BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer Matawan High School boys tennis team is looking for a strong showing over its last five matches to help carry it into next season. Coach Paul Pacifico’s youthful team is 5-10, but there are plenty of promising players on board, including five freshmen, one of whom, Dab Michelin, who plays third singles, leads the team with 10 wins. “We knew going in that this would be a rebuilding year, so I’m pleased with our progress,” Pacifico said. “We’re also in a tough conference, so our guys are adjusting to varsity play against some very good competition.” Pacifico noted that his two captains, seniors Chris Brady and Heseyin Tunceroglu, who play at first and second singles, respectively, have worked well with the younger players and have proven to be good leaders on and off the court. Both Brady and Tunceroglu have earned academic scholarships, with Brady attending Wake Forest, while Tunceroglu will attend New York University. Juniors Jon Strauss and Mike Lewandowski played well together at first doubles. Lewandowski, a lefty, showed plenty of grit playing despite a broken right wrist. Hardworking Austin Chang and Nick Barrett, an unorthodox newcomer who finds ways to win points, are at second doubles where they have shown much promise, Pacifico said. Two other freshmen, Vincent Ruggerio and Thomas Incorvaia, will also be heard from in the future. Pacifico said both players have worked long hours, regularly staying long after practice officially ends, to work on their skills. “It’s truly a pleasure for a coach when you get a team like this,” Pacifico said. “They’re struggling a bit on the court, but they’re young and they’re getting better every day. And, more important, it’s a great group of kids.” Notes … Although the Huskies did not qualify for the state tournament, several local teams did, and will be in action this week as they start their respective chases for sectional titles. In the North II Group III section, the Holmdel Hornets looked to bounce back from their SCT semifinal loss to Marlboro when they took on Emerson yesterday in a quarterfinal match. The Hornets are the third seed in this bracket, which is headed by Millburn and Livingston. The CBA Colts are the second seed in the Non-Public South A bracket, and as such, received a first-round matchup with St. John Vianney, a team that enjoyed tremendous success this season. CBA advanced with a 5-0 win, and now awaits the winner of the Monsignor Donovan-Bishop Ahr quarterfinal matchup, which was scheduled for yesterday. As for Vianney, they’ve come a long way from last year’s 0-14 team, and deserve all the credit in the world for turning around a program which has struggled to win a match in the past, much less qualify for the state tournament. The Raritan Rockets are the only other local team in the state playoff picture, as the seventh seed in the CJ Group II bracket. Raritan was scheduled to take on second-seeded Delran yesterday, with the winner to get either Rumson-Fair Haven (seeded third and the defending sectional champ) or A.L. Johnson. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer
The Strathmore Bath & Tennis Club swim team went into yesterday’s meet against Monmouth Heights looking to complete an undefeated regular season. Strathmore was 6-0 heading into the meet with an eye on the Monmouth County championship meet to be held Saturday at the Hazlet Swim Club. “We have a very hard-working team and it’s been exciting to see them have success,” co-coach Lauren Sohn said. “That creates interest in the program and helps everyone get better.” In all, the Strathmore club has 120 swimmers, and the key, Sohn said is making it fun while they improve their skills. “It’s particularly satisfying to see someone who couldn’t swim across the pool start to swim laps and then start to compete,” Sohn said. “It gives them a real sense of achievement.” Following each meet, Sohn and co-coach Vincent Tupper give out ribbons to each competitor who has bettered his or her time. The ribbons serve as both an award and an encouragement for the competitors. Meanwhile, the team has performed well as an entity. The top swimmers include: 8U: Joshua Atienza, Abigail Buckley, Jeremy Hall, Danny Hogan, Anna and Celia Kottakis and Sarah Resciniti; 9-10: Jodiann Atienza, Joseph Buckley, Courtney Foley, Nick Markwell, Jackie Nelson, Drew Orzechowski, Stephanie Radu and Andrew Tucker; 11-12: Matthew Cohen, Katie Connors, Sean Dunne, Megan Foley, Colette Laporta, Conor Rise, Alyssa, Evan and Rachel Scher. In 13-14: Megan Bock, Amelia Buckley, Joseph Connors, Catelyn Cutting, Grant and Harris Eberbach, Albert Howard, Kelly Markwell and Charles Wu; and 15-18: David Bechtold, Eric Frietas, Jeremy Maurer, Heather Olsen, Nicholas Tupper, and Rachel and Nicholas Williams. Olsen and Nicholas Williams also serve as assistant coaches. Sohn, a junior at East Stroudsburg University, is in her second year as co-head coach. Previously, she served as an assistant and also competed for the club as well as the Red Bank YMCA. Vincent Tupper, a junior at Johns Hopkins, swam competitively for the club and at CBA and the Red Bank Y. – Warren Rappleyea
