South Jersey Sports

LCM stuns Middle in field hockey

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, September 15, 2014 08:08 pm

ERMA – If you’ve ever been to a high school field hockey game, you may have heard the chant “every corner is a goal” by the substitute players when their team is awarded a penalty corner chance.

That saying certainly did not apply to the Middle Township High School field hockey team Monday afternoon. The Lady Panthers scored just once off of an amazing 30 penalty corner chances and were left stunned when Lower’s Carissa Scott scored on just her team’s third shot on goal of the game a little more than three minutes into overtime as the Lady Tigers came up with a shocking 2-1 victory.

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Catholic and Middle on level terms

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Written by Brian Cunniff Saturday, September 13, 2014 04:39 pm

Middle's Nik Anagnou (left) and Catholic's Anthony Zampirri starred in the 1-1 draw STONE HARBOR – You never know what you’re going to get during rivalry games.

You can occasionally see the ugly side, with trash talking, chippy play and overzealousness from fans.

But sometimes, you get what happened in Friday’s Middle Township-Wildwood Catholic boys soccer game – an intense, well-played game with great exhibitions of sportsmanship.

The contest ended in a 1-1 draw, Middle preventing a mild Wildwood Catholic upset when Trent Canter scored six minutes from full time to bring his side to equal terms. Wildwood Catholic had taken the lead early in the second half on Sal Zampirri’s exquisitely placed free kick from 19 yards after teammate Tyler Mericle was fouled during a challenge on a ball in the air.

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Banged-up Middle falls just short in opener

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Written by Brian Cunniff Saturday, September 13, 2014 08:25 am

Middle Township marches into Memorial Field ahead of its game against Vineland on Friday. CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – Colin Cooper’s catch and run on a 72-yard touchdown reception epitomized the effort of the Middle Township High School football team Friday night.

Cooper caught the long pass near the Vineland 30-yard line, then broke a series of tackles and practically carried two Vineland defenders on his back as he crossed the goal line to draw the Panthers within a point with 47 seconds remaining in the game.

Middle coach Frank Riggitano, knowing his team was besieged by injuries to that point, decided to go for a two-point conversion and the lead rather than kicking the extra point and most likely setting up overtime. Joe Durso’s pass on the conversion was tipped away at the goal line and Vineland recovered the ensuing onsides kick to hold on for a 27-26 victory.

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Egg Harbor Township opens new era with dramatic victory

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Written by Bill LeConey Saturday, September 13, 2014 01:17 am

ehtac1 Bill LeConey/EHT quarterback Kyle Houghton unloads a pass as Atlantic City's Malik Pannell closes in. ATLANTIC CITY - Kevin Stetser said before the season started that it was time for the Egg Harbor Township High School football program to win again.

Not just to compete, not to play for the tie and overtime on the road – but to win.

In his wildest dreams, he probably didn’t expect it to happen quite like this, right off the bat.

“It was amazing, it really was,” Stetser said after his team rallied for a dramatic 28-27 victory over Atlantic City Friday in his debut as head coach.

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Gibson ties LCM scoring mark

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, September 12, 2014 09:16 am

Gabriella McKeown. Jen Fetsick. Mike Gavin.

They are some of the most prolific scorers in the history of high school soccer in Cape May County.

Madie Gibson has a chance to pass them all.

Gibson, a senior forward at Lower Cape May Regional High School, scored her fourth and fifth goals of the season and 90th of her career during Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Cedar Creek that improved her team to 3-0 for the season.

Gibson is now tied for the program’s all-time lead with former teammate Gabriella McKeown, who’s currently contributing as a freshman at Division I Temple University. And, of course, she was also just 10 away from the magical 100-goal mark, a plateau that’s been reached by a female player from the county only four times. The county leader is Wildwood’s Jen Fetsick, who netted 109 in a career that ended in 2003.

Also within reach is Mike Gavin’s overall school soccer scoring record of 111 goals.

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No imminent demise for Middle

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, September 12, 2014 09:12 am

WILDWOOD – Anyone who may have thought the Middle Township High School boys soccer team’s run of success was over when 10 senior starters graduated from last season’s South Jersey championship club is greatly mistaken.

Middle, with a lineup full of sophomores and juniors, has looked mighty impressive through two games, picking up an important Cape-Atlantic National Conference win in a 2-0 road result over Buena late last week before handling non-league foe Wildwood, 6-0, on Tuesday evening at Maxwell Field.

“When we went up to Buena we started 10 kids who were starting a varsity game for the first time, and when you do that you’re never sure what you’re going to get,” Middle coach John Maher said. “But our five sophomores (who started) trapped and passed pretty well and played under composure.”

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Middle must overcome early injuries

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, September 12, 2014 09:09 am

Captains Joe Durso (left) and Donovan Howard lead the Middle Township football team into a new season. When the Middle Township High School football team held a mini camp in June, head coach Frank Riggitano was quite pleased with the team’s depth.

“When we came out of mini camp, it looked like we might only have three kids (starting) both ways,” he said.

The preseason turned into a different story, however. Injuries to key personnel, the loss of two players due to their respective families’ relocation out of the area and some disciplinary measures leave Middle a little short heading into its opener against Vineland on Friday evening at 7 at Memorial Field.

Still, Middle is optimistic this can be a very good season. The Panthers went 4-6 last fall with a large group of underclassmen, many of whom are now more experienced seniors and juniors. In addition, the preseason injuries have allowed some younger players to gain more playing time in practice and scrimmages, which certainly can do nothing but help.

