State Tournament Roundup

Southern Regional Boys Volleyball Squad Cruises Into Sectional Semifinals

By DAVID BIGGY | May 29, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Justin Kean and the Southern Regional boys volleyball team easily made their way through the NJSIAA South Jersey quarterfinals and were slated to face Clearview in the semifinals May 29.

Surf City — Every year for the past 10, the Southern Regional High School boys volleyball team has made it a habit to cruise through the NJSIAA South Jersey tournament on its way toward the state championship match. Well, here the Rams go again.

Top-seeded Southern (36-2) on May 23 waltzed into the sectional semifinals to meet up with fourth-seeded Clearview after crushing eighth-seeded Moorestown, 25-16, 25-14. A win over the Pioneers on Wednesday, May 29, would send the Rams into their 11th straight sectional final, where they would take on either second-seeded Sterling or third-seeded Washington Township.

Against the Quakers (18-4), the Rams were led by Zack Hem and Justin Kean, who each banged down five kills. Kean also scored on an ace and a pair of blocks and had two digs, while Matt Maxwell delivered 15 assists and mustered 14 service points, which included six aces. Drew Wilgus added three kills, four blocks and a pair of digs, and Logan Lipositz contributed five digs.

On May 21, the Rams opened the sectional tourney by routing nearby rival Barnegat, 25-12, 25-13. While Maxwell handed out 15 assists and registered five digs, Hem hammered down seven kills and racked up 10 service points, including three aces, and Tommy Deakyne added three kills, three digs and an ace. Lipositz also had eight digs, and Jay Silva and Wolgus each whacked a pair of kills and combined for three blocks.

Should Southern capture another sectional crown, the Rams will play in the state semifinals on June 4. The state final is slated for June 6.

As for Barnegat, the season ended for the Bengals (11-12) with the loss to Southern, but not before they advanced past the first round with a 25-21, 25-21, 25-17 win over Paul VI on May 20.

Southern Boys Lacrosse Team’s
Season Ends in Semis

After a solid run through the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV quarterfinals, the state tourney road finally ended for the Southern Regional boys lacrosse team, as top-seeded Montgomery upended the fifth-seeded Rams, 16-6, in the semifinals on May 22.

The Rams (14-4) led the Cougars (17-3) by a 3-2 count following the first quarter, but then the Cougars’ offense caught fire, scoring six unanswered goals in the second quarter, followed by another six unanswered tallies in the third quarter. Southern scored three in the fourth, but it was too late to muster a major comeback.

Goaltenders Luke Maul, Tyler Sinisky and Gio Soto combined for 16 saves against the high-powered Cougar offense. Meanwhile, the Southern offense was led by Ajani Steverson, who fired in a pair of goals, as Cade Johnson added a goal and two assists. Luke Bruther, Gavin Durnien and Nick Stankus each whipped in a goal, and Ryan Sinisky and Ben LoParo each gave out assists. Drew Wasacz won 10 faceoffs.

Pinelands Baseball Team
Edged in Sectional Quarters

If the Pinelands Regional baseball team was going to go down in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group III tournament, the Wildcats were going to do so with their best on the hill. Unfortunately, the ninth-seeded Wildcats’ bats were unable to get them through the quarterfinals, as they had their season ended with a 1-0 loss in nine innings against top-seeded Triton.

Senior Noah Dean pitched eight innings of one-hit ball, allowing just one walk and striking out 12 before giving way to the team’s other senior ace, Joey Ventresca, for the ninth inning. The Mustangs finally mustered enough offense to win, utilizing a hit batsman and a pair of hits. Matt Woods ultimately ended the game when he swatted a two-out line drive to deep center field to bring in the winning run from third base.

The Wildcats (10-10) scattered nine hits off Triton pitchers Colin Taylor, who fired the first 6 and two-third innings, and Mike Shannon. Billy Crawford went 2-for-4, while Dean and Rian O’Rourke each bashed doubles, and Pat Apgar, Anthony Diaz, Peter Hammond, Bryce O’Rourke and Ventresca each smacked singles.

Barnegat Baseball Squad
Goes Down in Quarterfinals

After scoring a solid victory in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II first round two days earlier, the Barnegat baseball team traveled to West Deptford for the quarterfinals and had its season ended with a 3-1 loss. The Bengals finished with an 11-13 record.

The second-seeded Eagles scored in the bottom of the first inning, added another run in the third and all but finished off the Bengals with another run in the fifth to take a 3-0 lead into the sixth, before Barnegat finally scored its only run. The Bengals mustered just four hits. Senior Tyler Suydam went the distance for Barnegat, giving up seven hits and two walks while fanning three.

— David Biggy

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