CHRIS KELLY Holmdel’s Brian Walsh makes like a fullback as he charges his way through the Monmouth Regional defense and the efforts of Brian Olsen to get to a loose ball during Thursday’s game in Tinton Falls. The hosting Golden Falcons won 3-1 to improve to 5-6 and keep their state playoff hopes alive.
Brookdale Community College’s men’s basketball will be hosting its own tournament this weekend. The four-team tourney starts on Saturday with a double-header tipping off at 1 p.m. with Brookdale taking on Rockland, out of N.Y. The nightcap follows at 3 with Essex meeting Globe, also of N.Y. On Sunday, the opening-round losers will meet in the consolation at 1 p.m., followed by the championship game at 3. The Blues opened their 2002-03 season with a nice win on the road, 79-73 over Ocean. Chris Brown poured in 26 points to lead BCC, which opened up a 42-32 lead at the half and held on in the second half to pick up the Garden State Athletic Conference and Region XIX win. Bob Varno (15) and Miguel Rodriguez (14) combined for 29 points behind Brown. On Dec. 19 there will be a mens’ and women’s double-header in Lincroft with the BCC women hosting Middlesex at 5 p.m. and the men meeting Middlesex afterward. In between games at approximately 6:30 p.m., the Brookdale Community College women’s national championship softball team will be honored. Winners of the 2002 National Junior College Athletic Association championship, Bo Scannapieco and his Jersey Blues players will receive their championship rings in a ceremony on the court.
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer The Holmdel High School soccer team has been surprisingly competitive with a starting lineup that often includes three sophomores and three freshmen, and coach John Nacarlo believes his squad can still qualify for the state playoffs. Thus far the Hornets are 2-4-1, with victories against Freehold Borough and Red Bank Catholic and a tie with Raritan. Holmdel has also lost a pair of onegoal games to Manasquan and Raritan, respectively. This is a rebuilding year for Nacarlo, whose team went 15- 4-1 a year ago and won the Shore Conference Class A Central crown as well as the NJSIAA North II Group III championship. Fourteen players from that team graduated last June. “The effort is always there, and as a whole they’re starting to play more and more like a team,” the coach said. “For several of our guys, they’re still adjusting to the speed of the game at the varsity level. They still need to play quicker, but they’re coming along. And I’ve seen a lot of good things lately, so we’ve still got our eyes on the state tournament.” Teams must have a .500 or better record at the end of play Oct. 12 to qualify. Holmdel has seven games remaining until the cut-off. Holmdel has played especially well on defense, permitting just 12 opposition goals. On the flip side, however, the Hornets have not generated quite enough offense, scoring only six goals in seven games. “Our defense is primarily made up of upperclassmen, and this knowledge and game experience has paid off for us,” Nacarlo said. “On the bright side, we’re beginning to generate more scoring opportunities; we just have to put the ball in the net.” Nacarlo’s defense is spearheaded by stopper Jason Yi, fullback Paul Wojieszek, and sophomore Eric Shirvanian, another fullback. Freshman Dan Marino has played well in goal, recording a shutout against Freehold Borough. Junior Alex Henry also sees time in goal for the Hornets. Chad Myers, junior Patrick Nizza, sophomore sweeper Patrick Strickland and freshmen Sean Davis and Rishi Desai are the midfielders. Sophomores Ashwin Kambhamporti and freshman Matt Sawaged come off the bench. Meanwhile, junior John Bjurling is Holmdel’s top scorer with four goals to his credit. He is joined up front by Guilherme Borges, sophomore Michael Vastardis, and freshmen Dan Metzger and Andrew Zheng. Zheng also doubles as a fullback when needed. “With every passing game, I’m seeing improvement,” Nacarlo said. “We’re definitely heading in the right direction and we’ll get our share of wins. I really believe our team can make it into the state tournament.” Holmdel boys running out of time to make state tournament
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer After having all three of its opening week games postponed, the St. John Vianney High School softball team faces a busy, five-game week. The Lady Lancers were scheduled to open the season on Monday at Red Bank Catholic. The two teams played four innings of scoreless ball on Friday before the contest was rained out.Yesterday SJVwas slated to hostMatawan andManasquanwill visit this afternoon.On FridayCoachKimLombardi’s team will host Rumson-Fair Haven before traveling toRedBankRegional on Saturday. “We’re really going to get going,” the coach said. “That’s a lot of softball in aweek, but the girls are ready to play.” SJV will be looking to defend its Shore Conference Class A Central crown after going 27-2 a year ago. The Lady Lancers won both the Shore