Raritan boys’ tennis team is hovering around .500 mark The play of Scott Seaman has helped the Raritan High School boys’ tennis team maintain a .500 record in the tough Shore Conference Class B North division. Seaman, like his team, is 6-6, but he has more than held his own at first singles, where he regularly squares off against some of the best players in the Shore. The hard-hitting junior plays a thinking-man’s game to keep his opponents off balance. “Scott is very difficult to play against,” Raritan coach Gary Schlenker said. “First of all, he has the heart of a lion; he never gives up. He’s also an excellent athlete and a very coachable kid. “The thing that sets him apart is his adaptability. Scott is able to change his game according to what his opponent is doing. It’s frustrating to play against him.” With Seaman at the top of the lineup, Schlenker pencils in junior Tom Dundee and senior Michael Crane at the second- and third-singles slots, respectively. Both players have won several matches. At doubles, Schlenker has been moving players around looking for the right combinations. The recent pairing of senior Sean Cappelutti with intense junior Bill Danneving has resulted in two straight wins. Sophomore Ahsan Ullah and freshman Ryan Lamanski are the other doubles players. “It hasn’t been an easy year for us, but the boys have managed to stay at .500,” the coach said. “This is a great bunch of enthusiastic kids, and that’s helped them get some wins. Hopefully, they’ll keep going, and we’ll stay at .500 or maybe a little bit better the rest of the way.” The Rockets faced Red Bank Catholic Monday and will square off with St. John Vianney later today. On Friday, they’re scheduled to face Middletown North. — Warren Rappleyea
After further review Doug McKenzie For those who expected the Rutgers football team to get ambushed at the Insight Bowl, it didn’t take long for the Scarlet Knights to offer their response: Fugettaboutit. And while Rutgers was eventually out-gunned by an explosive Arizona State team playing in its 22nd bowl game, 45-40, the Scarlet Knights’ Dec. 27 efforts at Chase Field likely did more for the growth of the Rutgers program than any previous game in its 136-year history. Here was Rutgers, a wide-eyed football team playing in its first bowl game since the Garden State Bowl in 1978 (a 34-18 loss, also to Arizona State), playing what was essentially a road game in front of 43,536 fans and millions of viewers watching on ESPN, and facing one of the most prolific offensive teams in the nation. While the Scarlet Knights certainly earned their trip to Phoenix, coming into the game with a 7-4 mark, highlighted by their win over a good Navy team back on Oct. 29, they were considered a long shot. Not just a long shot to win the game, but a longshot to keep the game close. While there was a definite buzz to this game throughout RU’s home state, there was also a certain “happy to be here” feeling being generated by many of Rutgers fans. Just becoming bowl eligible was enough to mark this season down as a success, in most people’s minds. Just not those of the Rutgers players and coaching staff. The Scarlet Knights did not come into this game looking to impress anyone. They came to win, and on the biggest stage these players have ever seen, they very nearly did. From their opening drive, when the Knights swiftly raced 80 yards down the field on eight plays, eventually scoring a touchdown on a one-yard pass from Ryan Hart to Clark Harris, Rutgers proved themselves to be a worthy opponent. Even after Arizona State answered with an 80-yard scoring drive of their own to tie it, Rutgers responded with three-play, 74-yard series that was capped by Brian Leonard’s 31-yard touchdown off a swing pass. It became evident very early that this was going to be a slugfest, and that Rutgers had come ready to fight. RU added to its lead following a Ramel Meekins fumble recovery when Jeremy Ito hit on the first of his four field goals from 25 yards out. After Arizona State responded with a field goal of its own to get within 17-10, Rutgers again went 80 yards, this time in nine plays, the last of which was a three-yard TD plunge by Leonard. But it was the Sun Devils who entered the locker room with momentum, cutting the lead to 24-17 with an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive that was capped by a TD pass from Rudy Carpenter to tight end Zach Miller. While holding a halftime lead was certainly one of Rutgers’ goals entering the game, it was not necessarily executed in the manner head coach Greg Schiano had hoped for. Schiano, who also serves as the team’s defensive coordinator, had said before the game that he wanted to avoid getting into a shoot-out with the Sun Devils, who entered the game averaging