By Warren RappleyeaStaff Writer By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer The Raritan High School boys’ tennis team is off to a strong 4-1 start thanks to solid play throughout the lineup. The Rockets have downed Middletown South, Red Bank Regional, Howell and Monmouth Regional, while losing only to powerful Holmdel in a match that was closer than the 5-0 score, according to coach Gary Schlenker. Seniors dominate Raritan’s lineup, yet the program is well stocked. Schlenker welcomed 39 players to tryouts this spring, and many are preparing for future varsity duty with the JV team. Scott Seaman is the Rockets’ top singles player. A hard-hitter who can come to the net to finish points, Seaman is 4-1 after going 12-7 last season. Junior Ahsan Ullah holds down the second spot. A second doubles competitor a year ago, the scrappy Ullah is 4-1. At third singles, the aggressive Tom Dundee is 3-2. Entering the campaign, Schlenker expected his squad to win points at singles, which has happened, but the Rockets’ doubles teams have also made their presence felt. Vinnie Mirto and Nirov Pandya are 3-2 at first doubles, as Pandya’s play at the net has complemented Mirto’s shot placement. Mike Young, another strong net player, has combined with freshman lefty Scott Latham for a 4-1 mark at the second doubles slot. In addition, Bill Danneving, 7-1 last year, and Scott Abela, who saw varsity time last spring, are both vying for playing time. “Our doubles teams have given us a real boost,” the coach said. “They work hard and they’re aggressive. A lot of their points are coming at the net. As a result, that’s taken some of the pressure off our singles players and we’re winning as a team.” Notes… The Monmouth County Tournament was played over the weekend, although a few of the area’s top teams and/or players did not participate due to heavy schedules this week. The most glaring absences were from Ocean, the second-ranked team in the Shore, who had a number of players returning from vacation, and Marlboro, the top-ranked team in the area, which only entered half its team, not including its top two players, John Boym and Andrew Sharnov. As a result, a number of teams entered the tournament with championship aspirations, only to see Rumson-Fair Haven, routinely one of the Shore’s premier programs, win the team title with 23 points. The Ranney school finished second with 20 points, followed by Holmdel (15), Middletown North (12), Red Bank Regional (10) and Marlboro and Raritan (9). Ranney’s Trey Taylor won the first singles bracket, defeating Manasquan’s Jared Smoke, 6-3, 6-4, in the final. Taylor got to the final by defeating Rumson’s Greg Modilosso, 6-1, 6-1, in the semifinals, while Smoke beat Holmdel’s Lawrence Zakrevsky, 6-2, 6-3. Rumson’s Pete Van Deventer won the second singles title, beating Ranney’s Anan Sundaram, 6-3, 6-3. Van Deventer beat RBR’s Sean Koch, 6-1, 6-0, in the semis, while Sundaram beat Wall’s Ryan Ritchey, 6-1, 7-5. At third singles, Middletown North’s Mike Udovic took the title, beating Marlboro’s Jared Goldberg, 6-4, 6-4, in the final. Udovic beat Ranney’s Alex Lopyan in the semis, 7-5, 7-5, while Goldberg topped Manasquan’s Mike Kelly, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Rumson’s first singles duo of Andrew Miller and Chris Rodilosso beat Holmdel’s Rich and Julius Lee, 6-1, 6-3, in the final to win that title, while Rumson’s Brendan Smith and Corey Cummins won at second doubles.
The 2003 Matawan-Aberdeen 8-year-old All Star team won first place in both the St. Joe’s and South Amboy baseball tournaments. The team also placed second in the Hazlet Tournament and third in the Sayreville Tournament. The 19 tournament games were played within a five-week period, with many of the tournaments overlapping one another. Despite the hectic schedule, the Matawan-Aberdeen team persevered and played well throughout the summer campaign. Mike Denino, the team’s manager, along with coaches Tim Clifton, John Thompson and Joe Urbano, carried the team to an outstanding record of 17 wins and 2 losses. The All-Star team included Connor Clifton, Michael Denino, Justin Harnett, Brian Leibell, Michael Martocci, Matthew Pidich, Anthony Principe, Matthew Rackett, Scott Thompson, Alec Urbano, Michael Ziegler and George Zirkel.
