Mid North suffers first loss of football season

first_imgMid South, Vianney among local winners BY DOUG McKENZIE Correspondent And then there were none. With Middletown North’s loss to a resilient Colts Neck team over the weekend, there are no more local undefeated high school football teams. The Lions, who were one of the Shore’s more impressive teams in winning their first three games of the year, were humbled a bit on Saturday, as the Cougars rallied from a 14- point deficit to beat fifth-ranked Middletown North in Colts Neck, 20-17. CHRIS KELLY staff Middletown High School North’s Uly Gibson dives for a few extra yards during an Oct. 11 game against Colts Neck. North lost the game 20-17 in overtime, dropping its record to 3-1. The team’s next game is Friday night at Howell. This was a devastating loss for head coach Joe Trezza’s Lions, as North was looking forward to this game as yet another chance to prove their legitimacy this season. Early on, they were looking good, as the Lions dominated play on both sides of the ball and built a 14-0 lead on a pair of secondquarter touchdown runs from Uly Gibson (from 11 and four yards). Gibson (who also had an 84-yard TD run called back in the third quarter on a holding call) finished the game with 32 carries for 149 yards, further padding his impressive season stats. The Lions appeared to be well on their way to their first 4-0 start since 2001 when the momentum took an incredible shift. After stopping the Lions on a fourth-and-inches play with just over three minutes to play in the game, Colts Neck got on the board when quarterback Chris Chiarelli hit Brandon Cotter for a 65-yard scoring play that gave the Cougars life. Colts Neck’s Billy Spataro then recovered an onsides kick, before Chiarelli methodically picked apart the Lion secondary, leading to the game-tying touchdown (on a two-yard QB keeper). In the ensuing overtime period, the Lions regained the lead when Dylan Maresco connected on a 37-yard field goal after the Cougar defense held its ground. Unfortunately, the Lion defense could not do the same, as Chiarelli connected on a sixyard touchdown pass to Sean Smith on his team’s possession, setting off a wild celebration in Colts Neck. Chiarelli’s numbers tell the story of the game: he was just 6-for-17 for 53 yards and two interceptions before the final three minutes of the game. Down the stretch, however, he demonstrated pinpoint accuracy and smart decision making, effectively leading his team to an unlikely come-from-behind win that keeps them alive in the Shore’s Constitution Division race. While the Lions were left shell-shocked following the defeat, there was a silver lining. This is a team that cruised to an impressive 3-0 start, and as a team that has not been accustomed to winning in recent years, this loss is sure to represent a lesson learned. The very best teams never let teams get up when they’re down, and North’s inability to demonstrate that killer instinct on Saturday is something that Trezza will likely be preaching about all week. Up next for the Lions is a Howell team that scored a big 37-28 win over Manalapan on Friday to get back to 2-2 on the year. The Rebels are the defending Central Jersey Group IV champions, and finally looked like the championship team of a year ago in overcoming a 28-6 deficit to the Braves. This is a team that is riding a giant wave of momentum right now, and with QB Jimmy Ryan playing very well (20-for-24 for 194 yards and three touchdowns against Manalapan), will certainly present a tough challenge for a North team that is looking to regain its swagger. Game time is 7 p.m. Friday in Howell. While the Lions took a blow to the gut on Saturday, their crosstown rivals from Middletown South delivered a shot of their own on Friday, beating up on Central Regional, 35-10. South took control of this one on the game’s very first play from scrimmage, when Chris Bunge took a pitch to the left and raced 45 yards to the Central 4. Two plays later, QB Ryan Mullan was in the end zone with just over a minute off the game clock. That was the story of the game, as Bunge (124 yards on just nine carries) was the sparkplug that fueled a dominating Eagle offensive effort, while Chris Martinho also ran free to the tune of 82 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries. While the Eagle defense continually stymied the Central attack, Middletown South was able to move the ball at will, using the type of ground attack that left teams frustrated