By tim morrisStaff Writer By tim morris Staff Writer Beyond the team’s obvious talent, what stands out the most about the Brookdale Community College men’s soccer team to new head coach Scott Baker is the Jersey Blues’ commitment to the team. He has discovered that he has a group of athletes who have put the team before themselves, making his transition to a new coach position smoothly. “The skill level is impressive, but what has been great is their determination to learn a new system,” he said. “They are dedicated and committed players.” Beyond the talent and the dedication to cultivate it to a team, the Blues have something else going for them. “Our No. 1 strength is our leadership,” said Baker. “We have a few kids in the captains’ roles that can make a really big difference.” Tri-captains Lou Vaz, Chris Amato and Emanuel Zeon are the players who have stood out as leaders and again made the transition that much more palatable. “They play great, but they are really terrific leaders,” Baker noted. “They lead vocally and by example. They put a lot of time and effort into it.” Brookdale, which has consistently been a contender in the Garden State Athletic Conference and Region XIX, would like to get over that hump this fall and win a championship. Baker has assembled a team that is strong from the frontline to the backline and goal. “We’re pretty balanced,” he said. “We have the ability to score, defend together and win possession of the ball to get into our attack. Our goal is to get the ball to our two players up front.” Vaz, an All-Region XIX in 2001, and fellow sophomore Don Pereira provide Brookdale with as good a scoring tandem as there is. “They are both dangerous scorers,” noted Baker. “What I like is that they are committed to getting back and playing defense as well.” Helio Guimaraes is the trailer for the attack up front and complements Vaz and Pereira. A player who can establish control of the midfield is important for any team that wants to win. In Gregg Cohen, the Blues have such a player. The center-midfielder is a superb all-around player. His physical play helps him win possession of the ball, and with it, he is a crafty play-maker. On one of Cohen’s flanks is Robbie Whyte, whose speed creates gaps in defenses. Gus Aguino and Rich Frye will rotate at the other outside midfield. What Baker likes about Brookdale’s defense is its balance. No one is ever out of position, and that is because of the play of Amato and Brian Eichenberg, the team’s central defenders. They keep everyone in the right place. Brad Fraley and Rodalbert Boyer are both solid defenders lining up on the outside of Amato and Eichenberg. Zeon could turn out to be one of the surprises of the season. This basketball player is bringing his athleticism to the goalie position. Last fall, he played just about every position for Brookdale before settling in at defense. With the need for a goalie, Baker took a look at Zeon and discovered that he is more than an adequate replacement. In fact, Baker thinks that his sophomore could turn the goalie position into one of BCC’s strengths. Manny Zambaro and John Pereira are versatile players who can provide a spark as substitutes. BCC will be a team that relies on its subs. Providing the all-important depth for the team are Diego Buritca, Francisco Chevez, Pete Cuevas, Chris Hoenig, Chris Howard, Ricardo Adrian Lopez, Vincenzo Passalacqua and Alhassan Quaye. “We need everybody to win,” Barker explained. “Everyone is very valuable.” The Jersey Blues are off to a 1-1 start, beating Hartford, Md. 3-2 and losing to Del Tech, 2-1. The next home match is another GSAC tilt, Gloucester, at (3:30 p.m.) Sept. 25.
BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer Sometimes, being a champion is not all about how you good you can be. Sometimes, it’s more about whether you can be good enough when you’re not at your best. The Red Bank Catholic girls soccer team was good enough in the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament (SCT), posting a hardfought 1-0 win over a pesky Holmdel team, before coming out firing on all cylinders in the final against Jackson, and cruising to a 3-1 win and their second consecutive SCT title. For the undefeated and top-ranked Caseys, this was a well-earned championship, though it was also a revealing one. Holmdel likely did the Caseys a favor by playing them so tough for the third time this year. After scoring a pair of onegoal wins (3-2 and 2-1) over Holmdel during the regular season, RBC had to know that despite being seeded 13th in the SCT, the Hornets were not going to go quietly in their semifinal match-up on Oct. 28. However, whether they expected it or not, the Caseys were not matching Holmdel’s level of play early on. The Hornets (11-6-1) had the better of the play in the first half, but were unable to capitalize with a lead. They came close in the ninth minute, but an Angela Pento shot on a direct kick from about 30 yards out went wide left. The teams entered the break deadlocked at 0-0, before RBC began to assert itself in the second half. The Caseys finally broke the tie in the second half. Devin Griffin notched the game winner in the 45th minute, off an assist from Christina Stern. After Stern dropped a soft pass into the heart of the 18-yard box, Griffin beat her defender to the spot, corralled the ball, and blasted a shot inside the right post for her fifth (and biggest) goal of the season. Following the win over Holmdel, the Caseys set their sights on a second straight title, knowing full well that they would need to come out firing against a third-seeded Jackson team that featured one of the most explosive players in the state in Dana Costello. They also knew