Facebook Twitter Google+ Tim and Christine Hostage can recall their immediate reactions. Her club teammate Shannon Aviza remembers her falling and screaming “vividly.” They witnessed Kate Hostage plant her foot and drop to the ground, tearing her ACL in 2014.Hostage herself does not. She blocks it out of her mind.Her father ran onto the field while Christine pulled up the car that would become the ambulance. Before she was carried off, Tim heard a coach say something.“Colleges will still want you.”Given the severity of the situation, Hostage’s father found it odd that someone addressed the distant concern of playing soccer in college. Whether appropriate or not, the statement rang true.Three years after her injury, Hostage has appeared in four games as a freshman for Syracuse (4-1-1) and scored the game-winning goal against Army. SU coach Phil Wheddon recruited her for her goal-scoring ability and “relentless” approach to the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I don’t necessarily want to dwell on injuries. Unfortunately for women’s soccer in particular the ACL injury is prevalent,” Wheddon said. “It’s commonplace and recovery from those injuries, if it’s done properly, players come back to normal. In Kate’s case she came back better.”Hostage’s tear was one of three in the span of a few months, her mother said. Hostage called it an “ACL epidemic.” Published on September 6, 2017 at 9:01 pm Contact Bobby: firstname.lastname@example.org Surgery was the first step. Afterward, she spent time with physical therapists, gym trainers and teammates in casts, rehabbing back to full health. Her summer weekend trips to Massachusetts beaches with extended family were put on hold as Hostage recovered.Six months later, she was participating in cutting and contact drills. In 2015, one year later, she returned to the field, still with the concern of playing at the college level on her mind.“It was hard because when she got injured it was right when colleges were starting to become interested,” Christine, her mother, said. “Then (when) she came back, it was the heart of recruiting time and she wasn’t 100 percent, so she really struggled and she wanted to go out there and perform and impress but it was hard because she was just coming back from her injury.”Hostage’s father worried about her health from the moment she tumbled to the ground. That was soon “replaced by the stress of watching her play.” Then it became relieving.In her games back, her father, who has recorded his daughter’s games since she was 10, noticed a more aware player. She suffered at least two concussions and wore head gear until she was 15. Aviza said Hostage was “just very tenacious and she’ll run through people.”Hostage said she was concerned she would be timid upon her return from surgery, but she felt comfortable after her first slide tackle. The Boston Breakers, her club team, won the 2015 National Premier Leagues Championship. Hostage committed to play at Syracuse, along with Aviza.Wheddon said he questioned if her offensive game would translate at the collegiate level. He got an answer to his question on Aug. 24. In the 56th minute against Army Taylor Bennett booted a free kick toward the net. An Army defender missed the header and Hostage was there to recover the ball and break the tie. It was the game-winning goal in her first collegiate appearance that she once worried would not come to fruition.She has since played in every match for the Orange.The year away provided Hostage a new appreciation for the game, and a goal in her college debut assured her that she belonged. Comments
In their first series since winning the national championship in March, the Badgers swept the Lady Lions with 24 goals and no reply over the weekend at the Kohl Center.[/media-credit]Scoring 24 goals in the first series of the season is nothing to complain about.Extending its unbeaten streak from last season with a 13-0 win over the Lindenwood Lady Lions, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team has gone 29 games without a loss.Nearly every Badger scored on the weekend, as all four freshmen found the back of the net. The only goalless Badger was sophomore Natalie Berg, who had four assists.“It was really good,” said freshman defenseman Katarina Zgraja, who scored her first career goal Friday. “After you get your first goal, you’re more comfortable with the puck and you just feel good.”Wisconsin held advantages in experience, talent and overall conditioning over Lindenwood, and senior forward Hilary Knight’s second goal of the game epitomized the series.Twenty seconds after her first goal, Knight took the puck up the ice following the faceoff. She flipped the puck over the last defender and shot it past Lindewood’s goaltender, Taylor Fairchild, putting the Badgers up 2-0.