Colts avenge last year Colts avenge last year’s loss to RBR with solid team effort By tim morris Staff Writer VERONICA YANKOWSKI Christian Brothers Academy’s Will Melofchik finishes off his second-place run at the Oct. 15 Monmouth County Cross Country Championships held at Holmdel Park. There was plenty of reason for Melofchik to smile afterward as CBA reclaimed the team championship. Order has been restored. The Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft) cross country team reclaimed the Monmouth County Championship on Oct. 15 at Holmdel Park behind a collection of outstanding performances. A year ago, Red Bank Regional snapped CBA’s 20-year reign as county champion and shook up the cross country world. The Bucs returned to Holmdel Park a year later determined to prove that it was not a one-year fluke. Meanwhile, the Colts were burning with a desire for redemption. Their mission began the moment the Bucs dethroned them. Results from this year’s Shore Coaches Invitational on Oct. 5, where the Colts and Bucs ran in separate divisions, indicated that the Colts had an edge on the Bucs, but they also carried an edge into last year’s race as well. It was close enough between the two that the winner would be determined by which team ran the best top to bottom. It was CBA which vented a year’s worth of waiting in less than 17:00. VERONICA YANKOWSKI Middletown South’s Jaime Liberti finished fourth at the Monmouth County Cross Country Championships on Oct. 15 at Holmdel Park. She was the first runner across the finish line for the Eagles, who nipped Red Bank Regional, 87-91, for the team championship. With both teams performing better than the Shore Coaches, it was CBA that ran superbly, placing all five of its scoring runners in the top 20 and beating the Bucs handily, 46-90. RBR had the individual champion with junior Rob Dennis out-kicking the Colts’ Will Melofchik over the last 800 meters. Dennis turned in a personal best, 16:16.5, in topping Melofchik, who also ran a pb, 16:24.2. It was one of the fastest races in recent years with 16 runners breaking 17:00 at Holmdel Park. Behind Melofchik there was a sea of blue. Pat Ryan and Jake Zorski continued their rapid improvement, posting 16:33.23 and 16:38.5 in finishing fourth and seventh for CBA. The Colts’ fourth runner, Brett Fiorovanti, was 13th (16:51.1), and their fifth man, Peter Glackin, (17:06.9) was 20th. The county championship was a performance good enough to put CBA back in the race to be the top team in the state. The Colts are ranked fifth in the Northeast region by The Harrier magazine. Their five-runner average of 16:43.16 was far better than the 16:57.88 they averaged at the Shore Coaches when they lost to the state’s No. 1-ranked team, Mainland, which had a 16:52.54 team average that day. Matawan (159) was fifth, led by Thomas Walsh (16:34.1), who himself finished fifth. Chris Bradley was 21st (17:17.8) and John Smith, 33rd (17:34.4). Dan Ciambrone of Middletown South was sixth (16:36.2) and that helped the Eagles place seventh (212). St. John Vianney (Holmdel) (227) was eighth as Eric Walker led the Lancers in 15th place (16:55.3). Victor Vientos (17:21.5) was 22nd and Tom McLoughlin, 30th (17:32.6). Holmdel was 10th (272) behind the 10th-place run of Leo Vignon (16:50.5). Middletown South and Red Bank Regional have quickly developed a rivalry this year. The Eagles beat RBR’s girls at the Shore Coaches Invitational, but at a dual meet the Bucs snapped the longest girls’ dual meet winning streak in the Shore, 45, when they edged South 27-29. The streak dated back to 1994. Because of the presence of Amanda and Katy Trotter, who will run one-two every time, the Eagles have to rely on their ability to bunch their runners