Rutgers is one of five Top 10 teams to fall over the weekend BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer While its Big East title aspirations remain very much alive, any shot the Rutgers University football team may have had at a national championship likely came to an end on Saturday in Piscataway. With Top 10 teams around the nation falling to supposed lesser opponents throughout the day, the Scarlet Knights couldn’t avoid an upset on their own home turf, as the Maryland Terrapins came into Piscataway and handed Greg Schiano’s 10th-ranked team its first loss of the year, 34-24, in front of the second-largest crowd in Rutgers history. “Our inability to stop the run was the difference in the game,” said Schiano following the game. “Maryland played very well and had a good plan. They executed that plan very well. The combination of us not playing well and them playing well, that was a bad combination today.” With junior wideout Tiquan Underwood (eight receptions for 101 yards and a TD), Heisman Trophy candidate Ray Rice (21 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown) and junior quarterback Mike Teel (25-for-44 for 310 yards and two TDs) leading the charge, the Scarlet Knights played well offensively, even taking an early lead when Jeremy Ito capped a 10-play, 68-yard drive that opened the game with a 29-yard field goal. After missing a 51-yard field-goal attempt of their own on their first possession, the Terrapins got on the board early in the second quarter when senior tailback Lance Ball found the end zone from 19 yards out to give Maryland a 7-3 lead. It marked the first time since the West Virginia loss last season (Dec. 2) that Rutgers trailed in a game, a span of 256:58 on the collective game clocks. Maryland padded its lead after RU’s Dennis Campbell muffed a punt and the Terrapins recovered, going 55 yards in nine plays to take a 14-3 lead on Darrius Heyward Bey’s 15-yard TD catch from Jordan Steffy with 6:23 to play in the first half. Another RU fumble on their next possession gave the visitors good field position once again, but the Scarlet Knights’ defense managed to hold them to a missed field-goal attempt from 39 yards out. Rutgers then launched their second long drive of the game, with Teel finding Tim Brown from 20 yards out to get the home team within 14-10. After the Knights’ defense forced a quick three-and-out, Rutgers got the ball back on its own 31-yard line, and after a pair of Teel completions for 47 yards combined, and a 15-yard pass interference call, Rutgers took the lead once again when Teel hit Underwood for a 7-yard TD pass, and a 17-14 lead at the half. Once the second half started, however, Maryland rallied behind backup QB Chris Turner, who subbed for the injured Steffy. Maryland tied the score on its second possession of the second half with a 26-yard field goal, and then regained the lead on another field goal, this time from 37 yards out. Up 20-17, Maryland then took control of the game on its next possession, going 58 yards in nine plays, capping the drive with a 2- yard scoring plunge. With just 7:42 left in the game, Rutgers found themselves down, 27-17, and the 43,083 fans in attendance were officially nervous. The home team responded with a nineplay, 58-yard drive, fueled mainly by Teel’s passing, and got within three once again, 27-24, on a Rice 1-yard scoring run. But it was all Maryland from there, as the Terrapins did just enough to thwart the Rutgers offense the rest of the way, while also adding a late rushing touchdown to make the final score 34-24, giving Rutgers its first home loss since a 45-31 defeat to South Florida on Nov. 5, 2005. While both teams moved the ball well, with the Terrapins generating 458 total yards to the Scarlet Knights’ 392, it was Maryland’s defense that came up big when it needed to down the stretch, handing RU its first loss of the year. In the loss, Underwood set a new school record with his fourth-straight 100-yard game. He surpassed Bill Powell, who achieved the feat on three straight occasions from Oct. 3-24, 1998. Despite not reaching the 100-yard mark, Rice did, however, achieve yet another milestone, tying J.J. Jennings for the most rushing touchdowns in school history with 34 when he carried 1 yard to pay dirt in the fourth quarter. In addition, Rutgers was a perfect 4-for-4 in the red zone and is a perfect 16-for-16 on the season. “We just have to get guys healthy, watch film and get better,” said