“I always practice lifting it up and knocking it down and try to be a little creative – add a little spice to what we’re doing,” Knight said. “I like to have fun, and fortunately, that time it worked out.”Knight and junior forward Brianna Decker each finished the day with a hat trick, while senior forward Brooke Ammerman and freshman forward Katy Josephs scored two goals apiece.Head coach Mark Johnson was pleased to see contributions from most of his team so early in the season.“Everybody got their feet wet, everybody had a lot of ice time and it’s nice to see everybody make a contribution,” Johnson said. “It’s good. If I’m a freshman, I got to play a lot, I made a contribution, so those jitters that maybe young kids have hopefully may be eased a little bit.”In the drubbing, Wisconsin outshot Lindenwood 72-3. For the weekend, the Badgers put 132 shots on goal to Lindenwood’s 14.Both sophomore goaltender Alex Rigsby and junior Nikki Kaasa saw time in net this weekend. Both games, Kaasa relieved Rigsby in the third period, facing about as many shots as Rigsby had in the previous periods.“Yeah, my dad made a comment after the game on Friday, ‘Not a lot changed as you went out on the ice in the third period,’” Kaasa said. “My defense, everybody played great this weekend, especially with us being short on players, definitely a good week to get our feet wet.”Friday night’s season opener could not have set the tone for the weekend in a better way.After watching a 2010-11 season recap video and finally dropping their national championship banner, the season opener was undeniably emotional for the Badgers. Nevertheless, UW was able to stay focused in skating to an 11-0 shutout win.“[Knight] and I both looked at each other after the banner dropped and we said we got the chills,” Decker said. “We know it’s the start of a new season and we just have to be ready to go.”The game began slowly. Both teams had only practiced for about a week with their coaches, so things weren’t expected to click instantly.Following a one-goal first period, the Badgers didn’t look back in scoring 10 goals throughout the remaining 40 minutes. Not only did Wisconsin dominate Lindenwood in its first Division I game, it absolutely trounced the newcomer, out-shooting them 60-11.With a short bench, the large majority of UW’s roster saw plenty of ice time. Specifically, the freshmen proved they can keep up with their defending national champion teammates.On the Badgers’ fifth goal of the night, freshman forward Blayre Turnbull sent the puck through the crease to waiting freshman forward Karley Sylvester who sent it into the net.“It means a lot,” Sylvester said of the goal. “In the beginning, I was super nervous – all of us freshman were. After the first shift, we got it out. Scoring in my first game, that’s pretty exciting.”“I think we’ve got a really good group of freshman girls coming in,” sophomore defenseman Kelly Jaminski added. “Even tonight it showed. They work hard, so I think that’s exciting. That’ll be good because it helps our season keep going hard.”As the most experienced Badger blue liner, Jaminski led UW’s defense while senior Brittany Haverstock and juniors Stefanie McKeough and Saige Pacholock are skating with the Canada National Team for the weekend. Junior Alev Kelter is also playing with the Wisconsin women’s soccer team.The sophomore scored her first two career goals as a Badger Friday night – both from the blue line – and also notched three assists on the night.“New people stepped up today and it was really exciting to see that,” Decker said. “Our depth is as strong as it was last season and that’s what is going to be a big threat for us.”
The Wisconsin men’s tennis team finished off a flawless weekend at home by defeating the Northern Illinois Huskies 6-1, giving the Badgers, who now sit at 5-4, their first winning record since starting their season 2-0.After dropping its first conference match of the season to Minnesota last weekend, Wisconsin seems to have found its stride, surrendering only one point in its last two matches. The Badgers stole all three doubles matches to secure an early lead. Junior captain Billy Bertha and sophomore Fredrik Ask bounced back in their match after being broken early in their set, and after tying it up 6-6, the team dominated the tiebreaker with a few key volley winners, winning the match 9-8 (7-1).The victory ended the duo’s two-match losing streak, including an unexpected loss to an unranked UW-Green Bay team Saturday.“We were able to bounce back at one doubles,” head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. “Whenever you’re a ranked team, everybody’s looking to take shots at you … guys are coming after you hard.”Wisconsin continued its success in singles play with sophomore Rod Carey finishing first by soundly beating Roman Turtygin at the No. 3 position (6-3, 6-3) giving him an even 4-4 singles record on the year.A pleasant surprise for Wisconsin was the play of freshman Andy Quirk over the weekend. A strong performance by the Scotsman put the Huskies in a difficult 0-3 hole, forcing them to win the remaining four singles matches to pull off the victory.Quirk also stepped in for sophomore Petr Satral after he was beleaguered by an ankle injury against UW-Green Bay, and the freshman was ecstatic to be given the chance to sneak into the gameday lineup.