Staff Writer With a good mix of experienced and younger competitors in the program, the Raritan High School wrestling team is heading in the right direction, new coach Rob Nucci said. The Rockets are 6-3 overall and sit in second place in the Shore Conference’s Class B North division with a 3-1 mark. Among Raritan’s wins is a victory over Shore Regional, and Nucci’s team did well in a loss against powerful Ocean, which sits atop B North, dropping four matches by one point each. The Rockets’ next two matches will be against B North foes, both at home. This afternoon St. John Vianney provides the opposition, and Long Branch will come to visit on Saturday. With a win over Vianney, the Rockets will put themselves in position to challenge for the division win, as Ocean has a number of tough matches remaining on its schedule, including dates with SJV, Jackson (ranked No. 3 in the Shore), and Old Bridge, the state’s eighth-ranked team. However, the Rockets are not looking ahead, concentrating instead on taking it one match at a time. “We’re just trying to be patient as we look to move the program forward,” Nucci said. “Our team is getting better and better, and I think we’re going to upset some good teams before the season is over.” Nucci, the former head coach at Pinelands, joined the Raritan program as an assistant last winter, working under Rich Dunnells, who had returned to the Raritan sidelines after a four-year absence to help the Rockets to a winning record. Dunnells and Nucci flip-flopped positions this time around. Raritan has received strong efforts up and down the lineup, led by 130-pound junior Andy Voutsinas and sophomore Matt Pendle, both 11-3. Senior Frank Carroll (145) is 10-5. Sophomores Mike Sagos (135) Chad Bonnell (103) are also doing well. Sagos is 10-3, while Bonnell is 8-3. Junior heavyweight Alan Jacob is 9-6 with a team-leading seven pins, after earning his stripes with a 3-16 mark last winter. Other members of the team include seniors Tom Johnson (140), 8-3; Henry Ip (112), 6-5; Eric Brown (152), 5-6; and Rob Kinzel (171) and Christian Harden (189), each 4-6; juniors Dominic Mingione (160) and Lee Irwin (189); sophomore Rob Steiner (215), 7-5; and freshman Jason Sagos (119), 4-2. “We don’t have one really great wrestler, but we do have a very solid lineup,” Nucci said. “They give it their best every time.” The coach said he is also encouraged by Hazlet’s growing recreation program, and noted that the rec parents raised funding to begin a program in the middle school. By Warren Rappleyea
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer The Middletown High School South girls basketball team will again be young, but the experience its players gained a year ago should pay dividends this winter. Coach Tom Brennan regularly employed three freshmen last season, and the Eagles started strong before ending up 9-12. “Our team kind of hit the wall in February,” Brennan said. “Going from middle school basketball to high school is a big adjustment. The competition is tougher, we play several times a week, and the season is much longer. But I think that as a team we learned a lot from last season, and we need to treat this year as a marathon, not a sprint.” The Eagles have just two seniors, Brianne Moran and Karra Cancillieri, and Brennan will be counting on them to be team leaders. Moran, who averaged 7.5 points, is the point guard, while Cancillieri is a solid defender who also gives South an inside presence. Sophomores Christina Longo, Shealyn Taggert and Brittany Hoffman will again play key roles. Longo averaged 13 points and 8.5 rebounds, and Taggert averaged 10 points and 10.1 boards. Hoffman, a guard, has a nice shooting touch and is dangerous from three-point range. Another sophomore, forward Courtney Herring, who came off the bench last year, will also see plenty of action. Brennan also welcomed back hard-working guard Michelle Whalen, who missed all of last year with an ACL injury. Whalen, a junior, likes to drive to the basket and is a solid defender. Other key players include junior point guard Lauren Sorrentino; junior forward Elizabeth Brightbill, a strong shooter who moves up from the junior varsity; sophomore guard Jenna McFarland; and freshman Shawna Hagen, a 5-11 forward. “We’re seeing a lot of positive competition in our practices, and there’s a battle going on for starting positions,” Brennan said. “We do have plenty of depth, and on any given night we could have a completely different starting lineup.” Since his team has just two seniors, Brennan believes the addition of former players Beth Britton and Lori McDermott, who serve as freshman coaches, will also help the Eagles’ younger players. Middletown South opens the season at home Dec. 17 against Manalapan. The Eagles will visit Freehold Township on Dec. 21 and return home two days later to host Mater Dei before playing in the Point Pleasant Beach Holiday Classic.