over 500 yards of total offense per game, and were well on their way toward eclipsing that mark after two quarters (they eventually did, piling up a season-high and Insight Bowl record 678 yards). Schiano’s concern was that Arizona State simply had too many weapons for his young defense to contain, and that eventually his squad would wear down. That proved to be the case in the second half. The Sun Devils came out firing, tying the game with a six-play, 70-yard scoring drive, while the ASU defense managed to hold Rutgers to a 23-yard Ito field goal on its first possession of the second half. ASU then took a 31-27 lead when Carpenter (23-for-35 for 467 yards) hit Terry Richardson with a 22-yard scoring pass. Rutgers managed to respond with another Ito field goal, this one a career-high 52-yarder, to get within 31-30, and then managed to take the 33-31 lead on another Ito field goal (from 48 yards out). But with the Rutgers defense struggling to slow the Sun Devils’ attack, what the Scarlet Knights really needed was touchdowns, and it came back to haunt them, as ASU scored back-to-back touchdowns on its next two possessions to take a 45-33 lead. Rutgers did manage to get a late score when Hart, who played brilliantly in his final game, finishing 24-for-38 for 374 yards, hit Tres Moses (seven catches for 113 yards) with a 29-yard TD pass to get within 45-40. But after ASU recovered the ensuing onsides kick, the Sun Devils were able to run out the clock, effectively ending Rutgers’ upset bid. While the loss was certainly a disappointing one, there were so many positives to take out of this game for the Scarlet Knights, it’s hard to gauge exactly how to feel for Schiano and his players. They had an opportunity to shock the sports world, and officially put Rutgers football on the map with a win on Tuesday. The thing is, they pretty much found a way to do the same thing with a loss. People unfamiliar with just how much the Rutgers team has improved over the last couple of seasons certainly got a glimpse last Tuesday. They now know that Brian Leonard is one of, if not the best collegiate fullbacks in the nation. They now know that Ryan Hart is more than just a capable passer, and may be able to follow in the footsteps of RU’s Mike McMahon and find a home on an NFL roster somewhere. They now know that Rutgers has one of the most explosive young running backs in the nation in freshman Ray Rice (20 rushes for 108 yards). They now know that the Rutgers defense, though it struggled mightily Tuesday, is led by a guy in Ryan Neill, who will certainly be playing football on Sundays next year. But most importantly, they now know that Greg Schiano’s program is growing up right before our eyes. Their Insight Bowl performance affirmed that Schiano’s squad was a legitimate bowl team, and that the Garden State may finally be on the verge of having a big-time collegiate football team to call its own. It’s hard to imagine the Rutgers bandwagon not picking up its share of fans following the team’s Insight Bowl effort. Coaches tell you that there is no such thing as a moral victory. And Schiano and his players likely won’t view this loss as a moral victory. But the truth of the matter is, it may have been much more than that.
Trainer sending Belmont runner-up Paynter to Monmouth Park With Joe Bravo riding, Howe Great won the $60,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park on July 21. The track will be hosting the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 29. DAVID OWENS/EQUI-PHOTO Trainer Bob Baffert will be looking to extend his record of five victories in the Haskell Invitational on July 29 at Monmouth Park.Baffert has won the last two editions of the major race for 3-year-olds with Lookin At Lucky in 2010 and Coil in 2011.This time around, Baffert is sending the Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter to the gate.Paynter and Grade 1 Wood Memorial winner Gemologist tuned up last week at tracks from coast to coast with swift workouts in advance of the Grade 1 $1 million Haskell Invitational.The Haskell will be contested over Monmouth Park’s main track at 1 1/8 miles. These colts are among the probables for the 45th running of the race.Paynter went six furlongs handily in 1:13.20 on Del Mar’s All Weather track on July 18 and it was the fastest work of six horses at the distance. On July 16, Gemologist breezed five furlongs in 1:00.88 on Saratoga’s dirt training track for the best of 25 at the distance. Paynter’s move was the third straight bullet he’s fired, and it follows two on Santa Anita’s dirt track on July 4 and July 11.