BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer First to complete unbeaten season; win GSAC Whatever obstacle the Brookdale Community College men’s soccer team faced this fall, they were able to overcome it. Whether it was playing without players due to injuries, scoring an own goal, or in one contest, missing two penalty kicks. Whatever the challenge, the Jersey Blues found a way to survive and produce the school’s first unbeaten soccer season. “Going undefeated in anything is extremely difficult,” said Brookdale head coach Mike Costa. “These kids are very resilient. They have a tremendous internal will to win.” On Oct. 13, BCC completed its historic regular season at 16-0-3 with a 2-0 victory over Bergen. Joe Parella (Howell) and Emmanuel Gonzalez (Colts Neck) scored for Brookdale and goalie Greg Gantt (Neptune) picked up his eighth shutout of the season as the team clinched the Garden State Athletic Conference championship. The Blues were 10-0 in conference play and are the first team in school history to go through the GSAC schedule undefeated. The Blues were ranked No. 3 in the country in the recent National Junior CollegeAthleticAssociation Division III poll. Along with their resilience, the Blues also had talent. Parella is the leading scorer in the conference and Region XIX with 21 goals, and Gantt is the second-ranked goalie in the nation. To Costa, Parella is what junior college is all about. At this time last year, he was a backup behind Howell’s All-State forward Kyle Bethel. This fall, BCC gave him an opportunity to shine and he made the most of it scoring 49 points (seven assists to go with his 21 goals). He ranks third in the nation in scoring. “He’s really blossomed,” noted Costa. “It’s amazing. “With him we can play more direct, not side-to-side like last year, because he’s extremely fast and a tough kid,” he added. Midfielder John Cella, a sophomore, is another example of a high school player who came into his own in college. He leads the conference in assists (12) and has five goals. John Loiodice (Brick Memorial), a sophomore midfielder, has had a big season with 12 goals and eight assists. He’s second on the team in scoring with 32 points and tied for ninth nationally. Forward Brian Fernandes (Holmdel) has helped keep teams from ganging up on Parella with his 10 goals and five assists. Sophomore Dan Mullaney (Howell) is the second leading playmaker on the team with nine assists. Brookdale not only has the No. 2- ranked keeper in the country in Gantt, but the No. 4 in Robert Daily (Matawan). Gantt has a 0.309 goals-against average (GAA) and has eight shutouts. He’s permitted just four goals all year and is attracting the attention of Division I college teams. “He’s the best goalie in Division III,” said Costa. Gantt played every minute of every game in 2007 and Costa made sure that his goalie wouldn’t be overworked this fall. Enter freshman Dailey, who has a 0.446 GAA and five shutouts. BCC even has a third talented goalie in field player Augusto Dragonetti (Wall). The Blues are working on a shutout streak of six consecutive games. If any player symbolizes the grit and determination of this Brookdale team, it is undersized defender Josh Bower (Howell). Costa kept him on the team last year because of that grit, and this fall the coach found a place for him in the back. “It has a defender’s mentality,” he pointed out. “He’s constantly beating people in the air.” The Brookdale defense has been every bit as strong as any other part of the team, led by sweeper Duane Gardner (Kingston, Jamaica). The second season begins for Brookdale today when the Blues begin play in the Region XIX tournament as the No. 1 seed. Costa is well aware that the unbeaten record means nothing at this point. He noted that BCC’s first loss would be their last loss of the year. The Blues are equally aware that they can’t be satisfied. “It’s business as usual,” said Costa of his club’s approach to the playoffs. “They didn’t celebrate very hard [after winning the GSAC]. They’re focused on what’s ahead.” BCC will play a yet-to-be-determined opponent in Lincroft. The winner will go on to the Region final being hosted by Mercer County College on Saturday. The Region champion will host the Northeast District playoff Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. That winner advances to the NJCAA Tournament in Richland, Texas, Nov. 8-9.
