When the Middletown South girls soccer team faced up with Cranford in Saturday’s Group III final at the College of New Jersey, Coach Kris Haar knew that her team would have to raise its play to the next level to compete with the 22-0 Cougars, who were ranked sixth in the nation in the National High School Soccer Coaches of America Poll. And the Eagles did not disappoint. The girls from South played what can only be described as inspired soccer as they tied Cranford 0-0 to earn the school’s first ever state Group III title. “My girls played their best game of the season,” Haar said. “We had to play a physical game and to challenge for every loose ball. The girls did everything right.” The coach noted that last year’s trip to the Group III final, where the Eagles dropped a 2-0 decision to Ramapo, contributed to this season’s success. Besides the general experience, South knew what to expect on the College of New Jersey’s fast artificial turf surface. South played without midfielder Kristen Bloom and fullback Emma Richdale, both seniors. Bloom is out with a fractured fibula, while Bloom suffered a concussion in the Eagles’ 2-0 victory over Ocean City in the semifinals. As a result, Nicole Beaumont and Courtney Bongiolatti played the full 100 minutes, turning in fine all-around efforts. Beaumont made an important clear to end a Cranford flurry, and goalie Kristen Hirt was superb throughout, thwarting two first-half breakaways. In addition, Michelle Malejki came up big, heading a shot on the line to prevent a goal. And, as usual, co-captain Maureen McLaughlin turned in a sterling defensive effort. “It was a total team effort. Everyone had to play well and they did,” Haar said. “I’m very proud of them. This is the best group of girls I’ve coached. They did everything they could and they really came up big.” Lauren Krzan and Tara Froehlich both had good scoring chances for the Eagles in the second half. Krzan beat Cranford goalie Katie Donnelly to a loose ball, but had to hurry her shot and it went just wide. Froehlich’s shot off a restart handcuffed Donnelly, who deflected it off the crossbar and out of play. The Cranford game culminated a successful campaign that resulted in the Eagles second Central Jersey Group III title in a row, and their third in four seasons. Overall, Middletown South went 21-3-1. In CJ Group III play, the Eagles defeated Ocean and Wall before meeting Lawrence in the finals. Middletown South rolled to a 3-0 triumph as Lindsay Jarusiewicz, Bongiolatti and Beaumont scored, while Froehlich contributed a pair of assists. Froehlich is the team’s career scoring leader with 66 goals and 64 assists. This season she has 16 goals and a single season team record 22 assists. Next South upended Ocean City, capitalizing on two first-half opportunities, on headers by freshman Tanya DiDonna and McLaughlin, both assisted by Kendall Krzan, another freshman, to set up the meeting with Cranford. Haar was especially pleased for her 12 seniors. “They deserved this,” the coach said. “They’ve taught our younger players how to win and how to have fun at the same time. They’ve set the tone.” Staff Writer By Warren Rappleyea
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer The Keyport High School boys bowling team is closing in its second straight Shore Conference Northern Monmouth Division title. Coach Sal Principe’s team sits in first place with a 29-7 mark with two matches (six games) remaining and is two games in front of both Keansburg and Middletown North. The Red Raiders were slated to meet Henry Hudson Regional yesterday and will play Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) tomorrow. Keyport maintained its position with a stunning comeback against Middletown North on Thursday. After losing the first two games, the Red Raiders rallied in the finale to avoid a sweep and stay in first as Bob Rohe finished strong. Sophomore Marty Visaggio rolled a 236 and freshman James Cornelious had a 232 against North. “That was a big win for us because we needed to comeback and our guys didn’t quit,” Principe said. “Last year, the season came down to the last few games and I think that’s going to happen again.” Rohe, a junior, has been Keyport’s top bowler with a 203.7 average — tops in the Northern Monmouth Division. Ryan Loihle has been solid with a 191.7 average and has a 645 series to his credit. Visaggio is at 174.2. Principe noted that several others have made significant contributions, including Dave Schumann, who averages 168 pins; Mike Capone (162) and Glenn Michaud (150). Cornelious has been seeing more time of late and has been doing well, the coach noted. Keyport’s girls bowling team is also having a good year. With a 28-5 mark, Principe’s girls are in second place in the Northern Monmouth Division. The Red Raiders have one match left and are four games behind first-place Middletown North. Keyport and North have alternated winning the division for the past four seasons. Sophomore Jenna Stump leads the team with a 168.8 mark, which tops the division as well. Christine George follows at 163.1 and Melinda Bomersbach averages 162.2 pins. Amanda Stumpf, who led the division with a 160 mark last winter, is averaging 158.5. Three sophomores: Stephanie Capone, Stephanie Duke and Jen Valentino are all hovering near the 130-range. Keyport’s girls took third place at the Long Branch Tournament and were scheduled to close out the regular season yesterday against Henry Hudson Regional. Both the boys and girls teams have qualified for the Shore Conference tournament. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer
BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer With pitching depth and loads of experience returning, Brookdale Community College’s baseball team is poised to have a big year. Head coach Johnny Johnson’s Jersey Blues get their season started this week with their annual trek to Florida, where they will play 14 games in seven days, before heading back to Lincroft to start their home schedule on March 22 against Morris. Johnson is looking forward to the 2005 campaign which has the potential of getting BCC back to the Junior College World Series. “Our starters are all sophomores and our backups are quality guys,” said Johnson. “I’m excited about the season. They’re good kids, academically and athletically.” Catcher John Romano (Staten Island) and second baseman Dave Lorber (Freehold Township), both sophomores, are coming off outstanding freshman seasons in which they earned All-Region XIX honors. Both are superb with the glove, and big-time hitters. Romano batted .410 last spring with five home runs and 38 RBIs. Lorber, who hits second in the lineup, batted .395 with 12 doubles. All of the other field players on the team are sophomores and most were starters. Ryan Brand (Marlboro) moves to first base this spring (he shared the catching duties with Romano), with last year’s starter John Marzella (Morristown) moving to his natural position, third base. An arm injury forced Johnson to play Marzella at first last year, but the sophomore recovered from it and is back at the hot corner. He was All-Region as well. Robbie Hine (Brick) is back with his gold glove at shortstop. In the outfield, Eric Levee (Marlboro), who saw action last year as a backup, played his way into the starting lineup, where he will be flanked by Adam Taha (Central Regional) in right and Doug Ford (Neptune), a transfer who was All-Region last year, in left. The BCC outfielders all have one thing in common — speed, led by Levee. “All three of our outfielders can run,” said Johnson, who added that he can see all three of them stealing at least 20 bases each this spring. BCC’s speed isn’t confined to the outfield. “Everyone on the team has speed,” said Johnson. “We’re going to run. I like to put pressure on guys. We may break the record of the 2002 team that stole more than 200 bases.” While many a hitter will see would-be extra-base hits fall into the gloves of Brookdale’s outfielders, many a sure-base hit will be swallowed up by the infield. “This is the best defensive team I’ve had,” said Johnson. “All around, it’s the best.” Because the defense is so good, Johnson encourages his pitchers to use it. “We have guys who can strike people out, but our defense is so good I tell our pitchers just throw strikes and let the defense make plays,” said Johnson. Pitching is the area where the Blues are young, but they are very talented. The starting rotation goes five deep, led by freshman Adam Ortiz (Lakewood). Ortiz is a 6-foot-4 righty who throws in the 90s and is being scouted by the major leagues. Freshmen Ken Rickert (Toms River North) and Ryan Beard (Pt. Pleasant Boro) also throw hard. The sleeper of the rotation, Johnson pointed out, could be Florida transfer Billy Lawson. He’s a very polished freshman who could emerge as the team’s No. 1. Matt Coulson (Freehold Borough), a sophomore, provides balance to the rotation as the only lefty. Along with Coulson, closer Julio Guaty (Miami, Fla.) is also back. Guaty gives BCC an added weapon, a closer. Last year, he had 10 saves before breaking his thumb making a play in the field. “He has no fear,” Johnson said of Guaty. “It takes a special type of kid to be a closer.” The Blues are very deep in arms with 13 pitchers. Brookdale will get its depth from its freshmen this year. Center fielder Damian Walcott (Freehold Borough) is like all the other BCC outfielders, fast. Look for him to be stealing bases like his fellow outfielders. Joe Schiettino (Lakewood) will back up Hine at shortstop, and Chris Coulson (Freehold Borough), the brother of Matt, will be the team’s utility player, capable of playing the infield and outfield. Righty Justin Esposito (Middletown) adds to BCC’s starting pitching depth. When it comes playoff time in May, Brookdale will have the home field advantage in the Region this spring. The Blues are hosting the tournament May 6-8. The Region XIX winner will play the Region 21 champion in a District playoff round May 14-15. The winner of the best two-of-three series will advance to the World Series at the USA Baseball Complex in Millington, Tenn. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer
