BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer The Middletown High School South boys soccer team has been pointing toward the postseason since September, and the Eagles are flying high. Coach Sean Reid’s team has been dominant in the Shore Conference tourney, downing Ocean (2-0) and Toms River South (1-0) to reach the semifinals on Friday. There the Eagles dominated CBA en route to a 6-1 victory and a meeting on Monday night against Toms River North for the conference crown. “We’re peaking at just the right time,” said Reid of his 17-0-1 team. “The old saying is that offense wins games and defense wins championships; well, we have both playing at their best right now.” Following the Shore finale, the Eagles will begin play in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section II Group III playoffs on Friday against the winner of the West Morris-Milburn game. Middletown South received a first-round bye as the second seed. Scotch Plains is the top seed. Meanwhile, the defense has been getting the job done all year long for the Eagles. Junior goalie Brian Hessinger, playing with two broken toes, has been outstanding behind a defense that includes sweeper Ryan Leahey, 6-0, 230-pound stopper Anthony Testa, and gritty 6-3 marking back David Kumm, who has tonsillitis and will have surgery after the season. In recent years Middletown South has mainly been known for its high-powered offense led by Tom Gray and Thomas Campbell. Both players have again been superlative. Gray leads the team in scoring with 20 goals and 21 assists, while Campbell has 21 goals to go with 15 assists. “We’re a team now, and our supporting cast is as good as, if not better than, anyone’s,” Reid said. “If anyone thinks we’re just the Tom and Tom show, they’re mistaken.” Chris Trimboli has been another mainstay on offense, contributing 11 goals and seven assists; and Leahey, playing with a brace due to a torn meniscus, has six goals and four assists from his sweeper post. In the middle Billy Snyder is a key along with Tyler Kimble, who has been playing through an illness. “As well as our guys have played, I don’t think they’ve been at their best yet,” Reid said. That’s not a pleasant thought for any Middletown South opponent. Notes… Following Monday night’s SCT final, the Eagles were set to concentrate on the state tournament, along with a handful of other local teams. The Christian Brothers Academy Colts received the No. 4 seed in the South Jersey Parochial A tournament, and will take on St. Joseph’s of Metuchen on Friday. St. Joe’s will also be playing for the Greater Middlesex Conference championship on Sunday against South Brunswick, and is playing its best soccer of the year. On the other side of the bracket, the seventh-seeded St. John Vianney Lancers will take on second-seeded Paul VI on Friday. The Middletown North Lions got the seventh seed in the Central Jersey Group IV tournament, and were set to take on No. 10 Old Bridge yesterday in the first round. The winner will take on the winner of the Marlboro-Brick Memorial opening-round game on Friday. In girls action, the St. John Vianney Lancers are the second seed in the South Jersey Parochial A tournament, behind top-seeded Red Bank Catholic. The Lancers will take on Bishop Ahr, seeded seventh, tomorrow, with the winner to face the winner of the Gloucester Catholic-Holy Cross game one Monday. The Middletown North girls entered Monday’s first-round action with the unenviable task of taking on fourth-seeded Hunterdon Central in their Central Jersey Group IV tourney opener. The Lions got the No. 13 seed, and were hoping to advance to tomorrow’s second round, where the winner of the East Brunswick-Hillsborough game would be waiting. Old Bridge is the top seed in this bracket. As for the Middletown South girls, they squared off with Colonia on Monday in the first round of the North Jersey Section II Group III tournament. The Eagles were the eighth seed in the tournament, and were playing for the right to take on top-seeded Ridge in tomorrow’s second-round action. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer
The 20th annual Husky Indoor Soccer League is accepting mail-in registrations through Dec. 1. Forms are available at the Aberdeen Municipal Building, and forms and information can be obtained at www.leaguelineup.com/huskysport. The league is open to all ages and both genders — kindergarten through adult, and features one-hour games on Sundays from Jan. 9-Feb. 27. Teams are coed with volunteer certified coaches. All games will be played at the Lloyd Road School. There will also be a free soccer clinic given for kindergarten and first-grade players. For more information, call Art Perri at (732) 566-0154 or e-mail Huskysport@aol.com
The Hazlet Recreation Commission will be sponsoring a Triple HHH wrestling camp at Raritan High School. The participant will attend two days a week (days and times TBA). Instruction is offered for grades four through eight for the spring/summer/fall session (April 2-9) at a cost of $157; summer/fall only (June 25 to Nov. 9) at a cost of $107. Instruction is offered for grades 1-3 for the summer session only (June 25-Aug. 31 at a cost of $107. The camp is directed by Art Lynch with some of the finest high school athletes in the area. Register by March 30. A physical is required (school physicians required). Registrations may be done by mail or at the James J Cullen Center, 1776 Union Ave., Hazlet, NJ 07730. Payments are accepted by check or money order only. Friends of Monmouth County Parks will honor the memory of one of their dearest friends, Donna K. Lane, in a memorial run/walk on April 22 at Thompson Park in Lincroft. The 5K run/walk will begin at 9 a.m. There is a $30 pre-registration fee ($35 day of registration) which includes a one-year membership with the Friends of the Parks, a commemorative t-shirt, support, water stop and refreshments at the finish. The event will be held rain or shine. The event is named in memory of Donna K. Lane, a former executive director of the Friends of the Parks, who was a running enthusiast, a highly talented massage therapist, and extremely kind and loving person and a devoted wife and mother. For more information, call Mark Zelina at (732) 672-4186.
Stronach Stables’ Lord Justice led all the way to win the $70,000 Spend a Buck Stakes, and Edith R. Dixon’s Smart Enough was a facile winner in the $60,000 Wolf Hill Stakes on turf before a crowd of 8,365 at Monmouth Park on Saturday. In the Spend a Buck Stakes for 3-yearolds, Lord Justice used his good speed to secure an early lead, and then had enough left to hold off the late charge of Santana Six to score by a half-length. It Happened Again, the 2-1 favorite in the field of eight, was third, three lengths farther back. Lord Justice gained command soon after the start and cut out fractions of :22 3/5, and :45 4/5. He turned into the stretch with the lead after six furlongs in 1:10 and opened a clear lead at the eighth pole. Santana Six cut into the margin, but was no real threat to the winner. This was the second win of the year in three starts for Lord Justice, a bay colt by A.P. Indy Buy the Sport, by Devil’s Bag. It was the first stakes win for the Stronach homebred. “I was surprised and worried when I saw the fractions,” said Anthony Sciametta Jr., Pletcher’s assistant at Monmouth. “This horse has been training really well in the morning, and he showed it today.” The winner, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Chris DeCarlo, raced the one mile and 70 yards over a fast main track in 1:39 4/5 and paid $15.60, $8 and $4.20 across the board. Santana Six, second choice in the betting at 3-1, completed the $75 exacta and paid $5 to place and $4 to show. It Happened Again paid $2.80 to show. “I was told to hit the half in 48 seconds and I went in 45,” DeCarlo said. “The horse was just going so easily that it didn’t seem that fast. He was comfortable the whole way and very relaxed on the lead. He had his ears pricked the whole way around.” Earlier in the day, in the Wolf Hill, Smart Enough was the 4-5 favorite and ran that way as he scored by nearly two lengths. He took command out of the gate and was never threatened as he hit the line in 1:01 for the about five and a half furlongs over a turf course rated “good.” Smart Enough, trained by John R.S. Fisher and ridden by Eddie Castro, returned $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10 across the board. Atticus Kristy, an 11-1 chance, closed for the place, paying $7 and $3.40 and completing the $26.20 exacta. Awakino Cat, second choice in the field of seven, paid $2.80 to