Soccer can frustrate you. Just ask the MonmouthU niversitym en’s soccer team and their head coach, Robert McCourt, how frustrating it can be. The Hawks saw their outstanding 2010 season come to an end in front of 1,470 fans on the Great Lawn Thursday because they could not convert on their scoring chances while Dartmouth College was superb in that area. The result was a 4-0 loss in the first round of the NCAATournament. “It’s quite disappointing to go out on a sour note,” said McCourt. “I don’t think it was a 4-0 game.” Neither did Dartmouth head coach Jeff Cook. “We had tremendous respect for this team [Monmouth], more so after playing them,” he said. “I thought the quality of our finishes in the second half made the difference.” The Hawks, champions of the Northeast Conference, were hosting a first-round match for the second straight year. Last fall they turned in one of the memorable moments in Monmouth University sports history when they defeated the University of Connecticut in a penalty kick shootout. Monmouth had no such fortune this time around. Dartmouth struck early in the match (8:44 in) when Andrew Olsen slid a shot inside the far post from the left side of the box. Daniel Keat set the play up with his short pass to the senior forward, who got off a low screamer. Cook, whose team is one of four schools from the Ivy League in the tournament, thought getting the first goal was very important for his team, since it was playing on the road. “The early goal really settled us down,” he said. Cook conceded that Monmouth had the edge in play the rest of the half, but the Hawks couldn’t finish. A header by Jacob Rubenstein (Ocean Township) sailed over the cross bar, and midfielder Ryan Clark (Freehold Township) was high on a shot inside the box. “I missed it,” said Clark, a sophomore. “It’s a shot I’d make nine out of 10 times. I had a chance and didn’t finish.” That would be the story of the game, as far as McCourt was concerned. “I thought, soccer-wise, in the run of play we were better,” he said. “The name of the game is finish, and we didn’t finish.” Early in the second half, the Big Green would break it open. They scored in the 52nd minute when Nick Pappas out-leaped the Hawk defense and headed in a corner kick off the foot of Andrew Olsen. “The second goal was important,” said Cook. “It put pressure on them. They had to take some risks.” Shortly after Pappas’ goal, the Hawks’ Ryan Kinne, a Player of the Year candidate, unleashed a blast from just outside the 18 on a direct hit that had goal written all over it. Everyone agreed but Big Green goalie Lyman Missimer, who deflected the blast over the crossbar. Cook said he was holding his breath when he saw Kinne’s shot (“Monmouth is dangerous on dead balls,” he said) while Kinne was certain that he put the Hawks on the scoreboard. “I thought it was going in when I hit it, but he [Missimer] got a hand on it,” said the senior from Naugatuck, Conn. Had Kinne’s shot found its way into the net, momentum would have changed hands for sure. But it didn’t, and Monmouth was down two goals and, as Cook indicated, had to take risks, which would lead to two more goals by Big Green. In the 65th minute, Lucky Mkosana onetimed a shot in the box on a through-ball from Keat, and Monmouth was in serious trouble. For Mkosana, it was his team-leading fifth goal of the season. In the 79th minute, Aaron Gaide slammed the door on the Hawks, taking a cross from Keat (three assists for the game) and one-timing it inside the left post for a 4-0 lead. The Big Green finished with a 16-12 advantage in shots on goal and 6-3 in corner kicks. Dartmouth improved to 11-6-1 and was to play at Notre Dame on Nov. 21 in the second round. Dartmouth is peaking at the right time. This was their fifth consecutive win. Monmouth, which won its second straight NEC Tournament title and sixth straight regular season crown, finished the year at 14-2-4. While the first-round exit was disappointing, considering what Monmouth did last year and the fact that they were ranked 11th in the country, McCourt had praise for his team. “There’s not enough I can say about these guys,” he said. “I’m nothing but proud of what they accomplished. “We’re really building something special,” he added. “It hurts right now, but there are a lot of positives. Notes………… One of the players moving on with Dartmouth is junior midfielder Adam Rice from Manalapan High School. The game was a homecoming of sorts for him. “It was great to be back and see friends and family I haven’t seen in a while,” he said. One of those friends was Monmouth forward George Quintano. Together they helped lead Manalapan to the NJSIAA State Group IV co-championship. “I’ve been playing soccer with George since I was 8,” said Rice, who added that he only got to talk to his Brave friend and teammate briefly after the win. Rice was the one player on the Big Green who was familiar with Monmouth University. “Watching the selection show, when we knew we were playing Monmouth, the rest of the team didn’t know where it was,” said Rice, who was one player who was happy to be making the trip to West Long Branch. Clark, who played against those Manalapan