Brookdale Community College’s women’s basketball team went 1-2 at the National Junior College Athletic Association’s National Championships to finish in seventh place, The Jersey Blues, making their first-ever trip to the nationals, held this year in Corning, N.Y., from Thursday through Saturday, proved that they match up well with the country’s best Division III programs. Brookdale opened play on Thursday night against the No. 2 seed Joliet (Ill.) Wolves. The seventh-seeded Blues gave the Wolves all they wanted and more before falling, 79-76. Guard Becky Piper (Colts Neck) led the Blues with 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Forward Amy Gaudious (Long Branch) had 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Danielle Vitalone (Middletown South), a guard, also scored 19 points, connecting on five three-pointers. Forward Tammy Wood (South River) chipped in with eight points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Montgomery College-Rockville (Md.) was the only team that handled the Blues, jumping out to a 37-22 lead at the half and rolling from there to an 86-58 win on Friday. Marissa Richardson lit the Blues up for 32 points. Vitalone had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Gaudious, 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Ashley Healy (Howell) had 11 points and eight rebounds. In the seventh/eighth place consolation game, the Blues scored their lone victory, a 69-68 win over Bunker Hill (Mass.) Three-point shooting was the difference in this one as the Blues connected on 10-of-22. Piper and Vitalone each knocked down four, while Gaudious stepped away from the paint to make two. Piper led the Blues with 25 points and four assists. Gaudious had a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Vitalone netted 14 and had six rebounds. Anoka-Ramsey (Minn.) lived up to its No. 1 seed beating Monroe College (N.Y.), 64-60, in the championship game Saturday night. Piper averaged 18.3 points a game for the tournament. Gaudious average a double-double, 15 points and 11 rebounds. Vitalone averaged 15.3 points a game. The Jersey Blues finished the season with a 21-11 record. The won the Garden State Conference championship for the second straight year and captured their first Region XIX tournament crown. — Tim Morris
No one was more eager to run at the Passaic County Coaches Invitational on Sept. 28 than Middletown High School North’s Tom O’Neill.He likes the Garret Mountain course in Woodland Park. The delayed start to his 2013 season had the Lions’ harrier roaring to go.He won the Varsity Group 3 race in 15:39.32. The time stood up as the fastest of the day by 27 seconds.The Lions’ senior, last year’s NJSIAA Meet of Champions winner, fulfilled his goal of running faster in this race than last year, when he won in 15:47.“He was very pleased that he could run under 15:40,” Lions head coach Richard Piro said. “He was very comfortable throughout the race.”There was a good reason for O’Neill’s late start to the season. He has his eyes set on running in the Nike Cross Nationals this year, which aren’t until Dec. 7. First, he’ll have to finish in the top 10 at the Northeast Qualifier at Wappingers Falls, N.Y., on Nov. 30.“Because we wanted to prolong his season into December, we decided not to race in dual meets in the beginning of the season,” Piro said.Without O’Neill, the Lions have been doing quite well this fall. But with him back, the Lions won the Varsity Group 3 championship.Michael Marano (16:59.67) and Matt Todaro (17:33.04) finished fourth and 10th, respectively.Completing the team scoring were Joe Cioffi (17:43.45) and Conor Finn (18:20.79) in 14th and 25th to bring the Lions’ score to 54, just ahead of Wayne Hills High School (65) and Wayne Valley High School (69).George Roditis (18:27.61) and Danny Kim (19:06.93) ran 28th and 36th for the Lions in the Varsity Group 3 race as their sixth and seventh runners.“The kids work very hard,” Piro said. “The team has stepped it up tremendously.“Two through seven, they all understand what their job is. They really have gelled very well so far.”Piro attributed O’Neill’s success and the example he has set in helping his teammates become better.“They’re so excited about running,” the coach said. “[O’Neill] makes them want to run their best.”Powerful debut by CBAIn Wappingers Falls, Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) unveiled its top team for the first time this fall, and it looked like vintage CBA.With 30 points, the Colts handily won the Bowdoin Park XC Classic for the second straight year on Sept. 28.For the Colts, senior Mike McClemens (16:02.29) and sophomore Blaise Ferro (16:06.51) finished first and second, respectively. Tom Rooney wasn’t far back in fifth (16:10.48).Fran Brogan (16:18.92) and Josh Kruppa (16:42.87) completed the Colts’ scorers in eighth and 14th. Forty seconds is all that separated CBA’s top five. As if that weren’t enough, their sixth and seventh runners, Tom Dengler (16:43.22) and Drew