that they would need to play without starting right back Elle Mahon, who suffered torn knee cartilage in the win over Holmdel. On Saturday night, RBC left little doubt that they had learned from their slow start against Holmdel and were up for the challenge of facing Jackson. The Caseys got three first-half goals en route to a 3-1 win over the Jaguars, cruising to the title in what head coach Ken Santos called “the best 80 minutes we’ve put together.” Following the Holmdel game, Santos spent the next couple of days reminding his team that if they put together a full game against Jackson, they would be celebrating come Saturday night. And the Caseys responded, jumping out to a 1-0 lead at 7:13 when Noelle Arcomano floated the ball into the corner of the net from the right side. Jackson goalie Sydney Lavan seemed to have a beat on the shot, but once the wind got a hold of the ball, sailed just under the crossbar. Danielle Colaprico then notched the game-winner in the 27th minute, off a nice setup from Griffin and Annie Gray. Jackson, meanwhile, had a goal disallowed due to an offside call earlier in the half, struggled to get anything going, getting outshot 13-1 in the first half. With sophomore Bri Reed stepping in to shadow Costello, RBC held the prolific scorer in check. Jackson did manage to get within one, scoring in the 34th minute, but RBC then padded the lead just three minutes later, when Kelly Dolan scored on a rebound of a Colaprico shot. As it turned out, the Caseys didn’t need that goal, as they held the Jaguars in check the rest of the way to secure the title. RBC will now prepare for the NJSIAA Non-Public South A tournament, which is scheduled to begin on this week. Among the other local teams that will be in action this week in the state tournament are the Ocean, Red Bank and Rumson-Fair Haven girls soccer team. Ocean (12-3-2), the Class B North champions, and Red Bank (9-6-1) both qualified for the Central Jersey Group III tournament, while RFH (12-5-0) the Class B Central public school champs, will vie for the CJ Group II title. On the boy’s side of play, Shore Regional (12-5-2) will be chasing a CJ Group II title, along with their Class B Central rivals from RFH (10-6-1). Monmouth Regional (10- 8) also qualified for the state tournament, and will open play in the CJ Group III tournament this week.
By Nemanja BjedovOMONIA celebrated a convincing 4-0 victory over promoted side AEK Kouklion in Paphos on Sunday afternoon in Round 9 of the national football championship to record their fifth straight win, without conceding a goal, as the Nicosia giants climbed to third place in the standings.“It was a good game with many chances. We scored four goals and had many more opportunities to increase our tally. We played well, and got what we came here for,” said Omonia coach Toni Savevski.Lukasz Gikiewicz broke the deadlock only seven minutes into the game and Nuno Assis made it 2-0 six minutes later. Joao Paulo Andrade scored the third in the 38th minute, while Anthony Scaramozzino set up the final score 17 minutes from time.“I would like to congratulate my players on the win and their team performance. It is clear that we can win games now, but we need to be humble and down to earth,” Savevski concluded.In-form Ermis Aradippou meanwhile were held to a goalless draw against AEK Larnaca at the GSZ Stadium, while Ivaylo Petev’s AEL beat Anorthosis 3-1 at the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol.“This was a big derby. We took the lead and that gave us confidence as we were in control for most of the game and I believe that we deserved this victory,” said Petev.Luciano Bebe opened proceedings in the 10th minute, but Gonzalo Garcia leveled the score from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute. Eight minutes after the interval Savo Pavicevic netted an own goal to restore AEL’s lead before Orlando Sa set up the final score 15 minutes later.“I am very pleased with how my players played. They were determined which is very important. We work to improve ourselves and this coming break in the championship will be good for us,” Petev added.Elsewhere in Round 9, Doxa Katokopia celebrated a 3-0 victory away from home against Ethnikos Achnas, while Nea Salamina needed a last minute penalty to overcome Aris Limassol 2-1.In the final two matches of the round on Monday evening (7pm), APOEL host rock bottom Alki, while league leaders Apollon visit Enosis Neon Paralimni.
By Martyn HermanRoger Federer annihilated Andy Murray 6-0 6-1 to seal top spot in Group B at the ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday night and send the shell-shocked home favourite crashing out of the tournament.Murray managed only eight points in the first set as his hopes of reaching the semi-finals disappeared.Federer led 6-0 5-0 and 30-0 on Murray’s serve and missed a simple volley that would have given him three match points for a so-called ‘double bagel’.Murray battled back and finally won a game to huge cheers from the sell-out O2 crowd, although his respite was a brief one as Federer wrapped up a 55-minute win.Kei Nishikori’s earlier three-set win over alternate David Ferrer ensured Federer had reached the semi-finals even before taking to court against Murray, while the Briton knew only a straight sets win would be enough for him.Federer ended any confusion in emphatic style, handing out a fearful first-set beating to the man who he lost to in the Olympic singles final at Wimbledon in 2012.Cracking winners at will against a demoralised Murray, the 33-year-old Swiss maestro silenced the Murray fans in the crowd with a formidable onslaught.It was Murray’s worst defeat since losing to Novak Djokovic 6-1 6-0 in 2007.
