Brookdale hosts Sussex in tune-up

Blues take on country

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

BY TIM MORRIS
Staff Writer

middletown — Injuries are a part of every team’s season.

It has been no exception for the Brookdale Community College men’s soccer team, which at the moment, is down three starters.

However, the good news for Wayne Palmer’s Jersey Blues is that this year the team has the talent to overcome its injuries.

“We hit a patch where every time we stepped on the field, we were getting one or two players injured,” Palmer remarked. “This year we’re blessed with numbers, I’m happy to say. It’s been a year we’ve gone to sidelines for our fourth or fifth player [at a position]. It’s depth we didn’t have last year, and it’s a good thing.”

Outside halfback Robert Miller (Raritan), defender Rob Brangenberg (Middletown South) and forward Edson Gonzalez are all the starters who have been on the sidelines with foot injuries. And another starter, forward Jim Blackburn, has spent his share of time-out of action as well.

Thanks to the deep roster, the Jersey Blues have remained highly competitive, as their 7-2-2 mark through the first 11 games shows, and they are looking forward to the postseason.

On Wednesday, in Lincroft, the Blues were scheduled to host Sussex County in the final, and biggest game of the regular season. Sussex entered the game unbeaten (11-0-1) and ranked No. 3 in the country. Brookdale, meanwhile, is playing for a high seed for the Region XIX tournament that begins on Saturday on the home field of the highest seed. A Jersey Blue win could get Brookdale a No. 2 seed and home field up to the final, Oct. 30, at Middlesex County Park in Edison.

Sussex was playing for more than a perfect regular season. The last team to beat Sussex in the regular season was Brookdale last fall.

“That’s ammunition for them,” noted Palmer.

For Brookdale, who just two years ago won the Region title and advanced to the Division III national final, yesterday’s game would let them know how they stack up against a nationally ranked club.

“It’s a big game,” said Palmer. “It’s a good measuring stick as to where we are. This team sets goals early in the season. They want more than the first round of the playoffs.”

Last Wednesday, the Blues tested themselves against a Division I team, Delaware Tech Junior College in Stanton, Del. The step up in competition hardly slowed the Blues, who scored a 4-0 out-of-conference victory that provided the team with added confidence.

Matawan grad Rich Frey, Blackburn (England), C.J. Bordino (Neptune) and Esteban Mozo (Long Branch) each scored a goal in the first 20 minutes of the second half to lead Brookdale. Bordino also had two assists. Goalie Robert Feeney (Neptune) collected his fourth shutout of the year on four saves.

Palmer believes that when all is said and done, his Jersey Blues are contenders for the Region crown. They are expected to have everyone back by this weekend and when healthy, they have all the ingredients of a Region champion.

“We’re balanced,” said Palmer. “We have a good goalie and defense, our midfielders have been doing the job and our forwards can score.”

Brookdale has something else going for it as well, as it looks to repeat 2002. Since midseason, all that has concerned the Blues is the team. Who scores the winning goal doesn’t matter. The focus is everyone doing his job. A great defensive play or quick transitional pass are just as important as scoring a goal.

After tying Herkimer, N.Y., the No. 1-ranked team in the country, early in the season in New York, Palmer said his team was lulled into a false sense of security. Thinking they only had to show up, they had an inflated sense of how good they were, and strayed away from doing the little things and working hard. The result was a 1-2-2 stretch.

“The team lost some focus,” Palmer noted.

The Blues took a long look at themselves and realized they weren’t going anywhere the way they were playing.

“We have decided this year we’re going to reflect the team approach,” Palmer said. “It doesn’t matter who scores the goal.”

RBC offense unloads on rival Lancers

RBR, RFH, Monmouth among other locals to post wins

BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer

BY DOUG McKENZIE
Staff Writer

CHRIS KELLY staff Ocean Township’s Alex Cabasso tries to avoid the Brick Memorial defense during their game in Ocean Friday night. CHRIS KELLY staff Ocean Township’s Alex Cabasso tries to avoid the Brick Memorial defense during their game in Ocean Friday night. All in all, it was a good week for local high school football teams. It was just particularly good for Red Bank Catholic.

The Caseys took on its biggest rival, St. John Vianney, and thoroughly dominated the under-manned Lancers, 42-0.

The Casey offense was in high gear throughout, reaching the end zone five times on its first 10 offensive plays, led by tailback Donnie Brown. Brown, the Shore’s leading rusher, ran for four TDs and 286 yards on 15 carries to propel the Casey offense, which totaled an impressive 436 yards on the night. RBC quarterback Kyle Brandon was equally impressive, completing 4-of-6 passes for 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns — 12-yard pass to Stephen Giampiccolo to open the scoring, and a 34-yard strike to Ryan Kalish.