and defeated during the Eagles’ recent glory years. With the win, South improved to 3-1 on the year. Next up is a date on Saturday with a Wall Township team that improved to 2-2 with a lopsided win at Lakewood on Saturday. The Crimson Knights are led by one of the very best backs in the state in Blaze Caponegro (who is coming off a four-TD, 203-yard effort against Lakewood). StoppingWall means containing Caponegro, and you can be sure South head coach Steve Antonucci will be focusing all of his efforts on that game plan. Game time is 3 p.m. in Wall. The Monmouth Regional football team looked poised to surprise Matawan on Saturday, putting together some nice clock-eating drives to start the game. However, despite reaching the Huskies’ 15-, 9- and 29-yard lines during those drives, they were unable to put points on the board and it came back to haunt them as they dropped a 13-7 affair. With Monmouth missing out on its scoring opportunities, Matawan managed to build a 13-0 lead, getting a TD late in the second quarter when Jared Allison took a direct snap and raced one yard for a TD, and another to start the fourth quarter when Allison hit Kyle Hardy with a 64-yard scoring play. The Falcons managed to get on the board with just over four minutes to play in the game when Anthony Fruncillo hit Anthony Truncale from three yards out, but it was too little too late, as the Husky defense was in control for most of this game. While Monmouth’s defense also played well, they were burned by a couple of big plays, enablingMatawan to get just enough points to win their third game of the year. Next up for Matawan is a Saturday date with a good Manchester team (2-2) that is coming off a blowout win over Red Bank Regional. Game time is 7 p.m. in Matawan. St. John Vianney got its third win of the year, 25-7 over Pinelands, thanks in large part to big special teams play. With his team down 7-2 after a half of play, SJV’s Anthony Corona took the second half kickoff and raced 61 yards up the left sideline to put the ball at the Wildcats’ 24-yard line. Senior Chris Mayo scored from there, giving the Lancers the 9-7 lead. The Lancers then added to that lead late in the third when a bad snap on a Pinelands punt resulted in a safety. Up 11-7, SJV then put the game away when Mayo capped the ensuing drive with a five-yard TD run. Sophomore QB Charles Davis (13 carries for 103 yards) added another TD late in the game when he scored from 13 yards out, but by then the outcome was hardly in doubt. The Lancers will look to build on this win when they take on Barnegat on Friday. Barnegat is 2-2 on the year after dropping a tough 20-13 game to Manasquan last weekend. Vianney will need to bring its “A” game this Friday night if they hope to secure its fourth win of the year. Game time is 7 p.m. Rumson-Fair Haven and Keyport have played some very exciting games in recent years, and put another tight one in the books on Friday. However, when it was over, it was RFH that was celebrating a much-needed win, thanks to the heroics of junior quarterback Sean Burke. Burke threw for three touchdowns, including the game-winner to Paul Michael Barrows with just over a minute to play, to clinch a 24-21 win that improved the Bulldogs to 3-2 on the year and snapped their two-game losing streak. After finding senior Charlie O’Brien for two TDs earlier in the game (from 30 and seven yards), Burke’s pass to a wide-open Barrows over the middle proved to be the difference. Keyport opened the game with 14 unanswered points, led by Aaron Lee’s strong running (123 yards). Lee opened things up with a 78-yard touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Cody Carroll then scored on a double reverse from 11 yards out. After RFH took a 17-14 lead, Keyport retook the lead when Tim Snyder plunged into the end zone from a yard out with 2:42 left in the game. However, Burke’s heroics were too much for the Red Raiders down the stretch, as the junior led his team to the win. When the season began, RFH head coach Shane Fallon said that while he was confident that his defense would play well, he was looking for an offense after graduating nearly all of his starters from a year ago. On Friday, Sean Burke stepped up and provided the big plays that Fallon was worried about finding. Keyport (2-2) will look to get back on the winning track on Saturday when they take on a 2-2 Monsignor Donovan team that is coming off a 35-12 loss to Shore Regional. Game time is 1 p.m. in Keyport..last_img read more