teams when he was at Freehold Township, finished his sophomore season as the Hawks’ second leading scorer with 12 points on three goals and six assists. His six assists shared the team lead with Kinne, who led the team in goals, 12, and points, 30. The ex-Patriot has experienced nothing but success in West Long Branch. “I’m pleased where we’re going,” he said. ”We’ve won two NEC championships and were ranked in the top 25 every week. “We’ve made huge steps,” he added. “Next, we have to go further [in the NCAA].” Next fall, Clark will be playing with his former high school teammate Matt Jeffery. They led the Patriots to the Shore Conference Tournament title two years ago. This fall, Jeffery’s Patriots won the Central Jersey Group IV title. “Matt is a pretty good friend of mine,” said Clark. “I’m excited for him to be here.” Freshman Rubenstein is someone who will figure even larger in the Hawks’ plans next year. The freshman had an outstanding year. He was third on the team in goals (four) and fourth in points (nine). Kinne leaves Monmouth as the player who helped bring the program national recognition. Last fall he became MU’s first All-American. The team captured the regular-season NEC crown every year during his tenure, and three NEC Tournament crowns as well. He’s a twotime NEC Player of the Year, and he’s on the Hermann Trophy Watch List (Hermann Trophy goes to the college Player of the Year). Of his 12 goals this fall, four were game winners. MU keeper Bryan Meredith (Scotch Plains-Fanwood) is also on the Hermann Watch List. The senior was the MVP of the NEC Tournament and registered 36 shutouts in his career. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer
Wall Stadium Speedway’s auto racing season opener is scheduled for April 16. Racing events for all five divisions are set to start at 6 p.m. at the Wall Township track.The Modifieds will lead the way in a 40-lap main event, while the Sportsman cars, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks and the INEX Legend Cars will all battle in 25-lap events.The “On-Track Party” will set up after practice and run from 4:30-5:30 p.m., to be followed by an on-track exhibition by the Garden State Quarter Midget Racing Club.Although defending Modified champion Chas Okerson, who is also a multi-time Pro Stock champion at the stadium, is currently at the top of his game, he will have plenty of competition in his quest for opening-night glory and a second straight crown.Wall Stadium Speedway is on Route 34 in Wall Township. Details: 732-681-6400.
The Middletown High School South and Middletown High School North girls basketball teams are both enjoying winning seasons and have clinched postseason berths. They head into the Shore Conference Tournament this week with well-founded hopes of advancing far.Middletown South, unbeaten and having clinched a second straight Shore Conference A North Division championship in an unbeaten division season with one game left, plays at home at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 as the No. 4 seed against the winner of the Red Bank Regional High School vs. Freehold High School game. The Eagles (17-2) have won their last four games.Middletown North, nestled in third place in A North, draws the No. 12 seed and plays host to No. 21 seed Toms River High School South on Feb. 12, with the winner playing at No. 5 seed Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School on Feb. 14. Middletown North is 12-5, including victory No. 400 for head coach Ed Jones last month in the Delsea High School Coaches vs. Cancer showcase against the host team.In the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III tournament, Middletown South takes on Hightstown High School and Middletown North plays Allentown High School later this month.Both Middletown teams will lose important contributors to their success. Middletown South may be without Kiera Gannon for the short term while she continues having tough luck with injuries this season. Middletown North has lost forward Courtney Davis with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.Middletown South’s last loss came convincingly, 66-41, to state ranked Point Pleasant Borough High School before its four-game win streak.“We didn’t do a good job of getting our kids ‘amped down,’ ” coach Tom Brennan said of that loss. “We should’ve been more level.”While Middletown South maintains wellbalanced scoring, its defense has to do a better job on the opposing team’s best scorer, which hurt in the Freehold loss after an 11-0 start, as well as the most recent loss.“We definitely have to score,” Brennan said of the upcoming tournaments, as freshman Stephanie Karcz leads the way at 10.8 points per game and four other players average from nine to 10 points a game. “We need somebody to put in a couple of more baskets than usual and we have to find a way to shut down the other teams’ prolific scorers.”Jackie Dluhi, headed to Wagner College, is part of that balanced scoring, averaging just over nine points a game.