BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer A late-season five-game winning streak has given the young Raritan High School softball team plenty of optimism and a strong foundation to build upon for next year. Coach Janet Citro’s squad (which often employs five freshmen) was struggling along at 4-13 when it suddenly caught fire and reeled off wins against Pinelands (2-0), Toms River South (5-4), University High School of Newark (20-0), Brick Memorial (9-4) and Manchester (5-2). With one game remaining, slated for Monday against Henry Hudson Regional, Citro said her girls had their sights set on the 10-win mark. “We’ve been working on our hitting all year long and it looks like all of the batting practice finally paid off,” the coach said. “The girls really came around with the bats. Earlier, many of them had their hands too low. Now, they’re not dropping their hands, and they’re making contact and putting the ball in play.” Freshman utility player Sam Helmsetter, who began the campaign as a courtesy runner, has led the renaissance by going 12-for-19 with four RBIs during the winning streak. As a result, her batting average has soared to .371. Kelly Doyle has been magnificent as well, going 10-for-18 with 12 RBIs over that span. One of just two seniors on the team, Doyle is now batting .339. Junior first baseman Nora McGlynn has raised her average to .333 by pounding out 10 hits and six RBIs during the win streak. “This is such a young team, so I’m really thrilled about the way they turned things around,” the coach said. “They were struggling and they were frustrated, but they didn’t quit. Now they’re confident and they’re expecting to play well, and we can take all of this energy and carry it into next season.” The Rockets have also received strong pitching from freshman Kerilyn Svenson, who is 7-12. In 115.2 innings of work, Svenson has 94 strikeouts and has walked 49 opposing hitters. Another freshman, Melissa Mancuso, has done well on the hill, compiling a 2-1 mark. Citro noted that second baseman Lisa Szczuplak has been solid defensively and has also contributed a .277 average to the offense. Sophomore outfielder Sheila Sim has come on late in the year after a slow start, and two freshmen – third baseman Celeste Dayawon and catcher Genna Pensabene – are gaining valuable experience. “The girls are making great progress, but they’re still not where I’d like them to be,” Citro said. “Defensively we still make inexperienced mistakes, and that happens with a young team. Our offensive resurgence has helped take some of the pressure off the defense.” In addition to the winning streak, the Rockets have had a few close losses, including a 2-0 decision to powerful St. John Vianney and a 3-0 loss at Red Bank Catholic. Raritan also reached the semifinals of the Monmouth County Tournament’s Blue Division. “All the growing pains that we went through earlier in the season will benefit us in the long run,” Citro said. “The girls have learned a lot. They know what it’s like to struggle and they also know that they turned things around. I’m very proud of them.” Postseason heating up for local teams With the state tournament getting under way this week, there are several local softball teams with championship aspirations on the line. In addition, a trio of local squads are still alive in the Shore Conference Tournament, which resumes later today with quarterfinal-round games. The Matawan Huskies completed the biggest upset of the tournament on Saturday when they beat top-seeded Toms River North, 1-0. Sophomore pitcher Jen Ortega pitched a brilliant one-hitter and hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to spur the win, and advance Matawan to today’s game against Manalapan. The Huskies were also hoping to advance in the North II Group III state tournament on Monday, when they took on Morristown in the first round. The winner of that game will get top-seeded Montgomery tomorrow. Middletown South also advanced in SCT play on Saturday by knocking off Toms River East, 2-1, as Kristen Moledo knocked in the game-winning run in the fifth inning. With the win, the Eagles improved to 12-10 on the year heading into Monday’s Central Jersey Group III tournament opener against fourth-seeded Monmouth Regional. The win over TRE also sent the Eagles into the SCT quarterfinals, where they will take on St. John Vianney today in Holmdel. The Lancers advanced