Rice. “A loss isn’t necessarily good, but you can take a lot out of it.” Schiano was particularly impressed with the play of Teel, who topped the 200- yard mark in passing yards or the sixthstraight game, and also set a new career high with 25 completions. “I thought he hung in there and threw the ball. He got hit but he still threw the ball. I thought he did a heck of a job,” said the coach, while also pointing to the team’s inability to run the ball consistently. “There were certain run plays that worked effectively but it was never consistent,” he said. “We were unable to get into a flow. We had the two scores at the end of the first half, so the hurry-up offense worked fairly well, but we didn’t run the ball the way we have been able to in the past, and that was a big factor in the game. “In the third quarter we made a real conscious attempt to run the football,” he added. “Then with 6:58 to go [fourth quarter] we went to the two-minute offense. We were down 10, so we made the decision to air it out as we tried to come back.” The Scarlet Knights return to the gridiron next Saturday evening versus No. 24- ranked Cincinnati at Rutgers Stadium. The contest will kick off at 8 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN2. The contest will mark the 13th meeting between RU and the Bearcats, with the Scarlet Knights holding a 7-4-1 advantage. It also represents a must-win game for the Scarlet Knights if they are to contend for the Big East title. “Any loss hurts, especially when you are trying to work yourself into position,” Schiano said. “But this team is resilient and the staff is resilient, and we will come to go to work tomorrow and find out how much better we can get in a week’s time. That is what we have recruited here and that is what is in the locker room, so they will battle back. That is the good thing about this sport, after every game you are right back at it. This team has a lot of resolve and we will come back. “We just have to regroup, get our medical situation assessed, and then make plans and get better,” he added. “When you look across the country, you see the ebbs and flows of college football. Sometimes when a team is out, they bounce back. We’ll just have to see how good we are.”
The lineup is different for Holmdel High School’s boys tennis team, which graduated its top two singles players and a first doubles standout from last season, but the success continues as the squad won its second straight Monmouth County Tournament title on May 2. Holmdel got championship efforts from sophomore Dawan Chou-Ren in third singles, 6-0, 6-2, over Marlboro High School’s Ryan Lau and from both doubles teams in straight sets against opponents from Manasquan High School as Holmdel nailed down its fourth county title in five years. “They played well, even though it was a tough weekend because it was so hot,” said coach Chuck Chelednik, whose team on Monday this week played Marlboro in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals. “This year the team is just as good, maybe better.” Holmdel, in a 13-2 season coming into this week, has won seven in a row after losing to Moorestown High School. It also lost to Livingston High School in the finals of the Delbarton Tournament early in the season. In the Shore Conference Tournament, Holmdel already has beaten Marlboro, 4-1, and also has 4-1 victories against the other two teams in the other semifinal bracket — Christian Brothers Academy and Manasquan. “The key is both doubles, because we won both when we played Marlboro, although second doubles went three sets, and we know we can get a win from one of our singles,” said Chelednik. Derek Liu, only the second freshman to play first singles in Chelednik’s 11 seasons as head coach, lost in the semifinals of the Monmouth County Tournament, but his only other loss was to a Livingston player. He has beaten every opponent in Shore Conference A Central, where the team is 6-0. Liu fills that spot for Sean Lu, who graduated and went on to play at The College of New Jersey. “He’s very consistent with his backhand and his serve,” Chelednik said of Liu. “He hits a lot of balls back and is very competitive in the way he plays every point.” David Lyu, a junior, is 9-5 in second singles, but the captain who moved up from third singles, where he played last season, played some of his best tennis in the county tournament, losing a super tiebreaker in the third set, 12-10, in the second singles finals. Chou-Ren