What a difference a year makes. In just one year, the Keyport High School girls bowling team has gone from hoping to attract enough players to field a team to defending its NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I championship. If coach Sal Principe were a prospector, he would have found the mother lode. The veteranmentor scoured the hallways and attracted several girls to the sport. That combined with holdovers Cat Wegman and Devon Loihle— as well as the arrival of freshman Alexa Guirk, propelled the Red Raiders to a 40-5 mark and the Shore Conference’s Northern Monmouth County A title. “The girls quickly became a team and they took off,” Principe said. “It was a phenomenal season, and this year they’re all back.” Guirk started off strong on the way to averaging 186 pins. Along the way, she posted a 731 series and even rolled a 296 game. Guirk, who according to Principe is averaging more than 200 pins in practices, also finished sixth in the Shore Conference individual tourney. Wegman, now entering her senior campaign, was solid throughout her third varsity campaign, averaging 172 pins. Her high game was a 236 and Wegman also rolled a 606 series. Loihle, now a junior, averaged 161 pins, with a 544 series and a 224-pin high game. Added to the mix, directly from Principe’s algebra class, Allie Fasano and Tyler Andrews became starters and important contributors. Fasano averaged 127 pins and Andrews 114 pins, enough to put Keyport over the top in many games. “Allie and Tyler were really beginners, but they took to the game and worked hard,” the coach said. “They’re going to be so much better this year. Both of them practiced through the summer and fall and they’ve become very good bowlers. I’m very proud of them.” Three juniors: Catarina Ramos, Jessica Grioli and Mary Feeney round out the Keyport roster. Ramos also joined the team a year ago and averaged 120 pins when called upon—and has also improved. Grioli and Feeney are newcomers. Keyport was scheduled to open the season yesterday against Keansburg and will meet Mater Dei tomorrow. Both matches will be played at Memory Lanes in Red Bank. On Saturday, Principe’s team will play in the Bishop Ahr Invitational in Edison. Keyport will host its own Red Raider Holiday Classic on Dec. 30 that will include other Northern Monmouth County A teams: Henry Hudson Regional, Keansburg, Matawan, Mater Dei and St. John Vianney. On the boys’ side, the Red Raiders are looking to better last winter’s 22-23 mark. Principe has several holes to fill with the graduation of starters Brian Servedio, James Cornelius and Nick Maupai. Servedio led the Keyport boys with a 209.7 average and will be competing this season for the Stevens Institute of Technology. However, both Jack Wegman and Ryan Gunsauls are back. Jack Wegman, a sophomore, posted a 171 average, while Gunsauls, a junior, averaged 162 pins. Other members of the team include seniors Pat Byrne and Matt Behrens, junior Wayne Kellman, sophomore Chris Calloway and freshman Brandon Sacharowski. Both Byrne and Kellman saw some action a year ago. “The boys are in the same position as the girls were at the beginning of last season,” Principe said. “We have a couple of solid veterans and a lot of promise. And if you look at the girls, you never know what can happen. Right now we’re looking to be competitive in our division and to keep improving our scores.” The boys schedule will mirror that of the Red Raiders girls team. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer
Monmouth University’s women’s soccer team (4-4) has a home match on Sunday, Oct. 2, against Northeast Conference foe Long Island University. The match will start at 3 p.m. on the Great Lawn. Middletown North graduate Claudia Vazques (above right) plays forward and midfield for the Hawks, who are 1-0 in NEC play. JEFF GRANIT staff
John McDermott will bring his story about overcoming addiction to the Atlantic Highlands Library on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.McDermott, who was a basketball star at Raritan High School and Brookdale Community College before his battle with opiate addiction, will be at the library discussing and signing copies of his book, “A Legend In His Own Mind,” which is a story of addiction and recovery. McDermott’s book can also be purchased online. The former Shore area standout, who now lives in Middletown, is currently working on his second book, “Dream Season,” which will cover 50 years of high school basketball in the Jersey Shore. The book is bound to create debate as he rates the best players and teams of the last half-century.The Atlantic Highlands Library is in the Municipal Building, located on First Avenue.