via a 5-0 win over St. Rose on Saturday as Diana Sansevera tossed a one-hitter for the 20-3 SJV girls, striking out 12 and walking just three along the way. SJV’s state tournament run will begin next Tuesday, when they take on Monsignor Donovan in the first round of the Non-Public South A bracket. The Lancers are the second seed, with Bishop Ahr getting the top spot. The Keyport Red Raiders will open their run at a CJ Group I title tomorrow when they take on third-seeded Florence, while the Mater Dei Seraphs, the third seed in the Non-Public South B tournament, will take on sixth-seeded St. Peter the Apostle on Tuesday in the first round. On the baseball diamond, the Christian Brothers Academy Colts beat Toms River North, 7-2, on Saturday to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Shore Conference Tournament. The top-seeded Colts, who got a three-run home run from Vin Avella and a bases-loaded triple from Anthony Lombardi in their win over the Mariners, will take on eighth-seeded Point Boro today in the SCT quarterfinals. The Colts will also open state tournament play on Tuesday, when they will take on either St. Joseph of Metuchen or Camden Catholic in the second round of the Non-Public South A bracket. CBA is the top seed. On the other side of the bracket, St. John Vianney is the seventh seed, and will open on Friday with 10th-seeded Holy Cross. The winner gets second-seeded St. Augustine on Tuesday. Mater Dei, the seventh seed in the Non-Public South B bracket, opens Tuesday at second-seeded Gloucester Catholic, while Raritan, the sixth seed in CJ Group III, opened against Delaware Valley on Monday. The winner will take on either Roselle Park or Abraham Clark on Friday in the second round. Raritan saw its SCT title hopes end on Saturday with a 14-6 loss to Toms River East, but kept its hopes for a Monmouth County Tournament title alive with a 10-6 win over Colts Neck. The Rockets will face Monmouth Regional in the quarterfinals of the MCT. Middletown North hopes to make some noise in the CJ Group IV tournament, and opened on Monday at sixth-seeded Hillsborough, with the winner to get third-seeded Hunterdon Central on Friday. Local softball, baseball teams start state title chases
The George Sheehan Classic introduced its new distance, 5K, on June 16, and it produced very competitive races on the men’s and women’s sides.Four runners broke 16:00 on the new 3.1-mile course, which started and finished on Broad Street in Red Bank (the race had been run over five miles prior to this year), with Jon Phillips of Brooklyn, N.Y., the first to the line. He averaged 4:58 a mile, stopping the clock in 15:24.94 and setting the mark that will be the course record target for future participants.Runner-up was Tim Mulligan from Whiting (15:343.44). Third place went to Newark’s James Gathoga (15:48.69), with West Long Branch’s Rob Cavanaugh fourth (15:56.63).The women’s race was equally competitive, with six runners breaking 19:00 led by the winner, Maria Pavkovitch of Union City. She finished 17th overall in what is the new course record, 18:19.94Tina Morrison, who ran for Middletown South and the University of Pennsylvania, was runner-up in 18:27.96. Jessica Francis, Red Bank (18:32.19), Caitlin Dorgan, Red Bank (18:343.45, Dactilia Booth, Long Branch (18:41.44), and Noel Whitall, Long Branch (18:41.44), also broke 19:00. Completing the overall Top 10 were: Matt Dahl, Keansburg (16:47.24), Joe Lesniak, Point Pleasant (16:53.109), Pete Forgach, Long Branch (16:57.44), Geoff Harrison, Fair Haven (17:02.69), Patrick O’Boyle, Atlantic Highlands (17:12.94), and Sean Rath, Atlantic Highlands (17:38.19).In the team competition, Mulligan and Cavanaugh led Runners High to the men’s title. Their five-runner team average was 17:02.27.The Shore AC won the women’s team title with an average of 21:16.93, led by Wall’s Lisa Namath (19:42.39).The ShoreAC also won the Male Masters title with a team average of 19:33.26, led by Sea Girt’s Doug Twyman.Just under 1,300 runners completed the race (1,296). There was a Kids’ Classic race held on June 15.The Sheehan Classic was the second stop on the five-race Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix.The next stop is the July 14 Belmar Five-Mile Run.The other races are theAsbury Park 5K (Aug. 11) and the Pier House 5K in Long Branch (Sept. 3).For more information on the Golden Grand Prix, go to www.jsgandprix.com.