Neptune D thwarts SJV in TOC final

first_imgThe hurt will eventually go away, and the St. John Vianney High School girls basketball team will be on a mission in 2010-11. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer St. John Vianney’s Jackie Kates (back) and Clare Kerrisk pressured Neptune’s Shakena Richardson (c) into making a forced pass during the March 23 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions final played at the Izod Center. Neptune won the battle of Shore Conference powers, 67-48. More photos, page 37 and at gmnews.com. JEFF GRANIT staff The Lancers’ bid to win back-to-back NJSIAA Tournament of Champions titles was thwarted by the top-seeded Neptune Fliers on March 23 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, 67-48.The Fliers broke open what was a great back-and-forth championship game with a 9-0 run from the end of the third quarter to the start of the fourth that stretched a 42-40 lead to 51- 40.“We had to come out of what we do,” SJV head coach Dawn Karpell said of her team’s plight after they fell behind by 11. “We didn’t finish, and they got some run-outs.”Neptune is at its absolute best in the open floor, and once Vianney had to play catch-up, the Fliers were able to unleash their vaunted running game, complete with Shakena Richardson no-look passes.Up to that point in the fourth quarter, the Lancers had done a fine job of dictating the tempo of the game and keeping the Fliers’ running game in check.Neptune, seeking to become the first Shore Conference public school to win the TOC, looked like the team that had SJV’s championship pedigree from the start. The Fliers, making their first TOC finals appearance, displayed no sign of nerves. They were hitting everything they put up against the Lancers’ stingy defense, and 6-2 center Chyna Golden was presenting problems under the basket. They closed the first period on a 15-4 spurt that took them from trialing 8-7 to a 22-12 lead.“They shot the ball well,” said Karpell. “They got good looks.”Neptune head coach John Brown said his team arrived two hours early in order to practice their shooting.“We got a lot of shots in,” he remarked.Those 22 points were all that the Lancers had surrendered in four quarters in their TOC semifinal win over Malcolm X Shabazz High School, 37-22.Karpell remarked that one of the team’s defensive goals was to keep the Flier guards out of the lane, something they didn’t do well in the opening quarter.After the Fliers closed the first quarter with such a flurry, there were questions of whether this would be a competitive game.But the proud Lancers were not going to give up their TOC crown (won over Colts Neck High School in 2009) without a fight. Forwards Aaron Zimmerman and Katie O’Reilly, who battled foul trouble all night, combined to score the first six points of the second quarter, and just like that, the Lancers were back in it, trailing 22-19.After a three-point play by the Fliers’ Syessence Davis, the Lancers ran off seven straight points to take the lead, 26-25. Back-toback threes by Missy Repoli and O’Reilly put them on top.But Neptune responded and scored the last four points of the quarter to lead 29-26 at the half.There was reason for the Lancers to feel optimistic.“We felt good after we came back in the second quarter,” said Repoli, who was the Lancers’ leading scorer during the playoffs. “It was a game of runs.”The next run would be SJV’s. With Repoli canning another three, the Lancers ran off seven straight points to take a 33-31 lead. But as they did all night, the Fliers answered quickly,Sehmonyeh Allen hit a three to put her team back up, 34-33, and added another score and an old fashioned three (basket plus the free throw) to put the Fliers up 39-35. That was eight straight Neptune points scored by the team’s lone senior.Repoli pulled the Lancers to within one, 39- 38, but Davis hit a big three to stretch it to four. O’Reilly answered with a basket, and it was 42- 40 Neptune.With 31 seconds left in the third quarter, O’Reilly, who had hurt the Flier defense all night attacking the basket, went to the bench with her fourth foul.For the first time this year, both of SJV’s bigs, Zimmerman and O’Reilly, were in foul trouble in the same game (Zimmerman played only 18 minutes and O’Reilly 24), and Neptune took notice and attacked the basket, leading to the 9-0 run that lifted the Fliers to a 51-40 lead.With the Lancers forced to pick up the pace and score, that allowed the Fliers to get out and run and blow the game open as Richardson put on a dazzling display of passing. She would lead the Fliers with 20 points and add a gamehigh eight assists. The junior guard was named Neptune’s Most Valuable Player of the game.Allen added 18 and Golden 14 for the Fliers, who ended their dream season at 30-1.O’Reilly was the game’s high scorer with 22 points and was named SJV’s MVP. Repoli added 18, but no one else scored more than two points.Point guard Jackie Kates, playing on a sprained ankle she had suffered in the TOC semifinal win over Shabazz, credited the Neptune defense for the Lancers’ woes.“They played great defense on me,” said Kates, who was held scoreless and had three assists. “Syessence did a great job on me.“It was more their defense than [our] bad offense,” she added. “Their defense was great.”St. John Vianney, which has won a record six TOC titles, finished its season at 28-4.Considering all that happened to the Lancers in the year since they won their record sixth crown, getting back to the final was an extraordinary accomplishment. They lost their leading scorer (Laura Kinney) to graduation, and heir apparent Michaela Mabrey transferred to Manasquan. Senior captain and leading scorer Teresa Manigrasso tore her ACL midway through the season, casting a pall over the team. Yet they regrouped and rebounded to win their 14th State Group title and win two games in the TOC.“I am extremely proud of what they were able to accomplish this season,” said Karpell. “I can’t be prouder of the way they came together and overcame adversity.“To get here [TOC final] this year is something special,” she added. “There were [about] 350 teams in the state that wanted to be here tonight. We were one of the two, and that makes it special.”Kates said the loss will motivate the Lancers to work even harder in the offseason.“We’re upset now,” she said. “This makes us that much hungrier to come back next year and win it.”Next year could very well be an all-Shore affair again between these two powers. Both Neptune and St. John will return four of their five starters and the majority of their supporting cast. In the Lancers’ case, all but Clare Kerrisk return.It will be a long offseason for the Lancers, but as Kates noted, they’ll come back more determined than ever.last_img read more

