By Warren Rappleyea Vianney girls’ lacrosse team struggles with inconsistency Lady Lancers hoping to regain last season’s form in time for postseason After going 13-5 a year ago, the St. John Vianney High School girls’ lacrosse team has struggled to a 4-4 record this season. “We’ve been inconsistent as a team and, as a result, I’m still looking for the right combinations,” said fourth-year coach Teresa DiMezza. “For whatever reason, the girls just aren’t connecting well right now.” The Lady Lancers have downed Red Bank Regional, Freehold Township and Long Branch (twice). DiMezza’s team lost close matches to Red Bank Catholic, 7-6, and Wall, 7-5, and dropped a pair of games against powerful Ocean. The Lancers’ most recent loss to Ocean came Friday, when the Spartans improved to 8-0 with an 8-2 win. DiMezza noted that her players are disappointed in their play because expectations were high after last spring’s success. Nevertheless, with a couple of breaks, the Lady Lancers could have six wins. Thus far, midfielder Sara Soden has been the team’s top scorer with 15 goals and three assists. Jackie Seward has 10 goals and three assists, and fellow forward Christine Ford has seven goals and six assists. All three are juniors. Senior midfielder Kate Donnelly, the Lady Lancers’ leading scorer last season, has 10 goals after making the transition from attack to midfield. St. John’s forwards include senior Colleen Bruno, junior Mona Kanwar and sophomore Alex Mevs. Senior Tara Mullins provides additional offensive ability in the middle. Junior Katherine Rowland is the goalie and plays behind a solid defense led by senior Grace Sica and juniors Michelle Cwiek Other backliners include senior Angela Fuoco, junior Amanda Philburn, and sophomores Laura Bennett, Sally Dowd and Thiel Henessy. “This is a very close-knit team; that’s one of our strengths,” DiMezza said. “The girls know they can play better than they have been. As a team, they have the talent and ability to win. We just need a big win to get us going.” After Monday’s scheduled match with Point Pleasant Borough, the Lady Lancers will get their chance tomorrow when RBC comes to visit. Staff Writer
Raritan knocked off; Keyport back in action this weekend VERONICA YANKOWSKI Middletown South’s Jon Farina avoids a tackle during the Eagles’ win over West Windsor South on Saturday. Raritan knocked off; Keyport back in action this weekend By doug mckenzie Staff Writer It’s been an interesting season, to say the least, for the Middletown High School South football team. VERONICA YANKOWSKI Middletown South’s Anthony Macaluso gets away from a group of would-be tacklers during the Eagles’ 31-21 win over West Windsor South. After entering the season as the top-ranked team in the Shore Conference, the Eagles have had their share of ups and downs, playing one of the most competitive schedules in the state. But following last weekend’s 31-21 win over West Windsor South in the first round of the Central Jersey Group III playoffs, the Eagles are soaring once again, with hopes to defend the sectional championship they won last year. South got another inspired effort from freshman running back Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for 158 yards on 18 carries and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Eagles. His scoring runs, from two and 41 yards out, helped South jump out to a 17-6 lead at half-time. Senior quarterback Jon Farina was also effective carrying the ball for the Eagles, netting 134 yards on 18 carries, while also throwing for a touchdown, a seven-yard strike to A.J. Boury in the fourth quarter. West Windsor South, the third seed in the bracket, tried to make things interesting with a pair of touchdowns in the second half, but South proved to be too much, as Chris Oesterheld also found the end zone from eight yards out in the third quarter to help seal the win. Head coach Steve Antonucci was pleased with his team’s effort, especially considering the sloppy conditions they game featured. “Overall I thought we played very well despite the conditions,” he said. “We’re an option team playing in the rain and we only had two turnovers, and they were interceptions. Offensively we moved the ball effectively and limited our mistakes. “Defensively we made some mistakes and gave them some opportunities with some missed tackles, but overall we played well.” Antonucci was particularly pleased with the play of both Farina and Moreno. “Our quarterback has been doing a real nice job for us recently, and Knowshon has been outstanding,” he said. Moreno, who has been nothing short of spectacular for the Eagles this year, has surprised even his coach to this point, who admitted as much when discussing the freshman’s impact. “If you look at our first game of the year, he had two carries,” he said. “And he’s been getting more and more involved each week. He is the majority of the reason