BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer Top-ranked teams continue dominance with SCT title BY DOUG McKENZIEStaff Writer CHRIS KELLY staff Shore Regional’s TIffany Newenhouse and RBC’s Erin Rigby battle for a loose ball during the Shore Conference Tournament final at Monmouth University on May 17. All season long, the CBA boys and Shore Regional girls have looked like the Shore Conference’s top teams. Last week, they both proved that is precisely what they are. On Wednesday, the Blue Devils made their top seed stand up by beating Red Bank Catholic, 10-6, to capture their fourth Shore Conference Tournament crown at Monmouth University. Then on Friday, the Colts remained unbeaten against conference foes this year by beating Rumson-Fair Haven, 4-1, to claim their second SCT title. CBA, who also won last year’s inaugural boys SCT, broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter when Jon Lubas registered a hat trick. His first goal came with 7:12 left off a pass from Alex DeAlmeida, while Liam Thomas assisted on Lubas’ second goal with 4:49 remaining. The final tally came with 3:56 left, unassisted. Rumson, a third-year program that entered the contest on the heels of a 13-game winning streak, got its goal in the third quarter when John Gasienica took a pass from Clark McIntyre and put the ball in the net with 6:56 left. But CBA (13-5) responded with its final goal with 9:48 left in the final quarter when Thomas scored off a Josh Orchant pass. With the win, the Colts earned the first of what they hope will be two tournament crowns. On Saturday, they will open their Non-Public A state tournament crown with a matchup with Bergen Catholic. The Colts are the third seed, with Bergen Catholic getting the sixth seed. Delbarton is the bracket’s top seed, followed by Seton Hall Prep. Rumson-Fair Haven opens its Group I tournament run with a game against Caldwell today, with the winner to get either third-seeded Summit or 14th-seeded Jefferson. Shore Regional wrapped up its fourth SCT title early on, using a dominant effort in the first half. Kelly Draper got things started with a goal at the 24:10 mark. Ali Houlis then added goals at the 15:45 and 9:54 marks, before Jenna Martino made it 4-0 with 7:02 left. Following an RBC time out, Shore added two more goals (from Draper and Houls) to head into the break with a 6-0 lead. RBC (18-2) got in the board with a Lindsey DeMarco goal with 23:58 left in the game, only to see the Blue Devils respond with consecutive goals from Danielle Scarrone. With an 8-1 lead, Shore was in complete command, although to their credit, the Caseys kept coming before running out of time. The Blue Devils, who were making their fifth straight SCT final appearance, enjoyed their first title win over a Monmouth County team, having beaten Jackson in its first three title-clinching wins. Now, Shore has its sights set on a South B state title. The Blue Devils are the top seed, and as such got a first-round bye. That means a second-round matchup with 16th-seeded St. John Vianney later today. The Lancers (9-7) got a hard-fought 9-8 win over New Egypt on Saturday to advance, as Helen Kerrisk’s goal with just over four minutes left to play broke an 8-8 tie. Kerrisk finished with two goals, while Jess Wegelin had a team-high four tallies. Goalie Staci Shalkowski, who finished with 12 saves, came up big in the final minute, when she made a couple of clutch saves in the face of a furious Warrior attack. Red Bank Catholic is the third seed in South B, and will take on 14th-seeded Red Bank Regional today in the second round. RBR beat No. 19 seed Allentown, 9-5, on Saturday as Brie Moran led the Buc attack with five goals. Rumson-Fair Haven, the fourth seed, will take on 13th-seeded Manasquan today in the second round after both teams got a first-round bye. In the South A bracket, the Ocean Township Spartans were eliminated by Central, 12-9, on Saturday, ending their season at 12-8-1.