JERRY WOLKOWITZ staff Red Bank Regional’s Mike Garofalo breaks a tackle during the Bucs’ 31-15 win over Freehold on Saturday. JERRY WOLKOWITZ staff Red Bank Regional’s Mike Garofalo breaks a tackle during the Bucs’ 31-15 win over Freehold on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Casey defense was stubborn, which is a trend that head coach Frank Edgerly hopes will continue over the next few weeks. At 4-2, the Caseys are currently tied for fifth with Bergen Catholic in power points in the Parochial Group IV bracket, with the Nov. 6 cutoff rapidly approaching. RBC needs to maintain its strong play over the next few weeks in order to secure a postseason berth.

Next up is a 3-2 Holmdel squad coming off a 49-19 loss to No. 3 Raritan. Holmdel also has state playoff aspirations, making this a must-win for both teams. Game time is 7 p.m. tonight in Holmdel.

The Red Bank Regional Bucs entered their game with Freehold Borough on Saturday as the heavy favorite, and did not disappoint, putting together a solid effort en route to a 31-15 win.

Junior tailback Mike Garofalo rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries, while quarterback Keyron Sheard added a pair of touchdown passes to lead the Bucs. RBR jumped ahead 7-0 on Garofalo’s first score — a 5-yard plunge. After Freehold responded with a score of its own, the Sheard hit Ramir Cottman with a 28-yard strike, and the Bucs took off from there, scoring the next three touchdowns to pull away.

The 3-3 Bucs will look to get back over the .500 mark when they travel to Colts Neck on Saturday to take on a struggling Cougars team. Game time is 1 p.m.

Colts Neck is coming off a 20-12 loss to an opportunistic Monmouth Regional team last weekend.

Trailing 12-0 in the third quarter, the Falcons got their first touchdown on a 75-yard fumble return from William Holland. Moments later, Monmouth went ahead on a two-yard TD run from Holland, and added an insurance score when Tye Coleman returned another fumble 30 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.

With the win, Monmouth improved to 2-4 on the year, and gained some momentum heading into this Saturday’s game at Neptune (3-3). The Scarlet Fliers are coming off a demoralizing 63-7 loss to top-ranked Middletown South in a game in which South tailback Knowshon Moreno ran for 420 yards and seven touchdowns (both school records).

Neptune will be hungry for redemption. Game time is 1 p.m.

The Rumson-Fair Haven Bulldogs got their third win of the year on Saturday with a 21-6 win over a tough Keansburg squad.

Ryan Finnegan took over in the second quarter for RFH, recording two touchdown receptions and an interception return for a score. Finnegan had five receptions on the day, including scoring strikes of 3 and 12 yards, and a pair of interceptions. RFH quarterback Michael Roberto completed 16-of-28 passes for 145 yards on the day.

Next up for Rumson is a game tonight at Monsignor Donovan, a 6-0 loser to Asbury Park last week. The Griffins are 3-2 on the year. Game time is 6:30 p.m.

The remaining three local teams suffered losses this past weekend, but to some very good teams.

The Ocean Township Spartans took on defending Central Jersey Group IV champion Brick Memorial, and fell, 14-0. Memorial got a second quarter TD from all-everything tight end Garret Graham on a 77-yard reception, and added an insurance score in the fourth in an interception return.

But the Spartans played well, and even had the advantage in time of possession. They were just unable to finish the job after moving the ball effectively at times against the stingy Memorial defense.

Ocean (4-2) will look to rebound this Saturday against a struggling Lakewood team that hasn’t been in a competitive game all year. Game time is 1 p.m.

The Long Branch Green Wave took on the fourth-ranked Wall Crimson Knights, and gave the undefeated hosts all they could handle before succumbing 7-6.

Long Branch got on the board first with a Maurice Turpin 3-yard scamper in the second quarter, but had the ensuing extra point kick blocked. That play came back to haunt the Green Wave as Wall responded with a 10-play, 63-yard scoring drive that culminated with a Chad Tirpak 1-yard carry into the end zone. With the point-after-touchdown (PAT) kick, Wall had the 7-6 lead, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in what became a dominating defensive performance from both teams.

Long Branch will look to gets its fourth win of the year Saturday when it hosts Freehold Borough at Shore Regional. Game time is 1 p.m.

Shore Regional took on an out-of-conference foe this weekend in North Plainfield and suffered a tough 21-14 loss.

