By Warren Rappleyea The Mater Dei High School girls soccer team is coming off a tough three-day stretch that saw the Seraphs go 0-2-1, with both losses by the score of 1-0. “That’s kind of been the story of our season,” said second-year coach Jeanne Dickinson. “We haven’t played that poorly, but we’ve lost a lot of close games.” Dickinson’s club rebounded from an early-season 8-0 loss, but still ended up on the short end of the 1-0 score against Colts Neck. After forging a 1-1 tie with Shore, a team that defeated the Seraphs 7-0 in their first meeting, Mater Dei was again held scoreless by St. Rose. Although the Seraphs have several promising young players on offense, Mater Dei has had trouble putting the ball in the net this season. And senior co-captain Tracey Bowles, tied for the team lead in scoring with four goals and four assists, will be out for the remainder of the season after suffering an ACL injury against Colts Neck. Sophomore forwards Kristine Gaworek (four goals, four assists) and Ellie Miltner (three, two) have shown ability around the net, and freshman Lauren Kline has contributed a pair of goals. Co-captain Amy Gasiorowski, who plays up high in a defensive forward post, has scored once and assisted on another tally. Junior Mary Hurl and freshman Donna Dimi round out the forwards. Defensively, Mater Dei has been holding its own, despite some injuries. Dickinson has begun using netminder Dana Page in the middle, and the sophomore has played well. Page had been strong between the pipes, facing 183 shots, while allowing 28 goals before the move. Junior Ashley Uske has stepped into the crease and has done a solid job, the coach noted. Stopper Kristen Muscarella leads a back line corps that also includes fellow juniors Jessica DeVincenzo and Ashley Smith. Junior Danielle Oberdick, sophomores Kristen Palermo and Bridget Walsh and freshman Lauren Zgorzynski line up in the middle. “Overall the girls have been playing pretty well and the effort is there,” Dickinson said. “Since many of these girls will be back, we’re hoping to finish strong so that we can carry some of this momentum into next year.” At 3-8-1, the Seraphs find themselves in fifth place in the Shore Conference Class B South Division, and out of contention for postseason play. However, the team’s ability to play competitively with some of the division’s top teams this season has given Dickinson reason to be optimistic about the next few years. Staff Writer
FARRAH MAFFAI Old Bridge’s Steve Morris tries to keep the ball away from Aberdeen’s Sean Seery during a game at the Marlboro Labor Day Tournament last Saturday.
CHRIS KELLY Steven Morreale slides safely into third base for the Mid-Monmouth 16-year-old all-stars during a game against the Monmouth County Junior American Legion All-Stars at Monmouth University in West Long Branch on Saturday. Eastern Regional is this weekend in Clinton, Md. By tim morris Staff Writer The Mid-Monmouth Babe Ruth All-Stars did more than just win a state championship. CHRIS KELLY Bill Franks works the mound for the Mid-Monmouth 16-year-old all-stars during Saturday’s game at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. The 16-year-olds helped give the league recognition when they defeated defending champion Iron Area, 2-1, in the Northern Babe Ruth state championship that was played in Jersey City on July 16. “This was a big win for us,” said George Rothweiler, president of the Mid-Monmouth Babe Ruth League, which is in its fifth year. “It puts us on the map.” That map will include a trip to Clinton, Md., this weekend for the Eastern Regional. To win its first state title, the Mid-Monmouth All-Stars had to beat the Iron Area team, which has dominated the League not once, but twice. Mid-Monmouth turned Iron Area (Morris County) back, 3-0, behind Steve Richter, on the way to placing first in the winner’s bracket. Iron Area would come back to win the loser’s bracket to get another shot at Mid-Monmouth. However, just as was the case the first time around, Mid-Monmouth’s pitching was too strong, according to manager J.P. Noval. “We had very strong pitching,” said Noval. “Iron Area is a very talented group. We out-pitched them and we out-played them. We just played good ball.” Steve Richter’s two-run home run staked Mid-Monmouth to a 2-0 lead and starter Steve Morreale made it stand up. He went six strong innings before Noval went to Richter to close it out in the seventh. Pitching and defense is what got Mid-Monmouth through. They were deeper on the mound than anyone else, and they didn’t make mistakes behind their pitchers. “We only made one error throughout the tournament,” said Noval. Mid-Mon-mouth was especially strong up the middle with shortstop Chris Coulson, center fielder Andy Lamboy and catcher Jordan Noval. Morreale, when he wasn’t hurling, played superbly at third. Richter was the ace of a very strong pitching staff. He delivered a message to Iron Area in the opening game, when he shut the champions out. Mid-Monmouth took the momentum gained from that win and ran with it. Joe Bartlinski won the second game, 4-3, over Hudson, with John Leszewski getting the save. Dave Heimell went four innings and got the win over Bergen County, 8-2, with Bill Franks getting the save with three strong innings of relief. Morreale was great in the rematch against Iron Area, and Richter saved it. Richter’s home run was the only one hit by Mid-Monmouth throughout the tournament. Minus the long ball, Mid-Monmouth’s hitters seemed to do just enough in each game. “When opportunity came, we took it,” said Noval. The Mid-Monmouth all-stars are made up of the league’s best players, and Noval was impressed with how well they played as a team. “No one knew each other,” he said. “They bonded and came together quickly. “As a whole, all of the kids played well,” he added. “I had 15 players and everyone was an MVP.” With a deep pitching staff, Noval is confident his team can make its presence felt at the nine-team Eastern Regional. The Mid-Monmouth Stars will begin play on Saturday at 1 p.m. against the winner of the Maryland Babe Ruth title. The championship game will be Tuesday. The Mid-Monmouth 16-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars are: Jordan Noval, Bill Franks, Andy Lamboy and Craig Panella, Manalapan; Steve Morreale, Chris Coulson and Joe DiCaro, Freehold; Steve Richter and David Rada, Madison Park; Rob Ruhl and Tom Porricelli, North Howell; Mark Miglione, John Leszewski and Mike Plagianakos, Raritan; and Joe Bartlinski and Dan Heimall, South Amboy.