show. This was the first win of the year in two starts for Smart Enough, a 6-year-old son of Horse Chestnut who improved his record at Monmouth to four wins in five starts here. “He’s back to himself,” said Fisher. “For him to run that fast over this course was impressive. He’ll go next in the Highlander at Woodbine (June 21). That’s six furlongs, but he can do that no problem. “We’ll probably be back here later this summer. We love coming to Monmouth. It’s just such a wonderful place to race.” Highlighting Sunday’s action at Monmouth Park, John Petrini’s Love That Dance took command at the bell and never looked back, posting a 3-length win in the Open Mind Handicap. “She’s a lot like her stable mate (referring to multiple stakes winner Joey P.),” said winning jockey Joe Bravo, of Long Branch. After the first jump, the race was over. “She’s a very fast filly and awesome to ride. Right out of the gate she landed on the front end and relaxed for me.” Trained by Ben Perkins Jr., Love That Dance carved out fractions of :22 2/5 for the quarter and :45 1/5 for the half before reporting home in 1:09 2/5 for the six furlongs over a fast main track. The filly by Not For Love returned $14, $5.80 and $4 across the board and topped a $226.80 exacta. Love For Not, the longest shot in the field of six fillies and mares, returned $16.60 and $6.60. It was another length and three quarters back to Open Skies, who paid $4.20 to show. Way With Words, sent off the odds-on choice, never fired and finished fifth. Sunday’s win marked the fourth lifetime and first this year for Love That Dance. She has now earned $154,549 for her connections. Musket Man Back At Monmouth, Will Train Up To Haskell Eric Fein and Vic Carlson’s Musket Man, third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, is back at Monmouth Park after a brief break, and is now preparing for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on Aug. 2. Trainer Derek Ryan said the Yonaguska colt, who won the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) and Illinois Derby (G2) coming into the Kentucky Derby, was scheduled to start galloping yesterday after jogging at the Oceanport track earlier in the week. Ryan said he does not plan to run his charge before the Haskell. Instead, he plans to work the colt in the afternoon between races as part of Musket Man’s preparation for the big event. After running third behind Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird in the Preakness on May 16, Musket Man returned to Monmouth and then was sent to a nearby farm for a two-week vacation. Ryan said the colt returned to his barn last week. Monmouth Park’s website (www.monmouthpark. com) has been completely redesigned for the 2009 season, and was set to launch on Monday. The website now contains several new features, including a My Racetrack account, and a Monmouth Park blog written jointly by Brad Thomas and Brian Skirka. Web users will have the opportunity to sign up free for their own personal My Racetrack account. Within My Racetrack, fans will be able to access free race replays, post discussion boards, comment on news stories, and upload photos of their day at the races. The daily Monmouth blog by program handicapper Thomas and marketing department writer Skirka will cover a variety of racing subjects, including stakes analysis and behind-the-scenes information. The site also includes an expanded biography section on jockeys, owners and trainers, complete with video and photos; extensive photo galleries featuring areas of the track rarely seen by the public, such as the jockeys’ room and stable area, and a direct tie to Monmouth Park’s web 2.0 marketing efforts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Monmouth starts five-day racing schedule this week. Yesterday marked the start of a five-day racing week at Monmouth, with live programs scheduled Wednesday through Sunday each week through August, with six days of racing slated from Sept. 2 through the Labor Day weekend. The track goes back to four days a week (Thursday through Sunday) from Sept. 10 until closing day, Sept. 27. First post time every racing day is 12:50 p.m., with gates opening to the public at 11:30 a.m. The only exception will be Haskell Invitational Day on Sunday, Aug. 2, when first post is noon, with gates opening at 10 a.m.
