Red Raiders hope for a repeat of last year’s success Keyport baseball team set to defend CJ Group I title

first_img By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer Red Raiders hope for a repeat of last year’s success Keyport baseball team set to defend CJ Group I title JERRY WOLKOWTIZ Keyport senior Brian Langan, one of the Shore Conference’s top pitchers and hitters, is back for another season, and is hoping to help the Red Raiders defend their state sectional title. The Keyport High School team is off to a 2-1 start as it looks to defend their NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I championship. The Red Raiders went 16-11-1 a year ago, but were at their best in postseason play, roaring through the CJ Group I tourney before downing Highland Park 10-0 in the finale. In the overall Group I playoff, Keyport defeated Florence to advance to the semifinals where the Red Raiders fell to Emerson. Many key players are back for coach Sal Principe’s team this time around, including ace pitcher and first baseman Brian Langan. The senior was 8-8 on the hill a year ago with 140 strikeouts in 83.1 innings. He’s already 1-0 this spring having defeated Keansburg 4-3 on opening day. Langan is also the Red Raiders’ top hitter and is coming off a .570 season where he swatted six home runs and drove in 29 runs. And he’s already off to a torrid start this year, and was a one-man wrecking crew in the Red Raider’s 11-7 win over Freehold on Friday, hitting two triples and a two-run hom run, while scoring three runs. Keyport has plenty of other solid players. Junior second baseman Adam Bruton hit a solid .328 last spring. Catcher Chris Flynn, another junior, ended last year at .295 and sophomore Pat DeNardo was at .250. Principe is also expecting good things at the plate from third baseman/pitcher Joe Behan, outfielder Steve Cline, junior pitcher/outfielder Pete Miller, who picked up the win in Keyport’s 11-7 win over Freehold Borough; and sophomore shortstop Jay Vitiello, who moves over from third base where he hit .236 as a freshman. “We have a lot of experience,” Principe said. “I’m very pleased with our defense and our pitching, and I think we should be able to score runs.” Other members of the team include first baseman Mike Hansen, second baseman Chris Lowther, third basemen A.J. Youncofski and Lou Ricciardi, and outfielders Dave Doucette, Steve Keller and James Murphy. With this group, and based on last year’s success, the Red Raiders should contend for the Shore Conference’s Class B Central title. Thus far, Keyport is 2-1 in conference play, having edged Keansburg and Freehold, and losing to Rumson-Fair Haven. Keyport was scheduled to visit Mater Dei Monday and will host Henry Hudson this afternoon in a pair of conference games. The Red Raiders are certainly among the teams to beat in the B Central race, and should receive a solid challenge from St. Rose, Mater Dei and Point Beach. Both St. Rose and Mater Dei are off to solid starts, and will likely present the Red Raiders with the stiffest competition in their quest for a division title.last_img read more

Sports Shorts

first_imgThe Middletown-MYAA will hold tryouts for Monmouth Youth League travel teams Oct. 8 for boys in the fourth grade (6-7:30 p.m.) and boys in the seventh grade (7:30-9 p.m.). All tryouts will be held at Thorne Middle School. E-mail [email protected] or call (732) 747-2410 for more information. The public is invited to join the Keyport/Matawan Elks for a day of horse racing excitement on Sept. 25 at noon at Monmouth Park in Oceanport. The cost of $20 per person gets you hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage and peppers, barbecued chicken, salads, beer, wine and soda, plus a program and admission. The gate will open at 11 a.m., first race is 1 p.m. Call (732) 264-9785 for tickets. The Poricy Park Trail Run, in honor of Poricy Park’s 35th Anniversary, and presented by the Poricy Park Citizens Committee, will be held Oct. 2. The 5K run/walk through the trails of scenic Poricy Park in Middletown will start at 10:30 a.m. All proceeds will benefit the Preservation of Poricy Park. Hazlet Youth Athletic League will be holding wrestling registrations for its rec program for children in grades one through eight at the Hazlet Middle School cafeteria (Union Avenue) Sept. 22 and 30 from 7-9 p.m., and Oct. 9 from 9-11 a.m. at the HYAL Clubhouse (Hazlet Avenue). Proof of age and residency (driver’s license not accepted) is required for all new registrants in the program. Fees are $75 for the first child; $125 for the two and $150 for three or more. A $100 refundable work/equipment deposit is required. Please call (732) 264-3060 ext. 5 for more information. Hazlet Youth Athletic League will be holding basketball registration for its in-town rec program for boys ages 7-18 and girls 7-15 and traveling teams (Mid-Monmouth, boys and girls 11U and 13U, and Monmouth Youth, boys 8-10 and girls 9U). Birthday cutoff for rec league is Aug. 31. Birthday cutoff for Mid-Monmouth and Monmouth Youth is Aug. 1. Registration will take place at Hazlet Middle School cafeteria (Union Avenue) Sept. 22 and 30 from 7-9 p.m., and Oct. 9 from 9-11 a.m. at the HYAL Clubhouse (Hazlet Avenue). Proof of age and residency (driver’s license not accepted) is required for all new registrants in the program. Fees are $65 for the first child; $95 for the two and $125 for three or more. A $50 refundable work/equipment deposit is required. Please call (732) 264-3060 ext. 5 for more information. The Central Jersey Saints 14U baseball team is looking for a catcher for a Saturday and Sunday fall league. The team has already qualified for the 2005 national qualifying tournament in Delaware. Serions and dedicated players, with experience as a catcher, can call Bob Berardi at (732) 525-2917.last_img read more

