Hazlet 11-year-olds tops of local Babe Ruth play

first_img By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer Hazlet 11-year-olds tops of local Babe Ruth play The Hazlet Babe Ruth League 11-year-old all-star team had a spectacular summer, winning four tournaments, including district and state titles in its division. Coach Vinny DiConstanzi’s club went 29-7 overall, thanks to a solid pitching corps and some big bats in the middle of its lineup. “Everyone contributed to our success, but I think our pitching was the key,” the coach said. “We have five quality pitchers, most teams only have one or two.” Those hurlers include Marc Zucchino and Andrew Mandeville, the staff aces, along with Frank DiRoma, Jim Cox and Chris DiConstanzi. This group started the campaign in fine fashion, propelling Hazlet to the championship in the Cranford tourney, which culminated with a victory over Bridgewater in the final. Next, the team competed in the Babe Ruth League’s District 11 tournament for 11-year-olds. After opening with a win, Hazlet lost a second round game to Matawan. The team then reeled off six straight wins, twice downing Middletown, and edging Matawan 7-1 in the championship game. DiConstanzi’s team proved to be an unpopular host, dominating its own tourney with a 5-0 mark, including a 2-1 success against Fair Haven in the finale. The team faced a dilemma: it was participating in two more tournaments at the same time. Hazlet’s main goal was to win the New Jersey Babe Ruth League 11-year-old title. While doing so, the team managed a second-place finish in the Carteret Tournament. In the state event, North Edison, which had won three consecutive titles as 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds, promptly handed Hazlet a 9-3 loss. The locals recovered from the setback and marched through the loser’s bracket to gain a place in the championship round. To win, however, Hazlet needed to beat North Edison twice in the double-elimination tournament and could not afford another defeat. In the first game, Hazlet raced to a 4-0 lead, but the game went into extra innings tied at five. DiConstanzi’s team hung tough, eventually taking a 12-5 win. Things looked bleak in game two. North Edison went up 6-0, but Hazlet’s Chris DiConstanzi shut the door the rest of the way, while his teammates rallied for a come-from-behind 7-6 win. The win qualified Hazlet for the Babe Ruth regional championship, where its exciting season came to an end. “The kids had a lot of fun and it was a big accomplishment for us to beat North Edison after they had won the state championship three years in a row,” Coach DiConstanzi said. The team’s top hitters were Zucchino, who played shortstop when not pitching, and Mandeville, a first baseman. Zucchino led the team in RBI, while Mandeville cracked 15 homers and won the home run contest at the regional tourney. DiRoma, the lead-off hitter, was regularly on base, while catcher Brian Malloy and Cox, who also plays right field, were solid at the plate. Other members of the Hazlet team are versatile Glenn Davis, infielders Tom Petry and Kevin Yorks and outfielders Victor Scanzini, Mike Sheldon, John Connell and DH Alex Wanless. Pat Zucchino, Frank DiRoma Sr. and John Petry are the assistant coaches.last_img read more

Lions end stellar season with sectional championship Middletown North boys top Trenton for CJ Group IV title