Maria Sharapova’s quest for a second Australian Open title was halted in the fourth round on Monday when the third seeded Russian ran out of steam against an inspired Dominika Cibulkova, who emerged with a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena.After her Slovakian opponent had levelled the match, the 2008 champion took a medical time-out before and third set for treatment on a hip injury but Sharapova was reluctant to use that as an excuse for her shock defeat.“Those aches and pains are expected when you spend a long time on the court,” Sharapova said after she became the second former champion to crash out in the fourth round following world number one Serena Williams’ loss on Sunday.“I haven’t been playing the best tennis of this tournament, but I found ways to get through to the last two matches.“Tried to do that again today, but she played extremely well.”Sharapova, despite being rusty after missing the latter part of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury had been expected to comfortably advance against the diminutive Slovakian despite Cibulkova having beaten her in a grand slam before.Cibulkova overcame Sharapova on her preferred surface of clay at the 2009 French Open and it was the first time the pair had met on hard courts which should have favoured the Russian’s power game, though the Slovakian was supremely confident.“I went on the court, and I was… 100 percent sure that I really can beat her. I can beat her on the big court, in the important match, you know, on the grand slam,” Cibulkova said.“I did it before, and I knew she knows me. I also knew that she knows it’s going to be a tough match.”POOR SERVESharapova has struggled with her serve throughout the tournament and her woes continued on Monday, and she was unable to dictate rallies from the baseline.Cibulkova had three break points throughout the first set though Sharapova fought them off until serving for the set at 5-2 when she faltered.Cibulkova, however, could not consolidate the break and her third double fault handed Sharapova the set 6-3 in 39 minutes.The 20th seed raced to a 5-0 lead in the second set as the Russian’s range and accuracy deserted her before Sharapova somehow rattled off the next four games to give her a sniff of sneaking into the quarter-finals in straight sets.The 24-year-old Cibulkova, however, held her nerve to hold serve and send it into a decider.Sharapova then took the medical time-out but was unable to halt Cibulkova’s momentum as the Slovak jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and raced through to win the set and reach her first Australian Open quarter-final, against 11th-seed Simona Halep.“Actually I didn’t know,” Cibulkova said when told she had made her first quarter-final at Melbourne Park.“I just realise now. It’s great, you know. I think this was the only grand slam where I just had my fourth round and a couple of bad losses.“It feels great and especially I played well and it was a tough match.“I came out from one set down. This is what makes me really strong and proud of myself.”
By Mark Lamport-StokesRory McIlroy, helped by composed shot-making and a stunning eagle on his ninth hole of the day, soared one stroke clear in the weather-hit second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.The Open champion, in pursuit of a third consecutive victory on the PGA Tour, fired a four-under-par 67 on a wet, ultra-long Valhalla layout where play was suspended for 45 minutes earlier in the round due to water-logged conditions.McIlroy, the pre-tournament favourite heading into the year’s final major, holed an uphill 30-foot putt from just off the green to eagle the par-five 18th and also recorded four birdies and two bogeys to post a nine-under total of 133.Four-time winner Tiger Woods, however, ended a miserable week prematurely when he missed the cut at a major for only the fourth time as a professional, looking tournament rusty in both rounds as he carded successive 74s.McIlroy squandered a golden opportunity to add another eagle at the par-five seventh, where he hit a brilliant second shot from 243 yards to eight feet before missing the putt, but signed off with a birdie at the ninth where he drained a 16-footer.“I played well for the most part,” world number one McIlroy told reporters after moving a step closer to winning the fourth major title of his career. “Scored really well. Some key up-and-downs to keep the momentum going in the round.“I’m very pleased. I’m in a great position going into the weekend in another major championship. Can’t ask for much more. I’m confident, and I’m just on a good run.“You’ve seen before when I got on good runs like this, I can sort of keep it going for a little while,” said the Northern Irishman, who won last month’s Open before clinching the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last Sunday in his next start.McIlroy ended his round one ahead of Australian Jason Day, who fired a best-of-the-day 65, and veteran American Jim Furyk (68). Americans Rickie Fowler (66) and Ryan Palmer (70), and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen (68) were a further stroke back.Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson (67) was next best on a high-quality leaderboard, level at six under with Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (68).England’s former world number one Lee Westwood (72), fourth-ranked Swede Henrik Stenson (71) and American Steve Stricker (68) were among a group of seven players knotted at five under.McIlroy, however, commanded the spotlight as he lived up to his pre-tournament billing with another consummate display in the more difficult playing conditions of the morning.Initially struggling for accuracy off the tee, he dropped a shot at the par-four 12th where he found a bunker with his approach, but swiftly responded by sinking a 12-footer at the 13th and a 16-footer at the 15th to get to six under.Though the 25-year-old Northern Irishman squandered another birdie chance at the 16th, where he missed an eight-foot putt, he reached the turn in sizzling style with his eagle on 18.McIlroy dropped another shot at the par-four second, where his tee shot ended up in the rough and his second in a bunker, but maintained his grip on the tournament with two birdies in his last three holes.Day, among the late starters on Friday, surged into contention for his first major title with birdies on his last two holes, having earlier eagled the par-five seventh.“I think we got a little lucky on the draw, teeing off in the afternoon,” said the 26-year-old from Queensland. “We didn’t get as much rain. I played great.“A little disappointed that I had one bogey on the back nine but I came home strong with birdies on 17 and 18.”The cut fell at one-over par, leaving Woods well out of the picture after he finished at six over.Tournament rusty after having surgery in late March to treat a pinched nerve in his back, Woods struggled to an opening 74 on Thursday and he tumbled further backwards by dropping four shots in his first seven holes on Friday.Also missing the cut were US Open champion Martin Kaymer of Germany and triple major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland.