U.S. Army All-Shore Classic features an array of talent

first_img The Monmouth County all-star football team that will go up against the best graduated high school seniors from Ocean County on July 16 in the U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic will not be lacking firepower. The 33rd edition of the game that pits the best graduated seniors from Monmouth and Ocean counties against one another will be played at Matawan Regional High School, AtlanticAvenue, Aberdeen Township. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Joe Martucci, who led Matawan to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III state title and an 11-1 record in 2009, is the head coach of the Monmouth all-stars. He will be reunited with his former players Davie Incle (linebacker), Brandon Inguaggiato, (offensive/defensive line), Greg Neal (defensive end), Chris Dura (defensive back) and Sean Gleason (kicker/punter). “Anytime you have the opportunity to be around your kids after they have done so much is real nice,” said Martucci. “To be with them one more time is great. For them, they get to play at home one more time.” The Monmouth stars are loaded with offensive talent. They can attack through the air or on the ground. “Offensively, we can be balanced,” Martucci said. The air attack is led by Howell High School quarterback Jimmy Ryan, the Shore Conference’s leading passer in 2009. Ryan has to be salivating at the talent of the wide receivers he will get to throw the ball to. Ryan will have one last chance to hook up with his Howell teammates Phil Adamo and Rob Handy. If that is not enough, Manalapan’s Kevin Cruz and Long Branch’s Ezra Kelly are dangerous receivers who can stretch a defense. Ryan will also have Rumson-Fair Haven’s Paul Michael Barrows, considered the best tight end in the Shore Conference. Asbury Park’s Jamar Small, Red Bank Catholic’s Joe Carlucci and Keansburg’s Frank Soleo complete Monmouth’s quarterback corps. Ryan led Howell to a 9-2 record in 2009 that included the Shore Conference American Division championship and a trip to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV state semifinals. The Rebels’ signal caller had a prolific season, leading the conference in passing yards (2,786) and touchdown passes (28). Both of those marks are Howell records. The sure-handed Adamo was Ryan’s favorite target last fall, catching 67 passes (tops in the conference) for 1,024 yards and 12 TDs. Those marks were school records. Adamo knows his way around a zone defense, he knows how to get open, and Ryan knows where to find him. Handy caught 35 passes for 492 yards and seven touchdowns in 2009. He is also a fine defensive back, as is Adamo. Cruz is another deep threat. He caught 58 passes for a Manalapan school-record 1,135 yards in 2009 and 13 touchdowns. Barrows averaged just under 20 yards per catch (570 yards on 29 receptions) in helping Rumson win the Shore Conference Patriot Division title in 2009. The ground assault is led by Asbury Park’s George Stephens, one of the Shore Conference’s best all-around players and a key player in Asbury Park’s run to the Central Jersey Group I state title. Stephens surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground for the third straight year, as he rushed for 1,173 yards in 2009. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry. He also caught 26 passes for 578 yards. Raritan’s Jesse Raymond was second in the conference with 1,534 rushing yards. He averaged 7.5 yards a rush and scored 20 touchdowns as he helped the Rockets go 8-3 and qualify for the state playoffs. Rumson-Fair Haven’s John Riley rushed for 980 yards and 14 touchdowns. Long Branch’s Billy George, Middletown South’s Nick Bricker, Neptune’s David Newbey, Ocean Township’s R.J. D’Apolito and Red Bank Catholic’s Kevin Whitlock will take their turns running the ball for Monmouth. Colts Neck’s Eric Spillane provides another weapon for the Monmouth County offense with his powerful and accurate right leg. Among the offensive linemen who will do their part to allow the stars to shine are Howell’s Rob Sabbagh, Matawan’s Brandon Inguaggiato, Freehold’s Darin Love, Middletown South’s Steve Coluccio and Ocean Township’s George Sofield. The Monmouth defense has its standouts as well, led by Middletown South linebacker Sean Campbell, who was considered the conference’s best defensive player. He and defensive end Nick Bricket helped lead the Eagles to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III state championship. Freehold High School’s Ryan Solley (defensive line) and Richard Schwartz (linebacker) were the defensive catalysts when the Colonials won the Central Jersey Group III state title two as juniors in 2008. Other standouts include linebackers Billy George and Devron Clark from Long Branch and Matawan’s Davie Incle, lineman Lorenzo Coscarelli of Red Band Catholic, and defensive backs T.J. Illmensee of Rumson-Fair Haven, Rich Vivian of Shore Regional, and Brandon Robinson of Ocean Township. Having coached in this summer classic in the past, Martucci said the team that makes the fewest number of mistakes will prevail. What impresses him the most about the game is the way former rivals come together as teammates committed to the same goal: winning. Ocean County has Toms River East’s Nico Steriti, who was considered the Shore Conference’s best offensive player in 2009. He led the conference in rushing (1,625 yards) and scoring (174 points) in leading the Raiders to the Constitution Division title. Brick Memorial’s Vinnie Sabba rushed for 1,232 yards and 14 TDs as he carried the Mustangs to the Central Jersey Group IV state title game. Quarterbacking the Ocean County all-stars will be John Applegate of Brick Township, GarrettDorsey of Jackson Memorial, Kevin Carter of Monsignor Donovan and Jeremy Hartman of Pinelands. Toms River East’s Charlie Diskin is the head coach of the Ocean County team. Jackson Liberty High School head coach Tim Osborn is the Ocean County general manager. Dom Lepore, the former Freehold Township High School head coach and now an assistant coach at Manalapan High School, is the Monmouth County general manager. Matawan Regional H.S. hosts Monmouth vs. Ocean summer football game last_img read more