The Middletown Lions Club will be hosting the fourth annual Wiffleball Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 18. The event will be held at the Tindall Park tennis courts across from Middletown High School North. The one-night tournament will be open to all ages. Trophies will be awarded to the first- and second-place teams in Little League, High School-College and Adult divisions. The tournament is a charity with proceeds to support the blind and the Challenged Youth Sports program. Rosters may consist of four to five players and the entry fee is $70 per team. There is a minimum of three games guaranteed. A Home Run Derby Contest will also be part of the tournament. The Little League division will begin at 3 p.m., the High School-College Division will begin at 4:30 p.m. and the Adult Division will start at 6 p.m. Acceptance into the tournament is on a first-come, first-served basis. For registration or further questions, please send an e-mail to LionHallOfFame@aol.com or call Ray Veth (732-747-9588, 732-747-8647) or Bill Bechtoldt (732-671-0744, 732-787-5624). For the third consecutive year, the Middletown Youth Athletic Association 9/10-year-old girls softball All-Stars won the Little League District 19 Tournament. The girls had a great series in which they dominated with their pitching. The team was led by Kristi Miceli, who threw two no-hitters during the tournament. Sam Politano and Kendall Keelen also combined for a one-hit shutout. Hot hitting by Alex Raguseo, Elizabeth Gulino and Nicolette Scheinhartz helped lead the team to victory. Also contributing to the series win with their fine defensive plays were Nikki Alfano, Payleigh Behan, Amanda Kanski, Julia McCarthy, and Sinead Slade. The manager and coach for the team are Frank Miceli and Nick Alfano. Next up for the girls is the sectional tournament, which is hosted by Marlboro.
BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Eagles play Lions in Mayor’s Cup Friday From an avalanche to a trickle. That’s been the contrast in scoring by Middletown High School South’s hockey team that has had trouble reaching the back of the net. When Middletown South started at 5-0-1, it outscored opponents 77-4 while being ranked No. 1 among public schools in a poll at the start of the season. But its victories and scoring have simmered in a 7- 5-2 season as it prepares for its second Mayor’s Cup game this season against Middletown North tomorrow, Feb. 11, at 5:45 p.m. at Gold Coast Arena in Wall. Middletown South won the first meeting, 4-1, at the Prudential Center as senior Chris Connor led what Eagles coach Stan Gutt called a “good team game. We had a good power play and solid penalty kill. Everybody stepped up.” It’s the third game this week, including games against Brick Memorial on Feb. 7 and Bridgewater Raritan on Feb. 8. The game against Middletown North is the last before the Feb. 12 cutoff for NJSIAA tournament qualifying. Middletown South this season was dropped from Public School A to B Division. For the last three years, Middletown North has taken a game off South in the series, and the Eagles have the speed and the quickness in moving the puck but need to get off better shots on net.There’s little faulting goalie Chris Morsillo in the slump, since Middletown South lost to Summit, 3-1, and Brick Township, 5-1, recently. It also lost to Christian Brothers Academy earlier this month, 2-1. “We’re struggling to score,” said Gutt. “We’re fighting on the offensive end like in baseball, when you’re swinging harder and trying harder.We’re missing the net and we’re taking too long for our shots and then they get blocked.“We had our injuries, but now everybody is back,” said Gutt as the last injured player — Steve Sangeramo — returned recently.As a result, Gutt said the team is looking at getting shots off faster and rushing better to the net for rebounds.“We were pretty evenly matched with Brick, and they were putting the puck away and we were not,” said Gutt. “We took 50 shots and only 25 hit the net. We’re trying to be too perfect.” Tyler Ralph still is scoring goals, said Gutt, “and we’re getting great play from Chris Morsillo in net.” Jim Burns continues to have a standout season on defense.But the team needs to resolve its scoring drought if it wants a third straight Shore Conference A South Handchen Cup championship. There’s no hope, however, of tying or beating the 16 wins recorded by last year’s team and the 2002-03 season when Middletown South reached the state finals.Gutt said the funk began in mid-January when the Eagles squandered a 3-1 lead over Red Bank Catholic, who came back for a 3-3 tie with two late goals.“There are six games left. I’d rather have this now than at the end in the tournaments,” said Gutt. “We’re scoring one goal in many games, and when we win, we’re getting only two, three, four goals.”A solid effort on Friday in a heated rivalry will put Middletown South back on track for the postseason.
