Edison succeeds despite schedule

J.P. Stevens

Staff Writer

J.P. Stevens’ Zhang reaches state
Staff Writer

JEFF GRANIT staff Edison High School’s first singles player Anmol Gupta returns a shot during the Eagles’ recent match with East Brunswick in Edison.JEFF GRANIT staff Edison High School’s first singles player Anmol Gupta returns a shot during the Eagles’ recent match with East Brunswick in Edison.

EDISON — With six wins under her belt, junior Anmol Gupta leads the Edison High School girls tennis team this year in victories.

Playing in the No. 1 singles position, Gupta competes against the best each school has to offer. In the Greater Middlesex Conference this is no easy task, considering that such powerhouses as J.P. Stevens and East Brunswick take up residency in the conference.

Despite an overall record of 4-14 and a conference record of 2-9, Eagles coach Wesley Smith is pleased with his team’s effort and their mental toughness.

"Anmol is the obvious leader of our team and the team’s most valuable player," Smith said. "Every girl on this team tries her best, and they train and drill hard at every practice. Three out of the four wins this year have been 3-2 matches. This team has the tenacity to come up with the pressure win."

In addition to Gupta, the singles trio is comprised of senior Francine Rader at second singles and senior Shanie-Ann Sturridge at the third singles position. In last week’s tough loss to conference rival Piscataway, Rader and Sturridge both came up with victories in the 3-2 loss.

In doubles competition, the Eagles are led by a crop of underclassmen, who indicate future success is on the horizon. Showing great promise are sophomore Marsha Dario and junior Meghan Patel at first doubles, and sophomores Sasha Jiwani and Kelly Okengwu at second doubles.

Along with a young varsity team, Smith is pleased with the team’s freshman and junior varsity programs.

"We have a nice JV and freshman crop, and we are looking forward to the upcoming years to challenge the top teams in the conference," Smith said. "This year, we’ve had freshman step in for injured players on the JV roster, and they have come up with big wins at the singles positions."

With Gupta returning to the No. 1 spot, the Eagles will look to her work ethic and consistent play to lead them once again.

"Anmol’s strength is her consistency," Smith said. "She can stay out on the court all day and wear opponents down with her baseline play. She has a strong two-handed backhand, and with the experience at the No. 1 position this year, she will be tough to beat. A real goal for her is to qualify for the state singles tournament next year."

In order to qualify for the singles tournament, Gupta will have to win 60 percent of her matches next year.

"Winning 60 percent of her matches was tough this year considering the competition in the conference," Smith said. "This will be a realistic goal for Anmol next season."

The Lady Eagles are looking to finish up their season this week with a few more victories. Edison will travel to New Brunswick on Thursday and host Sayreville on Friday, before ending the season in Union on Oct. 27.

"We go into every match ready to compete, and we expect to win," Smith said. "There are tough players on this team, and they keep getting better."

Notes… The rematch between the top-ranked East Brunswick Bears and J.P. Stevens took place on Monday, with the Bears looking to avenge an earlier 3-2 loss to the Hawks.

With a win, the Bears would earn a tie for the Red Division title, the team’s 13th in a row.

Meanwhile, Stevens’ Lucy Zhang’s magical run through the NJSIAA singles tournament came to an end on Saturday, with a straight-sets loss to Summit’s Ann Mungo at Mercer County Park.

Zhang, who is only a sophomore and was recently crowned the GMC’s first-singles champion, was the only unseeded player to reach the quarterfinals. However, her brilliant run came to an end against Mungo, as she fell 6-1, 6-0.

Hawks’ defense shines vs. Vikings

Stevens team preparing for showdowns with Old Bridge, Sayreville

Staff Writer

Hawks’ defense shines vs. Vikings

FARRAH MAFFAI staff J.P. Stevens quarterback Anthony Miller looks for some running room during the Hawks’ 7-0 win over host South Brunswick Friday night.FARRAH MAFFAI staff J.P. Stevens quarterback Anthony Miller looks for some running room during the Hawks’ 7-0 win over host South Brunswick Friday night.

Stevens team preparing for showdowns with Old Bridge, Sayreville


Staff Writer

EDISON — The defense did the job once again, as the J.P. Stevens High School football team defeated the South Brunswick Vikings 7-0 in a Greater Middlesex Conference matchup last Friday night.

The Hawks’ defense, which has been asked to make up for an offense that lacks fire power, was in top form as it held South Brunswick to 88 yards in total offense.

