The Twin Lights Ride will take place rain or shine on Sept. 29. The cycling event will start at Huddy Park in Highlands, with parking available at the Seastreak Ferry commuter parking lot. The tour will feature 10-, 18-, 25-, 44- and 62-mile rides, suitable for cyclists of all ages and ability levels. The rides include oceanfront, residential and countryside tours. The 14-mile ride, perfect for young cyclists, will travel the Sandy Hook peninsula on flat, paved roads along the waterfront to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. The tour is expected to attract as many as 1,000 cyclists. Tour participants from New York will be arriving in Highlands by ferry to take part in the tour. To volunteer or for more information, call (732) 946-2711. Additional information is also available from the Highlands Business Partnership on its Web site, www.highlandsnj.com, or from Bike New York at www.bikenewyork.org. An established U11 AAU travel baseball team is looking for players to compete in the spring/fall 2003 season. The squad is an established team based out of Robbinsville called the Robbinsville Cobras. The Cobras are currently ranked third in the state and have been ranked during the course of the 2002 season in the top 75 teams in the United States, according to usasportsrank.com. The Cobras play baseball approximately 10 months over the course of the year, and are going to be trained for the 2003 season by Dave Gallagher and his staff. They travel throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland, and gained a national berth to play in the AAU Nationals this year but opted not to participate so that the players on the team could play in their respective recreational league tournaments. The Cobras play under High School Federation Rules and Regulations, which means they can use big barrel bats, do head first slides, lead and pick off runners. All interested players should call Seth at (609) 259-9566, Tony at (609) 259-2643 or Mike at (609)324-8102. E-mail them at email@example.com or check out their Web site, www.leaguelineup.com/robbinsville. The Cobras will be holding tryouts for the 2003 team on Sept. 22, Oct. 6 and Oct. 20, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at Tantum Park. Tantum Park is located off of Meadowbrook Road in Robbinsville (field 3). In order to be eligible, players must not turn 12 before Aug. 1, 2003. The American Heart Association’s 11th annual American Heart Walk will be held at Thompson Park in the Lincroft section of Middletown Sept. 29. There will be a total of 13 walksites throughout the state. Currently the American Heart Association is seeking volunteers to help organize and facilitate the walk. Volunteers are needed to help with walksite set-up and take-down, check-in/registration support, performers and entertainers, community health fair participants, photography volunteers, and volunteers to help distribute food beverages and other items. To volunteer or for more information about the walk, call (732) 821-2610. Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Monmouth County (BBBS) will hold its 13th annual Golf Classic Sept. 26 at Spring Lake Golf Club. BBBS matches at-risk children with adult volunteers who act as friends, confidants and mentors. The cost for the event in $300 per individual golfer ($1,650 for a corporate foursome), and includes a full day of golf and club service. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. with golfer goodie bags. A cocktail hour, with hors d’oeuvres, dinner, prizes and awards will follow the event. The format is Modified Calloway Scramble. For more information, call (732) 544-2224 or register online at www.bbbs.org.
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer With eight matches remaining, coach Gary Schlenker is looking for a strong finish from his Raritan High School girls tennis teams. The Rockets are 6-6 just past the midway point of the season while playing in the Shore Conference’s tough B Central division, which houses powerhouses Holmdel and Manasquan as well as a strong Rumson-Fair Haven contingent. Raritan has scored triumphs against Monmouth Regional and Howell. “I’m very proud of the girls; they always play hard and they never quit,” the coach said. “They’re playing everyone tough, and that’s all I can ask.” Freshman Samantha Miller has emerged as Raritan’s top singles players. The hardworking Miller has an innate ability to keep balls in play and her record mirrors the team’s at 6-6. Seniors Stephanie Kraus and Sarah Kenny, Raritan’s co-captains, play at second and third singles, respectively. Kraus has been more aggressive this year in coming to the net, while Kenny plays a patient, baseline game. Both girls are over .500 for the campaign. Senior Michelle Latman is paired with junior Kristen McDonald at first singles. Their tenacity and ability to make on-court