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SCRANTON - When the eighth annual UNICO Scranton Soccer Cup was moved back almost three weeks because of a rainout, the resulting no-shows from scheduling conflicts left the Northern Tier team shorthanded and apparently overmatched against the Southern Tier in the girls’ opener.
Mountain View’s Kelsey Whitaker did her best to keep the game competitive.
Whitaker was arguably the game’s most effective player throughout the first half and made an outstanding individual play to set up the first goal Friday night to give the Northern Tier a lead before it eventually fell, 6-2.
“After the first half, we were tired,” Whitaker said of the Northern Tier team, which played without a substitute even after taking Sara Krukovitz of Holy Cross off the Southern Tier roster right before game time. “You could tell the conditioning that we were all out of shape because we haven’t played in a while and they were all coming off their season.”
The North took on a South team that featured five players from Abington Heights, the District 2 Class AAA spring soccer champion.
As the midway point in the first half approached, Whitaker went around two of those players to produce the first goal.
Whitaker slipped the ball past sweeper Sarah Holmes, then with goalie Mariah Deibert charging at her, Whitaker still managed to tip the ball toward the left post.
Krukovitz was there to knock the ball in for a 1-0 lead with 24:15 left in the half.
“The girls were all nice, but I didn’t know their names,” said Krukovitz, the daughter of Southern Tier coach Bob Krukovitz, who did not have time to introduce herself after switching teams. “That girl had a real good assist.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going in, so I made sure, but more of the credit should go to her.”
The North held a 7-6 lead in shots and was even in corner kicks, 2-2, after 25 1/2 minutes, but wilted from there.
The South ran off six straight goals and eventually held a 30-17 lead in shots.
Scranton Prep’s America Sosa scored three times in the first 15:07 of the second half and was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Player. Justine Leininger of Abington Heights also scored during that stretch when the South turned a 1-1 tie into a 5-1 lead.
Leininger and Dunmore’s Mary Kate Hart each had a goal and an assist.
Dunmore’s Christina Kelly had the other South goal on an assist from Carbondale’s Brittanie Hess.
The North added its second goal with 23 seconds remaining when Mountain View’s Sara Germain assisted a goal by Lakeland’s Brittany Surace.
Diane Congden and Jackie Kochmer also represented Mountain View on the North team, along with head coach Errol Mannick. The team also had players from Lakeland, North Pocono and Western Wayne.
The second half of the doubleheader featured a much more evenly matched boys’ game, resulting in a quality game played at a fast pace.
The South eventually pulled away for a 3-0 win in a game that was scoreless into the final two minutes of the first half.
John Sibio, who led Forest City to an unbeaten Lackawanna League Division 3 season last fall, provided strong play at center midfield to help the North stay even in shots at 6-6 in the first half.
Derek Klingman, an Abington Heights graduate who will continue playing at the University of Scranton, was named MVP while playing on his future home field.
Klingman scored the game’s first two goals, one in each half.
Teammate Dominic Castanzo scored the third goal and Ryan Kusy, another teammate, assisted on the game-winner.
North Pocono’s Travis Franklin and Carbondale’s Justin Turano also had assists.
The South finished with a 16-13 lead in shots and got three saves from winning goalie Josh Roberts of Valley View. Sibio took five of the North’s 13 shots.
Sibio was joined on the North by Forest City teammate Mike Chiovarri.
Other Susquehanna County players on the squad were Blue Ridge’s Gafston Stone, Dan Welch and Matt Empett, Montrose’s Joe Hamernick and Grant Shelp, and Mountain View’s Rob Cross.
The games, for graduating seniors of schools that play most of their sports in the Lackawanna League, benefit the Northeast Regional Autism Center at Friendship House in Scranton.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Loren Roberts shot 7-under-par, 65 Sunday to finish the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open at 15-under-par, 201 to win the $255,000 first prize by a stroke over Fred Funk.
Funk also shot 65 in Sunday’s third and final round of the Champions Tour event at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y.
Wayne Levi, Nick Price and Dan Forsman, who held the 36-hole lead after consecutive 66s, were another stroke back and tied for third.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Johnson Gets Win No. 52
LOUDON, N.H. - For the second consecutive week Jimmie Johnson stood in victory lane after winning a Cup race. He won June 20 at Infineon Raceway, and this past week he passed Kurt Busch with two laps to go in the Lenox Tools 301 at New Hampshire for his 52nd career Cup win.
“It was a situation near the end as to whether we should stay out or come in for tires,” said Johnson. “Jeff (Burton) decided to stay out, so our decision was to pit. And as it turned out, it was the right call.”
Jimmie Johnson picked up his 52nd career win Sunday at New Hampshire.
Polesitter Juan Montoya had brought out a caution on lap 291 of the 301-lap race after contact with Reed Sorenson.
The leader, Jeff Burton opted to remain on the track while most of the cars on the lead lap behind him pitted.
On the restart Johnson was lined up under Burton. As soon as the green flag was given, Johnson took the lead away from Burton. One lap later, Kurt Busch bumped the rear of Johnson’s No. 48, causing him to lose grip and slide up the track.
Busch was the new leader. But with three laps to go Johnson had caught Busch No. 2. As the two cars went into turn-4, Johnson put a love tap on Busch’s rear bumper. Busch slipped up the track, and Johnson was gone on to victory lane.
