Howell’s goal on ice is a return to the Rock

By TIM MORRIS
Staff Writer

 Howell High School goalie Bobby Dovenero gloves a shot during the Rebels’ Dec. 22 game against Westfield High School at the Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township. Howell won the non-conference matchup, 4-1, to improve to 5-2 this year.  FRANK GALIPO Howell High School goalie Bobby Dovenero gloves a shot during the Rebels’ Dec. 22 game against Westfield High School at the Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township. Howell won the non-conference matchup, 4-1, to improve to 5-2 this year. FRANK GALIPO Having gotten a taste of the Prudential Center in Newark, also known as the Rock, the Howell High School ice hockey team wants more.

The Rebels made a stunning run to the NJSIAA Public A championship game last winter, getting to play at the Rock, home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. It was an experience that no one on that team will forget and, for the core coming back from that team, the goal is to get back and finish what it didn’t last year, according to head coach Bill Daley.

The Rebels want to prove they are not a one-and-done team.

They lost the finals in their historic season to Randolph High School, 2-1. By getting to the finals, Howell became the first Freehold Regional High School District ice hockey team to play for a state championship.

This year’s Rebels will differ from last year’s Shore Conference A North Division championship team, which finished 22-5. The team graduated much of its offense, including the program’s all-time leading scorer, Kyle Hallbauer.

“It’s going to be more of a defensive-type season,” Daley said.

The Rebels have a franchise goalie in junior Bobby Dovenero, who is in his third season between the pipes for Howell. He has proved to be a difference-maker and his play breeds confidence in the Rebels. He has a .911 save percentage thus far this season and has allowed fewer than two goals a game

“With Bobby in goal stopping everything, the team feels he can steal a win from any team on any given night,” Daley said.

Getting back to the Rock is a realist goal for the 2015- 16 Rebels because, despite the loss of some key offensive players, they have a lot of talent back.

“We are returning a good core group of boys that helped Howell get to the state finals last year,” Daley said. “With the return of captain Anthony Gallicchio, Zac Turcotte, Matt Goeller, Zac Mazik, Louie Kuka, Greg Bernhardt, Anthony Mauro, Mike Camaroto and Evan Ganz on offense and captain Ryan Damelio, captain Steven Ramos, newly converted [defenseman] Kyle McEvoy (played third line forward last year), Sean Mylod, Mat Nekrasz and Tyler Kunzmann and the return of captain goalie Bobby Dovenero and backup goalie Eric McMahon, we have a strong core that knows what it takes to get us back to the finals and this year make history.”

Howell has received help where it needed it most — scoring — from Christian Brothers Academy transfer Timmy Clifton. He is playing on the first line, which is centered by Gallicchio with Turcotte on the opposite wing.

In the team’s first seven games (5-2), Clifton has scored eight goals and assisted on five. Gallicchio has six goals and seven assists.

Other newcomers contributing are freshman defensemen Anthony Lopardo and junior Jason Musselman.

“We are a fast team with great team chemistry,” Daley said. “The boys have set their goal. We have a tough schedule this year with games against teams from every conference.”

SPORT SHORTS

Jared DiZenzo of Jackson Liberty High School’s wrestling team added his second early season tournament title to his record at 285 pounds as he and 170-pound champion Tyler Kalmowitz won their weight classes in the Walter Woods Tournament at Middletown High School South Dec. 26.

DiZenzo (4-0) won a 4-0 decision over Lou Ceras of Monroe Township High School. DiZenzo also won his weight class in the Ice Breaker Tournament at Old Bridge High School, where Jackson Liberty finished in second place. Jackson Liberty was fourth in the team standings at Walter Woods.

Kalmowitz also won a 4-0 decision over Brendan Rumsby of Middletown South. Kalmowitz was a runner-up in the Ice Breaker.

Jeremy Bollard dropped a 4-3 decision to Jarryd Ley of West Deptford High school at 152 pounds. Bollard also was runner-up in the Ice Breaker.

Nick Pellegrino at 113 pounds lost a 10- 1 decision to Lucas Revano of Camden Catholic High School.

He won his weight class at the Ice Breaker.

Central Jersey RedLegs will hold tryouts for the 11U 2016 spring and summer baseball season. Winter workouts start the first week of January. Indoor tournaments, league play and multiple travel tournaments will be played.

Home fields are located in Michael Tighe Park, Freehold Township.

Contact Coach Tom at tfigliolino@aol.com for details.

