Woods roars back into contention

first_img The American, who pulled out of last week’s Honda Classic midway through his final round because of injury, produced his best round for some considerable time to shoot a six-under-par 66. That put him just three strokes off the lead set by compatriot Patrick Reed but Woods, who has won four times at this venue before it was extensively remodelled for this year’s tournament, is the favourite heading into the last day. World number one Tiger Woods put his back problem well behind him to shoot the round of the week on Doral’s Blue Monster course and put himself in contention for an eighth WGC-Cadillac Championship. And though he is still not 100% fit Woods proved he is still capable of producing the form which made him the most feared golfer on the planet. “I was pretty sore last night but I’m having treatment day and my therapists are doing a fantastic job of getting me out here and playing and that’s probably my most complete round (of the year),” he said in his post-round press conference. “My swing is coming around. I just need to get healthy enough to put the club in that position. “It was nice to get back in the tournament again. I held it together yesterday on a long, tough day and that gave me a chance: I was only six back and I thought that was definitely do-able. “I got my speed right (on the greens) and I hit the ball better and left myself in good spots. “It is a totally golf course today, Yesterday was not what we intended it to be. Today it is so much more playable.” Woods’ tally of eight birdies was better than he had managed in the first two days and with just two bogeys he lifted himself to one under, within touching distance of the lead. His iron play was particularly impressive, hitting approaches to third, fifth, eighth, 11th and also his tee shot at the short 15th to within 15 feet. Reed, who has held at least a share of the lead every day, shot a three-under 69, which included a 41-foot eagle putt at the eighth, to reach four under. Compatriots Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan are both two under after rounds of 68 and 71 respectively with Welshman Jamie Donaldson tied with Woods for fourth on one under after a 71. “I am enjoying myself. It is a tough battle out there as the course is playing really difficult,” Donaldson told Sky Sports. “I am getting slowly more used to playing golf over here. I just need to make a few more putts.” Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell let things slip slightly as he dropped from one under to one over after a 73 but compatriot Rory McIlroy fared even worse. He had two double-bogey sevens on the par fives at eight and 10 after finding the water but improved the look of his card slightly with a chip-in birdie from the side of the 18th to finish with a 75 for three over par. Press Associationlast_img read more

DEFY success at Sheriff’s Cup highlights strong youth basketball season

first_imgELLSWORTH — The Down East Family YMCA boys’ and girls’ basketball teams had solid showings in this weekend’s Sheriff’s Cup tournament held throughout the city.After advancing to the tournament quarterfinals, the DEFY girls’ team reached the last four with a 51-29 victory over Central Aroostook. The team then advanced to the championship game with a 56-45 win over Houlton in the semis before taking second place overall with a 43-34 loss to Nokomis.On the boys’ side, the DEFY A team earned a 59-37 win over Presque Isle in the quarterfinals. The team then lost 68-52 in the semifinals against Skowhegan, which went on to claim the tournament championship with a 49-46 victory over Brewer in Sunday’s final.This year marked the 19th edition of the annual tournament, which drew 33 middle school-level club teams (20 boys’ teams and 13 girls’ teams) from all over eastern Maine to Ellsworth to raise money for local charities. Games were held Friday through Sunday at Ellsworth High School’s Katsiaficas Gymnasium, both Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School gyms and the DEFY gym.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textEllsworth’s success in the Sheriff’s Cup continued a strong year for local youth basketball teams. The highlight of the year thus far came last month when the Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School boys’ team finished off an undefeated season.Playing Reeds Brook Middle School of Hampden for the Eastern Maine Middle School League title Feb. 12, Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School jumped out to a 17-9 lead in the first quarter before stretching its advantage to 31-14 at halftime. The Falcons cruised from there to seal the championship and finish with a 17-0 record.“The boys had a great season,” head coach Mike Harris said. Harris coached the team with Scott Kenny and Moe Pierson.Team members of the 2018-19 Falcons were Kaleb Conners, Drew Cote, Billy Garland, Lane Griffin, Michael Harris, Will Hutchins, Peter Keblinsky, Brady Kenny, Chance Mercier, Miles Palmer, Drew Pierson and Sam Wagenknecht.Other local youth basketball teams to win tournament championships this season include the DEFY fifth/sixth-grade girls (Eastern Maine Basketball League and Orono Memorial Hoop Classic; 31-1 overall record during travel season), fifth/sixth-grade boys (Lincoln Invitational) and third/fourth-grade boys (Glenburn Recreation Department Invitational). Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at mmandell@ellsworthamerican.com. MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest Postscenter_img Bio Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020last_img read more