“I certainly was going to pay him (Kurt Busch) back,” said Johnson. “I had no intention of letting the race end without me getting him back. That’s not my style of driving, but I knew I had to do it today.”
Tony Stewart edged Kurt Busch for second.
“I’m proud of these guys,” said Stewart. “We started near the back and worked our way to the front. We came up short a couple runs on fuel, but we finally got in position to make a run for the win.”
Kurt Busch had to settle for third.
“We didn’t have a winning car, but we almost won today,” said Busch. “Sometimes you do the best with what you’ve got and that’s what we did today.”
Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, and A. J. Allmendinger rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Kasey Kahne dominated the early and middle stages of the race, but the engine in his No. 9 Budweiser Ford let go and he wound up 36th.
Top-20 Chase contenders after 17 of 36: 1. Harvick-2489, 2. Johnson-2384, 3. Kyle Busch-2328, 4. Hamlin-2304, 5. J. Gordon-2302, 6. Kurt Busch-2288, 7. Kenseth-2204, 8. Burton-2159, 9. Stewart-2158, 10. Biffle-2126, 11. Martin-2047, 12. Edwards-2020, 13. Earnhardt Jr.-2017, 14. Newman-2005, 15. Bowyer-2004, 16. Logano-1921, 17. McMurray-1899, 18. Truex-1872, 19. Reutimann-1870, 20. Kahne-1846
BUSCH TAKES NATIONWIDE RACE
Kyle Busch held off Brad Keselowski to win Saturdays’ New England 200 at New Hampshire Speedway.
The Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver is the first to win multiple Nationwide Series races in the track’s 24-race history, dating back to its inaugural event on July 15, 1990.
“These guys did a great job for me,” said Busch, who won last year’s race at New Hampshire as part of a nine-win season that culminated with the Nationwide Series championship. “It’s fun to come out here with these guys and race in the Nationwide Series. What a great race, and it’s a lot of fun with these cars. Can’t wait to keep racing these things.”
It was Busch's sixth win of 2010, the most of all drivers, and his third victory in his past three Nationwide starts.
Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Kevin Harvick, Reed Sorenson, Paul Menard, and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top-10.
Danica Patrick finished 30th, five laps down. Patrick went into the wall only seven laps into the race, after Morgan Shepherd got loose and got into her.
Top-10 leaders after 16 of 35: 1. Keselowski-2641, 2. Edwards-2394, 3. Allgaier-2201, 4. Kyle Busch-2140, 5. Harvick-2003, 6. Menard-1998, 7. Gaughan-1819, 8. S. Wallace-1804, 9. Logano-1758, 10. Bayne-1721
LOGANO STRUGGLING IN 2010
“I think as a driver I’ve changed a lot,” said Joey Logano, driver of Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20. “I’m as different as night and day. We’ve got a long ways to go to get to where the team needs to be, but we’re definitely making big strides every day when we get on the racetrack.”
Logano’s family spent over a million dollars prepping him for a career in NASCAR racing. His first full Cup season was 2009, and it was a record-breaking year for him. Not only did he become the youngest Cup Series Rookie of the Year in the 55-year history of the award, but also the youngest Cup winner in series history at 19 years, after winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
But he has struggled for most of 2010. He is currently 16th in points and has only two top-five finishes.
On top of that, he has had a couple run-ins with other drivers. The latest was with Kevin Harvick.
“I have not talked with him,” said Logano. “I put it all behind me. We just need to have good, solid finishes, and try to get where we need to be. All that’s in the past. I just look ahead.
“Knowing what you want in a car is something you figure out as you keep going to more tracks. Some places I think I really have it figured out. Some places its unknown. Those are the places you try to figure out, working with your team, all that stuff.
“It all comes together. It’s a bunch of little things, too. It’s not like one big thing causing a light to go on, and now, oh, my God, now I got it. It definitely takes a bit of time and trying to figure it out. And it takes a lot of hard work. You can’t get down on yourself when you have a bad day.
“You have to keep your head up and working hard and stay motivated.”
While Logano needs to gain a considerable amount of points if he is to make this year’s Chase, he could still make it with several good finishes.
CHASE STRETCH BEGAN AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire Speedway plays host to two pivotal races on NASCAR’s 36-race schedule. They are race No. 17 and race No. 27. This past Sunday’s Lenox Tools 300 opened the 10-race stretch to the Chase For the Championship, while the September 19 race is the first Chase race.
The Race to the Chase continues next week with the traditional summer stop at Daytona. NASCAR has authorized a larger carburetor restrictor-plate opening, which should allow for more horsepower and speeds.
This year’s Daytona race will be the last on the current asphalt, as the track is set for repaving prior to next year’s Daytona 500.
Tony Stewart is the defending race winner, but watch out for Jamie McMurray, the reigning Daytona 500 champion. He won the 2007 summer race at Daytona, and finished second in April at Talladega, the series’ only other restrictor-plate track.
Weekend Racing: The Cup and Nationwide teams are at Daytona for their traditional July 4th racing weekend. The Camping World Trucks do not return until July 11.
Fri., July 2, Nationwide Series Subway 250, 17 of 35: Starting time: 8 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN.
Sat., July 3, Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400, 18 of 36; TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: Where is Joey Logano’s home state?
Last Week’s Question: How many career road course wins does Denny Hamlin have? Answer. None. Hamlin has yet to win a road course event.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
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