By tim morrisStaff Writer By tim morris Staff Writer Matawan-Aberdeen saw its 23-game winning streak over three seasons come to an end this year. However, when it was all said and done, the team celebrated another Mid-Monmouth Babe Ruth League (16-19) championship, its third straight. Freehold Borough, the team that had snapped Matawan-Aberdeen’s three-year winning steak, was fittingly the team Matawan had to get by in the championship game. Matawan-Aberdeen, which won the North Division, avenged the regular season loss with a 10-4 victory over the South Division winners. This year’s playoff was a one-game showdown between the regular season division winners. Jason Soltren was the hitting star in the final with four RBIs. He tied the game at 4-4 with a two-RBI hit, and then delivered the go-head runs with another two-RBI hit. A.J. Roque, who was the winning pitcher, had a two-RBI triple, as did John Cherry Jr. After three innings, and trailing 4-2, manager John Cherry Sr. had considered pulling Roque, but changed his mind. It was a good thing. Roque, Cherry said, “got his second wind” and held Freehold Borough scoreless over the last four innings. Matawan-Aberdeen finished the season with a 10-2 record. Manager John Cherry Sr. said the 2003 championship was the team’s most difficult. “The was the hardest to win,” said Cherry. “As the two-time champions, everyone was out to beat us. “Last year we had overwhelming pitching and a balanced team,” he added. “This year we had to find a way to win. We played with a lot of heart and soul.” Pitching remained a Matawan-Aberdeen strength in 2003 as Cherry could count on four dependable starters in his rotation. Roque, Eddie Goodman, Chris Soria and Soltren kept their teams in games with their solid efforts. At the top of the lineup, Cherry Jr. was a catalyst by getting on base. Roque and Goodman, who batted third and fourth in the lineup, were the run producers. They delivered one big hit after another. Shortstop Perry Medina led a strong defensive effort that complemented the team’s starting pitching. James Vezeris, Jason Cavagnaro and Bryan Domenick were distinguishable by their consistency all year. Billy Brown was the team’s valuable utility player, fitting in where needed and contributing. Tommy Chomko came on strong at the end of the season, helping in the push that led the team to the division championship and a berth in the title game that came with it. Newcomers Andrew Mandeville and Michael Guisti turned out to be welcome additions. Joining Cherry on the coaching staff were Eddie Cavagnaro, Steve Domenick and Scott Pittius. Matawan Babe Ruth squad
BY DOUG McKENZIEStaff Writer BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer The Matawan Huskies cleared their first major hurdle of the season on Saturday, knocking off Wall Township in a game that was as good as advertised. When Wall’s Rob Brewer lined up for a potential game-winning 42-yard field goal on the final play, Matawan players lined the sidelines, wondering what they had to do to knock off the Crimson Knights. As it turned out, they had already done enough. The field goal landed about 4 yards shy of the goal post, and the No. 2 Huskies had topped the No. 7 Crimson Knights, 11-9, in a critical, early-season contest that give them the early edge in the Liberty Division. Matawan forged ahead 9-7 with an impressive 76-yard, eight-play drive that was capped when Jeremy Fountain found the end zone from 18 yards out in the third quarter. The Huskies later padded the lead when a high snap on a Wall punt attempt resulted in a safety. From there, Matawan’s defense took over and shut down Wall’s final drive attempt with a pair of big stops deep in their own territory, setting up the long field goal attempt as time expired. It was an enormous win for a Matawan team that is entertaining visions of a championship season. Next up is St. John Vianney at 7 p.m. tomorrow at home in Holmdel. The Lancers are coming off a 12-0 win over Monsignor Donovan, Toms River, which was head coach John Amabile’s first win. The Vianney defense stole the show, holding Mon Don to just 135 total yards of offense. The SJV offense got a pair of early touchdowns to hammer down the win. They’ll need a nearly perfect effort tomorrow if they are to surprise the Huskies. The Middletown South Eagles continued to impress, dominating the Neptune Scarlet Fliers to the tune of a 41-14 win. Sophomore Knowshon Moreno was the story once again, scoring four touchdowns (four rushing and one on a 58-yard punt return). His running paced the Eagles en route to a 28-0 halftime lead. Moreno finished with 209 rushing yards on the day while the Eagle defense held Neptune to just nine rushing yards in the first half to set the tone for the day. Next up for South is the 2-0 Long Branch Green Wave in a key early-season Federal Division matchup. Game time is 7 p.m. tomorrow in Middletown.The Raritan Rockets won a thriller over an upstart RBC team, 14-13, Friday night behind the inspired running of sophomore Matt Fitzpatrick. The 5-11, 180-pound sophomore ran for 291 yards on 31 carries en route to the Rockets’ two touchdowns to lead his team to a crucial Liberty Division win. Next up for Raritan is Manasquan, a traditionally strong team that is looking to bounce back from a pair of poor showings in the first two weeks of the season. Game time is 7 p.m. tomorrow in Manasquan. Very little went right for the Middletown North Lions on Saturday as they lost their home opener to Brick Township 28-0. Brick used a punishing ground attack to control the Lions, and even their mark at 1-1. Tomorrow the Lions look to get back on track when they head to Howell for a 7 p.m. start. Holmdel struggled against Manchester, falling 34-19. They will look to get their first win on Friday against winless Monmouth Regional High School, West Long Branch. Game time is 2 p.m. The Mater Dei Seraphs used their bye week to lick their wounds from an opening-day loss to Freehold, and will look to get win No. 1 tomorrow when they travel to Colts Neck for a 1 p.m. start. The Keyport Red Raiders will also be back in action as they take on a Shore Regional team looking to rebound from a tough loss to Rumson-Fair Haven. Game time is 7 p.m. tomorrow in West Long Branch.
BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer The real Mike Mazzaccaro was unleashed Saturday at the Shore Conference Cross Country Championships. The result was one of the most impressive runs turned in by a conference harrier in history. At the Oct. 19 Monmouth County Championships held at Holmdel Park, Mazzaccaro helped pace his Christian Brothers Academy teammates during the first two miles of the race. He then took off and finished third behind Red Bank Catholic’s Kevin Byrne and Colts Neck’s Mike O’Dowd. At Saturday’s Shore Conference meet held at the more time-friendly Ocean County Park in Lakewood, there was no holding back. Mazzaccaro, O’Dowd and Byrne went straight to the front, and an opening 4:50 mile had separated the trio from the rest of the contenders. Over the next mile of the 3.1-mile, or 5K, layout, Mazzaccaro and O’Dowd traded the lead while Byrne was the first to fall back. By two miles, Mazzaccaro opened up the first gap on O’Dowd, about five meters. As Mazzaccaro kept his foot on the pedal, O’Dowd gamely tried to hold on. But this day belonged to the Colts senior. On a downhill leading to the final 200-meter sprint to the finish line, he put the Cougar away. As he approached the finish line and the clock hadn’t hit 15:00 yet, everyone knew how special a race Mazzaccaro had run. The defending champion would stop the timer at 15:02, breaking the course record of 15:05 set by Colts Neck’s two-time Meet of Champions winner Craig Forys, one of the state’s greatest runners, in 2006. Behind Mazzaccaro, O’Dowd ran 15:13, the third fastest time in OCP history. Speaking of history, it was a historic day for the Colts. They repeated as conference championships with a team score of 46. Even more impressive, they broke the OCP team average, held by the 1999 Colts, averaging 15:32.09 per runner. The old mark of 15:45.65 took a healthy beating by the 2010 Colts. George Kelly, running his best race of the year, was the Colts’ No. 2, clocking 15:29 and finishing in sixth place. Dan Mykityshyn was right behind in eighth (15:37). Completing the scoring were William Bragg in 14th (15:45) and Conrad Lippert in 17th (15:15:50). All five Colts ran under 16:00, which was something that had never done before — another first for the state’s most successful cross country program. CBA, the top-ranked team in the state, moved up to No. 11 in the country in The Harrier. Holmdel (262) finished eighth in the team competition with Travis Fodor ((16:22) and Jason McMullen (16:23) finishing 37th and 39th. Mater Dei was 15th (402) with Daniel Polanco (16:25) finishing 43rd. The girls’ race saw records fall as well. Red Bank Catholic’s Molly McNamara broke the course record with her 17:14. She took down the 2008 record of another conference legend, Southern Regional’s Jillian Smith, who did 17:19. Like Mazzaccaro, this was McNamara’s second straight SC win as she led the Caseys to the overall win with 46 points. RBC’s girls broke the team average held by the 2006 MOC champion Colts Neck Cougars, averaging 18:26. The Cougars’ record was 18:29.6. Locally, Holmdel’s Lennon Cooper was the top finisher, taking fourth (18:18). Her teammate Shannon Nelson was 10th (18:51). The Hornets were seventh (250), just behind Middletown South (242). The Eagles were led by Grace Watters (19:30) and Erica Colavito (19:32), who were 33rd and 34th. St. John Vianney had two high-placing harriers. Tara Connelly was 16th (18:54) and Courtney Thompson was 23rd (19:14). The Lancers were 11th (330). For the public schools, this Saturday, Nov. 6, begins the road to the Meet of Champions with the NJSIAA Central Jersey State Sectional at Thompson Park in Jamesburg.
MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY Monmouth University’s Lavon Chaney runs by a Columbia defender on his way to scoring a touchdown during the Hawks’ Oct. 11 Homecoming game at Kessler Field in West Long Branch. The Hawks improved their record to 5-1 with the 61-28 triumph. MATT DENTON The Monmouth University football team will bring a lot of momentum with it when the Hawks make their Big South Conference debut.Monmouth is off this week after giving fans a lot to cheer about at Homecoming, beating Columbia, 61-28, in West Long Branch on Saturday. The win improved Monmouth’s out-of-conference record to 5-1.After the week off, the Hawks play their first-ever Big South Conference game in Clinton, S.C., against Presbyterian on Oct. 25.“Being part of a conference is something exciting for our team,” head coach Kevin Callahan said before the start of the season. Monmouth played an independent schedule in 2013.Monmouth heads into conference play behind an offense that has scored 50-plus points in three games. Against Columbia, quarterback Brandon Hill (Audubon) set a school record for most 300-yard passing games. The 6-foot-5-inch senior threw for 301 yards on 18-24 passing, and four touchdowns, as Monmouth improved to 3-0 at Kessler Field this year.Hill tossed a pair of TD passes to Lamar Davenport (Asbury Park) of 18 and 25 yards, as well as a 23-yarder to Eric Sumlin (Dover, Del.) and a 31-yarder to Darren Ambush (Dickerson, Md.). Hill also caught a touchdown pass from Lavon Chaney (South River), a six-yard scoring play.Running back Chaney ran for 108 yards and one TD, and threw a pair of touchdown passes, one to Hill and the other to Zach Fabel (Brigantine), a two-yarder. Ed Royds (Shawnee/Navy) led the Hawk running attack, with 119 yards.Monmouth raced out to a 40-0 lead at the half against its Ivy League foe.Monmouth’s offense totaled 602 yards and 33 first downs in the win.On defense Payton Minnich (Central Dauphin East, Pa.) had three interceptions in the second quarter that all led to Monmouth touchdowns. His three picks were a new school record.John Sieczkowski (Manalapan), Mike Basile (Brick Memorial), Teddie Martinez (Baltimore) and Kevin Butler (Piscataway) shared the team lead, with four total tackles each.For the season, Hill has thrown for 1,713 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s completed 138 of his 216 passes.Chaney leads the team in rushing, with 496 yards, and he has run for six scores. He has a team-high 992 all-purpose yards. Royds has the longest gain from scrimmage, at 44 yards.Neal Sterling (Manasquan) is the leading receiver, with 34 catches for 569 yards and three scores.Sieczkowski is the leading tackler for the Hawks, with 44 stops. Basile is second, with 36.Basile and Minnich share the lead in pass interceptions, with three.Presbyterian is currently 3-3.Monmouth’s first home Big South game is Nov. 1 against Charleston Southern, which is also 5-1. Kickoff is 1 p.m. in West Long Branch.Monmouth has beaten Delaware State, 52-21; Wagner, 21-16; Lehigh, 28-21; Robert Morris, 51-20, and Columbia. The Hawks’ lone loss was 30-21 to Duquesne.
