first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 10, 2015 at 10:29 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] When Megan Quinn lined up on the blue line in practice as a freshman to take shots on goal, Syracuse goalkeeper Jenn Gilligan never knew what to expect.Some players shot the puck hard enough to leave a stinger, but Gilligan said Quinn was “hit or miss.”“Now it’s kind of one of those ones where you’re like, ‘Oh boy, this might leave a bruise,”’ Gilligan said. Quinn, a sophomore, has transformed her game on the ice. After a fairly a one-dimensional role as a defender last season, the sophomore has embraced her new role, playing all three zones. She’s stronger, quicker and has an improved shot, making her a key contributor for Syracuse (5-5-1, 3-1-1 College Hockey America).She’s on the penalty kill and the power play, using the endurance from a running background to help her handle extended minutes. She’s seeing time on offense to show off her improved shot, and through 11 games this season has tallied two goals and five assists for a total of seven points, good for fifth on the team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“In just a year, she’s gone from being just a defenseman … now you’re going out there, a little more sense of purpose,” Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan said.Last season, Quinn said she would get pushed around on the ice. In the offseason, there was a plan in place to fix it.Quinn put on about 15 pounds of muscle, strength added through squats, bench presses and chin-ups. She’s testing better in the Syracuse weight room. Now, the roles from just a season ago have been completely reversed. “This year I’m bumping people around,” Quinn said.She also worked to fix her shot, making a conscious effort to keep her head up and stay wary of how she shifts her weight when she’s sliding. It’s a testament to the repetition she poured in over the summer on the driveway and on the ice. They were just minor adjustments to her fundamentals to increase efficiency, but the major differences are something Gilligan has experienced firsthand.“I think she’s getting a lot more confident,” Gilligan said. “ … freshman year it can be a bit of a roller coaster for everybody, so I think she’s kind of settled in.”While her shot has made her valuable on the power play, her speed has made her an indispensable part of Syracuse’s defense. Flanagan said he relies on Quinn’s agility to move the puck out of the zone and then jump in the play offensively.In high school, Quinn was a distance runner. She ran 3- and 5-kilometer races and specialized in the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs in track. In preseason workouts, her blazing speed caught the eye of her teammates.“We watched Quinn going and we’re like, ‘Is she on the hockey team or is she on the track team here? What is this business?’” Gilligan said.With the number of minutes she’s playing, Quinn has had to fall back on her endurance. She’s able to handle the workload of playing defense, the penalty kill and the power play. Flanagan said that her strength “equals confidence,” a process that’s finally lending itself to increased productivity. Quinn’s been given an extended role, and is thriving as a jack of all trades. “It’s definitely a privilege,” Quinn said. “It feels good to play all three and they have confidence in me. I think it puts more confidence in myself too.” Commentslast_img read more

first_imgDwayne Bacon dominated, attacking on offense and disrupting on defense as Jack Meriwether looked on. Bacon appeared the unquestioned alpha dog, vocal on both ends. Meriwether heard about Bacon’s inconsistency and occasional lack of defensive effort before attending Oak Hill (Virginia) Academy. What he saw then didn’t fit the narrative.Meriwether, then a Nike recruiting coordinator, remembers Oak Hill coach Steve Smith telling him that Bacon played so hard, he’d have to pull him out of some team drills to make it fair. The team had 12 future Division I players.Bacon finally had the attention that eluded him for so long. He’d jumped through hoops presented by “shoe game politics,” questions about his defense and those who criticized his female AAU coach, and into a starring role at one of the nation’s top basketball powerhouses. Bacon, now at Florida State (16-7, 6-5 Atlantic Coast), faces Syracuse (16-8, 6-5) Thursday at 7 p.m. His 16.2 points per game is second best for Florida State and he grabs a team-leading 5.8 rebounds per game. When he’s on the court, he takes nearly one-third of FSU’s shots, per“By 9th grade, Bacon was so much better than everybody else that he didn’t need to play defense,” said Robert Gandy, who coached Bacon at McKeel (Florida) Academy. “He’d drive me crazy … but he’d go out and get five, six steals anyway.”Courtesy of Phil Kelly AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBacon didn’t enjoy basketball when he first started in 5th grade. He considered himself a football player. Still, he accepted Gandy’s invitation to play on the McKeel varsity team as a 7th grader. Bacon played a lot, but Gandy managed his minutes because, he said, he wanted Bacon to remain coachable.By 9th grade, he quit football. He’d often text Gandy about opening the gym. Extra shots on the weekend, extra lifts in the summer. Gandy showed him the European cross-step on a Friday. He mastered it by Monday. The coach said he had players for three seasons who never quite got it. If Bacon ever wrote an article about himself, he said he’d title it, “Monster.”