closer together to top the Bucs. Last weekend it was just enough to give the Eagles an 87-91 win over RBR. Katy (18:40.0) and Amanda Trotter (18:40.2) ran one-two as expected to start the Bucs off. South countered with Jamie Liberti (19:59.3), Tina Morrison (19:59.6) and Kolleen McCauley (20:25.0), who finished fourth, fifth and eighth. That gave Middletown South a slim lead through three runners (Beth Mayer was 16th for RBR in 21:03.8). After four runners, RBR had the lead back by a single point with Michelle Walsh (21:29.9) placing 30th and the Eagles’ Annie Castellano, 33rd (21:33.3). It came down to the fifth runner, and a 37th place by Kristina Pachman (21:39.6) provided the Eagles’ winning margin. Holmdel (138) and Mater Dei of Middletown (202) were sixth and seventh. The Hornets were led by Ashley Folchetti, who finished seventh (20:20.4). Jasmin Rodriguez (21:22.3) and Lisa Picascia (21:22.5) were 24th and 25th. Pacing the Seraphs was Ashley Thompson and her ninth place (20:27.0). She was the second freshman to finish in the top 10 with Howell’s Kellee Hand leading the youth charge with a third place (19:52.6). Laura Dolan was 18th (21:11.3) for Mater Dei. Laura Carpenter of St. John Vianney was 17th (21:11.0). By tim morrisStaff Writer
On July 30, nine talented girls from Monmouth County will proudly carry their banner at the opening ceremonies of the AAU Girls Basketball National Championship tournament in Kingsport, Tenn. For most of these girls, it is a return trip for either the second or even third time. For all of them, it is an honor that never loses its thrill. With an impressive 13th-place finish as U11’s last year, the team hopes to come back even stronger and more focused. Beginning in September, the girls, who all play for their town’s travel and school teams as well, devote almost all their free time doing what they love to do. Training sometimes four days a week and playing up to five games a weekend requires a great deal of commitment not usually seen in kids their age. Yet their dedication rarely falters and it shows in their imposing win/loss record. Reaching the goal of participating in the Nationals makes all the work and all the time spent in the gyms worth it. Grouped together by age, these nine young athletes have united as a team, with each girl bringing her own unique talent and determination. Original team members Ashley Cooper, Stacey Coyle, Heather Gurdon, Amanda Spinella, and nationally ranked forward Sy’Essence Davis, of Neptune, were joined last year by 6-1 center Victoria Lesko. Added this year from other local nationally ranked AAU teams are Niki Popyer, Angela Stenborg and Ellie Wilbur. The blend of old and new players has strengthened the team and deepened the bench. Head coach Kevin Kresge is thrilled to have nine girls on his bench who can move in and out of a game with equal ability. Kresge has great confidence in this year’s group, and expects each one to give him and her teammates 100 percent in Tennessee, as they have all year. Since AAU teams are self-sustaining and self-funded, the families make countless personal and financial sacrifices to provide their daughters with the opportunity to play at this level. Not just the parents, but the siblings who unselfishly attend most, if not all, events, share in those sacrifices. Brothers and sisters, moms and dads, are all part of the Sting team family and can be seen cheering and fundraising alongside the players. With just two weeks left, Kresge and his coaching staff plan to practice intensively with the team and ready them to hopefully bring back a first-place win. Of course, as one of merely a thousand or so girls from all over the nation in attendance, each Sting girl is a winner already.
