BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Christian Brothers Academy didn’t run its full squad at Saturday’s Shore Coaches Invitational. The nationally ranked Colts didn’t have to as they marched to another championship in the Varsity A race at Holmdel Park. Meanwhile, Holmdel High School’s and Mater Dei High School’s boys were claiming the championships in their respective divisions. Dan Bailey paced the Colts to their Varsity A victory, finishing second to West Orange High School’s Curtis Richburg (16:05-16:08). CBA’s 86 points easily topped Toms River High School North (149). Mark Lee was 12th (16:37) and Rich Bohny, 17th (16:48) for the Colts, who recently extended their national cross country dual meet win streak to 300 straight. William Villa (16:54) and Colin Johnson (17:00) were 24th and 31st for the Colts. Rounding out the scoring for the Colts were William Villa (16:54) and Colon Johnson (17:00), who were 24th and 31st. CBA, ranked 10th in the nation by the most current issue of the Harrier, is gearing up for its showdown with Randolph High School at Saturday’s Manhattan Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y. Randolph, which is ranked seventh in the country by the Harrier, and CBA are the top two teams in the state and will be vying for the Meet of Champions title next month. The Manhattan Invitational will be the last time the teams will see each other in the same meet before then. Randolph topped CBA at the Bowdoin Invitational last month. CBA has worked magic before on the famed 2.5-mile VCP course, and the Colts would like to do it again Saturday. The Mater Dei Seraphs won the Varsity F race with 122 points. Daniel Polanco finished seventh (18:21), giving the Seraphs that all-important single-digit scorer. They forged the victory, however, with their second through fifth runners, finishing within 21 seconds on each other in 27th through 34th place. Jonathan Urena was 27th (18:22) followed by Joe Stribo in 30th (18:31). Paul Julis (18:35) and Joe Moore (18:43) were 33rd and 34th for the victors. Eagles win Maroon Invitational Middletown High School South girls, who are undefeated in dual meets this fall, went up to Garret Mountain in West Paterson for the Maroon Invitational on Friday. The Eagles stacked six runners in the top 16 to win the competition with 54 points. Grace Watters provided the single-digit scorer, taking fourth in 20:50. Lauren Marron (21:42) and Leah Wernsing (21:43) were 12th and 13th overall but 10th and 11th in the team scoring. Natasha Saatchie (22:02), Katie Brooks (22:06) and Taylor Landis (22:10) finished in order in 14th, 15th and 16th places in the team competition.
BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Women’s action takes place on the stadium court at the Belmar Open June 22-24. The tournament is part of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series and featured elite beach volleyball players. Belmar treated the players to energetic fans who filled the stadium and side courts. For East Coast volleyball players like Shane Donohue, the Belmar Open is their Super Bowl.“This [Belmar] is it for us,” said Donohue, a Freehold Township High School and Ramapo College graduate. “Manhattan Beach [California] may be the biggest event, but this is it for me. I love Belmar.”The Belmar Open is part of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series. The event was held June 22-24 on the Fifth Avenue beach in Belmar and it gave Donohue and his teammate, Kris Fraser, a home-court edge. Both players live in Belmar.“I get to sleep at home, walk to the tournament and have my family and friends watching me,” Donohue said. “There’s nothing like having the home field.” Dan Sempkowski of East Brunswick makes a diving effort to keep the ball in play during the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series Belmar Open on June 22. The tournament showcased the best men and women beach volleyball players and offered a $100,000 purse. Sempkowski and his partner Adam Niemczynowicz finished in 25th place. PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff Over the years, Belmar has been a popular stop on the professional volleyball circuit and it is because of the fans, according to Donohue .