“I was a little nervous, but I really wanted to prove myself to the team, and I think I did that,” Quirk said. “Hopefully I get another chance to play.”His 6-2, 6-1 victory against UW-GB marks Quirk’s first win since January. In his two matches this season, he has lost a total of three games.Van Emburgh matched Quirk’s excitement with the prospect of a young player providing depth to the team.“I thought he did a great job today,” Van Emburgh said. “He’s the type of player where it’s going to be a nightmare for guys if he’s down low at the five or six position. He grinds guys down. He’s really tough, he’s really competitive … he’s confident he can beat anybody.”Bertha clinched the victory for the Badgers with a 6-4, 6-3 victory with the help of strong serving. Junior transfer Alexander Kostanov – who, after losing his first five singles efforts, has now won two consecutive matches – also won in straight sets with a 6-3, 6-4 finish in the No. 2 singles spot.Solid singles play continued with a three-set effort from Ask. Inconsistent groundstrokes plagued the Oslo, Norway, native in the first set, but he was able to trigger a comeback, winning the next two sets by identical scores of 6-1, 6-1.Ask earned the only Badger win against the Gophers last weekend on the road, and was able to use his opponent’s frustration to his advantage as the match progressed.“I wasn’t feeling too great, but then I started feeling the ball a little better, and I also saw that he was getting tired because the rallies were quite long,” Ask said.He also made a key observation about the strength of his opponent that enabled him to reconsider his game plan.“I started to hit my backhand a little bit more crosscourt down to his one-hander,” Ask said. “And then I had some more openings with my forehand after, because I was playing too much down the line with my backhand to his forehand, because his forehand was quite good.”The weekend wins have put Wisconsin in a solid position heading into the final portion of the non-conference schedule. The Badgers travel to California March 10 to contend with the No. 16 Fresno State Bulldogs, where Wisconsin looks to pick up its first road win of the season.Van Emburgh thinks his team has a decent shot at earning its first road victory, despite the sizable challenge of taking down a top-25 squad on the road. “I think the guys have gained a lot of momentum, and should feel really confident on where we are right now in our season,” Van Embugh said. “I think we’re starting to peak at the right time.”
UPDATE: Gary Andersen released a statement clarifying his comments in regards to the post game celebration. It appears as if the trophy will be presented in the winning team’s end zone rather than on the sidelines or in the locker room.————-When Wisconsin and Minnesota meet on Saturday for the 124th time, it will not only be for the right to hoist Paul Bunyan’s Axe, but more importantly, for the Big Ten West Division title and a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game.But the winner of Saturday’s matchup between No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 22 Minnesota at Camp Randall will have a new wrinkle to their postgame celebrations. Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said the Axe will be held in the winning team’s locker room following the game as opposed to on the sidelines and will “disappear” during the game. The winning team will be able to bring the Axe onto the field to celebrate with fans after they receive it in their locker room where they will likely also “chop” down the losing team’s goal post.This is a result of what occurred in Minnesota last season when a scuffle broke out on the field between the Badgers and Gophers following Wisconsin’s 20-7 defeat of Minnesota.“Last year was unfortunate,” Andersen said. “I don’t think myself or [Minnesota head coach Jerry] Kill liked the way that it went down. I don’t think it’s good for college football and I don’t think it is good for our kids.“No one’s going to protect those kids when they’re on the field because the coaches are gone, the security is gone, there’s nobody out there and all of a sudden we’re asking 200 kids to run around the football field and not put themselves in harm’s way.”Andersen said Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is on board with the decision but that he has yet to talk to Kill about it.But it appears as if Wisconsin running back and Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon doesn’t fully support Andersen’s decision. Regardless of where the Axe will be held, Saturday’s game is the biggest for either team and one of the most important games between the two rivals in recent memory.The Badgers and Gophers will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. Saturday from Camp Randall Stadium. However, UW defensive back Michael Caputo has a different thought about the new postgame Axe ceremony.