Shore fought back all night against the unbeaten Canucks (5-0), but caught a bad break at the wrong time. Trailing 21-14, Shore marched down to the North Plainfield 5-yard line with 11 seconds remaining, hoping to knot the score. But a Gary Knoeppel pass was picked off by Jimmy Paolo, ending the late rally and securing the win for North Plainfield.

Shore played with tremendous grit in this one, coming back from 7-0 and 14-6 deficits to tie the score before the Canucks scored the go-ahead TD in the fourth quarter.

The Blue Devils will look to get to 3-4 tonight when they travel to Point Boro for a 7 p.m. tilt.

State playoff picture starting to form

With the Nov. 6 state playoff deadline approaching, local football teams are in full scramble mode already.

While RBC is in good shape in the Parochial Group IV bracket, a trio of other local teams need strong finishes to earn postseason berths.

Ocean Township currently sits in fifth place in CJ Group III with 32 power points, four points ahead of sixth-place Hightstown. A strong finish will secure a berth in the tournament for the Spartans, as the top eight teams in each bracket with at least .500 records qualify.

This week they face a winless Lakewood team, but it gets tougher from there, with Long Branch looming on Oct. 29.

The Green Wave is currently eighth in CJ Group III with 21 points, one behind Red Bank Regional. Long Branch’s schedule will also make it a close finish for the Wave as they take on Freehold, Ocean and Matawan before the deadline.

As for RBR, they get Colts Neck tomorrow and RBC on Nov. 6, likely needing both games to get in.

Jersey Blues point toward Region XIX tourney

Brookdale hosting final on Oct. 31

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

BY TIM MORRIS
Staff Writer

PHOTOS BY CHRIS KELLY staff Brookdale’s Gina Ciccarelli (above), a Monmouth Regional grad, and Kirsten Difenderfer (l), a Shore Regional grad, are helping the Jersey Blues to another successful campaign this fall. PHOTOS BY CHRIS KELLY staff Brookdale’s Gina Ciccarelli (above), a Monmouth Regional grad, and Kirsten Difenderfer (l), a Shore Regional grad, are helping the Jersey Blues to another successful campaign this fall. The win-loss record isn’t what concerns Brookdale Community College women’s soccer team coach Frank Lawrence.

It’s how his team is playing later this month, when a trip to the national junior college championships is at stakes, that counts.

Rather than have his Jersey Blues (6-5) beat up on cream puffs early in the season and build up a nice won-lost record, he took his club to California, where it played against Division I and II powerhouses there (BCC is Division III). The result was a 1-4 record to start the 2004 season.

“We knew California would be tough,” noted Lawrence. “It was a shock to them to go out there and struggle to win games and it shook their confidence.

“That and we had some injuries,” he added. “We’re just now to the point where everyone is playing. We are starting to play well.”

The evidence is in the record. After that 1-5 start, the Blues rolled up five straight wins and are 6-1 in games that count within the Garden State Athletic Conference and Region XIX.

Saturday, the Blues stepped up in competition, once more taking on nationally ranked Division I power Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). CCRI ended BCC’s five-game winning streak, but not before the Blues showed why they will be a team to be reckoned with come tournament time with a 2-1 loss.

“I’m not looking to build a record,” noted Lawrence of his reason for scheduling a team like CCRI. “I want to get the kids ready for the tournament. It’s how we do at the end of the year. We’ll be one of the teams everyone is looking at.”

BCC has a lot going for it as it looks to make a serious run at the NJCAA tournament in November.

“The goalie is there, our defense is healthy and playing together and now, our offense is playing together,” said Lawrence. “We’re starting to put the ball in the back of the net. Even against the really tough opponents we were getting our opportunities. Now, we’re taking advantage of them.”

Lauren Nangano (Marlboro), who scored the Jersey Blues’ goal against CCRI, and Kendal Kryzan (Middletown South) share the team scoring honors with 18 points. Each has eight goals and two assists. Kerry O’Mara (Middletown North) leads the team with seven assists.

O’Mara and Lauren Lovallo (Old Bridge), have scored 13 points each. Lovallo has four goals and five assists and O’Mara has three goals to go with her seven assists.

With All-American Tammy Wood (South River) in goal, BCC’s defense, despite some early season injuries, has been as tough as expected. Veterans Laura North (Middletown South), Jessica Roy (Sayreville) and Katie Lipman (Howell) have anchored an experienced unit that has made it difficult for team’s to get shots on goal against. And when they do, Wood is there to clean things up.

With eight starters back from last year’s Region XIX runner-up and GSAC champion, the Blues have both depth and experience and both are playing crucial roles.