“ For the fans of New Jersey, it’s the only tournament you can come to,” he said. “Everyone has a good time and they bring a lot of energy.”Donohue and Fraser, who is from Lakewood and also played volleyball at Ramapo, were seeded No. 20 in the 41-team field and finished in a tie for 17th place. Donohue said he and Fraser were hoping for a top-10 finish in Belmar. They achieved their first goal of winning their first match, which helped them finish in the upper half of the standings. They earned 100 points on the tour.Also finishing in a tie for 17th place was the team of Tim Kohler (another Ramapo graduate, who is from East Brunswick) and Todd Strassberger. They were seeded No. 22. One New Jersey native was able to win the “home tournament,” and that was Toms River’s Ryan Doherty. Doherty, who stands 7-1, played professional baseball as a pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization before turning to the beach. He teamed up with Casey Patterson (Huntington Beach, Calif.) to defeat the team of Adrian Carambula (Miami Beach, Fla.) and Steven Grotowski (Boynton Beach, Calif.), 21-14, 23-21. It was the first tournament win for the Doherty- Patterson team. They were seeded No. 13.“To play in front of my home crowd and friends and family meant everything to me,” Doherty said following his win. “None of them have seen me play at the pro level, and to win my first event in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series and to win it at home, it shows us that we can do a lot. I am excited for what we have done, we still have a lot to improve on and I am ready to get back to work.”On the women’s side, Jenny Kropp (Holly Glen, Calif.) and Whitney Pavlik (Laguna Beach, Calif.), the top seeds, made it two straight series wins by defeating the team of Raquel Ferreira (Brazil) and Kristen Batt (Venice, Fla.) in a three-set thriller, rallying from a set down to win, 20-22, 21-12, 15- 9. “We are grateful to play in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series. They have provided us a tour with great atmosphere, huge turnouts and stability for our sport,” Kropp said.Kropp praised the energy the fans provided and the packed stadium that greeted the players for the final.The men and women were competing for $100,000 in prize money (each winning team earned $10,000).The Belmar Open will be televised on July 1 on the NBC Sports Network.The next stop on the Jose Cuervo tour will be Chicago for the Chicago Open, July 13-15. The series has seven events this year, and Belmar was the second stop. The opening event was the Florida Open in Fort Lauderdale over the Memorial Day weekend.
Navesink River Rowing (NRR) proudly held its own during the USRowing Youth National Championships that were held June in Sarasota, Florida.It was at this prestigious event where six of the group’s scholastic scullers battled against the best talent in the country.Senior Erik Bovino of Brielle and junior Tommy Johnston of Fair Haven earned first place in their final heat of the Men’s Youth Double Sculls event June 14. The pair placed 13th overall for the top finish NRR has ever posted. Junior Max Kelly of Red Bank and senior Neil Hughes of Oceanport also competed in Florida.Senior Emma Miller of Rumson and junior Emily Unsinn of Fair Haven placed as high as fourth in their two championship heats.The three boats qualified for the national event by medaling in the USRowing Mid-Atlantic Youth Championships, which was held in West Windsor. It was the best showing in the history of NRR’s Competitive Youth Crew program. The rowers were rightfully proud to see their hard work pay off.“The season had ended, so it was just the six of us training. It was a different environment. We were all really motivated and focused on the same goal,” said Miller, a Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduate. “We worked so hard. It feels great.”Bovino’s boat qualified for nationals last year. But they chose not to attend, unsure whether they could be competitive against more seasoned rowers. This year was a different story. The U.S. championships were on the agenda since last winter.“We thought, ‘Yeah, we’re going to nationals this year,’ ” Bovino said.Head coach Ian Bamberger was impressed with the way his rowers performed during the mid-Atlantic event. NRR brought home gold, silver and bronze medals.