first_img Lions end stellar season with sectional championship Middletown North boys top Trenton for CJ Group IV title It was truly an outstanding season for the Middletown North High School boys’ basketball team, which went all the way to the NJSIAA Group IV semifinals before finally bowing to Shawnee. The Lions roared to a 21-7 record and worked their way to the Central Jersey Group IV title with a convincing 72-52 victory over Trenton. After receiving an opening-round bye, Middletown North defeated East Brunswick and then knocked off top-seeded South Brunswick. That set up a match with second-seeded Trenton, which had defeated Sayreville to reach the CJ Group IV final. The underdog Lions knew what they had to do, coach Will Mayer said. “We thought it would come down to two things: not turning the ball over and controlling the boards,” Mayer said. “We were able to do that. “I think we kind of surprised them in the first half, which ended 29-28, and we were comfortable with that,” he added. So comfortable, in fact, that Middletown North went on a 16-6 third-quarter run, keyed by three Jon Seidel three-pointers. Free throws were also important as the Lions were 31-41 from the line. Jay Krol and Mike Niesz scored nine and eight points, respectively, all from the charity stripe. “It really was a complete team effort,” Mayer said. The Lions’ stat sheet illustrated his point, as Cody Chalmers paced the offense with 17 points, followed by Joe Leone with 13 points and Seidel with 12 points. That sent Middletown North to the state Group IV semifinals, where they lost to Shawnee (24-4), 39-34, in a hard-fought defensive battle. Shawnee went on to lose to Newark-East Side in the Group IV finals Sunday. With their impressive postseason run now complete, the Lions are looking toward the future, with hopes of defending the sectional title. Middletown North will lose four key seniors next season: Leone, who led the team by averaging 13 points and nine rebounds; Krol, who averaged 12 points and six rebounds and went over the 1,000-point mark with 1,073 points before ending his career; Seidel (7 ppg); and point guard Marc Cino (3 ppg, 4 assists). Fortunately plenty of talent still remains, including five juniors led by the versatile Chalmers, a forward who averaged 11 points, four rebounds and three assists. Niesz, who missed half the season with a broken collarbone, came back strong late in the campaign and will have a more important role next season. Mike Colford, a forward, and Matt Krol, a guard, saw plenty of action, and that experience should pay off a year from now. Colford and Matt Krol averaged three points each. Forward Anthony Trojanowski also returns. “We have several experienced players coming back, and there are a couple of others who are ready for varsity,” Mayer said. The Lions entered the postseason battle-tested after completing a challenging Shore Conference Class A North schedule which included two games each against top-ranked Neptune and second-ranked Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft section of Middletown. As a result, they had tremendous confidence in themselves that they could compete against anybody in Group IV. The Lions’ style of play, which stresses hard work on defense and balance in scoring, enabled them to do just that, coming within one game of a group championship. They played team basketball throughout their postseason run, and it translated into wins against some quality opponents. Defense and depth win championships, and in the case of this year’s Middletown North team, they won a state sectional title. By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer last_img read more

Arre picks great time to turn his season around

first_img WALL TOWNSHIP — Maybe it was because Tim Arre was so overwhelmed by the standing-room-only crowd at Wall Township Speedway Saturday night. Or maybe he was so impressed that Winston Cup drivers Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Steve Park and Kenny Wallace were in attendance. Or perhaps the help of old friend and engine builder Jim Hagaman got him on the track. Regardless of the reason, Toms River’s Arre turned around what has thus far been one of his most disappointing seasons ever to win the Busch Beer Modified 35-lap main event for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at the third-mile paved oval Saturday night. “I guess you could say this was the perfect night to turn it around,” said Arre, who has been plagued by mechanical problems most of the season. “The big crowd, the Winston Cup drivers here, I love it.” Arre started his black J. Fletcher Creamer No. 4 from the fifth starting slot and immediately started to advance. When he avoided a pile-up at the front of the pack just a few laps into the contest, he lined up second behind Wall’s Mike Carr on the restart. Arre then hounded the leader for a couple of circuits before charging into the lead. Howell’s Ken Woolley Jr. and Frank Polimeda of Fort Lee followed him through. From that point on, Arre held his ground to take the win, while Woolley, Polimeda and Joe Mongeau were tight for most of the 35-lap race and at the finish line for second through fourth. Carr held on for fifth. “With the way our season was going, I was more than ready to give up,” Arre said. “I’ve got to thank everyone involved with this team. If I was ready to give up, they had to be, but they didn’t. I also have to thank Jim Hagaman. He came through for us this week and really got our motor running strong. It was obvious tonight, you could see the difference.” After meeting with fans and signing autographs, the quartet of Winston Cup drivers battled in their own 30-lap main event. While Waltrip and Marlin took turns leading early, Kenny Wallace took control off a restart with eight laps remaining to grab his first-ever Wall Township Speedway win by a half car length. Waltrip, Marlin and Park followed. “This is great. Not only can I say that I’ve raced at Wall, but I can also now say that I have won at Wall,” Wallace said. “I know all of us had a great time here today. The track is great and the people are real nice. We all had a lot of fun.” Just after the Modified main event, with four feature races still on the agenda, a problem with the electric line coming into the speedway forced many of the lights around the track and in the pit area to go out. Despite the efforts of workers and officials, the events soon had to be postponed for the evening. Operations manager Sergio Benitez did announce that all fans who hold onto their adult ticket stub can return to the track on any future race night this regular season and receive a $5 discount off that night’s grandstand ticket price. It was also announced that the Pro Stock, Street Stock, Truck Series and Legend Cars main events that could not be run will be contested this Saturday (Aug. 2) along with the regularly scheduled five division racing program. That makes this Saturday night a big evening with five racing divisions competing in nine main events. The Modifieds are set for a 35-lapper, while the Pro Stocks and Street Stocks will each compete in two 25-lappers, and the Trucks and Legend cars will each battle in two 20-lappers. Because of the huge amount of racing on the card, action will start one hour early at 5 p.m. Also on the weekend agenda will be Friday-night action on the 1/5-mile paved “inner oval.” Bandolero cars, Micro Stocks and Go-karts will star in this show, with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. and racing starting at 6:30 p.m. Kenny Wallace wins Winston Cup driver race at Wall Speedway last_img read more