For seven innings, the Trojans fought to find any consistent offense against Long Beach State. For seven innings Dirtbags pitcher John Castro had USC’s lineup on its toes, allowing just six hits and zero runs.“I thought Castro pitched phenomenally well for them today,” head coach Dan Stubbs said. “He had three pitches working and he kept us off balance.”But in a wild Tuesday night game that lasted four hours and featured 11 innings, the first seven frames merely served as prelude. The Trojans needed one major play to get back into the game, and junior Lars Nootbaar provided just that. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth with two outs and a man on second, the center fielder blasted a moonshot that sailed over the right field fence. With that two-run homer, a Trojans’ offense that had been largely dormant up until that point came alive.“Honestly it’s one of the greatest feelings,” Nootbaar said. “Just knowing you squared a ball up, it’s almost as if you didn’t even feel it. It’s one of those things where right at contact, you know it’s going out. Just seeing my teammates enjoy it was really the best part.”While Nootbaar’s home run gave the team a chance to win, solid pitching from a very young rotation kept the Trojans afloat up until that point. Junior Mason Perryman performed admirably — if slightly erratically — in only his fourth career start. He gave up just five hits but also hit three batters, at one point nailing two in a row to load the bases. After four innings, he was replaced by sophomore Quinten Longrie, who gave up one hit in nine outs, with five strikeouts.“We’re relying on a lot of young guys,” Stubbs said. “You think about the pitching that was out there today; I think Mason probably has 25 innings of college experience, Longrie might have 2 or 3 innings of college experience and the other guys have zero. We’re going to be a work in progress a little bit.”With the game tied at two at the top of the ninth, Stubbs made the bold decision to send freshman Austin Manning out to the mound. The lefty looked confident at first, striking out LBSU second baseman Jarron Duran. But then he gave up a double followed by a perfectly executed RBI sacrifice fly to center field. Manning managed to get out of the inning giving up only the one run, but the Trojans once again found themselves in a do-or-die situation heading into the bottom of the ninth.This time, however, they didn’t need Nootbaar’s hot bat. With two freshman pinch runners, John Thomas and Christian Moya, at the corners senior Cris Perez came up to bat with two outs. As Thomas attempted to steal from first base, LBSU catcher David Baneulos overthrew the second baseman, allowing Moya to score off of the error. The Trojans left the inning with a 3-3 tie, meaning that fans at Dedeaux Field would be treated to a late night of extra innings.Both teams failed to score in the 10th inning. Manning produced a three up, three down inning on the defensive end and then senior AJ Fritts was unable to bring junior Adalberto Carrillo home from third with one out.After Manning once again prevented the Dirtbags from scoring in the top of the 11th, the Trojans seemed destined to finally finish the game. First Brandon Perez reached first base when LBSU’s center fielder dropped a routine flyball. Then he reached second off of a wild pickoff throw to first base. The Dirtbags’ pitcher Chris Rivera intentionally walked Matthew Acosta and Tyler Urbach leaving the bases loaded with zero outs.Despite the odds stacked in their favor, the Trojans still did not make ending the game a simple task. Cris Perez and David Edson both struck out, leaving junior shortstop Frankie Rios up to bat with two outs and the game on the line. Rios immediately got down 0-2 in the count, and for a minute it looked as though USC had squandered another golden opportunity — except it had not. Rios blasted a walk-off single to center field and was immediately mobbed by an army of exhausted teammates.“I was excited,” Rios said. “I wasn’t doing all too well, and then I got that hit. I saw it off the bat, and I was pumped.”On the game, Nootbaar produced a memorable performance, going 3-4 with a home run and two RBI. On the season, he is batting .688 with two homers.A positive sign for USC going forward was the season debut of senior leader Corey Dempster following a knee injury. The outfielder came into the eighth inning as a pinch hitter and singled on the first pitch he saw.After defeating LBSU, the Trojans travel to North Carolina on Friday for games against Wake Forest and Duke.