Merli Invitational

 MATT DENTON MATT DENTON Howell High School’s Natalie Coil competes in the 55-meter hurdles at the Merli Invitational Dec. 26 at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River. The Rebels’ standout finished second in her heat.

Jaguars, Lions are off to strong starts on the ice

By WAYNE WITKOWSKI
Correspondent

Jackson Memorial High School’s ice hockey team for the second straight year under coach Larry Clayton is off to a fast start at 3-1-1.

Jackson Liberty High School has also started out strong at 4-3-2.

JACKSON MEMORIAL

A year ago, Jackson Memorial started off 6-0 and went 8-1-2 after 11 games, going on to finish the season with 13 victories for the second straight year.

But Clayton is reserving judgment about his team’s chances for equal or greater success until he sees what happens in the upcoming weeks. He already has stoked the schedule with some formidable opponents, including Dec. 13 against Brick Township High School, which scored a 5-3 victory, and Dec. 2 against Southern Regional High School, which Jackson Memorial rallied back against for a 4-4 tie. Freshman forward Nick Swain scored three goals — two in a span of 21 seconds late in the third period — against Southern Regional.

“Statistically, it’s an OK start,” Clayton said. “We got some mixed results against two top teams we’ve played so far.”

The Jaguars had another top opponent Dec. 28 when they played Red Bank Catholic High School in the Winding River Holiday Tournament.

Red Bank Catholic pulled out a 3-2 victory in overtime.

With only four seniors, Clayton needs some younger players to mature quickly as the schedule toughens with a Jan. 8 game at defending NJSIAA Public B state champion Middletown High School North, which is loaded with returning players. There is also a rematch with Brick Township, a pair of games against Brick Memorial High School, a rematch with Southern and a Feb. 8 game against Jackson Liberty before a showdown with formidable Toms River High School South two days later.

“From January, it’s the meat of the season — the make or break time against some elite teams,” Clayton said. “I sought out better teams. Everybody on this team is making an effort. A lot of players are willing and able to contribute. No one is sitting back.”

Clayton said he needs the defense to perform even better, although it has done its share to contribute offensively. Senior Mike Termine, one of the four captains, leads the way with five goals and 10 assists centering a line with senior Chris Petrone and freshman Nick Swain, who Clayton says is a pleasant surprise with six goals and five assists.

The other line has also done its part with junior captains Joe Jablonski III and Kyle Lalley and sophomore Cam Satkowski, whose six points leads that trio. They have had their share of minutes against the top lines of opposing teams.

The defense has cashed in on scoring opportunities. It includes junior captain Trevor Cear, who has five goals and two assists, and senior Justin Mayer, who has four goals and six assists. Sophomores Connor Lowrey and Cody Jablonski (Joe’s younger brother) also contribute defensively.

Clayton said that junior Spencer Swain, Nick’s older brother, has been a strong force on defense, and James Termine, a freshman and younger brother of Mike, also has gotten minutes on defense.

“They have to play even better on the defensive side against those elite teams,” Clayton said. “If not, we’d need a lot of goals to beat those teams, which would be a tough task.”

They look to limit scoring opportunities against goalies Matt Pousson, a sophomore, and freshman Tristin DeVito.

“We need them to be even more consistent. There’s potential there,” Clayton said.

JACKSON LIBERTY

Jackson Liberty, meanwhile, has pleased second-year coach Kyle Weise despite losing a couple of games amid some key injuries and grooming new players after losing nine to graduation from last year’s team.

“It was a little bit of a rough start, but now we have everybody back healthy,” Weise said, as veteran goalkeeper Chris Stefanowicz kept things under control in December. “The defense has rallied around our goalkeeper. We’re not giving up a lot of opportunities.”

Jackson Liberty brought in a three-game win streak when it played North Jersey power Ridgewood High School Dec. 27 in the Montclair Holiday Tournament.

Jackson Liberty lost, 3-2, as Ridgewood rallied for two goals in the closing minutes, the winner coming with three minutes left.

Senior forward Leszrek Gronowski, a leading scorer the past two seasons, missed five games with a back injury, while topnotch senior defenseman Tyler Melnick (shoulder injury) and Nick Uliano (illness) were missed in an early season loss to Ocean Township High School, 4-1. The Liberty Lions also lost to North Jersey power Morristown High School, 5-0, but boasted solid 3-2 victories over Point Pleasant Borough High School and Central Regional High School, as well as 1-1 ties with Middletown High School South and Wall High School.