By Brian HomewoodREAL Madrid tore apart Bayern Munich’s ragged defence apart with a ruthless first-half display as they thrashed the defending champions 4-0 in their own stadium to reach their first Champions League final for 12 years on Tuesday.Two Sergio Ramos headers put Real 2-0 ahead after 20 minutes of the semi-final second leg and Cristiano Ronaldo added a third from a superb break before halftime.That was his 15th goal of the competition, a record for a single season, and he extended the tally to 16 in the 90th.Bayern, treble winners last season, were never in the hunt as they slumped to a 5-0 aggregate defeat which will leave a huge stain on coach Pep Guardiola’s previously enviable record in the competition.The only negative for Real was a booking for Xabi Alonso which will rule him out of the final against either city rivals Atletico Madrid or Chelsea.Real, champions on a record nine occasions, had lost four semi-finals, one quarter-final and six times in the round of sixteen since their last final appearance in 2002.Bayern, trailing 1-0 from the first leg, laid siege to Real’s goal early on while the crowd attempted to intimidate the Spaniards by whistling incessantly when they had possession.The Bavarians had won eight and drawn one of their previous nine home games against Real and needed a good performance to answer critics who said their possession game had become dull and toothless.But, although Bayern huffed and puffed, they rarely threatened and there was always a risk they would concede a killer away goal.That arrived in the 16th minute when Ramos rose unmarked at the far post to score with a powerful downward header.Amid general disbelief, Real struck again four minutes later when Angel di Maria’s free kick was flicked on by Pepe and Ramos headed it into the corner.Bayern lost composure, leaving them wide open to Real’s ruthless counter-attacks.That was exactly how the third goal came with Real breaking from the edge of their own area to the other end in a matter of seconds, the move ending with Bale feeding Ronaldo to slot past Neuer.There was an incredible moment shortly afterwards when Neuer came racing out of his goal, and sent his clearance to Ronaldo who tried to score from 40 metres but saw his shot fly over.Bayern’s shaken players got involved in several petulant exchanges as it was clear that their period of European dominance was over.Guardiola tried to limit the damage after halftime by replacing his only striker Mario Mandzukic with defensive midfielder Javi Martinez.Arjen Robben produced their best effort with a shot which curled narrowly wide just before the hour but Ronaldo had the last word as Real handed Bayern their heaviest-ever home defeat in European competition.
By Erik KirschbaumMIROSLAV Klose and Thomas Muller will bring a grand total of 26 World Cup goals to the final on Sunday, a staggering tally for two of the most prolific strikers in the tournament’s history.Klose is the World Cup’s all-time record goal scorer with 16 in four tournaments, while Muller has 10 in two editions.But the German duo’s fearsome reputation on the field masks a good-natured and soft-spoken demeanour off it.Both are consummate team players who altruistically express due appreciation to the fine assists they get from a superb pack of midfielders.They might be famous around the world for their World Cup heroics but in Germany they’re just two ordinary guys on Joachim Low’s team desperate for a first World Cup title since 1990.“The only thing that matters to me is that the team is successful and we’ll finally be able to lift the damn thing on Sunday,” Klose told reporters.“I’m just savouring every moment that I’m on the pitch,” added the 36-year-old, who has started Germany’s last two games after playing a reserve role before that.“I’m soaking up all the emotions. Those are my special moments.”Klose moved past former Brazil striker Ronaldo on the World Cup’s all-time scorer’s list with his 16th goal on Tuesday in the 7-1 demolition of the hosts.Ronaldo, who scored his 15th and last in the 2002 final against Klose’s Germany, watched on in Belo Horizonte as his record mark was surpassed.A humble man standing 1.82 metres tall, Klose plays for Lazio after spells at Kaiserslautern, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich. He was born in Poland and moved to West Germany as an eight-year-old in 1986.Klose is Germany’s all-time scoring leader with 71 goals for Germany in 136 appearances and he has no plans to stop no matter what happens on Sunday.