why we are where we are right now.” The Eagles now turn their attention to Ewing (8-1), a 21-14 winner over Ridge in the first round. The Blue Devils were led by Brian Raike, who rushed for 231 yards and two touchdowns, including a 73-yard scamper on their second offensive play of the game. Ewing’s quarterback, Tom Carroll, also played well in the win, throwing a touchdown pass just before the half that turned out to be the game-winner. Antonucci and members of his coaching staff scouted the Ewing-Ridge game, and were impressed with the Blue Devils athleticism. “They’re very athletic, very quick,” he said, adding that Ewing is not necessarily the type of team the Eagles match up well with “Not that we’re not athletic, but they’re a little bit more than we are. But they haven’t seen our kind of offense, because I don’t think there’s any two-option teams down there. That might give us a bit of an advantage.” Ewing should be present a stiff challenge for the Eagles, however, few people would be surprised if head coach Steve Antonucci’s crew found a way to win once again, and earn a chance to play for the sectional title once again. The Eagles seem to play in big games every year, and they never come into a game unprepared. And while Ewing may come into the game as the higher seed, remember, the Eagles are still the champions until somebody knocks them off. While the Eagles and the Matawan Huskies managed to advance in their respective playoff brackets, the Raritan Rockets were not nearly as fortunate. Head coach Derek Sininsky’s squad ran into a buzz saw on Saturday when they traveled to New Brunswick to take on the undefeated Zebras. His squad was thoroughly out-played by the talented Zebra squad, and found itself down 29-0 by the half. After a solid start, which included the defense forcing back-to-back three-and-outs, Raritan started making mistakes, and New Brunswick took advantage. A holding call on a punt gave New Brunswick new life, and that led to a touchdown. Then Raritan quarterback Andrew Mandeville, who spent most of the game scrambling for safety, fumbled, and New Brunswick returned it 36 yards for a score. It only got worse from there as the Zebras poured on the offense, and Raritan struggled to respond against what was a lightning-quick defense. Raritan managed to avoid the shutout in the closing minutes, when Mandeville hit Justin Bowe with a two-yard scoring pass. Following the game, Sininsky said his team was outclassed and over-matched, but conceded that it was a good learning experience for some of his younger players. One player in particular who will learn from the game is Mandeville, a heralded freshman who has shown flashes of brilliance this season, and should be one of the Shore’s most electrifying players over the next three years. Raritan (5-4) will now prepare for its Thanksgiving Day game with Matawan, in what should be one of the day’s more competitive contests. The Keyport Red Raiders will return to action this week, when they take on Asbury park in the second round of the CJ Group I playoffs. Asbury is coming off a 12-6 triple-overtime thriller over Dunellen, and will be looking for revenge against a Keyport team that beat them 34-14 in week two action, when Asbury was without the services of QB Marc Taylor. Keyport is every bit the team to beat in this bracket, and at 8-0, has looked like a team bent on winning its first sectional title since 1999 from its opening game. By doug mckenzieStaff Writer
It was another championship season for the Brookdale Community College women’s soccer team. The Jersey Blue were co-champions of the Garden State Athletic Conference and reached the Region XIX tournament finals in 2003. BCC was ranked 10th in the country in the final poll of junior college Division III programs and finished the season with a 10-5-2 record. One of the rewards of that success was having seven members of the team garner postseason awards. Maria Lombardi, a sophomore forward from Freehold Township, was named to the GSAC All-Conference First Team along with freshman midfielder Katie Dooling, freshman defender Jessica Roy from Sayreville and freshman goalie Tammy Wood of South River. Sophomore forward Jenna Masiello, of Marlboro, led the All-Region First Team selections. Joining her on the squad were Kerry O’Mara, a freshman midfielder from Middletown North, Laura North, a freshman defender from Middletown North and Wood. O’Mara was runner-up for Region Player of the Year with Masiello finishing third in the balloting and Woods, fourth. Lombardi and Masiello were the leading scorers in the conference this year. Lombardi scored 39 points (20th best in the county) on 14 goals and 11 assists while Masiello had 31 points on 11 goals and nine assists. Wood is ranked 10th in the nation in goalkeeping with a 1.083 goals against average. She closed the regular season with four consecutive shutouts.
BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Brookdale hosting baseball tournament this weekend BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer Johnny Johnson has to feel good about his Brookdale Community College (BCC) baseball team on the eve of the Region XIX Tournament. The Jersey Blues have done everything asked of them and more. Brookdale earned the top seed for this weekend’s tournament in Lincroft by winning the Garden State Athletic Conference title. During that run, they came up with an historic winning streak. The Blues ripped off 33 straight victories during the season, snapping the previous record of 21 straight set during the 1990 season. “We started to think about the streak when we were closing in on the school record, which was 21,” said Johnson, who added that he didn’t think the school record was possible. The 2005 Jersey Blues not only topped the school record, but shattered it. They kept winning until the streak reached the ridiculous stage of 33 straight. It’s a mark that is nothing short of fantastic, considering that in baseball you can’t send your ace to the mound every day, and there’s the fact that you are playing every day. A team simply can’t bring its “A” game all the time playing that frequently, and Brookdale doesn’t make it easy for itself by scheduling quality nonconference opponents. Yet, Brookdale overcame the odds and did not lose for more than a month. “It was the greatest experience I’ve had in baseball,” Johnson said. “I’ve never seen kids play that hard and be so focused for so many games. “If one phase of our game wasn’t working, the other picked it up,” he added. “When we weren’t hitting we’d get good pitching; if we struggled pitching, we got the hitting.” Johnson put the credit to the streak on the shoulders of his 10 sophomores. “I’ve always said that a good team has to ride its leaders, and we have gotten good sophomore leadership all year,” he said. “We have a good corps of kids and there is no quit in them. “We have good chemistry on the team,” he added. “Our sophomores took charge and they taught the freshmen how to play the game. They know that freshmen hit the wall at 20 games. They’re not used to playing nine innings and playing that many games. They [sophomores] were in great shape.” During Brookdale’s record-setting streak, the team’s will to win was never more on display. The team’s unbending resolve was forged in playoff failure last spring. “After we lost that last game, our sophomores [then freshmen] got together and talked about their goals and said that this would never happen to them again,” Johnson said. That sheer determination to win the Region title produced that record-winning streak and a 36-3 regular season mark in a season in which the team didn’t take an inning off. They will carry that same single-mindedness into this weekend’s tournament, without the burden of the streak. Gloucester snapped the Blues’ win streak on April 23, scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a 14-13 win. Johnson said the loss itself didn’t upset him as much as the way they lost it. Errors had opened the door for the home rally. The upside of the loss, Johnson said, is that his players are more relaxed and not feeling the pressure of a long win streak. They can simply focus on the task at hand, winning this weekend. Johnson, whose team is ranked No. 3 in the nation among Division II junior colleges, likes his chances for several reasons, most of which, is the pitching. “Our pitching depth will help us through this tournament,” he said. In this double-elimination tournament, teams can’t rely on one lights-out starter to carry them. Brookdale has three solid starters, including Matt Coulson (8-0) and Billy Lawson (7-0), who are both undefeated. In a school known for its offensive fireworks, this year’s club could be as good as any before it. Certainly, it’s the best offense that Johnson has coached. “We’ve had good hitting teams before, but we always had three of four guys who carried us,” Johnson said. “These guys, from one through nine, are all hitters. “We’ve been getting timely two-out hitting all year,” he added. “We’ve come up with one big hit after another.” Leading the charge is sophomore John Romano, the No. 1 hitter in the country. He was leading the nation in six offensive categories at the start of the week, and added onto those impressive numbers against Middlesex when he smacked two three-run home runs in a 16-3 Brookdale win. He had seven RBIs on the day and was 4-for-4, lifting his average to .506. Joe Arminio, Dave Lorber, Robbie Hein, John Marzela and Joe Schiettino have put up impressive numbers themselves, batting more than .400 for a team averaging more than eight runs a game. Brookdale’s third strength is the defense, which has allowed its pitchers to be so impressive this year. “Our defense has been outstanding,” Johnson said. Brookdale begins play in the four-team double-elimination tournament Friday at 11 a.m. against an opponent to be determined by early-round play. It takes three wins to capture the championship. The final is Saturday with a game on Sunday, if necessary.