"It took a lot of discipline for our guys to hold their wishbone offense in check," Hawks’ coach Frank Zarro said. "We had to have certain players tracking the quarterback and halfback coming out of the backfield and we did a nice job."

It is a defense led by defensive end Jeremy Zuttah, free safety Anthony Miller, and the linebacker trio of Bart Piedgon, Iris Smith and Anthony Maffucci.

At 6 foot 5 inches tall and 290 pounds, Zuttah is one of the most sought after linemen in the state, with 20 colleges ringing his telephone. With Zuttah applying pressure and the linebacker trio stopping the run and plugging up the middle, Anthony Miller takes care of stopping the air attack. Miller, a future Division I safety for Rutgers University, is the team’s best athlete.

"We’ve asked a lot from Anthony this year," Zarro said. "He was an all-state wide out a year ago and now he’s running the offense from the quarterback position. Our 4-1 record thus far is due to Anthony’s ability to make the change. He’s a tremendous athlete and he gets better each week.

"I’m really happy he decided to choose Rutgers," Zarro said. "It is a key move for them and it will be great to have him playing in our back yard."

In the win against South Brunswick, it was a one-yard run by Miller in the second quarter that made the difference. Miller’s 75 yards from the ground and 71 yards in the air, in which he didn’t throw an incomplete pass, brought his totals above the entire South Brunswick offense.

"Everyone loves the big play," Zarro said. "People are used to us putting points on the board. We have to settle for little chunks at a time. Our offense must stay patient and rely on the tough offensive line to do its work. The win against South Brunswick says a lot for their character."

Even in their only loss this year to first-place Piscataway, the Hawks left everything on the field. The Hawks kept the score close until the last half of the fourth quarter when the Chiefs added two touchdowns.

"Although the score didn’t indicate it, our defense played well," Zarro said.

This week provides a needed bye for the Hawks. Zarro says the team is a bit banged up and the bye will give his men a chance to lick their wounds before squaring off against conference rivals Old Bridge and Sayreville.

Sayreville currently shares the top spot in the conference with the Piscataway Chiefs after handing Old Bridge its first loss of the season. Both Old Bridge and Sayreville are ranked among the state’s top 20 teams.

The J.P. Stevens Hawks will once again call upon its disciplined defense to stymie the high-octane offense of the Sayreville Bombers. The Bombers were just short of 400 yards in total offense in their recent win over Old Bridge.

Big play burns Edison

Winless Eagles have two weeks to prepare for Piscataway

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

PERTH AMBOY — Heading into Friday night’s matchup against Perth Amboy, the Edison High School football team was looking to break a 15-game losing streak that began in the 2001 season.

Facing another winless team, the Eagles had high hopes to break the losing streak and give second-year head coach Vin Gioffre his first victory.

Led by its workhorse, fullback Ed Kidney, the Eagles kept the game close for most of the first half. Kidney had 16 first-half carries and rushed for 98 yards in the first two quarters. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound junior found cracks in the line of scrimmage thanks in large part to the blocking of senior guard Joseph Reilly.

Once past the line of scrimmage, Kidney broke tackles and ran over many Panthers defenders all evening. Kidney would finish with a game high of 150 yards on 26 carries and one touchdown.

Unfortunately for Edison, Kidney’s first-half score would be the only points the Eagles would put on the scoreboard in the 42-7 loss to the Panthers.

Perth Amboy earned its first victory of the year because of the athleticism of punt returner Naquan Jenkins and the poise of freshman quarterback James Harrell.

Harrell threw for 170 yards and three touchdowns and Jenkins electrified the home crowd with a 75-yard punt return for a score in the first quarter.

"The punt return was huge for them," said Eagles coach Vin Gioffre. "The big play has been our Achilles Heel all year. Our defense had some tremendous stops tonight, but Perth Amboy always came up with the big yardage plays when they needed it."For a football program that has a history of success, the losing streak has been tough for the coaches and players. Just three years ago, the Eagles played in the state championship game.

"We have seniors on this team that haven’t experienced a victory. Their junior varsity and freshmen teams didn’t win a game either," said Gioffre.

Despite the losses, Gioffre has brought a new ethic and a "commitment to perfection" to the Eagles team. Facing a drop in numbers despite a healthy school population, Gioffre and his coaching staff had to overcome a lack in size.