“Unfortunately,” he said with a smile. “I feel like I can still keep going on. I feel like I can drag my corpse around for quite some time. I’ll probably make a spontaneous decision at some point (to retire) but I’m not there yet.”Klose won the Golden Boot for most goals at the 2006 World Cup with five. He said he hopes Muller will win the award for a second time after getting it in 2010 with his five goals.Muller, who is one shy of Colombian James Rodriguez’s mark of six in the top scorer charts in Brazil, is slightly taller than Klose at 1.86 metres and a renowned light-hearted prankster.“He’s always fun to be around and always engaging the others in conversations,” Low said of Muller, who speaks with a thick Bavaria accent and has played at Bayern Munich since he was 18.Even though he is only 24, Muller already has 22 goals in 55 caps for Germany and his 10 World Cup goals leave him well set to one day catch Klose’s mark.“That’s not something I’m thinking about at all,” Muller told reporters recently before repeating the mantra that every Germany player comes up with at news conference. “We’re here as a team to win the tournament. Everything else is secondary.”But after getting his latest goal in the huge win over Brazil on Tuesday, Muller allowed himself to joke about the possible feat.“I’m hot on his heels now but he’s got what feels like a 20-year head start on me,” Muller said with a laugh before praising Klose. “He’s an indefatigable worker on the team, a real team player. There’s no one better than him.”
By Karolos GrohmannGermany striker Miroslav Klose, who capped a record-breaking career with the national team by winning the World Cup last month, has retired from international football.Poland-born Klose, who scored twice in the tournament in Brazil to become the competition’s record goal scorer of all time with 16 goals, said the time was right to end a 13-year career with the German national team.He is the second member of the German team to quit after the tournament following captain Philipp Lahm last month.“Winning the title in Brazil was a childhood dream come true,” the 36-year-old Lazio striker said in a statement released by the German football Association.“I am happy and proud to have contributed to this big success for German football. For me there could be no better moment to complete the national team chapter.”Germany’s second most-capped player behind Lothar Matthaeus made the first of his 137 international appearances in 2001 and went on to become the top German scorer of all time with 71 international goals.He broke Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record of 68 goals in June.Germany’s only out-and-out striker in the World Cup squad, Klose was initially benched in the tournament but earned back his starting spot and scored once against Ghana in the group stage and then again in their 7-1 semi-final demolition of hosts Brazil in the semi-final.The latter goal also meant he overtook former Brazil striker Ronaldo on the World Cup scorers list.“When I met up with Miro last week he told he me he had thought long about it and talked to his family,” Germany coach Joachim Low said. “I immediately sensed that his decision was irreversible and that I cannot convince him otherwise.“You can always count on Miro to keep his word and that was the case in Brazil as well. I have a lot of respect for Miro’s decision as well as for his unbelievable national team career that is all but impossible to trump.“As player and a human being, we will be missing Miro and I am happy and grateful to have been allowed to work with Miroslav Klose.”A lethal finisher, Klose was a relatively late starter for Germany after playing no role in any of the country’s national youth squads.He then went on to play in four World Cups starting in 2002 and also competed in three European championships.