More than 500 women runners and walkers will become spokespersons for organizations that provide essential services like shelter and advocacy for women and children, when they take part in the Saturday in the Park Women’s 5K at Holmdel Park on Sept. 3.The women will be running and walking on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend to raise funds and promote awareness for organizations that provide these essential services in Monmouth and Ocean counties.Presented by the Jersey Shore Running Club, the 18th annual Saturday in the Park 5K Women Taking Steps to Help Women will be held rain or shine and will feature the Women’s 5K Run and Scenic 3-Mile Walk that start at 9 a.m. and children’s Races at approximately 10 a.m.Race-day registration begins at 8 a.m. The entry fee is $25, and $5 for children’s races. Participants who raise $75 or more in pledges will receive free entry.“We are very excited to be celebrating our 18th year,” said Penny Hinck, race director in a Jersey Shore Running Club press release. “The main reason for celebration is knowing that this race supports programs dedicated to providing shelter, counseling, advocacy and education for women and their families in both Monmouth and Ocean counties. Past participants of Saturday in the Park have consistently remarked about how they have been touched by the ceremony at the start of the racewhen the runners and walkers join hands and realize the need for all of us to come together to support these “safe harbors” for women and their families.“For 2011, we have the beneficiary organizations of Manna House/Spring House of Cliffwood Beach and Providence House of Catholic Charities in Ocean County,” added Hinck.Since its inception, Saturday in the Park has raised over $195,000 and has created greater public awareness of options and services available to women.The Saturday in the Park Women’s 5K has enjoyed enthusiastic support from many girls’ high school and youth athletic teams over the years. To show appreciation to these teams and to encourage continued support of Saturday in the Park and the race’s beneficiaries, race organizers are offering two benefits to high school and youth teams. All members of these teams were given the special entry fee of $17 prior to Aug. 25, and awards will be given to the top three teams based on their number of participants. Awards will be a contribution to their team fund: $100 to the team with the most participants, $75 to the second, and $50 to the third largest number of participants. The committee will also offer prizes, thanks to the generosity of the business community, including a grand prize drawing of a women’s bicycle; kids’ race drawings, compliments of race committee members; and unique awards for all category winners. The Mary Conry Memorial Award will be presented to the first JSRC member to finish. Mary Conry was a member of the JSRC and the Saturday in the Park Race Committee. A recognition award is presented annually in memory of Dr. Chuck Whelan, former Saturday in the Park Race director.Sponsorship opportunities and donations for goodie bag items are still available. All sponsors will receive signage recognition and be highlighted in the event program. Individuals and companies may contact Penny Hinck, JSRC, at 732-571-2162 or email email@example.com.For more information on Saturday in the Park 5K, call or email Hinck or visit www.saturdayinthepark5k.org, or pre-register in person at McLoone’s Running Store at The Grove in Shrewsbury.