“I don’t know yet when Paynter will ship and arrive on the grounds,” said Baffert in a Monmouth Park press release after he was reached at his Southern California base on July 19.Grade 1 winner Gemologist has not raced since his disappointing 16th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, but he has been doing well since Todd Pletcher put him back into training. Owned by WinStar Farm LLC, the son of Tiznow out of the Mr. Prospector mare Crystal Shard went into the gate on the first Saturday in May with a perfect record of five-for-five.Pletcher is a former Haskell winner. He captured back-to-back Haskell victories in 2006 with Bluegrass Cat and in 2007 with Any Given Saturday. WinStar also owned both of those colts.Dullahan, the winner of the Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes who finished third in the Kentucky Derby and seventh in the Belmont Stakes, has been training at Churchill Downs. He is expected to make his next start in the Haskell for trainer Dale Romans and owner Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing. The 2011 Juvenile Champion and Grade 3 Iowa Derby winner Hansen, who is trained by Mike Maker and owned by his namesake, Dr. Kendall Hansen, is among the 3-year-olds who are possible for the Haskell. The son of Tapit finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby.Trainer Doug O’Neill said on July 22 that Handsome Mike is headed to the Haskell and Mario Gutierrez will ride the colt, who is owned by J. Paul Reddam. Handsome Mike and the jockey will partner for the first time.O’Neill, Gutierrez, and Reddam are the same connections for the recently retired I’ll Have Another, who won this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.“Both Mario and Handsome Mike are ready and raring to go. We are really looking forward to this race at Monmouth,” said O’Neill by phone from his base in Southern California.In other Haskell news, Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer confirmed that Nonios will also be in the starting gate when the 45th edition of the race is run on July 29.Post positions will be drawn on July 26 at noon. Jersey DerbyTeam Valor International’s Howe Great came with a wide run in the stretch before kicking clear to a length and a quarter win in the $60,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park on July 21.Trained by H. Graham Motion, Howe Great covered the mile and a sixteenth over firm turf in 1:42.67 and paid $2.60, $2.40 and $2.10 as the odds-on choice in America’s oldest Derby. Fire Alarm rallied to complete the $14 exacta and paid $7 to place and $3.40 to show. It was another two lengths back to Crafty Unicorn, who paid $3.40 to show.“This is a pretty forwardly-placed horse,” said winning jockey Joe Bravo. “He loves the game. He wasn’t under much pressure the whole time. He was nice and relaxed. I was just out there to hold on.”A 3-year-old colt by Hat Trick from the Western Winter mare Ginger Sea, Howe Great now sports a record of 5-2-1 from nine starts. He has earned $322,153 for his connections. First run in 1864 as a one-time event at a track in Paterson, the Jersey Derby has been held at different distances and on different surfaces since 1942 at Garden State Park, Atlantic City Racecourse and now Monmouth.
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By Steve TongueEngland were 222 for four wickets in reply to Pakistan’s 234 all out at the end of the second day of the third and final Test in Sharjah on Monday.James Taylor, seeking a maiden Test century, was unbeaten on 74 and Jonny Bairstow was 37 not out.Their stand for the fifth wicket was worth 83 at the close.Pakistan, hoping to maintain their impressive record since moving matches to the United Arab Emirates, won the second Test after the first was drawn.England eventually had the better of a slow day’s play, in which only 48 runs came in the middle session.Starting the day at four for no wicket, they lost Moeen Ali cheaply for 14, falling with a cross-batted slog at Shoaib Malik.That was the only wicket to fall before lunch, although Alastair Cook and then Joe Root perished in quick succession soon after the interval.Cook was outsmarted again by Yasir Shah, who had dismissed him in both innings of the previous Test.The England captain was one run short of his 46th Test fifty when he tried to glance a delivery from the leg spinner but only managed to deflect it onto his pads before Azhar Ali took the catch at forward short leg.Root (four) soon joined him back in the pavilion after wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed took a low, one-handed catch off Rahat Ali to leave England 97 for three.Taylor, returning to Test cricket after an absence of three years, and Ian Bell saw them through to tea, only for Bell to be smartly stumped off Yasir for 40.That was Pakistan’s last success of the day, however, Bairstow accompanying Taylor through to the close to leave England in the driving seat.