Cancel County season if it can’t be played in full: Alastair Cook

first_imgLondon: Former England captain Alastair Cook said that the England and Wales Cricket Board should cancel the County Championship if the season cannot be played in full. Cook said that considering the circumstances around the coronavirus pandemic, it will be more rewarding to play a full tournament rather than a shortened County season.“In this year, over the next six months, the bigger picture is the most important,” Cook told the BBC.The ECB has postponed all cricketing action until May 28 because of the pandemic which has brought cricket around the world. It has claimed 1019 lives so far in the United Kingdom and there are 17,089 confirmed cases in the country, one of which is Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself.“Whatever happens, if we do play any sort of cricket, which hopefully we will, what I hope is that they don’t try and have a six-game County Championship or something like that,” said Cook.“I would rather have one or two full tournaments, because if you do then play that tournament or two tournaments it is so much more rewarding to win it.“If there is not time for a meaningful County Championship, say (you can only play) three or four games, there is probably not much sense us having it.” IANSAlso Read: Former England captain Alastair Cook becomes emotional in final TestAlso Watch: Quick Shoppe in Guwahati takes precautionary measures against the spread of Coronaviruslast_img read more

Update on the latest sports

first_imgUpdate on the latest sports In other college basketball news:— Louisville has added graduate transfer guards Carlik Jones and Charles Minlend Jr. Jones was named Big South Conference player of the year last season after helping Radford win its second consecutive regular season championship, averaging 20 points, 5.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Minlend averaged 14.5 and points and 4.7 rebounds to lead San Francisco to 22 wins, matching its highest win total in 35 years.— Graduate transfer Dimencio Vaughn has signed to play his final season with Mississippi after three years at Rider. Vaughn averaged 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds last season, ranking fifth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in both categories. He was twice a first-team All-MAAC selection and was considered one of the top available grad transfers.— Tennessee has picked up forward E.J. Anosike as a graduate transfer. Anosike averaged a team-high 15.7 points for Sacred Heart last season and ranked sixth nationally with 11.6 rebounds a game.— Minnesota has added frontcourt players Liam Robbins from Drake and Brandon Johnson from Western Michigan. The 7-foot Robbins has applied for immediate eligibility and will have two seasons left. The 6-foot-8 Johnson is a graduate transfer who’ll be eligible immediately for his senior season. Associated Press Among the plans being investigating is basing all 30 teams in the Phoenix area and using the 10 spring training ballparks there, along with the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field and possibly college facilities.Arizona’s governor says his state is willing to host all 30 major league teams when public health concerns allow, which eventually could lead to the start of the baseball season primarily in empty spring training ballparks. Having all teams based in the Phoenix area is among the contingency plans being examined.Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is cutting the salary of senior staff by an average of 35% for this year due to the pandemic’s impact on the season. MLB is guaranteeing paychecks to its full-time employees of its central office through May.In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:— Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen says he tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago. Allen is the first active NFL player to acknowledge testing positive during the coronavirus pandemic. He’s not hospitalized and is “feeling good,” according to a statement issued by the team. The 24-year-old Allen became the Rams’ starting center last year in his second NFL season. He played in nine games before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury. Davis has died in a Santa Monica, California, hospital at 85. His wife, Carol, told the Packers her husband had been hospitalized for about a month with kidney failure.Davis was a five-time All-Pro while playing for the Packers from 1960-69. He was voted to the NFL’s all-decade team for the 1960s and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.Davis played college ball at Grambling and was taken in the 15th round of the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, where he spent his first two seasons.COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NEWSKentucky’s Montgomery, Washington’s McDaniels turning pro — The major college football conference commissioners have held a 30-minute conference call today with Vice President Mike Pence, stressing that college sports cannot return from the coronavirus shutdown until campuses have reopened. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Pence asked good questions and was “hopeful and optimistic” about the fight against the coronavirus. American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco said they stressed the differences between pro and college sports and talked about how academics and college athletics were inseparable.— World Wrestling Entertainment started releasing professional wrestlers today in budget cuts related to the coronavirus pandemic. The moves came even with the company allowed to continue to run live TV shows in Florida after Gov. Ron DeSantis deemed WWE an essential business. Pro sports were added to a list of businesses permitted to stay open in an April 9 memorandum. WWE is allowed to continue putting on shows without shows.PGA-BYRON NELSON-NEW COURSENelson going to ranch for new home in ’21McKINNEY, Texas (AP) — The Byron Nelson is moving to TPC Craig Ranch, about 30 minutes north of downtown Dallas. — Vance Jackson and Jalen Tate are joining Arkansas as graduate transfers. Jackson averaged 11.1 points and 5.3 rebounds for New Mexico last season. Tate leaves Northern Kentucky after being named the 2020 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year and MVP of the conference tournament.