“NRR youth rowers have had an amazing [season],” Bamberger said. “Qualifying three doubles for nationals is an amazing feat.”Bovino and Johnston locked up a gold medal by outpacing their nearest competitor by 11 seconds in the final heat. Kelly and Hughes emerged as the bronze medal winners in a close fight for third place. Miller and Unsinn placed second in their division.Miller said Bamberger had mentioned in passing that she should partner with Unsinn and train for nationals this year.“The Northeast is such a competitive area for rowing. We didn’t know how feasible it was to go to nationals, but we were doing well in head-to-heads,” Miller said.Of course, it all worked out in the end.Now Miller is preparing for Dartmouth College, where she will continue her rowing career. Dartmouth’s program installed a new head coach, Linda Muri, last season. As one of the first rowers recruited by Muri, Miller is happy to join the program.“[Muri] is stepping up the program. I feel like I’m part of a team that’s being built,” Miller added.Bovino, who will attend Williams College in Massachusetts this fall, believes he is ready for NCAA events. The Ranney School graduate has participated in high school performance camps and continues individual training.“Nationals were a valuable experience for college. You have to be really perfect on the course,” Bovino said. By MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent
APOEL were stunned by a last-minute Bordeaux winner on Thursday night as they went down to a 2-1 Europa League defeat in France.The home side broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when Ludovic Sane rose at the far post to glance in Gregory Sertic’s corner from the right.Although Bordeaux had the initiative APOEL managed to score an equaliser in the last minute of the first half against the run of play, their first goal of the group stage.Efstathios Aloneftis ran down the left flank and delivered a great ball for Esmael Goncalves to turn in at the far post.Brazilian defender Henrique set up the final score when he headed home Diego Rolan’s free kick right at the death.APOEL now find themselves bottom of Group F with only one point from three matches.Elsewhere in the Europa League, goals from Jan Vertonghen and Jermain Defoe left Tottenham Hotspur on the cusp of reaching the competition’s knockout stages while twice UEFA Cup winners Sevilla needed a late goal to take a point at Slovan Liberec on Thursday.Defoe, with his sixth Europa League goal in four games, equalled Martin Chivers’ club European record of 22 for Spurs with the second goal in a 2-0 win in Moldova over Sheriff Tiraspol that gave the Premier League side three wins from three.Spurs could have qualified for the last 32 with three group games still to play but needed Anzhi Makhachkala and Tromso to draw in the other Group K game. Anzhi won 1-0, though, to leave Spurs waiting a bit longer.Vertonghen headed home Christian Eriksen’s 12th-minute cross and Defoe struck from 25 metres with 15 minutes remaining.Substitute Victor Machin equalised two minutes from time as Sevilla salvaged a 1-1 draw against Slovan Liberec in the Czech Republic to stay top of Group H with seven points.The hosts led through Michael Rabusic’s first-half goal but had goalkeeper Premysl Kovar dismissed on 78 minutes and Machin rounded his replacement Lukas Hrosso to level late on.Lazio relinquished top spot in Group J to Trabzonspor after the Italian side could only draw 0-0 away at Apollon Limassol. Trabzonspor, who eased to a 2-0 win at home over Legia Warsaw, have seven points to Lazio’s five.A second-half goal from Clement Grenier handed Olympique Lyon their first Group I win after two draws, the French side edging Rijeka 1-0 to move on to five points, along with Real Betis who beat Vitoria Guimares by the same scoreline.An extraordinary match in Salonika saw hosts PAOK concede twice in the first 21 minutes, miss two penalties with Miroslav Stoch wasting both and still run out 3-2 winners to take control of Group L.Haifa were 2-0 up through Dino Ndlovu and Eyal Golasa before Miguel Vitor pulled one back.Stoch had his first spot-kick saved by Bojan Saranov before atoning by setting up Sotiris Ninis to level.Slovakian international Stoch then had another penalty saved by Saranov just before halftime but his blushes were spared when Dimitros Salpingidis volleyed in the winner at the near post on 66 minutes.
