After struggling for the past several years, the Middletown High School South girls tennis team has turned things around, and coach Pat Ouellette’s squad has been busily preparing for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III Tournament. Middletown South, seeded eighth, was slated to open the tourney at home on Tuesday against Hopewell Valley. A victory would mean a second-round match-up on Friday for Ouellette’s team. The Eagles are 8-4 overall, including victories over Manalapan, Toms River North and Middletown North (twice). Middletown South also qualified for the Shore Conference tourney where they downed Shore Regional in the quarterfinal before bowing to Red Bank Catholic in the semifinals. North’s other losses have come against Marlboro, Manalapan and Freehold Township, the latter a 3-2 decision. “Our girls have worked very hard to get in this position,” Ouellette said. “They have put in the time in the off-season and it really shows. They’re not just recreational players; they’re very serious about the game. Overall, we’ve gotten a very consistent effort from all of our girls. We’re all very excited, especially our seniors who were here when we really struggled.” The Eagles won state titles in 2000 and 2001 before running into difficult times four years ago. In 2006, Middletown North struggled to a 1-17 mark, garnering a victory in final last match to avoid a winless campaign. Two years ago, the Eagles went 5-11 and last year got above .500, finishing 11-10 and flashing the promise they’ve delivered on this fall. At first singles, Christine Liu, who held down the spot a year ago, is off to a 7-4 start and has qualified for the state singles tourney. Sporting a much-improved serve and a strong serve and volley game, Liu has done well against some of the top players in the Shore. Sophomore Julie Russell has rapidly developed into a strong player thanks to her quickness and excellent footwork. In her second year as a serious player, Russell has developed a variety of shots and has become a solid all-around player as evidenced by her 9-3 mark. Team captain Caitlyn Stack holds down the third singles spot. The gritty senior, 8-4, has twice come back after losing the opening set, and her matches routinely last for two hours. “Caitlyn won’t give an inch. She beats people through sheer tenacity,” Ouellette said. The first doubles team of Rebecca Handlin and junior Wendy Wei tops the team with 10 victories against just two defeats. The aggressive duo has qualified for the state first doubles tournament. Both have excellent groundstrokes and good serves and work well to set each other up for winning shots. Lauren Stroz and Jenna Kolakowski, a junior, started strong, slumped a bit, but are on their game again, the coach noted. The duo owns a 7-5 record. Other players Ouellette can call upon include junior Christine Conlon, and three sophomores, Alexandra Prendergast, Evie Athanasiou and Saloni Mehta. Prendergast, who serves well and has a strong forehand shot, may see some time in a singles role and has filled in at second doubles. Athanasiou and Mehta may play together at doubles, and Conlon plays doubles as well. “Our goal was to qualify for the state and Shore tournaments, but we’re not satisfied with just doing that,” Ouellette said. “We want to make our mark and continue improving and rebuilding the program.” BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer
Top: Brookdale Community College guard Terrel Cox, a Long Branch High School graduate, calls out a play during the Jersey Blues’ Dec. 16 game against Atlantic Cape Community in Lincroft. The Jersey Blues’ men prevailed in the Region 19 contest, 96-70. Above: Brookdale’s Paxton Reddington, a St. John Vianney graduate, gets around Atlantic Cape defender Phoebe Carano during the Dec. 16 Region 19 game in Lincroft. The Jersey Blues’ women won the game, 80-61, and have a 9-5 record. The high school basketball season has just begun, but the Brookdale Community College men’s and women’s teams are in the middle of their 2014-15 campaigns.Bob Dubina’s women are 9-5 overall, 6-2 in Region 19 play and 5-2 in the Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). They are on a two-game winning streak.Marya Trapp, a sophomore forward, was recently named the GSAC Co-Player of the Week. The Red Bank Regional High School graduate averaged 23.5 points and 12.5 rebounds the week that ended Dec. 7. On the season, she’s averaging a double-double of 17.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. PHOTOS BY STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR Earlier in the season, sophomore guard Paxton Reddington (St. John Vianney) was the GSAC Player of the Week for averaging 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists a game.For the season, Reddington is averaging 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists.Freshman Jah’Asia Smith (Long Branch) is making an impact. She is third on the team in scoring with 10.2 points per game.The Jersey Blues begin 2015 on the road and are not home until taking on Passaic County Community College on Jan. 17, followed by Ocean County College on Jan. 20.After dropping three of their first four games, Brookdale’s men have begun to turn things around. Head coach Paul Cisek’s team has won two straight and three of its last four to improve to 6-7 overall and 4-3 in region play.Sophomore guard Isaiah Johnson from Notre Dame High School in Trenton has been shouldering the load on offense, averaging 20 points a game.Tevon Bennett (Orange), another sophomore guard, is helping out with his 12.4 points per game.Brookdale’s men also begin 2015 on the road, returning to Lincroft with doubleheaders with the women on Jan. 17 (Passaic) and Jan. 20 (Ocean).