“Our depth has helped us, everyone is contributing,” said Lawrence. “We have a have a lot of sophomores and that has been a big help. They know what to do and they bring leadership.”

Today, BCC is stepping up in class again going up against Lafayette College jayvee at 3 p.m. The Blues seven-game home stand concludes on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Montgomery Rockville.

They hit the road for games against Sussex (Oct. 20) and Burlington (Oct. 27) before the Region XIX tournament begins Oct. 29. Brookdale is hosting the championship game in Lincroft Oct. 31 at 1 p.m.

Mohawk Valley, Utica, N.Y., is the site for this year’s junior college nationals (Nov. 6-7).

Spartans anxious to take on Brick Memorial

RBC, Shore post wins in Week five action

BY VIN RAPOLLA Staff Writer

BY VIN RAPOLLA
Staff Writer

The Ocean Township High School football team should have no problem getting up for tonight’s game.

The Spartans will face their biggest challenge yet as they face off against undefeated defending Central Jersey Group IV champion Brick Memorial, in a game that could determine whether the Spartans could earn a share of the Constitution Division title.

The Spartans enter the game at 4-1, having lost to Toms River East (5-0), while the Mustangs are also 5-0, but have yet to face TRE (they play next week).

In any event, the Spartans are looking forward to tonight’s game, when they hope to prove they are among the Shore’s elite teams. But playing with Brick Memorial and beating them are two entirely different things.

“We know they’ll be tough,” said head coach Sal Spampanato. “This game will be our biggest test of the season.”

Ocean comes into the game coming off an impressive 25-0 victory over Central last week on the road. The team managed 25 points without its starting quarterback, Keith McPherson, and was instead led by sophomore backup Yinka Soda — showing the depth of the team.

“We were real proud of his efforts last week,” said the coach. “He really stepped up for the team.”

McPherson, who was out last week with a slight sprained ankle, will be ready and healthy for the game Friday night.

Offensively, he will be looked upon to make big plays, along with running back Chris Chittum and wide receiver/special teams threat Corey Giddings.

“Chittum is coming off a 111-yard game and has a handful of 100-plus-yard games on the season,” said Spamoanato. “Giddings is really emerging as a weapon on both sides of the ball.”

Add to the mix Dean Athans, who rushed for 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 15 carries against Central, and the Spartans have plenty of firepower to lead the ground attack.

Defensively the team will look to their returning all-division senior middle linebacker, Alex Cabasso, to set the tone.

“Alex is the best all-around player on the team,” said Spamoanato. “He’s an on-field leader who will also play offense if needed.”

Cabasso had 82 yards rushing against Central, including a 53-yard rushing TD.

The team also looks for defensive contributions from sophomore outside linebacker Alex Levy and senior middle linebacker Dean Athans.

“Levy has really stepped up his game the past couple weeks, while Dean is coming off of his best game of the season,” said Coach Spamoanato.

Spampanato and his coaching staff know what they’ll have to do to stay competitive against their toughest opponent of the season thus far. The team’s line coach, Mike Lambusta, will look to pave the way for the rushing game, while quarterback coach Donny Klein will look to keep the offense on the field.

“Our coaches have really done a great job this season, with the rushing game and at the quarterback position,” said Spamoanato.

With Brick returning the nucleus of its state championship team, Ocean will have to control the ball on offense, sustain long drives and keep the ball out of their hands offensively.

Defensively, they’ll have to play their strongest game of the season, not give up big plays, and make Brick earn all of its points. They’ll be particularly weary of the Mustangs’ Garret Graham, the senior tight end who is one of the top offensive threats in the state.

Brick Memorial coach Fred Sprengle is expecting a classic showdown, and added that his team needs to improve its play if it hopes to leave Ocean Township with a win Friday night.

“It’s a monster game,” he said. “We have to correct what we’re doing wrong. We have to eliminate mistakes and penalties.”

With Ocean’s past two victories coming on the road, this homecoming may give the team the edge it will need to beat the defending state champs.

“The guys are really pumped up for the game,” said Spamoanato. “They know it’s a big game and are excited to be home. The guys will be ready.”

Game time is 7 p.m.

The Shore Regional Blue Devils will host out-of-conference foe North Plainfield tonight fresh off a 44-7 drubbing of Mater Dei last week.

The Blue Devils improved to 2-3 with the win, dominating the hapless Seraphs en route to a 28-0 halftime lead. The lead built to 42-0 in the third, as Shore, which is finally getting healthy, made a statement — they don’t plan on losing the rest of the way.

Game time tonight is 7 p.m.