adjustments has resulted in consistent play and a 7-5 ledger, Schlenker said. Three girls have been sharing second-doubles duty. Senior Nicole Abela and juniors Lisa Szczuplak and Kaitlin McGlynn have all played well. Szczuplak, a first-year player who played soccer last fall, worked hard to earn a spot on the team. Schlenker noted that Raritan’s junior varsity program is flourishing under coach Chris Berg. Twenty-five girls are on the JV roster, several of whom will move up to varsity next year. “We’re very encouraged with the large turnout, and it speaks well for the future of the program,” Schlenker said. “But we still have a lot of matches left this season, and our goal is to finish over .500.” Holmdel still waiting to play for conference crown The top-ranked Holmdel Hornets are anxiously awaiting their chance to play for the Shore Conference Tournament title. And they may be waiting for quite a while. While both the Hornets and third-ranked Manas-quan have advanced to the finals, the upcoming busy schedule, which includes the state team tournament and the state individual tournament, has both teams scratching their heads over when to get together for the SCT final. Holmdel was scheduled to play for the North II, Group III championship on Monday against West Morris Mendham, while first singles player Jackie Wu, second singles player Maryana Milchutsky and the doubles tandem of Rose Yan and Renee Lee are among the top seeds in the NJSIAA singles and doubles tournaments, which are also in full swing. Wu and Milchutsky both advanced to the quarterfinal round with wins on Sunday. The quarterfinals and semifinals of both the singles and doubles tournaments will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Mercer County Park. It all makes for a hectic couple of weeks for the state’s top-ranked team, so the SCT final will simply have to wait. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer
There were no big surprises at the Monmouth County Boys and Girls Swimming Championships, held over the weekend at the Ocean County YMCA in Toms River. At least not in the team competitions, where Christian Brothers Academy won its 18th consecutive county title by outscoring second-place Ocean Township, 318-238, and the Red Bank Catholic girls won their eighth straight title going away, topping secondplace Ocean, 403.5-224. While team titles for the CBA boys and RBC girls seem to be an annual event, another emerging trend is the dominance of young, local swimmers in the individual events. In the boys competition, held Friday, it was Middletown North’s Greg Daniele who was the man of the hour, as the junior broke two meet records, winning the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:43.77 (just under two seconds faster than the record time set by Shore Regional’s Andrew Dennis at last year’s meet). Dennis was no match for Daniele on this day, finishing nearly four seconds behind in second place. For an encore, Daniele overcame an early deficit to Monmouth Regional’s Ed Carnes in the 100 butterfly to win the event in a time of 51.49 – 1.77 seconds faster than the record time set last year by CBA’s Martin Harm. Carnes came back to win the 100 backstroke in 53.64, while Harm captured the 50 freestyle in a record-setting time of 21.42. Harm’s teammate, Harrison Cefalo, added another individual win, taking the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.18, while the CBA relay teams dominated as usual. The quartet of Harm, Charles Pataffi, Terry Hubert and T.J. McCarthy dominated the 200 freestyle relay in record-setting fashion, beating a three-year-old record with their 1:28.51 mark, while the 200 medley relay team of Alex Fitton, Cefalo, Hubert and Harm beat their closest competitor by over seven seconds, and the 400 freestyle relay team of Robinson Pataffi, Fitton and Mc- Carthy won that event by over 11 seconds. “We were able to swim 32 kids tonight, so we had a very diverse lineup, where we gave everyone an opportunity to swim,” CBA head coach Mike Sullivan said. “We tried to get them some experience in different events so later on in the season, when we need them in those events, they’ll have some experience.” Rumson-Fair Haven sophomore Connor Jaeger was another force in the pool Friday: he won both the 500 freestyle (in a meet record time of 4:38.93) and the 200 individual medley (1:59.53). Red Bank’s Taylor Gledhill was the only other individual winner; he took the 100 freestyle (49.11) to lead his team to a thirdplace finish with 174 points, followed by Jaeger’s Bulldogs, with 155. With CBA’s dominance at the county meet, the question of how the Colts measure up with the very best teams in the state is still a bit of a mystery. In their first true test of the season on Dec. 22, they fell to state power St. Augustine, 98-72, despite some positive efforts from the entire lineup. CBA swam