Farewell South Jersey athletes, coaches, parents, fellow writers and others who have made my five years, five months of covering sports full-time in the area a memorable and enriching experience.
After today, I no longer will be a staff writer for The Inquirer. It's time for me to move on. I have a project that will keep me busy for a year or more and it will occupy most of my time.
The rest of the time? You might see my by-line like this: By Bill Iezzi, For The Inquirer. I'd like that. Hope you do, too.
Mentioned: Burlington County Institute of Technology | Clearview Regional High School | Rancocas Valley Regional High School | Deptford Township High School | Camden Catholic High School | Lenape High School | Glassboro High School | Holy Cross High School | Cherry Hill High School East | Burlington County Institute of Technology | Cinnaminson High School | Haddon Township High School | Gloucester City Jr-Sr High School | Lower Cape May Regional High School | Cherry Hill High School West | Pitman High School | Camden County Technical Schools | Haddonfield Memorial High School | Moorestown High School | Cherokee High School | Mainland Regional High School | Kingsway Regional High School | Shawnee High School | Audubon Jr./Sr. High School | Pennsauken High School | Absegami | Atlantic City | Bishop Eustace | Bordentown | Bridgeton | Buena | Burlington City | Burlington Township | Camden | Cape May Tech | Clayton | Collingswood | Cumberland | Delran | Delsea | Eastern | Egg Harbor Township | Florence | Gateway | Gloucester | Gloucester Catholic | Gloucester Christian | Gloucester County Tech | Haddon Heights | Hammonton | Highland | Holy Spirit | Lindenwold | Maple Shade | Mercer Christian | Middle Township | Millville | Moorestown Friends | Northern Burlington | Oakcrest | Ocean City | Our Lady of Mercy | Palmyra | Paulsboro | Peddie School | Pemberton | Pennington | Penns Grove | Pennsauken Tech | Pennsville | Pleasantville | Riverside | Salem | Schalick | Seneca | St. Augustine | St. Joseph | Sterling | Timber Creek | Triton | Vineland | West Deptford | Wildwood | Wildwood Catholic | Williamstown | Willingboro | Winslow Township | Woodbury | Woodrow Wilson | Woodstown | Overbrook (NJ) | Sacred Heart NJ | Washington Twp.
Let's look at the South Jersey Groups today and fast forward to the finals. In Group 1 Audubon defeats Maple Shade. Group 2 has Sterling beating Buena. In Group 3 Kingsway upends Pinelands. And in Group 4 Eastern edges Washington Township.
The NJSIAA softball brackets have been posted and the top seeds in South Jersey Groups 1 through 4 are as follows:
Group 1, Maple Shade, Group 2, Sterling, Group 3, Pinelands, Group 4, Eastern.
In Central Jersey only one area team is the top seed: Florence, in Group 1.
Maple Shade field hockey coach Shayne Gismonde had more to deal with than the normal flow of a game in an 8-3 loss to visiting Florence, Wednesday.
Trailing by 2-0 halfway through the first half, Maple Shade center midfielder April Fisher was called for a tripping penalty. While she sat for 5 minutes and the Wildcats were a man down, Florence scored twice more for a 4-0 lead.
Maple Shade was trailing by 6-2 about half way through the second half when its goalie, Jamie Bennett, didn't feel well enough to continue. Reserve goalkeeper Brittney Harple substituted and Florence took a 7-3 lead. Also, Maple Shade junior center back Danielle Painter left the field with a foot injury.
Rancocas Valley’s season-long reign as the top-ranked boys’ soccer team in The Inquirer’s South Jersey ratings may be in jeopardy after Delran knocked off the visiting Red Devils, 1-0, Wednesday.
The Burlington County League Liberty Division rivals were locked in a defensive struggle until the Bears’ Ali Gocmez scored off an assist from Jackson Machado with 4 minutes, 8 seconds left in the second half.
Brad Schmidt made four saves and protected the goal for the Bears (8-2), ranked No. 9 in South Jersey. The loss was the first for Rancocas (8-2), which built an 11-8 edge in shots, since a 3-2 setback at Salesianum (Del.) on Sept. 19.