Red Bank Catholic was the only other local team to post a win last weekend, rolling over Manasquan, 28-7.

The Caseys improved to 3-2 with the win — their first ever against the Warriors. That’s quite a few games too, since the two teams have been squaring off since the 1980s.

As usual, Donnie Brown led the way in the win, rushing for 196 yards and two touchdowns, while Kevin Parks caught the go-ahead TD (a 15-yard strike from Kyle Brandon). Ryan Kalish scored the Caseys’ first TD in the second quarter on a 9-yard scamper.

RBC’s defense was equally impressive, as the Caseys continually stymied the Warrior attack. RBC hopes for a similar effort tonight when they host St. John Vianney at 7 p.m. It will be the final home game for RBC this year, as Count Basie Field is scheduled to be renovated.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Rumson-Fair Haven hopes to rebound from a disheartening 28-6 loss to Asbury Park last week when they travel to Keansburg tomorrow.

The Bulldogs did very little right against the Blue Bishops last week, as Asbury Park shocked them time and again with big plays on both sides of the ball. Rumson, which fell to 2-2 with the loss, needs to respond tomorrow against a 2-2 Titans team coming off a bad loss itself — 40-13 to Point Boro.

Game time is 1 p.m.

Another local team needing a better effort this week is the Red Bank Regional Bucs, who were dominated by Neptune last week in a 27-7 loss. They face Freehold Borough tomorrow at 1 p.m. in Freehold.

Monmouth Regional was the latest victim to the machine known as Middletown South last week, losing a 48-0 contest to the team that many feel is the best in the state. Monmouth will look to bounce back tomorrow when it hosts Colts Neck in a 1:30 p.m. tilt.

Long Branch High School comes off its bye week hoping to spring an upset against one of the Shore’s elite teams — Wall Township. Game time is 2 p.m. tomorrow at Shore Regional (Long Branch’s home field is under renovation).

RBC girls a young but talented group

Local soccer teams gear up for runs at postseason berths

BY VIN RAPOLLA Staff Writer

BY VIN RAPOLLA
Staff Writer

The 2004 season was originally expected to be a rebuilding year for the young Red Bank Catholic girls soccer team, after the squad lost 11 players to graduation.

It has been anything but.

“It’s been a real interesting year. We really didn’t know what to expect,” said head coach Ken Santos. “We’ve done well considering the loss of a lot of players.”

The first-year coach and his Caseys are currently 9-0-3 with a ranking of third in the Shore Conference.

Needless to say, they’re exceeding expectations.

“At this point we’ve done better than expected. The girls have done well and have been working hard to make it happen,” said Santos.

The Caseys’ defense has set the tone, as it has registered five shutouts on the season. Players like junior left back Jayne Condon, sophomore center back Kaitlyn Grimes, junior center back Ashley Ventura and junior right back Jessica Muscianesi have been downright dominant thus far, and have consistently pushed the ball upfield successfully.

“We’ve been very solid in the back. The defense has been solid enough to not give teams chances to score,” said Santos. “We’ve been able to stay in the game with only one or two goals.

“And these shutouts may not have been possible with out first-year varsity goalkeeper Sam Morris,” added Santos. “She’s come a long way, and she’s learned a lot and is willing to learn.”

The Casey midfield has also had a major factor in the team’s success. Led by senior captain Cailin McCrory, the Caseys have been able to get the scoring chances needed to keep them in game.

“She’s been a true leader, and she’s done well with keeping an inexperienced team together,” said Santos.

The midfield has also seen help from a trio of juniors — center-mid Kim Karpinski, right-mid Cara DaNagblillio and left-mid Megahan Brennan.

“The midfield have been tireless workers,” said Santos. “They’ve been good defenders and have been good attackers as the season has progressed.”

In order for Santos and the team to make this a successful season, he knows the team will have to keep up on its solid defensive play, and work on increasing the number of scoring opportunities.

“We’ve established the defense, our offense will come,” said Santos. “We’d like to score more, but we’re getting there. The girls are gaining experience and are beginning to get good scoring chances, which is good. As the team gains confidence, it will come together.”

The Caseys played Manasquan on Wednesday, and will take on a solid Raritan team today. On Monday, they will face an always tough Toms River South team.

Roundup… While the Caseys, with their stellar start, have assured themselves of a berth in the postseason, other local teams remain on the bubble with the Oct. 22 state cutoff rapidly approaching.

The Shore Conference Tournament pairings will be drawn up on Monday, RBC will likely get the third seed behind Lacey and Brick Memorial.