Christian Brothers Academy Unbeaten Christian Brothers Academy’s soccer team continued along with business as usual, winning an unprecedented eighth Shore Conference Tournament title, 4-0, over Holmdel on Oct. 30 at Neptune.“I think the players had a lot of confidence, but this was more of a business attitude,” said coach Dan Keane, whose veteran-laden Colts (19-0) repeated as SCT champions as the No. 1 seed. Defending NJSIAA Group III champion Holmdel, the No. 6 seed, fell to 16-3. “We have a very talented group who did what they needed to do. They were thinking now they have bigger things down the road in the states.”It was a more convincing victory for CBAthan in the earlier rounds when it beat Toms River North, 2-0, in the semifinals and pulled out a 2-1 comeback victory in overtime over Rumson-Fair Haven in the opening round. Those victories were sandwiched around a 6-2 quarterfinal victory over Point Pleasant Borough.CBA capitalized on breaks for three of its goals. Two “own” goals off CBA shots that deflected off Holmdel defenders found the back of the net, and Matt Jelinsky scored off a give-and-go from Alex Bialko for a 3-0 halftime lead. Both players replaced injured midfielders — Nick Villani, out the past two weeks with a high ankle sprain, and Scott Thomsen, who has a strain in the upper thigh.“They both had a great tournament. They’ve been in big spots this season,” Keane said of Jelinsky and Bialko.The coach expects Villani back in the lineup on Nov. 4 when CBA, the No. 1 seed in the NJSIAA Non-Public A South bracket, plays host to the winner of No. 8 seed Bishop Eustace vs. No. 9 seed Gloucester Catholic, which was played on Nov. 1. Keane will decide on game day whether Thomsen will play.“The quad really hurt and he had trouble playing on it,” Keane said.Just like the first two goals, CBA also scored its final one on a break when Bob Cartas picked up a misplayed ball when Holmdel’s goalie tried to push it out and Cartas found an opening for his shot.CBA goalie Steve Donato needed to make only one save for his 11th shutout.Many players remembered last year’s team that won its state tournament opener over Monsignor Donovan, 4- 0, and lost in the next round, 1-0, to St. Joseph’s of Metuchen in a shootout. St. Joseph’s had a 3-0 edge in penalty kicks. “They’re driven now. That loss is a motivating factor,” said Keane. “If we get Thomsen and Villani in, we’ll be fine. The defense is OK, and if the offense can get its shots, we’ll keep playing. We have to make sure our goalie keeps up and improves his play a little bit. He’s had a good year, but we have to make sure he’s ready to make the big saves.”Donato is supported by a back line that was led against Holmdel by stopper Alex Lazzaro, who Keane said “has been outstanding all year and in this game,” as well as sweeper Sean Leister.Holmdel, last year’s Group II state champions, are the No. 3 seed in the Central Jersey Group II section. The Hornets began defense of their 2010 state sectional title on Nov. 1, hosting 14th-seed Ewing.If the Hornets are victorious, they will host the next round on Nov. 4 against the first-round game between sixth-seeded Red Bank Regional and 11th-seed Point Pleasant Boro. BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent CBA defeats Holmdel, 4-0, SCT final
The Atlantic Baseball Confederation Collegiate League (ABCCL, www.abccl.com) is currently seeking host families in Middlesex, Morris, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties to house out-of-state college players who will be competing on the Jersey Shore this summer.The ABCCL, now going into its 14th season, brings together collegiate baseball players from all over the nation to participate in a highly competitive summer baseball league.If you, or someone you know, is interested or would like more information, call ABCCL President Monique Koehler at 732-671-4370 or email email@example.com.Sky Blue FC announced an additional open tryout will be held on Feb. 27-Feb. 28 ahead of the upcoming 2014 NWSL season. Cost for the two-day tryout will be $100, and online registration is currently open.To register, visit www.skybluefc.com/Players/ Tryouts/index_ E.html.Sky Blue FC announced its 2014 regular season schedule in conjunction with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Sky Blue FC will be on the road for opening weekend against FC Kansas City, and will return home on April 19 to host the 2013 NWSL Champion Portland Thorns FC for the thrilling New Jersey opener.Sky Blue FC will once again call Yurcak Field home this season, as the club returns to the Rutgers University facility in Piscataway.The 24-game NWSL regular season schedule runs from April 12 through August 17. Sky Blue FC’s final home game of the season will be on July 31, before ending the season on a three-game road trip.Sky Blue FC in Morristown announced on Feb. 5 that forward Maya Hayes has officially signed with the club, with an option for the 2015 season.Hayes was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft, and the first pick by Sky Blue FC. Per club and league policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.Items for the Sport Shorts column may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send items at least two weeks prior to a registration deadline or tryout date.