Former USC receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster slated 96 yards on seven receptions last night against the Buccaneers. (Daily Trojan file photo)The NFL season is underway and Week 3 has concluded with the first- and second-year Trojans making an impact on their respective teams. Along with a talented crop of rookies, former five-star recruits and receivers Adoree’ Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster have demonstrated the USC football program can develop talented players and take them to NFL stardom. Sam DarnoldBranded the face of the Jets franchise after a resounding 48-17 win in his debut against the Detroit Lions, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold struggled against the Browns in Week 3. The pressure was on Darnold on Thursday night to show the Browns they should not have passed on him in the draft with the No. 1 pick. After coming out hot to a 14-0 lead fueled by a strong ground game and consistent quarterback play, the Darnold-led offense sputtered. Following an injury to Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor, rookie Baker Mayfield played his first real snaps. The pressure was even higher as the two highly touted rookies duked it out, but Darnold threw two critical interceptions that overshadowed his solid start to the game. These errors resulted in a 21-17 loss for the Jets.JuJu Smith-SchusterAnother Pro Football Focus hero, second year wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster had a 134.0 passer rating on passes targeting him his rookie year, the highest for any rookie receiver in the last 10 years. It’s hard to say that Smith-Schuster is a breakout candidate because it feels like he has already broken out. In his first two games, he’s backed up his fan-favorite personality and eccentric touchdown celebrations with 240 receiving yards and a touchdown. With Le’Veon Bell out for the foreseeable future due to contractual issues, there will be plenty of opportunities for Smith-Schuster to showcase his talent.Adoree’ JacksonAfter posting an 82.3 Pro Football Focus grade and making it onto Pro Football Focus’ list of “Second Year Players Primed to Breakout in 2018,” second year cornerback, Jackson has not disappointed. While it’s hard to evaluate a cornerback’s performance based on statistics alone, Jackson has recorded plenty to justify the hype. In his second game against the divisional rival Texans, he demonstrated his athleticism while recording his first career interception over superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Jackson has come into his own after a rollercoaster rookie year and is positioned to be a stud for the Titans, who hope to return to the playoffs this year.Ronald Jones IIRookie running back Ronald Jones II was taken in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft. Yet, in spite of the Bucs’ bottom ranking ground game, Jones has not played a snap with Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers ahead of him on the depth chart. In the NFL season’s third week, Jones hoped to have made more of an impact to balance the Bucs’ passing attack. He struggles to fit into the Bucs’ vertical offense as a player who doesn’t catch the ball much; Jones only had 32 catches his entire college career. As the Bucs’ backup quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick was thrust into the starting job and is averaging over 400 yards passing and four touchdowns over the first two weeks Jones will continue to find where he fits in.Uchenna NwosuAfter striking fear into the hearts of Pac-12 quarterbacks last year, rookie outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu began what he hopes will be a reign of terror on quarterbacks at the next level when he recorded his first sack in Week 2 against the Bills. Otherwise, Nwosu has been relatively quiet on the stat sheet, but is seeing an uptick in snaps after only seeing two defensive snaps his first game. In spite of major injuries, the Los Angeles Chargers are eyeing a playoff berth, and Nwosu looks to be a key piece in a dominant defense this season.
Freshman defensive lineman Drake Jackson leads USC in both tackles for loss and sacks this season. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) Friday’s outcome will seriously affect the trajectory of the Trojans’ season, and losing would certainly add fuel to the fire surrounding head coach Clay Helton’s job security. A win and the squad will be riding high with momentum going into the thick of its very difficult schedule. However, a loss could provide a huge blow after a hot start to the season led many to believe the mighty Trojans were finally back. Sophomore defensive lineman Brandon Pili is ready for the challenge amidst USC’s many doubters. The loss to BYU this past Saturday stung. USC came into the weekend ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since Week 2 of last season only to fall right back out. Short week, tall task Freshman cornerback Chris Steele has seen his reps continually increase, and that trend is likely to continue after two tackles and a pass deflection against BYU. Getting to play a significant role as a true freshman, Steele is still adjusting to the college game. Steele said he is “not used to losing,” so the BYU game will serve as a chip on his shoulder going into this week’s test. “Everybody has got to trust in our players, just trust what we can do, and trust our athletic ability,” he said after practice Tuesday. “[It’s a] short week, so we’ve got to come out and make sure we play disciplined and do our job.” Next came the Stanford game and an early 17-3 deficit. So what? Led by a brilliant performance from standout true freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis, USC scored on six of its final seven drives and won 45-20 — dominating as an underdog. “I’ve never played in an environment that big,” he said, noting that in practice he’s been trying to “compete against [the scout team] like I’m going up against Utah’s top receiver.” “We’ve been working tackling drills in practice, so that’s how we’ll get him down,” freshman defensive lineman Drake Jackson said. “Shortened stride, widen your base, just like that.” In spite of the pair’s success, Houston emphasized that the opponent doesn’t matter — what matters is how USC performs. Through all the adversity, however, no obstacle looms larger than a Friday Pac-12 South showdown vs. Utah, a red-hot team ranked No. 10 in the country after breezing to a 3-0 start. This unit will be tested now more than ever coming off of a heartbreaker in Provo. Redshirt senior inside linebacker John Houston Jr. is ready to answer the call in a must-win game. USC’s defense struggled to stop BYU sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson from making plays with his feet. Facing another mobile quarterback in Utah senior Tyler Huntley, it has to do a better job of getting pressure and finishing tackles — which is difficult to do against an offensive line that’s yet to give up a sack all season. “I love it when people talk trash,” he said. “That makes me want to go harder, it makes me want to be better … This is definitely — if not the biggest, one of the biggest games of our season and I think how we respond from that loss is going to determine what kind of team we’ll be this season.” The mantra “so what, now what?” for this year’s USC football team is continually proving its relevance. It started with high expectations of a very talented roster after a disappointing 2018 season. Then, sophomore starting quarterback JT Daniels went down for the season in the first game of what was supposed to be his breakout year. The Trojans stayed resilient, though and finished victorious. “We came back in on Sunday and really got to work, so everybody was focused, and there wasn’t too much goofing around, you know — everybody just seems locked in,” Steele said. “Preparation is the same every week,” he said. “Everybody has to come out and have a strong Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday because that’s how you win the game. We’re just trying to do our job and stay disciplined to our technique and our cause.” Huntley isn’t the only handful on the Utah offense. His partner in the backfield, senior running back Zack Moss, has been torching defenses this season, averaging 6.5 yards per carry.