Middletown South Middletown High School South ice hockey has been a regular in postseason tournaments for the past six years. However, the Eagles are at a crossroads of whether this season will be extended.With a 3-11-3 record coming into this week, that may appear unlikely. Although there will be no state tournament games, the Eagles still have a chance to play in the Shore Conference Handchen Cup, which they won outright twice in the last four years and shared another.“We have to win at least three of the next five games,” said coach Stan Gutt. The top eight teams in Shore Conference A North and A South qualify. “No doubt about it, we can do it. We have to play an urgent game for three periods, not for one period.”Middletown South comes off a pair of 5- 2 losses to Howell High School and Freehold Township High School. But Gutt said his players realize the team has won championships in recent years and that there is a trend of success.“Absolutely. It’s a tradition they’ll try to carry on,” Gutt said. “The kids have played hard. I can’t ask for any more. It’s just one of those years where the puck is not bouncing our way.”“We’re looking to really step it up for the next couple of games,” said senior captain and defenseman Cole Ditzel. “I definitely feel we’re able to come back. Early in the year it was tough getting the chemistry and now we’re working as a team a lot better. Even practices are better. I’m optimistic.” There are five league games left coming into this week, including a Jan. 22 game against Marlboro High School and two games on the weekend against Manalapan High School (Jan. 26) and Christian Brothers Academy (Jan. 27 at 4:15 p.m.) Middletown South suffered its only decisive loss this season to the Colts, 10-2, on Dec. 10.The Eagles’ other remaining league games are against Middletown High School North on Feb. 9 at the Prudential Center in Newark and against Howell. Middletown North beat Middletown South, 3-1, the first time they played with all three goals coming in the first seven minutes.“We’re young and I knew we’d struggle from the beginning of the season to score,” said Gutt, who has relied on forwards Adam Gold, a senior captain; Tanner Nielsen, a senior assistant captain; and Nick Malvasi, a junior.“We’re definitely working hard to put more shots on net, to get some rebound goals,” Ditzel said.Gutt pointed out that Middletown South has allowed 28 goals in its last 10 games — a 2.8 goals per game average — behind a defense led by Ditzel and junior Anthony Bartos. Sophomores Anthony Yurkowski and Sawyer Napoli are second-shift defensemen. Ditzel missed the last two games with a neck injury but he was medically cleared on Jan. 21 to return.“He anchors our power play. Not having him hurt us,” Gutt said.The defense has helped goalies Sean Sliwicki, a senior, and freshman Owen Liskiewicz, who has picked up more game time of late. Sophomores Drew Brace and Wes Friberg have contributed as backup forwards. BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
BY MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent Hornets topped CBA to repeat as county champions With a tournament championship already in the books, Holmdel continues to solidify its position as one of the best tennis programs in New Jersey. The boys tennis team won its fourth consecutive Monmouth County Tournament last weekend (April 28-29) at Tindall Park in Middletown, sweeping all six contests in straight sets.The tournament proved to be a battle between Holmdel and Christian Brothers Academy. Junior Derek Liu, competing at first singles, eliminated CBA’s Nick Sharwarko in the semifinals before defeating top-seeded Maclane Smoke of Manasquan.Freshman Mike Chen, who played in the United States Tennis Association’s Easter Bowl last month, registered a tournament win at second singles. He defeated Peter Cangialosi of CBAin the finals. The Hornets’ Daway Chou-Ren became the first player to win a fourth-straight third singles title. Chou-Ren, a senior, is in his fourth season at third singles.“He really has embraced that spot,” Holmdel head coach Chuck Chelednik said of Chou-Ren’s tournament success at third singles.In the final match at first doubles, Holmdel’s Ganesh Natarajan and Michael Li, both seniors, defeated Mike Montanelli and Mike O’Malley of CBA. Sophomore Sam Joynson and senior Daniel Tu of Holmdel won second doubles over CBA’s Henry Manley and Mark Robinson.The Hornets showed off their depth at third doubles, where they had two of their own teams in the final match. Senior Ken Hua and freshman Ray Wang secured the title by defeating fellow Hornets Ethan Wang, a junior, and David Lin, a freshman.The Hornets (13-3) closed out the day with 30 team points, while Christian Brothers Academy finished in second place with 18 points.The county championship gives the Hornets momentum heading into the Shore Conference Tournament, which began May 1 for Holmdel against Pinelands. With a win, the first-seeded Hornets would play either Manalapan or Colts Neck in the quarterfinals onMay 3. “The Monmouth County Tournament gives the kids a lot of confidence,” Chelednik said.Last season, CBA was upset by Marlboro, who then lost to the Hornets in the conference final. When asked about Holmdel’s chances of winning a fourth ShoreConference title in a row, Chelednik said depth becomes a deciding factor in team tournaments.“I would be kind of shocked if it isn’t us and CBA in the finals,” he said. “Depth always carries us.“We have a one and two [at singles] that can match up with anybody in the Shore, and even the state,” the head coach added.Holmdel is back in Group II for the NJSIAAstate tournament, which is slated to begin in a couple weeks. Chelednik likes his team’s odds to win the Central Jersey sectional title, and Holmdel has its sights set on a possible rematch with Livingston later in the tournament. Liu and Chen each lost their first and only matches this season when the Hornets fell to Livingston, 4-1, last month.“I would like to think that we can beat Livingston if we meet them again,” Chelednik said.