— Washington has added Wichita State transfer Erik Stevenson and junior college standout Nate Pryor. Stevenson averaged 11.1 points per game last season for Wichita State. Pryor averaged 16.8 points and 4.1 assists per game last season for North Idaho.  MLB-VERLANDERVerlander throwing againUNDATED (AP) — Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander has resumed throwing as he recovers from a March groin surgery. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNFL-OBIT-WILLIE DAVISHall of Fame DE Willie Davis dead at age 85UNDATED (AP) — Willie Davis was one of the defensive linchpins that helped the Green Bay Packers reel off six NFL championships from 1960-67, including the first two Super Bowls. Verlander dealt with the problem early in spring training and made just two starts during the exhibition season, compiling a 3.86 ERA over 4 2/3 innings.Astros manager Dusty Baker says Verlander is “doing great” and is throwing as he continues his rehabilitation from the March 17 surgery.MLB-HALLADAY-NTSBNTSB releases Halladay crash reportFORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Baseball Hall of Famer Roy Halladay had high levels of amphetamines in his system and was doing extreme acrobatics when he lost control of his small plane and nosedived into Tampa Bay in 2017, killing him. That’s according to a report issued Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board. Garcia broke into the majors with the 1978 Yankees and was an All-Star for the Blue Jays in 1984 and ’85. He hit .283 with 323 RBIs and 203 stolen bases before his career ended in 1989.Garcia had several health problems in recent years, including a stroke, according to his son, Dámaso Jr. He was also dealing with respiratory issues, but the death is not related to COVID-19 according to his son.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSManfred wants MLB ready for businessUNDATED (AP) — Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred wants his leagues to be in position to take the field whenever government and health officials give the go-ahead. Manfred says he thinks it’s incumbent upon MLB to turn over every stone to try to play the game in 2020 if there’s any way it can in the environment. Halladay had amphetamine levels about 10 times therapeutic levels in his blood along with a high level of morphine and an anti-depressant that can impair judgment. The report says he performed high-pitch climbs and steep turns, sometimes within five feet of the water. The maneuvers put loads of nearly two-times gravity on the plane, an Icon A5 Halladay had purchased a month earlier.The NTSB is expected to release a final reason for the crash next month.MLB-OBIT-GARCIAEx-Jays All-Star Garcia diesUNDATED (AP) — Former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Dámaso (DAH’-mah-soh) García has died in his native Dominican Republic at 63. April 16, 2020 — At least one member of the Los Angeles Chargers organization has tested positive for the coronavirus and two others have reported symptoms. ESPN reported that the first positive diagnosis happened two weeks after the team facility was shut down on March 12. A team spokesman says owner Dean Spanos, general manager Tom Telesco and coach Anthony Lynn are fine.— This year’s Tour de France is now scheduled to be held from Aug. 29 through Sept. 20 and will be followed by cycling’s two other major races. The International Cycling Union announced the new dates after organizers were forced to postpone the Tour’s scheduled June 27 start because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. The UCI also says the world championships will go ahead as planned from Sept. 20-27 and will be followed by the Giro d’Italia and the Spanish Vuelta. No official dates were given for those two major races.— The parent company that oversees the NHL Buffalo Sabres has announced a series of cost-cutting measures, including layoffs and furloughs affecting 125 employees. Pegula (peh-GOO’-luh) Sports and Entertainment says 104 employees are being furloughed. Another 21 were laid off yesterday, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.— Speedway Motorsports has laid off 180 employees and furloughed 100 as part of a company restructuring during the sports shutdown. Speedway Motorsports owns the Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Kentucky, Las Vegas, New Hampshire, Sonoma and Texas tracks, all of which host NASCAR’s Cup Series races.— ESPN is asking some of its on-air personalities to take a 15% pay cut over the next three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. The network says the voluntary pay cuts would apply to ESPN’s highest-paid broadcasters. The network already has furloughed those who work on live events. UNDATED (AP) — The NBA draft list continues to grow.Kentucky sophomore forward EJ Montgomery and Washington swingman Jaden McDaniels have announced they are leaving school early to enter the draft.Montgomery averaged career highs of 6.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game with 31 blocks while starting 25 of his 28 games for the Wildcats last season. He ranked second on the team in rebounding and blocks.Montgomery follows pro announcements by Kentucky teammates Nick Richards, Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey.McDaniels is the latest one-and-done player for the Huskies and is projected as a middle first-round pick after an inconsistent season. McDaniels showed a lack of maturity and flaws in his game at times, but he averaged 13 points and 5.8 rebounds. Craig Ranch will host the tournament for at least five years, beginning next spring.The announcement Wednesday from the PGA Tour and the Nelson came three months after officials said the tournament was moving from the links-style Trinity Forest Golf Club.,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more