Rutgers men to take on St. John’s Saturday at Raritan High School Soccer fans of all ages should plan on making their way to Raritan High School in Hazlet on Saturday. On the bill is a special celebration of both the sport and a local soccer legend as the Hazlet United Soccer Association (HUSA) holds the first Doug Hamilton Memorial Soccer Classic. The highlight of the day’s events will be a Big East showdown between Rutgers University and St. John’s University at 7 p.m. However, prior to the game, a full day’s worth of activities are planned. including youth soccer clinics for players 14 and under. Former Metrostars, Tab Ramos (National Soccer Hall of Fame) and Steve Jolley will be in attendance and assist in the youth clinics offered. The HUSA is hoping there will be additional dignitaries in attendance as they celebrate the life of Doug Hamilton. This event is a tribute to Hazlet native Doug Hamilton, who was president and general manager of both the Miami Fusion (2000-02) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (2002-06) of Major League Soccer (MLS). Hamilton was awarded the MLS Executive of the Year award three times, and in his honor the league has since renamed the award the Doug Hamilton MLS Executive of the Year award. Hamilton, 43, who passed away suddenly in March 2006 of heart complications, starred on the Raritan High School soccer team (class of 1981), the same high school from which Rutgers head coach Bob Reasso also graduated, and played as a child for his hometown club, Hazlet United S.A. His contributions to the sport, on both a local and national level, made him a beloved figure throughout the soccer community, leading to the formation of this event in his honor. “I knew Doug for 27 years,” Reasso said. “He was a dear friend and a consummate professional. He was, without question, one of the most influential men in soccer in our country and he leaves behind a fantastic legacy. With this annual game, we are hoping to honor Doug by helping his family and giving something back to youth soccer, which Doug certainly would have wanted. We are hoping that soccer fans in the New Jersey area will come out and make this a fitting tribute to this great man.” Free youth clinics, featuring instruction from Rutgers, St. John’s and Raritan High School coaches and players, begin at 4 p.m. for youths 14 and under. Short-sided youth games, featuring teams from the Hazlet United Soccer Association prior to (and at halftime) the Rutgers v. St. John’s game, which will also showcase the local talent. There will also be a silent auction/raffle, featuring various memorabilia from the soccer and sporting community. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for youth (13 years and younger) and will be available on site the day of the game. For additional information, contact Peggy King (club treasurer of the Hazlet United Soccer Association) at (732) 241-0667 of e-mail email@example.com. – Doug McKenzie
Tailback Chris Mayo, who rushed for more than 800 yards a year ago, is back along with quarterback Ken Dietrich, who displayed a strong arm when called on. Dietrich will run an attack that will use both one- and two-back sets as well as the shotgun. Tackle Greg Arrington (6-0, 255) and guard Dave Malgado (6-0, 225) both return to the offensive line.The remainder of coach John Amabile’s offense is young, but it does have experience. Running back Charlie Davis, a sophomore who played some quarterback a year ago, ran for nearly 750 yards.The rest of the backfield includes junior fullbacks Anthony Corona, Gil Keough and Julian Mayo, as well as freshman fullback Jazzmar Clax. Kevin Mercurio and Marco Recchia are the wideouts, and Ralph Joseph will play tight end. All three have good hands, Amabile said. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer Lancers look to improve upon last year’s 4-6 record With several seniors returning at key positions, the St. John Vianney High School football team will be looking to improve upon the 4-6 mark it recorded last spring. PHOTOS BY JEFF GRANIT staff Above: St. John Vianney fullback Jazzmar Clax breaks through the line during a recent scrimmage against Middletown High School North. Below: Vianney’s Marco Recchia gets tackled by North’s Dan Wallman. Rounding out the line are three sophomores: center Nick Dragonetti (5-11, 190), guard Chris Mason (5-11, 195) and tackle Alec Alspach (6-0, 215).”We’re going to rely on our quarterback to keep control of the game” Amabile said. “It will be important for us to limit our mistakes and hold onto the ball. Our line is a bit inexperienced, but if they can come along, we have the capability to put up points.”As in past years, many of the Lancers will line up on both sides of the ball. Arrington, Malgado and Alspach will alternate at the defensive end spots, along with junior Matt Barbieri. Matt Brown, a junior, is the nose guard. Senior Nick Badalementi will be part of the linebacker corps that also includes Clax, Keough and Julian Mayo. The secondary is experienced with Davis, Corona and Chris Mayo, and possibly Dietrich as well.”Our defense will be a key for us,” Amabile said. “We’re going to need them to make some big plays and develop a decent pass rush. Our goal is to shut teams down quickly and make them go three and out. If our defense can develop that kind of consistency, we’ll be all right.”Amabile also noted that sophomore Tom DiPaula will handle most of the kicking duties, including kickoffs. In addition, reserve quarterback Joe Carlucci, a junior, may see some action in the defensive secondary as well.The Lancers are scheduled to open the season at Red Bank Regional on Friday. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