Reda (17:02.27), were 16th and 23rd.Colts head coach Tom Heath said prior to the race that he wasn’t quite sure what kind of team he had and that the Bowdoin Classic would tell him a lot about it. What he learned is that he has another powerhouse capable of competing on the national level again.CBA’s dominance didn’t stop at the varsity level. Heath sung the praises of his junior varsity team, which took the top four places and seven of the first eight.In the freshmen race, CBA went first and second, and it had its top five all finish in the top 10.The win was important for CBA for another reason — Bowdoin Park will host the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional, the Nike Cross Nationals qualifying race, on Nov. 30. CBA, fourth at the nationals last year after winning it in 2011, will begin its quest for a second national title there.Holmdel High School made a very strong showing at Bowdoin as well, led by the Barlev brothers, Dan and Aaron. Dan, a senior, crossed the line 12th overall (11th in team scoring) in 16:27.48, while Aaron was 13th (12th in team scoring) in 16:37.87.The Hornets were seventh in team, scoring with 193 points.Battle at Ocean County ParkOn Sept. 20, Holmdel’s girls and boys went to the Battle at Ocean County Park in Lakewood, which was a class meet.Marin Warner led the Hornets to the win in the Junior Girls race, finishing first with 18:25.40. Teammate Gypsy Blue Cooper was fourth (20:13.05) and Stephanie Sun was 20th (22:57.98) for a team score of 25.Middletown High School South was third with 37 points, led by Sylvie Evarts (20:29.19) and Mary Kate Himmelberg (20:38.12), who finished fifth and sixth.The Eagles won the Senior Girls race with 16 points. Christina Rutkowski (19:08.68), Brianna Haspel (19:16.01) and Cassidy Weimer (19:18.90) went 3-6-7.Middletown South edged Holmdel, 24- 27, in the Junior Boys division.The Hornets’ Aaron Barlev (16:19.24) and Nick DeMaio (16:31.63) finished first and second. However, the Eagles countered with Nick Matera (17:10.51), Theo Saydah (17:12.69) and Harrison Kelly (17:26.20), who were 6-7-11, for their 24 points.Holmdel returned the favor in the Senior Boys race, beating Middletown South, 13-18. Dan Barlev was second in the race (15:56.91), but he was first for team scoring. Victor Desario (16:44.38) and Anton Luz (17:24.26) were fourth and eighth.For the Eagles, T.J. Harrington was third (16:36.22) and Conor Bini was sixth (17:09.54).CBA won the Sophomore Boys race, pitching a shutout with Jon Dooling (16:48.04), Joe Walsh (16:54.46) and Matt Roma (17:01.60) finishing first through third.On Oct. 4, the Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park will bring together many of the top teams and harriers throughout the state. By TIM MORRIS Staff Writer
French television TV 2 is preparing a 55 minute documentary on the life and career of French footballing legend, and current UEFA President, Michel Platini. Having already visited Nancy, Saint Etienne and Torino where Platini made a name for himself playing for Juventus, TV 2 knew that no Platini documentary would be complete without visiting the Platini Museum in Mosfiloti!TV 2 sent a three-crew team to Cyprus to visit the museum and talk to its founder and owner, Philippos Stavrou. “They told me initially that they needed five hours for the filming…they were here for eight and if it weren’t for the Cup final they would probably still be here,” joked Philippos.“They were so meticulous and professional in their work. Some stuff they filmed over and over again until they got it just right. They even asked me to drive around the village in my ‘museum car’.”Philippos is also waiting for a reply from the Guinness World Book of Records to see if his museum will be listed in the 2015 edition as the ‘museum with the most football exhibits’. During an official count last November there were 21,137 exhibits and since then a further 500 have been added. The exhibits include gigantic posters, badges, shirts, flags, stamps, coins, newspaper articles, scarves and even a suit that Michel Platini wore to an UEFA function!The French TV crew said they were puzzled why this unique shrine to Platini is not attracting worldwide attention. If the 22,000 or so exhibits are not enough to convince you to make the 20 minute drive from Nicosia (or four hour flight from Paris!) then perhaps the superb souvlaki on offer at Philippos’ bar/café right next to the museum will do the trick! The museum is open seven days a week from 14:00 onwards and admission is free.For more information call 00357 99 581363More on Platini’s museum 1More on Platini’s museum 2
