New Jersey Top 10 Poll
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1-Delbarton (27-1-2) Despite a roster that included just five seniors and several returnees with limited experience, the Green Wave managed to produce another championship season. Delbarton downed third-ranked Pope John for its seventh Gordon Cup before securing its 12th NJSIAA Private tournament state championship with a 2-1 victory over No. 2 Don Bosco Prep on March 6. Seniors Mark Benemerito (23-16-39), Connor Burke, Michael Gordon (4-16-20), Jack Maguire (4-6-10) and Troy Kobryn (.938 save %) were the team stalwarts. The state title was the 10th for coach Bruce Shatel, now 383-46-45 in 16 seasons guiding Delbarton. The Green Wave also staked their claim as the top scholastic program in the Northeast this winter with victories over Malden Catholic (Ma.), St. John’s Prep (Ma.), Brunswick (Ct.), Hill (PA), Pope Francis (Ma.) and Bishop Hendricken (RI).
2-Don Bosco Prep (20-7-1) The Ironmen fell just shy of their two goals – winning the Gordon Cup and NJSIAA Private tournament – but it was still a memorable campaign for the Bergen County school. Fueled by talented forwards Mickey Burns (21-36-57), Tyler Sedlak (15-23-38) and Ryan McLinskey (18-18-36) and goalie Alexie Masanko (1.35 GAA) Don Bosco skated to the Private tournament final, where it fell to top-ranked Delbarton in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss. The Ironmen earned their sixth straight Bergen County Championship with a 6-1 victory over fifth-ranked Glen Rock on Jan. 18.
3-Pope John (20-3-3) The Lions roared to an 18-game unbeaten streak to open the campaign (15-0-3) and posted a 20-win season for the second time in school history (20-5-1 in 2003-04). Pope John advanced to the 59th Gordon Cup final for first time (5-0 loss to top-ranked Delbarton) and went to the NJSIAA Private tournament semifinal for only the second time, falling to No. 2 Don Bosco Prep. Forwards John Spetz (35-19-54), Eric Vanderhoff (21-26-47) and Artem Buzoverya (17-31-48) led the offense in front of standout goalie Matt Schoer (.931 save %).
Christian Brothers Academy (16-5-4) The perennial powerhouse from Lincroft was unable to defend its Gordon Cup title this winter, but the Colts delivered an impressive campaign. CBA, which finished third in the elite Gordon Conference American Division with 16 points behind Delbarton and Don Bosco Prep, handed top-ranked Delbarton its only loss this season, 3-1, on Feb. 6 as Derek Contessa (13-10-23) registered the hat trick. That victory halted Delbarton’s 19-game unbeaten streak. CBA fell to Delbarton, 6-3, in the state tournament semifinal round.
5-Glen Rock (22-3-4) The Panthers were on a two-pronged mission this season and would not let any opponent deny them from accomplishing the task under first-year coach Anthony Yelovich. Behind standout forwards Jake Kinney (30-30-60), Peter Cassidy (22-19-41) and Mathew Maselli (17-21-38) Glen Rock garnered its first state title with an emphatic 8-1 decision in the NJSIAA Public B championship. The Panthers also won the Big North Gold Cup and defeated sixth-ranked and Public A champion Ridge, 5-2, during the regular season.
6-Ridge (23-6-1) The Red Devils were ranked ninth in the preseason HNIB poll and upheld that status with one of the best seasons in school history. After a 2-1 overtime loss to Hunterdon Central in the Skyland Cup final, Ridge drove through the NJSIAA Public A tournament, outscoring its opponents by a 28-11 margin, on its way to the championship. John Villade (23-10-33) and Connor Villa (9-3-12) scored and Chris Ambrozy (.919 save %) halted 18 shots in a 2-1 decision over Watchung Hills in the state championship, Ridge’s first since 2008.
7-St. Augustine Prep (10-8-4) The final record may be misleading because the Hermits were one of the top clubs in the Gordon Conference and state this winter, finishing fourth in the Gordon American behind Delbarton, Don Bosco and CBA. The Hermits defeated Mercer County champion Hun (9-3), Mennen Cup champion Morristown-Beard (5-1), posted a 2-1-1 record against CBA (including a Gordon Cup tournament victory) and tied Delbarton twice. Carson Briere (12-14-26) and Andrew Carpenter (10-7-17) were top threats for St. Augustine.
8-Morristown-Beard (17-9-1) The Crimson weathered some mid-season struggles but managed a successful winter overall. Will Bonnelli scored in the third period to break a 3-3 tie as Morristown-Beard forged a 4-3 victory over No. 9 Morris Knolls to win its fourth straight Mennen Cup. Additionally, the Crimson advanced to the Prep Tournament championship (2-1 loss to Princeton Day) and skated past St. Peter’s Prep in the NJSIAA Private tournament before being edged by third-ranked Pope John, 3-1, in the quarterfinal round. Brayden Patricia led Morristown-Beard in scoring (12-18-30).
9-Morris Knolls (18-6-2) The Golden Eagles surely suffered a jolt in the state tournament, getting eliminated in the quarterfinal round. But it doesn’t diminish their overall piece of work. Morris Knolls, which earned the top seed in the Public A tournament, finished first overall in the regular season in the Mennen Division and reached the Mennen Cup final (4-3 loss to Morristown-Beard). Chris Conway (19-21-40) and Alex Welch (18-21-39) were the sparkplugs in front of Tyler Franchi (.953 save %).
10-Summit (16-8-2) Listed as a Team to Watch in the HNIB preseason outlook, the Hilltoppers chalked up two Cup titles this winter – winning their sixth Union County Tournament in eight years (6-0 over Westfield) and the McInnis Cup (3-2 over Livingston). Veteran coach Keith Nixon earned his 300th career victory over No. 9 Morris Knolls (5-3 on Jan. 26). In the state tournament Summit bowed to eventual champion Glen Rock, 3-1, in the quarterfinal round. Glen Rock coach Anthony Yelovich called Summit his team’s toughest state tournament opponent. Will Vitton led the team with 19-9-28 and Wilson Lees posted a .941 save percentage.