Dario is a junior writing about sports. His column, “Deep Dive,” runs every other Tuesday. The Vikings shut out the Falcons through three quarters, blocked a punt, Dalvin Cook looked electric with the ball and Kirk Cousins only had to attempt 10 passes in the blowout. You have to wonder if the Falcons made a mistake firing Steve Sarkisian and replacing him with Dirk Koetter. I’m still a believer in the Falcons’ talent, but they looked asleep on the field Sunday as the Vikings asserted themselves as the team to fear in the NFC North. (Surprise meter: 8.5/10) Ravens 59, Dolphins 10 Rams 30, Panthers 27 Cardinals 27, Lions 27 (OT) Division winners: Eagles, Rams, Saints, Vikings Wild Cards: Cowboys, Panthers AFC Predictions It was shocking to see the Eagles down 17-0 in the second quarter, but as soon as Carson Wentz hit DeSean Jackson for his first of two 50+-yard touchdown receptions, it was clear they’d come back for the win. Good luck stopping this Eagles team — they’re stacked on both sides of the ball. Despite the loss, the Redskins showed the upside to steal a few games this season. (Surprise meter: 4.5/10) Chiefs 40, Jaguars 26 The biggest shock surrounding the Patriots is the addition of Antonio Brown. Dominating the Steelers like this is just icing on the cake. Don’t be surprised when the Patriots are playing home games in January. (Surprise meter: 4/10) The Cardinals offense flashed potential in the fourth quarter, but the Lions should still be embarrassed to have tied a team with so little talent on its roster. It’s going to be a long season for fans of both teams. (Side note: When is the NFL going to eliminate ties?) (Surprise meter: 2.5/10) 49ers 31, Buccaneers 17 The Rams managed to come away with the road win despite limited usage for runningback Todd Gurley. The Panthers looked good, but quarterback Cam Newton might not be back to 100% yet from his preseason foot injury. Expect both teams to play meaningful games as the season winds down in December. (Surprise meter: 3/10) Thursday’s opener was an upset, but Aaron Rodgers beating the Bears is nothing new. He’s 17-5 against them in his career. The bigger surprise is that both offenses stalled for the entirety of the game. The burden of proof still rests on Matt LaFleur and Mitch Trubisky to get their respective offenses going. I think this game dampens both teams’ high expectations. (Surprise meter: 6.5/10) Jameis Winston and Jimmy Garoppolo combined for three pick-sixes, and each team had multiple touchdowns called back on penalties. It doesn’t get much uglier, and I don’t see either of these teams keeping up with the NFC’s contenders. (Surprise meter: 4.5/10) The Cowboys’ offense looked much more potent under the direction of new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and they could be a threat to win the NFC. (Surprise meter: 1.5/10) NFC Predictions Cowboys 35, Giants 17 Wild Cards: Chargers, Browns Seahawks 21, Bengals 20 Chargers 30, Colts 24 (OT) The Browns’ offseason hype got Thanos-dusted on Sunday. Titans rookie receiver A.J. Brown sparked the offense and three Baker Mayfield interceptions helped the Titans seal the game. I’m holding out hope for Cleveland, but it might not yet be a Super Bowl contender. On the other hand, Tennessee has found new hope; maybe this is the year Marcus Mariota stays healthy and lives up to his potential. (Surprise meter: 9/10) Eagles 32, Redskins 27 Division winners: Patriots, Chiefs, Ravens, Texans Welcome to overreaction week in the NFL! After many long months of waiting for some meaningful game action, it’s time for premature conclusions based a one-game sample for each team. This week, I’ll be diving into the results from Week 1 (ranked from most surprising to least) and drop predictions for the NFL season. The Colts should be pleasantly surprised at taking Chargers down to the wire. Chargers runningback Melvin Gordon’s holdout is something to keep an eye on with the Chargers, but Austin Ekeler was excellent in his place. (Surprise meter: 3/10) Collarbone injuries knocked out new Jags quarterback Nick Foles and Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, reigning MVP quarterback Pat Mahomes played through a sprained ankle, and Jags linebacker Myles Jack was ejected for throwing a punch. Otherwise, this game produced