By Alexandria SageDoctors treating seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher for injuries suffered during a skiing accident have started lowering his sedation level to wake him up from an artificial coma, his manager said on Thursday.Schumacher slammed his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the French Alps resort of Meribel on December 29.The retired racing driver, the most successful Formula One champion of all time, has been in a stable but critical condition for more than four weeks in a hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble.“Michael’s sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking-up process, which may take a long time,” manager Sabine Kehm, said in a statement.The accident prompted an outpouring of concern from fans of the German icon, who has undergone two operations.A spokeswoman for the hospital declined to make any further comment on Schumacher’s condition on Thursday.Investigators have been trying to determine how fast Schumacher was skiing when he hit the rock. French police have said the slope was properly marked.Schumacher, who turned 45 earlier this month, won a record 91 Grand Prix victories.He left the sport last year after a disappointing three-year comeback with Mercedes following an earlier retirement from Ferrari at the end of 2006.
By Andreas VouMARCOS Baghdatis has won his first singles title since 2010 after defeating Marinko Matosevic 6-4 6-3 in the Aegon Trophy final hosted in Nottingham, England.The Cypriot star showed signs of his former self in the tournament, playing with an assured confidence which has rarely been seen since he was competing for Grand Slam titles in 2006.Following the victory, Baghdatis admitted that he is feeling much more comfortable on the court and is playing with a smile on his face.“After these wins I’ve kind of found myself, my game, my attitude on court and the way I want to play tennis. I’m alone here with no coach. I’m playing tennis and doing things that I want to do and don’t have someone telling me what to do. That is a big change for me. I guess it makes me feel much freer in the head. I don’t think so much, I just act and do what I think is good on court and this has helped me a lot this last week.“It feels great. I felt I played really well throughout the week. Every match I got through I felt better and better and in the final I was just playing really solid, not giving too many points away and served well. I’m happy with how I’m playing and how I feel on court, fitness-wise and mentally.”Baghdatis did not drop a set throughout the tournament. He defeated Germany’s Benjamin Becker in the first round 6-4 6-4 and beat Kenny de Schepper of France in the quarter-final by the same scoreline.His biggest challenge came in the semis against top seed Igor Sijsling from the Netherlands. In a match which saw a long delay due to rain, Baghdatis was able to remain composed to reach the final with a 6-4 6-2 win.The former world number eight managed nine aces and converted three of his seven break points to win the match in a little over 70 minutes. He showed great resolve to recover all four break points which he faced in the second and decisive set.The Limassol native has spent a large part of the current year training at the world-renowned IMG Academy in Florida in order to get into top shape and form and the hard work looks to be finally paying off for the 29-year-old. His latest win gives him a timely confidence boost ahead of Wimbledon, as well as a tidy €9,000 in prize money.There was no rest for the Cypriot as he was back on court on Tuesday afternoon at the Queen’s Club in London where he has been handed a wildcard entry. He continued his good form against Bradley Klahn in the first round, fighting back from a set down to beat the American 6-7 6-2 6-1.
By Andreas VouMarcos Baghdatis retired due to cramps in the tie-break of the deciding set in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, after spurning a golden chance to seal the match against Croatian teenager Borna Coric in the final set.The 18-year-old had started strongly against Baghdatis, taking the first set 6-4.Coric is the youngest player in the top-100 and is this week enjoying a career-high ranking of 84 so, despite his tender age, he was an opponent who deserved a degree of respect.Baghdatis bounced back strongly in the second set with a more decisive approach which seemed to catch Coric by surprise as the former world number eight, who is now ranked 62, won the set 6-3 to level the encounter.Baghdatis’ last match against Croatian opposition ended in victory when the 29-year-old Cypriot beat Ivo Karlovic on his own patch in the opening round of the Zagreb Indoors last month but he was unable to achieve the same feat against the youngster on Wednesday.He thought he had sealed the match when he twice broke Coric to take a 4-1 advantage only for the teenager to rally back to 6-6 and force a tiebreak.But with the tiebreak score at 4-4, Baghdatis retired through what appeared to be cramps, meaning that Coric will now take on Andy Murray in the third round.
