Cardia Clark (l) and Amanda Popoli participate in drills during tryouts for the Sky Blue FC women’s soccer team at the Metuchen Sportsplex on March 6. The team kicks off its season at Yurcak Field in Piscataway April 10. SCOTT FRIEDMAN The way to imprint your coaching philosophy is by testing it against the best competition.That is why Jim Cabrerra, Sky Blue FC’s new coach, recently took his players to Turkey, where they met champion club teams from Denmark, Sweden and Russia.“The competition is good,” said Cabrerra, who arrives from the Washington Freedom, where he coached for 10 seasons, including a Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league championship in 2010. “We go against clubs which played together for years, so we face a good challenge.”Sky Blue’s foray to Istanbul included a match against FK Energiya from Denmark, a match against Fortuna Hjorring of Sweden, and a scrimmage against the Russian league champions.Sky Blue will open its 2011 WPS season on April 10 against the Philadelphia Independence at Yurcak Field on Rutgers University’s Piscataway campus. For tickets, visit the website at www.womensprosoccer.com/ny or call 1-888-SBFC-TIXSky Blue won the WPS title in 2009 and hopes to rebound from a 7-10-7 record the squad posted last season.The roster was fortified with the recent addition of former Rutgers University goaltender Erin Guthrie, who played last year for FC Gold Pride of San Francisco. Guthrie became available when the Gold Pride ceased operations in November. To further bolster the roster, Sky Blue held tryouts recently in Piscataway, with prospects from around the country invited to participate.According to Cabrerra, the team decided to remain with the current roster.“The tryouts are something we do to discover players with special qualities in physical, technical, tactical and psychological facets of the game,” Cabrerra said.Sky Blue’s roster features U.S. National Team player Heather O’Reilly from East Brunswick, Carolyn Blank from Toms River, and Tobin Heath of Basking Ridge.“New Jersey has a rich tradition for developing great players,” says Cabrerra. “Being a local product certainly is a strong consideration when evaluating who makes our final roster.” O’Reilly is the best-known Garden State native. She has earned international fame in more than 100 appearances with the U.S. National Team. O’Reilly has won two Olympic gold medals and has played in one FIFA World Cup Finals.As a member of North Carolina’s NCAA championship teams in 2003 and 2006, O’Reilly earned the College Cup MVP. She was named ESPN’s Academic Player of the Year as a senior and Soccer America’s Women’s College Player of the Year.In addition to earning All-American honors as a member of the East Brunswick High School soccer team, O’Reilly was a key member of several all-star development teams.O’Reilly and midfielder Heath were members of the national team that recently won the Algarve Cup in Faro, Portugal. O’Reilly scored the go-ahead goal in the United States’ 4-2 victory over Iceland.Cabrerra looks forward to having O’Reilly and Heath rejoin Sky Blue.“Everybody has the same goal,” he said of the team’s prospects for 2011. “It’s like having a clean slate. Each season brings the excitement of knowing you have something to work toward. It is a great process and journey, and with the quality on this team, we are anxious to get started.”
Monmouth University For the first time in program history, the Monmouth University field hockey team was selected as the Northeast Conference (NEC) preseason favorite, voted upon by the league’s head coaches.The Hawks earned four first-place votes, while defending champion Rider University, picked for second, had three votes for the top spot. The Hawks hope history repeats itself, as the league’s preseason favorite has gone on to win the NEC Tournament title in each of the past six seasons.“It’s nice to be recognized as the preseason favorites,” said head coach Carli Figlio, who is beginning her sixth season with the team, in a college press release. “We want to take each step in our season as it comes and focus on the game at hand. We are excited to get our players on the field to see what they can create.”Michelle Pieczynski of Doylestown, Pa., is Monmouth’s all-time points leader and she will return in 2012 for her senior season to lead the Hawks’ offensive attack. The First Team All-Northeast Conference selection logged career highs in goals (19) and assists (seven) in 2011, pushing her career points total to 95 between 41 goals and 13 assists. She was also selected to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) First Team All-Mid Atlantic, the first Monmouth player to be added to the first team.Pieczynski will be joined by junior Trish O’Dwyer of Dublin, Ireland, who finished second in points in her first season with the Hawks last year. Playing in all 21 games, the forward scored 16 goals while dishing out eight helpers to earn herself a spot on the First Team All-NEC. O’Dwyer, who was named to the NFHCA Second Team All- Mid Atlantic, scored two goals in the NEC Tournament to land on the all-tournament squad.Senior Nicole Manziano from Monroe Township, as well as juniors Ali Askinas (West Chester, Pa.) and Alex Carroll (Oceanport), return to control the back line for the Hawks. Manziano, who is a 2008 graduate of Monroe Township High School, was an all-conference performer in 2011. She started in all 21 games and she finished as the nation’s leader in defensive saves with 12. Askinas, who also was tabbed as All-NEC, has not missed a start in her two years at Monmouth. The junior registered two defensive saves last season and she earned her