FISH ON RON NUZZOLO Bass fishing remains a hit-and-miss adventure for some people. Big schools of bass are all along the shore and feeding heavily on rainfish and other small baits. With that much live bait in the water, it makes it a challenge for a big ol’ bass to take your bait. It’s all about being patient and improvising until something works. Sandy Hook: Capt. Ron’s Fishermen has been working hard chasing birds and finding bass up in the 20- to 30-pound range. Dr. Sal made it two days in a row with the pool fish aboard the Fishermen with fish up to 26 pounds. Capt. Ron is sailing daily for big bass. It should only get more intense as bigger fish move in to feast along our shoreline. Brielle: Capt. Jerry aboard the Fish Monger can’t sit still. If the bass bite is slow, the crew immediately targets a different species. I bet Capt. Jerry hates sitting in traffic. With mostly blues on the jig, the Fish Monger has been switching over to bottom fish and finding plenty of double-header porgy action. Capt. Jerry was able to put triple-digit porgies in the box this week and keep the action consistent for his patrons. Another great week aboard the Fish Monger with a nice variety of porgies, fluke, sea bass, bonito, bluefish and, of course, striped bass. Highlands: Capt. Diane aboard Lady Di II fishing charters had buddies Capt. Erwin and Paul out for a trophy bass hunt. Capt. Diane immediately found the birds with bass breaking the surface. After a few shorts, they managed to max out and troll up six nice keepers and were back at the dock by lunchtime. It’s an amazing time of the year. Acres of baitfish along our shore and big bass and blues patrolling them make conditions perfect for all anglers to experience topwater action. Taking a day off from work is definitely worth a shot at these amazing fish. Remember, an angler means being courteous to other anglers from a boat or the surf. Give everyone elbow room. Cutting across a school of fish or a fishing fleet only decreases the odds of catching fish and defeats the purpose for everyone. It’s a big ocean. Give everyone room to fish. Fish on!
By MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent The softball season may be over, but Raritan High School is already back on the field.A fastpitch summer league hosted by Wall Township features a group of area high schools, including Raritan, Holmdel High School, Middletown High School South and Red Bank Regional High School, as well as several travel teams.Many returning Rockets and incoming freshmen are playing for Raritan’s summer team in hopes of getting a running start for the 2016 season.Raritan head coach Aado Kommendant, who runs the Wall summer league, said it gives the rising freshmen “an opportunity to get to know some of the kids who are in the school already.”“We can get that process out of the way in the summer,” he said. “It gives us a head start.”Raritan recently concluded a 19-10 campaign in 2015. The Rockets advanced as far as the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals, where the team fell short against Middletown South.The Rockets will retain two key pieces of this year’s squad, including Nicole Coppolino, who was Raritan’s ace in the circle as a junior. Second baseman Alexa Sammarco is also entering her senior season.Raritan has lost center fielder Brianna Rinaldi and infielders Bethany Budner, Bethany Evans and Daniella Marino to graduation.“Our rising seniors, Nicole Coppolino and Alexa Sammarco, have assumed a greater leadership role with this team and have been very helpful in guiding the new players,” Kommendant said.Also playing for Raritan during the summer are rising juniors Mackenzie Emery, Nicole Kirse, Michelle Nestor, Hallie Barone and Clare DeJoy; sophomores Ashley Marino, Alexis Zinckgraf and Annalesa DiLaurenzio; and incoming freshmen Brooke Brady, Nicole Buckley, Erynn Boyle, Allison Leach, Gabby Zweidinger, Gianna Simon and Emily Kmak.For the newcomers, competing against high school players during the summer offers a sneak peek at what next season will bring. Some players may need to adjust to the speed of high school games, Kommendant noted.“It will be a step up for some,” he said. “They’ll see what it takes to perform at this level.”Raritan’s game plan for the summer is to show progress across the board, and that starts with establishing team chemistry for next season.“It’s the same as what we do every year: make sure the next season of Raritan softball is the best season of Raritan softball,” Kommendant said.The league, now in its 11th year, holds doubleheaders on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights with games starting at 5:30 p.m. Games are scheduled through the end of July.