By Mike CollettAdam Lallana almost certainly secured a place in the England squad for the World Cup but a generally sluggish performance in a narrow 1-0 friendly win over Denmark raised more questions than answers for coach Roy Hodgson.Lallana’s arrival after 58 minutes – along with the halftime introduction of his teenage Southampton team mate Luke Shaw, who made his debut when he replaced Ashley Cole – helped liven up England after a pedestrian first half on Wednesday.Lallana provided one exquisite piece of skill with a smart “Cruyff turn” and also sent over the perfect cross for Daniel Sturridge to head home the only goal after 82 minutes.England deserved the victory as they dominated most of the game against mediocre opponents who failed to qualify for Brazil, but who still, on occasion, threatened England and could have made it a vastly more embarrassing night for the home side.Despite his praise for the younger players in his side, this strangely unsatisfactory performance left the coach with more questions than answers with just over two months to go before he names his provisional 30-man squad for the finals.Even more importantly, he has to decide who makes his final 23-man selection and this performance has left him with plenty to ponder.“It means headaches for me but it’s good news. I’m happy with their desire to get on that plane,” Hodgson said after the game.“Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, even Jack Wilshere… all of those came out of the game with credit.”Hodgson will name an initial 30-man squad on May 13 before the final home friendly against Peru on May 30.Three days later, he must submit his 23-man squad for the finals before the last two friendlies in Miami against Honduras on June 4 and Ecuador on June 7.Hodgson though does not mind having questions to answer.“If I was to say one thing I was most pleased with it would be the fact we put a lot of youngish players who haven’t played a lot for England on the pitch, and they did a good job and improved their chances,” he said.“You couldn’t get me to say anything negative about any of the young players on today. At one stage we only hadGary Cahill, Joe Hart, Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard who would consider themselves senior players.“Over half of the players we have in this squad are under 23. We are looking in that direction, but I don’t feel under obligation to pick any of the younger players.“They are doing well at the moment. Hopefully you will be impressed with their performances, and I’ll have to make a decision going forward.”But other questions remain too. Is Wayne Rooney best deployed as the main target man? Is Sturridge really in his best position playing wide on the left? Is centre-back Chris Smalling really international class?And who should be the first choice left-back? Cole, who won his 107th cap, Shaw, who has played just 45 minutes for England, or the reliable Leighton Baines, who remained on the bench on Wednesday?Making just his third international appearance, Lallana was the man who made the difference and said afterwards: “I just gave it my best and that’s all you can do, as everyone else is.”Sturridge, who scored his third international goal and has netted 23 times in 28 appearances for Liverpool and England this season, added: “It was a very good result. We know we’ve got good players and if we stay patient then we’re going to create chances.”“Adam played amazing. He came on and created a couple of chances. I played against him at the weekend and he caused Liverpool some problems.”The 24-year-old striker had a positive take on the 18-year-old Shaw, too.“I can’t really call him a young player because I’m also young. Players that are coming into the squad along with myself and going out there and complementing the team and work as a team. The key word is team.”
By Karolos GrohmannGermany midfielder Mesut Ozil has been ruled out for up to three months after he was diagnosed with a partial tear of a knee ligament, the German football association said on Wednesday.Ozil will miss the World Cup winners’ upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Poland and Ireland as well as matches against Gibraltar and Spain later this year.“The 25-year-old complained about pain in his left knee when he arrived in Frankfurt (to join the Germany team) on Tuesday,” the DFB said in a statement.“The scan today… revealed a partial tear of his exterior ligament in his left knee. He will be out an expected 10-12 weeks.”Ozil, who played the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s 2-0 Premier League defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, is the latest big name absence from coach Joachim Loew’s squad along with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira, Mario Gomez and Marco Reus.Chelsea’s Andre Schuerrle also missed team training for the second day in a row, undergoing an individual session but officials were hopeful he could be fit in time for Saturday.“It is going to be a tough October,” Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff told reporters. “It is a special situation as world champion. Expectations are high and the opponents’ motivation to beat Germany is even greater now.“We want two wins to have a successful October,” he said.There was some good news for the Germans with attacking midfielder Julian Draxler expected to join up with the team after overcoming flu.The Germans, who won their opening Group D game against Scotland last month, face Poland in Warsaw on Saturday and host Ireland in Gelsenkirchen next week.