By Iacovos ConstantinouTHE regular football season is drawing to a close with just three rounds remaining, with the battle at both ends of the table hotting up.With this in mind, the Cyprus Football Association decided that all games from now on will played on the same day and during the daytime.All matches were suspended last weekend as referees staged a protest after the car of their association president, Leondios Trattos, was damaged in a bomb explosion last Friday. Nobody was injured but the incident was the latest in a string of attacks against match officialsThe games have been rescheduled for Sunday.A few weeks ago nobody gave Enosis Neon Paralimni a chance of beating the drop but since their new coach Nikos Andronikou took over, the Paralimni side has closed the gap to the teams above and is now just three points away from the automatic relegation zone.They should fancy their chances against Doxa Katokopias who may have to field their third choice keeper as first choice Meteo is suspended and second choice Morphis limped off the field at the end of their recent defeat to APOEL.Both teams above Enosis have tough games, with AEK Kouklion taking on APOEL in Paphos and Aris of Limassol travelling to Larnaca to face Ermis Aradippou.Champions APOEL are just a point off the top, and given their recent form and results they should be able to overcome a gifted but largely inexperienced AEK side.Ermis, thumped by Nea Salamina nearly two weeks ago, need the win against third from bottom Aris who held Omonia to a draw last time out. A win will maintain Ermis’ dream of a first European qualification, something that few would have envisaged at the beginning of the season.Omonia take on Ethnikos Achnas with both teams desperate for the points – Omonia to keep alive their slender hopes for the league and Ethnikos to steer well clear of the relegation zone.Anorthosis need one point from their final two games to secure a place in the top six, but given their recent poor form anything is possible against a much-improved Nea Salamina.League leaders AEL face an easy task against relegated Alki and should have no problems in securing the three points.Apollon entertain AEK Larnaca at the Tsirion Stadium in a game that the team from Limassol has to win to maintain their challenge for the title. Three points separate Apollon from the top and they cannot afford to drop further behind at this late stage of the championship race.Sunday, March 9th 2014: Doxa Katokopias v Enosis Neon Paralimniou (15.30), Omonia v Ethnikos Achnas (16.00), AEK Kouklion v APOEL (16.00), Ermis Aradippou v Aris Limassol (16.00), Anorthosis v Nea Salamina (17.00), Alki v AEL (19.00), Apollon v AEK Larnaca (19.00)
By Andrew BothTiger Woods ended weeks of speculation when he announced he will play in next week’s Masters golf tournament at Augusta National.Hobbled by back problems and poor play this year, Woods made the decision to go for his 15th major title after his second visit of the week to the famed Georgia course.The Masters, the first major of the year, begins on Thursday and will end a two-month absence from tournament play for the former world number one.“I’m playing in the Masters,” said Woods on his website, marking his return to the tournament he has won four times.“It’s obviously very important to me and I want to be there. I’ve worked a lot on my game and I’m looking forward to competing,” said Woods, who missed last year’s event after being advised by doctors to have a microdiscectomy to repair a pinched nerve in his back.The lure of Augusta has obviously proved irresistible to the 39-year-old, who has been plagued by a woeful short game over recent months.“I am excited to get to Augusta and I appreciate everyone’s support,” he said.Woods, who is still adapting to the fifth swing change of his career, this time with new consultant Chris Como, has dropped to 104th in the world rankings and bookmakers consider him a longshot to win the Masters.Centrebet and Ladbrokes both list him at 40/1.World number one Rory McIlroy is the tournament favourite.Former player Notah Begay said Woods was “completely undecided” until the last couple of days about whether to play, as he continued to evaluate his game.“One of the first discussions we had was not to come back until he felt he was ready and could compete,” Begay, a confidant of Woods, said on Golf Channel.“So obviously he feels like his game and all the work is really starting to show some dividends. I know he’s not just there to play. He’s there to compete.”Another former player, Curt Byrum, said it would quickly become obvious at the Masters whether Woods has solved his short game issued.“We’re going to find out really quickly if he’s solved his pitching and chipping problems because there’s not a tougher place on the planet to chip and pitch the ball than Augusta National,” Byrum said.Woods has not played in any tournament since withdrawing with tightness in his back during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open near San Diego on February 5.Woods later announced he would take a break from competition until he felt his game was ready to compete at the highest level.He has not won a major since the 2008 US Open and his most recent Masters victory came 10 years ago, though he has contended several times since, including just two years ago, when he finished only four strokes off the pace after incurring a two-shot penalty for a rules violation.Woods struggled badly in his first two events this year.He posted the highest score of his professional career, a shocking 11-over-par 82 to miss the cut at the Phoenix Open in January.A pathetic short game made him look more like a struggling amateur than the greatest player of his generation, prompting some experts to opine that he had the ‘chipping yips’.He did not look much better the following week at Torrey Pines, where he was two over par after 11 holes when he pulled out, his third withdrawal in his last nine tournaments.
By Sam HoldenLeicester City climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time since November with a battling 1-0 win at bottom club Burnley on Saturday.Burnley’s Matt Taylor slammed a second-half penalty against the post and from the rebound the visitors counter-attacked, Jamie Vardy tapping the ball in to give Leicester their fourth consecutive victory.Defeat plunged Burnley deeper into the relegation mire, leaving them five points from safety on 26 points with four games remaining.Queens Park Rangers remained in 19th with 27 points after top scorer Charlie Austin missed a first-half penalty in a 0-0 home draw against West Ham United.Sunderland fell into the bottom three after a 1-1 draw at Stoke City. The visitors took a first-minute lead through Connor Wickham but were pegged back by a superb driven shot from Charlie Adam midway through the first half.Hull City, in 16th, secured a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace but remained only one point from safety and Newcastle United lost 3-2 at home to Swansea City, their seventh straight league defeat.Earlier, sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur fought back to draw 2-2 with Southampton as the close battle for Europa League qualification intensified.Liverpool remained fifth after a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion as Steven Gerrard made his 500th Premier League appearance for the visitors in his final season in England.Manchester City host Aston Villa in the late kick-off.