“To be successful, you have to be a monster,” Bacon said. “You have to be focused always; be locked in.”Bacon ran out of competition locked into Florida’s mid-size division of 4A.That year, McKeel played rival Lakeland Christian looking for the school’s first district title. Gandy remembers drawing up a play down four with about two minutes to go. Bacon turned to him and said, “I got this.” McKeel didn’t allow another bucket, and Bacon scored six of the next 10 points to win. Facebook Twitter Google+ Multiple coaches think this initial lack of competition led to inconsistent effort from Bacon. That led to later questions about his defense and team play from other AAU coaches and IMG Academy, where he transferred to from McKeel for his first semester junior year.But the talent was undeniable. Diana Neal, coach of the Florida AAU juggernaut Showtime Ballers, left a McKeel game and called a recruiting agency. “I just seen the best freshman in the state,” she said. Another coach in attendance, Kenny Gillion, said he has coached more than 200 Division I athletes, including some NBA players. Bacon is the best he’s ever seen.He conserved energy for offense. He wasn’t terrible at defense, but he needed to learn … because he wasn’t challenged.Kenny GillionNeal and Gillion left impressed by the physical, above-the-rim 6-foot-7 guard with handles, vision, body control and, more than anything else, the ability to score even on the toughest shots.They saw something few else appeared to. No major recruiting sites ranked him and his name wasn’t widely known after 9th grade, coaches said.Bacon joined Showtime under Neal, who he ended up calling “Godmama.” Rumors reached Neal that Bacon was “spoiled,” but she never saw it. He did everything asked of him, she said. FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton echoed that sentiment.Neal played him at the 2-guard spot and worked on ball-handling, creating his own shot and pick-and-rolls. He improved, but Gillion said his ranking rose little.Showtime had a shoe deal with Reebok, which doesn’t offer league play like Nike or Adidas. Bacon wasn’t invited to some major showcases as a result, Neal said. Gillion calls it “shoe game politics.” Some coaches and players criticized Bacon for staying with a female coach, multiple people said, and that she couldn’t get him proper exposure.Bacon developed a catchphrase he’d always say to Neal: “Wait on me.” Published on February 10, 2016 at 11:39 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR After he transferred to IMG, attention increased, but he returned to McKeel for the second half of his junior year. For senior year, Bacon chose Oak Hill, which once produced Carmelo Anthony and Eric Devendorf. Meriwether noted that it’s difficult for an Oak Hill player to be underestimated, but that Bacon was “criminally underrated” by most.Playing against the country’s stiffest competition, Bacon became more consistent. He learned defensive help techniques and how to contain the dribbler.“Once they got his motor up to his ability, you couldn’t stop the guy,” said Meriwether, who saw more than 20 Oak Hill contests that season. “… He dismantled the other guy from the jump.”That season, Oak Hill won a school-record 47 games, losing only in the national championship game. Bacon won team MVP. He climbed to No. 14 in ESPN’s recruiting rankings. Meriwether saw his consistency rise as well as his presence dominate the gym. Meriwether saw him make multiple buzzer-beating, half-court shots at the end of quarters.“He’s got an ego, but the right amount of ego,” Meriwether said. “… He could miss eight shots, but it doesn’t bother him on the ninth shot. When you’re as talented as him, that’s a big deal. He’s not arrogant to the point where he thinks he can do things he can’t do, but he’s the right type of confident who knows he’s really good. That’s why he’s been so successful.”His confidence reminds Neal of NBA player Lance Stephenson, just not as “outspoken.” But it has allowed him to shut out critics, play with a female coach and become one of the nation’s best freshmen. It allows him to not care if some still see him as a one-dimensional gunner.“People still probably think I can’t pass, or I can’t play defense,” Bacon said. “But I can.” Commentslast_img read more

first_img Published on February 13, 2016 at 9:20 pm Contact Jake: [email protected] Syracuse started the game with urgency and energy that was absent in the beginning of Friday’s contest. It pushed the pace of play and played chip-and-chase to near perfection. The Orange was cleaner with the puck, cycling it to create scoring chances.“I liked our response,” SU head coach Paul Flanagan said. “It was a 180 from last night’s first period.”Syracuse (16-13-3, 12-4-2 College Hockey America) closed out its final regular-season home game at Tennity Ice Pavilion by beating Robert Morris (14-13-5, 6-8-4 CHA), 3-2, on Saturday afternoon and extended its winning streak to five.The two teams were locked at one through two periods, but the Orange eventually pulled away in the third, beating RMU for the second time in as many days.