By Julien PretotAlberto Contador, gunning for his seventh major tour title at the Giro d’Italia, embarks on Saturday on a three-week journey that could either cement his reputation as one of the best grand tour riders or signal his downfall.The Spaniard, who has not won either the Giro or the Tour de France since 2009, is looking this season to achieve the first Giro-Tour double since the late Marco Pantani of Italy in 1998.Success would give him his second Giro triumph after 2008 and boost his confidence ahead of the July 4-26 Tour de France.Yet defeat against opposition that does not feature his biggest Tour rivals would cast doubt over his ability to win the biggest race in the world for the third time.With 12 mountain stages, six uphill finishes and an unusually long individual time trial, this year’s Giro is expected to be one of the toughest in recent history.Only Eddy Merckx (11), Bernard Hinault (10), Jacques Anquetil (8), Fausto Coppi and Miguel Indurain (7) have won more grand tours than Contador.The Spaniard, who said he would retire at the end of 2016 when his contract with Tinkoff-Saxo ends, admitted he is taking a big gamble.“At the end of my career, I want to be remembered as someone who did something truly special, who made history,” he said in January.“At this point, the possibility for me to win the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in the same year is not only difficult, it’s risky.”With Tour contenders Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Thibaut Pinot only focusing on the July extravaganza, Contador’s main rival for the Giroshould be Australian Richie Porte.Team Sky rider Porte has been in great form this season, winning the Paris-Nice and Tour of Catalunya one-week races.Colombian Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step), runner-up in the last two editions, should be in the mix for the podium along with Italy’s Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale) and his compatriot Fabio Aru.Astana rider Aru’s build-up to the race, though, has been disturbed by illness.Another rider to watch will be Russian Ilnur Zakarin, who has been in ominous form lately. The 25-year-old Katusha rider, who served a two-year doping ban in 2009, won the week-long Tour de Romandie race last week.The Giro finishes on May 31.
By Larry FineFrench Open champion Stan Wawrinka outslugged gutsy South Korean teenager Chung Hyeon 7-6(2) 7-6(4) 7-6(6) to reach the third round of the U.S. Open tennis championships on Thursday.Wawrinka belted 26 aces and hammered in 62 winners on another sweltering hot day at Flushing Meadows but the 19-year-old Chung held his own against the Swiss fifth seed, ripping 28 winners and winning 21 of 33 forays to the net.Wawrinka, in his all or nothing, aggressive style, also registered 66 unforced errors against the bespectacled Korean, a 2013 Wimbledon junior finalist who is now ranked 69th.“It was a really tough match, more than three hours,” said Wawrinka. “I was playing good tennis. He’s a great fighter and not easy to play.”The 30-year-old Wawrinka, who also has the 2014 Australian Open crown to his credit, next faces Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium, who advanced when American Jack Sock retired due to cramping while leading 6-4 6-4 3-6 1-2.In the women’s draw, Britain’s Johanna Konta pulled off a huge upset when she beat Spanish ninth seed and Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (7/4) 6-7 (4/7) 6-2 in the second round.Results from the U.S. Open Men’s Singles Round 2 matches on Thursday:22-Viktor Troicki (Serbia) beat Rajeev Ram (U.S.) 7-6(10) 6-4 3-6 6-3Ruben Bemelmans (Belgium) beat 28-Jack Sock (U.S.) 4-6 4-6 6-3 2-1 (Sock retired)5-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) beat Chung Hyeon (South Korea) 7-6(2) 7-6(4) 7-6(6)30-Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil) beat Yoshihito Nishioka (Japan) 6-0 6-3 6-4Results from the U.S. Open Women’s Singles Round 2 matches on Thursday:Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic) beat Wang Qiang (China) 6-2 4-6 7-5Mona Barthel (Germany) beat Olga Govortsova (Belarus) 2-6 6-2 6-42-Simona Halep (Romania) beat Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukraine) 6-3 6-411-Angelique Kerber (Germany) beat Karin Knapp (Italy) 7-5 6-2Johanna Konta (Britain) beat 9-Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Spain) 7-6(4) 6-7(4) 6-216-Sara Errani (Italy) beat Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) 0-6 6-4 6-320-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) beat Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium) 7-5 6-4Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.) beat Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine) 7-6(7) 6-218-Andrea Petkovic (Germany) beat Elena Vesnina (Russia) 6-3 7-6(4)22-Samantha Stosur (Australia) beat Evgeniya Rodina (Russia) 6-1 6-1