By Martyn HermanA stoppage time goal by a heavily-bandaged Martin Skrtel spared Liverpool another deflating defeat as they drew 2-2 at home to Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.Inferior for most of the match, Arsenal had led with goals from French duo Mathieu Debuchy and Olivier Giroud after Philippe Coutinho had put the hosts deservedly ahead.However, Skrtel, who required six minutes of treatment on a head wound, thundered in a late header from Steven Gerrard’s corner to deny Arsenal.Despite failing to secure all three points, Arsenal moved back into sixth spot with 27 points from 17 games, four behind fourth-placed West Ham United.While Arsenal have now lost just once in their last seven meetings with Liverpool, Sunderland have won four in a row against north east rivals Newcastle United after Adam Johnson’s late goal earned them a 1-0 win in the day’s other fixture.A riveting Tyne-Wear derby at St James Park featured more than 30 attempts on goal but Johnson’s was the only one to find the net a minute from time to give Sunderland only their third win of the season and lift them away from danger.Liverpool, languishing in mid-table, lost 3-0 at Manchester United the previous weekend when they created chances at will.It was a similar story against Arsenal as they completely dominated the opening half with some attractive passing.When Coutinho finally punished a sloppy Arsenal after 45 minutes it was the least they deserved.But the defensive gremlins that have also undermined Liverpool’s season returned immediately as Debuchy headed an unlikely equaliser in first-half stoppage time.Giroud struck what looked like being the winner after a slick Arsenal counter-attack.Liverpool had substitute Fabio Borini sent off shortly after coming on and their cause looked lost until Skrtel’s late intervention earned them a point to move them above Merseyside rivals Everton into 10th place.
By Toby DavisSunderland secured their Premier League survival after manning the barricades to tough out a 0-0 draw at Arsenal, for whom a point was enough to all but seal third place and a spot in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday.The battle to avoid relegation is now a straight shootout between Hull City and 17th-placed Newcastle United, who are two points better off heading into Sunday’s final round.Hull are at home to Manchester United while Newcastle host West Ham.Sunderland needed a point to ensure their top flight status and defended like their lives depended on it to move up to 15th, four points clear of Hull in the final relegation place.It was a frustrating evening for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, who are now unable to catch Manchester City in second, but are three points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United with a comfortably superior goal difference.
By Andrew BothTop seed John Isner cruised to his third consecutive Atlanta Open title when he beat hobbled Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets in the final on Sunday.Isner took almost exactly an hour to dispose of Cypriot Baghdatis 6-3 6-3 on a hot afternoon on the outdoor hardcourt in Georgia.The tall American used his biggest weapon, dropping just three points on serve, to secure his 10th ATP title.It was hardly a fair fight, though, because Baghdatis’s movement was hampered from the start by what he said later was an old abductor injury that flared up.Baghdatis got slower as the match progressed and an injury time-out after the first set did not help matters. He barely went through the motions in the second set but did not forfeit the match.“I didn’t want to win like that,” Isner, 30, said at the on-court victory presentation.“I hope you’re back healthy and back on tour in just a little bit. You’re a class act and I enjoyed playing you today.“I feel at home on this court. I play so well here.”Fifth seed Baghdatis, in his first final since 2011, apologised to the crowd.“That’s not the way I wanted to finish a tournament but my body couldn’t handle it today so I’m really sorry I couldn’t compete 100 per cent but I tried my best,” he said.He later told reporters he had been battling the injury since before the ATP event in Nottingham, England, in June, where he forfeited his semi-final.“I played five matches this week, the good thing is that it’s nothing serious,”The 30-year-old, a losing finalist at the 2006 Australian Open, has not won an ATP event since 2010.Isner said he was glad to be back on his best surface after a summer stint on the clay of Europe and English grass.“It’s my favourite surface, hardcourt like this that bounces pretty high,” he said.