“In the second day of a series with short turn around time, for some of our small players, it’s tough,” Flanagan said. “I think we are the only sport that does this.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFollowing Friday’s explosive second period in which Syracuse scored six goals, Saturday’s middle frame was anything but explosive. Syracuse started out slow and sloppy until it got a bounce from an Allie Munroe shot 25 seconds into a power play that rebounded off the pads of RMU goalie Jessica Dodds right to Alysha Burriss for an easy goal at 9:10 of the second period.The period became a parade to the penalty box after the goal, though, and without the play of a stellar penalty kill, the game could have gotten out of control for a Syracuse team that committed four penalties in the second.“The long (line) change can make it difficult sometimes,” Flanagan said. “We get a little gassed and start struggling. We didn’t manage our ice time like we would have liked to. Last night the puck was down here (in the offensive zone) the whole time, unlike tonight.”Flanagan looked up at the clock with 1:06 left in the second period. The intermission couldn’t come soon enough. After seven combined penalties in the second and a slew of skirmishes, Syracuse was able to escape with the game tied 1-1.But when the third period started, the Orange played with authority.“I said, ‘Lets just go after them,’” Flanagan said. “The game was getting chippy. Be smart, stay out of the box. We don’t want anybody getting injured, lets play the game with class.”Morgan Blank, who had just one goal this season until last weekend, woke her team up again. She slotted the puck into the net two minutes into the third period off a pass from Heather Schwarz, who was skating down the side, near the boards.“I’m thinking, ‘Oh man she’s going to pass it to me, I just have to finish,’” Blank said. “She gave me a beautiful pass for a one-timer up front.”Emily Costales scored the game winner shortly after at 5:16 of the third period on a backhander while falling down on one knee.“I love those grimy goals,” Costales said.Syracuse then faced a push from Robert Morris that lead to a Kirsten Welsh pass being deflected off a Syracuse player. It went between the legs of an unprepared SU goalie Jen Gilligan to make the score 3-2.But that was as close as Robert Morris would get and the Orange closed out its victory. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Related Stories Syracuse scraps out 3-2 win over Robert Morris for 5th straight winlast_img read more

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 9, 2016 at 10:29 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] Syracuse split its doubleheader Saturday evening against Virginia in Charlottesville. After dropping the first game 5-3, the Orange took the second game of the day, topping the Cavaliers 10-8.In the first game, SU (18-17, 5-8 Atlantic Coast) sent Jocelyn Cater to the circle for the start, and she lasted the entire game, surrendering five runs on eight hits and three walks. Just two of the runs were earned. The senior pitcher also struck out six in the loss and walked three.Offensively the Orange scored a run in each of the first three innings to jump ahead 3-0. Andrea Bombace and Alyssa Dewes each notched RBIs for Syracuse, with the third run coming as a result of a Cavalier throwing error.Though up early, a three-run bottom of the third for Virginia (13-26, 3-8), coupled with two more runs in the following two innings, put the Orange behind 5-3, where it would stay the rest of the game.In the second game, the first win of the weekend for the Orange, Syracuse sharply turned around its hitting.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEight different Syracuse batters tallied hits, including four from Sammy Fernandez and three from Maddi Doane. Bombace tallied a home run in the first inning, and Fernandez, Corinne Ozanne and Olivia Martinez each had doubles in the victory.The Orange scored a total of 10 runs in the first five innings of the game, but were unable to add any more from there.Defensively, the Orange gave AnnaMarie Gatti the nod as the starting pitcher. The sophomore encountered trouble early, giving up seven runs in the first three innings on eight hits and one walk. Four of the runs were earned.After throwing just 2 2/3 innings, Gatti was replaced by Sydney O’Hara. The junior gave up just one run on a homer in the fifth, while striking out seven and walking two.She was followed in relief by Cater, who earned her first save of the season, giving up no runs on zero hits, three strikeouts and one walk. She walked off the mound with the scoreboard behind her showing a Syracuse victory, 10-8.The Orange finishes its weekend series against Virginia on Sunday in Charlottesville, with first pitch scheduled for noon. Commentslast_img read more