saw some action last season at third singles and second doubles, and has only one loss in conference matches in third singles this spring. “With second and third singles, I’m most proud of them in the county tournament,” said Chelednik. “Our second singles player avenged a loss to a player from Manasquan in the semifinals, and our third singles swept straight sets all the way through.” Chelednik said Lyu and Chou-Ren play with different styles. “Chou-Ren is very consistent and is in great shape from running track,” said Chelednik. “He’s not overpowering but is very steady and pretty good around the net. “Lyu hits a lot of big shots and has a bigger serve, bigger strokes, a big backhand,” he added. In first doubles, junior Charles Seifer and sophomore Ganesh Naturajan won, 6-4, 6-3. They come into the week with a 12-2 record. Second doubles has been a rotation of five different pairs, with Mark Li, a sophomore, and Jacob Yung, a junior, winning in the county title match, 6-4, 6-2. In fact, there was a third doubles non-scoring championship, and two Holmdel teams got into that final, with senior Eddie Park and junior Neeve Nikoo beating juniors Jay Cheng and George Xu. Two other pairs who also play in second doubles are sophomores David Tu and Ken Hua, as well as junior Jon Wu and freshman Ethan Wong. Combined, they are 11- 3. That makes up the entire squad. There is no junior varsity. Chelednik said despite the different ethnic backgrounds of players, whose roots are in China, Korea, Japan and India as well as other nations, “they get along great and have great chemistry. They’re a good group that plays well together.” BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
SCOTT FRIEDMAN Bobby Hampton of Christian Brothers Academy, middle, skates around Point Pleasant Borough High School’s Chris McDermott during the Shoot for the Stars Foundation’s 17th annual Shore All-Star Hockey Game played at the Red Bank Armory on Aug. 3. The game featured the best high school players from Monmouth and Ocean counties. The Monmouth all-stars won this year’s game, 10-6.
St. John Vianney High School’s Kristen Politz won the all-around and floor exercise competitions at the NJSIAA Individual Gymnastics Championships Nov. 14 at Montgomery High School. DORINE SHAPIRO Led by Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School and St. John Vianney High School’s Kristen Politz, the NJSIAA Gymnastics Championships were a tour de force for the Shore Conference.RBC captured its second straight team title Nov. 12, leading a top-three sweep by Shore Conference teams, while Politz captured the all-around title Nov. 14. Both meets were held at Montgomery High School.The Caseys had to again hold off the challenge of a St. John Vianney team that got stronger each week. RBC, which has been the top team in the state all year, completed its sweep of the championship meets (conference and Central Jersey Section I) with a team score of 112.925 — just ahead of the Lancers’ total of 112.650. Third place went to Colts Neck High School (110.800).In all, five teams from the Shore qualified for the team competition.Ocean Township High School was eighth (105.725), and Howell finished 10th (105.025).Steady Ally Cucich and Sierra Garcia helped RBC win the title with their all-around performances at the team championships.At the individual championships, Penn State University-bound Politz put the finishing touches on her extraordinary year. The Lancers’ senior, who previously won the conference and state sectional allaround titles, added the prestigious NJSIAA all-around championship to her high school résumé.In this meet, it was Politz’s teammate, Arianna Agrapides, who provided the strongest competition.Politz’s 38.525 score slightly edged Agrapides’ 38.500 by a scant 0.025.Shore schools again went top three with Marlboro High School’s Melissa Astarita finishing third (38.200).Also from the Shore, Cucich was fifth (37.900), Garcia placed eighth (37.650) and Howell High School’s Monica Servidio came in 10th (37.600).In addition to her all-around crown, Politz also won the state title on the floor exercise with a 9.800 score for her routine. Politz tied for second with Agrapides on the vault (9.725).Agrapides shared the uneven bars championship with Bishop George Ahr High School’s Ariyana Agarwala. Their routines brought each a score of 9.650.Astarita gave conference gymnasts another state victory as she won the vault with a score of 9.750.