Rejuventated Lions team peaking at perfect time

first_img BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer JEFFGRANIT staff St. John Vianney’s Danielle Christie takes a hit from Bishop Ahr’s Catie Rose during the Lancers’ state tournament win on March 1 in Holmdel. The Middletown High School North ice hockey team was looking to continue its turnaround season on Monday when it faced off against Princeton in the NJSIAA Tournament at the Wall Sports Arena. After posting just six wins a year ago, the Lions rebounded with a 15-4-2 mark. Along the way, Middletown North won the New Jersey Ice Hockey League’s Southern Conference White Division regular season title with an 11-1-1 record. Coach Joe Campisano’s team then downed Brick, 6-3, and Wall, 5-2, to win the White Division tourney and the Jim Dowd Cup. That helped earn Middletown North the 15th seed in the state tournament and the Lions opened with a resounding 8-2 triumph over Jackson to set up the meeting with Princeton, the 18th seed. The winner meets second-seeded Ridge tonight at the Bridgewater Sports Arena. “Things have come together at the right time for us,” Campisano said. “We’ve rolled three lines throughout the tournaments and our guys have handled the challenge. They’re really beginning to understand the effort and dedication it takes to play at a high-level game after game.” Overall the Lions went 16-4-2 by playing a disciplined style that allowed the team to counter the opposition with its speed. Traditionally known for its hard-nosed style of play, this year the Lions have added the element of speed. “When we started last season, we had seven freshmen and they learned the hard way,” Campisano said. “They were in a lot of games and when they beat Randolph and Montclair, I thought they had turned a corner, but their lack of experience was still a factor. It was a learning experience and it’s paid off for us this year.” Junior Mike Criscuolo is the Lions’ top scorer, with more than 30 goals, but Middletown North is not a one-man team, Campisano stressed. Captain Drew Koehler has been solid all season, but especially so since the tourneys started, and has 25 points to his credit. Nick Brown is back after recovering from a broken wrist; he has 10 goals. Joe Vega, who scored a hat trick against Jackson, Kevin Kelly and Walter Heid have played well, as have the trio of Jay Maranzino, junior Brian Kirk and sophomore Dan Wrensen. Sophomores Ricky Buonono and Tom Marchigano, both up from the junior varsity, have played well when called upon. Marchigano netted his first two varsity goals in the Jackson win. Joel Mazzola and Shane Hall have handled the goaltending duties, and North’s defense anchored by senior Scott Palmer and a pair of sophomores, Rich Meyer and Bryan Felice, has been solid. “We’re still a relatively young team, but the biggest difference is confidence,” the coach said. “Our guys think they can win. In our last two playoff games we scored twice in the first five minutes, both times. Our guys are coming to play from the opening faceoff. That’s what we’ve stressed all year and it’s good to see it happening.” BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer last_img read more