Hornets focused on SCT boys soccer tournament

first_imgHolmdel completed regular season undefeated BY MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent After finishing the regular season undefeated, the Holmdel boys soccer team is counting on team unity as a driving force throughout the Shore Conference Tournament. “It’s about the way the team has been playing together,” head coach John Nacarlo said. “It’s been a team effort.” Nacarlo explained that the keys to his team’s success are teamwork and hard work. “Some of them have been playing together since third or fourth grade,” he said. Holmdel features plenty of individual talent as well. Dan Metzger, who was a Parade All- American last year, will head to the University of Maryland next fall. “Dan is able to put the game in his own hands,” Nacarlo said. “He is very dangerous. He is able to provide pressure on the defense.” The program at Holmdel has overcome some challenges as a Group III school that finds itself competing against Group IV schools. While the competition might have 50 or more players to choose from at tryouts, Nacarlo explained, Holmdel attracts fewer players. “We only get 30 or 40, but if you get the talent, that’s what matters. Every once in a while, you get a big group,”Nacarlo said, noting that many of his players are seniors. As for the competition in the ongoing Shore Conference Tournament, the Hornets are well aware of the tough opponents that lie ahead. “The Shore Conference Tournament can be tougher than states,” Nacarlo stated. “We are a Group III school playing a lot of Group IV schools.” The undefeated Hornets have been prepared for tournament play. When asked about the Shore Conference Tournament, Nacarlo stressed the importance of remaining focused after a long regular season. “We really just need to keep the intensity up and stay focused,” he said. “They need to concentrate on what they are doing on the field,” the head coach added. “Sometimes, when we played weaker opponents, we lost our focus a bit. But there are only good opponents in the tournaments.” As a team, Holmdel has already put a successful regular season in the past, focusing on the ultimate goal of winning the Shore. “We are not thinking about 16-0. We are thinking about the quarterfinals,” Nacarlo said. On Tuesday, the Hornets, seeded No. 2 behindChristianBrothersAcademy, faced Toms River North, the seventh seed, in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament. The semifinals are tonight at Neptune High School’s Memorial Field at the Summerfield School. The championship game is Saturday back at Memorial Field.last_img read more