first two points of her career, dishing out two assists. Carroll, a 2009 Shore Regional High School graduate, has proven to be a threat on both sides of the field during her first two years with the Harks. She earned the start in all 21 games last season and finished third on the team with 20 points on seven goals and six assists. Carroll also recorded two defensive saves en route to her selection to the All-NEC First Team.A former teammate of Carroll from Shore Regional, West Long Branch’s Alyssa Ercolino joins the Hawks’ roster in 2012 as a freshman at the forward position. Last year, she helped the Blue Devils repeat as Shore Conference Tournament champions and capture the NJSIAA Group I state title.Another local product on the team is sophomore keeper Amanda Westerweller (Holmdel) from Holmdel High School.Monmouth went 15-6 last fall, equaling the school record for wins in a season. The Hawks lost the NEC championship game to Rider, 2-1.Saint Francis University (Loretto, Pa.) was picked to finish third in the preseason poll. Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Conn.) earned the final first place vote in fourth, while the league coaches selected Robert Morris University (Carnot-Moon, Pa.) to finish fifth. Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, Conn.) was slotted sixth, while Bryant University (Smithfield, R.I.) and Siena College (Latham, N.Y.) rounded out the eight-team poll.The Hawks open their 2012 season on Aug. 24, hosting Syracuse University at 1 p.m. Rutgers University visits West Long Branch on Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. On Sept. 2, the Hawks willhostFairfieldUniversitywitha2p.m.starttime.Monmouth doesn’t begin NEC play until Oct. 7, when the Hawks play at St. Francis at 1 p.m. The NEC home opener is not until Oct. 19 against Bryant at 4 p.m.
The Hazlet United girls soccer team is having a successful 2012 season. Hazlet United Girls Soccer
BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Christian Brothers Academy’s Bobby Hampton (r) beats Freehold Township High School’s Dave Abramovitz to the loose puck during the Jan. 9 Shore Conference Division matchup played at the Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township. The Colts skated to a 13-3 win. ERIC SUCAR staff For the second time this season, Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) had a brush with added glory when it almost recorded the win of the season. Instead, the Colts settled for its second tie of the season against Delbarton School, this time at 5-5 in a Gordon Division game on Jan. 12. The score was capped by a goal from CBA’s Brendan van Riemsdyk with 1:51 remaining. “I like the way we responded all game every time they scored a goal,” said senior center Chris Deatrick. “We never got down on ourselves. We have to keep playing like this every game.”On Dec. 5, both teams played to a 3-3 tie, as Delbarton came back from a 3-1 deficit.The ties are the only blot on Delbarton’s record against New Jersey teams in the last 56 games and both games were scary ones for Delbarton.Delbarton also came back from a 2-1 deficit with less than four minutes left to win the NJSIAA Non-Parochial A title, 3-2, last season. “They wore us down in that game,” CBA coach Ryan Bogan said. “We had a shorter bench and came apart at the end.”But CBA is off to a typically solid 8-2-2 start this season and is 6-0 in Shore Conference A North Division play. It is 3-2-2 in the Gordon Division, losing to Don Bosco Preparatory High School, 6-4, and Gloucester Catholic High School, 5-4, rallying back from early three-goal deficits in both games.“I actually thought we’d be better than we are right now. We’re underperforming,” Bogan said.Outscoring opponents by an average of 7 to 2.75 goals a game, CBA rolled last week to A North victories over Howell High School, 4-1, and Freehold Township High School, 13-3, behind a well-balanced, explosive line led by Deatrick, who has 13 goals and 12 assists, and van Riemsdyk, a junior wing who has nine goals and 13 assists. James van Riemsdyk, who is a former- Philadelphia Flyers forward who is getting back on the ice this season with the Toronto Maple Leafs now that the NHL lockout is over, and Trevor, who plays at the University of New Hampshire, are Brendan’s older brothers.Senior wing Glenn Florczak has nine goals and a dozen assists. Junior wing Anthony Cusanelli leads the second line with seven goals and 10 assists.Bogan said the team’s depth — which is greater than that of last year’s team — has helped, and his third line, of junior center Bill Antonides and wings Brendan Murphy (sophomore) and Bob Hampton (freshman), “contributes more than other years.” Hampton had a goal and an assist in the earlier tie with Delbarton.Balance showed in the recent tie with Delbarton, as five different players scored, and Deatrick said all three lines played well.That comes despite the team taking its greatest losses to graduation on the attacking end, with the departure of center James Martello and left wing Dan Malafronte from last year’s 17-5-5 team that lost in the Gordon Cup semifinals to Don Bosco Prep, 4-1. They are now playing junior league hockey.“We have a lot of senior leadership, seniors who went to The Rock [Prudential Center in Newark for the non-public state finals] and had the experience of playing in a championship environment,” Bogan said. “That heartbreaking loss motivated guys to have that drive this year. For this team, balance is absolutely the key. Having that kind of depth can’t be quantified. It makes it hard for opponents to shut down and having so much depth like this is great.“Our biggest attribute is speed,” Bogan added. “But when we can figure out how to get gritty and dirty, we may be a good team. That’s holding us back right now. And this year, any team can win.”Rolling up the sleeves is certainly evident to Bogan as he points out the goals again, saying, “2.75 goals a game is too high to play on this level.”Although Chris D’Alessio returns in goal, and Colin Kirkpatrick and R.J. Steer are back in the lineup as defensemen, Bogan said his defense overall has “had to struggle” and must raise its level to deny the goals that put CBA in an early hole in its losses. The next line of defensemen is young — sophomore Austen Pieri and freshman Jim Clifton.“Everybody knows defense wins championships,” Bogan said, recalling last season.
Burlington County College is hosting a six-week baseball camp starting on Jan. 5.Burlington head coach Scott Knazek will direct the program in conjunction with U.S. Baseball Academy.Classes are available for players in grades 1-12 and are limited to six players per coach. Sessions are offered in advanced hitting, pitching, catching, fielding and baserunning. Space is limited.Registration is now underway. For more information, visit www.usbaseballacademy.com or call toll-free at 866-622-4487.
By Steve KeatingRed Bull’s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel won the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday and became the first driver to take eight consecutive victories in a single Formula One season.Starting from pole, the 26-year-old German was again in a class of his own, taking the chequered flag 6.2 seconds clear of Frenchman Romain Grosjean in a Lotus.Vettel’s Australian team mate Mark Webber finished third.The champion, who clinched his fourth straight title in India last month, is now one step away from equalling compatriot Michael Schumacher’s 2004 record of 13 wins in a season after collecting his 12th of the year.Next weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix is the last race of the season.“I’m speechless,” Vettel told his team over the radio after his first victory at the Circuit of the Americas after missing out last year.“We have to remember these days. There is no guarantee they will last forever,” he added, his victory coming a day after Red Bull team principal Christian Horner celebrated his 40th birthday.Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, last year’s winner for McLaren, finished fourth for Mercedes with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso fifth and Nico Hulkenberg sixth in a Sauber.Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas took his first points of the season with eighth place for struggling Williams behind McLaren’s Mexican Sergio Perez.
By Iacovos ConstantinouLEAGUE leaders APOEL take on Ethnikos Achnas in the Cyprus championship this weekend, while second-placed Apollonas face a tricky away tie at Doxa Katokopias. Omonia entertain first division newcomers Agia Napa while AEL and Ermis clash in a game that can go either way.APOEL travel to Achna on Saturday in what is one of their favourite hunting grounds as they have not conceded a goal at the ‘Dasaki tis Achnas’ stadium since September 2008.The leaders will be without three players, Antoniades, Charalambides and Gomes, but this should not stop coach Donis from ringing more changes ahead of their Champions League clash against Paris Saint Germain next Wednesday. Manduca and the ever-present Mario Sergio are likely to make way for De Vincenti and Greek defender Papazoglou respectively.Ethnikos began this season well, even topping the table for a while, but have faltered in recent games and any points against the champions will be considered a major success. AEL and Ermis Aradippou dropped points unexpectedly in their previous games and both will be keen to make amends. The Limassol team were lucky to even take a point against AEK while Ermis drew with Agia Napa.AEL will probably be without Danielzinio through injury while Zarcovic will be missing from Ermis’ squad.Omonia hope to continue their winning ways and record their third straight victory against newcomers Agia Napa.Serginho will be handed a late fitness test by Omonia while Agia Napa’s new coach, Kosmas, hopes to see the same spirit his team produced against Ermis, fighting back from two down to snatch a point.Apollonas travel to Nicosia to face Doxa Katokopias without four key players in Robert, Rezek, Gullon and Guie but are still favourites to take the three points.Doxa have begun to improve under new coach Krismarevic and will be no pushovers for the Limassol team.Othellos Athienou take on AEK Larnaca in a game both sides need points from, for different reasons.Othellos despite playing some entertaining football so far need to start picking up points as they are last but one in the table. On the other hand AEK feel that they possess a team good enough to challenge for a position that will get them into Europe next season.The final game of the round will be played on Monday between in-form Nea Salamina and Anorthosis who have still to collect a point away from home.Saturday, November 1st: Doxa Katokopias vs Apollonas (17.00), Ethnikos vs APOEL (19.00)Sunday, November 2nd: Omonia vs Ayia Napa & Othellos vs AEK (16.00), AEL vs Ermis (18.00)Monday, November 3rd: Nea Salamina vs Anorthosis (19.00)
Due to the Green Monday public holiday, the Cyprus football championship playoffs resume on Friday with two matches in the relegation group.Aris Limassol host Paphos FC, while AEL travel to Doxa Katokopias, with both matches kicking off at 6pm.Saturday sees all the big guns in action, with the highlight undoubtedly the Nicosia derby between arch-rivals APOEL and Omonia (6pm).