Local stars’ selection a feather in state’s cap

first_imgDoug McKenzie After further review Doug McKenzieAfter further review Twenty years ago, there was Jim Dowd, and now there’s James van Riemsdyk. Dowd is a veteran of 14 NHL seasons, who played this past season with the New Jersey Devils after becoming a local hockey legend growing up in Brick in the 1970s and 1980s. Van Riemsdyk is an 18-year-old kid from Middletown, who was selected second in the June 22 NHL draft after playing two glory-filled seasons at Christian Brothers Academy before starring for a pair of U.S. developmental teams in Michigan over the past two years. From now on, the two players will forever be linked in a way that will always be a great source of pride for them both – they both grew up playing for the Brick Hockey Club, and they’ve both helped legitimize the notion that New Jersey is home to plenty of hockey talent. “Jimmy Dowd proved a long time ago that Jersey kids can play,” said Alex DePalma, a longtime coach for the Brick Hockey Club. “There’s real good hockey in New Jersey – it’s just a matter of getting them recognized. You don’t see much college hockey here, other than Princeton, so you don’t see a lot of scouts. You have to go to them.” For Dowd, the recognition came rather easily. As a high school star at Brick Township, he broke the national school record with 375 points (189 goals, 186 assists). In his freshman and sophomore years, Brick Township won the keenly competitive Gordon Cup in the toughest division in the state and lost in the state championship game both years. The following year, the Green Dragons won the state championship but lost in the Gordon Cup finals. In his senior year, his team lost in the Gordon Cup finals and in the state quarterfinals to Delbarton that ended his high school career. Dowd launched his pro career as the eighth-round pick in the 1987 draft by the Devils, their seventh player selected in the draft. He played first with Lake Superior State University where he was an All-American before going to the Devils in 1993-94. Over the past 14 years he’s been a journeyman of sorts, playing for the Devils, Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild. Van Riemsdyk took a different route to becoming one of the most coveted young talents in the world. After his sophomore year at CBA, where he won a state championship, he joined the U.S. developmental program in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he tallied 105 points (59 goals and 46 assists) in 97 games and helped lead a USA team to the gold medal at the Ice Hockey Federation World Under-19 Championships in Sweden. His exploits led to his being picked second in the draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, after the Chicago Blackhawks selected Buffalo, N.Y., native Patrick Kane as the top pick, making Kane and van Riemsdyk the first two American-born players to be drafted first and second in draft history. Van Riemsdyk, who will play at least one season at the University of New Hampshire before pursuing his pro career, is also the third straight New Jersey native to be selected in the first round, joining Bobby Ryan of Collingswood (the second pick in the 2005 draft by Anaheim) and Bobby Sanguinetti of Lawrenceville (the 21st pick by the New York Rangers in the 2006 draft). His selection at No. 2 sent shock waves throughout the Garden State’s hockey community, as he immediately became the latest poster child for hockey enthusiasts who have long been crowing for more respect for Jersey’s top players. “I take a lot of pride in being part of the next wave of hockey players from the U.S., and specifically New Jersey,” van Riemsdyk said. “I think Jersey doesn’t get a lot of respect, but that should start to change pretty quick with the three of us getting drafted so high.” The Middletown native has been doing his part to promote New Jersey hockey for a number of years now, playing on select travel teams out of the Brick Hockey Club that enjoyed tremendous success in out-of-state tournaments. DePalma said that the success of those teams is a source of pride for local players and coaches alike. “It says a lot for New Jersey hockey,” he said. “For years we’ve been taking our kids up to Massachusetts to play in tournaments and have done very well. In 2004, we went up there and faced five of the top-ranked teams in the nation and won the tournament.” And van Riemsdyk’s ability to thrive as a member of the national teams only strengthened the argument that Jersey’s best players can play with anyone. “I think the high-end players in New Jersey can stack up with the high-end player anywhere,” he said. “It’s really just a matter of depth. You know when you’re playing a team from Minnesota there’s going to be more good players, because there are so many more kids playing the sport.” However, with more and more youth and high-school-level hockey programs popping up in communities all over the state, New Jersey is producing more talented players every year, something CBA coach Mike Reynolds said will only turn more eyes to the Garden State when evaluating potential prospects. “Even Jimmy Dowd said this is something special,” Reynolds said. “This is phenomenal for New Jersey hockey.” Which is exactly what they were saying when Dowd became a New Jersey Devil 20 years ago.last_img read more