Feb 14 (Reuters) – Christian Eriksen celebrated his 24th birthday with the winning goal for Tottenham Hotspur when they beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to stay second in the Premier League table.Spurs broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute after referee Mark Clattenburg ruled that City’s Raheem Sterling had handled in the area even though he turned his back as Danny Rose crossed and the ball hardly seemed to hit his arm.But that did not worry Kane who fired his spot kick down the centre of the goal and past his England team mate Joe Hart into the net.Yaya Toure almost equalised for the home side when he hit the bar with a 57th minute free kick, but they were soon level when Kelechi Iheanacho swept a cross from Gael Clichy into the roof of the Spurs net.Eriksen though gave Spurs all three points when he scored in the 83rd minute after a surging run from Erik Lamela.
By Pritha SarkarMILOS Raonic made Roger Federer feel his age on Friday as the Canadian sharp-shooter bombarded Wimbledon’s Centre Court with a succession of 140 mph missiles to flatten the seven-times champion and reach his first grand slam final in five gripping sets.Raonic appeared to be down and out as he trailed Federer by two-sets to one and 15-40 in the fifth game of the fourth set but somehow he managed to cling on for a 6-3 6-7(3) 4-6 7-5 6-3 win and became the first Canadian man to reach a major final.“It’s an incredible comeback for me. I was struggling throughout the third and fourth sets, he was playing some really good tennis and just on a little opening I managed to turn it around and finish it off in a great match,” said the sixth seed, who will meet Andy Murray or 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych in Sunday’s final. “It’s a great feeling.”Raonic appeared to be heading for a second semi-final defeat in three years against the 34-year-old Federer but kept his wits about him to stay alive. After saving two break points in the fifth game he managed to save a third in the ninth game as his thunderbolt serve got him out of trouble again.The contest appeared to be heading for a fourth set tiebreak as Federer moved to 40-0 in the 12th game but two days after the Swiss boldly stated that “my second serve has always been there for me… it never lets me down” — guess what? It let him down.Two successive double faults brought Raonic to deuce and while Federer saved two set points — with an unreturnable serve and a volley winner — his luck ran out on the third.A blazing backhand passing shot winner had Raonic pumping his fists towards his support box as a shell-shocked Federer, who had come back from two sets and three match points down to beat Marin Cilic in the previous round, was left to wonder just how he had let that set get away from him.“Federer had it all going his way but you couldn’t script that this would go on and on,” exclaimed Raonic’s grasscourt mentor John McEnroe.The third seed, who was about to contest his 10th set in three days, called on the trainer to massage his aching limbs back to life but it was the mental scars that could not be rubbed away.Four games into the final set, with the score at deuce, Federer lunged after a flying forehand winner from Raonic and found himself sprawled face down on his beloved turf.He lay still for what seemed an eternity before getting back to his feet and then slumped into his chair rather than heading for the baseline.The crowd started to chuckle, wondering if Federer was staging a sit-in protest, but in fact he had called on the trainer again to manipulate his left leg.The Swiss, chasing a record-extending 11th appearance in the final, managed to save that break point but Raonic refused to let him off the hook and four points later the Canadian had the break for 3-1 as he ended a dazzling net exchange with a rasping crosscourt passing shot.From them on there only seemed to be one winner and, after firing down 23 aces, with his fastest serve being clocked at 144 mph, Raonic bagged a place in the final when Federer floated a tired forehand long to end the three hours 25 minutes contest.“This one clearly hurts, because I could have had it. I was so, so, close,” summed up Federer after coming off second best for the first time in 11 Wimbledon semi-final appearances.
