker, which you can do too if you haven’t already (you have until noon). My picks are very…boring. That should be a precursor for the picks to follow, but at least you can hear me out as to why I don’t expect too many surprises in the first round. On to the picks.

No. 24 Asbury Park (7-7-1, 5-4-1) at No. 9 Freehold (11-3-0, 10-2-0)

When: 3 p.m.
Where: Freehold Boro High School
The Skinny: On the surface, this game looks like a severe mismatch for Asbury Park and if the Blue Bishops come out slow, that mismatch could play itself out on the field. Upon further review, however, Asbury Park has a number of players Freehold might have trouble with, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Bishops can put the total team effort together to go with the individual talent. They have done that more this year that in recent years past, but it’s looking more and more like Asbury Park hit a hot streak in the middle of the year and now they’ve come off the cloud. If the Bishops, however, can start the game on a high note and either take the game into the second half close or jump out to a lead in the first 10 minutes, Freehold may get out of its game. That seems a little unlikely too me, because the Colonials have not won 10 straight games by accident. Long Branch threw a lot of ability at Freehold and the Colonials handled it on two different occasions. They should be able to take a punch from Asbury if necessary and still keep moving.
The Pick: Freehold 4-1. Make it 11 in a row for the Boro.

No. 23 Rumson-Fair Haven (5-5-1, 4-5-1) at No. 10 Colts Neck (11-3-0, 10-2-0)
When: 3:30 p.m.
Where: Colts Neck High School
The Skinny: I was all set to zone in on Rumson as an upset pick in the first round, but then I saw the bracket. Colts Neck is a team that will only struggle against size and superior skill. Rumson is a hard-working team with smart players who have demonstrated some skill, but that skill is not better than that of Colts Neck. Not only that, but Rumson doesn’t really have the size to take advantage of Colts Neck’s lack of size. Ben Alderoty will have to play a heckuva game to come close to neutralizing Ross Tetro, which is an awfully tall task. One thing Rumson may have going for it is goalkeeper Forrest Sexton, who can make enough saves within reason to keep the Bulldogs in the game, but anything close to Colts Neck’s best effort will be too much for Sexton and the Bulldogs to handle.
The Pick: Colts Neck 3-0. Rumson has also had trouble scoring and Colts Neck will get at least one in the this one. The Cougars create too many chances.

No. 22 Pinelands  (9-6-1, 6-3-1) at No. 11 St. Rose (12-3-0, 8-1-0)
When: 3 p.m.
Where: St. Rose Athletic Fields, Hurleys Pond Rd.
The Skinny: Pinlands’ run to the tournament is pretty well-documented because it is rather unexpected, but St. Rose has quietly been one of the best teams in the Shore Conference since losing to Point Beach on Sept. 24. After losing to the Gulls that day, the Roses went 12 days without playing a game and since going back to work have gone 7-1 with the only loss coming to CBA by a 1-0 count. The St. Rose defense has allowed only five goals in those eight games, three of which came in a 4-3 overtime win over Shore and that defense will be tough for Pinelands to crack. Pinelands, though, has some weapons with which to contend, namely Antonio Aguilar and Sam Ackah, and Matt Cardillo has been a very good finisher for the Wildcats. I have a feeling Pinelands puts a goal or two on the board, but Ian Culley and John Scotto are clicking right now and they should be able to help St. Rose overcome any trouble Pinelands give them.
The Pick: St. Rose 4-2. Pinelands has shown it can compete at this stage of the tournament, but unless St. Rose gets caught sleeping, it should be okay.

No. 21 Manasquan (6-6-2, 5-3-2) at No. 12 Central (9-3-1, 8-1-1)
When: 3 p.m.
Where: Central Reg. High Scool (Back field)
The Skinny: Manasquan has been pretty steady this season in terms of wins and losses, but the Warriors played most of its best games earlier in the year and have since been more on the inconsistent side. In September, Manasquan took Howell to overtime and tied Wall 0-0, but followed that up with a tied against Jackson Liberty and poor showings against Manasquan and Wall. There is reason for hope though based on a win over Middletown North and a tough 4-3 loss to Raritan and if the Warriors can rediscover the defensive excellence that has typified the program in recent year, Central could be in some trouble. The Golden Eagles meanwhile welcome Manasquan into one of the toughest road environments in the Conference, where the Eagles have only lost once over the last two seasons. Central has not really hit its stride yet, but they showed in a home win over Lacey that they can handle a good team at home. Manasquan is not quite as dangerous as Lacey, so Central should be able to keep the Warriors down long enough.
The Pick: Central 2-1. Manasquan may steal a goal, and if that goal comes early, it will be interesting to see if Central struggles against the Squan defense.