Conference and Monmouth County tourneys and reached the semifinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public A Tournament where they were eliminated by RBC. Much of Lombardi’s lineup remains intact, although SJV will be without standout pitcherDiana Sansevera,who pitched every game, allowing just 17 runs overall, 12 of which were earned. She also struck out 368 hitters in 214 innings. This spring the Lancerswill be giving the ball to hard-throwing freshman Jen Retzer. Lombardi said Retzer has shown plenty of poise during the pre-season, while noting that the freshman has good movement on her pitches. Retzer will be pitching in front of a stellar defense that committed just eight errors a year ago. The Lady Lancers are strong up the middle with veteran Kristin Kaelin, a senior, behind the plate; Jamie Petraglia and KaseyBulman at shortstop and second base, respectively, and fleetAshley Fasano in centerfield. Kaelin is also the team’s top returning hitter. Last spring she his .420with 19RBIs. Karissa Battaglia, a junior who moves from first to third base this season, batted an even .400 with 21 RBIs a year ago. Petraglia returns to the leadoff spot, where she hit .320 as a sophomore. Bulman, whomay see some action on themound, batted .250 as a freshmanwith several key hits, and Lombardi is expecting more now that Bulman has a year of varsity experience. Another soph, Nicole Saggiomo, showed promise at the plate as well, batting .250. Saggiomo will move to first base from right field. Junior Renee DiBlasio will be in right field and Kelsey Ehault, a sophomore, is the left fielder. Other members of the team include pitcher Jamie Miller and outfielder Nicole Scanlon, both seniors; infielder/DHSamAmbrose, a junior; infielderMaggie Tabacci and outfielder/DH Steph Solari, both sophomores, and infielder Lauren Allingham, a freshman. “We’re counting on our defense to get the job done again,” Lombardi said. “Defense wins championships and that’s always been our focus. That was really a key to our success last season.” Offensively, the lady Lancers have plenty of speed and Lombardi plans to keep things relatively simple. “Wewant to get people on base andmove themover,” she said. “We’re working on trying to score a run an inning. If we can do that, we should be able to win a lot of games.”
Monmouth University Athletics is now selling season tickets and new MAC Packs for the men’s and women’s basketball seasons, currently the only way to get tickets for games in the new Multipurpose Activity Center, scheduled to open this fall on the campus of Monmouth University in West Long Branch. Ordering now guarantees seats for the arena-opener on Nov. 13, when the men’s team hosts Coach Isiah Thomas and Florida International University or for the Seton Hall game Nov. 15. Individuals who purchase season tickets before Oct. 1 will have the opportunity to select their seats by joining Monmouth Athletics for “Seat Selection Day” Oct. 16 and 17. MAC “Five” Packs offer fans the opportunity to see some of what promise to be the most exciting games, including the FIU opener and the Seton Hall game. Individual game tickets go on sale to the general public on Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. Orders may be placed by contacting Tom Frye at 732- 901-6498. For more information, visit Monmouth Athletics at www.Go- MUHawks.com. Mike DiGennaro of Keyport is competing in the Smith & Wesson 2009 U.S. Practical Shooting Association’s (USPSA) National Handgun Championships at the Desert Sportsman’s Rifle & Pistol Club outside Las Vegas, Sept. 11-19. Practical shooting incorporates skill, precision and speed shooting. During the event, shooters will navigate a series of obstacles laid out over 16 stages, or courses of fire, designed to simulate potential real-world scenarios. Shooters move quickly through the various obstacles competing on both speed and accuracy. Over 225,000 rounds will be fired throughout the matches. The Smith & Wesson USPSA National Handgun Championships are the culmination of numerous events held throughout the country and the highlight for elite practical shooters. This year’s competition will bring together more than 620 top shooters from around the nation and overseas. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County will hold its third annual Beach Volleyball Tournament from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 20 at Convention Hall Beach in Asbury park. Each team will consist of 6-8 players competing in a fun-filled day of beach volleyball. Team members will each be asked to raise a minimum of $75 using a provided pledge sheet. All proceeds will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County. The day will include food, beverages, music by radio station 95.9 The WRAT, along with fun for all participants. Prizes will be awarded to the person earning the highest pledge amount and to the tournament winners. For more information, registration and volunteer opportunities, visitwww.bbbsmonmouth.org.
BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Howie Brey’s schedule is just as hectic during the summer as during the school year. Perhaps even more so.Last week, the Middletown South student heading into his senior year was in Durham, N.C., playing in a baseball showcase with his New Jersey Niners team. While there, the pitcher and first baseman was thinking about being away from his high school teammates playing in the summer Greater Middlesex Conference Shore Baseball League. He also was missing the summer workouts just under way with his high school football team as the returning starting quarterback.“Summer is going well, and with my showcase team (the Niners) I have been hitting very well,” said Brey. “But it’s really tough sometimes keeping up with all of it.”Brey was part of a senior-laden Middletown South team that won the Monmouth County title, the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III sectional championship and was one victory away from reaching the state finals. The Eagles lost 7- 0 in the state semifinals to Seneca and pitcher Kevin Comer, a second-round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays.“We did not play well in that game, and Comer was unbelievable and stayed ahead (in the count) with his pitching,” said Ryan Spillane, who was voted the Monmouth County Coach of the Year.Brey realizes both of his high school teams will be counting on him.“In football, we really want to get back into the state playoffs,” said Brey.And the baseball team will rely on him and center fielder Dan Sweeney next spring to lead a team wiped out by graduation after a fine 19-9 season that began with a slow 9-7 start for its best season since 1999, when it won its last state sectional title. “We knew in the beginning of the season we’d make a good run, and then we lost four in a row, and we didn’t know if we would do this,” said Brey. “Then our bats and pitching turned on at the end.”Spillane felt last summer’s commitment set the trend when the team won the Greater Middlesex Conference Shore League division title and advanced in the Don Mattingly Tournament all the way to the state finals where it lost to host Bridgewater. Brey must ascend from being the No. 2 pitcher with a 6-4 record and his best outings at the end of the season in the big games to the No. 1 spot held by Will Siegfried, who is going on to a college career at Stevens Institute.“It’s definitely a great help playing in the summer league,” saidBrey. “Most of the kids on the team now were on the junior varsity and did not play with the varsity guys. Now we can get a good feeling to play with them and it’s coming together as the summer comes along.”Right now, Spillane said it’s an “up and down” summer as the reformed team looks to find itself.“The younger guys can see my philosophy of how I do things, what they can and can’t do,” said Spillane. “It’s a process; that’s what summer’s about. They’re starting to do more things right. The big thing is attitude, the right approach to doing things. The younger guys haven’t figured that out yet. ” Along with Siegfried, Middletown South must find replacements for graduated catcher Rob Marcickiewicz, second baseman Sean Kennedy, shortstop Mike Gannon and right fielder Chris Mangarello as well as pitchers Mike Bergin and Rob Barnek, who were rated right behind Siegfried and Brey on the totem pole of the pitching staff.“He should be our leader next year,” said Spillane of Brey, who he said got stronger throwing his fastball, curve and changeup that led to a 1.85 ERA. “He has the ability to raise his level in key situations. If not for Siegfried, who was 9-1, he’d be our No. 1 pitcher this spring and next year, he’ll be one of the best pitchers in the Shore.”Brey pitched a 4-3 victory over Monmouth Regional in the Monmouth County tournament semifinals before the Eagles won that title by snapping Red Bank Catholic’s 24-game win streak, 8-5. He also pitched the first nine innings, striking out 13 Jackson Liberty batters, of a 13-inning 1-0 victory in the section semifinals. The Eagles won that title over Brick Township, 7-1.