first_imgAfter the game finished, after the 15th-ranked team in the country filed out in disgust, after flocks of fans headed to their cars, a few supporters stayed to cheer. They stayed to root for Sergio Camargo, whose last three seasons irked him so much. Now he walked away from SU Soccer Stadium, being showered with love.The senior transfer from Coastal Carolina’s first-ever goal at Syracuse, also his first collegiate goal since Oct. 14, 2015, came less than an hour earlier. The duality of the moment superseded any lingering distaste from the past. The goal jolted a struggling offense amid its longest winless streak in five years. But for him, it proved to be much more.He enjoyed the people, the school and the social life at Coastal Carolina. But even as he collected All-Big South Conference honors each year, his relationship with the coaching staff deteriorated. He called it “unhealthy.” Camargo’s professional goals had slowly eroded. In February, after three years of injuries, unsteady performance and a “depressed situation,” he left the team.Months after splitting from Coastal, Camargo has emerged as a leader for No. 6 Syracuse (10-3-2, 3-2-2 Atlantic Coast). He struggled to execute on his talent established years earlier there. But he has turned away from his rearview to forge toward his future — a likely postseason run with the Orange and a potential professional career.•••AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore he turned 10, Camargo poured in more than eight goals per game. Opposing parents often asked for him to be taken out. For Camargo, who could roller blade before he could walk, soccer came naturally.He maximized his ability in Canada, where he played for Toronto’s best teams. His footwork, vision and agility caught the eyes of coaches. The same maturity he’s used to lead Syracuse developed back then.One day a 14-year-old Camargo dribbled on the sideline during a tournament. About 100 parents watching a nearby game turned their backs to the field, setting their eyes on Camargo, whose ball tricks and juggling skills drew raves.“Come watch this, come watch this,” the parents yelled.“The whole tournament stopped to watch what Sergio was doing,” said Filipe Bento, his coach of four years.Around the same time, Camargo showed up to a tournament championship game feeling a little sick. Bento started his best player anyway. As the game’s end neared and Camargo grew tired, Bento motioned him to come out. Camargo ran toward Bento, shaking his head.“Don’t you dare take me off this field,” Camargo told him. “I’m not coming off. I’m going to win this game.“You haven’t seen me yet.”A couple of minutes later, he scored the game-winning goal.“I’ve never seen that in any other player,” said Bento, who’s coached Division I and professional players. “It was then that I was convinced things could be decided by one player.”Camargo flew to Portugal by himself at 15 to play in a tournament. By 18, he had played in the U-17 World Cup in Mexico, on the Canadian U-17 national team (with Chris Nanco) and in a 2012 Toronto FC friendly match against Liverpool where Camargo assisted on a game-winning goal.Coaches love his flawless mechanics, the efficient pace with which he dribbles, the quickness and the ball skill to pull off flashy moves that are still effective. They laud the midfielder’s combination of intelligence, skill and quality, a rare versatility that allows him to play both in the box and rove midfield.From the first training session at Toronto FC, coach Stuart Neely saw Camargo’s ability. Before scrimmages, players grew upset if they found out they weren’t on Camargo’s team. In dribbling drills between pylons and manikins, Neely tacked on an extra 10 yards to Camargo’s group to make it fair.All of his success spurred professional aspirations. Camargo said he “definitely” never considered playing Division I college soccer before he turned 18.“Even plan B was professional,” his father, Sergio, said. “He never talked about, ‘Are you going to do anything else?’ He doesn’t answer. That’s not possible for him. He doesn’t think about anything else.”While professional teams signed his teammates, they shunned Camargo. His 5-foot-6, 163-pound frame stood between him and professional soccer. Even after Camargo took a gap year to train with Toronto FC’s first team, scouts passed on him.He needed a plan B.Tony D. Curtis | Staff Photographer•••Only a few schools offered Camargo, Syracuse and Coastal included. Rushed after his professional dreams fell short, Camargo signed with Coastal, simply because he knew a few players and liked the warm weather.Camargo keeps to himself. He shrugs off goals, hardly telling anyone. But his exterior shyness belies an intense inner confidence. Outside of his parents, he never indicated a desire to play professional soccer. His parents just learned about his offer from Syracuse out of high school.The shyness has subdued, slightly. Camargo hesitates to talk about himself. His mother admits she still “doesn’t really know” what happened at Coastal that forced him to jump ship.“He just gave us the news he was looking for another team,” said his mother, Nancy Penaranda. “We worried. We were like, ‘What if he doesn’t get his scholarship?’ I don’t know if he doesn’t want us to suffer, but he keeps everything to himself. I don’t know what he wants.”Camargo didn’t start in Coastal’s final game of 2015, a 2-1 NCAA Tournament loss to North Carolina in which he notched an assist. He scored four goals in the team’s first 11 games but didn’t score in the last 10 due to nagging injuries. The potential coaches recognized from his youth never fully blossomed.