Neymar becomes goodwill ambassador for world’s disabled

first_imgBy Stephanie NebehayGENEVA, (Reuters) – Neymar, fresh from his first win with Paris St Germain and his world-record signing for the club, became a goodwill ambassador for Handicap International yesterday, pledging to work for millions who are “less visible” but deserve equality.The Brazilian forward, whose 222 million-euro ($259.72M) signing from Barcelona this month doubled the world- record transit fee, mounted a huge statue of a chair outside the U.N. in Geneva that symbolises landmine victims.He kicked a soccer ball to fans standing below and into the U.N. grounds. Surrounded by his parents, Neymar Santos (Sr) and Nadine Santos, he wore a black baseball cap and Handicap International black t-shirt with the inscription ‘Repair Lives’.“I would like to begin by thanking you all for what you do for the least visible in the world, so they become more visible.“I have to say that I am very pleased to be here and to be the new ambassador,” the 25-year-old told a news briefing.Neymar, asked what work or field visits he planned, replied:“I hope this will be a very successful partnership and that we will be able to help a large number of people,” he said. “Millions want their rights, they want to be treated better. That’s what we are here for and that is what our aim is.”last_img read more

Darren Bravo and Gayle on Test radar, but others ‘not interested’

first_imgJASON Holder has played down the prospect of “big name” West Indies players re-joining the Test team, stating “we have the best of the lot right now.”With Cricket West Indies having recently relaxed their selection criteria and offered an amnesty to those players who have chosen to play in T20 leagues, it had been presumed the likes of Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard (who has never played Test cricket) might come into consideration ahead of series against Zimbabwe and New Zealand.But Holder, West Indies’ captain, suggested that, apart from Bravo and perhaps Gayle, he “didn’t think there’s anybody interested in playing Test cricket that we can call upon.”“Darren Bravo is a guy who has done well for us in the recent past,” Holder said. “But apart from Darren I don’t think there’s anybody else who’s interested in playing Test cricket that we can really call upon or the so-called big names people are looking for.“Chris has probably hinted that he would like to play if he’s fit enough. He’s always said he would like to play. I spoke to him a while back. We would love to have a guy like Chris in our side. He brings a lot.“But apart from those two players I don’t think there’s anybody else we can really look to.”While Bravo’s return would appear close to automatic – Kyle Hope failed to take his chance in England, averaging just 6.83 batting at No. 3 in the series –Holder described himself as “extremely proud” of the performance of his young team and hinted that he would be reluctant to see too many of them replaced. Shane Dowrich, who averaged 4.80 and struggled with the gloves, might also come under pressure from the likes of Denesh Ramdin.“I think we’ve got the best of the lot [playing] right now,” he said. “I’m really, really happy with this squad to be honest. I enjoy playing cricket with this squad and I enjoy leading this squad. I wouldn’t trade this squad for the world.”Speaking after being beaten in the deciding Test against England at Lord’s, Holder was encouraged with the way his side had pushed for what would have been a shock series victory.“I’m extremely proud, can’t really fault the guys for effort,” he said. “We’ve still got a lot of room for improvement, still got a long way to go before we can get consistent performances. That said, not a bad tour of England, could have been better, obviously, but I’m still very proud.