Rumson-Fair Haven’s girls are virtual locks for both tournaments as well, as they improved to 7-2-2 with a 1-1 tie against Red Bank Regional on Monday. Red Bank entered Wednesday’s action at 6-4-2, needing just a couple more wins to sure up its postseason berths.

The same can be said for Ocean Township, who entered the week at 5-3-2. The Spartans are one of the Shore’s elite teams, but face a daunting Class A North schedule with includes a number of tough teams.

Shore Regional’s girls beat Point Beach, 3-1, on Monday to improve to 7-6 on the year, and appear to be poised to qualify for both postseason tournaments.

On the boys’ side of play, both Rumson-Fair Haven, who improved to 10-2 with a 2-0 blanking of Red Bank Regional on Monday, and Shore Regional (11-3 following Monday’s 3-0 win over Point Beach) will be in both tournaments.

Red Bank Regional also appears to be in good shape at 7-5.

Among the teams on the bubble for the postseason are Long Branch, who fell to 6-6 with a 5-1 loss to Lakewood on Saturday, and Ocean Township (5-5-1 entering the week’s action).

Monmouth Regional’s boys are still alive at 5-7-1, but need to get hot over the next two weeks in order to sure up their postseason berths.

— Doug McKenzie contributed to this story

Shore, RBC girls second at Shore Coaches meet

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

BY TIM MORRIS
Staff Writer

The cross-country season began in earnest for the Shore Regional High School girls Saturday at the Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park.

After spending the first month running just dual meets, Mel Ullmeyer’s Shore Regional Blue Devils made their 2004 invitational debut with encouraging results. Shore’s girls were second to Pope John XXIII in the Varsity E Division, 66-114.

Shore, which will be bidding for its fourth straight NJSIAA Group cross-country state championship later in the year, stacked its first four runners within 11 positions finishing 12th through 23rd.

Martine McGrath led the way in 112 place (20:47) followed by Nicole Ullmeyer, 19th (21:04), Justine Carnevale, 22nd (21:09) and Laura Embrey, 23rd (21:10). The Blue Devils’ fifth scorer was Lauren Ostrowsky in 41st overall and 38th in team scoring at 21:43.

Shore had a five runner average of 21:10.

The Blue Devils are ranked 16th in the state, but No. 1 in Group II. At the Shore Coaches, they beat Chatham (135) and Rumson-Fair Haven (175), two of their main Group challengers, who finished third and fourth. The Blue Devils will not be competing against Pope John in the state meets.

Rumson’s effort on Saturday was led by Sara Robinson, who finished 11th (20:40), and Samantha Marinko, who was 18th (21:01).

Shore’s boys were eighth (299) and Rumson, ninth (324). The top area boy was Rumson’s Andy Sharkey, who was 15th (17:16). Joe Ruane led the Blue Devils in 32nd (17:42).

Red Bank Catholic positioned its first five runners in the top 24 points positions and finished second to Voorhees, 71-87, in the Girls Varsity D Division.

First across the finish line for Mary Banks’ Caseys was Kat Shareshian, who was 11th in 20:51. Jen Booton (21:20) and Janine Louie (21:21), finished alongside each other in 18th and 19th. Michelle McGrath (21:44) and Tina Forgach (21:55) were the fourth and fifth scorers for the Caseys and they were 26th and 29th overall.

Over in the Boys C Division, Ocean’s Brian Washakowski finished eighth after a 17:12 effort and led the Spartans to a third place (151) behind Ridge (110) and Holmdel (138).

Greg Kremler came through with a top 20, finish taking 17th (17:30). Mike Heavey was 29th (17:48) for the Spartans.

The next gathering at Holmdel Park will be the Monmouth County Championships Oct. 19. Shore’s girls, edged by Howell last fall, will be out to make amends this year. Howell will again be in the mix, along with Colts Neck, Holmdel and RBC.

Colts Neck has the prerace individual picks in Craig Forys and Ashley Higginson and defending boys’ champion Christian Brothers Academy is expected to run off with another boys’ crown.

RBC team is rebuilding in fast-forward mode

BY VIN RAPOLLA Staff Writer

BY VIN RAPOLLA
Staff Writer

After losing seven starters from last season’s team, it seemed as though the 2004 season would be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Red Bank Catholic field hockey team.

Not so fast.

Last year’s team finished with a record of 18-4, reaching the state tournament final round, and playing in its first-ever Shore Conference Tournament final.

Although this fall’s team may not be the powerhouse it was last season, the Caseys are still proving to be one of the top teams in the Shore, and they’re doing it with primarily young players.