“Injuries were one of the things that decelerated my relationship with coach,” Camargo said. “He didn’t take the injuries well. He didn’t blame me for them but he put a lot of pressure on me to return.”During winter break last year, Camargo called his parents more frequently and told them he might leave the program. He asked them if, and how, they could pay for college if he didn’t get a full scholarship to Syracuse.Camargo told Coastal Carolina’s 21-year head coach, Shaun Docking, he wanted to transfer in February. They agreed he could explore other options.Hours later, Camargo emailed SU head coach Ian McIntyre, expressing interest to join an Orange team only a couple of months removed from its first-ever College Cup appearance.Still, Camargo expresses mild disgust that it took three years to leave the Chanticleers. He mostly enjoyed the times he thrived. Some players lacked commitment to the team, he said, declining to explain further.“I was never really happy there. Just sad,” he said. “It got better, but right away from my freshman year, I had a pretty down moment. I tried to fight through it, deal with it. I needed to get out of there.”Although Camargo didn’t elaborate on the moment, it contributed to his decline. As a freshman forward, he burst into the starting lineup of a 19-5 Big South Championship unit, tallying nine goals, five assists and Big South All-Freshman team honors. But in the next two years, his scoring decreased. He scored six goals in 2014, and then had a four-goal junior year in which he tore a ligament in AC joint, missing seven games.Camargo followed one guiding principle on his college choice: He wanted to find a place where he could compete for a national title and a place where his talents could garner professional exposure.Syracuse fit perfectly. Its two leading goal scorers, Julian Buescher and Ben Polk, left for Major League Soccer. Camargo thought he could fit into a starting midfield in need of a playmaker.Leading up to his decision, Camargo eyed up Syracuse. He followed the team’s Twitter account, texted Nanco regularly and kept the possibility in the back of his mind.Shortly after he emailed McIntyre, he heard back. The Orange’s head coach asked for his transcripts and, in March, Camargo flew up to campus for a visit. Then he committed.“I was thinking about it all fall,” he said. “In the spring, I manned up and took a leap of faith.”•••Last spring, rumors spread that Camargo would join Syracuse for his senior season. Players who knew him from club soccer — Nanco, Oyvind Alseth and Louis Cross, among others— shared with those who didn’t know about his talents that SU was “getting a really good player.”Camargo arrived to Syracuse this summer with renewed inspiration. His play in the preseason affirmed McIntyre’s thoughts that he’s a “real player,” and Camargo looked sharp for much of his debut. A healthy preseason positioned him well for a breakout year.But his ascent began nearly as suddenly as it ended.The day he broke into the Syracuse offense, he tallied an assist. Later, he received a pass on the right side and gave it a short run. Then he felt something pull. He injured his hamstring in his first game with SU. It was one of the few problems transferring couldn’t solve.He missed four games. In the games he has played, the hamstring injury loomed. For much of the season, he generated quality chances but missed. Often, he keeled over, putting his hands on his knees in frustration.His breakthrough came against then-No. 15 Virginia Tech, when he notched his first goal of the season. Offensive drought, stress from his lackluster output and injuries flew past him as he sprinted to a mob of teammates.Camargo was in such a solemnly competitive trance, before performing his salsa dance.“That’s the happiest I’ve ever been after a goal,” he said.Until then, he scored in practice but not in games. The goal affirmed he can flourish. His teammates say he might be the team’s most-skilled player. Still, he doesn’t feel he’s played his best soccer in college.When Camargo arrived to SU, he told his new teammates he wished he played with them from the start, when Syracuse reached No. 1 in the NSCAA coaches poll and reached the national semifinal. For now, all of that’s behind him as the Orange’s playoff run awaits.“This is the only year that matters,” he said. “This is the make or break.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 24, 2016 at 10:18 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

first_img Published on October 30, 2017 at 9:27 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ In game-deciding points, few would expect a freshman to get the call to step to the service line, get set up for a crucial kill or save a point with a critical dig.At 21-years-old, Ella Saada is not a regular freshman. In some pressure moments this season, the Orange has turned to her to produce, and she has not disappointed.Against Georgia Tech on Oct. 8, she saved a set point with a deft tip over a double-block that landed just out of reach of the diving backline. Against Pittsburgh just five days later, Saada took a Trotter set and placed it into the back corner, hitting the corner of both lines to save another set point.As Syracuse (17-8, 9-3 Atlantic Coast) heads down the home stretch of its season, it has relied on Saada to produce offensively. Her prior experience has made a difference for her mentally and physically as she transitions to college volleyball and student life in the United States. But on the court, it’s her versatility that’s made her an invaluable all-around player for the Orange. Offensively, her 25 aces leda the team and Saada’s 166 kills rank third. Defensively, only libero Belle Sand has more digs than Saada’s 167.