“Not many girls doing that with less than 10 points a game have [a NCAA Division I] scholarship to Wagner, but there are so many things [Dluhi] does, averaging nine rebounds and six assists a game,” Brennan said. “The way she plays, it’s rarified air.” Carissa Gray has been a steadying influence with her play at point guard and Lauren VanExter has performed reliably.Middletown South played only one game last week and comes off a 46-45 victory over Marlboro High School on Feb. 6, as Christiana Rutkowski sank the front end of a one-and-one with a half-second left for the deciding margin and finished with 13 points. Dluhi added 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.“Those are the kinds of games you want to win in early February,” Brennan said.“You want to be challenged [and] to be pushed to get ready for the tournaments.” “We’re all gelling at the right time,” Dluhi said. “We’re all playing for each other as we have been all season. Chemistry is No. 1. When we’re clicking, no one can beat us.”Middletown South was scheduled to play crosstown rival Middletown North on Feb. 8, but the game was postponed to an undetermined date because of the snowstorm.Brennan said the groundwork for this season began after the end of last season.“The end of the year, we lost to Rancocas Valley [in the state tournament] and felt we were in a different league,” Brennan said. “That’s when our [returning] players committed to the weight room and went three, four days a week religiously. I feel we’re stronger, not as tired and we’ll see how that plays out. I can’t be more proud of the commitment the players have made to this season.”“Losing the way we did showed us there was another level we needed to get to — a level more physical and faster,” Dluhi said. “Everyone locked in [to the idea] and got on board with their weight room. We’re not tired like last year.”Jones laments Middletown North losing the opportunity to play Middletown South last week after the Lions came off their most impressive victory of the season, 40-32, over Freehold, which came in with a No. 20 state ranking and a top 10 ranking in the Shore. In that game, Mia Ehling scored 16 points, while 6-foot-1 center Emily Lavin grabbed a dozen rebounds and blocked eight shots. Megan De- Grushe held down Freehold’s leading scorers.Prior to that, Middletown North suffered a tough 1-point loss to Colts Neck High School, but Jones remains optimistic about the Shore Conference Tournament. Lavin and forward Nicole Tollevsen continue their consistent scoring like they did last season on the Lions’ 16-9 team.“I feel good about this team right now,” Jones said. “I think for tournament play, we have to play defense to stop them from scoring and, No. 2, to control the boards while limiting teams to one shot. The [third] thing is to protect the ball. We can’t give away possessions and we have to shoot more free throws.”Jones said his team is capable of doing all that, which would continue its season well into March. BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
By Ian RansomAndy Murray avenged his shock loss at last year’s Wimbledon and battled his way into his 16th successive grand slam quarter-final with a 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5 victory over Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open on Sunday.Murray was upset by Dimitrov in the quarter-finals of his Wimbledon title defence and Sunday’s late night thriller helped dim those memories while setting up a last eight clash with Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios.The Scot saved a set point while serving at 5-2 down in the fourth, roared back to 5-5 and broke Dimitrov to love, prompting the Bulgarian to destroy his racquet under the lights at Rod Laver Arena.From there, Murray knew he had his man and ran Dimitrov ragged in the final games before also getting lucky with a net cord on match point.Though the match ebbed and flowed with countless momentum shifts, Murray had the edge in most of the big points and thought his fitness told as the clash wore on.“In the fourth set, I felt like he was trying to shorten a lot of the points,” Murray said of Dimitrov, who was dragged into a taxing five-set scrap by Marcos Baghdatis in the previous round.“When he got ahead, he was trying to come forward a lot. Then on my service games he was going for broke a little bit off my serves. So I felt like maybe he was tired.“So I tried to, towards the end of the set, extend the rallies. And physically I felt completely different to how I felt at the U.S. Open last year or even here last year when I played a long match, especially in cold conditions. It was like night and day.”Two-time grand slam winner Murray has been impressive at Melbourne Park, where local fans have thrilled at the progress of 19-year-old Kyrgios.Kyrgios’s five-set win over Andreas Seppi, the Italian who knocked out Roger Federer, electrified Hisense Arena at the same time as Murray’s match.The Rod Laver Arena crowd roared their approval when news filtered through of the teenager’s win, confusing Murray and Dimitrov for a moment before the penny dropped.“I would say maybe he’s more confident than I would have been at that age,” Murray said of Kyrgios.“So he obviously backs himself a lot. When you have the crowd behind you, it obviously helps.”