well against St. Augustine, only to finish a close second in several events. In addition, they were without Harm, who had a double ear infection. With a healthy Harm back in action, the Colts will certainly have some chances in the next couple of weeks to prove they are worthy of a rematch with St. Augustine. On Jan. 12, they take on St. Joseph of Metuchen in one of the more anticipated meets of the year, while on Jan. 19 they will compete in the Pirate Invitational at Seton Hall Prep. As for the girls’ championships in Toms River on Saturday, RBC was led by wins in both the 200 medley (1:54.38) and 400 freestyle (3:47.92) relays, a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, and a series of other top-five finishes in the individual events, led by the likes of Lee Ingram, Megan Reilly, Sarah Finn and Kelly Markwell. Middletown South freshman Megan Foran enjoyed a coming-out party of sorts by winning both the 200 and 500 freestyle faces to earn the Swimmer of the Meet award. Foran overcame an early deficit to beat Ocean Township’s Danielle Caruso in the 200 in a time of 1:59.23, before coming back to pass Middletown North’s Taylor Crosby in the final 50 yards to win the 500 in 5:16.83. Crosby came back to win the 200 IM in 2:13.71, while her teammate, senior Lauren Mari, joined Foran as a two- event winner by taking both the 50 free (25.15) and the 100 free (55.39). It marked a triumphant doublewin for the Lion senior; she finished second in both events at the county meet last year, as well as at the Shore Conference meet. Middletown North freshman Crystal Murray also won a gold on Saturday, capturing the 100 fly in 1:02:47, to help lead the Lions to a strong fourth-place team finish with 206 points. Rumson-Fair Haven finished in third place with 212 points, led by a win in the 200 free relay, where Gabrielle Goione, Devin Patwell, Katie Marino and Mo Osmulski won in 1:44.95. Ocean Township didn’t have any gold medals at the end of the day, but like RBC, they used top-five finishes from the likes of Danielle Caruso and Sloan Hindman in nearly every event to stockpile enough points to capture second place. BY DOUG McKENZIE Correspondent
BY MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent Although progress has been slow from one year to the next, Matawan High School’s boys basketball team is optimistic that this year will be the first winning season for the program since 1997. The Huskies will be looking to improve on their 12-14 mark from last season, and head coach Tom Stead, who took over the team four years ago after serving as Holmdel’s head coach, believes his Huskies will break out this season. “We will be looking to contend in the division and make some noise,” Stead said. “This group has a high energy level and intensity. We should be able to do some good things.” Stead characterized his team as being both intense and fast-paced, describing the Huskies as a team that is capable of wearing out opponents. “We are an up-and-down team in terms of tempo,” Stead explained. “We need to control the tempo and do a good job rebounding. We have made defense a priority.” With four returning starters from last season, the Huskies are poised to compete, especially if the team plays to its strengths. Matawan has developed into a defensive team that is intent on executing on both ends of the court. “We believe we can create points off our defense,” Stead said. “Defense is certainly our strength. We are a run-and-press team. We will force turnovers.” Three of Matawan’s returning starters are seniors. Stead identified point guard Cory Soanes (9.0 points per game last season) and Kyle Rean (7.0 ppg), a 6-2 forward, as team leaders. Senior Brian Dailey will serve as Matawan’s starting shooting guard. Junior Larry Alston is the team’s second forward, and freshman Kashaun Barnes earned himself a spot in the starting lineup. “Kashaun is a very mature athlete with football experience this year,” Stead said, adding that Barnes brings plenty of talent to the starting lineup. “We can live with the freshman mistakes,” Stead said. Beyond the starting five, Stead explained that his team has enough depth to keep the players rested. “Our guys off the bench might get 20, 25 minutes,” he said. “We have the ability to run 10, 11 guys. It keeps us fresh,” Stead added. “It gives us the opportunity to run and press, which is important for us. It allows us to wear teams down.” The Huskies are hosting a Christmas tournament this week. Eight teams are in the tournament, and each team will play a total of three games. The championship game is scheduled for Dec. 30 at 6 p.m. Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan, Marlboro, Raritan, Long Branch and Mater Dei are the other teams in the field. Matawan opened the season with a win over Howell, 66-56, and won a second consecutive game by defeating Holmdel, 66-46.
