The best teams in South Jersey, regardless of sport:
1. Eastern field hockey: Vikings made a statement with an emphatic victory over second-ranked Washington Township the other day. It was classic Eastern: The Vikings were fired up after a WIN over Washington Township earlier in the season because they dominated everywhere but the scoreboard. So they made sure this time. Iowa-bound Kelsey Mitchell is on the verge of the state record for career goals.
2. Haddonfield boys cross-country: Ever ride through downtown Haddonfield around 6:30 p.m. on a week night? There always are runners stretching outside the Haddonfield Running Club, preparing to go a few miles. It's not in the water in that town. It's in the air.
3. Haddonfield girls tennis: Junior No. 2 singles Meghan Burns preserved the Bulldogs' perfect record with a victory in a team match against Lawrenceville Prep, a non-NJSIAA school that uses post-graduates (5th-year seniors). Haddonfield is 27-0 heading into the Group 2 state semifinals Wednesday at Mercer County Park. Lots of things have to go right because the air gets thin in the Tournament of Champions, but this team is capable of finishing 31-0 and No. 1 in the state. Sorry if I just jinxed them.
4. Paul VI girls soccer: Great thing about the sport in South Jersey is the coaches tournament, a single-elimination scramble with powerful teams from every group. The Eagles have been challenged in what has been a perfect season so far. They'll be challenged again in the coaches tournament (if the weather ever clears up and they ever get to stage it).
5. Williamstown football: Braves took care of business after a long bus ride and overnight stay for a game at Paramus Catholic. But I can't shake the sense that this team isn't getting challenged enough to be fully prepared for the Group 4 tournament. It's not the Braves' fault -- they play the schedule. But an 8-0 record isn't going to get these guys anything but a tough, pressure-packed first game in the tournament.
6. Rancocas Valley boys soccer: Yeah, I know the Red Devils lost to Delran and tied Bordentown. I'm moving them back into the Super Seven based on their 2-1 victory over St. Benedict's Prep, the No. 2 team in the NSCAA/adidas national rankings. What a game. This was high level soccer, with great action. The referee was raving about the play at halftime. RV midfielder Alec Golini and goalie Jacob Kapulskey were terrific. Actually, the whole team was.
7. Delsea football: Crusaders had a tougher time with Absegami than most people expected. I give the visitors credit for that, especially after I saw them get waxed 30-0 by Egg Harbor the previous Friday. Good bounce-back by the Braves. Delsea also was hampered a bit by an injury to star back Austin Medley. But if this is going to be the special season that Delsea thinks it can be, the Crusaders need to be on point every week. You only play 12 of them, in the best of seasons. You have to make the most of every game.
Under consideration: Cherokee football, Lenape girls soccer, St. Augustine boys soccer, Delran boys soccer, Lenape girls cross country, Cherry Hill East girls volleyball.
-- Phil Anastasia