Van Barneveld, a decade after beating Taylor in a last leg shoot-out in the 2007 final, dished out a 5-3 win in the quarter-finals to set up a tie against Michael van Gerwen, who earlier beat Daryl Gurney 5-1.Taylor, the 16-time world champion and third seed, has now gone four years without adding to his unrivalled trophy haul after falling short against an opponent he has beaten 56 times since first playing him in 1990.Taylor’s illustrious history at the World Championship includes a 2009 win in the final against Van Barneveld, plus two semi-final victories since, but their latest meeting occasionally resembled a pair of battle-worn heavyweights trying to recapture past glories.A nervy opener went Van Barneveld’s way on a knife edge, before the Dutchman found some rhythm with a stylish 152 checkout. That, however, wasn’t enough to prevent Taylor completing the match’s first break of throw to take the second set.Taylor’s chest was puffed out throughout the third and Van Barneveld appeared hesitant, missing three doubles and going bust inside the same leg. Nobody looked more dumbfounded than Taylor when, having missed twice at double 20 for the set, Van Barneveld stumbled over the line to go 2-1 up.Taylor’s mood worsened and he was reduced to stomping angrily off stage when Van Barneveld, after an outstanding 167 finish on the bullseye, added a 120 checkout for a 3-1 lead.Three straight legs reduced the deficit for Taylor, who then hit a 12-darter and survived a wobble to put back-to-back sets together, and draw level at 3-3.Taylor’s worries were epitomised in the next set where he required a 121 finish to prevent Van Barneveld claiming a 4-3 lead. With his progression largely dependent on one shot at double 14, he missed.A stunning bullseye finish gave five-time champion Van Barneveld his first win over Taylor since the 2007 final.Earlier, Van Gerwen was scarcely troubled by 24th seed Daryl Gurney in a straightforward 5-1 win.The world No 1 started with aggressive intent, plundering two 12-dart legs including checkouts from 101 and 170 inside the first set.Gurney, whose run-ins with the Ally Pally crowd were consigned to the past, replied with a 142 finish then took the second set after both players missed a winning dart.Van Gerwen’s stunning 170 finish on the bullseye, his second of the match and his fourth of the tournament, put him 2-1 ahead before Gurney’s sprightly resistance began to fade.Gurney missed nine doubles to break Van Gerwen in the next set and duly found himself 3-1 down, before the Dutchman sneaked a closer set to extend his lead. The Dutchman routinely manoeuvred through his fifth set to stay in the hunt for a second world title.
The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) has received yet another red notice from European football’s governing body Uefa regarding suspicious betting activity in a league play-off match between Ermis Aradippou and Doxa Katokopias, it was announced on Thursday.Uefa said the betting pattern on Ermis losing the game suggested a “strong suspicion” that the match had been fixed.In the April 22 game, Doxa thrashed Ermis 5-1.Uefa’s notice held the Aradippou club responsible for the fixed match.Abnormally intense betting activity before kick-off had prompted investigation by police.Police had said at the time that they had received information from the football association regarding suspicious betting activity ahead of a particular game.CID officers from Nicosia were investigating the matter and the island’s betting authority had been notified, police said.Reports said it was Ermis that alerted the CFA about betting activity on a specific score.Uefa had sent a red notice in another match between the two teams last March, also apportioning responsibility to Ermis.Doxa had won that game, too, 2-1.According to CFA’s new rules, second-time offenders have six points deducted from their tally and are fined €50,000.Third-time offenders are automatically relegated and all sponsorships are withheld, while clubs held responsible for four red notices in a season are stricken off the CFA’s registry for five years.