When Middletown South won the NJSIAA Group III state championship last year, coach Tom Erbig brought along some of the team’s younger players to watch and learn for this season. Middletown South’s Jackie Bates is safe as she slides into third base during the NJSIAA State Group III championship game against Nutley on June 5. The Eagles soared to their second straight state championship with a 5-2 victory at Toms River North. Eagles repeat as Group III softball state champions ERIC SUCAR staff It turned out to be a worthwhile move for two of those players had timely hits on Saturday (June 5), when Middletown South won its second straight state title, 5-2, over Nutley. Facing a 2-0 deficit in the sixth inning, shortstop Jill Troiano ripped a bases-clearing triple to the center-field fence and rode home on first baseman Erica Falvey’s deep fly to center field. Both are sophomores. Senior second baseman Sam Penk smashed a run-scoring single in the last inning as the Eagles finished 30-3. Middletown South’s Julia Kuhn (r), the winning pitcher, celebrates with sister Liza Kuhn (l) after the Eagles won the NJSIAA State Group III championship on June 5. The Eagles won their second straight state title with a 5-2 win over Nutley at Toms River North High School. ERIC SUCAR staff “I learned you have to keep fighting for your wins and never give up,” said Falvey. “I took the lessons I learned from there and applied it here for the whole team,” said Troiano. “We lost so many girls from last year [top graduation] so we had to prove ourselves. Senior catcher Amanda Galanti led off the fifth inning with a walk, Kuhn grounded a single through shortstop and junior center fielder Jackie Bates blooped a single to right field to set the scene for Troiano. “The coach said hitting is contagious and with the first three batters getting on base, it was my turn to get the job done,” said Troiano. “I believe in myself and my team is there to support me.” Troiano, who has played three different positions, went back to shortstop where she plays most often when Julia Kuhn gets the pitching start. Junior Allison Nolan has been pitching much of the season, but Kuhn, who has made an early verbal commitment to Northwestern, went to the mound to get her 14th victory. Kuhn allowed four hits, but one was a triple by Kristen Mattia in the fourth inning that bounded past right fielder Dana Shea and she scored on a sacrifice fly. Tara Petrucelli got all of a Kuhn high fastball that she blasted over the center-field fence in the fifth inning for a 2-0 lead, only the fourth home run hit against the Eagles this season. Kuhn, relying on a drop curve and screwball, ended the inning with one of her three strikeouts. She did not walk a batter and only twice got the count to three balls. “It was a deep down gut feeling,” said coach Tom Erbig of his choice to start Kuhn. “Julia was ready to do this and she really wanted the ball. She’s just such a true competitor. You know she was going to give you everything she had. Even though Nolan didn’t pitch, it was a huge learning experience for her and she will be ready to pitch next year.” “My team just played well behind me and picked me up after the home run,” said Kuhn. But catcher Amanda Galanti, one of the two seniors in the starting lineup with second baseman Sam Penk, felt it (the home run) was a gut check for Kuhn, whose fierce competitiveness got her the start ahead of junior Allison Nolan, who has won 16 games and pitched strongly throughout the season. “It takes a strong person to come back after a girl hits a home run off you. She came back and shut them down. A lot of girls can’t do that,” said Galanti. The victory took the frustration of trips to two other championship finals for the Eagles that fell short — to St. John Vianney in the Monmouth County championship and to Red Bank Catholic in the Shore Conference Tournament finals. “It absolutely wipes them out,” emphatically stated Bates, who had three of the Eagles’ nine hits and who has made an early verbal commitment to Rutgers. Kuhn said she was happy for the Eagle seniors. “We were disappointed that we lost [those games] but happy we could end our season with a win and to do it for our seniors,” she said Penk, a senior, agreed. “There’s definitely no way to go out better than this,” said Penk. But it was not without some drama, typical of the two comeback victories over Howell during the season and a 10-2 victory over Delsea likewise broken open in the late innings in the state semifinals on June 1. Nutley pitcher Kayla Heezer allowed only three hits over the first four innings and got Middletown South to hit the ball hard at fielders. Nutley’s outfielders retired 10 batters on fly balls. “I was concerned they were a Cinderella team coming in, and these kids are playing as well as they could play and we had to play our game and maybe a little better,” said Erbig. “We did the same thing against Delsea. We got hits when we needed it. We hit the ball a little more up the middle — hard ground balls and line drives and not the high fly ball.” Penk drove in the insurance run in the last inning with a single after left fielder Taylor Landis led off with her second base hit and stole second. Landis became a starter at midseason when Alex Jacinto was injured. Erbig said the pressure is on his team to get back to the championship games next season. “I know I have two more years and we have so much potential,” said Falvey. But the seniors gave the young players their vote of confidence. “With Jude [Julia Kuhn] and Jackie, leading the way, they’ll keep it going,” said Penk. “I don’t think I’d want to leave the program with anyone other than these little kids,” said Galanti. They certainly have shown signs of growing up this season. BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Defeat Nutley in final