By Nick MulvenneyNew Zealand are in something of a groove after playing a lot of one-day cricket in recent months and will face England with an unchanged side in their third World Cup match, skipper Brendan McCullum said on Thursday.The co-hosts kicked off their campaign with a convincing win over Sri Lanka last weekend followed by a three-wicket victory over Scotland on Tuesday, a win built on fine swing bowling but almost undone by a sloppy batting display.Nevertheless, McCullum had enough confidence in the XI that started the match in Dunedin to confirm the side for Friday’s encounter even before he even had a chance to look at the wicket at the Wellington Regional Stadium.“We have a full squad to pick from, and we’re going to go with the same team we’ve played the last two games,” McCullum told a news conference.“The guys have performed well so far. We want to give them the same opportunity again. We think that the balance of the team that we’re going in with will suit us well on this ground.”The Black Caps have won nine of their last 11 one-day internationals in Wellington going back to 2006 and lost just two of their last 13 at all grounds.Such form has put the co-hosts among the favourites to win the World Cup but McCullum said New Zealand would not allow such tags to distract them from the task at hand.“We know that we can’t get too far in front of ourselves. We’re not a good enough team to do so,” he said.“We need to be very respectful of that, go about our preparation and go about our work and try to execute our game plan. If we do that, that’s certainly how we give ourselves our greatest opportunity.”England opened their campaign with a 111-run defeat to the other co-hosts Australia in Melbourne last Saturday, giving them three more days to prepare for their second encounter.“We’ve been playing a lot of cricket recently, so we’re probably in a little bit of a groove,” McCullum said.“We knew the scheduling well before we came into it so we were able to affect that into our preparation as well. So we go on with no excuses.“We’ll give ourselves a good chance, and hopefully we can replicate the form we’ve been playing with of late.”
By Justin PalmerPaceman James Anderson took six wickets to skittle Australia for a paltry 136 and put England in control on the first day of the third Test at Edgbaston on Wednesday.Anderson (six for 47) was backed up by fellow quicks Stuart Broad and Steven Finn, on his Test return after a two-year absence, as a fascinating Ashes series took another twist.Ian Bell led England’s reply of 133-3 with a half-century and by the close, forced early by rain, a rejuvenated home side had put their heavy second Test defeat at Lord’s behind them.England lost Adam Lyth and captain Alastair Cook but Bell, promoted up the order on his home ground, played positively for his 53 before falling to a poor shot in trying to slog spinner Nathan Lyon to end a stand of 56 with Joe Root (30 not out).Australia, whose batsmen prospered at Lord’s in squaring the series after defeat in Cardiff, failed to cope with seam and swing-friendly conditions after winning the toss.Anderson made hay with only opener Chris Rogers, passed fit after suffering dizzy spells in the last Test, offering resistance.Rogers was eighth man out for 52 and not long after Australia were dismissed in 36.4 overs.Anderson, who went wicketless in London, took four wickets in 19 balls after lunch to leave Australia in tatters.His burst began with Adam Voges caught behind for 16. Mitchell Marsh (0) also nicked to Jos Buttler and then Peter Nevill was bowled for two without offering a shot.England’s leading wicket-taker in Tests bagged his 18th five-wicket haul when Mitchell Johnson (3) sliced to Ben Stokes.Australia lost three wickets in the morning with Finn, branded “unselectable” by former England limited overs coach Ashley Giles 18 months ago due to a breakdown in his bowling action, sending back Steve Smith (7) and skipper Michael Clarke (10).After Anderson had given England a flyer by trapping David Warner (2) lbw, Finn, recalled in place of an unfit Mark Wood, found bounce and movement.Smith edged to Cook at first slip and he bowled Clarke with a full and straight delivery, the Australia captain continuing his run of low scores.England had put 19 on the board before the struggling Lyth (10) flashed at a wide Josh Hazlewood delivery and was held at slip.Cook (34) and Bell took the total to 76 when the England captain fell in extraordinary fashion, smashing a short ball from Lyon straight into the midriff ofVoges who was trying to take evasive action at short leg.