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first_imgThe Knights travel baseball club, based in Middletown, is looking for competitive players for the fall 2011 season. Players must be the following ages; 8U (born after April 30, 2002); 9U (born after April 30, 2001); 10U (born after April 30, 200); 11U, 50/70 pitching mound/base paths (born after April 30, 1999); 12U, 50/70 (born afterApril 30, 1998); 13U, regulation 60/90 (born after April 30, 1997); 14U (born after April 30, 1996);16/17U (1993-1994).For additional information, email [email protected] or call 732-213-8216. The Matawan-Aberdeen Terriers are seeking a few 12- and-under travel baseball players for the fall 2011 and spring 2012 seasons to complete their roster. Also, the Terriers will complete their travel season by competing in a weeklong tournament at Cooperstown Dream Park, New York, (home of the Baseball Hall of Fame) in August 2012.All players must be 12 years of age or younger as of April 30, 2012, to be eligible.If interested, contact Bob Kakoleski at 201-320-6255 for tryout information.last_img read more

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first_imgJohn McDermott will be at the Hazlet Township Library on Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss his book, “A Legend in His Own Mind.”In his book, McDermott, who starred at Raritan High School and Brookdale Community College in basketball, chronicled his basketball life, his descent to drug and alcohol addiction and his recovery. He will talk about what it was like writing his first book and how he overcame his addictions. His goal in writing the book is to help those with addictions overcome them and to prevent someone from using drugs in the first place. He wants his very personal story to be a life-saver.McDermott now lives in Middletown. Rutgers University Football will host the 2012 Fan Festival on Aug. 11 at the Rutgers Stadium Complex in Piscataway.Admission is free and the festival will be held rain or shine. In addition to meeting Rutgers players and coaches, the marching band and cheerleaders will be at the festival. Players will be available for free autographs. Attendees are encouraged to bring a camera to take pictures. Food, game tickets and merchandise will be on sale.For more information, contact Rutgers by phone at 866-445-4678, via email at [email protected] or visit the website at www.scarletknights.com.last_img read more

Area athletes making an impact at Rowan

first_imgA thletes from the Greater Media Newspaper area are making an impact at Rowan University.Tyler Coe, a freshman from North Brunswick, won the 100-yard (59.37) and 200 (2:15.02) breaststroke events for the mens swim team in a dual-meet win over York College, 166-82. Coe also swam on the victorious 200 medley relay team.Rowan’s women bested York, 149-106. Sophomore Gigi Russo (Rumson-Fair Haven) swam on the winning 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams. In the freestyle relay, she was joined by Victoria Grimsgaard (Monmouth Regional).Julia DelNero (Red Bank Catholic) won the 1,000 freestyle (11:38.42). Lauren Grajek (Freehold Township) took third in the 200 individual medley (2:31.21).In indoor track and field, at the New York City Gotham Cup held at the New Balance Track & Field Center, Jamie Thompson (South Brunswick) was eighth in the 60-meter hurdles (9.28).Melirah Searcy (Edison) ran the 400- meter leg on the Profs’ Distance Medley Relay team that was ninth (13:34.60) and she also ran on the 4×400 relay team that finished 11th (4:02.60).For the men, Mike Carotenuto (Middletown North) was a member of the 4×800 relay team that was 12th (8:33.12) and Will Alston (Matawan) was on the 4×400 team that was 17th (3:28.28). Carotenuto was 16th in the 1-mile run (4:25.86) and Alston placed 30th in the 500-meter (1:07.81). The marks by Carotenuto and Alston are season bests for Rowan.Dalton Trembow (New Egypt) was 16th in the shot put (38-6 3/4). Steph Grecco (South Brunswick) is Rowan’s leading thrower.last_img read more