“This year’s team is young, fun and exciting,” said coach Lisa Caprioni, whose squad improved to 3-2-1 with a 2-0 win over Red Bank Regional last Saturday. “We’re getting better with each game and gaining experience.”

The team is being led by a trio of returning seniors. Forwards Andrea Precopio and Kalynn Davies and midfielder Erin Carkeek having been working hard with the younger players to make this season a successful one.

“The seniors have been doing a nice job,” said Caprioni. “They’re working hard trying to blend this young inexperienced team.”

This year’s team is predominately made up of juniors, including back Erica Benn, one of the top defensive players in the Shore. Among the other juniors are forward Meg Pietrunti, midfielder Caitlin Ruffus, utility player Natalie Kuhn, back Carly Walco, goalie Taryn McCarthy and forward/midfielder Meredith Allen.

The Caseys are also relying on the development of a number of underclassmen, including a strong crop of sophomores. They include midfielder Margeau Saboti, backs Mar Brogan, Gabby Conlin and Kerry Griffen, and goalie Allie Thees.

In addition, the Caseys feature a trio of freshmen who have stepped up and adjusted to the varsity level already. They are backs Holly Manucci and Caroline Christopher and forward Brittany Shallou.

“They’ve all been really steady and consistent,” said Caprioni. “[They’re] doing things that don’t show up in the box score.”

With a tough two weeks ahead, Caprioni and the Caseys will look to focus on some of the positives that have kept the team over the .500 mark thus far.

“We’re working hard and hustling, and are constantly learning,” said the coach.

With plenty of regular season games left, and a team that has been steadily improving, the future indeed looks bright for this young Caseys program.

“So far, we’ve been in every game, and things are starting to click,” said Caprioni. “There’s still a lot of season left; hopefully, come tournament time, we’ll be able to get on a roll.”

So much for rebuilding.

Monmouth football team has local flavor to it

BY GEORGE ALBANO Staff Writer

BY GEORGE ALBANO
Staff Writer

Monmouth University head football coach Kevin Callahan can still recall attending a Middletown South High School football game three years ago.

How could he forget? It turned out to be one of his more successful recruiting trips as he eventually landed three key members of that 2001 Central Jersey Group III state championship Eagles team that went 12-0: Quarterback Brendan Kennedy, wide receiver Michael McClelland and offensive lineman Tom Mauro.

Now here it is 2004, and all three players helped Monmouth beat Iona 40-14 on Saturday as the Hawks, the No. 4 team in the nation among Division I-AA mid-major schools, improved to 4-1 on the season.

The truth is, Callahan has been taking recruiting trips like the one he made to Middletown South during all 13 seasons he’s been the only head football coach at Monmouth. Recruiting throughout the state of New Jersey, and in particular in the Shore area, has been a priority for Callahan and his coaching staff.

In fact, of the 94 players on the Hawks’ football roster, 27 of them are from this local area.

“One of the things I did when I came on board in 1992 and started the football program at Monmouth is attract the high level of football players in New Jersey and in particular in the Shore area,” Callahan said. “I thought it was important to attract players in the local area, not only because they’re good football players and play a high level of football, but also because it added community interest and let people know that Monmouth University is starting a football program. And that’s something we’ve maintained all these years.

“We recruit outside of New Jersey, too,” he added. “We’ve had players on our team from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York. But we still draw players here in New Jersey. There are 352 high schools in the state playing football, and all are within an hour and a half of our campus. So, we have a great local talent pool right in our state and try to recruit here.”

Callahan has been successful in his approach, too. Of Monmouth’s 94 players, a total of 84 in all hail from the state of New Jersey. Keeping high school football players in the state is something Greg Schiano has also been trying to do since taking over as head football coach at Rutgers University. And while it’s starting to work there, he can only hope to someday be as successful as Callahan has been at Monmouth.

“I think it’s certainly a good philosophy,” Callahan said. “Coach Schiano at Rutgers knows if he can keep the top-level players in the state in school here, the Rutgers program will get better, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We want to keep local players in the area, and I think so far we’ve been successful doing it.”

Callahan and the Hawks have been so successful, in fact, that the football program at Monmouth is at a point where high school coaches and players are coming to them without even being recruited. The program basically sells itself.

“Once we started having success, prospects started coming to us,” Callahan said. “Once we got started and made everyone aware of what we had, people in the state and local areas started looking at Monmouth as a viable option to play football. It’s paid off, too. Not only are we getting good football players, but also a solid fan base.”

Callahan’s first season at Monmouth, 1993, he had all freshmen and the Hawks won only two games in their inaugural season. But they won seven games in each of the next three seasons.