ST. JOHN VIANNEY I n the opening week of the softball season, St. John Vianney High School is proving it can remain on course after losing one of its standout players.The Lancers were faced with a major setback before the season even began. Pitcher Katie Beriont, who has committed to play softball at the University of Notre Dame, suffered a season ending knee injury during the basketball season, leaving St. John Vianney without its ace.Junior Ashley Ventura was handed the ball as the new starting pitcher, and she has stepped up in a big way. On opening day, she pitched four no-hit innings, as the Lancers walloped Rumson- Fair Haven Regional High School, 25-0.Ventura also helped her own cause with a home run and three RBIs. Junior Jess Carlucci and seniors Jackie Gallagher and Katie Baron also cracked homers in the season opener on April 1. Baron drove in five runs total.The team continued the offensive onslaught against Shore Regional High School, posting a 10-0 win. Ventura booked nine strikeouts in her second shutout and went 3-for-4 with a home run at the plate.“Ashley is as good as anyone’s No. 1,” head coach Kim Lombardi said.Baron, the right fielder, and shortstop Gallagher are key veterans returning to the team this season. Behind the plate is junior Michelle King, while Carlucci also plays catcher. Senior Marlena Bevilacqua is starting at third base. Junior second baseman Erica Krumbine and freshman first baseman Megan Masi round out the infield. Another newcomer, freshman Gianna Mavica, is playing in center field. Sophomore Helena Coppola is also playing center field and serving as a designated hitter. The left fielder is junior Victoria Mahoney, who is also used as a designated player.Also on the roster are junior Brianna Keelan, sophomore Anne Manganiello and freshman Demi Rivera.Given the team’s youth in several spots, the Lancers will likely improve as the season goes on, Lombardi said. And the early results certainly look promising.On April 5, St. John Vianney improved to 3-0 by handily beating Shore Conference A Central Division rival Red Bank Catholic High School, 12-4. The Lancers broke the game open with a six-run fifth inning, thanks in part to a triple by Gallagher. Baron was 3-for-3 on the day. Ventura, who contributed three hits of her own, earned the victory.St. John Vianney will need to keep the early momentum going if it hopes to match the success of last season, when the Lancers went 29-2 overall with an undefeated run against division opponents.They also won the Monmouth County Tournament for the fourth consecutive year and edged Immaculate Heart Academy for the NJSIAA Non-Public A state title. A 25-game winning streak was snapped with a loss to Toms River High School East in the Shore Conference Tournament championship game.This season, Lombardi sees no reason why the Lancers can’t turn heads once again.“I would be surprised if we don’t take it to the finals in everything,” said Lombardi, who is in her 10th season as St. John Vianney’s head coach. “This team is capable of going far.” By MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent
By Nemanja BjedovMARCOS Baghdatis advanced to the third round at the US Open for the first time in his career after thrashing 17th seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 at Flushing Meadows.Long matches on Court 17 delayed the start, but the Cypriot was quick out of the blocks against Anderson, taking advantage of a string of unforced errors to claim the first set 6-2 in 26 minutes.The big-serving South African continued to struggle on serve as Baghdatis raced into a two-set lead.The 28-year-old Limassol man then refused to give his opponent a route back into the match as he rattled off a straight-sets win in 88 minutes, rolling the back the years with a vintage display to banish memories of a wretched run of form so far in 2013.Looking confident in his ground strokes, Baghdatis hit 34 winners, twice as many as Anderson and committed just 13 unforced errors.A strong serving display from the World No.53 ensured he did not face a break point during the match and he won 76 per cent of his service points.Baghdatis will now face Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who edged Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-5, 7-6, 6-4.This will be the third meeting between the pair with Wawrinka winning both previous encounters.He overcame Baghdatis in the second round of the Australian Open last season in four sets, while his maiden victory over the Cypriot came in 2008 at the Indian Wells Masters.