“The credit must go to the bowlers. After the Headingley Test match we asked for another big effort. The way we came out here first innings and bowled, I think at the start of the match if you said we’d have got England for 190, we’d have taken that.”While the bowling was consistently challenging after the aberration of Edgbaston, West Indies’ win at Headingley in the second Test – their first in England for 17 years – was built on the batting performances of Shai Hope, who scored hundreds in each innings, and Kraigg Brathwaite.Holder said he wanted the team to build on what they had started in their next two tours, in Zimbabwe next month and then New Zealand.“For a first tour here for many of us, I still think it’s a hell of an achievement and fight we put up,” Holder said. “Hopefully we can learn from this, we have New Zealand at the end of the year which could be similar conditions and similar type of bowlers, so it should be good chance to take what we’ve learned here into that series. But first we’ve got Zimbabwe, in a few weeks time, so hopefully we can really kick on from there.“Obviously Shai was outstanding in this entire series and we must not forget Kraigg’s contribution as well, he really did a hell of a job, especially at Headingley.Unfortunately we didn’t get more batsmen to carry on, lots of us got starts but didn’t carry on, and we let ourselves down with our fielding, probably this entire series. We dropped quite a few chances and gave good players two opportunities to bat, and in international cricket they’ll make you pay for it.“I think we’ve shown improvement. When we sit down and critique each series, we just try to look for improvement. We’ve definitely shown that, especially in our bowling, improving our consistency there … But hopefully guys can gain a lot of confidence form this series against a world-class side and top-class bowling unit. To be able to achieve something in this series speaks a lot.” (ESPN Cricinfo)last_img read more

All Set for NCC Tennis League Finals

first_imgOrganisers of the marquee competition have promised to make it rewarding and fun forspectators with refreshments and raffle draws for state of the art phones.“Matches are going to start at 10 am each day -Thursday to Saturday – at the Lagos Lawn Tennis club and matches would usually last through the evening with four matches following each other on the centre court. We therefor expect tennis followers to consider it a picnic where they get refreshments and possibly walk away with a smart phone.” Godwin Kienka of the ITA which coordinates the event said.Meanwhile, top players for the third place match are already in Lagos.Sylvester Emmanuel, Henry Atseye and Sarah Adegoke of Team Offikwu are expected to make up for their botched title defence by winning the consolatory third spot which attracts a N3 million prize money.They will have to contend with Team Ndoma-Egba’s Thomas Otu, who recently won the Dala Hard Court Championship, Emmanuel Paul and Aanu Aiyegbusi who all have their eyes on the bigger prize.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The six-month long NCC Tennis League is poised for a fitting climax at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club with playoff for third and fourth places preceding the championship match.The third place tie scheduled for Thursday and Friday Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 will be between Team Ndoma-Egba of Abuja and Team Offikwu, last year’s winners who were dethroned by Team Civil Defence in the second semifinals.The championship tie kicks off on Saturday Dec. 9 and ends on Sunday Dec.10 withthe presentation of prizes and awards.last_img read more