Results from the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Round 2 matches on Thursday:Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) beat Julian Reister (Germany) 7-6(7) 6-4 6-45-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) beat Lu Yen-Hsun (Taiwan) 7-6(6) 6-3 3-6 7-514-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) beat Sam Querrey (U.S.) 4-6 7-6(2) 6-7(4) 6-3 14-1223-Tommy Robredo (Spain) beat Adrian Mannarino (France) 6-4 6-1 7-6(5)2-Rafa Nadal (Spain) beat Lukas Rosol (Czech Republic) 4-6 7-6(6) 6-4 6-4Nick Kyrgios (Australia) beat 13-Richard Gasquet (France) 3-6 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5 10-8Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) beat 24-Gael Monfils (France) 7-6(3) 6-3 6-7(1) 6-7(3) 6-4Lukasz Kubot (Poland) beat Dusan Lajovic (Serbia) 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 6-3 7-6(3)Simone Bolelli (Italy) beat 22-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) 4-6 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-58-Milos Raonic (Canada) beat Jack Sock (U.S.) 6-3 6-4 6-4Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan) beat Frank Dancevic (Canada) 6-3 6-3 6-210-Kei Nishikori (Japan) beat Denis Kudla (U.S.) 6-3 6-2 6-1Results from the Wimbledon Women’s Singles Round 2 matches on Thursday:20-Andrea Petkovic (Germany) beat Irina Begu (Romania) 6-4 3-6 6-119-Sabine Lisicki (Germany) beat Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) 6-3 7-5Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) beat 15-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) 7-6(12) 5-7 6-224-Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium) beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino (Spain) 6-2 6-1Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) beat Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) 6-3 6-7(4) 6-211-Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) beat Zheng Jie (China) 6-4 6-025-Alize Cornet (France) beat Petra Cetkovska (Czech Republic) 6-4 5-7 6-31-Serena Williams (U.S.) beat Chanelle Scheepers (South Africa) 6-1 6-1
By Agnieszka FlakFERRARI chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo is quitting the Italian sports car maker to be replaced by the boss of parent group Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, after the two auto industry heavyweights clashed over strategy and the Formula One team’s poor results.Long-serving Montezemolo, a protege of Fiat’s founding Agnelli family, will formally step down on October 13, the day that Marchionne plans to list the newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in New York, Fiat and Montezemolo said in separate statements.Under Montezemolo’s tenure, Ferrari raced to the front of the Formula One grid, increased revenues tenfold and tripled sales volumes, helping the Italian family business become one of the world’s most powerful brands.But his relationship with Marchionne had soured in recent years because of disagreements over the role of the luxury sports car business within the Fiat group, people with knowledge of the situation said.Chairman since 1991, Montezemolo has wanted to keep Ferrari autonomous, while Marchionne has pushed to better integrate the business within Fiat to boost the group’s move into the premium end of the car market as it seeks to rival the likes of Volkswagen and BMW.Marchionne said yesterday that he and Montezemolo, who has been tipped to become chairman of airline Alitalia, had discussed the future of Ferrari at length.“Our mutual desire to see Ferrari achieve its true potential on the (Formula One racing) track has led to misunderstandings, which became clearly visible over the last weekend,” he said, referring to the lack of a Ferrari driver in the top three at an Italian Grand Prix for the first time since 2008.For Montezemolo, meanwhile, the Chrysler marriage clearly played its part.“This is the end of an era and so I have decided to leave my position as chairman after almost 23 marvellous and unforgettable years,” he said.“Ferrari will have an important role to play within the FCA group in the upcoming flotation on Wall Street. This will open up a new and different phase, which I feel should be spearheaded by the CEO of the group.”A note from UBS analysts said that Montezemolo, 67, had become “increasingly marginalised as he had been opposed to the takeover of Chrysler back in 2009 … the last straw was probably a disagreement with Fiat about future growth”.Marchionne, who has been running Fiat since 2004 and revived its fortunes through the tie-up with Chrysler, now wants to flash the Ferrari card to attract U.S. investors when the group makes its debut on Wall Street.Fiat shares rose 2.6 per cent to 7.89 euros by 1041 GMT on Wednesday, with the market speculating that Montezemolo’s exit could open the door for a spin-off and listing of Ferrari, a move Marchionne has repeatedly ruled out. Analysts value Ferrari at 4-5 billion eurosMontezemolo was a protege of Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli and became Ferrari’s sporting director at the age of 26, helping its driver Niki Lauda to two of his three world titles.However, Ferrari have not won a drivers’ or constructors’ title since 2008 and Marchionne said on Sunday that the team’s performance was “unacceptable” in what was widely seen as a public sacking of Montezemolo.Insiders said there was never any love lost between the two exuberant businessmen, each powerful in his own right. But their differences became more apparent in recent months as Fiat completed its buyout of Chrysler and prepared to move its headquarters away from Italy, the carmaker’s home for the past 115 years.Though he was reappointed Ferrari chairman in March, Montezemolo did not travel to Detroit in May when Fiat presented an ambitious business plan for the next five years. He was also excluded from the board of the new FCA.Montezemolo, however, leaves with much of the credit for having rebuilt the Formula One team after Enzo Ferrari’s death in 1988, his hiring of Jean Todt as principal leading to the arrival of Michael Schumacher and a string of successive constructors’ and drivers’ titles between 1999 and 2004. Schumacher’s 2000 success ended a 21-year-wait for a Ferrari champion.Ferrari, which sells about 7,000 cars a year, made a record 2.34 billion euros in revenue last year with an operating profit margin of 15.6 per cent.