By Pritha SarkarThe world’s best gymnasts will be hoping the blood, sweat and tears they have shed in training will provide them with the spark they need to pull the plug on two champions who have been dubbed “robots” at the world championships.Such has been the dominance of Japan’s Kohei Uchimura and American Simone Biles in recent years that if they fail to win the all-around titles in Glasgow’s Hydro Arena, it will be considered one of the biggest shocks witnessed in the sport.Before Uchimura began his global domination in 2009, no male gymnast had won more than two world all-around titles.Incredibly, the 2012 Olympic champion is now on the verge of capturing a sixth successive world gold medal in an event that tests skills across six apparatus.Aged 18, Biles is also on the verge of accomplishing something no female gymnast has achieved – winning three world all-around titles in a row.“Everyone says that I’m an alien or a robot but I think he (Uchimura) is,” Biles told Reuters in an interview ahead of the October 23-November 1 championships which also act as a qualifying competition for next year’s Rio Olympics.“It would be cool if a girl could do that (win three in a row). If it is me…“I think what Uchimura has done is very amazing and I don’t think anyone could do what he does.”Despite his diminutive 1.62-metre frame, Uchimura is regarded as a gymnastics goliath as he has turned countless rivals into emotional wrecks in his never-ending search for perfection.“A lot of foreign athletes say I perform like a machine. I take that as a compliment,” said the 26-year-old, whose haul of 16 world medals includes seven golds.“To me, moves and performances that are mechanical are perfect. A robot can be more accurate and exact in movement than a human can every time.”Despite all his success, there is one gold that has eluded the man known as ‘Supermura’ over and over again – a coveted team title for Japan at a global meet.The collective strength of China means that since 1994, Chinese men have won 10 of 11 world titles and three of the five Olympic golds on offer.Japan did win the Olympic title in Athens in 2004 but that was in the pre-Uchimura era.The Asian powerhouses have been engaged in a mighty tug of war since 2007, with China trumping Japan every time, and last year’s world title was decided by just one-tenth of a point.“All I’m looking at is winning team gold,” added Uchimura, who is hoping to help Japan triumph in a world team event for the first time in 37 years.In the women’s competition, Biles and her American team-mates – who include Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas – are targeting a hat-trick of world titles as countries vie for a top-eight finish in order to secure an automatic berth into the 2016 Olympics.Hosts Britain will be spearheaded by Claudia Fragapane as she returns to the arena where she won four Commonwealth golds in 2014.
Chapecoense beat Atletico Nacional 2-1 in the first leg of their South American Supercup final as the game was marked by memorials to those killed in an air crash before the teams’ scheduled Copa Sudamericana final last November.The match was the first between the sides since all but three of the Brazilian team and their staff perished as their plane crashed on approach to Medellin last year.Only six of the 77 on board survived the crash.Organisers laid on pre-match shows and post-match fireworks for the clash, which was billed as ‘The Gratitude Game’.Fans also launched one minute’s applause in the 71st minute of the game to commemorate those who died.The home fans, eager to repay the support given to their players and staff in Colombia immediately after the accident, also applauded the visitors’ goal, a stunning 25-yard equaliser from Macnelly Torres in the second half.The home side had gone 1-0 up through a Reinaldo penalty after 23 minutes before Torres equalised 13 minutes into the second half.Chapecoense regained the lead with a header from substitute Luiz Antonio 17 minutes from time.The return leg is scheduled for May 10 in Medellin.
The Girls Empowerment through Cricket program, launched today, is a development program initiated by CPNG and supported by Australian Aid to use cricket as the vehicle for change to empower young girls in Secondary schools.Coinciding with International women’s Day, CPNG has decided to celebrate the launch of the program to show respect, appreciation and love towards all girls and women in the country.The main aim of the program is to increase female participation in playing hard ball cricket and empower young girls through educational sessions.CPNG has invited female students from Secondary schools in NCD: Gordons Secondary, Marianville Catholic Secondary, Jubilee catholic Secondary and Tokarara Secondary to join in at the occasion to meet some PNG cricket super heroes Asad Vala, Jack Vare (c) from the Barramundis and the PNG Lewa’s to get the opportunity to ask questions about cricket and how they are at that level to represent the country.