By Julien PretotParis St Germain sustained their hopes of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals when Edinson Cavani’s powerful second-half header salvaged a 1-1 home draw against Chelsea in their last-16 first leg on Tuesday.Cavani struck early in the second half to cancel out Branislav Ivanovic’s first-half header, which was scored against the run of play after the French champions had dominated from the start at the Parc des Princes.Chelsea, who won last year’s quarter-final with PSG on away goals, scored with their only chance while the hosts had several opportunities to take a lead into the second leg through Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic but failed to take them.The return will be played at Stamford Bridge on March 11.PSG manager Laurent Blanc, having to deal with a barrage of injuries, fielded David Luiz in an unusual holding midfield position while Marquinhos paired up with fellow Brazilian Thiago Silva in central defence.PSG were without defensive midfielders Yohan Cabaye and Thiago Motta, full back Serge Aurier and forward Lucas, who were all injured.Gregory van der Wiel started at right back with the task of containing Chelsea’s Belgium forward Eden Hazard, which he did rather well.Chelsea, who were only missing John Obi Mikel, looked content to sit back and wait, hoping to hit the hosts on the break.PSG dominated possession and came close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute when Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois tipped away Blaise Matuidi’s header from Cavani’s cross.Uruguay striker Cavani’s header at the near post from Ezequiel Lavezzi’s corner was also superbly saved by the diving Courtois in the 34th.But it was Chelsea who took the lead two minutes later with their first attempt on goal involving three defenders as Ivanovic emphatically headed the ball home after Gary Cahill cleverly flicked on a John Terry cross.PSG went on the attack after the break and were rewarded when the unmarked Cavani equalised after 54 minutes with a firm downward header from Matuidi’s cross on the right.Ibrahimovic then slalomed through the defence before his low shot was saved by Courtois and the rebound fell to the feet of Lavezzi, whose attempt was blocked by Terry.Cavani then had another header tipped over the bar by Courtois and after a dazzling run into the area saw his low poked shot roll just wide 10 minutes from time.Blanc brought on Lavezzi for Javier Pastore before Ibrahimovic almost found the winner with a header that was brilliantly saved by Courtois in added time.
England’s Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy secured a 2-1 friendly win over fellow Euro 2016 finalists Turkey on Sunday as the hosts warmed up for the tournament with a performance that highlighted their potency in attack and defensive limitations.Kane put England ahead after two minutes when he pounced on a neat pass from Tottenham Hotspur club mate Dele Alli to record his 32nd goal of a prolific season. Although Kane missed a late penalty, Vardy was on hand to score the winner in the 83rd.Ten minutes after Kane’s opener Turkey had equalised through Hakan Calhanoglu after Vakan Sen got behind full back Danny Rose and, as goalkeeper Joe Hart came hurtling out, crossed for the visitors to net their first goal against England in 11 meetings.With England struggling to capitalise on their positive start at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, Hodgson switched his formation in the second half by partnering Leicester City’s Vardy, who had begun wide on the left, with Kane up front.The switch worked and Vardy soon won a penalty when he drew a foul from defender Mehmet Topal but Kane spurned the chance by by firing his spot kick against the outside edge of the post.Vardy continued to relish his new position, though, and grabbed the winner — his third goal in three games for England — from close range after a header from Gary Cahill had been parried by substitute Ismail Koybasi on the Turkish line.