By Iacovos ConstantinouAEL was the team that gained most on the last day of the regular season in Cyprus as they increased their lead at the top from one to three points while Enosis Neon Paralimni, who graced the top division for 45 years became the second team after Alki to be relegated.Despite a poor start to the game against AEK Kouklion, AEL managed to take the lead seven minutes before the break through a Monteiro free kick. AEL rode their luck and having survived some early second half pressure hit back with two more goals from Dede and Monteiro. The icing on the cake came five minutes from the end when Monteiro completed his hat-rick.The Nicosia derby between Omonia and APOEL ended in a goalless draw with Omonia being far superior in the first half and APOEL controlling the second. It was a game where defending from both sides was shambolic and it is a mystery how the game finished goalless. Referee Mashias twice stopped the game and threatened to abandon it altogether after the assistant ref was hit by projectiles thrown from the crowd.Apollon managed to secure all three points against Aris through their captain Merkis who hit the winner in the dying second of the game. Apollon are now level on points with APOEL in second place. Aris were desperately unlucky not to get anything out of this game as they penned back their opponents for most parts of the game and missed some glorious scoring opportunites.Enosis have only themselves to blame as a win against Ethnikos Achnas would have allowed them the chance to beat the drop in the playoffs. They even took the lead through a Ttofas penalty but Ethnikos fought back and equalised before the break through Lazic. In the second half Ethnikos were the better side and should feel disappointed for not collecting all three points.Ermis Aradippou continued their impressive run defeating Anorthosis 1-0. Even though there are still many points to play for Ermis looks capable of holding onto fourth spot, a position that gives them European football for next season. Anorthosis have now gone seven games without a win and collecting just one point in the process.In the two other games AEK Larnaca scored lated against Doxa Katokopias through Tomas to pick up three points while Nea Salamina, with two goals from Mengolo and Leon secured all three points from Alki.The playoffs for positions 1-6 begins this Sunday while the games that will decide the third team to be relegated (7-12) will be played on Saturday.
By Iacovos ConstantinouTWO games into the Cyprus football league season, and the name of Ethnikos Achnas rests at the top of the table following a hard-earned draw in Limassol against AEL. In the other Monday night games, Omonia defeated Anorthosis while Apollonas scored an easy away win against Ermis Aradippou. A late goal by towering defender Gora Tull gave Ethnikos a rather unexpected but deserved point against AEL at the Tsirion stadium. AEL had taken the lead through Cantou but Pinceli levelled the score from the penalty spot. A powerful Gikievicz header restored the lead for the home team until the 88th minute when Gora Tull’s looping header beat AEL’s keeper Romero to stun the home team and send Ethnikos to the top of the table.A late goal by Cypriot striker Onisiforos Roushias gave Omonia all three points in a five-goal thriller against Anorthosis at the GSP stadium. It was a pulsating game as in the first forty-five minutes alone, there were fifteen attempts on goal with the visitors unlucky to end the half trailing by two goals to one. Both the Omonia goals came from Pote while Anorthosis had briefly levelled the score through Ende.Anorthosis equalised midway into the second half through a superb strike from Iacovenko until Roushias’ 88th-minute winner.Apollonas, buoyed by their Europa League success in Moscow last week, had few problems in overcoming last season’s Cup finalists Ermis Aradippou.Thuram gave the Limassol team an early lead with Rezek (from the penalty spot) and Meriem scoring after the break to give Apollonas a comfortable lead.Five minutes from time, Papathanasiou netted a consolation goal for the home team.On Sunday, champions APOEL managed to defeat plucky AEK Larnaca in a game that could have gone either way. Veteran striker Gustavo Manduca was APOEL’s saviour grabbing both goals after coming on as a second-half substitute for the tired looking Nuno Morais.Two more games were played over the weekend with Nea Salamina recording their first win, defeating newcomers Othellos Athienou with Monteiro getting the only goal of the game. Doxa came back from behind twice against Ayia Napa with Kolokoudias and Haber scoring for the home team, while Ricardo Fernandes scored both the Doxa goals, the second just before the final whistle.