By Andreas VouTHE ninth International Limassol Marathon is set to flood the town’s seaside road on Sunday with an estimated 10,000 runners expected to take part in various races.Despite economic obstacles Limassol Municipality, the Olympia Sports Club, the Limassol Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Limassol Tourist Development and Promotion Company have managed to bring to fruition the largest athletic event on the island.The marathon has attracted a whole host of international athletes from across the globe with participants arriving from over 50 countries, including Brazil, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, USA and a number of European nations.The same variety which will exist among the athletes can be said about the age range too, as the oldest registered runner is 76 and the youngest just six years old.The 42-kilometre marathon will begin at 9am at the Limassol pier and will also feature five additional races – the Half-Marathon, the 10-kilometre Health Race, the 5-kilometre City Race, the PrimeTel 5-kilometre Corporate Race, and the McDonald’s 1-kilometre Kids Race.Speaking at a press conference, organising committee chairman Spyros Spyrou brimmed with pride as he revealed his long-term aim for the marathon.“Our goal and vision is to make the Limassol Marathon one of the most popular in Europe, a truly international event that can be embraced by the local community.” Limassol mayor Andreas Christou also spoke of his joy at hosting the prestigious event and reiterated that the municipality will continue to support the event, which has become a symbol of the city and its beachfront.“It is an event that honours our town, as well as our country, since it is the only marathon in Cyprus that is on the calendar of international organisations,” said the town’s mayor.Limassol is no stranger to hosting events which sees thousands of people pass through its streets, having gained a glowing local and international reputation for its staging of the Limassol carnival. In comparison to that particular event, proceedings on Sunday will be far calmer yet the marathon also has its own unique challenges and expectations which the hosts and sponsors fight tirelessly to meet.Over 500 marathons are said to take place throughout the world on a yearly basis and the coastal Cypriot town once again has the chance to stand out from the crowd. An interactive map of the route has been created by the organisers here: http://www.plotaroute.com/route/45020
CHINESE state-run media on Saturday lauded the decision to award Beijing the 2022 Winter Olympics, saying the city could handle any problem thrown at it and would aim to put on a “big party”.Beijing, which will host the event with the nearby city of Zhangjiakou, had been the favourite to win the Games ahead of Kazakhstan’s Almaty at the IOC selection meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.While Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games to wide acclaim, its bid for the lower profile Winter Games had been dogged by concerns over a number of issues including the city’s notorious smog problem, a lack of snow and its poor human rights record.The overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said the world could breath easy over any worries it might have about Beijing’s ability to hold the large-scale event.“In China, every promise will be fully realised,” the paper wrote in a front page commentary.“In our preparation work, though all sorts of difficulties will present themselves, like traffic or environmental problems, Beijing will redouble its efforts to overcome them.”China is now the world’s second largest economy, with a stable political system, harmonious society and a happy populous, even if it is not a great winter sports power, it added.“But it’s an undisputed fact that more and more Chinese love winter sports,” it said.The Global Times, a popular and influential tabloid published by the People’s Daily, said China could be more relaxed this time around, compared with 2008.“This time when we host the Winter Games, we may be able to be more relaxed, focusing on the beauty of the sports instead of labouring ourselves in ensuring a perfect event. We can try to make the 2022 Games a big party,” it said in a editorial.People who opposed the Games in China are not a part of mainstream society, the paper added.“Some of them are just following the voices of popular Western-style opponents. Others have their marginal reasons. But these opinions are not mainstream in China.”The city government’s official Beijing Daily said that the Games had already spurred efforts to clean up the environment, and that Beijing and Zhangjiakou would not disappoint the world.“We have the confidence, the ability and the conditions to put on a secure, vibrant and joyful Winter Olympics for the world,” it said in an editorial.