few surprises as Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins erupted for nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns in Hill’s absence. Jags backup quarterback, rookie Gardner Minshew, played surprisingly well, but Foles’ injury still hurts their outlook for the season. The Chiefs are firmly entrenched as Super Bowl contenders. (Surprise meter: 3.5/10) The Seahawks were 9.5-point home favorites in this one, and the Bengals played them surprisingly close. This may be receiver John Ross’ breakout year, but the Bengals’ outlook is still bleak. The Seahawks will need to sharpen up to beat tougher opponents in the coming weeks. (Surprise meter: 4/10) Vikings 28, Falcons 12 Bills 17, Jets 16 Titans 43, Browns 13 Packers 10, Bears 3 It hurts to pick the Evil Empire, but the addition of Antonio Brown makes the Patriots unstoppable. They’ll get their revenge on the Eagles for Super Bowl 52, and Tom Brady will win his seventh ring. A big day for Bills receiver John Brown helped decide a sloppy game for both teams. I remain skeptical of the Jets’ offense thanks to Adam Gase’s questionable track record. The Bills still lack the roster depth to challenge the Patriots for an AFC East crown. (Surprise meter: 3.5/10) Super Bowl Prediction Everyone knows the Dolphins are tanking; the surprise is how well Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw the ball and receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown exploded in his debut. The Ravens looked like AFC North favorites, but let’s wait and see how they look against more respectable teams. (Surprise meter: 1.5/10) Patriots 33, Steelers 3
Published on January 22, 2019 at 10:48 pm Contact Nick: email@example.com | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Digna Strautmane positioned herself on the wing during a recent Syracuse practice and flicked passes to the elbow. Then, she rotated to the low block and battled against other forwards as assistant coach Adeniyi Amadou watched.Five days prior against Pitt, Strautmane guided SU with a season-high 22 points. She knocked down all four of her 3-point attempts, and during the Orange’s 82-50 win on Jan. 22, was the player that Amadou expected her to be when he recruited her from Latvia.Yet, Strautmane didn’t tab the Pitt game as an exemplary performance. It was just another step in the “three-year process” that Amadou hopes will turn Strautmane into an all-around forward. After catching a ball on the block, she lowered her shoulder, squared Raven Fox and went to work.“I feel like I have to improve on something,” Strautmane said. “If I’m shooting better, there’s still rebounding that I have to improve. It’s always something. It’s never a perfect game. It’s still going to be a lot of hard work.”Prior to the season, Amadou and head coach Quentin Hillsman asked Strautmane for decisiveness. She’s answered, averaging the fourth-most points per game (9.4) for No. 13 Syracuse (15-3, 4-1 Atlantic Coast). Strautmane’s registered double-digit points in six of her last eight games. Even her poor performances, like a 3 for 12 shooting output in SU’s most-recent loss against Georgia Tech on Jan. 20, are categorized as “outliers” by Hillsman.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn a bolstered forward group that has struggled at times this season — No. 9 recruit Emily Engstler’s season has been a “roller coaster,” and both Kadiatou Sissoko and Miranda Drummond have missed practice time due to injuries — Strautmane is one of the few Orange players that can post and shoot, achieving the “balance” Hillsman looked to create this season.“(Strautmane’s) been really good,” Hillsman said. “She’s really shot the ball well with the last three or four games.”The sophomore’s progression started in the offseason, when she played for the Latvian national team and averaged 10 minutes over the squad’s three games. On a roster full of larger forwards, Strautmane said she filled in as an energy player that dove through the paint and around the 3-point arc.Strautmane’s role with Latvia was a preview of what would await her this season as SU brought multiple new bigs, including Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, Engstler and Sissoko. Last year, Strautmane was one of two true-bigs which forced her to play