Kei Nishikori withstood a blistering early assault and saved five match points before battling past Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6 6-3 7-6(3) in a bruising quarter-final at the Miami Open on Thursday.The Japanese number one will face 24th seed Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals after the Australian upset 12th seeded Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4 7-6(4).Sixth seed Nishikori appeared to have his match in control when leading 4-2 in the final set but his usually reliable forehand repeatedly let him down as he fell behind 4-5 0-40 on serve before mounting a gutsy fightback.He saved four match points in that 10th game, and a fifth in the 12th, before racing into a 6-3 lead in the tiebreak as Monfils made a string of unforced errors, Nishikori finally sealing the win with a forehand crosscourt winner.“When I was down 4-5 and 0-40, I thought I almost gave up the match,” Nishikori, 26, told ESPN in a courtside interview after an epic encounter between two of the most athletic players on the ATP World Tour that lasted two-and-a-half hours.“But I tried to play one point at a time and tried to focus on what I had to do, especially my serve. In the tiebreak, I just tried to focus again and fight harder.”Nishikori, who also reached the last four in Miami two years ago, was left reeling in the opening set as the 16th-seeded Monfils played high-risk, aggressive tennis right from the start, highlighted by an explosive service game.“I was a little bit surprised how he played, especially the first couple of games,” said Nishikori.“I was waiting for a little bit more long rallies and I wasn’t expecting to play that fast so I had to make some adjustment.”Kyrgios took down his more fancied opponent in two sets to reach the last four for the first time in a ATP Masters 1000 event, riding a break in the first game of the match all the way to victory.“I knew it would be a tough match. Milos has played great the last couple of weeks and the only person he’s lost to is Djokovic so I knew it would be a tough task,” Kyrgios said.“I played really well out here, the crowd was a lot of fun, the atmosphere was really good and I thought the level of tennis was really good as well.“To be honest I didn’t think I was going to break during the match but I broke him in the first game. I came out really energetic and I got pretty lucky and that definitely made me more relaxed and made me play my game a little bit easier.”
PNG will play the winner of tonight’s (7pm) quarterfinal match between Fiji and Samoa.Fiji is the favorites to defend their gold medal in the Pacific Games Netball competition.They have won Gold four times already: 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007.Netball was not contested in the 2011 Games.
On Sunday, Finau won the Puerto Rico Open to morph from talented curiosity into PGA Tour winner. Finau, 26, defeated Steve Marino on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff at Coco Beach. “I think I’m still a little bit overwhelmed,” Finau told reporters in Puerto Rico after. “It probably hasn’t all sunk in.” Finau played his final eight holes of regulation in two over par to match Marino with a final-round 70. He missed a six-footer for birdie on No. 18 for the win. However, in the playoff, Finau birdied the par-5 18th hole all three times. “I tried to just stay in the moment really,” the African-American said. “That’s what I learned from last year. You can never look too far ahead and you can’t look back, either. You’ve got to focus on the here and now.“I did a really good job of that today even though that putt slipped by in regulation for the win, I knew I still didn’t lose the tournament. I needed to refocus and get ready to play 18 again. That’s what it takes out here I feel like to win. And now that I have that feeling, it’s pretty special.” The 36-year-old Marino remained winless in his PGA Tour career after three-putting for par from the back fringe on the final hole. He now has five runner-ups and just under $10 million in career earnings. Local pro Rafael Campos, the 36-hole leader, shot a second consecutive 72 to finish T-8. Earlier in the week, he became the first Puerto Rican to lead a PGA Tour event since Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1979. Ian Poulter, the 54-hole leader, shot 72 and finished one shot out of the playoff. He parred his final 13 holes. “It’s a shame. Just slightly disappointing,” Poulter said. “I’m continuing to work on the game to try and improve, and I know if I rectify a couple of poor shots, then my game will improve. Obviously, hitting shots slightly too far right at certain times is costly.”(PGA Tour rookie Tony Finau says that Tiger Woods was his inspiration to pursue a professional career. Picture: The African-American Athlete)