Trojans ready for Cougars

first_imgAs the USC men’s basketball team returns to the friendly confines of the Galen Center for a two-game homestand, the Trojans will first play host on Thursday to a team that has encountered much of the same success as the Trojans.Addition · The Trojans have compiled a 5-2 record since sophomore forward Lenoard Washington returned to the team just before Christmas. – Avi Kushlan | Daily Trojan While the Washington State Cougars (13-5, 3-3) still have the opportunity to play in the postseason, its up-and-down performance in conference play mirrors that of the Trojans’ (11-6, 3-2) thus far.Sitting in fourth place in the Pac-10, the Cougars have bolstered their record with wins over Arizona and Stanford but have failed to perform against some of the more successful teams in the conference, falling to California at home and getting blown out by Arizona State on the road.USC can certainly relate; only days after sweeping the Arizona schools at home, the team faltered on the road, losing to Stanford at the buzzer and to Cal by eight points. They recently rebounded by overwhelming UCLA at Pauley Pavilion 67-46, which moved the Trojans into a two-way tie for second place in the conference.“We only have 13 games left to play, and we need to give our best effort every single time we play those games,” O’Neill said. “We’re 3-2 in the league, and we’re just trying to get to 4-2. Take it one game at a time and see where it goes.”The key to the Cougars’ success this season has come in the form of sophomore guard Klay Thompson ,who averaged 22.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, and freshman guard Reggie Moore, who averages 13.4 points and 4.6 assists. They will square off against the Trojans’ experienced tandem of seniors point guard Mike Gerritty and guard Dwight Lewis, who have played increasingly vital roles since Gerrity’s introduction to the team one month ago.“We played a lot of good offensive teams … we’ve got to do the same job against [the Cougars] tomorrow as we did against them,” O’Neill said. “They are a team that generates a lot of offense out of early stuff and second shots. It’s a necessity that we play great defense. Because of the way we’ve competed and played hard, we’ve put ourselves in a position to be a good team that way.”Despite the similarities between the teams, the location of the game seems to play into USC’s favor beyond simply having the home crowd behind it.The Cougars have had major struggles playing on the road, and it seems to be a deeper problem than their 2-3 record indicates: Washington State has been beaten by a total of 47 points in its three losses, and its best road win was a two-point victory over 9-9 Arizona.Meanwhile, the Trojans have found continued success at the Galen Center and now have a 7-2 record that includes wins over then-No. 8 Tennessee and Arizona State.Nevertheless, O’Neill sees every game as equal, stressing that the absence of a postseason for the Trojans has only made games more significant.“I’m approaching every game for us like its a postseason game, because we don’t have a postseason,” said O’Neill. “For us, what’s important is we don’t waste any days, cause this group’s only going to play together for 13 more games.”last_img read more

USC needs five sets to best Irvine

first_imgWith USC and UC Irvine deadlocked at three in the fifth and final set of what has become one of the best rivalries in collegiate men’s volleyball, it appeared Trojans’ sophomore outside hitter Tony Ciarelli would be called for an illegal maneuver, which aided an easy kill for USC.After more than a minute in which the No. 11 Anteaters (11-13, 6-11) vehemently pleaded with the line judge to reconsider her call, the point was awarded to No. 6 USC (12-9, 9-8), a call symbolic of a match in which the Trojans did just enough to get by.For the second time this season, USC needed late game heroics to prevail over the defending NCAA champions, in a match with stakes higher than their five-set come-from-behind victory over the Anteaters in January.“Through all of the adversity, these guys have come to the gym everyday looking to get better as a team,” USC coach Bill Ferguson said. “They say that you learn more about people’s character during times of adversity, and after a match like tonight’s I can say that right now I am pretty happy with the character of this team.”In the first set, however, it was urgency, not adversity, that propelled USC to a nail-biting 32-30 set victory, thanks in large part to the five service aces contributed by four different players.Despite the momentum gained in the first set, the Anteaters — behind reigning Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Freshman of the Year Carson Clark and Corey Yoder, son of USC volleyball legend Bob Yoder — crawled their way back into the match with consecutive set victories (30-28, 30-22). Clark, who early in the second set suffered a bloody nose in a nasty spill along the sideline, had a match-high 29 kills in defeat.But as has been the case all season, the Trojans’ battled back in the fourth set in large part because of four critical errors by UCI’s Clark and outside hitter Jordan Default. Down the stretch, the Trojans relied on the killer instincts of outside hitters Ciarelli and junior Murphy Troy to close the set, as each contributed four kills.In the final set, Ciarelli’s controversial helper essentially ended the match. After the Anteaters lost in their desperate attempt to reverse the call, the Trojans took advantage of a team who virtually checked out moments after its futile debate ended. Ciarelli would add seven kills in the final frame, as USC put the finishing touches on a match that truly served as a testament to its resolve.The Trojans will close out the home portion of the season Saturday night at 7 p.m. against their crosstown rivals, the No. 7 UCLA Bruins. The match will be the teams’ second showdown of the season, with USC taking the first clash over UCLA (14-9, 9-7) in four sets back on Jan. 13.last_img read more

