Jonathan Yardley, webmaster
Thoughts on the Top 20 so far: The top six private schools are so closely linked, that the NJSIAA tournament seeding committee will hold way too much power in deciding the parochial bracket’s top two seeds, who will not have to face one of these six teams until the semifinals. Look for the 4 v. 5 and 3 v. 6 quarterfinals, barring upsets, to be exceptional contests, superceded only by those in the semifinals and finals.
In the publics, it’s still Brick, Randolph, Montclair, and anyone’s best guess (currently WWPN).
Roxbury is making the MCSSIHL Mennen Division look strong, while the Northern Red Division, as you can tell from my comments, continues to crumble.
Check out the White/Blue Top 20 ranking for lower-division teams.
Top 20 (records as available through 1/12/03)
1 — Hudson Catholic (7-2-2, 4-1-1 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 1/13 @ #5 Del; 1/19 @ #7 Bri
I asked for goals, and they found them in a 5-1 win over previously unbeaten BC. Drago still best weapon.
2 — CBA (8-2-1, 4-2-1 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 1/15 vs. #6 SJV
Big tie against BC and win over St. John bump the Colts up; another CBA-SJV game comes Wednesday.
3 — Bergen Catholic (6-1-1, 3-1-1 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 1/15 vs. #18 BE; 1/18 @ #4 SHP; 1/19 @ #18 BE
Crusaders drop after a loss and a tie, but they’re still a definite favorite; game at SHP Saturday is big-time.
4 — Seton Hall Prep (5-2-1, 4-2 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 1/13 @ #7 Bri; 1/18 vs. #3 BC
Goalie Kevin Bendel saved their first-period bacon against Delbarton, but well-played 2nd and 3rd periods.
5 — Delbarton (8-1-1, 6-0 MCSSIHL Mennen Division)
This Week: 1/13 vs. #1 HC
Defending champs couldn’t play full three periods against SHP; play host to Hudson tonight.
6 — St. John Vianney (5-5, 2-4 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 1/15 vs. #2 CBA; 1/17 vs. #7 Bri
Lancers lost to rival CBA 2-1 Friday, but any game within the top six teams is a toss-up.
7 — Brick Township (4-2-3, 1-1-2 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 1/13 vs. #4 SHP; 1/17 @ #6 SJV; 1/19 vs. #1 HC
Typical killer week for the Green Dragons, who have just one glamour win on the season (2-1 vs. CBA).
8 — St. Joseph’s Metuchen (4-6-1, 1-6-1 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 1/13 vs. #14 DBP; 1/15 vs. ANC; 1/18 @ #9 Ran
Falcons step outside the Gordon Conference for three games, including two big ones against NJ competition.
9 — Randolph (10-1, 5-1 MCSSIHL Mennen Division)
This Week: 1/14 @ MB; 1/17 @ WE; 1/18 vs. #8 SJMet
Two pesky chances for a letdown before the Rams get their chance to move into the state’s elite Saturday.
10 — Montclair (6-3-2, 6-1-1 Central Red)
This Week: 1/13 @ WE; 1/17 @ Ber
Excepting the Morristown tie, the Mounties have been as consistent as any team in the state.
11 — West Windsor-Plainsboro North (7-2-1, 6-1-1 CVC Valley)
This Week: 1/15 @ Not; 1/17 vs. ND (1/18 Titan Cup TBA)
Outplayed against Randolph, the Knights did not embarrass themselves, and will rest up for the stretch run.
12 — Pope John (7-0-2, 6-0-1 Northern Red)
This Week: 1/12 @ Lak
Tough to keep dropping without losing, but North Jersey is weak, and the Lions tied unranked Roxbury 2-2.
13 — St. Peter’s Prep (7-3-1, 5-2-1 Central Red)
This Week: 1/13 vs. MK; 1/17 @ Cli
Marauders tied Bridgewater 3-3, but blew out Clifton 8-1 to solidify the No. 2 spot (for now).
14 — Don Bosco Prep (5-4-1, 5-1-1 Northern Red)
This Week: 1/13 @ #8 SJMet; 1/18 vs. SJMont
Ironmen get another shot at St. Joseph’s Metuchen after tough losses to Pope John and Delbarton.
15 — Ridge (11-1, 8-0 Central White)
This Week: 1/15 @ BR; 1/19 vs. BR
Enticing pair of games against Bridgewater a must-win for lower-division Red Devils to maintain respect.
16 — Hightstown (9-2, 8-1 CVC Valley)
This Week: 1/15 @ Hun; 1/17 vs. Penn (1/18 Titan Cup TBA)
Prep opponents should keep the Rams on their toes for return to CVC action.
17 — Toms River East (6-3-3, 3-2-2 Southern Red)
This Week: 1/13 vs. OB; 1/16 vs. MidS
My latest guess at the Southern Red frontrunner after a 7-5 revenge win over St. Augustine.
18 — Bishop Eustace (2-4-2, 0-4-2 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 1/15 @ #3 BC; 1/19 vs. #3 BC
Crusaders have ‘standout’ wins against Hightstown and St. Augustine, but inconsistency is a plague.
19 — St. Augustine (5-3, 4-2 Southern Red)
This Week: 1/16 @ OB; 1/17 vs. #20 BM
The Hermits (!) break into the Top 20 based on a 6-1 win over TRN and 2-1 decision over Middletown S.
20 — Brick Memorial (7-5, 3-4 Southern Red)
This Week: 1/17 @ SA
The best of a bad lot for the #20 spot, but their only recent losses are against TRE and CBA.
Best of the Rest (ranks 21-35, alphabetically)
Bridgewater-Raritan — Playing great stuff at the moment, but have only two high-quality results.
Clifton — Embarrassed against SPP, but every remaining game is winnable after Paramus cancellation.
Hopewell Valley — Titan Cup will be vital to Bulldogs’ hopes of regaining respect.
Middletown North — Can they get their first win over Middletown South on Wednesday?
Middletown South — 7-2 win over RBC put them back in the Top 35, but they gotta beat North.
Morris Knolls — Beat Chatham, but when will they win a pressure game? SPP, Pingry, and Mendham in a big week.
Morristown-Beard — Crimson not up to normal standards, but you can’t count them out against Randolph.
Paramus — Tied Tenafly despite being under-strength; hanging in the Northern Red race, but it’s a weak division.
Pingry — Surprisingly lopsided loss to Bridgewater, but Big Blue have eyes set on Knolls.
Ramapo — Raiders came back to earth, losing 3-2 to a streaking Ridgewood squad. Really weak schedule.
Roxbury — Pope John tie earns some respect; need to take care of business against Mendham and Westfield.
South Brunswick — Vikings lost first game in brawl with Old Bridge, but White is a two-team race.
Tenafly — Blown away by Don Bosco, but the Tigers are still in the Northern Red race.
Toms River North—Mariners plummet, going 0-2-2 in their last four games; allowed 13 goals in last two games.
West Essex — Knights tied Greg Boxer (Benards, I mean) to drop themselves from contention for the Top 20.