By Mark TrevelyanJorien ter Mors led a Dutch clean sweep in the women’s 1,500 metres speed skating on Sunday as the Netherlands’ medal tally shot up to 17, more than any other nation at the Winter Olympics in Russia.Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud sped to gold in the men’s super-G alpine skiing and Czech Eva Samkova won the women’s snowboarding cross after yet more tumbles on the testing course where a Russian skier broke her back a day earlier.Skicross racer Maria Komissarova, 23, was in a serious but stable condition after an operation lasting more than six hours on Saturday to insert a metal implant in her back.Doctors said it would take three or four days to know how successful the surgery had been.On the ninth day of medal competition, Sweden won their second cross-country relay gold when they prevailed in the men’s 4x10km event, ahead of Russia and France.But many Russians’ thoughts were still on the ice hockey action of the previous day, when a late disallowed goal cost the host nation victory over arch-rivals the United States.In a rare moment of political unity, supporters and opponents of President Vladimir Putin came together on Twitter to express their outrage after the Americans won in a shootout.“The puck was in the goal. What an abomination. Cheating before the whole world! Disgusting!” wrote Alexei Pushkov, a senior pro-Putin member of parliament after the score was wiped out because the goal had been shifted from its mooring.Prominent gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev, at odds with Putin over a law banning homosexual propaganda among minors that overshadowed the build-up to the Games, was left in shock: “There’s a huge scandal in the hockey tournament. The American referee didn’t allow the Russian goal. Damn!”After pre-Games criticism over human rights and the estimated $50 billion cost of bringing the Olympics to Sochi, Putin can so far take satisfaction from an event where Russia has shown a friendly, welcoming face to the rest of the world and the sporting action has yielded plenty of drama.In the speed skating, Ter Mors clocked an Olympic record of one minute, 53.51 seconds to take gold ahead of team mates Ireen Wust, the defending champion, and Lotte Van Beek. For good measure, another Dutchwoman, Marrit Leenstra, finished fourth.It was a third speed skating medal sweep in Sochi for the orange-suited Dutch, after the men completed the feat in the 500 and 5,000m.The United States’ wait for a first speed skating medal went on. Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe finished seventh and 14th in their old skinsuits after the team ditched their Olympic ‘Mach 39’ ones on Saturday in the hope of gaining extra speed.On the Rosa Khutor piste in the Caucasus mountains, Jansrud secured Norway’s fourth successive Olympic men’s super-G win, while 36-year-old American Bode Miller tied for bronze with Canada’s Jan Hudec to become the oldest ever Alpine skiing medallist.Miller’s team mate Andrew Weibrecht captured a surprise silver medal after starting 29th, with all the favourites gone.“When Andrew came down he scared me,” laughed Jansrud. “It was a little too exciting. My legs were like jelly there for a second but I knew I had finished very strong.”Czech snowboarder Samkova, sporting a fake moustache drawn on her top lip for good luck, avoided the rough and tumble of the pack in the thrilling cross event where racers go head to head down a twisty course full of bumps and jumps, jostling with their rivals to find the best line.“It’s a lucky moustache. Today it’s in national colours,” she said of her facial adornment in red, white and blue.Defending champion Maelle Ricker of Canada and 2006 silver medallist Lindsey Jacobellis of the United States were eliminated in the heats after taking tumbles on the Extreme Park course.Dominique Maltais of Canada claimed silver to add to the bronze she won in Turin eight years ago, while French teenager Chloe Trespeuch was third.Earlier, two more racers were stretchered off after bad falls – Norway’s Helene Olafsen with knee damage and American Jacqueline Hernandez with concussion, though neither of the injuries was serious.After 55 of 98 events, the Dutch led the overall medals table with 17 – a remarkable achievement for a country of around 16.7 million people. All were for skating and five were golds – equal with Norway and Switzerland, and two behind Germany. Russia, Canada, the United States and Poland were on four golds each.