Two moments of magic in the space of two second-half minutes helped Manchester City to a 3-1 victory over Sunderland in the English League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.Manuel Pellegrini’s favourites were trailing to Fabio Borini’s 10th minute strike for Sunderland and a shock looked on the cards until Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri intervened.Jesus Navas completed the turnaround late on.Toure curled in City’s equaliser after 55 minutes before Nasri thumped home the winner to snatch the season’s first silverware for Pellegrini’s title-chasing side.It was City’s first League Cup title since 1976.“We needed to win today, it was very important. And we deserved it the way we played in the second half,” Toure told Sky Sports.“Today we showed we are a great team. I think it was my best goal.”Sunderland spent the opening five minutes entrenched inside their own half as City, who scored 19 goals en route to the final, moved the ball around with ease on the lush turf.But minutes later the ball was in the back of the City net.There seemed no imminent danger as Borini closed down Vincent Kompany but City’s skipper was guilty of over-complication and Borini robbed him of the ball before bursting into the penalty area and thumping a shot with the outside of his right boot past Costel Pantilimon.City dominated possession for the rest of the half without ever carving open a Sunderland rearguard bolstered by former Manchester United stalwarts Wes Brown and John O’Shea.Phil Bardsley, who scored in Sunderland’s semi-final penalty shootout win over United, reacted superbly to deny Sergio Aguero a certain goal but keeper Vito Mannone was not required to make any outstanding saves.Sunderland were always dangerous on the counter-attack and could have doubled their lead when Borini ran through on goal from a suspiciously offside position but Kompany recovered to nick the ball away as the Italian cocked his leg to shoot.A city onslaught was expected at the start of the second half but again, Sunderland continued to impress.Ki Sung-yueng, part of the Swansea City side to lift the trophy last season, let fly from 30 metres, forcing Pantilimon to tip his dipping strike over the crossbar.Then the wheels fell off Sunderland’s bandwagon.One nonchalant swing of Toure’s right leg sent a curling 25 metre shot beyond the fingertips of Mannone after 55 minutes and two minutes later Nasri turned the final on its axis with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area after Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross was half cleared.It was cruel on Sunderland who until then had been worth their lead but a further demonstration of the formidable firepower available to Pellegrini.Sunderland refused to capitulate and once their heads had cleared from the shock of two lightning bolts they began to pose some serious questions of a city defence that still looked vulnerable to crosses.With Sunderland throwing men forward substitute Steven Fletcher hit a shot straight at Pantilimon and they battled gamely until the end to no avail.Substitute Navas made absolutely sure there was no way back for Sunderland with City’s third on the stroke of full time.
FOOTBALL’S world governing body approved the deepest reforms in its 112-year history on Friday in an attempt to put years of scandal and crisis behind it and transform itself into a trusted, modern sporting organisation.FIFA delegates voted by 179 votes to 22 to accept the reforms, which include replacing the Executive Committee with a 36-member FIFA Council, and limiting the president and other senior officials to three terms of four years.A new professional general secretariat, akin to a company’s executive board, will handle the business side of FIFA, leaving the 36-member Council, elected by national member associations and including at least six women, to focus on broad matters of policy and strategy.Both bodies will be overseen by a fully independent Audit and Compliance Committee.Francois Carrard, the independent chairman of the Reform Committee, presented the 62-page document to delegates, saying FIFA had a once-in-a-generation opportunity.“The reforms are necessary to bring a profound culture change to FIFA. There will be more democracy, there will be better governance through a separation of powers in the council, there will be more transparency, and more places for women.“This reform package will provide the foundation for the new president and the new leadership on which to build for the future.“It is not the end of the process, it is the beginning of one which will be developed over the years and is designed to restore the credibility and reputation that FIFA deserves.”Only one delegate spoke against the proposals. Chilean-born Gonzalo Boye, representing Palestine, said the reforms would not bring transparency.“There will be no balance or counter-balance in the new Council,” he said.Drawn up over the last eight months, the reforms are designed to end the scandals that have for decades dogged the organisation supposed to lead the world’s most popular sport.Criminal investigations in the United States and Switzerland since the current crisis began last May have already resulted in the indictment of several dozen soccer officials and other entities for corruption, many of them serving or former presidents of national or continental associations.The outgoing president of more than 17 years, Sepp Blatter, has been banned from the game for six years for ethics violations along with UEFA chief Michel Platini.In addition, FIFA has been forced to investigate a number of controversies surrounding the awarding of its biggest showcase, the World Cup finals, especially the decision to grant the 2018 tournament to Russia and the 2022 finals to Qatar.The proposals also place a greater onus on continental confederations and national associations to police themselves.