Several human rights groups have called on authorities in Azerbaijan to conduct a full and transparent investigation into the murder of journalist Rasim Aliyev.Aliyev, who worked for the ANN.az website, died on Sunday in a Baku hospital after he was severely beaten the previous day by a group of people.Officials have connected the attack to a Facebook post in which Aliyev had criticised a local football player’s celebration when his team beat Cypriot side Apollon Limassol last Thursday, angering his relatives. Gabala won the game 1-0, advancing to the next stage of the Europa League. The first leg, played in Larnaca a week earlier, ended in a 1-1 draw.Aliyev had criticised the behaviour of Gabala striker Javid Huseynov who waved a Turkish flag after the August 6 match and allegedly made an offensive gesture at a journalist, reports said.Aliyev wrote that Huseynov “did not know how to behave” and should not play in matches in Europe.Gabala expressed regret over the incident, adding that Huseynov has been dropped from the first team until the case was cleared.On Tuesday, several media outlets in Cyprus reported that Huseynov has been arrested, but this has not been confirmed.According to one of the reports, Huseynov and his cousin were arrested on suspicion of covering up a crime, while others were arrested over the beating. They will reportedly be jailed for three months during the ongoing investigation.But human rights watchdogs suspect Aliyev’s killing could be connected to a series of photos he had posted online showing police brutality and social discontent.Twelve human rights organisations, including the Sport for Rights coalition, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Index on Censorship, International Media Support and PEN American Centre, supported the appeal.“As Rasim Aliyev’s murder shows, critical voices are at greater risk now than ever before,” Sport for Rights said in a statement.“The international community must act now to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its human rights obligations and promote much-needed reforms in the country.”Azerbaijan, ruled by President Ilham Aliyev since he succeeded his father in 2003, has been courted by Western countries because of its role as an alternative to Russia in supplying oil and gas to Europe.However, various European bodies and human rights groups have accused Aliyev of muzzling dissent and jailing opponents, including journalists, charges Baku denies.“The president of Azerbaijan rates this incident as a threat to the freedom of speech and information, free activity of the mass media in the country,” Ali Hasanov, the president’s aide for public and political affairs, said.
1 MAXEMILLION, KASSMAN W+67kg 1 TON 1 1 NZL 1 W-49kg CAROLINE, MARTON HAYDER, SHKARA M-58Kg Name Rank 1 It was almost a family affair, as two Australian sisters, one of the sister’s husbands and the Papua New Guinean aunt-nephew combination all won quota places for the Rio Summer Olympics.Papua New Guinea’s Samantha Kassman won a place in the female -67kg category while her nephew Maxemillion Kassman captured a berth in the male +80kg division.During the qualifier match the 17 year old Max Kassman ousted the Vanuatu opponent in the dying minutes of the 4th round which was one of the superb fights in the tournament that made PNG proud to see that the aunt and nephew both qualified for Rio.Rounding out the winners were Andrea Kilday of New Zealand (women’s -49kg) Hayder Shkara of Australia (male -80kg) and Pita Taufatofua of Tonga (male +80kg).In Rio, 128 taekwondo fighters, fighting in eight weight categories, will do battle for Olympic medals between 17-20 August at Carioca Arena 3, in the city’s Barra Olympic Park.The Result of the “Oceania Qualification Tournament 2016 for the XXXI Olympiad”Weight SAMANTHA, KASSMAN NOC PNG PITA, TAUFATOFUA ANDREA, KILDAY SAFWAN, KHALIL W-57kg W-67kg AUS M+80Kg CARMEN, MARTON PNG 1 M-68Kg AUS 1 AUS AUS M-80Kg
The event will act as a promotional lead up into the setting up of the HP Momase Centre of Excellence (CoE) at the Sir Ignatius Kilage stadium (SIKS).HP Director, Aaron Alsop and his team is inviting all interested sporting groups or individuals from the provincial up to the national level at the SIKS to attend the free information session.He said the program will be run on Friday August 19 from 2-4pm and again on Saturday August 20 from 2-4pm. He added Team Morobe will have an opportunity to meet with HP on Saturday August 20 from 9-12pm.While the official opening of the Momase Centre of Excellence (CoE) will be in October, Alsop said creating public awareness to engage the public’s attention is vital in the lead up to the actual opening.“Due to the demand of understanding who the HP team is and exactly how we support sports, athletes and coaches, we felt it was best to come and meet the sport community in the Momase region. “The awareness campaign is to learn more on the current sporting landscape in the region and connect with those who are behind the current sporting programs. “Team Morobe General Team Management and the Morobe Sports Office have already requested to meet with our team to discuss plans on their PNG Games preparations. This opportunity is also open to other provinces in the region who can meet us in Lae at Sir Ignatius Kilagi Stadium is where our new office is located. ” said Alsop.
Touch Football Papua New Guinea (TFPNG) will be looking to expand the elite squad of 30 players following the championships in preparation for the 2019 World Cup at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.TFPNG president Dadi Toka Jr said this year’s championship is very important.He said the panel of selectors for Team PNG will select an elite squad of 60 men and women.The selections will also be in preparation for future international events leading up to the 2019 World Cup.This year the championships will have teams not only from the regular provinces but a strong contingent from Brisbane, Australia.Only TFPNG associations affiliated this year will participate and their players will be eligible for selection.TFPNG secretary general Moro Kasisi urges associations with outstanding registration fees to pay as soon as possible to ensure they secure their participation before the end of April.Toka said TFPNG has a very positive outlook as it prepares for more touch football activities and the national championships.Meantime, PNG men’s, women’s and mixed teams finished in the top ten out of 53 countries that took part in 2015 Touch Footy World Cup.The men’s and women’s teams both grabbed gold at the 2015 Pacific Games and the mixed team won silver.
Photo: Netball New Zealand Fiji beat Cook Islands in the Oceania qualifying final last year. The Baby Pearls earned a top ten finish at the last Under 21 Championships four years ago and won the Oceania qualifying tournament in September.Head coach Vicki Wilson said she’d picked a team full of talent, even if they are a bit raw.”We’ve got three secondary school students in the side – they’re only 15 years of age – so a very young, inexperienced team,” she said.”We’ve got one girl, our captain Episake Kahatoka, who’s played at World Cup so our experience is very limited but…they’re just so excited and it’s a great challenge for them to step out on that international stage.”All but one of the national squad is based in Fiji, with one player selected from Brisbane, Australia.Vicki Wilson said finding time together in the build-up to the World Youth Cup has been somewhat challenging.”I’ve tried to do a lot of work in the school holidays – at Christmas time if you were to hold a training camp either in Australia or New Zealand I’m sure you wouldn’t get too many kids rocking on in after two weeks but they still kept coming back every day and they really enjoyed it,” she said.”And also in January, before the series, we did a training camp and we managed to have another couple of weeks together – so they still went to school or they went to uni but we trained at night, so that was terrific to be able to have those consecutive training sessions.”Fiji play Trinidad and Tobago in their opening match this weekend and also face Wales, Granada and England in pool play.Wilson said, all things considered, they have drawn quite a good pool.”We’ve avoided New Zealand, Australia and Jamaica and South Africa so we’ve only got England to deal with and Trinidad, so I’m very happy with our pool,” she said.”First game is going to be tough though because playing in Under 21s they’re relatively unsighted, so we’re up against Trinidad so we won’t know what we’re up against until the warm up.”Or maybe the opening ceremony I’ll be sizing up a few of their players (laughing) and trying to work out who their shooter is and who their keeper is,” said the former Australian captain.Vicki Wilson said Fiji would love to finish in the top two in their pool and advance to the quarter finals but that will be tough, requiring them to upset either Trinidad or England.