Ten-man Barcelona retained the King’s Cup with a 2-0 victory over Sevilla to complete a domestic double thanks to extra-time goals by Jordi Alba and Neymar at the Vicente Calderon stadium on Sunday.Luis Enrique’s La Liga champions had Javier Mascherano sent off in the 36th minute but kept the score at 0-0 before Sevilla had Ever Banega dismissed in added time at the end of 90 minutes.With both teams down to 10 men, Barcelona began to take control in the extra period and left back Alba burst down the wing to score in the 97th after a superb chip from Lionel Messi.Sevilla were then reduced to nine players when defender Daniel Carrico was sent off for dissent late on and Neymar doubled Barcelona’s lead after also being set up by Messi.It was the 28th time Barca had won the trophy but they had to battle as Unai Emery’s side, who won the Europa League for the third time in a row last week, piled on the pressure.“It was difficult, especially playing for so long with 10 men against a side like Sevilla,” Alba told Spanish television. “I’m happy to have scored and done the double.“We couldn’t play the game we wanted but the side showed guts and we did what was needed.”Barca captain and man of the match Andres Iniesta said the triumph sealed a great season for the club despite some suggesting their Champions League elimination, and thus failure to repeat the treble of 2015-16, spoiled the campaign.“It was a nice final, intense and exciting,” he said. “It was a last push for the club to complete a magnificent season. All finals are hard, but this was great, both we and Sevilla played well.”DYNAMIC CHANGESThe game’s dynamic changed drastically when Kevin Gameiro, whose pace troubled Barca all night, was brought down when Mascherano grabbed his shirt on the edge of the box.Referee Carlos del Cerro Grande sent the Argentine off and Sevilla began to take control. Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen tipped Banega’s free kick over the bar and then watched the midfielder’s next effort hit the inside of the post.Barca top scorer Luis Suarez limped off injured just before the hour mark, with the Uruguayan crying on the bench.Sevilla wanted a penalty when Barca right back Dani Alves tangled with Vicente Iborra but their appeal was waved away, while Sergio Rico saved Messi’s free-kick.Argentine Banega tripped Neymar just before the game went to extra time and was sent off, handing Barcelona the momentum.Seven minutes into the extra period, Messi lofted a perfectly weighted ball over the defence for Alba who ran through and fired a shot across Rico into the bottom corner.Then Carrico was shown two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Messi and the second for arguing about it, before Messi played in Neymar, who rolled the ball home to end the contest.
Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra said he is “doing much better” after suffering a wrist and arm injury when the team bus was attacked with explosives on Tuesday shortly before the start of the Champions League clash with AS Monaco.Bartra, who joined Dortmund for 8 million euros from Barcelona at the start of the season, was operated on for a broken wrist and shrapnel in his arm.“Hello everybody! As you can see I am doing much better,” the 26-year-old Spanish international wrote on Instagram.The accompanying photo showed Bartra bandaged up most of his right arm and around his left wrist. He was giving the thumbs-up sign.“Thank you everybody for all your support and your messages! All my strength to my team mates, supporters and fans and to @bvb09 for tonight’s match!”The match is rescheduled for later on Wednesday at Dortmund’s Signa Iduna Park.