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Phil Anastasia: Aiken at home on soccer field and court

Kerri Aiken prefers the open spaces of the soccer field to the tight confines of the basketball court. But she makes the most of the indoor sport.

Kerri Aiken prefers the open spaces of the soccer field to the tight confines of the basketball court.

But she makes the most of the indoor sport.

Aiken was a first-team All-South Jersey soccer player for Eastern. She also was named an NSCAA/Adidas all-American after leading the Vikings to a 16-6 record and a berth in the South Jersey Group 4 final.

In the winter, Aiken is a key member of South Jersey's No. 1-ranked basketball team. She's a standout guard for a Vikings team that opened the season Friday night with a 45-39 victory over No. 2 Cherokee in an Olympic American showdown.

Aiken, who also plays for Eastern's lacrosse team in the spring, has committed to attend La Salle University on a soccer scholarship.

Question: Is basketball your favorite sport in the winter or is soccer always your favorite sport?

Answer: I like them both, but I have to say soccer is my favorite. I like the wider field, there's more teammates out there with you. But I do love playing basketball.

Q: Where does lacrosse fit in your three-sport mix?

A: I just started playing lacrosse as a freshman. There's so much running I thought it would help me with soccer. I love playing it.

Q: Why La Salle?

A: It's in Philly, so my parents can come and see me play. I love the coach [Paul Royal], and I love the girls on the team. It's a good school academically. Plus, both of my parents [Joe and Debbi] went to La Salle.

Q: Do you know what you want to study?

A: Criminal justice.

Q: Where do you want to go with that?

A: I'd love to become an FBI agent. I have a lot of family members who are involved in law enforcement, and I'm really interested in that. Plus, I'd be helping people out.

Q: What's your favorite subject in school?

A: Math.

Q: Do you have a favorite TV show?

A: Criminal Minds.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?

A: I like rap. I like Miley Cyrus, too. I listen to a lot of Lil' Wayne. I like lots of stuff. Just not country. Not good.

Q: What do you do when you're not playing or practicing for one of the three sports.

A: I like reading James Patterson books. And I go to a lot of Sixers and Flyers games. I don't think I could live without sports.

Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your athletic career?

A: Definitely my parents. I can't remember ever playing a game since I was like 7 when they weren't there for me.

Q: Eastern is No. 1 in The Inquirer Top 10. You like that spot?

A: I think it's accurate. We work hard. But we know we have a lot of tough games ahead of us.

Q: What's it like playing basketball with Genevieve Okoro, last year's player of the year?

A: It's great. When we're down in practice, Gen is one of those captains who always picks everybody up. She has a great attitude.

Q: What's the outlook for this basketball team?

A: We've got a lot of goals. We want to win the conference championship and the Group 4 state championship. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us with a tough schedule. But we've got a good mind-set going forward.

Three stars from last week


Maddie Tambussi won the 100 freestyle and swam a leg on the victorious 200 free relay as Haddonfield edged Bishop Eustace, 86-84, in a matchup of two of South Jersey's best girls' swimming teams.

2. Roman Amirrato scored three goals as St. Augustine beat Pope John, 9-1, in a Gordon Conference ice hockey game.

3. Rikki Cohen had the top game with a 246 and helped the Cherokee girls to the top team score in the Olympic Conference bowling tournament.

Three tips on this week


Cherry Hill East visits St. Augustine at 4 p.m., today in a clash of two of South Jersey's best boys' swimming teams.

2. West Deptford hosts St. Augustine at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a nonleague wrestling match between two teams with their sights set on moving into South Jersey's upper echelon.

3. Paul VI at Pennsauken at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in a clash of two boys' basketball teams that scored big wins on opening night.

Super Seven Power Rankings

The best teams in South Jersey, regardless of sport:

1. Camden Catholic wrestling (0-0): The Irish have a potent mix of accomplished veterans such as Taylor Walsh, Matt Sausman and Wayne Young and young talent eager to make an immediate mark.

2. St. Augustine swimming (3-0): With a loaded senior class led by Steve Melchiorre, the Hermits are locked and loaded for a run at their fifth Non-Public A state title in six years.

3. Cherokee boys' basketball (1-0): Senior guard Willis Nicholson had 18 points as Chiefs rolled over Eastern on opening night.

4. Gloucester Catholic ice hockey (4-0): Joe Crespo scored two goals in 9-5 win over previously unbeaten Christian Brothers Academy. As expected, the victory lifted the Rams to No. 2 in the state behind national power Delbarton in the latest rankings.

5. Eastern wrestling (0-0): The Vikings have power points galore with three reigning/former state champions in Anthony Baldosaro, Rob Deutsch and Hank Stinson, plus three-time region champion Preston Keiffer.

6. Haddonfield girls' swimming (2-0): Emma Carpenter is the top middle-lane swimmer, but the Bulldogs' real strength is their remarkable depth.

7. Eastern girls' basketball (1-0): The Vikings need to develop complementary scoring to star center Genevieve Okoro, who went for 28 in an opening-night victory over Olympic American rival Cherokee.

Under consideration: Camden Catholic boys' basketball, Paulsboro wrestling, Cherokee girls' basketball, Cherry Hill West girls' swimming.