Men’s top seed Novak Djokovic and women’s number two Angelique Kerber look to book berths in the last four of the U.S. Open as the quarter-finals of the year’s last grand slam get underway on Tuesday.Kerber, who nearly ended Serena Williams’ long run as world number one last month in Cincinnati, tries to stay on track for a possible winner-take-all match with the American in the final when she goes against Roberta Vinci.The German, who won the 2016 Australian Open and was runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon, has yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows.The seventh-seeded Vinci could be a difficult hurdle for Kerber. The Italian, last year’s U.S. Open runner-up , has split four career matches with Kerber and won two of three on hard courts.The other women’s quarter is a battle of none seeds with former world number one Caroline Wozniacki playing Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who upset French Open winner Garbine Muguruza and Britain’s 13th-seeded Johanna Konta along the way.Men’s world number one Djokovic, who has hardly been tested after receiving a second-round walkover and benefited from a first-set retirement in the third round, faces French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his quarter-final.The Serb leads their head-to-head 15-6 and has won 11 of his last 12 matches against Tsonga dating back to 2012. Tsonga’s wins include a five-set quarter-final victory over Djokovic at the 2010 Australian Open.The other men’s quarter on Tuesday is an all-French affair with 10th-seeded veteran Gael Monfils taking on 22-year-old Lucas Pouille, who shocked 14-time grand slam singles winner Rafa Nadal in five sets in the fourth round. U.S. Open order of play on Tuesday:Order of play on the main showcourts at the U.S. Open on Tuesday (prefix numbers denote seeding):Arthur Ashe Stadium (1600 GMT/12 PM ET) 7-Roberta Vinci (Italy) v 2-Angelique Kerber (Germany) 24-Lucas Pouille (France) v 10-Gael Monfils (France)(2300 GMT/7 PM ET) Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) v Anastasija Sevastova (Latvia) 1-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) v 9-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France)
Gareth Bale’s run of injury misery continued on Tuesday as Real Madrid said their record signing had picked up a calf injury that rules him out for up to four league games and their Champions League semi-final tie with Atletico Madrid.Bale was forced off injured in the 35th minute of Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to arch-rivals Barcelona that blew the La Liga title race wide open and took the champions ahead of Madrid in the standings due to their superior head-to-head record.Real released a statement on Tuesday saying Bale had a grade two muscle tear in his left calf, without specifying how long the Welsh international would spend on the sidelines.Radio station Cadena Cope said he would be out for three weeks, therefore missing league fixtures against Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Granada and Sevilla in addition to both games against Atletico.Bale has won two Champions Leagues with Real since his then world record move from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013, but his fourth season in Spain has been blighted by injuries.He was forced to spend over two months out after rupturing ligaments in his right ankle in November and was forced off during his side’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Bayern Munich with an injury to his right calf.Coach Zinedine Zidane was heavily criticised in the Spanish media for fielding Bale against Barcelona 11 days after sustaining the injury, although on Tuesday the Frenchman defended his decision.“He trained normally three times before the game without any problems and things like this can’t be prevented,” Zidane told a news conference.“It’s an injury but overall it’s a small thing and we hope he’ll be back with us soon.”Real visit Deportivo on Wednesday aiming to stay level on points with Barcelona and sustain their push for a first league title since 2012. But they will also be without Sergio Ramos due to suspension after the captain was sent off against Barca for a two-footed lunge on Lionel Messi.The 32-times Liga champions have been boosted, however, by the return of France defender Raphael Varane from a hamstring problem.
Hayne fans might call his return to the 49ers’ 53-man squad a Christmas miracle, while others upset at the injury-ravaged team’s treatment of the former NRL star the past two months probably would call it karma.The 49ers announced on Sunday they have promoted Hayne and inserted him back in their 53-man active roster, making him eligible to play the Detroit Lions on Sunday (Monday 5am AEDT).The resurrection of Hayne’s NFL career comes after the 49ers axed him on Halloween and two days later signed him to their practice squad.It also comes 10 days after special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey bluntly told reporters the Australian “needs to learn how to play football” and “it just didn’t work out”.With two games left in the 49ers’ losing season, Hayne has an opportunity to not only show the 49ers he is worthy of a 53-man squad slot, but also the Lions and 30 other NFL teams that could have signed him during his practice squad stint.A year ago, Detroit was the frontrunner to sign the former Parramatta Eel until the 49ers sweetened their offer with a $US100,000 ($A137,457) guaranteed payment.Hayne’s return to the 49ers’ 53-man squad does not ensure he will play the Lions.The 49ers can only take 46 players into each game so Hayne will have to survive that cut which is announced 45 minutes before kick-off.Hayne’s chances of being plucked from the practice squad and playing against the Lions skyrocketed when the 49ers’ top running back in recent weeks, Shaun Draughn, was ruled out on Friday with a sprained knee.That left just two fit running backs in the 49ers’ 53-man squad — the man whose arrival first forced Hayne to be waived, Kendall Gaskins, and DuJuan Harris.Since Hayne’s axing, the 49ers lost running backs Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush and Mike Davis to injury and earlier this week cut underperforming free agent signing Travaris Cadet.The 49ers usually take three running backs into each game, but if they do not play Hayne, coach Jim Tomsula said the team could lean on receiver/returner Bruce Ellington and full-back Bruce Miler to step in to play the position.After McGaughey’s comments it will be interesting to see if the 49ers play Hayne at punt returner as well as running back.Hayne, a preseason sensation for the 49ers despite never playing an elite game of American football, was cut from the active roster after three dropped punts in the first six regular season games.
File picture This is because of the plan that from the top four teams that are currently set to play for the National League, the third and fourth place will not be rewarded.As part of the restructuring the transferring windows will be reopened to players between teams before playoffs for the top four which raised another issue between clubs.Teams are concerned this could be in breach of FIFA regulations.The rules of the National Soccer League must be in line with FIFA, and Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) need to sanction that- not the competition guys, says Hekari United’s Chairman John Kapi Natto.