The Italian Guiseppe Farina was the first winner of the Formula 1 Championship back in 1950. Since then 31 more drivers have won it with German Michael Schumacher holding the record with 7 wins.Michael Schumacher also holds the record for most race wins (91) and shares first place with Sebastian Vettel for most wins in a season (13)The German also leads the race with most pole positions but Sebastian Vettel holds the record for most pole positions (15) in a season (2011)
CYPRUS star Marcos Baghdatis battled through to the second round at the Chengdu Open in China as he completed a rain-delayed match against Pablo Carreno Busta.Play was suspended on Tuesday evening with the score finely balanced at 5-5 in the third set, but at the resumption, Baghdatis clinched the decisive tie-break for a 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(5) victory in just over three hours.“The whole match yesterday and today was very tough,” Baghdatis was quoted by atpworldtour as saying. “I’m happy with my win. I think I was a bit lucky or maybe better than him in the important points. I made less unforced errors and it paid off today. I’m thrilled to be in the second round.”World No. 36 Baghdatis is back in action for the first time since his defeat to Frenchman Gael Monfils in the US Open fourth round. The Cypriot is chasing his first ATP World Tour title since 2010 and goes on to face Viktor Troicki for a quarter-final berth.
Both teams were neck and neck and by half time the score was 22-21 to the Pepes.Both teams scored seven goals each in the third quarter to leave the Pepes holding a 1 point lead.It went right down to the wire with 8 goals apiece scored in the last quarter from the two teams with the Pepes coming out victors.This is the fourth consecutive win for the Pepes.Today is an off day for all teams.Games resume tomorrow with the Pepes scheduled to take on Northern Ireland at 5pm (7pm PNG time).Photo Credit: Netball Singapore
Up for grabs is a berth in the final qualifying tournament for next year’s World T20 Championships in the West Indies.The PNG Lewas are strong favourites after winning last year’s 50 over regional qualifier in Apia.They’re up against Vanuatu in today’s opening round in Sano and assistant coach Arua Dikana backed them to do well.”The last couple of months we’ve been training well in PNG,” he said.”We are really good at the moment and we have some players who can win matches and cricket is a funny game where we expect anything.”We have prepared for this tournament as favourites so we are looking forward to the first game.”Vanuatu did not take part in the the 50 over qualifying tournament for East Asia Pacific but coach Eddie Mansale believed they could produce an upset.”Everyone knows we’re underdogs here – we rank last in the tournament,” he said.”But we still feel the team had a good year last year. All year as preparation we’re doing skills work a lot and yeah we’re ready.””None of these team here are going to look up to Vanuatu in a way,” said Mansale.”We are well prepared and we’re looking to do a lot of damage in this tournament – we’re going to upset some big names around here.”
The 15th edition of the annual tournament started on Friday and has 54 teams doing battle at Kone Tigers and Kaugere Oval.“We’ve had no hiccups and things are going well. No trouble and people are coming out in numbers to watch every day.“Thank you again to the NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, for continuing to support this. It’s a great way to keep the youths out of trouble during the festive period.”Mote said the total prize money for the tournament will be confirmed by next week.
FC Morobe dominated the first half and took a 2-nil lead at the break thanks to a double from Joshua Gwae.Strikers began their fight back in the 53rd with a goal to Pettyshen Elizah.But the boys from Morobe put the deficit back to two points when Phillip Steven powered one past the keeper.Two goals to left flanker, Kenneth Arah in the space of three minutes put the game right back in the balance, with the score now locked up, and with twenty minutes left on the clock.The winner came in the 85th minute through the boot of Gregory Togubai who flicked it into the nets to give the city boys their first taste of victory in the National Soccer League.The match however was marred by player violence that saw Striker’s Laventine Munou and FC Morobe’s Jason Farrock red carded in additional time“The plan at half-time was just to get back to the basics. I’m happy with the win but there are still a lot of areas that need improvement, said Strikers coach, Margaret Aka.In other results from round four, Madang FC def. Buang FC 6-1 at Laiwaden Oval and Toti City FC def. FC Momase 2-1 at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium.