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Schmidt fears further injuries

first_img The Kiwi head coach has admitted losing another lock ahead of next month’s three-Test autumn series would leave Ireland’s front-five position “tenuous”. Ireland must face South Africa, Georgia and Australia already without regular locks Iain Henderson, Dan Tuohy and Donnacha Ryan. Press Association Schmidt has everything crossed captain Paul O’Connell, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy and the uncapped Dave Foley ease through the second round of European fixtures unscathed. “When you take Iain Henderson, Dan Tuohy and Donnacha Ryan out of the second row, you’re immediately starting to get a little bit skinny,” said the Ireland head coach, gearing up for next month’s Guinness series. “Kane Douglas and Franco Van der Merwe obviously can’t be selected s o take out five of eight, it doesn’t leave you with too many. “I’m not even that good at maths – because I took five away from eight and picked four – that doesn’t even make sense! “In saying that there’s also a little bit of excitement in that for us; Dave Foley hasn’t even filled out his frame yet. “It’s a little bit early for him, but it gives us an opportunity to get to know Dave a little bit. “But we’d hate to get a second row injury this weekend: that would really make things tenuous for us.” While Munster host Saracens at Thomond Park on Friday night, Ulster welcome double European champions Toulon to Ravenhill the following afternoon. Ireland boss Joe Schmidt faces an anxious weekend of European Champions Cup action hoping no more of his second rows pick up injury problems. Leinster’s Sunday trip to Castres will be no less bruising, with Schmidt not even trying to mask Ireland’s already widespread injury issues. Long-term absentees Sean O’Brien and Cian Healy dent both set-piece stability and phase-play incision. All told Ireland will be without 15 regular squad members through injury this autumn, with Ulster’s Paddy Jackson among those Schmidt argues are not sharp enough after enforced breaks. The former Leinster boss said the only way to approach those absences is challenge the inexperienced replacements to make their mark. “We’ve gone with 37 because we’re probably not going to play exactly the same team, because we probably haven’t made our minds up about some guys and some positions,” said Schmidt. “There are a few places where we’re going to learn what the next tier are doing, and the challenge for the next tier is to become the top tier. That’s what these opportunities are for. “There were a few guys who went into last year’s Six Nations, hadn’t been involved in the autumn Tests, and suddenly became very clearly top tier by rights because of their performances. “That’s the opportunity and that dovetails into quite a challenge for these guys.” last_img read more

Kelly Preston dies at 57

first_imgPreston battled breast cancer for two-years before succumbing to the disease.Travolta apologized in advance to his fans for his expected disappearance from the public eye as he and the three children he shared with Preston take time to mourn her passing.Preston was known for her roles in “Jerry Maguire” “Mischief,” and “Twins.” Actress Kelly Preston has died at the age of 57 due to breast cancer complications.John Travolta, who was married to Preston for 28 years posted the sad news on his Instagram stating in part:“She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many.”last_img read more

IHOC : Unselfish Scharfe emerges as scorer, remains humble

first_img Published on February 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ When Syracuse needed to get on the board, it turned to its humble goal scorer. With time winding down in Friday’s contest against Robert Morris and the Orange trailing by two goals, Margot Scharfe stepped up once again.After a Caitlin Roach slap shot was turned away, Scharfe, with her back to the net, collected the puck and spun around in one motion to shoot at the cage for a highlight-reel goal.It was arguably the most impressive goal of the season for Syracuse, but Scharfe didn’t think so.‘Oh God, it was a pretty nice bounce I got,’ Scharfe said. ‘ … I don’t think any of my goals are pretty, so I just have to throw it on the net and hopefully something good happens.’And that’s sums up Scharfe in a nutshell. The sophomore forward performs on the ice but deflects attention off it, minimizing her own accomplishments. Scharfe is tied for the team lead in points with 22, scoring 11 goals and giving out 11 assists. While SU head coach Paul Flanagan and teammates realize how valuable Scharfe has become in her second season, the viable scoring threat remains even-keeled, refusing to acknowledge how important she has been to Syracuse (9-18-3, 0-5-3 College Hockey America) this season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘I don’t know. I think I’ve helped out. I’ve been producing a little more this year, so that helps,’ Scharfe said. ‘But I think I could do a little better in terms of providing for the team.’While Scharfe downplays her crucial role for the Orange this season, her teammates and coaches have no problem describing how much she has meant to the team.Junior Holly Carrie-Mattimoe said without Scharfe’s production this season, the Orange’s results would be ‘devastating.’Flanagan said Scharfe has exceeded his expectations after a freshman campaign in which she netted just seven goals and collected 15 points. Though Flanagan admits Scharfe isn’t the fastest, or most skilled, her intangibles take her a long way.‘She was born with some real good hockey instincts,’ Flanagan said. ‘She does a good job of doing the best she can with what she has.’Scharfe said because she isn’t blessed with a load of natural talent, she tries to anticipate what’s going to happen on the ice.And Scharfe doesn’t just rely on her hockey smarts — she puts in long hours on the ice. She’s usually on the ice before and after practice, and no matter how long she’s out there, Scharfe never lets up.Though Flanagan calls her the Orange’s best all-around player, another distinction she earned is most humble.‘She won’t take credit for anything,’ Flanagan said.Carrie-Mattimoe remembers one time earlier in the season when Scharfe scored on a two-on-one opportunity, and the first thing she did was apologize for not making an extra pass.‘I like to apologize a lot, so I’m trying to stop that,’ Scharfe said.As of late, Scharfe is apologizing less and gaining confidence as the Orange enters its final leg of the season. Her teammates have called her names like ‘superstar’ as a way to break her out of her timid shell. Another way has simply been the play Scharfe has shown on the ice. That’s when she’s most comfortable letting her performance do the talking.And with every puck she deposits in the back of the net, Flanagan sees the confidence growing for a player who was a walk-on entering her freshman year.Scharfe joined the team unheralded. And though her play might not be flashy and she apologizes even when she triumphs, Flanagan wouldn’t have it any other way.‘You just open the door for her and let her play,’ Flanagan said. ‘You hope that the other players are paying attention to her work ethic and her humility as a player and just where it’s gotten her.’dgproppe@syr.edu center_img Commentslast_img read more

Baseball fights off Long Beach State in 11-inning thriller

first_imgFor 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.last_img read more