Middlesbrough are back in the Premier League after a 1-1 draw with 10-man Brighton & Hove Albion in their lucrative, winner-takes-all promotion clash on Saturday while Burnley sealed the Championship title with a 3-0 victory at Charlton Athletic.Middlesbrough needed just one point and Brighton three in the last game of the season to secure automatic promotion to the top flight in a game estimated to be worth £170m to the side that came out on top.The home side prevailed at an ecstatic Riverside Stadium despite Christhian Stuani’s 19th-minute goal being answered by Dale Stephens’ second-half header for the Seagulls.Yet Stephens went from hero to villain within three minutes, being then shown a straight red card for a late studs-up challenge which left Gaston Ramirez having to be taken off on a stretcher with what looked a serious leg injury.The draw left both sides on 89 points but Aitor Karanka’s Boro will be back in the Premier League for the first time in seven years thanks to a superior goal difference by a mere two goals.Brighton will now have to take their chances in the playoffs with Hull City, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday.Meanwhile, already-promoted Burnley wrapped up the Championship title with 93 points, four clear of their pursuers, thanks to a handsome win at Charlton secured through goals from Sam Vokes, George Boyd and Andre Gray.
World number one Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of Kei Nishikori with a 6-3 7-5 victory in the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Sunday.After clinching his 30th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, Djokovic immediately started to turn his attention to something more elusive, an Olympic gold medal.In his first tournament since an upset third round loss to American Sam Querrey on the grass of Wimbledon four weeks ago, Djokovic returned to his winning ways and became the first four-time winner of the Rogers Cup.The 29-year-old Serb seized the opening set in just over 30 minutes, and then dug deep during a spirited back and forth in the final stages of the hardcourt match.Djokovic was bolstered by a strong service performance as he won 82 per cent of his first serve points and recorded five aces.“I worked on it with my coach,” Djokovic, who struggled on serve earlier in the tournament, said in a courtside interview.“I had to change something, I was not getting many of the free points (as I did today).“It allowed me to be more aggressive. It was my best (serving) performance of the week.”With the second set tied at 5-5 and the score at deuce, Djokovic won a pair of rallies to earn the decisive break.Djokovic put extra loft on a forehead to create an unforced error from Nishikori on game point, before triumphantly pointing at his head to illustrate his savvy.He served out to close the match.Nishikori fought hard to stay in the final set but seemed to be bothered by his rackets as he made multiple trips to the side of the court to change.The Japanese player recorded his fourth straight Memphis title in February for his 11th ATP Tour victory, but he cannot seem to solve the world’s top player and has now lost nine straight times to Djokovic.“It was a shame to lose but this was my first time final here in Toronto,” Nishikori told the Canadian crowd. “So, it was a great week.”Djokovic, a 12-time grand slam champion, will now turn his focus to the Rio Olympics, a tournament he has yet to conquer.He earned a bronze medal in singles at Beijing in 2008 and fell just short of a medal at London in 2012.“I don’t need to explain that every athlete dreams of being a part of the Olympic Games,” he said. “I’m competing in singles and doubles.“Hopefully I’ll get at least one medal.” In the women’s final, fifth seed Simona Halep of Romania took advantage of an error-prone display by American Madison Keys to claim her 14th WTA title with a 7-6(2) 6-3 victory in the Rogers Cup final in Montreal on Sunday.Halep, 24, won an erratic opening set that featured eight breaks of serve after breezing through the tiebreak, and then broke her 10th-seeded opponent again in the second game of the second to tighten her grip.Keys was unable to break the Romanian in the concluding set and Halep served out to seal the win in one hour 16 minutes after the 21-year-old American dumped a forehand into the net.