Freestyle queen Katie Ledecky won her third gold medal of the Rio Olympics by anchoring the U.S. women to victory in the 4×200 metres freestyle relay on Wednesday while struggling Missy Franklin opened her account without being in the water for the final.Australia, who led until Ledecky dived in and turned the race around, took silver and Canada the bronze.The U.S. were the defending champions but only veteran Allison Schmitt, who swam the leadoff leg in Rio, was in the race lineup from that London 2012 golden quartet that also beat Australia into second place.Leah Smith and Maya DiRado swam second and third respectively before Ledecky, who won the 400 freestyle on Sunday and 200 free on Tuesday, brought home the gold with a typically powerful swim from behind.Franklin, who won four golds in London four years ago but suffered a dramatic loss of form at the U.S. trials, swam in the heats and collected a gold for doing so despite being dropped for the final.So too did Melanie Margalis and Cierra Runge.“It’s such a great honour to be a part of a USA relay team,” said Ledecky, still only 19 but the outstanding female swimmer on the U.S. team.“I think I was prepared for any circumstance, whether we were ahead or behind. I just knew that these three girls were going to put me in a good position to finish it out and I knew I could do it,” she added.“It’s so easy to get up and swim fast when you’re swimming for three other people.”China led at the start before Australia, with Emma McKeon swimming the second leg, handed over in the lead to Bronte Barratt.With DiRado closing in on Barratt but still behind, Ledecky had work to do and she went about it with a vengeance to take the lead with just over 100 metres to go and then powering home in seven minutes, 43.03 seconds.Tamsin Cook touched out for Australia in 7:44.87 and Canada’s anchor Penny Oleksiak finished close behind in 7:45.39 with China fourth.DiRado’s gold completed her set, having already earned a silver and bronze in the two women’s individual medleys.“I was so excited to get the call up today to be on this relay,” said DiRado.“It was a dream to be on a U.S. relay and to win gold. I’m just so happy I didn’t mess it up and I gave Katie a chance.“We’ve got the rainbow now,” she added. “It feels really good.”The race may have been Schmitt’s last swim but she was not ready to confirm anything.“I am grateful for where I am right now, to be able to stand up there and hear our national anthem is something I am definitely soaking in,” she said.“I think my emotions are so high right now that I just want to soak that in and figure out the rest later.”