Bullpen Baseball and Sports Academy will be offering a Spring Break Mini Camp.The camps are for children ages 5-13 and will be held on April 15-17 and April 23-25. Times are 9 a.m. to noon ($140 fee), 12:30-3:30 p.m. ($140 fee) and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ($250 fee). Day campers should bring their lunches.For additional information, contact Karyn Chiusano at 732-536-4900 or Karyn@bullpenbaseballnj.com, or visit www.bullpenbaseballnj.com. The Millstone Little League (MRLL) will host a golf outing and lunch auction on May 5 at the Battleground Country Club, Manalapan Township.The golf package — which includes a breakfast, practice facilities, greens fees, cart, bag attendants, club cleaning service, locker room, barbecue lunch, awards, and a raffle and silent auction — is $195. A lunch package is available for $35 for nongolfers. Visit the MRLL website at www.mr-ll.org for more details.MRLL is a nonprofit organization devoted to funding childhood experiences in baseball and softball that will foster adjusted, strong and happy children who will grow to be good, decent, healthy and trustworthy citizens, according to the organization. Freshman Dan Bloodgood is leading the Monmouth University men’s lacrosse team in scoring. The Freehold Township High School graduate, who plays attack, has 11 goals and six assists for 17 points for the Hawks, who are still seeking their first win of the season (0-10).Bloodgood led the Patriots to the Shore Conference A North Division title last spring and was named All-American.Bloodgood has teamed up with his former Freehold Township teammate, Ryan Horsch, a defender. Horsch, a junior, played for Brookdale Community College last year, helping the Jersey Blues win the Region 19 title. Like Bloodgood, Horsch has started all 10 games for the Hawks. He has two goals and an assist.
By Terry Daley and Iain RogersBenfica kept alive their dream of a first European trophy in 52 years after a goalless draw with Juventus in Turin on Thursday helped the newly-crowned Portuguese champions win their Europa League semi-final 2-1 on aggregate.Jorge Jesus’ side will return to Turin on May 14 to take on Sevilla in the final after restricting the Serie A leaders to a handful of chances, despite having to play for 23 minutes of the second leg clash with 10 men after Enzo Perez was sent off.“We managed the advantage we had from the first leg really well and we deserve to be in the final because we were better than Juventus,” said Benfica coach Jesus.The Portuguese side will be hoping to win their first continental title since 1962’s European Cup triumph, since when they have lost seven finals, including last season’s Europa League showpiece to Chelsea.Juventus failed to take advantage of their territorial superiority in the first half or the extra man after the sending-off and their exit is a blow for Italy, whose teams have struggled on the continent in recent years.Juventus coach Antonio Conte was annoyed with the away side’s defensive mindset and English referee Mark Clattenburg, who he felt should have given a penalty against Luisao for appearing to block Fernando Llorente’s 65th-minute header with his hand.“They’re going through to the final, but I don’t think they deserved it,” said an irritated Conte.“The only thing we missed was a goal. Over the course of the two legs we conceded two shots on target. We tried but tonight but we didn’t have the run of the ball.”The home fans were celebrating with nine minutes remaining when Osvaldo tapped home Paul Pogba’s headed knockdown, but their joy was short-lived, with officials correctly ruling Frenchman Pogba offside.Unused Juventus substitute Mirko Vucinic and Benfica’s Lazar Markovic, who had been taken off with minutes remaining, both received red cards for an off-pitch altercation as the bad-tempered match wound to a close.Benfica were reduced to nine men after Ezequiel Garay was stretchered off during eight dramatic minutes of stoppage time and the Portuguese side’s keeper Jan Oblak made a fine save to keep out Martin Caceres’s header.“Tonight we saw that in football the best team doesn’t always win,” Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci said.Sevilla snatched a last-gasp place in the final when a 94th-minute Stephane Mbia header put them through on away goals after their semi-final against Valencia ended 3-3 on aggregate on Thursday.Despite going down 3-1 in their second leg at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium, Mbia’s dramatic late strike set up a final showdown with Benfica.Sevilla were favourites to advance against their La Liga rivals after winning last week’s first leg 2-0 at home but a 14th-minute Sofiane Feghouli effort, an own goal from goalkeeper Beto in the 26th and a Jeremy Mathieu blast 21 minutes from time put Valencia 3-0 ahead on the night and 3-2 ahead overall.They were just over a minute away from going through to the final when Federico Fazio flicked on a long throw and Cameroon midfielder Mbia rose to crash a header into the net and silence the Valencia fans packed into the Mestalla.It was a triumph for Sevilla coach Unai Emery, who never completely won over the Valencia fans when he was in charge there from 2008 to 2012, and he celebrated Mbia’s goal wildly on the side of the pitch.“This is a unique experience,” Emery said in an interview with Spanish television.“We don’t care who we are playing in the final, we just have to enjoy this,” added the 42-year-old former Real Sociedad midfielder.