“She is not a typical freshman,” SU head coach Leonid Yelin said. “She’s 21, and she’s played all over the world.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs an Israeli citizen raised in Kfar Masaryk, Israel, the government mandated Saada to complete two years of military service starting at age 18. She participated in boot camp and lived with fellow enlistees. She never saw battle, but Saada learned time-management skills and accountability that still informs what she does now on a court.After the Israeli military, Saada played volleyball for the Israeli national team under Arie Selinger, a two-time silver-medalist winning coach, and competed in international tournaments. Then, Saada pursued her dream of living in the United States and spent a year at St. John’s studying and practicing English while living in New York City.“I got a lot from the program, we had a really good coach,” Saada said. “I learned a lot from him.”When Yelin saw his opportunity to add Saada to the team, he wasted no time. Despite never intensely recruiting her, Yelin had done enough research to know that she would be a good fit at Syracuse.“I googled the national team, and I watched a lot of matches that she played,” Yelin said. “You could see skills, you could see experience. We did not know much about her personality. Usually when you’re recruiting kids, you have at least a year to get to know them.”Prior to her commitment, Yelin had never seen Saada play in person. While Saada had not balanced both schoolwork and volleyball in multiple years, she had a goal in mind. After a Skype video call, Yelin felt that Saada was the right fit both on and off the court.“I wanted to get an education, and play volleyball at a good level,” Saada said. “I didn’t just want to get an education and not play volleyball a lot.”Since arriving at SU, Saada has made an immediate impact. Though a right shoulder injury kept her from playing outside hitter for a stretch of games early in the season, she contributed defensively by playing exclusively on the back line. Since Saada’s shoulder has healed and teammate Kendra Lukacs injured her ankle, Saada has returned to outside hitter and embraced a more active role in the SU offense.In the last 10 games, Saada has tallied nine kills per match and has developed into a mainstay in the starting lineup. Whether it’s serving, attacking, or defending, Saada’s all-around performance has paced SU this season.“When we have nervous moments, I feel the younger players are more stressed,” Saada said. “But I’m more calm.”Once playing on the world’s biggest stages, ACC volleyball is not quite as intimidating, even for a freshman. Commentslast_img read more

first_imgSyracuse (22-14, 12-8 Atlantic Coast) was defeated 3-0 by West Virginia (21-12, 6-10 Big 12) on Monday night in Morgantown, West Virginia in the quarterfinals of the Women’s National Invitational Volleyball Championship. Despite holding three-point leads in all three sets, the Orange faltered down the stretch in each set, losing 25-22, 25-22, 25-18. This loss ends SU’s season.For the first time since Nov. 12, SU had zero attackers register double-digit kills. The Orange was led by a trio of offensive players: Amber Witherspoon, Mariia Levanova, and Ella Saada. Witherspoon and Levanova tallied eight kills each, with Saada adding six. Levanova’s eight kills are her third-highest tally of the season. In her final collegiate game, libero Belle Sand registered 16 digs.“I was very pleased with how Mariia played today,” head coach Leonid Yelin said. “After not playing for two years, she probably was our best hitter on the floor today,”Despite Witherspoon’s six blocks, SU struggled to contain WVU’s leading attacker, Peyton Caffrey. She posted 19 kills and three aces on 48 attack attempts, leading the Mountaineers in both categories. She was set up for kills more than twice as much as any other Mountaineer. After finishing sets out against Albany and Towson in the opening rounds of the tournament, the Orange failed to capitalize on the leads it had early in sets.In the opening set, Syracuse led 22-18 and was on its way to winning its seventh consecutive playoff set. Then, the Mountaineers won the final seven points of the opener, four points coming from SU attack errors. Despite 12 ties and five lead changes, the Mountaineers late run proved too much for the Orange to overcome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It was so hard for them to focus and concentrate,” Yelin said. “West Virginia was so loose, playing at home, and they did a good job.”The Orange led yet again in the second set, 13-11. The Mountaineers won 6-of-7 points, taking control of the set with a 17-14 lead. Even as the Orange won 3-of-4 points to pull within one again, a service error by Sand and two WVU kills put the set out of reach as WVU took a two-set lead into the break.Syracuse grabbed yet another lead early in the third, leading 9-6 before slowly seeing the set slip away. Later in the set, leading 18-17, West Virginia scored seven of the final eight points, ending the SU season as Caffrey posted three kills in four points to win the set 25-18.“We want to play in this tournament, because we never had this experience to play this time of the year,” Yelin said. “Hopefully we learn something from this and come back next year better.” Comments Published on December 4, 2017 at 9:08 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