“I’m working on my curveball for more strikes,” said Brey. “I’m trying to throw it harder and more effectively because it was a little slow in the spring.”Brey also batted .372 with 18 RBI.Sweeney, meanwhile, made one big play after another, said Spillane, as one of the best defensive outfielders in the Shore. Nick McGann, who will be a junior in the fall, is back behind the plate after missing most of the season with a hip injury. Mc- Gann started the first eight games but when he got hurt, Marcickiewicz was coming back from a shoulder separation at that time and ready to step in the rest of the season . Mike Grossi, a rising junior, is back at third base and Stefan Poggioli, a rising senior, is back in left field.“He was a big part of our run,” said Spillane of Poggioli, who threw out a runner at the plate in the ninth inning with his great arm as Middletown South held onto a 5-3 victory.Brian Healey, a senior this fall, was a designated hitter whose dedication impressed Spillane. “He’s all about baseball,” said the coach.Eric Obsteins, a senior this fall, stole 15 bases.Spillane said no starting spots are guaranteed next season, however, and sees some prospects coming up from a 13-8 jayvee team that lost in the finals of the St. John Vianney tournament to Toms River North on a walk-off home run.“The guys who have been there will be a big part of the upcoming season,” said Spillane. “Now, it’s a matter of experience and the younger guys filling the shoes of those who graduated.” Baseball team will return two starters from championship season
Middletown Little League’s softball team regained the District 19 championship after a winning a memorable finals with defending champion Lincroft.“It was a real thriller,” Middletown manager John Yeasky said of the 12-11 victory at the Marlboro Little League field.Isla Brennan’s two-RBI single with runners on second and third won it for Middletown. Caliegh McAnuff and Danielle Kearns started the inning off with base hits.The championship game was played in the rain, and it was a challenge for both clubs. Fielding was difficult, and pitchers had trouble with their control leading to the high score.Pitching was generally Middletown’s strength throughout the tournament, with Casey Klatt picking up three of the team’s four wins.Besides the pitching, Middletown had something else going for it. “Our hitting is really good,” Yeasky said. Middletown scored 57 runs in the four games. It allowed just 18 runs, including the 11 runs in the rainy finals.Middletown opened play in the tournament against defending champion Lincroft and advanced in the winner’s bracket with a 14-5 win. The all-stars followed that up with 18-1 (Long Branch) and 13-1 (Marlboro) victories to advance to the finals.Lincroft played its way back to the finals through the loser’s bracket, beating Marlboro, 19-4.“We’re pretty happy we won the district for the first time in four years,” Yeasky said.The Middletown 11/12 all-star softball team players are Casey Bogues, Isla Brennan, Allisa Carfora, Olivia Cerbo, Samantha Kanach, Danielle Kearns, Casey Klatt, Caliegh McAnuff, Madison Shevlin, Melina Wilton, Tara Wehner, Victora Yeasky and Valerie Zoda.Manager Yeasky’s coaching staff included Jim Kearns, Terry McAnuff and Dan Shevlin. By TIM MORRIS Staff Writer
By TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Monmouth University quarterback Greg DePugh goes through a passing drill at a recent practice in West Long Branch. The Hawks, who join the Big South Conference this year, will kick off their 2014 season at home on Aug. 30 against Delaware State University at 1 p.m. FRANK GALIPO A nticipation for the start of the college football season always runs high this time of the summer.At Monmouth University, there’s an extra buzz for the start of the season, because after a year of playing an independent schedule, the Hawks officially join the Big South Conference this fall.“Being part of a conference is something exciting for our team,” said head coach Kevin Callahan, who is in his 22nd season at the helm of Monmouth’s program.With the excitement of starting something new comes the challenge of joining an already existing conference.“We’re playing catch-up,” Callahan said. “[The Big South is] a very talented conference.