Stefanowicz stopped 34 shots by Point Pleasant Borough, and senior forward Joe Low, who recently got his 100th career point, scored the game-winner against Central Regional with 3:40 left. Low plays on the first line with junior Joe D’Andrea and freshman center Nick LaBianca. Melnick, Uliano, freshman Joe Granza and junior Matt Meyer also have played well at forward.

Low and D’Andrea each scored a goal and assisted the other against Ridgewood.

Mission Belief is NJ’s Horse of the Year

Trotting filly Mission Brief has been named the winner of the Secretary of Agriculture’s Trophy as New Jersey Standardbred of the Year for 2015.

Also selected New Jersey Sire Stakes Horse of the Year, Mission Brief will be honored Jan. 24 at the 59th Annual New Jersey Breeders Awards Luncheon at 1 p.m. at O’Connor’s Restaurant (formerly Charley’s Other Brother) in Eastampton.

Voted the nation’s 2-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year in 2014, she also won the Dan Patch Award as 3-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year in 2015.

The daughter of Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena wrapped up her 3-year-old campaign with 10 wins and three seconds in 14 starts, banking more than $1 million toward a career total of $1,599,587 for the ownership of the Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The Ron Burke trainee was regularly driven by Yannick Gingras.

Undefeated in her New Jersey Sires Stakes competition, including the $100,000 final at the Meadowlands, she also won the $307,040 Elegantimage at Mohawk Raceway, the $185,000 Zweig at Vernon Downs, the $187,400 Matron at Dover Downs, the $144,000 Continental Victory at the Meadowlands and the $174,000 Money Maker at The Meadows.

She made a bid to best the boys in the $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands, winning her elimination but finishing second to Pinkman in the $1 million final Aug. 8.

Bred by Steve H. Stewart, Black Creek Farm and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc., she sold for $150,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale.

At 2 years old, she won both the Merrie Annabelle and Breeders Crown, for nine wins in 13 starts and earnings just shy of $600,000.

Tickets for the luncheon cost $40 per person and may be purchased from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Markets & Development, Horse Industry, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625.

For further information, email Lynn.Mathews@ag.state.nj.us or call 609-984-4389.

Goetz boys off to another strong start on hardwood

By WAYNE WITKOWSKI
Correspondent

Winning 20 games has been a trend for the Carl W. Goetz Middle School boys’ basketball team, which has done so in each of the last three seasons. This year’s team again is off and running in a 7-3 start.

But this team will need some help if it wants to repeat as Ocean County Intermediate Athletic League champions after suffering its second league loss of the season recently to unbeaten Toms River Intermediate North.

Goetz is alone in second place in the standings, but coach Steve Bado believes he has the personnel to stay in the hunt.

Goetz plays in the four-team championship round in the Santa Scamper at Mount Carmel School in Asbury Park. Goetz plays at 7 p.m. Jan. 2 against an opponent to be determined. The team went 2-1 in pool play, losing to championship-round qualifier St. James School when three of its starters were out, rolling past St. Joseph Grade School of Toms River and beating St. Aloysius School of Jackson, 30-23, in the tournament.

“We’re getting guys some game time experience,” Bado said. “In late January and February, we’ll make a run in the tournaments.”

The lineup is laden with eighth graders with big-game experience. Eighth grader Tom Cartnick also was an outstanding pitcher last summer for the Jackson Little League team that won the district and state championships and got to the Mid-Atlantic Region finals before losing for the farthest advance of any Jackson Little League team.

Also in the Goetz starting lineup is point guard Nick Colon, whose 15-point average leads the team in scoring, and Rony Bantang is a talented 6-foot-2 center who also played sweeper on the Goetz high-powered boys soccer team that nailed down a repeat unbeaten season and Ocean County Middle Schools Red Division title. Both are eighth graders.

Michael Cooper is another eighth-grade starter at guard, while the other starting spot is shared by 5-foot-10 eighth graders Zach Novak and Jake McKown.

“This is a very coachable bunch of guys,” said Bado, who is assisted by Joe Pienkowski, the boys’ lacrosse coach at Jackson Memorial High School. “They know what it takes to be successful.”

It’s a team that adapts to situations. It runs in transition when the opportunity presents itself, but it can patiently pull the ball back in a half-court set against teams like Lakewood Middle School that rely so much on speed.