"We’ve asked our guys to be committed to perfection this year to compensate for a lack in size and numbers," Gioffre said. "We have small problems that every coach talks about. Tonight we missed too many tackles and we stress the need to gang tackle."

Although the team remains winless, the Eagles have come a long way in the eyes of Gioffre.

"This team has great character and dedication," Gioffre said. "We have pride in our program and our school. There is a real sense of family among the guys and we just need to get over the hump. I’m coaching young men and not just football players and I have a group of fine young men."

The Eagles plan to regroup this week after the disappointing loss to Perth Amboy with a bye. On Oct. 24 the Eagles will face conference powerhouse and the unbeaten Piscataway High School.

"We play well when we are all on the same page," Kidney said. "The breakdowns occur when we are unfocused and inconsistent. We will have to be focused in two weeks when we meet Piscataway. We need to be play well on every play. We’ll be ready for the challenge."

The Metuchen Bulldogs took on one of the GMC’s most prolific offense teams on Saturday in Spotswood, as saw firsthand just how potent the Chargers offensive attack can be, falling 52-3.

Spotswood’s high-powered offense was as good as advertised, as the Chargers scored on their first six possessions, with five TDs coming through the air. However, the Chargers were just as prolific on the ground, led by Nelson Stryker’s 122 yards on just nine carries.

It was a statement game for the Chargers, who will take on No. 2 New Brunswick on Friday in a game that will likely decide the Blue Division title.

As for Metuchen, the Bulldogs’ lone score was a 23-yard field goal, as they were unable to match Spotswood’s depth on either side of the ball.

The 1-4 Bulldogs will look to bounce back on Saturday when they host a Dunellen team that is also struggling at 1-4. Game time is 1 p.m.

Edison girls prove to be among GMC’s elite teams

Eagles looking for revenge against Old Bridge Monday

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EAST BRUNSWICK — In the first meeting between the two schools earlier in the season, the Edison High School girls soccer team escaped with a 1-0 victory over top-ranked East Brunswick.

Last week, the two teams squared off again at Richard D. Lowenstein Soccer Complex in what would be another classic battle. In a physical contest that would see Edison’s key mid-fielder, Susie Zavistoski, removed from the field to stop a bleeding nose, the two sides played through two overtime periods to end in a 0-0 tie.

Now, as the regular season winds to a close, the Eagles are looking forward to a rematch with Middlesex County’s second-seeded Old Bridge Knights. The Knights handed the Eagles one of their two losses this year. The rematch will take place on the Monday in Old Bridge.

No longer the doormat of the Greater Middlesex Conference, the Lady Eagles are now a force to be reckoned with. With a record of 8-2-2, the Lady Eagles already have qualified for play in the state tournament for the second consecutive year.

Until Maria Leonow took over as head coach last season, it had been 20 years since Edison competed in the state tournament.

Senior captain Susie Zavistoski has spearheaded the recent success of the Lady Eagles. Leonow calls Zavistoski her hardest worker and rewards her with the responsibility of marking all of the leading scorers in the county.

"She leaves everything on the field," Leonow said. "She’s aggressive, she wins every head ball, and she has a fighting spirit. She finishes every game physically beaten up."

Although primarily anchoring the defense, Zavistoski has netted two goals this year.

Leading the Edison attack is freshman Ashley Cunha with six goals and one assist; sophomore Kayla Duncan with six goals and three assists, and senior Courtney Roarty with six goals and three assists.

"Roarty may be our most talented player," Leonow added. "She has excellent foot skills. Although I wouldn’t call her a fast runner, she handles the ball with speed and she possesses great technical ability. She’s a relentless attacker and can cross the ball with precision."

Kayla Duncan handles the middle of the field with Susie Zavistoski. What Duncan lacks in size, she makes up for in spirit. A small girl with lightning quick speed, Duncan is often leading the Edison attack with dribbles around defenders and a natural ability to distribute the ball. If the Lady Eagles are to avenge their loss to Old Bridge, Leonow knows it will be a team effort.

After the stalemate in East Brunswick, Leonow urged her Lady Eagles not to let down. For Leonow and the Lady Eagles, the real task is now getting under way.

Bishop Ahr girls fight to defend No. 1 rank

Gymnastics team
scoring more than 100 points a meet

Staff Writer

Bishop Ahr girls fight to defend No. 1 rank

Gymnastics team

scoring more than 100 points a meet


Staff Writer

EDISON — In a sport in which victories can be determined by a tenth of a point, the Bishop Ahr gymnastics team is dominating the competition.