“Teams are very athletic, their offenses are wide open, and their defensive fronts attack you. The Big South is a premier conference, one of the best in the country.”Monmouth got a good look at the conference last fall when it played Liberty University, losing (45-15) early in a season that saw the Hawks go 6-6.Callahan and the Hawks’ coaching staff have had their eyes on the Big South the last year. It has impacted the type of athlete they’re looking to recruit, and they’ve tweaked their offenses and defenses.Offensively, the Hawks have the capability to hit the home run or grind it out on the ground.A big plus is the return of quarterback Brandon Hill (Audubon). Last year, he was a transfer from the University of Massachusetts and new to the Hawks’ system.“He’s been here a full year, and he’s more comfortable with the offense,” Callahan said.He’s a classical drop-back quarterback. Last year, the senior passed for 2,356 yards and 19 touchdowns.Making things easier for Hill is Monmouth’s receiving corps.“I’m really happy with our depth at receiver,” Callahan said.Heading the receivers is senior Neal Sterling (Manasquan). He was Hill’s favorite target with 57 catches for 647 yards and six touchdowns. Sterling set the school’ single-game reception’s record with 13 against Lehigh University.Providing the balance to the offense is running back Kwabena Asante (Silver Spring, Md.), who transferred from West Virginia University following his freshman year. The senior ran for 1,080 yards last year and eight touchdowns. He averaged 6 yards per carry.“All the pieces are there,” Callahan said. “We have firepower.”Callahan’s biggest concern is up front on the offensive line, where the Hawks are breaking in three new starters. “[It’s] proving to be a challenge,” he said. On the other side of the ball, the line is the strength of the Hawks’ defense. It is talented, deep and filled with veterans, Callahan reported. Pat O’Hara (Souderton, Pa.), Darnell Leslie (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Dimitrius Smith (Jackson Memorial) can all disrupt an offense with the push they get off the ball. Leslie and O’Hara, both seniors, spent a lot of time in opposing backfields, combining for 14.5 tackles for a loss. Smith, a junior, missed last year to an injury, and his return adds talent and depth to the unit.Callahan said he’d like a little more experience at linebacker, but he has two solid returnees in outside backers Payton Minnich (Harrisburg, Pa.) and John Sieczkowski (Manalapan). Sieczkowski, a junior, started all 12 games last year and had 46 tackles with 22 solos. Minnich, a sophomore, appeared in all 12 games and had 21 stops.The Hawks’ secondary is led by Joe Johnson (Manchester). The junior is coming off a “very good year,” according to Callahan. The former Manchester Township High School standout had 49 total tackles in 2013, including 36 solos.Callahan’s biggest concern for the defense is how it “matches up when [teams] spread us out.”The Hawks kick off the season with backto back home games, first against Delaware State University at 1 p.m. on Aug. 30 and against former Northeast Conference rival Wagner College at 1 p.m. on Sept. 13.Monmouth will not make its Big South debut until Oct. 25 at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., at 1 p.m. The Hawks’ first Big South home game is against Charleston Southern University at 1 p.m. Nov. 1. They end the season at home against Gardner-Webb University at noon on Nov. 22.Monmouth plays the final five games of its 11-game schedule against Big South foes.Callahan likes the way the schedule breaks out. It gives the team time to gel before starting conference play, and he likes keeping a “Northeast flavor to the schedule.”“I’m very pleased [with the schedule],” he said.In the Big South preseason poll, the Hawks were picked to finish fifth. Coastal Carolina University and Liberty, which shared the championship in 2013, were picked to go first and second, respectively.Monmouth has three players who were put on the Preseason College Football Awards Watch List — defensive end O’Hara. running back Asante and wide receiver Sterling.This year’s Hawks roster is lined with local talent, as Callahan has done a fine job keeping talent in the Jersey Shore.Among those staying home along with Sieczkowski and Smith are defensive back Jahmer Bunch (Red Bank Regional), offensive lineman Peter Righi (Rumson-Fair Haven), offensive lineman Russ Clayton (Monroe Township), defensive lineman Jack Eisenstadt (Rumson-Fair Haven), defensive lineman Manny Maragoto (Freehold Township), offensive lineman Ryan Wetzel (Colts Neck), tight end Evan Ruane (Shore Regional), defensive lineman Daivone Thomas (Allentown) and defensive lineman Zak Irizarry (North Brunswick).