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Caper Tigers appear in better shape

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, September 12, 2014 09:07 am

The Lower Cape May Regional High School football team is still on the young side but has improved numbers and depth. Among the team’s leaders are (from left): top row - Zach Hagen, Shane Szubski. Dylan Harrison, Anthony Wilson, Kevin Alexander; bottom row - Bottom- Alex Fazio, Isaac Whitmore, Brian Donahue, Andrew Robb, Zack Campbell, Anthony Prats. There is one burning question as the Lower Cape May Regional High School football team prepares for its season opener in Delaware this weekend: Are the Caper Tigers better equipped to compete?

The answer seems to be yes.

Lower Cape May has had more than 40 players in its program this preseason. That might not be an overwhelmingly high number for a school that sits on the large side of Group II, but it’s certainly better than what it had last season. The Tigers, as was highly publicized, were forced to forfeit their last four games by the Cape-Atlantic League after the team announced it could not play Holy Spirit in late October due to a lack of healthy players. Lower played junior varsity contests for the remainder of the season.

This year’s Lower team is still a little short on experience – there are many underclassmen among the ranks – but it certainly seems in better position to handle the rigors of an entire season at the varsity level.

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Another numbers game at Wildwood

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, September 12, 2014 09:04 am

MIKAL POTEAT High school football coaches in New Jersey spent the last couple of weeks of August and the first week of September honing the skills of their players as they prepare for their season openers.

But at Wildwood, the coaches were simply trying to find players.

The Warrior football program is again in a tenuous position, preparing for its season opener against Gloucester Friday at home with only about 20 players in the program. The ineligibility of a couple of upperclassmen, apathy about making a commitment to the sport among much of the male student body and the simple fact that Wildwood is such a small school to begin with have left the Warriors at an extreme disadvantage going into Friday’s home game against the vaunted Lions.

“We’re struggling for numbers,” said new Wildwood coach Bruce Lazaruk, who’s previously been a head coach at Hammonton, Rancocas Valley and Riverside over a long career in the game. “But from what I understand, that’s not the exception here but more of the rule. We’re in that boat again.”

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Greyhounds hope to build on last year’s breakthrough

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 11, 2014 02:57 pm

pville1 Bill LeConey/Pleasantville quarterback Che’quan Hargrose hands off to running back Ishmail Shakur during a scrimmage against Penns Grove. PLEASANTVILLE – Going into last season, the Pleasantville High School Greyhounds were just looking to break into the rarified air of victory.

But after snapping a 35-game losing streak, and capping their three-win season with a victory over Ocean City on Thanksgiving Day, you can forgive the Greyhounds for wanting more.

“Last year we won three games, and we're looking to build off of that,” coach David Dudley said before a three-way scrimmage last month against Penns Grove and Hammonton.

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CAL National: Right place at right time for Oakcrest

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 11, 2014 02:14 pm

oakpreview Mike Schultz/Oakcrest quarterback Kendall Elliott threw for nearly 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman last season. Oakcrest High School football coach Chuck Smith says his team “took its lumps” the last couple years, playing mostly underclassmen in a big-school Cape-Atlantic League American Conference.

Now, Smith says it’s time for the Falcons to turn the tables and start dishing out some lumps of their own.

“It was tough,” Smith said in a recent interview. “Any time you start a freshman, it’s hard, and we were starting six or seven freshmen against St. Joe’s, Millville, Holy Spirit … They learn fast, and hopefully this is the year all that hard work pays off. They’re juniors and seniors, they’ve been playing a lot of football. They’re game-ready.”

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Absegami expects growing pains mixed with success

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 11, 2014 12:04 pm

gamipreview Bill LeConey/Absegami High School coach Dennis Scuderi Jr., left, and senior quarterback Tyler Welch. GALLOWAY - Absegami High School football coach Dennis Scuderi Jr. says he is excited about the future of his football program.

How soon that future will arrive is a big question mark for the young and inexperienced Braves, who will feature only three or four “impact” seniors, including a quarterback converted from a wide receiver.

“We’re young on both sides of the football,” Scuderi said. “Four of the starting offensive linemen are sophomores. We’re young in the backfield, with sophomores and juniors. It just depends on how fast our young skill can develop.”

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Vikings ready to ‘climb the mountain’ once again

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, September 10, 2014 03:07 pm

ACpreview Bill LeConey/Atlantic City coach Thomas Kelly says the “sky is the limit” for junior quarterback Jamir Prevard, shown here in a scrimmage last month against Cedar Creek. ATLANTIC CITY – In Thomas Kelly’s four years as head coach of the Atlantic City High School football team, the Vikings have always been willing to accept any challenge head-on.

It’s no different this year, as the Vikings open a new season Friday, Sept. 12 with a young team against one of the toughest schedules in South Jersey.

“We’re Atlantic City, so we expect the hard way, we expect the mountain to climb,” Kelly said. “If we do what we’re supposed to do, I think that we can compete in every single game. If the Vikings show up to play Vikings football, we’ll be just fine.”

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Field hockey preview: Vikings take to turf in coach’s debut

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, September 10, 2014 02:02 pm

fieldhockey1 Bill LeConey/Atlantic City’s Abby Anmuth (left) and Oakcrest’s Teagan Hay compete for possession of the ball during the Cape-Atlantic League opener on Sept. 5. ATLANTIC CITY - The Atlantic City High School field hockey team began a new era Friday afternoon, Sept. 5, playing its first game on the artificial turf field at the Jack Eisenstein Athletic Complex, and its first game under new coach Ali Juliano.

The debut was a successful one for Juliano and the Vikings, who beat Oakcrest 4-1 in the Cape-Atlantic League opener for both teams.

Junior Lillie Cutugno scored two goals for the Vikings, while senior Abby Anmuth had a goal and two assists. Kiersten Campbell scored the other AC goal, and Logan Day scored the lone goal for Oakcrest, denying the shutout bid by AC goalie Izzy Turner.

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