By Mike CollettArsenal, temporarily knocked off top spot after Liverpool had played earlier in the day, returned to the summit of the Premier League when they beat Norwich City 4-1 on Saturday.Jack Wilshere’s opener after 16 minutes at the Emirates Stadium capped a brilliant flowing move for the Gunners who lead the table with 19 points from eight matches.Mesut Ozil scored twice and Aaron Ramsey once as Arsenal went two ahead of Chelsea, who came from behind to beat Cardiff City 4-1 and move above Liverpool on goal difference.Liverpool slipped to third after a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United with skipper Steven Gerrard scoring his 100th league goal from a penalty.Newcastle played for the whole of the second half with 10 men after French defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was sent off shortly before halftime. Although they trailed twice, Liverpool dominated the depleted home side and deserved more than a point.Chelsea, who started the day in third place, fell behind to Cardiff City after some woeful defending by David Luiz who allowed Jordan Mutch to score after 10 minutes.Eden Hazard equalised in the 33rd minute after Samuel Eto’o nipped in to steal the ball from goalkeeper David Marshall as he was bouncing it up and down. Eto’o, Oscar and Hazard put the issue beyond doubt with goals in the second half.Champions Manchester United slipped up at Old Trafford, held to a 1-1 draw by fourth-placed Southampton.Robin van Persie scored for United in the 26th minute before Dejan Lovren equalised for the Saints a minute from the end of normal time.Gus Poyet’s tenure as Sunderland’s new manager got off to a terrible start when his bottom-of-the-table side were crushed 4-0 at Swansea City.
By Karolos GrohmannHOLDERS Real Madrid do not expect another goal bonanza at Schalke 04 in Wednesday’s Champions League Round of 16 first leg (9.45pm) after their big win last season, with midfielder Toni Kroos warning not to underestimate the Germans.Coach Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping his normally formidable attacking trident of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, known collectively in Spain as ‘BBC’, return to top form in time for the trip to Germany.The trio each scored twice in the 6-1 victory at Schalke in last term’s Round of 16 first leg but Ronaldo, in particular, has been off colour since winning a third FIFA Ballon d’Or award last month.The Portugal captain again failed to score in Saturday’s unconvincing 2-0 win at home to promoted Deportivo La Coruna in La Liga and has managed only four goals this year.In that time, Real have been knocked out of the King’s Cup by Atletico Madrid while a 4-0 drubbing at their city rivals in La Liga this month cut their lead over second-placed Barcelona to a point.“We are top of La Liga and the reigning champions in Europe,” Ancelloti said on Saturday. “It’s true that we have not been brilliant in 2015, but I hope the return of the Champions League will bring out the best in us again.”Another reason for Real’s stumble has been injuries to regular centre backs Pepe and Sergio Ramos.Pepe should be available but Ramos is not due to return for about a month and their replacements, Raphael Varane and Nacho, have looked far from convincing.“What was important was picking up confidence, and now we have to focus on Schalke. This win (Deportivo) is really good for our morale,” Real full-back Alvaro Arbeloa said.Improving Schalke, fourth in the Bundesliga, are desperate to make amends for last season’s drubbing and hope Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who missed training last week with a virus, will be fit.“He is an ice cold striker and I am happy if we have him as an option against Real,” team mate Tranquillo Barnetta told reporters.“We have nothing to lose. If we continue to play as we have done recently and stick to our plan then we have the chance to win against Real. Our aim is to win at home and we firmly believe that,” said the Swiss international.Coach Robert Di Matteo will need to see whether keeper Fabian Giefer recovers from injury in time or else hand 19-year-old Timon Wellenreuther his Champions League debut.
