Jonathan Yardley, webmaster
Alright, the final poll. Let’s start at the top. Many of you won’t believe me, but part of me groaned when Delbarton won Monday. Picking the top spot is a no-win situation for me. Obviously, Seton Hall Prep went wire-to-wire and really asserted its superiority over the field. The Pirates beat Delbarton three times out of four. They outshot the Green Wave by a 2:1 margin in the loss. But they did lose in the championship. And they didn’t lose to a Cinderella; they lost to the team ranked second behind them most of the season — a team that made tremendous strides late in the season. Delbarton’s Gordon Cup performance, in which the Green Wave gave up three goals in the first five minutes but outscored Seton Hall Prep 2-0 over the next 39 minutes, actually helped me make this decision, because it demonstrates Delbarton’s gradual improvement relative to Seton Hall Prep. While I would have backed a dominant team that lost in the final to a fluke or a ridiculous goalie, I cannot write this off as a fluke, and the goalie had a lot of help. It was a surprise and an upset, but not a pure fluke. So I’m going with the state champion.
Elsewhere, there was a lot of movement. In the end, to nobody’s surprise, it was the teams from the big divisions – Gordon, Southern Red, Mennen – dominating the poll, with a few aberrations like Montgomery, Clifton, and the pair of CVC teams.
Final Top 20
1—Delbarton (17-6-5) Last Ranking – 2
State Tournament: beat SHP 3-1 in private final
I’ve already touched on this, but let’s reemphasize that this was an agonizing choice.
2—Seton Hall Prep (19-1-2) Last Ranking – 1
State Tournament: lost to Del 3-1 in private final
Ranking the Pirates second really doesn’t do their season justice.
3—Pope John (13-6-4) Last Ranking – 3
State Tournament: lost to Del 3-2 in private semifinal
Lions were always one goal behind Delbarton and could never make the breakthrough.
4—Don Bosco Prep (14-11-1) Last Ranking – 4
State Tournament: lost to SHP 3-0 in private semifinal
I thought about ranking them third, but the Ironmen were too inconsistent.
5—St. Augustine Prep (14-6-1) Last Ranking – 11
State Tournament: lost to Del 2-1/OT in private quarterfinal
We all wrote them off after 3-0 loss to CBA January 31, but the Hermits more than made up for it.
6—Bishop Eustace (16-7-2) Last Ranking – 12
State Tournament: lost to SHP 4-0 in private quarterfinal
Crusaders carried Southern Red banner much of the year and justified ranking by beating SPP.
7—Morristown-Beard (20-5-1) Last Ranking – 8
State Tournament: lost to DBP 2-1/OT in private quarterfinal
Crimson finally won a Mennen Cup and can hold their heads high after state performance.
8—Randolph (20-6-3) Last Ranking – 13
State Tournament: beat Montgomery 2-1/OT in public final
A very deserving public champion, regular-season tribulations not withstanding.
9—Montgomery (24-3) Last Ranking – 16
State Tournament: lost to Randolph 2-1/OT in public final
Cougars made their statement with semifinal win over Knolls and should be back next year.
10—Morris Knolls (24-4-1) Last Ranking – 7
State Tournament: lost to Montgomery 2-1 in public semifinal
Golden Eagles’ semifinal loss shattered invincible aura and 27-game unbeaten streak against non-Chatham publics.
11—St. Peter’s Prep (10-10-4) Last Ranking – 5
State Tournament: lost to Bishop Eustace 6-3 in private first round
You have to be a little disappointed with the first-round exit.
12—CBA (10-7-8) Last Ranking – 6
State Tournament: lost to St. Augustine Prep 6-0 in private first round
Speaking of disappointing first-round performances … ’nough said.
13—Bergen Catholic (4-11-4) Last Ranking – 14
State Tournament: lost to Morristown-Beard 2-1/OT in private first round
Crusaders really seemed to improve over the course of the season and will be dangerous next year.
14—Toms River North (19-8-2) Last Ranking – 15
State Tournament: lost to Randolph 3-1 in public semifinal
Mariners proved they were for real, but you wish they could have given Randolph more of a test.
15—Clifton (20-4-4) Last Week – 19
State Tournament: lost to Montgomery 4-2 in public quarterfinal.
One-man team, three-man team, whatever — they got it done in the postseason.
16—Bridgewater-Raritan (19-7-1) Last Week – 17
State Tournament: lost to Toms River North 2-1 in public quarterfinal
No shame in the Panthers’ finish, but preseason expectations were higher.
17—Ridge (15-6-4) Last Week – NR
State Tournament: lost to Morris Knolls 3-1 in public quarterfinal
Really one of the teams that quietly had a very consistent campaign and played well down the stretch.
18—Steinert (22-3-2) Last Week – NR
State Tournament: lost to Ridge 6-2 in public round of 16
MCT champs move up thanks to Notre Dame and the best season in school history.
19—Notre Dame (16-6-3) Last Week – NR
State Tournament: lost to Pope John 4-1 in private first round
Preliminary win over St. John Vianney earns the Irish a spot
20—St. John Vianney (9-11-2) Last Week – 10
State Tournament: lost to Notre Dame 5-1 in private preliminary
Lancers only felt like a dangerous team after their split with Delbarton.
No. 9 Chatham (19-7-1)
No. 18 Hillsborough (23-4)
No. 20 St. Joseph Metuchen (12-8-3)
Best of the Rest (ranks 21-32, alphabetically)
Fair Lawn (21-6-2)
Indian Hills (20-4-4)
Mountain Lakes (14-10-2)
Old Bridge (15-6-3)
Paramus Catholic (14-5-5)
Red Bank Catholic (11-14-2)
St. Joseph Metuchen (12-8-3)
St. Joseph Montvale (7-10-5)