By Nemanja BjedovMarcos Baghdatis has been drawn to take on Japanese qualifier Go Soeda – who dropped just one set in three qualifying matches to earn his place in the main draw – in the first round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday evening.The 28-year-old Cypriot defeated world number 132 Soeda in their only previous meeting at last year’s London 2012 Olympics on grass.If Baghdatis overcomes the Japanese, he would then set up a second-round contest with either the 17th seed South African Kevin Anderson or Daniel Brands of Germany.Should the Limassol native reach the third round, he would set up a likely contest with ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, with the winner seeded to meet fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych in the fourth round.This will be the eighth appearance for the 28-year-old Cypriot at Flushing Meadows, and he is bidding to get past the second round for the first time.Baghdatis holds a 11-16 record this season after suffering 11 first-round exits from the last 12 tournaments.Earlier this month, he reached the quarterfinals in Washignton, but after the Cincinnati elimination that followed, he decided to skip the Winston-Salem event, the ultimate US Open series test, citing personal reasons.
By Mark PangalloTHE next instalment of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s mind games with Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini and Arsenal’s chance for redemption against Liverpool provide the backdrop to a mouth-watering FA Cup fifth round .The Premier League’s top four clubs meet in the world’s oldest domestic cup competition this weekend while holders Wigan Athletic, now in the Championship, visit relegation-threatened Cardiff City .Chelsea and Arsenal are chasing an FA Cup-Premier League-Champions League treble while City can go one better as they will also contest the Capital One Cup final against Sunderland next month.City host Chelsea on Saturday (7.15pm), their second meeting inside a fortnight after Mourinho produced a tactical masterclass to end the 100 per cent home league record of Pellegrini’s team this season.Mourinho, disappointed to see his side concede a late goal to draw 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion in the league on Tuesday, has been in a war of words with Pellegrini over their respective title chances, Financial Fair Play, transfers and an off-the-ball incident involving Yaya Toure.City, who had their game with Sunderland on Wednesday called off due to bad weather, have suffered a dip in form in recent weeks.Despite being the fresher of the two sides, they will be without Brazil midfielder Fernandinho and Argentina striker Sergio Aguero against Chelsea.Other than one outburst last week, City manager Pellegrini has tried to remain silent in the face of Mourinho’s public pronouncements although he did acknowledge “the team with the strongest mentality is the one that will win the title”.Sunderland host Southampton on Saturday (2.45pm) when Sheffield Wednesday also entertain fellow Championship side Charlton Athletic.Arsenal, nine years without a trophy, could do with a boost to their fragile confidence when they host Liverpool on Sunday (6pm), having been blown away 5-1 when the teams met at Anfield last weekend.A clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Wednesday will at least have handed the Arsenal defenders a timely lift.Defender Per Mertesacker said the Liverpool defeat was “one of the worst setbacks” of their season.“Every defeat creates a difficult moment but it could have been worse,” said manager Arsene Wenger.“After (the opening-day defeat by) Aston Villa nobody would have put us in the position we are in today.”Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s late winner from the penalty spot that secured a 3-2 victory at Fulham on Wednesday will add even more belief to Brendan Rodgers’ side.Also on Sunday, Everton host Swansea City (3.30pm) and third-tier Sheffield United welcome Championship team Nottingham Forest (5pm).Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion entertain Hull City on Monday (9.45pm)