Hibernian came from behind to beat Rangers 3-2 in a pulsating Scottish Cup final on Saturday as a stoppage-time winner from captain David Gray ended their 114-year wait for the trophy.Hibernian, who had lost 10 successive finals since last winning the Cup in 1902, became the first side from outside the top flight to win the competition since East Fife in 1938.Anthony Stokes equalised in the 80th minute and Gray won it with an emphatic header in the 91st, prompting a pitch invasion by Hibs supporters and clashes between the two sets of fans at Hampden Park, with the police having to separate them.Rangers’ Andy Halliday thought he had sealed victory midway through the second half after Kenny Miller’s header cancelled out Stokes’s early opener in a thrilling final, the first between two non-top flight teams in the Cup’s 142-year history.Stokes, the 27-year-old Ireland forward, picked up the ball in the left channel before cutting inside and rifling a right-foot shot past Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham to give Alan Stubbs’s side an early lead.Miller equalised in the 27th when he rose above Darren McGregor to meet James Tavernier’s arching cross with a powerful header and Halliday beat the diving Conrad Logan with a terrific left-foot strike from outside the area in the 65th minute.However, Rangers, who ended their four-year absence from the top flight by winning the Championship this season, were undone by late headers from Stokes and Gray as Hibernian completed a stunning comeback to the delight of their supporters.The Cup triumph was some consolation for Hibs who missed out on the chance of getting promoted to the Scottish Premiership when they lost to Falkirk in a playoff semi-final.
Sam Stosur powered into the French Open quarter-finals with a 7-6(0) 6-3 win against Simona Halep on Tuesday, adapting better to damp and heavy conditions than her higher-ranked Romanian opponent.In a match between two former Roland Garros finalists that spanned three days and was twice suspended due to rain, the 21st-seeded Australian overcame a slow start to beat Halep for the first time in five attempts and reach the last eight for the fourth time.The contest was halted late on Sunday due to rain, with Halep leading 5-3, the Romanian’s steady pummelling of Stosur’s weaker backhand side having paid off in the seventh game when she took the Australian’s serve on her third break point.But Stosur, who lost the 2010 final in Paris to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone, was much the sharper when the players resumed on Tuesday.She consistently served around 20 km/h (12 mph) faster than her opponent and peppered the lines on both sides of the court with forehand groundstrokes that gradually wore down Halep’s defences.She won her serve to love and then broke Halep, whose play was littered with unforced errors as she struggled with the rain-sodden conditions, to square the match at 5-5 and, after two service holds, blitzing the tiebreak 7-0.Stosur then broke again at the start of the second set and led 3-2 until play was suspended again when steady drizzle turned heavier, dropping just one further game to close out the match.The 32-year-old Australian will next face either world number two Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland or Bulgarian outsider Tsvetana Pironkova for a place in the last four.
Despite financial and organisational problems that have delayed other construction projects for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the largest athletes’ village in the long history of the Games has been unveiled in the city.The village will host more than 18,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes, officials, staff and volunteers in 31 buildings and more than 3,600 apartments.It will be equipped with video games, musical instruments, beauticians, psychologists, a multi-faith religious centre, swimming pools and tennis courts.“The athletes will prepare for their competitions but at the same time they will dine together, they will discuss together, they will celebrate together, and in doing so will send a strong message of understanding, peace and respect to the whole world,” International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said.The first athletes are expected to arrive at the village on July 24 ahead of the August 5-21 Olympics.
Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus have parted company with Spanish coach Victor Sanchez, they said in a statement on the club website on Tuesday.Former Olympiakos assistant manager Sanchez succeeded Marco Silva as head coach on June 23, but his side were stunned in the Champions League third qualifying round when they lost to Israeli champions Hapoel Beer Sheva.“Olympiakos announce the end of the partnership with coach Victor Sanchez,” read the statement. “The club thanks him and wishes him every success in the future.”Olympiakos won their 43rd Greek title last season after finishing on 85 points, 27 ahead of their closest rivals Panathinaikos.
The loser of the match bows out of the season. The Mendi franchise spent the last two days in Lae climatising to the coastal heat after arriving mid-week. They were seen training at 10 mile along the highlands highway.Former Lae Bombers backrower Jayson Undi led the troops in their preparations, assisted by former Mt Hagen Eagles prop Benny Pamunda. They will take today’s game as a grand final as a win will get them through. However it will be a hard run against the home side which also considers the outcome important to survive in the race. Undi appeared at last year’s grand final in Lae with the Gurias who lost to the Hela Wigmen. He has that fresh memory of pressure football and will guide the troops from experience.The Lae League Oval is expected to attract a huge crowd, with die-heart supporters travelling in all the way from the Southern Highlands Province. The winner of today’s match meets TNA Simbu Lions in Kundiawa next Sunday. Pictured are part of the Muruks squad after training. Undi and Pamunda (with ball) are seated at front row, from left.