Then in 1996, the Northeast Conference was formed, and Monmouth captured the league championship in ’96, ’98 and again last season, going 10-1 in the regular season before losing to MAAC champion Duquesne 12-10 in the ECAC championship game in Pittsburgh.

“Whether we recruit someone or they come to us, we want them to know we run a first-class operation,” Callahan said. “We want high school coaches to know when they send us one of their players, he’s going to have a great experience both academically and playing football, and really enjoy their four years here.”

And one of Callahan’s favorite recruiting areas is Monmouth County and leagues like the Shore Conference.

“I won’t say we concentrate solely there, but I do think that it’s important we try to get the top players not only from Monmouth County, but also from Ocean County, which is right next door. There are 42 high schools in that area, so it serves us well to recruit there and attract players in our own back yard.”

That’s what led Callahan to Middletown South three years ago, when he came away with the Eagles’ talented trio. McClelland, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior wide receiver, scored three touchdowns in Saturday’s win over Iona.

Meanwhile, Kennedy, a 6-3, 215-pound junior quarterback, came off the bench to complete 10-of-15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, one of them a 26-yard strike to McClelland, his favorite target when the two of them played at Middletown South.

Then there’s Mauro, who, at 6-2 and 260 pounds, anchors the Monmouth offensive line and protects Kennedy, just as he did back in their Middletown South days.

Callahan remembers watching all three play for the Eagles.

“Mike McClelland had an outstanding high school career and teamed up with Brendan Kennedy and Tom Mauro to win a state championship,” the coach said. “Mike came in his first year and got injured, so he was a medical red shirt [which means he has two more years of eligibility after this season]. He came back last year and started contributing, not only on offense, but he’s also very active on our special teams.”

On Saturday, McClelland blocked an Iona punt, then picked up the ball and ran it back for his second touchdown of the game.

“And that’s the second time he’s done that this season,” Callahan pointed out. “He did it in our season-opening win against St. Peter’s. So, he’s very active on our special teams, and his role in our offense increases week to week.

“We have an incredible receiver in Miles Austin (from Garfield), but as he starts to get more and more attention from opposing defenses, our other receivers have to step up, and Mike has stepped up and made big plays when the opportunities presented themselves.”

Kennedy, another all-state player at MSHS, took a different path to Monmouth than McClelland did.

“He’s a guy who was heavily recruited out of high school,” Callahan noted.

“He originally committed to us, but then he made a decision to attend Rutgers as a walk-on. After his freshman year, however, he decided that Monmouth was probably better suited for him.”

Kennedy, who as a senior in high school became the first player in the Shore Conference since 1993 to rush for over 1,000 yards and throw for over 1,000 yards, has been battling Brian Boland, another area player from Brick Memorial, for playing time at quarterback.

The 6-1, 210-pound Boland started Saturday’s game and was 8-for-20 for 169 yards, including a 15-yard TD pass to McClelland in the first quarter.

“It’s really a case of where Boland starts most of the time, but Kennedy knows he’s going to play every single game,” Callahan said. “It’s not so much they’re one and two, but 1A and 1B. They’ve both done some very good things for us.”

But the Middletown South trio and Boland aren’t the only area players contributing for the Hawks, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation in one poll after the third week of the season.

Erik Yngstrom, a sophomore safety from Freehold High School, recorded three quarterback sacks in Saturday’s win, and also stripped the ball away from Iona QB Michael Biehl in the end zone. The ball went out of the back of the end zone for a safety to give Monmouth a 23-0 lead with 13:33 left in the half.

Then there was Jay Ricciardi, a senior linebacker from St. John Vianney, Holmdel, who came up with a big interception in the end zone early in the game with the score still 0-0 after Iona had marched to the Monmouth 6 yard-line.

Another key defensive player the first five weeks has been junior Nick Castellano from Jackson Memorial, who was the New Jersey High School Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. Also from Jackson, Joe Migliore, a senior running back who played at Jackson High School, had a team-high 47 yards on 12 carries against Iona and leads the Hawks in rushing.

Other area players on the roster are: freshmen kickers Mike Pizzulli from Red Bank Regional; freshman linebacker Johnny Williams from Long Branch; and tight end Brian Frech, a freshman from Shore Regional.

“It’s really a good mix of local players,” Callahan said. “They’re all doing a great job.”

And Callahan isn’t about to stop recruiting in this area. Not by a long shot.

“I try to go there every opportunity I get,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I was at the Raritan-Red Bank Catholic game just this past weekend. It was a great game, too, a tremendous game. I try to see as many games in that area as I can.”

His roster proves it.