a more traditional center role in SU’s one-in, four-out offense. This season, Strautmane’s operated as an “inside-out” player.Every morning before the start of the Orange’s season, around 5:45 a.m., Strautmane would hurl shots from different spots on the court at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center alone. Sissoko, Djaldi-Tabdi and others eventually joined her.While on the court, she watches SU’s offense from the wing and gauges whether or not to post up her defender. With Djald-Tabdi scoring 10.4 points per contest on 59.1-percent shooting, Strautmane’s typically played from the perimeter, where the Latvian has shot the third-most 3s (29) on the team.“We had more opportunities to throw the ball inside and teams would be less likely to help if we have shooters on the perimeter,” Hillsman said. “For us, it’s about creating space. (Strautmane) is a byproduct of that.”Back on the practice court, Strautmane ended her position work and chatted with Hillsman near a set of stationary bikes. Around her, others trickled out of the gym. Strautmane’s presence will be crucial for Syracuse to defeat a Miami team that received votes in the recent AP poll and features forward Beatrice Mompremier (15.9 points per game). But for now, Strautmane grabbed a ball, walked to a far court and shot.“I just have to keep working on it, keep being consistent,” Strautmane said. “If I can improve on that, I’m going to be a better player.”
Comments Published on February 8, 2019 at 3:11 pm Contact Andrew: firstname.lastname@example.org | @A_E_Graham No. 10 Syracuse opens the 2019 slate on Friday, hosting Colgate at 7 p.m in the Carrier Dome.The Orange have taken six-straight from CU and our beat writers are in agreement with what will happen on Friday. Here’s how the Orange and the Raiders stack up.All-time series: Syracuse leads, 48-11-1Last time they played: Syracuse tuned up for the NCAA tournament last season with a 17-5 romp over Colgate in the Dome on May 5. Brendan Bomberry (four goals), Jamie Trimboli (three) and Jake Buttermore (three) doubled up the Raiders on their own. Dom Madonna made six saves in net, and SU won 14-of-26 at the faceoff X.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Colgate report: Friday is the first game for Colgate’s new head coach, Matt Karweck. Because of this, SU head coach John Desko said on Wednesday that he wasn’t sure what to expect schematically from the Raiders. Instead, the emphasis is to focus on personnel. Colgate returns its top two goal scorers — Griffin Brown and Mike Hawkins — along with leading points getter and assist man Sam Cleveland. The Raiders return their top five defenders in terms of caused turnovers. In net, senior Connor Mullen returns after a so-so season, in which he compiled a 10.46 goals against average.Collin Orr, who took 350 of Colgate’s 378 faceoffs last season, graduated. From the handful of returners who took a faceoff in 2018, Malcolm Feeney seems likeliest to take the job. He took the second most faceoffs for CU in 2018 with 12, winning nine. How Syracuse beats Colgate: Settle in and play to the obvious strength: the defense. SU returns its entire defense, and though it will be breaking in new goalie Drake Porter, the back end is an obvious advantage for SU.Sans Brendan Bomberry (graduation) and Tucker Dordevic (injury), the offense might start slow, but Syracuse simply has more talent than the Raiders. Between Stephen Rehfuss, Nate Solomon, Jamie Trimboli and Brendan Curry, there’s more than enough coming back from 2018 for the SU offense.Mix in Bradley Voigt, Griffin Cook, Owen Seebold and Pete Fiorini, among others, and the Orange have plenty of options to score the ball.Stat to know: 80.8 percent — Syracuse is 80-19 in season openers, an 80.8 winning percentage. The Orange have won five-straight openers, dating back to a 19-7 win over Siena on Feb. 10, 2014.Player to watch: Sam Cleveland, senior attack, No. 18Cleveland only scored nine goals in 2018, but he fed his teammates for 31 more. The Raider’s leading assist man opens up the offense for the top-two scorers, Griffin Brown and Mike Hawkins, facilitating a balanced attack. If Cleveland can operate well and keep feeding his teammates for goals, Syracuse will struggle to silence Colgate. Facebook Twitter Google+