By Mike CollettPrince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, beaten in May’s FIFA presidential election by Sepp Blatter, strongly hinted he will stand for the position again while speaking to delegates at the Soccerex business convention on Monday.Ali, 39, lost by 133-73 votes to incumbent Blatter who then announced he was standing down from the position four days later after FIFA was plunged into its worst crisis following arrests of its officials and others two days before the election.A fresh presidential election to find a successor to Blatter will be held in February and Ali looks set to become the third major candidate to enter after declarations from UEFA President Michel Platini of France and former FIFA executive committee member and Asian vice-president Chung Mong-joon of South Korea.Asked by moderator David Davies if he was a candidate for the presidency of FIFA again, Ali replied: “I am talking to national associations, listening to their opinions and what they see for the future and giving my own ideas.“Right now we need a candidate who is forward thinking and will bring new ideas who is not tainted by the past as well. So what I will say right now is ‘stay tuned’”Davies asked: “Do I need to stay tuned this week, or for a month?”Ali replied with a broad smile: “Not for very long.”He then expanded on his theme throughout a relaxed 30 minute interview when he stressed time and again the need for a new, transparent FIFA, open to change and widespread reform.And he said that neither Platini, who supported him in May’s election, or Chung, who lost his executive committee seat as Asian vice-president when Ali beat him in an election in 2011, were ideal future candidates for the FIFA presidency.“I have tremendous respect for Mr Platini both as the UEFA president and a former footballer but at the same time there is a difference between UEFA and FIFA,” he continued.“FIFA is in a crisis and we need a new beginning, and whether anyone likes it or not, Michel Platini’s introduction into football governance was as a protege of Sepp Blatter. That’s the reality.“I have sat down and talked with him, I have listened to his ideas and I think it’s my responsibility to at least guarantee the future is different from the past and therefore I was not very encouraged by Michel Platini.”He was equally dismissive of Chung, who spent 17 years on the FIFA executive committee before losing his seat to Ali four years ago.“The important thing is to have a new beginning,” said Ali, “and to have new ideas and therefore any candidate who has been in the organisation for a long time is not what is needed at this time.”Ali confounded many observers by forcing a second round of voting in May’s election by denying Blatter an outright two-thirds winning margin in the first round.He then conceded defeat before a second ballot took place, but again implied he was considering another bid for the presidency when Davies asked him if he could win the election without the formal, central backing of his own Asian confederation, whose leadership is backing Platini.“It is a while till we get to the vote in February, but we will see. If the elections are done correctly, cleanly and properly, without interference, then I believe I can win, for sure.”With the vote taking place on February 26, candidates with nominations from five national associations, have to officially register their declarations by October 26.
By Rob HodgettsThe French national anthem will be played before all of England’s top-flight football matches this weekend, the Premier League has said.‘La Marseillaise’ will ring out after the coin toss in tribute to those who lost their lives in the Paris attacks of last Friday.The anthem was played before England’s friendly against France at Wembley on Tuesday with the words in French displayed on big screens.More than 70 Frenchmen play in the Premier League, making France the second-most represented nation after England.“Given how close we are as well as the long-standing relationship that exists between the Premier League and France, playing La Marseillaise as an act of solidarity and remembrance is the right thing to do,” the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Scudamore said in a statement.The Premier League has also consulted the police, security advisors and Britain’s interior ministry with regards to safety and security at matches in the wake of the attacks in the French capital.“The clubs have been fully briefed in context of the current guidance from national security services and are liaising with their local police forces to ensure the appropriate security and safety measures are in place for their matches and stadiums,” added Scudamore in another statement.Eight Premier League matches take place on Saturday, including leaders Manchester City against Liverpool, with one on Sunday and one on Monday.
APOEL have work to do in their quest to retain the Cyprus Cup after being held to a 1-1 draw in Nicosia by Apollon in the first leg of their semi-final clash.The visitors from Limassol took a surprise early lead through Ivory Coast star Abraham Gneki Guié in the 21st minute but Pieros Sotiriou equalised for the league leaders just eight minutes later, with nobody unable to break the deadlock in the second halfAPOEL will be without Giorgos Merkis for the second leg after the defender was sent off in injury time.The second semi between AEK and Omonia, which kicked off two hours later, ended goalless.