“We’re not as big as last year. We have very good athletes,” Bado said, with the only other player with size being 6-foot-3 backup center James Vislocky, an eighth grader. “It’s not a typical Goetz team of a stud guard and big guys. It’s well balanced. Scoring comes from everywhere.”

The defense has been adequate, holding every opposing team under 40 points. The deep bench includes eighth graders Aaron Hutchsinson, who can play guard or forward, and guard Jake Rasinski, as well as seventh-grade guards Caden Brooks, Stanley Smith and Sean Slusak and forward Matthew Potok. Slusak also was on the school’s championship soccer team.

After the holiday tournament, Goetz returns to action Jan. 5 at Lacey Township Middle School. It is not at home again until Jan. 14, when it plays Central Middle School.

SPORT SHORTS

Jackson Memorial High School senior right-hander Chris Hawryluk signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his baseball career at Monmouth University.

Hawryluk is heading into his third varsity season with the Jaguars on the diamond and has starred both on the mound as a pitcher and at the plate as a first baseman. This past season, he hit .444 with five doubles, a triple and three home runs while knocking in 21 runs and scoring 24. He also posted a .550 on-base percentage and .622 slugging percentage from the middle of the Jaguars’ order.

Central Jersey RedLegs will hold tryouts for the 11U 2016 spring and summer baseball season. Winter workouts start the first week of January. Indoor tournaments, league play and multiple travel tournaments will be played.

Home fields are located in Michael Tighe Park, Freehold Township.

Contact Coach Tom at tfigliolino@aol.com for details.

Items for the Sport Shorts column may be sent to tmorris@gmnews.com. Please send items at least two weeks prior to a registration deadline or tryout date.

Weber leads Warriors to win in girls hoops season opener

By WAYNE WITKOWSKI
Correspondent

New Egypt High School’s Faith Weber has enjoyed more success in 2015 than most student-athletes would enjoy throughout their entire high school careers.

The 6-foot senior got off to a roaring start for the two-time defending Burlington County Scholastic League Independent Division champion girls’ basketball team, scoring 26 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and blocking seven shots as the Warriors rolled past Medford Tech, 49-30, in their season opener Dec. 18 at home. Younger sister Samantha Weber had 10 points and seven rebounds for New Egypt, and Sarah Weirsky added 10 assists. The trio continued their exploits Dec. 21 in a 58-50 victory over Pemberton High School. Faith Weber erupted for 31 points and 18 rebounds, and Sam Weber had 14 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and four assists for New Egypt. The Warriors used a 19-5 secondquarter run to take a 13-point lead at halftime. Weirsky recorded eight assists and three steals.

Faith Weber also pitched in the spring for the softball team that was one win away from returning to the state championship game after winning the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group I title. She also was an integral player for the Burlington County team that won the Carpenter Cup in Philadelphia in June and then played for the New Jersey Bandits travel softball team that won the United States Specialty Sports Association regional softball championship in Salisbury, Maryland.

She is looking for an NCAA Division I college softball career with keen interest in Bucknell University, as well as Philadelphia University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Weber also played field hockey in the fall.

For now, she is focused on winning again in basketball. The Redbirds are coming off a 14-11 season that ended with a loss in the state tournament opener against Woodbury High School. Weber, who averaged 19 points and 14 rebounds and is 218 points away from 1,000 for her three-year varsity career coming into this week, believes this team can be successful again and perhaps go farther in tournament play. But she believes it can do it with a different dynamic.

“We lost a couple of seniors and have a lot of younger people coming up, two who never played varsity before, and we’re adapting to a different style of play,” she said.

Guards Ashley Borik, Jessica Andreula and Danelle Lewis graduated.

That different style this season, according to Weber, is to establish a more prolific outside shooting game that will free the inside for Weber to work toward open shots and then pass it back out again to an open teammate if a good shot opportunity is not there.

“She’s definitely in great shape and ready to go, motivated that this is her team,” coach Matt Brogan said. “She’s phenomenal, very difficult to handle, very versatile. She’s incredibly strong with great hands and a lot of skill in the post. She’s agile and can step out and shoot 20-foot jumpers all day.”

Weber said she worked on her post moves and her outside game during the offseason. She found she was getting doubleteamed regularly at the end of last season.

But she’s not doing it alone.

“There’s a lot of chemistry, with unspoken words,” Weber said.