Matawan High School’s Sara Isaacson soars over the bar during the girls pole vault competition at the Jan. 20 Monmouth County Indoor Championships held at the Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River. Isaacson won the competition, clearing 10-6. ERIC SUCAR staff
Let’s take a look at this season’s pass masters.For more articles and the latest soccer news, check out 90min.com
By Nick MulvenneyTevita Kuridrani scored a last gasp try to give Australia a dramatic 24-20 victory over South Africa in their Rugby Championship opener at Lang Park on Saturday.The centre crashed over the line in a scrum of bodies after the hooter had sounded and it fell to the television match official to adjudge that he had grounded the ball.The Springboks had looked like securing a win on the back of a brilliant defensive effort and tries from lock Eben Etzebeth and debutant centre Jesse Kriel as well as 10 points from the boot of flyhalf Handre Pollard.Australia stayed in the contest, though, with a first half try from winger Adam Ashley-Cooper and flanker Michael Hooper got them within range of the victory with another six minutes from time.It was a first win in four Tests for Australia and will give Wallabies fans hope that coach Michael Cheika can construct a competitive side for the World Cup in England later this year.South Africa, who were without a string of top players and lost skipper Victor Matfield in the 18th minute to a hamstring strain, will count themselves unlucky to leave Australia without a point as they head home to face the All Blacks next week.The experimental Springbok back row of Schalk Burger, Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee was outstanding, defending manfully and forcing turnover after turnover at the breakdown.The visitors looked assured and well organised from the start and although Pollard hit the upright with his first penalty attempt, he made no mistake with the next two to give them a 6-0 lead in the 25th minute.The Wallabies were finding holes in the defensive line but were struggling to exploit them as the South African loose forwards were that much quicker to the ball.They finally got on the scoreboard in the 34th minute when Matt Giteau took the ball at first receiver and his no-look inside pass sent Ashley-Cooper on his way to the line, the experienced winger touching down at the second attempt.The lead lasted just four minutes, however, before a Pollard cross-kick was batted back by winger Bryan Habana and fullback Willie le Roux’s pass allowed Etzebeth to touch down in the corner.Pollard converted to send the Springboks into halftime 13-7 in front and they moved further ahead four minutes after the break when Kriel weaved his way through three defenders to score in the left-hand corner.Flanker David Pocock then came onto the pitch for his first Test in three years to join Michael Hooper in the back row and the Wallabies were immediately more competitive in the tackle area.Flyhalf Quade Cooper missed a penalty with a poor kick after the Wallabies pack had won a rare decision at the scrum, however, and the Springboks continued to defend fiercely and contest every breakdown.The Wallabies continued to hammer away at the wall of green shirts, though, and finally found a way through six minutes from time when Hooper barged over the line to set up the dramatic finale.
By Justin PalmerLike it or loathe it – and New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is certainly no fan – the rolling maul has proved an effective try-scoring weapon during the Rugby World Cup.It is a familiar sight and tactic. A team kicks for the corner and from an ensuing lineout drive, the player with ball tucked under arm hides himself behind a phalanx of team-mates who plough forwards relentlessly towards the try line.Fans love it, a visceral roar usually accompanying the remorseless progress, with the try line coming ever closer.Illegal to intentionally collapse, it can leave even the best defences retreating in disarray against a surge of well-choreographed brute strength.Witness South Africa, whose burly forwards were given a taste of their own medicine when Japan, a side not renowned for their physicality, piled men into a rolling maul that ended with captain Michael Leitch scoring the opening try of their sensational victory.When done well a maul with momentum is almost impossible to stop. But some say they are a dull blight on the game, difficult to officiate and a grey area to exploit.Australian loose forward David Pocock has become a specialist in the art, highlighted by his two tries in the pool stage win over Fiji.Pocock perfected the manoeuvre at his Super Rugby side the ACT Brumbies but was keen to stress the team element.“Those tries come from all the hard work so I can’t take credit. They set the platform and it’s pleasing as a forward pack to get those rewards,” he said.“The rolling maul is one aspect of our game when we get the opportunity, you take it. We’ve seen a lot of teams using it as an attacking weapon in the 22 this year so there will be more.”But accusations of skullduggery abound.Former England hooker Brian Moore suggested after the Fiji game that Australia “illegally drive their mauls from lineouts”.“Scrum illegalities, which all packs – including England – indulge in, might cost three points but what Australia do with their driving mauls is equally illegal and it rewards them with tries and many more points than any number of scrum infringements,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph.All Blacks coach Hansen believes the laws need to change.In July he was moved to describe the rolling maul as “bloody boring” after watching Argentina hooker Agustin Creevy score twice in Christchurch.“You can’t take it out of the game but you’ve got to make it a fair contest,” he said.His suggestion was simple.“There’s never been anybody injured in a collapsed maul yet, but there’s thousands every week that get penalised. Just make that legal then it becomes a fair contest.”Hansen will be aware that the rolling maul is one tactic South Africa will be keen to exploit given the chance in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final. Stopping those opportunities will be key for the All Black forwards at Twickenham.“The drives are a key weapon for them, big men in the lineout, so initially you have to be disciplined so you don’t give them penalties,” said number eight Kieran Read.“Don’t give them a chance to kick out to the corner.”For Read, it’s just another part of the game.“It is there to be utilised. It’s a great thing that it keep all different shapes and sizes in this game which is great. It’s something you have got to adapt to and we’ll certainly get it this week.”In the bunker of their hotel this week, Hansen and his assistants will be viewing tape after tape of the Springbok pack, with their game against Ireland last year of particular interest.Not only did Ireland win 29-15, the men in green showed how to stop the maul by not contesting the lineout and then springing a man to attack the ball carrier.If the All Blacks have a weakness, it may come from the lineout drive – a vulnerability Hansen will do well to address.