Last week’s meet against the North Brunswick Raiders gave the Trojans their fifth victory in as many meets, as the girls prevailed impressively, 108.15-73.40.

In addition to an unblemished record and resting atop the Greater Middlesex Conference, the Lady Trojans are currently ranked number one in the state. Coach Brant Lutska’s team is scoring at least 108 points per meet and took first place at the Pioneer Classic held earlier this year at Somerville High School.

At the Pioneer Classic, eight teams from the state competed for top honors and the Lady Trojans beat the competition by three points.

"The team is healthy, working hard, dedicated, and willing to give their all," Lutska said. "I am sure they are going to finish the season well. This is a team that really cares about each other and really wants the best for each member. With continued work and devotion this team will be in contention for the state championship."

In the recent meet against North Brunswick, two of Lutska’s gymnasts recorded two of the highest scores in the state this season. Junior Caitlin Miller scored a 9.40 on the balance beam and senior Kristen Carroll scored a 9.45 on the floor. In addition, freshman Ashley Anne Chosney won the all-round competition with a 9.0 or better for each event.

What makes the Lady Trojans so tough to beat is their well-rounded attack.

Senior co-captain Kristin McRell has a team high score on the bars with a 9.50, senior co-captain Kristen Carroll scored a team high 9.45 on the floor, sophomore Jill Dean leads the team on the beam with a 9.45, and sophomore Robyn Douglass scored a 9.0 on the vault this year and a 9.25 on the floor.

Before the GMC Championships in which the conference champion will be determined, the Lady Trojans will meet conference rivals Piscataway and Old Bridge. The championships will take place on Oct. 23 at Old Bridge High School.

After the conference tournament, the Lady Trojans will have nearly a month to prepare for the state finals at Rutgers University on Nov. 15. At the state championships, the top 10 teams in the state compete for the ultimate prize. Last year’s team finished ninth.

"Last year we lost Kristin McRell and Jill Dean because of injuries," Lutska said. "This year with a healthy team we hope to do much better," added Coach Lutska. "This team wants to do well in the state championships. We’ve been there before and this year we are determined."

With the other top teams in the state all looking to knock off the Lady Trojans, Coach Lutska knows it isn’t time for his girls to rest on their laurels.

"Everyone must continue to push themselves to be the best that they can be. The girls must continue to set goals and attain them," Lutska said.

Sports Shorts

Sports Shorts

If you would like to become a high school basketball official for the 2003-04 season, please contact Allan Kaufman at (732) 390-1860 or at tripllauto@aol.com. Classes begin in October in East Brunswick and will get you on the court for the start of the 2003-04 season.

The Sayreville Athletic Association will be hosting a preseason basketball tournament this month. There will be two divisions — 5/6 grade and 7/8 grade. Any interested teams can contact Alan Karmin at (732) 525-2556 or Mike Stanton at (732) 525-0384. Entry fee is $250. Guaranteed three games. AAU teams will not be permitted.

Coast to Coast Athletics is recruiting New Jersey youth baseball players (ages 11-12, 13-15, and 16-18) to represent the USA in international competition in Puerto Rico and Australia. Outstanding amateurs, selected nationwide, will compete against international all-star teams during the winter, spring and summer school breaks. Each trip lasts 7-14 days and is packed with baseball action, intensive training and cultural excursions. Squads are managed by a staff of top college coaches and pro scouts who provide participating players with a unique perspective on what it’s like to play at the collegiate and professional level. For more information or to request a program application, visit the Web site ww.coasttocoastathletics.com.

The Goodwill Ambassadors are cur­rently accepting applications for high school teams, club teams and individual high school-age volleyball players, in the USA and Canada, to participate in the Goodwill Ambassadors Volleyball ex­change to Europe in July 2004. Members of this team will represent their country and community in volleyball tournaments and local competitions in London, Paris, Geneva, Venice and Rome. The program is open to all players ages 15-20. School coaches and club team coaches — the coach travels free with their team of 10 or more. For additional information, call (425) 255-8102.

Jersey Shore Shots girls U10 AAU basketball tryouts are scheduled for Nov. 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to noon. All girls born in 1993 are eligible. National-level coaches forming team for dedicated players looking to learn, for upcoming 2004 season. Soccer players welcome. For information, call (732) 547-6865 or e-mail jerseyshoreshots@aol.com.