Senior guards Weirsky and Kalilah Johnson and freshman guard Holly Wetzel will keep the ball moving. Weirsky has gotten stronger and more confident, Brogan said, and Johnson is a good outside shooter who averaged just less than six points a game last year and is a floor leader and emotional leader with her intensity.

“She’ll keep everybody moving in our motion offense,” Brogan said.

Brogan said Wetzel is probably the team’s most talented freshman since Emily Bausher.

“She plays well beyond her years,” the coach said.

Weber will be complemented underneath by her sister, Samantha, who is a sophomore.

“She’s incredibly versatile and is our best athlete,” Brogan said of the younger Weber. “She can shoot, get to the rim and is a tremendous defender. She’s also a slasher who can create her own shots.”

Amanda Weaver, a 5-foot-8 junior transfer, also can help in the post coming off the bench.

“Don’t be surprised if we stretch the bench,” said Brogan, who is assisted again by Kaitlyn Carty.

Seniors Michaela Shenker, a solid defender at guard, and senior swing player Kirsten Homeny, who can pass the ball well, can help.

“The key for us is to keep the ball off the floor and use the dribble to attack and move side-to-side to keep the inside open,” Brogan said. “We definitely need game sense and need to play well together under fire and to be able to knock down shots. We have a lot of options and hopefully will make a good percentage of shots. If we do that, we’ll be tough to beat.”

New Egypt plays Raritan High School in its Warriors Holiday Classic that it hosts at 4 p.m. Dec. 28. Lindenwold High School and Pinelands Regional High School play in the other bracket of the four-team tournament at 1 p.m. that day. The consolation game is at 1 p.m. Dec. 30 and the championship is at 4 p.m. that day.

Collecting the pinfall

 SCOTT FRIEDMAN SCOTT FRIEDMAN Jackson Liberty High School’s Jerald Goodman won his 192-pound match against Christian Pritzlaff of Red Bank Catholic High School by a pin at the Ice Breaker Wrestling Tournament at Old Bridge High School Dec. 19. Goodman finished second in his weight class.

Jaguars’ boys, girls bowlers off to strong start to season

By WAYNE WITKOWSKI
Correspondent

Jackson Memorial High School’s girls’ bowling team, which won the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV title last March, and its boys team are off to solid starts in the young season.

Both will be put to the test again Jan. 2 when they compete in the annual Brick Tournament. Brick Township High School’ girls won the Tournament of Champions title, with Jackson Memorial finishing right behind, in March. Three players return from that Jackson Memorial team, led by junior Aimee Sherman, who was seventh in the Shore Conference last year with an average of 194.

“She’s very skilled and knows the game inside and out,” Jackson Memorial girls coach Brian Tart said. “She’s extremely polished.”

Also back in the lineup are seniors Alexa Asta, who has bowled consistently throughout the season, and Jessica Ormsby, a streaky hot bowler who can string strikes when she gets momentum. They have led the Jaguars to a hot streak of late as they come into the week 12-6.

Jackson Memorial was swept Dec. 21 in a showdown with leading contender Howell High School. Tart remained upbeat regarding the long season that goes into March.

“They’re all capable of bowling a 220, 230 game any night,” Tart said.

Sophomore Jenna Waldron and senior left-hander Jamilia Nobles have broken into the lineup. Freshman Erin Logan also has been in the mix.

“We need to keep improving and for the top three to carry us to the end of the season. That’s the hope,” Tart said.

As for the boys team, they reeled off a 15-3 start coming into the Dec. 21 showdown against top contender Howell. Jackson Memorial’s boys showed their skill when they blistered Ocean Lanes with a 3,772 triplicate in qualifiers — the second highest score behind Brick Memorial High School — in the Roll with the Indians Tournament. The Jaguars placed fifth overall. Freshman Brad Aumann lost a bid for a 300 game on his 11th ball and ended with a 286 in qualifiers. Senior Anthony Sranka at one stretch hit eight strikes in a row. Sranka and Aumann are in the No. 2 and No. 4 spots, respectively. Junior Steven Gold leads it off, senior Nick DeGaetano is the No. 3 bowler and junior Steve Nicholsen anchors the lineup.

DeGaetano bowled a 223 despite an injured finger when the boys dropped two of three games against Howell. Paul Allen, a junior, stepped into the lineup for Nicholsen and bowled well.

The boys team earlier in December finished fourth in the Bob James Winter Classic at Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick behind Gold and Nicholsen and were as high as second place in the team standings in the latter stages.