Also in Burlington County, visiting Burlington Township (2-5-3) held No. 8 Cinnaminson (5-2-2) to a 1-1 standoff. The Pirates’ Eric Tricocci scored in the fifth minute, and Township knotted the score on Kwincy Brown’s goal with 11 minutes left before halftime.
Matt Peak managed an unassisted goal in the seventh minute, and Holy Cross’ defense made it stand up for a 1-0 win over visiting Northern Burlington. Goalie Mario DeClerico made 14 saves.
Mentioned: Rancocas Valley Regional High School | Holy Cross High School | Cinnaminson High School | Absegami | Atlantic City | Burlington City | Burlington Township | Delran | Florence | Gateway | Haddon Heights | Hammonton | Maple Shade | Moorestown Friends | Northern Burlington | Paul VI | Pemberton | Riverside | Vineland | Willingboro
Ally Stathius opened the scoring with 15 minutes left, off a pass from Tara Ballay, and Ballay added an insurance goal on a breakaway with eight minutes to go as visiting Delran (4-5, 2-4) upset eighth-ranked Rancocas Valley, 2-0, in a Burlington County League shocker.
Breanna Brown made 10 stops in shutting down the Liberty Division-leading Red Devils (7-2, 5-2).
In other Burlco action:
Kathleen Wolff’s shot from the top of the box in overtime found the net, making host Moorestown a 4-3 winner over Bordentown. The teams combined for five goals in a wild second half, which saw the Scotties’ Alexis McTamney score twice.
Mentioned: Rancocas Valley Regional High School | Holy Cross High School | Cherry Hill High School East | Haddon Township High School | Moorestown High School | Mainland Regional High School | Audubon Jr./Sr. High School | Absegami | Bordentown | Delran | Egg Harbor Township | Florence | Gateway | Haddon Heights | Lindenwold | Maple Shade | Northern Burlington | Sterling | West Deptford | Willingboro | Overbrook (NJ)
Breanna Brown scrambled in front of the Delran goal and made 24 saves, providing the spark that carried the Bears to a 1-0 upset at town rival Holy Cross Monday in Burlington County League girls’ soccer.
With Brown’s flawless effort giving the Delran (3-5) defense its first shutout of the season, Taylor Umbrell scored with three minutes to go before halftime against the Lancers (6-3-1).
Umbrell converted a pass from Christina Rietzen for the Bears’ sixth goal in eight games.
Also in Burlington County, Becky Forcellini’s hat trick powered host Cinnaminson’s 5-1 win over Maple Shade.
Mentioned: Holy Cross High School | Cinnaminson High School | Haddon Township High School | Cherry Hill High School West | Haddonfield Memorial High School | Moorestown High School | Mainland Regional High School | Absegami | Burlington Township | Delran | Eastern | Florence | Gateway | Haddon Heights | Lindenwold | Maple Shade | Millville | Ocean City | Paul VI | Sterling | Willingboro | Washington Twp.
Eastern’s defense allowed two shots at goalie Scott Koehler, who claimed his fourth shutout in the Vikings’ last five games by blanking visiting Shawnee, 4-0, Monday in an Olympic Conference matchup of top-10 boys' soccer teams.
Nick Tierce scored two goals, Joe Bertucci and R.J. Biondi had one each, and Rob Wiacek had two assists to fuel the offense for Eastern (7-1-1), ranked No. 8 in South Jersey by The Inquirer.
Seventh-ranked Shawnee (7-2-1) was thwarted by Koehler and the defensive quartet of seniors Michael Pallante and Marc Forman, junior Kwasi Archeampong and sophomore Kyle Bennett.
Mentioned: Cinnaminson High School | Haddonfield Memorial High School | Moorestown High School | Cherokee High School | Shawnee High School | Audubon Jr./Sr. High School | Absegami | Burlington Township | Collingswood | Delsea | Eastern | Florence | Gateway | Haddon Heights | Hammonton | Lindenwold | Maple Shade | Millville | New Egypt | Oakcrest | Paul VI | Timber Creek | West Deptford | Willingboro | Woodstown