By Steve TongueManchester United’s insistence on playing possession football under manager Louis van Gaal means they take far more passes for every shot than any other Premier League team, statistics released on Monday showed.According to details from leading football data specialists Opta, league leaders Leicester City need only 46 successful passes for a shot on target. That is the fewest in the league while United’s 131 passes is the most.Damningly, United have managed just seven shots on target in their last four home games – also the worst record in the league – leading to regular chants of “attack, attack, attack” from the Old Trafford crowd.The total number of shots on target from 17 games is 61, the 15th lowest. Tottenham are top with 110 and Manchester City second with 104.In the past two months United have played five goalless draws at home, against Manchester City, Middlesbrough, CSKA Moscow, PSV Eindhoven and West Ham.Not surprisingly, their goals total is unusually low – 22, compared to 43 at the same stage in Alex Ferguson’s last season three years ago.Under Van Gaal this time last year it was 30, with goals conceded also higher. But Steve Round, who was assistant manager to the Dutchman’s predecessor David Moyes, says the new style is now very much in evidence.“They are very possession-based, so they will create less opportunities,” he told Sky Sports News.“I always felt they used to be very forward-thinking, forward-passing. That was always the sort of style, with energy, verve and directness. Now they seem to have come away from that.“The style they’re playing is the Louis van Gaal way. Whether that in the long run is going to be enough for Manchester United we’ll see.”Losing 2-1 at home Norwich City on Saturday was a sixth game without a win and cost United their place in the top four of the Premier League.It has put Van Gaal under pressure after five months of his second season in charge, not least because Jose Mourinho, sacked by Chelsea last week, wants a new job and is reported to be keen on taking over at Old Trafford.United play away to Stoke City on Saturday and at home to Chelsea two days later.
By Martyn HermanGuus Hiddink believes it is still possible for Chelsea to finish in the Premier League’s top four as he embarks on a second stint as interim manager at Stamford Bridge.However, the Dutchman is under no illusions about the task he faces having answered Chelsea’s distress call in the wake of the decision to sack Jose Mourinho last week.“Mathematically it is possible,” a relaxed Hiddink, who proved highly popular in 2009 when he took over from sacked Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari, told reporters at his news conference at the club’s training base.“If you can add up then it is possible but this league is very strong, which has been especially proven this year with all respect to the clubs at the top — Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Watford… it is amazing and refreshing.“It means that all the teams can kill each other.”Chelsea are in 15th place, having lost nine of their opening 17 Premier League games, 10 points behind seventh-placed Watford whom they host on Saturday at the start of a hectic Christmas schedule that also includes a clash with Manchester United.They are 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.Since winning the FA Cup with Chelsea in 2009, Hiddink has had less than successful spells in charge of Turkey, Russian club Anzhi Makhachkalka and most recently the Netherlands whom he failed to steer to the Euro 2016 finals.He said his return to Stamford Bridge was a surprise but that results had forced the club’s owners to make a decision.“I shouldn’t be here halfway through the season. It means things are not going well. But anyhow, I am glad to be back. It is a few years ago I was here in a similar situation,” he said.“Last week they were one point off the relegation places which was frightening for everyone in the club.”Hiddink refused to rule out the possibility of his second spell as Chelsea manager lasting beyond next May.“I have to feel inside my heart that I have that passion to work with the guys. We said let’s go to May and then we’ll see what will happen,” he said.His first priority, however, is to start picking up victories and push the London club up the standings and he said he needed all the players to be committed to the cause.“Yesterday I talked fully to the squad about the past,” said the 69-year-old. “I said why I was here and I want everyone to look in the mirror and be critical.“We cannot ignore what has happened in the past but I told them to be professionals and look forward. There must be a great desire from the players and if they don’t have that I want them to knock on my door.”