Eagles out to build on last year’s championships

first_imgBaseball team won county, CJ III titles BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Howie Brey (right) and the Middletown High School South baseball team are looking to build on last year’s double championship season. The Eagles won the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III and Monmouth County Tournament titles en route to a 19-win season. The Eagles open the 2012 campaign at Brick Township on March 31. Their home opener is April 2 against Howell. ERIC SUCAR staff Star pitcher Will Siegfried has graduated with some solid supporting players in shortstop Mike Gannon, catcher Rob Marcikiewicz and right fielder Chris Mangarelli from last year’s 19-9 team that won the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III and Monmouth County championships.The two tournament titles came in just a day’s time, and coach Ryan Spillane does not feel that the glory is ending there.“In 18 hours, we had two dogpiles for two championships,” Spillane said. “It was the best 24 hours in my baseball coaching career. It was an amazing 24 hours, an amazing ride.”The Eagles beat Red Bank Catholic, 7-4, at the Lakewood BlueClaws’ FirstEnergy Park for their first Monmouth County title since 1990. The following afternoon, they beat Brick Township, 7-1, for their first state section title since 1999. Their season ended when they lost in the Group III state semifinals, 7-0, to Seneca and pitcher Kevin Comer, who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the Major League Baseball draft.Spillane, whose team begins anew its quest for more championship honors on March 31 at Brick Township, speaks confidently that this is part of a trend.“To be able to do those two things is a step in the right direction,” Spillane said. “At the point where we’re at now, we don’t want to let up. The guys got a taste of what it’s like to win. We want to be one of the best teams in the Shore year in and year out. Certainly, we have the talent in Middletown South to do that.”And Spillane feels he has established not just a team, but a program that has become a perennial contender in Shore Conference A North. He speaks proudly of 10 players from the past two seasons he says are playing college baseball, including Siegfried at Brookdale Community College, Gannon at Catholic University and Marcikiewicz at Manhattan College.But the biggest one is senior first baseman and pitcher Howie Brey, who has signed for Rutgers. “He’s our first player to get to that level of (NCAA) Division I,” Spillane said. Brey said it was the feeling of comfort and quality of the program that attracted him.Stefan Poggioli, who moves from left to right field this season, is headed to Catholic University. Erik Obsteins, who is playing in left field along with senior Brian Healy, is going to Montclair State.“I like thewaywe go about our business,” Spillane said of this year’s team. “We have a lot of talent, and the experience of winning two [tournament] championships goes a long way for putting us in the right mindset and in work ethic. They understand what the goals are. They have the talent and character, and it’s a matter of doing it now.”That question of ongoing quality will be put stringently to the test at the start of the season when Middletown South, after its opener, plays three Shore Conference A North games in four days against Howell onApril 2, Christian Brothers Academy on April 4, and crosstown rival Middletown North the following day.Brey, who takes over the No. 1 spot on the mound, feels his team is up for the challenge.“He [Spillane] wants it to be like this since he’s turned it around,” said Brey of the idea of ongoing success. “We’re not a oneyear wonder.”In fact, some players think even better things lie ahead, and Spillane said, “This is our best hitting team in my four years.”“I feel this is actually a better team,” said outfielder Dan Sweeney. “Pitching is deeper. The offense is looking better than last year. The guys from last year are looking for the younger guys to step up. We can’t depend on just Howie. We need a deeper staff.”Brey was 6-3 on the mound last year and throws a fastball, curve, change-up and splitter. “I’m pitching real well, probably the best I’ve thrown in my high school career,” Brey said. “Last year, I felt I tried to overpower people too much, and that hurt me a little. Sometimes Iwas just putting the ball over the middle and not painting the corners and not using enough of my off-speed pitches.”Junior Vic Maynes will play at first base when Brey pitches.“I expectHowie Brey to be one of the best pitchers in the Shore,” Spillane said.Junior infielder Perry Kulaga has pitched well, as has junior third baseman Mike Grossi, but Spillane said 6-4 left-hander Mike DiOrio “can be one of the best pitchers in A North.” He throws a fastball, curve and change-up. Senior right-hander Marcus Santo also is in the mix, said Spillane. Junior Piero Vescio looks like the closer.Nick McGann has established himself as the starting catcher and started the first half of last season when Marcikiewicz was injured.Kyle Brey, Howie’s younger brother, and junior Frank Servidio are playing at second base. Ironically, the one spot that remains uncertain in the closing days before the season is a crucial one — shortstop, where Spillane said no one in a mix of players has the edge.Junior Rob Grilli and senior Matt Josephson are backup catchers along with junior Ryan Patterson. Junior Hunter Dreuer gives depth in the outfield.“If pitching and defense stays together, hitting will take care of itself,” Spillane said.Many components are in place for another fine season.“We need to do the little things, not making mental mistakes, situational hitting, not giving away outs on defense,” Sweeney said.And also to share Spillane’s confidence for winning.last_img read more

O’Neill gains All-American honors at indoor nationals

first_imgBY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Matawan Regional High School’s Glenn Cross (l) and St. Joseph of Montvale High School’s Michael Silano mix it up during their 182-pound wrestleback match at the NJSIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament on March 9 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Silano won by a decision and moved on in the tournament. Middletown North High School’s Tom O’Neill can now add the title All-American to his collection of state championships.The Lions’ standouts earned the prestigious honor at the New Balance Indoor Nationals held March 8-10 at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City, N.Y. He finished fifth in the two-mile run. The top six finishers in each event earned All-American recognition.“I’m really happy to be in the top six,” said O’Neill after his race. “It’s the coolest thing to be up there (on the podium) with the best in the nation.”Having run one of the fastest times indoors this winter for 3,200 meters (9:02.00 in winning the NJSIAA Meet of Champions), O’Neill was certainly a candidate for a top-six finish on March 10. It was the way he ran the race, though, that proved O’Neill belongs in such select company.The junior didn’t go to the Armory just to participate and hope things might break his way. Instead, he came to the race looking to run fast and was unafraid to run up front and force the pace.“It was a slow race,” he said. “I started making moves.”After a 4:29.9 for the opening mile (just under sub-9:00 pace), the pace slowed over the next laps and O’Neill, who had moved up to second place, saw that as the time to make things happen. He went to the front, upping the pace. Race favorite and national record holder in the event, Edward Cheserek from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, followed.Cheserek let O’Neill do the work before opening it up 500 meters out.“I was concerned about Cheserek because he has a good kick,” O’Neill said. Cheserek used that kick to break the race open and defend his title, clocking 8:59.00.O’Neill would pay for his surge in the final lap, slipping to fifth place and running 9:06.40. It wasn’t as fast as he wanted to go (he was hoping to run under 9:00), but garnering All-American honors was certainly consolation enough.O’Neill said he will take a week off and rest before getting ready for an outdoor campaign that will include the high school mile at the Penn Relays next month.CBA wins 4×1-mileIt was a big weekend for Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) and its stable of distance runners, which won yet another cross country Meet of Champions title and finished fourth at the Nike Cross Nationals in the fall.The Colts, competing as the Brothers Track Club, won the 4×1-mile relay on March 9 for the second straight year in a nation leading 17:22.67. The victorious quartet was Jack Boyle (4:24.75), Billy Bragg (4:21.60), Aaron Liberatore (4:18.40) and Tom Rooney (4:17.92).The Colts began the nationals on March 8 with a second-place finish in the distance medley relay (DMR), turning in a quick 10:10.78. Staples TC from Connecticut was first in the year’s fastest time, 10:07.01.Bragg (3:05.96), Zach McDermott (49.10), Clark Mangini (1:52.30) and Boyle (4:23.42) were the Colts’ DMR team.CBA didn’t stop there. McDermott, Mike Pozo, Mike Zupko and Mangini were third in the sprint medley (3:29.03) n March 9.The Colts hurdlers got into the act, as the team of Chris Alexander, Matt O’Connor, Pozo and McDermott were fourth in the 4×55-meter hurdles relay (30.26).That made three All-American nods for Mangini and McDermott.last_img read more

Principe left lasting legacy as longtime coach at Keyport

first_imgSal Principe can’t help feeling nostalgic. It’s his nature, and many people who share his memories as a successful longtime coach for two generations at Keyport High School keep in touch with him, even though he lives thousands of miles away these days in Bradenton, Florida, since retiring after the 2013-14 school year.They keep in touch through Facebook, emails, phone calls, and some even visit him in Florida like Deboney Braithwaite, a math teacher at Keyport, where she played field hockey as a goalie in one of the early seasons for Principe (Principe coached from 1992 until his retirement), and she later became an assistant coach in the sport. Valerie Rogers is preparing for her second season as Keyport field hockey head coach.“It was like a second family with the field hockey girls,” Principe said, as many former players stay in touch. “The last three years were the best seasons, going to the state finals one year.”Sami Nellis, one of those former players, an underclassman when Principe coached at Keyport, is starting her freshman year at Kean University.Braithwaite followed the lead of Principe on the field and in the classroom, where he taught as an algebra and an advanced placement calculus teacher at Keyport with as much pride as his coaching triumphs.“She’s like a second daughter,” Principe said about Braithwaite. He got the nickname “Math Prince,” which remains part of his email address, in Keyport’s classrooms, and he still tutors math in person and on Skype.Principe’s coaching résumé extends far beyond field hockey, as he also was head coach of the baseball team for 17 seasons through 2003 and was a girls basketball assistant for 10 years through the 1990s before switching winter sports to coaching Keyport’s girls and boys teams in bowling, which he did for 15 years until his retirement. He still loves to bowl.His girls bowling team was a perennial division champion in the Shore Conference and won an NJSIAA Group II title. The baseball team won a group title and two state section titles — the same as girls basketball during Principe’s tenure as assistant. Braithwaite also played basketball while Principe was an assistant.Principe got the idea to retire to Florida when visiting Chris Connelly, former golf and softball coach at Keyport who had moved to Clearwater, Florida, when he retired from coaching and teaching. A Brooklyn, New York, native residing in Brick Township, Principe said he relocated partly because of expensive taxes as a homeowner as well as the idyllic setting of the Sunshine State.He also umpired softball games for many years while living in New Jersey and has only one regret: “There’s not much field hockey here in Florida,” he said. “Another of my former players who moved to Florida and came to visit me is starting a field hockey travel team.”Principe said her venture seems to be catching on. By WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent last_img read more

Oxlade-Chamberlain fires Arsenal back to the top, Liverpool stumble

first_imgArsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, out for five months with a knee injury, scored twice to lead his team to a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday and back to the top of the Premier League.They might only stay there until Monday when Manchester City, who they knocked off the summit, play third-placed Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, but the 20-year-old Oxlade-Chamerlain’s return to fitness should be a huge boost for the Gunners in the title run-in.Arsenal have 55 points from 24 games, followed by City on 53 from 23 and Chelsea on 50 from 23.Liverpool, who were held to a 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, are fourth with 47 points.“I’ve been off the pitch for a while and its great to come back with two goals and help the team to a win,” the 20-year-old midfielder told Sky Sports.Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was injured in the opening match of the season against Aston Villa, has made three substitute appearances in the league as well as starting in the FA Cup against Coventry City before Sunday’s return to full Premier League action.Manager Arsene Wenger decided to play him in the centre of midfield rather than his usual wide position and was rewarded for his decision.“Crystal Palace were well organised and united in their desire to do the job,” Wenger said.“They are a physically strong side and we knew we had to take advantage of our chances, and we did.”Arsenal needed to be patient to break down a well-organised Palace side who have improved since Tony Pulis became manager at the end of November.Although they rarely threatened, they defended well until the second minute of the second half when Oxlade-Chamberlain found space at the far post to score with a delicate lob from a Santi Cazorla cross.Palace went close to an equaliser when Cameron Jerome headed straight at Wojciech Szczesny, but the game was all but over when Oxlade-Chamberlain scored to make it 2-0 after a neat one-two with Olivier Giroud in the 73rd minute.That was his first goal for Arsenal since December 2012 and his first in any match since scoring for England against Brazil in the Maracana Stadium in June.Palace remained just one place and one point above the relegation zone.SCHOOLBOY HOWLEREarlier, a schoolboy howler by defender Kolo Toure cost Liverpool victory when he gifted West Brom the equaliser in the 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns.His mistake came after 67 minutes when, under no pressure, he played a loose ball straight across his own 18-metre line to substitute Victor Anichebe standing unmarked on the edge of the box and the former Everton man fired past Simon Mignolet.Toure could only hold his head in his hands after his dreadful defending which enabled Albion to grab a point from the match Liverpool largely dominated.“He is an experienced guy so he knows it was a mistake,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told the BBC.“He is devastated because he is a real conscientious guy. There is no blame for any of them.“Unfortunately, it has cost us two points but, hopefully, we will see it as a point gained at the end of the season.”Liverpool took the lead in the 24th minute after Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez linked up on the right of the penalty area with the Uruguayan crossing to the far post where Daniel Sturridge tapped home.Sturridge has now scored seven goals in his last six successive Liverpool appearances either side of a nine-match injury absence and Sunday’s strike was his 50th in the Premier League.last_img read more

Superb Dutch destroy sorry Spain 5-1

first_imgBy Neil MaidmentStunning goals from Dutch captain Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben ensured an awful start to Spain’s World Cup defence as the Netherlands destroyed one of the tournament favourites 5-1 in Group B on Friday.In complete contrast to the tetchy World Cup final between the sides in 2010 which Spain won 1-0, the Dutch took revenge with a pulsating display capped off by two goals each for Van Persie and Robben and one by Stefan de Vrij.Spain, also 2008 and 2012 European champions, took a 27th- minute lead through a Xabi Alonso penalty after Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa went down under a challenge from de Vrij, only for Van Persie to equalise brilliantly in the 44th minute.The Dutch forward stole in between Sergio Ramos and Jordi Alba to meet a searching Daley Blind cross with a powerful diving header that left goalkeeper Iker Casillas rooted.Moments before Van Persie’s goal Spain missed a glorious chance to double their lead when midfielder David Silva’s cheeky chip was pushed wide for a corner.It was a wasted chance they came to rue.After the break the Dutch poured forward and went ahead after 53 minutes when Robben got on the end of another superb Blind lobbed pass before turning Gerard Pique and holding off Sergio Ramos to fire home from seven metres.The match opened up but in the Netherlands’ favour with De Vrij stealing in on 64 minutes at the back post to convert a free kick after Van Persie put Casillas under pressure.It got worse for Spain as Van Persie added a fourth after taking advantage of a sloppy touch by Casillas to slot home in the 72nd minute and Robben stunned a raucous crowd as he toyed with the Spanish defence and Casillas before belting home in the 80th.The defeat was the heaviest for Spain under coach Vicente Del Bosque.last_img read more