Dani Carvajal scored a stunning late goal as Champions League winners Real Madrid beat Europa League holders Sevilla 3-2 after extra-time in an all-Spanish UEFA Super Cup thriller in Trondheim, Norway on Tuesday.Right back Carvajal went on a weaving run in the Sevilla half in the 119th minute before lifting the ball over goalkeeper Sergio Rico and being mobbed by ecstatic team mates.“I stole the ball, saw the space and went forward,” the defender told Spanish television. “The essence of Real Madrid is never to give up.”Real looked down and out when they trailed 2-1 with one minute to go in normal time but captain Sergio Ramos took the match into extra-time with a last-gasp header from a cross by Lucas Vazquez in front of a crowd of 21,166.Earlier, the Madrid club, who were without Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Pepe, took the lead in the 21st minute with a superb curling shot by Marco Asensio from 30 metres.Sevilla reacted in positive fashion and were rewarded in the 41st minute when Franco Vazquez, who joined from Palermo in July, levelled with a low, left-foot volley.Jorge Sampaoli’s men then went in front with a penalty in the 72nd minute after Ramos brought down Vitolo.Yevhen Konoplyanka, who had come on as a substitute five minutes earlier, sent Real goalkeeper Kiko Casilla the wrong way from the spot.After Ramos equalised, Sevilla’s Timothee Kolodziejczak was sent off for a second bookable offence after a late challenge on Lucas Vazquez three minutes into extra-time.Real laid siege to the opposition goal for most of the additional 30 minutes and Sevilla needed Rico to pull off save after save.Carvajal’s memorable late goal meant Sevilla, who have won the Europa League for the last three years, suffered a hat-trick of Super Cup defeats.GREAT SIDE“We fought to the end against a great side,” said Sevilla defender Nico Pareja. “We did not let them have the ball but in a small detail we lost a game that we had under control.“We know that is what Real Madrid are like and you cannot give them even one chance.”Real lifted the trophy for the third time while coach Zinedine Zidane became the fifth man to win the Super Cup as a player and manager, following in the footsteps of Carlo Ancelotti, Diego Simeone, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique.“I have to highlight the collective work,” said Ramos. “To start the season by winning a title is fantastic.“We were not at full strength but we worked hard and we were rewarded.”Sevilla next meet La Liga champions Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.Real begin their league campaign against Real Sociedad on Aug. 21.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 SUNDERLAND 0Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane pounced on a comical piece of defending to break Sunderland’s resistance and secure a deserved 1-0 win that lifted the London side to third in the Premier League standings.The one sour note for unbeaten Spurs was a late ankle injury for Kane, who was wheeled off on a stretcher having scored the winner in the 59th minute after Papy Djilobodji completely missed the ball as he tried to clear.Only an inspired performance by Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford kept the hosts at bay as Tottenham managed 19 first-half goal attempts before the break, including one from Son Heung-min that hit the post.In the second half, Son hit the side netting and rolled another effort across the goal before Kane struck, pouncing on a Dele Alli knockdown after Djilobodji’s mistake.Spurs continued to press with Eric Lamela twice going close and Vincent Janssen blazing over in added time. Sunderland finished with 10 men after Adnan Januzaj was sent off for a foot-up challenge on Ben Davies, having already been booked. Charlie Austin scored his third goal in four days to deliver Southampton’s first Premier League win of the season under manager Claude Puel.After four league games without a victory, the Saints were seeking to avoid their worst start to a season since 2000-01 and got the break on 63 minutes when Austin chested down a deflected cross and fired an unstoppable shot into the top-right corner.Southampton dominated the game and Shane Long, Nathan Redmond and Cedric all missed good chances to give them an earlier lead.Austin, who had scored twice against Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, could have grabbed a second after good work by the influential Dusan Tadic but his shot was well-saved by Lukasz Fabianski.The win moved Southampton up to 14th place, one ahead of Swansea. Crystal Palace beat struggling Stoke City 4-1 on Sunday with defenders James Tomkins and Scott Dann both scoring from set pieces in a three-minute first half spell.James McArthur and Andros Townsend also scored for the Londoners before Marko Arnautovic grabbed a consolation goal for the Premier League’s bottom team in the dying seconds.Tomkins opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he stole in behind Jonathan Walters to toe-poke home Townsend’s free kick, and three minutes later Dann made it 2-0 as he headed Jason Puncheon’s corner into the back of the net.McArthur fired the third in the second half, his shot deflecting off Geoff Cameron before flying into the net in the 72nd minute, and Townsend completed the rout by curling a bouncing shot home three minutes later.Arnautovic netted Stoke’s third league goal of the season just before the final whistle but Mark Hughes’ side have now lost four straight Premier League games and conceded four goals on three occasions.
SP Hunters will take on East Tigers on Sunday in round 21 of the competition as they farewell Kalabond.Kalabond has hosted the Hunters for almost two seasons and this will be its final match for the 2015 season.The remaining two home games for the Hunters will be staged in Port Moresby at the Sir John Guise Stadium.Hunters will play Wynnum Manly Seagulls in round 23 on Sunday 16 August.This will be followed by the final round 25 match against Burleigh Bears two weeks later.Both matches will kick off at 2.30pm and will be telecast live on TV Wan Sports.