No. 20 St. John Vianney (8-6-0, 5-5-0) at No. 13 Manalapan (8-7-0, 6-6-0)
When: 3 p.m.
Where: Manalapan High School
The Skinny: The interesting thing about this game is that both teams could make a lot of noise if they survive. Manalapan has wins over Howell, Freehold Township and Wall, and the Braves also took CBA to the wire in a 4-3 loss so they are a typical battle-tested A North team. Braves junior John Rogers is out with a leg injury, leaving a hole at sweeper, but Manalapan hasn’t had trouble scoring. St. John Vianney has been hot and cold putting the ball in the net and the question in this game is can Vianney produce enough scoring on Manalapan’s smaller field. The Lancers play on a turf football field, so the surface could be an issue. Freshman keeper Even Louro is the wild card for Vianney. If he has a coming out party in this game, Vianney could pull off the upset and maybe even start a deep run, but I see scoring being a problem for Vianney in this game, especially if Manalapan can steal an early score. As you can see, I don’t really see upsets ruling the day, but Vianney is the road team I could see getting it done. I ain’t picking it though.
The Pick: Manalapan 2-0. The winner has a great shot against Toms River South.

No. 19 Ocean (7-7-0, 6-6-0) at No. 14 Lacey (12-4-0, 8-2-0)
When: 3 p.m.
Where: Lacey High School
The Skinny: Lacey’s recent lull may be one of those “blessings in disguise.” While it could be that Lacey is falling into the same trap that resulted in early exits in the Shore and state tournaments last year, the Lions are much healthier now than they were last season and have already been through the playoff procedure. This time around, they should be more confident playing on their homefield against an Ocean team that is just starting to welcome back some missing players. Even with the Spartans getting healthy, they struggled in a win over Brick and a loss to Shore and it’s not clear whether or not they are all the way back. On the flip side, the last time coach Tom Reilly’s team was .500 and hurting entering the tournament, the Spartans scored a first-round upset as a No. 20 seed in 2007 against a Rumson team going through a similar rough patch in an otherwise impressive regular season. The parallels are very similar, but one of the key factors in that 2007 game was a red card that helped the Spartans out. Ocean will hang, but Lacey shouldn’t have that kind of meltdown.
The Pick: Lacey 1-0. This is another one to watch out for if you’re looking for an upset, but Lacey has to be rabid for an SCT win after fading last year.

No. 15 Jackson Memorial (7-7-2, 4-5-1) at No. 18 Shore (9-6-0, 7-3-0)
When: 3 p.m.
Where: Shore Regional High School
The Skinny: Jackson catches a bad break by drawing the one team that required a home game despite being a higher seed. Not only do the Jaguars have to travel all the way to West Long Branch, but they have to deal with a Shore team that always gets hot at this time of year. It seems that every year, Shore is indeed playing better before the postseason, but it’s not until they stun somebody in the first round that we’re all sure they’re for real. Jackson, meanwhile, hasn’t been on its game for a while thanks to some injuries and extracurricular activities that have left the Jags short-handed. After starting 5-2-1, Jackson has gone 2-5-1 and has struggled against tournament teams. Shore will be able to possess the ball in this one, but Jackson may be able to find a soft-spot in the Shore defense. Jackson is a team that looks to keep the score down, but they can score and Shore is a team that looks to play high-scoring games. I expect the two teams to score some goals and it may come down to overtime. This game should be a wild one.
The Pick: Shore 3-2. I’m still not sure what Jackson is, but I’m willing to bet Shore is still the team that makes at least a mini-run in the postseason.

No. 17 Raritan (8-5-0, 6-4-0) at No. 16 Point Boro (11-5-0, 8-2-0)
When: 5:30 p.m.
Where: Point Boro High School Football Field
The Skinny: Point Boro has had trouble scoring the last three games – a 2-0 win over Lakewood, a 1-0 win over Southern, and a 1-0 loss to St. Rose. That stems from the absence of Bryan Brodeur, who is the most dangerous scorer the Panthers have and while the Panthers have some depth, dynamic scorers like Brodeur don’t grow on trees. Tori Remondelli is a skilled player and a great passer, but he does not have a scorers’ mentality, which seems to be what Point Boro is lacking. fortunately for the Panthers, their defense is stellar and will have to contend with a Raritan squad that still has some fire power left over from last year’s loaded team. Rob Fortune’s matchup with Remondelli will be a good one, but the difference in the game is in goal. Ed Moran has had an excellent year for Point Boro and the Panthers play enough soccer and enough defense in front of him that they can find a way.
The Pick: Point Boro 1-0. This one is pretty much a toss-up, which isn’t news considering it’s a 16-17 game. I’ll go with the home team playing against the turf team.

And to humor you, I’ll give you my final four picks. In case you don’t know this about me, I look for any reason to pick upsets but I always chicken out in the championship, which should kinda show in these picks.

1 CBA over 5 Toms River East, 1-0
2 Holmdel over 6 Wall 2-0

1 CBA over 2 Holmdel 3-2. I think this game is a classic and I honestly think Holmdel is pretty close to CBA’s talent level. CBA scores late an wins it. More specifics when we actually know who’s playing.

For a breakdown of the field, click here. It’s for subscribers only and it’s really long, so even if you don’t read it all, at least look at it. I like to think it’s worth about $6.78 of your $10 member dollars.


2 Responses

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  1. billydonahue said, on October 22, 2010 at 12:08 am

    i dont think wall or holmdel make it past howell to face cba. howells playing with a chip on their shoulder after their 3-2 loss to holmdel. and with rob hart and kyle dougher playing like they have been, its gonna take alot to derail the rebels

  2. RankingsRebel said, on October 23, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Sorry, but Howell is war over-rated.

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