Manzi capture’s Freehold’s inaugural Driving Challenge

first_imgHall of Famer Cat Manzi captured the first-ever $10,000 Driving Challenge at Freehold Raceway on Dec. 8.Manzi started things off with back-toback wins in the first two races of the challenge, followed by a second in the third. For the day, Manzi tallied five wins.Manzi clinched the trophy and the $4,000 top prize with a win in the eighth race, driving the 3-2 favorite Kiasma. He totaled 201 points, with Eric Abbatiello coming in second with 191 points and taking home $2,000. Jim Marshall III brought home third place and $1,000 with 152 points.The other five drivers in the challenge finished in the following order: Harry Landy with 88 points, Jeff Gregory with 79 points, Steve Smith with 62 points, Jim Pantaleano with 56 and Joe Bongiorno with 49 points. All of these drivers took home $600 a piece.Each driver agreed to donate 10 percent of their earning to the Freehold Area Open Door. Freehold Raceway will be making a matching donation. Representatives from the Freehold Area Open Door collected nonperishable food items at the track and any patrons that donated received a free program.The driving challenge was for races two through nine and was based on a points system devised by Race Secretary Karen Fagliarone. The winner of each race received 50 points and then it was 25 for second, 12 for third, eight for fourth, five for fifth, four for sixth, three for seventh and one for eighth. A scratch received eight points, as well.Each driver got to pick first in one race of the challenge. The drivers picked a number between one and eight and that decided the order they would pick their drives. The picking order rotated for each race, with the first pick becoming the last pick for the next race and so on.The sponsors for the $10,000 Freehold Raceway driving challenge were Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Co., LLC, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, and the Landy and Bongiorno Families.Live racing resumes at Freehold on Dec. 13 with post time at 12:30 p.m.last_img read more

Monmouth’s Jeffery taking postseason accolades in stride

first_imgBy TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Monmouth University’s Matt Jeffery (5) was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Defensive Player of the Year for a second straight season. The Freehold Township High School graduate helped the Hawks win the MAAC title this fall and return to the NCAA Tournament. Jeffery has been nominated for the Big Apple Player of the Year Award. STOCKTON PHOTO INC. Matt Jeffery has a lot going on. First, there are all the postseason accolades the Monmouth University senior defender has garnered, including being named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row and making the NCAA Division I Men’s All-Northeast Regional First Team as selected by the National Soccer Coaches Association for the third time in his career.Jeffery has also been nominated for two major awards. He is up for the Soccer News Net College Boot, which is given out to the Division I college Player of the Year by the website. The graduate of Freehold Township High School has also been nominated for the Big Apple Soccer Player of the Year Award.“I’m taking it all in stride,” Jeffery said. “Just to be nominated is great.”The business management and marketing major is kept grounded by his final exams for the semester.As if that weren’t enough, he has the 2014 adidas Major League Soccer Player Combine and SuperDraft ahead in 2015.Only 50 players throughout the county are invited to the combine, which takes place Jan. 9-14 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Before the combine, Jeffery will attend some individual MLS team mini-camp combines to prepare. He’s in the process of deciding where to go.“Things are a little hectic,” he said. “[The combine is] a big process.”The MLS SuperDraft is on Jan. 15.Fortunately for Jeffrey, there are a number of former Hawks — Ryan Kinne, Bryan Meredith and former teammate at Monmouth and Freehold Township, Ryan Clark — who have all been drafted by MLS clubs and whose experience he’s been able to draw on.“They’ve been good mentors,” he said. “They’ve given me a good idea what [teams] are looking for and what direction to go.”Jeffery has certainly put himself on the same level as those who preceded him.Monmouth head coach Robert McCourt has said Jeffery has been a “fantastic example on the field and in the classroom.” He praised the dedication and commitment he has given Monmouth.This year, the defender helped the Hawks win the MAAC Tournament in just the school’s second year in the conference and return to the NCAA Tournament. Monmouth beat Fairfield University, 2-1, in two overtimes in the MAAC finals.The Hawks (11-4-6) lost to Xavier University, 2-1, in the NCAA Tournament in double overtime. Jeffery assisted on Monmouth’s goal.Monmouth’s defense ranked with the best in the nation this fall, and Jeffery was the clear leader in the back. The Hawks allowed just 11 goals all season and only two in MAAC play.Jeffery is the first one to credit others for his accolades.“I’m extremely thankful to be a part of Monmouth University,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the coaches, my teammates and the program.”Besides his defensive play, Jeffery has been a big part of Monmouth’s success on set pieces, both on offense (to create) and defense (to deflect shots). The Hawks have taken advantage of his 6-foot-4 height to win balls in the air.“Set pieces are an important part of the game,” he said.Being ready to play 90 minutes or more is also critical, and that is the major difference between high school and college soccer. It’s the reason some high school stars don’t stand out in college.“It’s the intensity of the overall game,” Jeffery said. “It’s 90 minutes of consistent battle with no break.“It’s crazy at times; it takes intensity to the next level.” Jeffery was not about to be one of those high school stars who would turn into a role player in college. Before he stepped onto Monmouth’s campus in West Long Branch, he was ready for the next level.“Coming into Monmouth University, I wanted to be able to contribute as soon as possible, and I put in the work behind the scenes to be in a good position before the season,” he said.That behind-the-scene work included hitting the weight room and running. There’s been no letup in his offseason, as he trained throughout his entire college career.He credited ex-Patriot teammate Clark, who was one of the Hawks’ most decorated players, with helping him be so ready as a freshman. Having a former high school teammate and friend on the team was a big plus.“It was definitely huge,” he said. “It helped me make the transition [from high school to college].” As teammates at Freehold Township, Clark and Jeffery led the Patriots to the Shore Conference Tournament Championship (2008). With Jeffery coming in as a freshman and contributing and Clark an established star, the Hawks made the NCAA Tournament in 2011.Jeffery was especially pleased to have the Hawks back in the NCAA Tournament in his final year.He was also happy to see his Freehold Township team doing well. He took in the Patriots’ Shore Conference Tournament semifinals win over Manalapan High School. The Patriots went on to win the conference title for the first time since Jeffery helped them win it 2008.“It was good to see the old crew,” he said. “I knew the team would do great.”The old crew is also happy to see how well Jeffery has done playing at the next level.last_img read more