Cyprus star Marcos Baghdatis rolled back the years at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Thursday, beating fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain to advance to the semi-finals.The match went with serve until 4-4 in the opening set when the 30-year-old Cypriot, now ranked 57 in the world, broke his opponent to leave him serving for the set.Despite wasting the opportunity by immediately being broken back, Baghdatis wasn’t disheartened and broke the Spaniard’s next service game to wrap up the opener 7-5.Clearly buoyed, the Cypriot broke Agut’s serve in the first game of the second set and then went from strength to strength as he raced away with the set 6-0 to clinch a memorable win.Baghdatis will now face Feliciano Lopez after the Spaniard went through to the semi-finals when world number one Novak Djokovic retired from their last eight clash. The Serbian told the umpire he was unable to continue after suffering from a problem with his right eye. He lost the first set 6-3
If Villarreal reach their first European final at the fourth attempt it will be because of a carefully cultivated blend of home-grown players and intelligent purchases.No one believes they have an easy task in their Europa league semi-final against Liverpool, one of the game’s giants with a clutch of European silverware in their trophy cabinet.But the Spanish side’s appearance in the last four at El Madrigal on Thursday vindicates the 19-year strategy of their Valencia-born billionaire president Fernando Roig.Last year the club reinvested the 55.5 million euros they received from high-profile sales, including Gabriel Paulista to Arsenal and Luciano Vietto to Atletico Madrid to set up them up for the new season.They brought in former Spain striker Roberto Soldado for 10 million euros and Cedric Bakambu for seven million, with the Congolese their top scorer on 22 goals in all competitions.The newcomers have blended with regulars Bruno Soriano, Mario Gaspar, Jaume Costa and Manu Trigueros, who all came through the academy, the fruit of a 42 million euro investment in the youth structure by Roig when he first assumed control.With Villarreal on course for a return to the Champions League next season – they are four points clear in fourth place in La Liga with three games left – the mix looks potent for a team who have spent just 16 of their 93 years in the top flight.However, the club’s focus this week is on beating five-time European champions Liverpool and, having come so close to reaching a major continental final in 2004, 2006 and 2011, Villarreal are determined to finally seize the moment.REALLY EXCITED“This club has got close several times and couldn’t do it in the end, so we are really excited about playing this semi-final and above all reaching the final,” said midfielder Denis Suarez.“We’re up against a historic opponent and that makes it extra special, it’s a great stage for the club and for the players.”In 2004 they lost a UEFA Cup semi-final 1-0 on aggregate to neighbours Valencia after a controversial penalty, and were denied a place in the 2006 Champions League final by Arsenal by the same score, Juan Roman Riquelme missing a late spot kick.However, they were convincingly beaten 7-4 on aggregate by eventual Europa League winners FC Porto in the last four in 2011, a result which put the team on a downward spiral that would culminate in relegation little more than a year later.Roig, who took over Villarreal in 1997 when they were struggling in the second division and had a stadium holding just 3,500 spectators, took responsibility for the downturn.The president, who made his fortune through the Pamesa ceramics business, sold a 2.4 percent stake in the Mercadona supermarket chain he owns with his brothers to alleviate the burden of the club’s 138 million euro debt.The move helped Villarreal adapt to life in the second tier and keep key players like Spain internationals Soriano and Gaspar. Coach Marcelino got them promoted immediately and they qualified for the Europa League in their first season back.Their stadium now has a capacity of 24,890, compared with the 51,000 inhabitants of Vila-real, the second smallest town after Monte Carlo to send a team to the Champions League semi-finals, and it will definitely be rocking on Thursday.