Brennan is Shore Conference Coach of the Year

first_imgStephanie Karcz, right, who led the Middletown High School South girls basketball team to the NJSIAA Group III championship this winter, was named to the Shore Basketball Coaches All-Shore First Team. Middletown High School North’s Hailee Hallard, left, was selected to the A North Second Team. STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR Tom Brennan, who led the Middletown High School South girls basketball team to the NJSIAA Group III state title, has been named the Shore Conference Coach of the Year by his peers.Under Brennan’s leadership, the Eagles (26-6) repeated as Shore Conference A North Division and Central Jersey Group III champions before adding the program’s first Group III state title to its collection by beating Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, 50-42. Middletown South made its first appearance in the Tournament of Champions (TOC), where the Eagles lost in the quarterfinals to Group IV champion Franklin High School.For those accomplishments, the Shore Basketball Coaches Association named him the conference’s Coach of the Year.Manasquan High School’s Marina Mabrey, whose Warriors won the TOC championship, was the girls Player of the Year.Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School guard Brendan Barry was named the boys Shore Conference Player of the Year by the Shore Basketball Coaches Association (SBCA).Barry single-handedly outscored Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) when he led the Bulldogs to their first Shore Conference Tournament championship. He scored a game-high 27 points in Rumson-Fair Haven’s 50-24 romp.The 6-foot-2 junior guard averaged 21.4 points and 3.7 assists a game in 2014-15 and surpassed 1,000 career points during the season.Rumson-Fair Haven head coach Chris Champeau was selected by his peers as the Shore’s Coach of the Year. He led the Bulldogs to a 24-5 record and the Shore Conference Tournament crown.In addition to the players and coaches of the year, the SBCA named its All-Shore and All-Division teams.Middletown South standout Stephanie Karcz, who averaged 16.3 points and 6.1 rebounds a game for the Eagles, was named to the All-Shore First Team along with Kelly Campbell, who led St. John Vianney High School to its first state title since 2011. The Lancers won the NJSIAA Non-Public A title over Immaculate Heart Academy.Rumson-Fair Haven’s Grace Stant and St. Rose High School’s Jess Louro and Kat Phipps completed the First Team.Holmdel High School’s Morgan Graziano was a Second Team pick with Red Bank Catholic High School’s Alex Barazotti, Freehold Township High School’s Sam Famulare, Manasquan’s Courtney Hagaman and Neptune High School’s Marajiah Bacon.CBA’s Pat Andree and Jack Laffey topped the All-Shore First Team. They helped the Colts rebound from their Shore Conference Tournament loss and win the NJSIAA Non-Public South A championship.Wall High School’s Brendan Barcas, Toms River High School South’s Tymere Berry and Southern Regional High School’s Peyton Wejnert completed the First Team.Dan Largey, who sparked Shore Regional High School to the Central Jersey Group I championships, was named to the Second Team with Matawan Regional High School’s Jason Dunne, Red Bank Regional High School’s Sadiq Palmer, Manasquan’s Ryan Jensen and Southern Regional’s Jake Logue. In All-Division voting, Brennan and Karcz were the A North coach and player of the year.The Eagles’ Angela DeBartolome and Julia Valkos were Second Team choices with Middletown High School North’s Hailee Hallard and Kamani Williams.Campbell, Kim Evans and Graziano were all A Central First Team with Holmdel’s Mia Ehling, who was named to the Second Team.In B North, Matawan’s Tracy Brereton was First Team.Mater Dei Prep’s Lindsey Florio and Kate Viscardi were First Team picks, with teammate Brooke Trotta and Ranney School’s Grace Wilgucki on the Second Team. For the boys, Laffey was the A North Player of the Year. Andree was a First Team pick and teammate Jack McGuire was a Second Team selection.Raritan High School’s Joe Strand was selected to the A Central First Team, and St. John Vianney’s Grant Goode and Zach Howarth were picked for the Second Team.Dunne was First Team B North. His teammate, Joe Piscopo, was named to the Second Team.Mater Dei Prep’s Bob Klatt was the B Central Coach of the Year. The Seraphs’ Tysaun White was picked to the First Team, and Keyport High School’s Travis Alvarez was selected for the Second Team.last_img read more