Since its introduction the group of young kickboxers began training at Rabe Community School Hall but have been given access to the Alotau Squash and Tennis Courts at Cameron Club.The numbers of enthusiastic kickboxers that have joined the ranks were mostly youth from Rabe Village however recently many have joined from Alotau.According to Team manager Flora Baiwap Tiamani, many young kickboxers have adapted well to the tough training regime.Tiamani said the training had instilled discipline and a healthy lifestyle for many kickboxers.She added that many parents had approached her to tell her their son or daughter had changed for the better when they started training.The kickboxers are put through a very tough training regime by head coach and trainer Solomon Tiamani.Coach Tiamani has a vast experience in the Martial Arts disciplines and has trained and fought with some of the top kickboxers in the country and overseas.He added that the training has to be tough to meet the tough standards of other kickboxing centres.The kickboxers were put through the tough training regime and are beginning to see the benefits.According to a kickboxer Frank Wilson, he said as a former boxer representing Team Milne Bay he began kickboxing and had noticed the difference and has enjoyed it.Meanwhile, female kickboxer Yoshabel Emota said this was her first time to join kickboxing and also any other sport and finds it interesting and challenging.The Milne Bay Kickboxing did their first demonstration to the public in Alotau at the launching of the Milne Bay Provincial Games last month.A Team Milne Bay Kickboxing Team will be selected to represent Milne Bay during the PNG Games in November.Coach and Trainer Tiamani said that he may represent Team Milne Bay in Karate while his young chargers represent Kickboxing.Photo: Kick Boxing Team Milne Bay Head Coach and Trainer Solomon Tiamani demonstrate a kick on the pads.
Klitschko, who is entering his 29th world title fight, revealed on Thursday he has made a video of his prediction for their heavyweight bout at Wembley.That has been saved on a memory stick which will be sewn into his robe.”It’s strategy,” said Joshua, 27. “An attempt at a mind game. I didn’t take it the way he wanted to express it.”Former heavyweight champion Klitschko, 41, will auction his robe – and its contents – for charity after the Wembley Stadium super fight for Joshua’s IBF title and the vacant WBA belt.At a news conference free of the antics seen at many pre-fight gatherings, he told BBC Radio 5 live: “Don’t ask me what’s on the stick. Only one person will know about it. If that person wants to put it on social media, then the world will know.”The pair will meet in front of an expected 90,000 fans, a post-war record for a UK boxing match.Neither man has spoken negatively about their rival during the build-up, but Klitschko broke rank briefly on Thursday, saying Joshua is no more than a “puncher” while adding that he himself is “a boxer who can punch”.The Ukrainian added: “I am the winner, already before the event. Even if it is his home, I’m taking it as my event and my fight, my win.”Joshua, who has had 18 professional fights compared to Klitschko’s 68, responded: “If I couldn’t box I wouldn’t be here. I may not be the best but what I do good, I do brilliantly. That’s got me here.”If he claims to be the better boxer so be it, but when I start punching you in your jaw, you best stand up to the power. This is just another stepping stone towards greatness.”Klitschko – who shouted “fake news” at one reporter when asked about a rumoured eye-socket injury – is bidding to regain two of the three major titles he lost to Tyson Fury in his last outing in 2015.He admits being introduced as the challenger still feels “weird” but pointed to his experience, stating he had been involved in boxing for the 27 years Joshua has been alive.Victory for the Ukrainian would see him become a three-time heavyweight champion, like his retired brother Vitali, who believes Joshua is complacent in his approach.”I’ve never seen my brother so concentrated,” said Vitali.”I want to say that Joshua is a great fighter, great skills, but he has never been at such a high level. He looks relaxed, like it will be easy. It will not be.”After I was told about the fight I studied Joshua and I was happy. He has the right style for Wladimir, a good opponent.”Joshua enters Saturday’s fight with 18 knockout wins in his 18 matches, while Klitschko boasts a record of 64 wins – 53 by KO – and four defeats.