R utgers University star receiver Leonte
Carroo should have been elated after his sparkling performance Oct. 10 against Michigan State University.
Instead, the Edison native, team player that he is, could only express disappointment because the Spartans, who were ranked fourth, were able to find the end zone with 43 seconds remaining to escape with a 31-24 victory in front of over 50,000 at High Point Solutions Stadium.
It was yet another last-minute, heartbreaking defeat (the Scarlet Knights lost to Washington State University, 37-34 Sept. 12, when the Cougars scored with 13 seconds left), and Carroo tried to put on his best face in front of a mob of reporters seeking his reaction.
“It was exciting to go out [there] and play today for my team,” Carroo said about returning to the field after being suspended following the Washington State game. “Unfortunately we lost, but I was very excited all day. I had a lot of momentum going into this game.”
The senior captain added three touchdown catches and now has a team career record of 25. It was the fourth time Carroo caught a trio of touchdown passes in one game.
Because of Michigan State’s lofty national ranking, a victory would have arguably been the most significant in program history had Rutgers prevailed
Still, Carroo took no comfort in what should be labeled a moral victory because to his way of thinking, a loss now drops his team to 2-3 as it prepares for a vicious stretch of Big Ten Conference (BIG) games.
The ominous journey begins Oct. 17 with a visit to Indiana University (4-2). On Oct. 24, the nation’s top team, Ohio State University (6-0), comes to Piscataway.
Rutgers has road games at Wisconsin
University (4-2) Oct. 31 and at 12th-ranked
University of Michigan (5-1) Nov. 7, before returning home Nov. 14 to host the University of Nebraska (2-4). Next is a visit to
Army West Point (1-5) Nov. 21, and the regular season ends with a home game against the University of Maryland (2-4) Nov. 28.
The Scarlet Knights need to win a minimum of four games to reach the mandatory six and qualify for a postseason bowl game.
These thoughts were percolating in Carroo’s mind as he patiently responded to reporters’ questions about his own performance.
One wanted to know the content of a short conversation between former Michigan State and New York Giants star receiver Plaxico Burress, who watched on the Spartans’ sideline.
“He told me I’m a great player and [my performance] was one of the best he personally ever saw,” Carroo said. “ ‘You’re a baller. Just keep your head up.’ ”
His seven catches for 134 yards came just four days after Carroo was reinstated. Because the suspension lasted three games, Carroo has played just 10 quarters this season, but he has registered six touchdown receptions. For his career, he is averaging a touchdown catch every 3.88 receptions.
The Bishop George Ahr High School girls soccer team is making a strong case for being the best in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) and will have the chance to prove it.
The Trojans are 11-1 overall with an unblemished 11-0 record in White Division games, and they have already clinched the regular-season title. However, Bishop Ahr has more ambitious goals like winning the GMC and NJSIAA Non-Public B tournaments.
“We have a nice mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores this year,” coach Jim Tavormina said. “Everyone worked hard during the offseason and when we came together this fall, we came ready to play.”
Bishop Ahr’s only defeat has been to perennial out-of-conference power Bridgewater Raritan High School (9-3). Two years ago, the Trojans captured the Non-Public B title by defeating Immaculate Heart Academy. Barring upsets, the teams appear headed for another clash in the finals.
Bishop Ahr benefits from balanced scoring, but one player, Jillian Vassallo, who committed to the University of Delaware, is the best on the team and one of the top players in New Jersey. The senior has registered 24 goals and 11 assists — both team bests — and is clearly the catalyst for the Trojans’ high-powered attack.
Depending on how far Bishop Ahr goes in the GMC and sectional tournaments, Vassallo, who has 80 career goals, has a shot at topping the 100-goal mark for her career.
Seniors Stephanie Spada (five goals, eight assists), Erica Balsamo (five goals, two assists), Lauren Jurcsek (four goals, one assist) and Reilly Mullin (two goals, eight assists) have also contributed to the point production.
Tavormina said Reilly is the glue that keeps the middle solid and can go for 80- plus minutes if necessary. Another senior, Alyssa Corea, is back in full form after losing her junior year due to injury and has been an effective defender.
Junior Stephanie Corea can be counted on up front or in the middle, while sophomores Sarah Glazewski (eight goals, one assist), and Emma Herban (five goals, two assists), have continued to give the team a boast when needed.
Sophomore back-liners who have been rock solid on defense are Sara Decker, Julianna Pastore, Ryleigh Greenwald and Dayna Dobkowski.
Sophomore goalkeepers Anetha Jenkins, Kelley Harmon and freshman keeper Sachi Negri have combined for 31 saves and eight shutouts.
In last week’s varsity report, it was stated the Metuchen High School girls’ soccer team had never won a state championship. The Bulldogs captured the 2007 Group I championship by defeating Glen Ridge High School, 1-0.