By Brian HomewoodNapoli’s season has already been written off as a failure by critics, but Rafael Benitez’s side could still land only their second European title and qualify for the Champions League.Napoli host Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday (10.05pm) with the team still maintaining a media blackout on the orders of outspoken president Aurelio Di Laurentiis.The blackout was imposed a month ago after Napoli, having dropped to sixth in Serie A following five matches without a win, were knocked out of the Coppa Italia at home by Lazio.Their season appeared to be all but over and it was not even clear whether Benitez would make it to the end of the campaign.They are now back up to fourth in Serie A, however, challenging AS Roma and Lazio for a place in the Champions League, which they could also reach by winning the Europa League.There is even talk of Benitez renewing his contract which expires at the end of the season and Napoli fans do not know whether to laugh or cry at their team’s unpredictability.They have scored seven goals in their last two home Serie A games, sweeping aside Sampdoria and AC Milan, yet in between were thrashed 4-2 at EmpoliThey also thumped VfL Wolfsburg 6-3 on aggregate in the Europa League quarter-final, including a 4-1 win in Germany, as they continued their best European campaign since the Diego Maradona-inspired side who won the UEFA Cup in 1989.In fact, Napoli have been spectacularly inconsistent since Benitez took over, finishing third in Serie A and winning the Coppa Italia in his first season in charge.They could have challenged for the title had they not developed a habit of dropping points at home to teams from the lower half of the table.Dnipro are second in the Ukrainian league, six points behind leaders Dynamo Kiev and one ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk, and coach Myron Markevich has admitted they are struggling to compete on two fronts.“Surely, this game in Naples is very important for us. But we also have to fight in domestic championship. It is not going to be easy. We lack resources,” he said.Markevich can be a tough master and was not impressed after his team won 3-0 at Chernomorets in their last league game.“It is not acceptable to play like we did in the first half,” he said.“I had a feeling my players had loaded heavy bags the day before. And we also lost the ball too many times following unforced mistakes.”
Singles order of play at the Wimbledon Championships on Thursday (play begins at 3pm Cyprus time):Centre Court20-Garbine Muguruza (Spain) v 13-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)1-Serena Williams (U.S.) v 4-Maria Sharapova (Russia)
The Red Devils have apparently made a world record bid for the Barcelona and Brazil superstar.
The series started last Friday at the Rita Flynn indoor courts and ended yesterday with a thriller of a match that was the decider.PNG were one up winning the first match on Friday 47-46.Singapore hit back in the next match with a strong performance to come away with a 48-36 win.But the PNG girls worked hard in yesterday’s decider to edge out the Singaporeans to win the series 2-1.The PNG U-21 squad will now be trimmed down from 20 to 15 players.The final 12-member team will be selected in August to participate at the Regional World Cup qualifying tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, from September 24 – 27 this year.
Picture: PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko, (third from right), with the Tongan PM ‘Akilisi Pohiva, (third from left), during a visit in February. Photo: Facebook / Justin Tkatchenko MP A PNG delegation visited Nuku’alofa in February to assess the local facilities and indicated a willingness to help refurbish Teufaiva National Stadium.However last month Tonga’s Games Organising Committee CEO, Feleti Sevele, said that work was yet to begin and uncertainty remained.But PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko said they had not forgotten about Tonga.Mr Tkatchenko said a submission regarding assistance is ready for the PNG National Executive Council.”NEC is a National Executive Council where 36 ministers sit on there and make decisions for this country,” he said.”NEC will decide what funding that they will give to Tonga, [to] help them with the main ground stadium and the high performance centre.”The minister remained confident that a positive decision would be made within the next week.”It will be granted by NEC, which the Chairman is the Prime Minister and NEC, National Executive Council, will make a declaration on what assistance they can give, understanding out current economic situation,” Tkatchenko said.”We are not going to let our countrymen down in Tonga. We have made a commitment, the Prime Minister still stands by his commitment. We will assist wherever we can, but also we will assist in technical assistance too, through human resource.”