first_img Published on January 27, 2018 at 6:16 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer Facebook Twitter Google+ PITTSBURGH — Syracuse (15-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) added to its winning streak by beating Pittsburgh (8-14, 0-9), 60-55, on Saturday evening in the Petersen Events Center.Here are three reactions from the game.Too good to be trueSyracuse’s last game against Boston College produced an uncharacteristically pristine offensive performance. The Orange scored 81 points on a season-high 60.4 percent from the field.That game seemed to be an outlier rather than a start to a new trend, though. Syracuse was anemic on offense Saturday, making just six shots in the first half, three of which came from Tyus Battle.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe same issues that have plagued the offense all year resurfaced in a major way. Ball movement was limited no matter what lineup was in. When the three guards were in, Pittsburgh would effectively double each ball-handler, leaving the high post open. Oshae Brissett struggled to find openings, while Marek Dolezaj seemed very timid every time he put up a shot from there.SU ended shooting just 35.2 percent.Searching for answersSince the start of ACC play, Syracuse has had a pretty consistent rotation. Tyus Battle, Frank Howard and Oshae Brissett would start and play nearly the entire game every time. Center Paschal Chukwu started regularly eclipsing the 30-minute plateau in conference play, while forwards Matthew Moyer and Marek Dolezaj split time rather evenly.But Moyer sat out Saturday’s contest with a sprained left ankle injury. Dolezaj slid into his starting spot.With the Orange struggling badly, though, Boeheim was continually forced to swap players in a desperate attempt to find a group that worked. Every available scholarship player saw at least eight minutes of time on the court in the first half, with everyone but Chukwu seeing at least double digits.Things changed in the second half, though, as Howard Washington didn’t see the floor until the last 30 seconds and Sidibe took over nearly the entire frame for Chukwu.Comeback kidSince the start of ACC play, Bourama Sidibe has averaged seven minutes per game and hasn’t played in two of them. His nagging knee injury caused by tendinitis was limiting the freshman who split time with Chukwu to start the season. Sidibe has already received two platelet-rich plasma injections.With Chukwu struggling mightily in the first half — on one play he was outrebounded by 6-foot-5 Pitt wing Jared Wilson-Frame — Sidibe got an early and extended look against the Panthers. He responded in the first half by grabbing eight rebounds. But like the rest of the team, he didn’t do much on offense, scoring just four points.That changed in the second half. Sidibe consistently found openings on the baseline. He finished with a game- and career-high 18 points and 16 rebounds. Commentslast_img read more

first_imgThe bane of the football season has arrived. It’s the Thursday night game — something few love and many despise. I fall into the majority on this one, and I think that playing a football game in the Coliseum on a Thursday isn’t fair to the students or a good idea.The Thursday night football game is a contradiction for a University that claims to put a great value on both academics and student life — this game makes students choose one or the other.When I was a freshman, I remember thinking that it was really cool that we got to play on a Thursday night, but of course as I have gone deeper into my course work and gotten more involved with my extracurricular activities, a Thursday night game just cuts into the amount of time that I can spend studying and working without feeling like I’m missing out on something.In an attempt to compromise, USC bans all tailgating on campus and on the Row for Thursday games, but that takes away a lot of the fun of going to a school where football is such a big deal. I’m not saying that the only way to enjoy a football game is to be blackout drunk before it happens, but there is a certain culture surrounding the games and many students, myself included, feel cheated out of one weekend of this experience when the game is held on a Thursday.If the University were going to cancel all its classes on Thursdays to allow the game to fully take over, then there wouldn’t be this struggle for power. But it isn’t just Thursday or Thursday afternoon classes that would need to be considered — what about Friday?I am one of the many who purposely schedules my classes so that I have a three-day weekend every week, but for many people, and nearly every science major, this luxury just isn’t a reality.This semester I have a class that is from 4 p.m.- 5:40 p.m. on Thursday, and my professor canceled it. I have friends who don’t get out of class until 6 or 7 p.m. and their professors haven’t given them the day off. Now these students have to decide if they would rather attend the football game or their class, a decision that is utterly unfair for someone who is paying for both.So then it comes to a tipping point. Would a student rather skip the game so that they can commit the necessary time to their schoolwork, something that costs roughly $33,000 this semester or go to the football game, something they also had to put out $185 for?It doesn’t seem fair to force the students into this predicament every year. In an email to the student body, Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry addressed the many troubles that come with the Thursday night game.