Kicking spot up for grabs

first_imgDays after giving up 536 yards of total offense in a 32-31 loss to Washington, the USC defense was back on the field Tuesday trying to improve itself for the high-powered, physical Stanford offense it will face Saturday.Filling in · Because of senior kicker Joe Houston’s inconsistent play this season, senior punter Jacob Harfman is competing for his spot. – Mannet Saini | Daily Trojan The Trojans face another elite quarterback in Stanford’s Andrew Luck, and USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said the defense has to crack down on giving up significant yards.“You can’t give up big plays,” he said. “You’re going to give up some yards and plays but when you get the big yardage like that it’s going to come from big plays. You don’t put up 500 yards of offense without big plays. How many times are you going to have 500 yards of offense that [are] five, six, seven, even 12 yards a clip?”USC ranks 116th out of 120 teams in passing defense, giving up an average of 288 yards through the air each game. With Stanford ranking 29th in passing offense, averaging 255.6 yards per game led by preseason Heisman candidate Luck, the Trojans know they have to improve.“You got to know you can’t take any plays off,” sophomore safety Jawanza Starling said. “It’s not a sense that you’re not mentally ready or prepared. It’s knowing that at anytime they can take a shot at you and go deep, not always expect the routes to go shorter or be run plays.”The Trojans’ defense also needs to improve on missed tackles, something that doesn’t show up in the box score. USC missed several tackles when Washington running back Chris Polk ripped off a 26-yard run that put the Huskies in field-goal range late in the fourth quarter.But the issue goes beyond that play and is something the Trojans have struggled with throughout the season.“We’re not playing very well,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “We’re really emphasizing [missed tackles] this week. I obviously was hoping we’d play a lot better. Maybe early on I didn’t account for how inexperienced they really were. You’ve got a true freshman at corner, two true sophomores at safety getting their first significant playing time, and [senior cornerback] Shareece Wright, who many think is a veteran, had only three starts coming into this year. So maybe my expectations were a little high for them. But still with that we got to play a lot better.”—Kiffin said after Saturday’s loss that he would open up the kicking competition this week and he stuck to his word. Incumbent kicker senior Joe Houston, who is 2-for-6 on field goals for the year and missed a 40-yard attempt that hit the upright late in Saturday’s game, and senior punter Jacob Harfman both took six field goals apiece at the end of practice.Houston went 2-for-6 and Harfman went 4-for-6 on kicks that were taken from about 35, 45 and 50 yards out.Harfman said he hadn’t kicked a field goal in three months and didn’t know he was going to be kicking in practice until Tuesday afternoon.Kiffin said the competition will last all week and whoever does better will kick on Saturday, but based on the combined 6-for-12 on field goals Tuesday, he wasn’t very optimistic when talking about the uprights.“Basically what we got out of that was that we’ll be going for it more in the red zone if they don’t improve,” Kiffin said.—Senior fullback Stanley Havili did not participate in practice after dislocating his shoulder early in last week’s game.Havili has had chronic problems with his left shoulder, and even though he popped it right back in after Saturday’s injury, he didn’t get another carry and only caught two more passes during the rest of the game.Havili, who was crucial in the attack at Washington State, said he expects to practice and play this week, and that his injury won’t limit him in any way.—Consistent play has been lacking from the defensive front seven this year.Excluding the Washington State game, the Trojans haven’t regularly gotten pressure on the quarterback or had crucial sacks, fumbles or interceptions — something Kiffin hopes to improve this weekend.“We haven’t had a lot of significant plays in tough times — the big sack, the big fumble, the big interception, the big play on the ball that’s going to be a first down that they knock out,” Kiffin said. “I would imagine we’re the worst no-huddle defense in all of football right now. We’ve given up 34-37 points in no-huddle and something like 477 yards in no-huddle situations through five games. Those are points that people are getting real fast on us, where you need those types of [defensive] plays.”Clarification: The print version of this story states that Jacob Harfman went 3-for-6 on field goals at Tuesday’s practice. Harfman actually went 4-for-6, which would bring the total between Harfman and Joe Houston to 6-for-12. The online version has been changed to reflect this edit.last_img read more