By Mitch PhillipsENGLISH rugby loves to trumpet its links with the military, so the RFU’s marketing men will be beside themselves with the news that Samesa Rokoduguni, a serving soldier, has been called up to the squad for the four November internationals.But anyone thinking that Fijian Lance Corporal Rokoduguni of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is some sort of symbolic selection has obviously not been paying much attention to the Premiership over the last year or so.The mighty wing was credited with beating more defenders than any other player in the league last season, and more of the same this term has been a major factor in Bath’s flying start to the season.On Wednesday he was rewarded with a place in Stuart Lancaster’s squad for the November internationals against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia and, with centre Manu Tuilagi injured, the need to include some power in the backline means he could well make his debut against the All Blacks on November 8.That would cap a remarkable transformation for the 27-year-old, who two years ago was playing for fun in the Army having been considered not even good enough to get in his school team at home in Fiji.Everything changed in 2012 when Mike Ford, a former England assistant coach, saw Rokoduguni playing for the Army against his then-club Newcastle.Newcastle were leading 31-0 but three tries from Rokoduguni helped the Army draw the match 31-31, with Ford making sure he was on Bath’s radar soon after when he switched clubs.Once he eventually signed it was a steep learning curve but his pace, his deadly step and ever-increasing power “10kg of pure, lean muscle added” says Ford, soon turned him into a threat at Premiership level.This season he has scored six tries in seven games and Ford is confident he can hold his own at international level.“He is a freestyle, free-spirit rugby player and that’s what makes him exciting,” he said. “The key is to get him doing the same thing for England as he’s doing for Bath.”For Rokoduguni, it is hard to take in just how this has all come about, and so quickly.He was recruited by the Army as a 19-year-old in 2007, following in a family tradition that has his brother and sister also serving the British Army and his father in the Fijian Army.In his first week on duty in Afghanistan, a comrade he was with on patrol had both legs blown off by a mine.“If that had been me, losing both legs and not reaching my full potential, there could have been nothing worse than that,” Rokoduguni told the BBC. “So when I came back from Afghanistan I had a different view of life: make the best use of every chance you have, because that chance might only come round the once.”When one of those chances came along he almost wasted it.After impressing for the Army in a match in Twickenham he received a call from Bath’s Gary Gold but hung up thinking it was a prank.When Rokoduguni was eventually convinced it was for real he went for a trial and eventually signed as a professional in 2012, though he is effectively on loan from the Army and still lives in Army housing.“The plan was to have a career in the Army, support my family back home, get to full corporal or sergeant and go back myself,” he said this week when news of his call-up leaked out.“This was not part of the plan.”
Lewis Hamilton is keeping his fingers crossed that he and Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel can have a proper battle in Bahrain on Sunday after last year’s race did neither of them any favours.Vettel, now joint leader of the Formula One championship with Mercedes’ Hamilton after two races, was unable to start the 2016 grand prix at Sakhir due to an engine failure on the formation lap.The German, who had qualified third behind the then-dominant Mercedes drivers, has been alongside Hamilton on the front row so far this year.“It (the title battle) is going to go right down to the end of the season, and I hope there’s nothing mechanical that will come in between our sheer battle through ability,” said Hamilton after winning in China last weekend.“I really, really hope it’s just an out and out fight through stubbornness, through mental stability, through fitness, composure…,” he added.Vettel, a four times world champion with Red Bull, and triple champion Hamilton have 43 points apiece after one victory and second place each.Unless both draw a blank, the deadlock must be broken on Sunday at a desert circuit where both are two times winners and returning in rather better mood than they left last year.There is a real sense of anticipation about the emerging scrap between two great rivals with a huge determination to win and no less mutual respect of each other’s talents and achievements.“He is at his best and he is phenomenally quick,” Hamilton said of Australian Grand Prix winner Vettel. “Ferrari are at their best in years. We’re at our best as a team, and I feel like I’m at my best.“The ultimate fighter always wants to go up against the best battle he can have because then when you come out on top, it’s so much more satisfying. I love this fight.”UNHAPPY MEMORIESLast year’s race in Bahrain does not hold great memories for either of the current Mercedes drivers, either.Hamilton made a slow start from pole and collided on the first lap with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, his new team mate this season, who was punished by stewards for his move.Bottas, who has replaced last year’s winner and retired world champion Nico Rosberg, will not want reminding of that as he seeks to move on from a spin behind the safety car that cost him points in China.Mercedes should be favourites, after winning the last three races at Sakhir, but Ferrari are sharp on strategy and have shown they flourish in hotter conditions.“I think they will be very, very quick in the next race but there’s a lot of straights there as well and we’ve obviously got, I think, still the strongest power unit on the grid,” commented Hamilton.“So I think that will come into play, for sure.”The race will also see the return of Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein, who has missed two races due to fitness issues, and of former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, attending a race for the first time since his ouster by Liberty Media.The 86-year-old Briton told Reuters that a Vettel v Hamilton battle was win-win for the sport.“They are both good friends of mine so I don’t care who wins. It would be nice to see Ferrari win… I’d like to see Sebastian win, But it would also be nice to see Lewis put another notch on his gun,” he said.