Manley's Blog

SCT First Round Picks

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on October 20, 2011

How about some picks?

No. 26 Point Beach at No. 7 Lacey

Point Beach drew the last seed on the basis that it is not a very battle-tested team and hasn’t defeated a tournament team, but the Garnet Gulls will get a test here. Lacey has had trouble in the SCT over the last two years, losing to Holmdel in 2009 and Ocean last year, both at home in the first round. This match-up favors the Lions far more than those two did and although Lacey has played quite a few overtime games this season, this one should be comfortable enough. The Pick: Lacey 3-1

No. 25 Lakewood at No. 8 Colts Neck

The Cougars are playing great, especially considering their youth and now they host a team with quite a big of youth in its own right. Lakewood boasts a pretty young roster around senior scorer Carlos Morales and that roster will hope to capture lighting in a bottle with 80 stellar minutes. Colts Neck should ultimately be fine because the Cougars have scored with some regularity and Lakewood does give up goals. The only downfall for Colts Neck so far is that they usually slip up and allow a goal or two, so if they struggle to finish at all, the Cougars might be in for a struggle. In the end, though, I don’t see them having trouble to score. The Pick: Colts Neck 4-1

No. 24 Point Boro at No. 9 Freehold

It’s hard to figure what to expect from Freehold over the next three weeks, but you have to believe the Colonials are itching to play some meaningful games. It’s not to say the only reason they haven’t been quite as good as most thought is simply a matter of motivation, but this team played with an edge after starting 1-3 last year. Maybe that edge returns after a loss to Jackson Memorial on Thursday, and if it does return, watch out for a potential CBA-Freehold game, which I could see being very entertaining. For now, they will have to get by Point Boro and if the Colonials are looking past the Panthers and toward another match with Colts Neck, Point Boro could pounce. There might be some anxiousness around the net, but I don’t see Freehold sleeping on this one. The Pick: Freehold 2-0

No. 23 Long Branch at No. 10 Toms River South

This is one of the games that has a real chance to be an upset if the right things happen. Toms River South can squash any hope of that with a fast start that puts Long Branch in a hole confidence is key for the Green Wave and nothing shatters confidence like a 2-0 hole. On the other hand, a slow start never buries TR South and if Long Branch can get off to a fast start, it will have to keep attacking to have a chance to win. I see this as a game Long Branch can take control of early, and then it will just be a matter of weathering the storm. Look for the Wave to get out to a 2-0 lead and then, watch the Indians work their postseason match-ups. This one should be a good game and I’m hoping it is, as I’ll spend my night watching it. The Pick: Toms River South 3-2

No. 22 Central at No. 11 Southern

Central took a little bit of luster out of this one by ending a seven game unbeaten streak with a loss Monday to Brick Memorial. As it is, the Golden Eagles will try to go to Southern, where Lacey just nabbed an overtime win in a result that should encourage the Central side. Southern, on the other hand, is hoping to get through Thursday and have a shot to win a big game. The Rams have two wins over Jackson Memorial, but their other wins have come against Brick Memorial twice, Pinelands and Manchester, which are all teams on the wrong side of .500. They had Toms River South beat before allowing a goal in the final 30 seconds in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw, so now it’s a matter of finishing. Southern should be the better team in this one, but Central has a good thing going and its young core can really start heading in the right direction with an upset here. The Pick: Southern 1-0

No. 21 St. John Vianney at No. 12 Jackson Memorial

This is the classic trap game to pick, because you have one team that is on fire right now in Jackson and another coming off a lousy performance in a loss to Middletown South, which I also happened to witness. Here’s the thing: These two teams are probably pretty close and now that the games count, anything can happen. Also realize that St. John Vianney basically had nothing to gain by beating Middletown South while the Eagles had everything to gain and that was basically reflected in the score. Vianney has a good back in Tom Farrell and quality keeper in Matt Niebling and a dangerous scorer in Bryan Walsh, so this is not going to be easy for Jackson. I think the Jags have another win in them. The Pick: Jackson 3-2

No. 20 Middletown South at No. 13 Ocean

The Eagles are flying high coming into the tournament and although this isn’t the easiest draw possible, Middletown South is a tough match-up for anybody in the first round. When Middletown South has struggled, it’s been because they just haven’t finished and that will certainly be a chief concern for the Eagles as they try to pull the upset. Ocean, meanwhile, is scoring at a high rate this season behind Mike Andre, who has made the shift from the back to forward. Ocean is still solid in the back with Tyler Nowak and Greg Loeser, but the element of scoring up top makes them more dangerous than they’ve been in either of the past two years. The Spartans are also a team that typically does well during the early part of this tournament, having beat Lacey in last year’s first round to go with noteworthy runs in 2007 and 2008. Middletown South will probably get the higher shot-total, but Ocean could still take the game on execution. Something tells me the Spartans pull it out at home. The Pick: Ocean 2-1

No. 19 Red Bank at No. 14 Manalapan

At some point, Red Bank could become a team nobody wants to play, whether its in this tournament or in the NJSIAA tournament. The Bucs have a quality keeper in Jack Pebole and pretty balanced attack with some sleeping giants in it. Unfortunately, Manalapan’s dirt patch is not usually the field on which opposing stars are born. The Braves very good on their home field and its nooks and crannies could frustrate the Bucs. Add the field, plus the fact that Manalapan’s talent will be enough of a challenge for Red Bank and this looks like another one where the home team holds serve. The Pick: Manalapan 2-1

No. 18 Monsignor Donovan at No. 15 Shore

It’s about time for a road team to win and I think this will finally make the leap, albeit a small one. I was impressed with the Griffins when I caught them at home against Manasquan. They can move the ball, they put passes together around the net, and they have some boys who can square up a shot. Shore has some scoring in its own right with Jonathan Junqueira, but the Blue Devils have been through a bit of a drought lately. With that in mind, Monsignor Donovan can go up to West Long Branch and get a win, as long as they don’t get caught in a physical game. This should be a really good game with some extra intrigue because Shore coach Christian Pontier is a teacher at Monsignor Donovan and has some of the players in class. The Pick: Monsignor Donovan 1-0

No. 16 Rumson at No. 17 Manasquan

Manasquan gets a home game despite its seed thanks to a division championship that guarantees at least one home game. The Warriors are tough on their pitch, but Rumson should be just fine at Sea Girt Army Camp. Manasquan is always a tough team on which to score but one way to break through against all of those bodies in the box is too finish on set pieces and no team is better on set pieces than Rumson. The throws will be flying and Ben Alderoty will do his thing. The Pick: Rumson 2-0


One Response

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  1. Augustina said, on November 26, 2012 at 12:00 am

    excellent issues altogether, you just won a new reader.
    What could you suggest about your submit that you made some days ago?
    Any positive?

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