“As a member of the Pac-12 Conference, USC will occasionally host home football games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on weekdays,” Carry wrote.For the three years that I have been a student here, USC has hosted a Thursday night game. Even though “occasionally” may mean only once a semester, “occasionally” should mean once every few seasons. Spread the wealth!Of course, on a Thursday night, USC has a greater chance of competing with the NFL for viewership than Oregon State does, but the conference should put its priority on its students and student-athletes instead of chasing down the dollars.Now of course, USC would never say that they expect you to go to the football game instead of your classes. In fact, Carry even told the student body what is expected of them tonight.“Classes will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27 and students will be expected to attend class in accordance with the syllabus set by their faculty instructor.”I hope you have as understanding of a professor as I do.Hailey Tucker is a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs Thursdays.last_img read more

first_imgSenior outside hitter Niki Withers has racked up 266 kills for USC this year as the team wraps up the regular season this week. Photo by Kaan Demiroz | Daily TrojanThis week, the No. 13 women’s volleyball team will travel up to Eugene, Ore., to face No. 24 Oregon on Wednesday before battling No. 19 UCLA at the Galen Center on Saturday in the team’s final home match of the regular season. The Women of Troy (21-8, 13-5 Pac-12) started out the season unranked and were tabbed to finish sixth in the conference by Pac-12 coaches. At 13-5, they’re sitting in second place in the conference. If they can pick up wins against the Ducks (16-10, 9-9 Pac-12) and the Bruins (17-10, 10-8 Pac-12), second place is as good as theirs with Washington and Utah tied for third at 12-6.Oregon is 11-4 at home this season, and USC is 8-5 on the road. Going into Wednesday’s match, the Ducks carry a three-match losing streak, and while the Women of Troy did have a five-match win streak, it came to an end against No. 4 Stanford last weekend. The team rebounded by sweeping Cal two days later. To pick up a win in Eugene, USC must stop senior outside hitter Taylor Agost. Against both Washington schools, Agost put up a team-high 36 kills while recording a .289 hitting percentage. Her 25 kills against the Cougars was a season high. She is the team’s go-to hitter, with 288 kills on the season. Right behind Agost is sophomore middle blocker Ronika Stone, who had a season-high 18 kills against the Cougars and 25 kills on the weekend. After playing the Ducks, the Women of Troy will head back to Los Angeles and the friendly confines of the Galen Center. USC has lost its final regular season match to the Bruins in the last three seasons.But earlier this season, the Women of Troy opened up conference play with a riveting five-set victory over the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion. After falling behind 2-1, then-No. 21 USC won the final two sets to top No. 11 UCLA(25-21, 15-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-11). It was the fourth time in the last six matches between the rivals to go five sets. Senior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie led all hitters with a then-career-high 18 kills. She topped that for a career-high 19 kills against Washington in October. Sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier was right behind her with 17 kills. UCLA dominated defensively at the net, putting up 11 blocks to USC’s four, but despite the strong defense, the Women of Troy produced a .251 hitting percentage.UCLA will be coming off a Wednesday match against Oregon State. Last weekend, the Bruins split two matches in Northern California, losing to Stanford in five sets but sweeping Cal. USC is 10-1 at home this season, while UCLA is 7-6 on the road. To snatch a win over their crosstown rival, the Women of Troy will have to limit the Bruins’ strong offense led by senior outside hitter Reily Buechler, freshman outside hitter Jenny Mosser, sophomore middle blocker Madeleine Gates and freshman outside hitter Mac May. All four attackers have more than 240 kills on the season. Buechler, with 342 kills, is the only player with more than 300 kills. Mosser is close, sitting at 294 kills on the season. USC has three hitters — Lanier, Abercrombie, senior outside hitter Niki Withers — with more than 265 kills on the season. Lanier leads the Women of Troy with 378, followed by Abercrombie’s 354 kills. Wins against the Ducks and Bruins should set up the Women of Troy in strong position for the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will take place Nov. 26. The road to Kansas City for the national championship starts Nov. 30 with first-round matches. First serve against the Bruins will be at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center Saturday.last_img read more