Nadal, Williams sisters cruise at US Open

first_imgBy Julian LindenRafa Nadal made an ominous return to the U.S. Open on Monday while the sister act of Serena and Venus Williams shared the spotlight as the last grand slam of the year got under way.Roared on by the energetic Flushing Meadows crowds, the trio turned on a masterclass of power hitting at Arthur Ashe Stadium before New York’s fickle weather brought proceedings to an early end.A late rain shower forced tournament organisers to abandon the opening day’s play before former world number one Roger Federer was about start his match against Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja.Nadal, who missed last year’s U.S. Open because of a chronic knee problem, demonstrated his intentions to make up for lost time as he demolished American wildcard Ryan Harrison 6-4 6-2 6-2 during the day session.Bouncing around the unforgiving hardcourt like a kangaroo, the Spaniard chalked up 28 winners despite the blustery conditions at the U.S. National Tennis Center.“For me, the chance to be back here playing is great,” said Nadal. “The first match after two years in the Arthur Ashe is a great feeling.”Serena needed just one hour to remind everyone why she remains the overwhelming favourite to win the women’s title as she demolished Italy’s Francesca Schiavone 6-0 6-1.The American showed no mercy against her opponent, who won the French Open in 2010 and was a finalist in Paris the following year, conceding just 23 points in the 60-minute romp.“I knew playing a former grand slam champion in the first round was a really tough draw so I decided to be super serious,” she said.Not to be outdone, her older sister Venus rolled back the years with a headturning appearance on the center court, arriving with her hair braided and dyed a deep purple.Her fingernails were also polished in the same vivid fuschia and no repeat of the injury problems that have sidelined her for most of the year as she dispatched Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 6-2.The 33-year-old, the second oldest player in the women’s singles draw, provided a glimpse of the form that saw her win the U.S. Open in 2000 and 2001 as she strolled to a surprisingly quick win.“It’s good to be back,” said Williams, who has only played 18 matches this year and slipped to 60th in the world rankings while Flipkens is enjoying the best season of her career.The 27-year-old made the semi-finals at Wimbledon in July, her best result at any grand slam, and was seeded 12th for the U.S. Open but found Williams too hot.“When Venus is on fire, she is on fire,” said Flipkens.“If Venus is fit and she’s focused she’s a top 10 player. Today she was like a top 10 player.”EARLY UPSETFlipkens was the first notable casualty on a day where most of the top players safely made it through.China’s Li Na, the 2011 French Open champion and runner-up in Australia this year, needed just 64 minutes to crush Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-2 6-2.And Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the third seed, was even more ruthless, thumping Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1 6-2 in 63 minutes in the opening match on the center court.There was an early upset in the men’s draw when Japan’s Kei Nishikori, Asia’s highest-ranked man, was beaten 6-4 6-2 6-2 by English qualifier Dan Evans, ranked 179th.“It’s definitely a good one,” said Evans, playing in his first U.S. Open. “That was pretty good out there to play so well and against someone so highly ranked.”Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova made an emotional return to the grand slam circuit, more than two and a half years after she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of blood cancer.The now 24-year-old underwent chemotherapy through most of 2011 and after beating the disease she decided on a comeback.“All those things are over for me now,” she said after defeating Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig 6-4 3-6 7-5 .“I went through them. I came out as a winner in that battle.”Just as the first matches were starting, American James Blake announced he was retiring after the Aug. 26-Sept. 9 championships, ending a 14-year career where he rose to number four in the world rankings.One of the most respected players on the circuit, Blake was inspired to take up tennis after hearing Arthur Ashe address a group of young players at a tennis clinic in Harlem.He turned professional in 1999 after attending Harvard University and despite enduring moments of hardship, including breaking his neck in a freak accident in Rome in 2004, he retained a sense of perspective.“This is my last tournament,” he said.“I have had 14 pretty darn good years on tour, loved every minute of it, and I definitely couldn’t have asked for a better career.”last_img read more

Baghdatis visits Batu Caves ahead of Malaysian Open

first_imgBy Nemanja BjedovMarcos Baghdatis, a finalist at the Malaysian Open in 2011, and the fourth-seeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer, took time out on Sunday to visit the Batu Caves, a limestone hill with a series of caves and cave temples in Gombak district, north of Kuala Lumpur.“It was a great experience visiting something new,” said Baghdatis for the official web site of the ATP.“It’s great to have Tourism Malaysia as a sponsor enabling us to visit the temple today. I’m looking forward to the tournament here for sure.”The Batu River flows past the hill and the cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. It is also the focal point of the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.“It looks amazing – very traditional with so many people here. It’s a very nice venue and initiative to come here,” Melzer added.This will be the fourth appearance for Baghdatis in Kuala Lumpur, but the first after reaching the finals in 2011 when he lost in straight sets to Serbian Janko Tipsarevic. Melzer, on the other hand, will play the event for the third time.The world number 48 Cypriot will take on Argentinean Carlos Berlocq in the opening round, and if he advances he will then take on the second-seed Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who recently defeated him in the third round of the US Open.Wawrinka is currently world number 10; the last time Baghdatis managed to overcome a player from the top 10 was in February in Rotterdam when he beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the second round.last_img read more