By Peter StevensonBelgium may have beaten Cyprus 1-0 with a late Eden Hazard goal to move closer to a place at Euro 2016 on Sunday night but coach Marc Wilmots reckoned it was the worst performance he had seen from his flagging side.He reserved much of his criticism for Liverpool striker Christian Benteke, although he was relieved with a Group B result which sees his team with one foot in next year’s finals in France.“We won two games in a row but this is the worst team performance I have seen and we will try to rectify the issue,” Wilmots told a news conference with his side having also beaten Bosnia 3-1 on Thursday.Asked why Benteke was substituted at half-time, the Belgium coach said the striker had put in a “half-performance” and he needed to make a change as soon as possible.Wilmots felt his team had created the better chances and, despite the poor performance, their character came through.“Both sides missed chances… but we believed until the end that we would score and managed to got the result we needed,” he told reporters.Explaining his team’s sluggishness, Wilmots said both sides had struggled due to the humidity, gruelling pre-seasons and the fact they had played 72 hours earlier.Cyprus coach Pambos Christodoulou felt his team deserved something from their last two games, having also lost 1-0 at home to group leaders Wales five days ago, despite playing better for large portions of both matches.“Both games were decided on the finer details, but that’s football. We now have two games left and we are still in the hunt for a playoff spot so let’s see what happens,” said Christodoulou.After eight matches Wales have 18 points, having been held to a 0-0 draw by Israel in Cardiff earlier on Sunday, with second-placed Belgium on 17. Israel have 13 points ahead of Bosnia with 11 and Cyprus on nine.The nine group winners and runners-up and best third-placed side qualify for the finals while the eight remaining third-placed teams contest playoffs for the final four berths.Despite Cyprus conceding against Wales in the 82nd minute and Belgium in the 85th, Christodoulou refused to blame the late goals on the fitness of his players but said both matches had opened up as the two teams looked for the winner.“Although I’ve said it before, some of my players don’t play regularly for their clubs but I won’t blame the defeats on a lack of fitness or concentration because we too had chances to score late in both games,” he said.
By Brian HomewoodSOUTH American champions River Plate overcame their anxiety to reach the Club World Cup final with a jittery 1-0 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Wednesday, keeping alive the dream of a meeting with Barcelona.River did not really look like scoring until Hiroshima goalkeeper Takuto Hayashi failed to clear Leonardo Ponzio’s free kick and Alario headed home the loose ball in the 72nd minute.But goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero was the real hero as he kept the Argentine side in the game with a flurry of first-half saves.River, backed by 15,000 fans who made the marathon trip in the hope of seeing their side meet Barcelona in the final, must now rely on the European champions to avoid a shock defeat against Asian counterparts Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday.Hiroshima, who qualified for the tournament thanks to a rule which awards a place to the champions of the host nation, had knocked out Auckland City from Oceania and African champions TP Mazembe in a surprise run to the last four.Although the Club World Cup is given scant regard in Europe, teams from South America regard it as the pinnacle of club football.They often struggle to beat supposedly lesser opponents in the semi-final when the prize of meeting a top European side is tantalisingly close.River coach Marcelo Gallardo’s relief was palpable after the game.“We needed a lot of patience and intelligence and it was decided on the small details,” he told reporters. “It was not easy to carry this huge responsibility but we didn’t allow it to make us lose our heads.”“There were ten minutes in the first half when we lost our organisation and they could have caused us a lot of damage.”River, whose supporters outnumbered the home fans by at least four to one, had plenty of early possession but struggled to create openings and looked very vulnerable to Hiroshima’s quick counter attacks led by Brazilian striker Douglas.The Argentines completely lost their shape midway through the first half but Baravero, one of several journeymen professionals in their team, came to the rescue.The 31-year-old, who has never played for Argentina, did well to block Yusuke Minagawa’s shot after the Hiroshima forward got clear of the River defence.Minagawa, always a threat, failed to connect with a Douglas pass from another counter attack and then saw an effort brilliantly turned away by Barovero after getting free of two defenders.In between, Barovero also tipped over Yusuke Chajima’s effort after he cut inside a defender to make space for the shot.River had their first real chance just after halftime but Rodrigo Mora skied his shot over from close range.The Argentines did not really look like scoring until Alario popped up with the winner late in the second half, sending the huge River contingent in the stadium wild with delight.