Four of six groups may back Platini for FIFA president

first_imgFour out of six continental soccer confederations would back Michel Platini, head of European soccer’s governing body UEFA, to lead the sport’s world governing body FIFA should he stand, a source close to UEFA said on Monday.However, a UEFA spokesman said Frenchman Platini had not yet decided whether to run in a Feb 26 election to replace Sepp Blatter, who announced in June he was resigning, as a corruption scandal engulfed FIFA.The confederations themselves were not available to comment on whether they would be able to persuade their members to vote for Platini. Each of FIFA’s 209 member associations has one vote at the presidential elections. As voting is secret, they have no way in practice of enforcing a block vote.Platini, a former French international regarded as one of the most gifted players of his generation, was repeatedly promised support at meetings with confederation representatives held into Sunday night at a hotel in Zurich, the source said.“The UEFA president is very happy with his current role as leader of European soccer’s governing body,” UEFA’s head of communications Pedro Pinto told reporters.“He’s been very pleased and touched by the words of support he has received here in Zurich over the last couple of days.United States prosecutors threw FIFA into turmoil in May by indicting 14 sports marketing executives and soccer officials, including a number from soccer’s governing body. Seven were arrested in a dawn raid on a Zurich hotel.Pinto said Platini, elected for a third term as UEFA president in March, would consider his position in the near future and would announce his intentions when he was ready.“He’s pleased that many people see him as someone who could lead FIFA into a new period, with a new image, an image of transparency and good governance.”At the FIFA presidential election in May, a number of UEFA’s own member associations voted for Blatter despite Platini having urged them to vote for challenger Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.Blatter was elected for a fifth term at the congress in May but announced on June 2 that he would step down as a corruption scandal broke around FIFA. He himself has not been accused of any wrongdoing.As well as UEFA, the continental confederations representing South America (Conmebol), North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF), and Asia (AFC) have all reportedly told Platini they would back his candidacy for FIFA president.The other two confederations are Africa’s CAF and Oceania’s OFC.Platini was once considered Blatter’s protege and a natural successor to the 79-year-old Swiss. The two have become rivals in the last year, however, and Platini urged Blatter not to stand for a fifth term in May.last_img read more