Nadal and Djokovic reach final as Swiss melt away

first_imgBy Martyn HermanSwitzerland’s challenge at the ATP World Tour Finals melted away like an Alpine glacier in a heatwave on Sunday as Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic marched on to the grand finale.Nadal muscled past Roger Federer 7-5 6-3 before Djokovic extended his hot streak to 21 consecutive victories with a routine 6-3 6-3 defeat of Stanislas Wawrinka.Fittingly the regular season will end with a $1.92 million shoot-out between the two dominant forces in men’s tennis who will go head-to-head for the 39th time on Monday night (10pm).Djokovic, who like Nadal had a 100 per cent record in round robin play, will be desperate to retain his title after ceding the world number one ranking to the relentless Spaniard in October.“We are both having a great season this year. This is probably the best possible final we have here in London. We’ll see what happens,” Djokovic, who was rock solid against tournament debutant Wawrinka, told a news conference.“This is probably the most competitive tournament that we have after grand slams in our sport, and we both want to end this season in the best possible way and end it with a title.”Predicting a winner will be a tough task.Australian Open champion Djokovic is unbeaten since losing the U.S. Open final to Nadal in September while Nadal, whose 10 titles this year include the French Open, hopes to cap an astonishing comeback following a seven-month injury lay-off.“The most important thing for me is that on the toughest surface for me, the most difficult one, I was able to win four matches against top-eight players,” Nadal, whose bulging CV is only missing a Tour Finals title, told reporters.“Now there remains one more match, probably the hardest, and I need to play my best match to have a chance.”Nadal boasted a 21-10 career record over Federer but Sunday’s victory was his first on the kind of indoor court that has proved problematic to the 27-year-old during his career.Former world number one Federer began in positive fashion, hardly dropping a point in his opening three service games and having a golden chance to break Nadal in the sixth game, only to send a wild forehand whistling over the baseline.“I went for it when I had a chance for a breakpoint in the first set. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did. No regrets there, I guess,” Federer, who has ended the year with a solitary title, his worst haul since 2001, told reporters.“I just struggled to stay consistent enough throughout the match, and that’s why he deserved to win. He was better today.”Federer offered hope to his fans when Nadal served for the opening set, winning a scintillating baseline exchange at 15-30 with a sweetly-timed forehand winner and scoring a break when his opponent ballooned a forehand out.It was one step forward and two back, however, for the 32-year-old who double-faulted in a poor service game to hand Nadal another chance to serve for the set and this time there was to be no reprieve.When a limp Federer forehand nose-dived into the net on break point at 2-2 in the second, the belief seemed to drain out of the Swiss and the end came quickly as Nadal maintained his stranglehold over the 17-time grand slam champion he has now beaten on eight of their last 10 matches.Nadal was typically generous, offering some encouraging words for Federer who has at least ended the year looking a little more like his old self having beaten Juan Martin del Potro and Richard Gasquet here.“I think he should be happier about the way he finished the season than compared how he was three months ago,” Nadal said.“I am sure today he was a little bit tired after the match of yesterday. I am sure that he will have the chance to start the next season in good condition and he will be one of the candidates to win in Australia.”It was left to Wawrinka to fly the Swiss flag but the world number eight ran into an unforgiving Djokovic.Wawrinka did slot away a volley to break Djokovic’s serve early on but was immediately broken back when he framed a forehand high into the rafters.Try as he might to get the ball past the elastic-limbed Djokovic, Wawrinka could not bludgeon his way through and another dropped service game put the Serb in control.Wawrinka, who twice pushed Djokovic to five-sets in the year’s standout matches at the Australian and U.S. Opens, held on grimly in the second set but could only applaud at one point as Djokovic somehow reached a certain winner and clawed a forehand across the bows of the in-rushing Swiss.Two breaks in the second set completed the Djokovic masterclass and a 14th consecutive win over Wawrinka.“I didn’t have enough energy today…against him, that makes a big difference,” Wawrinka said.last_img read more