By Tim HanlonBarcelona’s lethal attack has put them on course for a seventh Champions League semi-final place in eight years but their shaky defence gives Paris Saint Germain a glimmer of hope on Tuesday.The Catalan side are renowned for the quick passing possession game that brought them so much success under Pep Guardiola, but now coach Luis Enrique is looking to triumph with a more direct approach.Luis Enrique remains on track to emulate his predecessor and win the treble in his first season in charge, using a style of play based around the quality of his forwards.The Barca coach had to endure plenty of criticism during the first half of the campaign and there were even question marks over whether he would last the season as he tinkered with his side’s formation.Luis Enrique has now finally settled on a game plan, one that often involves longer balls. It’s a ploy which has greatly benefited Luis Suarez who’s been deployed as a central striker.Lionel Messi, converted into the central figure of Barca’s attacking trident by Guardiola, himself suggested it would be better for Suarez to play through the middle.After a slow start following his post-world cup biting ban Suarez has now scored crucial goals for Barca including a double in their 3-1 first leg victory over PSG in Paris.Atletico Madrid, last season, are the only team to have stopped Barca getting to the semi-finals of the Champions League since 2007 and it would take something special from PSG to deny them.However, for all Barca’s flair going forward they are prone to making mistakes defensively and PSG’s only goal in the first leg came from Jeremy Mathieu, who put the ball in his own net.They also struggled defensively in their 2-0 win over Valencia at the weekend and it is an area that PSG can look to exploit.“We were not organised and lacked control in the first half (against Valencia) and they put us under pressure,” Barca midfielder, Javier Mascherano, told reporters.“These are the types of things that we have to overcome and we will analyse it.”PSG warmed up for the Camp Nou showdown with a 3-1 victory over Nice and have Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti back after missing the first leg through suspension.There are fitness worries, though, with Thiago Motta, Thiago Silva and David Luiz all doubtful.
By Alan BaldwinDouble world champion Lewis Hamilton clinched the Formula One pole trophy at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday with a flawless lap to take top slot on the starting grid for the 10th time in 11 races.The Mercedes driver will have his closest rival and team mate Nico Rosberg, last year’s inaugural pole trophy winner, alongside on the front row.The Mercedes pair will be determined not to repeat the fiasco of 2014, when Rosberg was on pole and they collided on the second lap. Hamilton kicked off a controversy after that race by accusing Rosberg of driving into him deliberately.Rosberg, who had led the championship at the same stage last year, is 21 points behind Hamilton with nine races remaining including Sunday’s.The German had been quickest in Friday practice but Hamilton banged in the quickest laps when it mattered to seize pole with a time of one minute 47.197 seconds and nearly half a second faster.“I’m really happy today with the performance of the car,” the Briton said after his sixth successive pole and 48th of his increasingly stellar grand prix career.“The car’s been feeling great on the circuit… Nico was very close but my last two laps were the best I’ve had all weekend.”It was the first time since Michael Schumacher’s domination with Ferrari in 2000-01 that a driver has chalked up six poles in a row.Hamilton’s main concern now will be a clean and quick getaway on Sunday, with the champion’s last three races being marred by poor starts.To add to the uncertainty, the starting rules have changed since the last race with the onus more on the man behind the wheel now that engineers are no longer allowed to advise the drivers remotely on the grid.A disappointed Rosberg, who suffered an explosive blowout on Friday and recognised Hamilton had been just too quick on Saturday, hoped the new procedures might mix things up.“With the new start situation, and we’re having to do everything ourselves now, there’s a lot more opportunity tomorrow even at the start,” he said.“On the run down to turn five here it is possible to overtake so my hopes are for sure still alive.”Finland’s Valtteri Bottas qualified third for Williams and will be joined on the second row by Force India’s Mexican Sergio Perez due to a five-place grid penalty for Lotus’s Romain Grosjean ahead of him.Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen failed to make it into the final phase of qualifying, for his team’s 900th race, after his engine died and the car ground to a halt on the track.The Finn’s German team mate and four-times champion Sebastian Vettel, winner of the previous race in Hungary, qualified ninth but will start eighth thanks to Grosjean’s demotion from fourth.Australian Daniel Ricciardo, last year’s surprise winner in Spa, will start in fifth place with the Williams of Brazilian Felipe Massa in sixth.Toro Rosso’s Belgian-born Dutch 17-year-old Max Verstappen qualified 15th but will drop down after being penalised for an engine change.McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will start at the back after collecting a combined 105 place drop – on a grid of just 20 places – due to multiple changes of their Honda engines.With the rules changed last month so that time penalties could no longer be imposed for untaken grid drops, McLaren took advantage of the situation by carrying out two engine swaps per car to stack up units for use without penalty at future races.