APOEL fail to inspire but progress into Champions League third round

first_imgBy Andreas VouAPOEL survived an early scare in their Champions League qualifying campaign, scraping through the second round via the away goals rule with a nervous 1-1 draw in Skopje over FK Vardar on Tuesday night.Though their performances over the two matches must beg serious questions over their group stage credentials, Tomas De Vincenti’s goal on 60 minutes was enough to see them through to the third round, though a late equalizer from Blagoja Ljamcevski had APOEL pulses racing.APOEL boss Domingos Paciencia kept faith in young Pieros Sotiriou up front and handed Brazilian winger Vander, who recently joined from AEK Larnaca, his debut.The duo combined well to create the best chance of the opening 15 minutes but Sotiriou’s strike was excellently stopped by the hero of the first leg, goalkeeper Tomas Pacovski. The 33-year-old keeper made a series of saves in Nicosia to keep the sides level and looked to be in similar mood in the early exchanges.Buoyed by an unsavoury moment between Pacovski and the APOEL fans in the first leg, the home supporters were keen to make life as difficult as possible for the Cypriot side, jeering and whistling the visitors whenever in possession of the ball.It took 29 minutes for Vardar to muster their first decent chance as a devilish cross into the box by Juan Felipe wreaked havoc in the penalty area and a fortunate ricochet off Boban Grncharov almost crept over Boy Waterman in the APOEL goal.Vardar’s sniff at goal riled the supporters and sparked a mini siege on the APOEL goal just before the break, with the Cypriots looking shaken and needing the half-time whistle to regain their compsure.Despite being strong favourites and with a wealth of Champions League experience, APOEL looked out of sorts and struggled to control the game. Yet, an age-old cliché in football insists that a sign of a big team is when one can win without playing well, and that would prove the case for APOEL on Tuesday.Exactly on the hour mark came the vital breakthrough, via the most unlikely of circumstances. APOEL playmaker Tomas de Vincenti, who had been non-existent throughout the tie, managed to squeeze his shot under Pacovski who had, until his huge error, been almost impregnable over the two matches.Though it was Vardar who were in need of finding the net, it was APOEL who looked more likely from then on to grab the next goal as they had a handful of chances to put the game beyond any doubt but De Vincenti and Luis Leal spurned golden chances to double their lead late on which would set up a grandstand finish.Ljamcevski’s deflected strike deep into stoppage time made it 1-1 to give Vardar late hope and to spark nerves among the APOEL backline. Vardar needed one more to progress due to the away goals rule and though everybody was forward in the final minutes but APOEL stood firm, just about, to seal qualification.Albeit in unconvincing fashion, APOEL hung on to book their place in the next round and will now face Danish side FC Midtjylland with the first leg set to take place next week.last_img read more

Chelsea name Conte as new boss

first_imgItalian Antonio Conte was handed the responsibility of reviving Chelsea’s fortunes and bringing the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge when he was named as their new head coach on Monday.Conte, 46, the head coach of Italy, will move to London on a three-year contract after the June 10 – July 10 European Championship in France.Conte has long been touted as Chelsea’s first choice to succeed Jose Mourinho as their next permanent manager following the departure of the Portuguese in December after Chelsea made their worst start to a top flight campaign for more than 30 years.Dutchman Guus Hiddink has been in charge since Dec. 19 but his second stint as interim coach was never going to last longer than the end of this season.“I am very excited about the prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club. I am proud to be the coach of the national team of my country and only a role as attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow that,” Conte said in a statement on Chelsea’s website (“I am happy we have made the announcement now so everything is clear and we can end the speculation. I will continue to focus on my job with the Italian national team and will reserve speaking about Chelsea again until after the Euros.”Chelsea’s fortunes have stabilised under Hiddink who took over with the 2014-2015 champions mired in 16th place having won only four of their opening 16 league matches.Saturday’s 4-0 win at Aston Villa was their 15th unbeaten league match since Mourinho left, but they are still only in 10th place in the table with no chance of retaining their title or winning a trophy this season.Their 13-year unbroken run in the Champions League will also end, and it is very unlikely they will be in the Europa League next season either.Conte will be the fifth Italian to manage Chelsea, following previous incumbents Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo.He played more than 400 games for Juventus and went on to manage the club to three successive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2014.last_img read more

Liverpool complete £34m Mane signing

first_imgStriker Sadio Mane has joined Liverpool on a long-term contract from Southampton, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.The 24-year old moved to Jurgen Klopp’s side after two successful seasons at Southampton, netting 25 goals in 75 appearances in all competitions.According to British media reports, the Senegalese forward has signed a five-year contract with Liverpool who paid £34 million for his services.“It’s a club that has won a lot of trophies and has a big history,” Mane told the club’s website.“Now I am looking forward to meeting all the staff and my team mates and starting the season.”last_img read more