By Shravanth VijayakumarWorld number two Andy Murray, four times a losing finalist, will continue his pursuit of a first Australian Open title against eighth seed David Ferrer in a quarter-final match on Wednesday.In the women’s draw, seventh seed Angelique Kerber from Poland, making her first appearance in the quarter-finals, faces two-times champion Victoria Azarenka, who has yet to drop a set in the tournament.Murray has won his last five matches against the 33-year-old Ferrer, but the Spaniard is in dominant form in Melbourne and is the only player in the men’s draw to reach the last eight without dropping a set.Murray, who is five years younger than Ferrer, said age would make no difference in the match.“He’s in good shape. He fights so hard in every single match. He’s been rewarded for that with an unbelievably consistent career at the top of the game,” Murray said.Kerber will be looking to improve her record against Azarenka, who she has not beaten in six attempts, but the Pole is determined not to let history weigh on her mind.“You know, I had tough matches against her in the past. I will be looking forward when I play against her to really take my chances. It’s a new one, it starts from zero, and I know what’s coming from her,” Kerber said.Meanwhile, 23rd seed Gael Monfils takes on 13th seed Milos Raonic, who knocked out world number four Stan Wawrinka in the previous round. At stake for both players is a first semifinal appearance at the tournament.Monfils has come out on top in both of their two previous matches, but big-serving Canadian Raonic has backed himself to prevail this time around.“I just have to take the game to him. I have to make him feel uncomfortable. Not let him get into his sort of playing comfort. If I can sort of keep up with the efficiency moving forward, I’ll have definitely some opportunities,” Raonic said.The only two unseeded players left in the tournament, Britain’s Johanna Konta and China’s Zhang Shuai, will battle it out in Wednesday’s second match at the Rod Laver Arena.Konta’s quarter-final appearance means that Britain has male and female representation in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 1977.By Shravanth Vijayakumar
Tahiti won silver and New Caledonia won Bronze.Team PNG finished fifth.Men’s V1 race will begin shortly.
PNG will play their first match against New Caledonia tomorrow at 3pm (12pm PNG time)“I think we’re all experiencing a combination of both excitement and nerves right now, but that’s a good thing.“We’re all very proud to be representing Papua New Guinea at this event and doing the very best we can for our families and our country,” said Dobunaba.In a major coverage coup for the event, all games played on court one of the championships will be available to watch live at youtube.com/fiba.Also, FijiTV will be covering the finals phase of the event (Dec 8-10) live and delayed on FijiTV’s television networks (Fiji One).
6/13 Net points won Winners 2 61% 4/7 2nd serve win percentage 6/10 14 Aces 25 67 5 Double faults 50% 11 33% 0/3 77% 1st serve win percentage Break points won Muguruza beat the in-form Williams in their first meeting on grass 7-5 6-0 as the Spanish 14th seed emulated her coach Conchita Martinez’s memorable triumph in 1994 and made up for her own pain of losing to Serena Williams two years ago to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish.Back in the All England Club final after an eight-year absence, Williams, 37, was hoping to become both the oldest Wimbledon and major winner since the Open era began in 1968, but was unable to claim a sixth Wimbledon title as Muguruza’s power proved too hot to handle.Williams created the first opening of what was turning into a slug-fest in the fifth game, but she netted a presentable opportunity on the forehand side.The 23-year-old held before driving her forehand long with her own break point chance in the next game.Under the Centre Court roof it was Williams who turned the screw with some juicy groundstrokes to earn two set points. But the Spaniard held steady following a tumultuous 19-shot rally to come through under immense pressure.And Muguruza made Williams pay with a break in the 11th game before delighting her temporary coach for Wimbledon, Martinez, by holding an intensely physical service game to take it 7-5 after 51 minutes of action.A double fault by veteran Williams handed Muguruza a break at the start of the second set as she began to crumble.Two more breaks of Williams’ serve followed as Muguruza took a stranglehold of the final as Venus seemed to hit a mental and physical wall and she closed out a bagel set with a successful Hawk-Eye challenge to put the beleaguered American out of her misery.Muguruza will take home a cool £2.2m in prize money, with runner-up Williams, in the Wimbledon final for the first time in eight years, netting £1.1m.Garbine Muguruza v Venus Williams: Match Stats1 17 3 Unforced errors Total points won 50