Omonia and AEK welcome Beitar Jerusalem and Cliftonville to the island for the second legs of their Europa League second round qualifying ties on Thursday, with tasks of contrasting magnitudes for each side.First up is the Nicosia club, who face the toughest challenge of the two Cypriot representatives as things currently stand. John Carver’s men put in a solid performance in Israel last week but were undone by a quick counter-attack in the second half and must now find a way of overturning that 1-0 deficit.The club is trying to rally the fans to help them reach the next round, with various players sending messages via the official website for support. Club captain Renato Margaça said: “It is very important to have our fans beside us. We want you all to come to the stadium to support us. We believe that, together, we can qualify”.Summer signing Matt Derbyshire, who has scored twice in his first three games for the club also sent a plea to the supporters: “It’s a massive game for everyone involved in the club. We need a 12th man on the field and we will try our best to get to the next stage”.Carver has a healthy squad to choose from, apart from Badibanga who suffered an injury in the second leg of the first round.Omonia are eager to shake off the tag of being the only one out of Cyprus’ so-called ‘big five’ yet to reach the group stages of European competition.AEK’s task is rather more straight-forward. The side from Larnaca looked to be heading for a humiliation in Northern Ireland when they went 2-0 down against Cliftonville, but rallied back to win 2-3.The result means that the tie is well and truly in their hands, and playing in front of their own fans will give them an added boost as they look to seal the tie.Imanol Idiakez is likely to make a few changes for Thursday’s game; Vincent Laban suffered a knock in the first leg and could be rested to avoid any further risks, while key defenders Ilias Charalambous and David Catala may drop to the bench with the third round looming.The manager may also be tempted to rest Ivan Trickovski who has been AEK’s talisman so far in the competition, scoring five goals in three games, with the next game potentially coming up seven days later.Omonia get underway at the GSP Stadium in the capital at 7.30pm while AEK kick-off half an hour later at the Antonis Papadopoulos in Larnaca.
Ireland’s most prolific goal-scorer Robbie Keane announced his retirement on Wednesday after an 18-year career in which he scored 67 goals for his country to put him 15th on the list of all-time international marksmen.The 36-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy striker said in a statement he would retire from international football following Ireland’s friendly against Oman on Aug. 31.“It has been a wonderful journey for me to have played with the Irish team for over 18 years since I made my senior international debut back in 1998,” Keane said.“As a young boy growing up in Dublin playing football on the street I could never have imaged the path my life would take. It has exceeded my wildest expectations.Keane made his international debut in the Czech Republic in 1998 at the age of 18. It took him just over six years to overtake Niall Quinn as his country’s record goalscorer.Keane, who has played for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Coventry City, Inter Milan, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham United and Aston Villa, memorably scored a last-minute equaliser against Germany in the 2002 World Cup finals.With 67 goals from 145 games, Keane is also his country’s most capped player.“He is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s finest every players and I do not see his international goal record being beaten for a very long time, if ever,” Ireland manager Martin O’Neill said.“It will take us some time to get over his absence.”
Gasquet stunned by Britain’s Edmund at U.S. OpenThe year’s final grand slam began with an upset as 13th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet was upended 6-2 6-2 6-3 by Britain’s world number 84 Kyle Edmund at the U.S. Open on Monday.Gasquet, who has reached the last 16 at Flushing Meadows four times in his career, was outplayed throughout and his U.S. Open experience lasted just one hour, 41 minutes.The 21-year-old Edmund, who helped Britain win the Davis Cup last year, crunched 10 aces and 40 winners in all en route to the biggest victory of his career.Edmund will play Lukas Lacko of Slovakia or American wildcard Ernesto Escobedo in the second round.
Last night saw the club’s fundraising dinner and launch at the Gateway Hotel.About 30 sponsors have backed the Saints softball club which will enter four teams in the competition next season- A grade men’s and women’s and B grade men’s and women’s.Among other guests included several SP Hunters players and the assistant coach, Nigel Hukula.Head coach of the Saints, John Josephs said the club is all about increasing opportunities for potential softball players who want to play softball but don’t have a club to play in.”The mission of the Saints softball club in the long run is to develop good Papua New Guineans through softball by building and strengthening such values as respect, trust and honesty,” said Johns.