USC finishes lengthy road game slate

first_imgAfter nearly a month since its last home game, the No. 1 USC men’s water polo team will play at UC Irvine before returning home to McDonald’s Swim Stadium for six of its final seven regular season matches.“It’s nice to be able to come back home this weekend,” USC coach Jovan Vavic said. “We have all our long road trips behind us now, with our big wins over Stanford and in the NorCal tournament, so we are looking forward to staying close to home.”Thursday’s contest will be a rematch of this year’s SoCal tournament semifinals, a game in which the Trojans (17-0, 2-0) won 10-5. In that game, UCI (14-5, 0-2) had the score even at 3-3 at the end of the first quarter. The Trojans expect a similar fighting spirit in this week’s matchup.“They have a really good all-around team,” senior two-meter Matt Burton said. “They always come out hard and just work. They’re going to come out with a ton of energy at their home pool and hopefully we can match that energy and play with the poise and experience that we have.”Over the course of the team’s four-year run of dominance, players have grown accustomed to opponents’ energy. USC’s reputation precedes it, and everybody strives to unseat the kings.“Whenever you’re the number one team, everyone’s always excited to play against you,” Burton said. “We look forward to it. That’s where you like to be, in that number one spot.”At present, the Anteaters are reeling, having lost four of their last six games, including each of their first two games of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. Coach Vavic expects UCI to come out with a sense of urgency given its early conference struggles.“I had a meeting with the guys yesterday and brought up the example of Stanford’s football team beating us [in 2006] when they were ranked very, very low in the national rankings, and they beat us,” Vavic said. “The point was that everybody can beat anybody, and UCI is not a team to take lightly. They can be dangerous.”The Trojans’ defense is focused on UCI’s multiple scoring options. The Anteaters have two drivers, Bojan Hrlec and Mitch Wise, who have scored 52 and 47 goals respectively this season, and three others who have scored at least 20 goals in 2012.“They have just an overall very good attack,” senior driver Tobias Preuss said. “They have great drivers that are very explosive. They get themselves into very good finishing positions and can be extremely dangerous if you’re not prepared.”USC has won its last 19 games dating back to last season. But the team is still focused on ways it can improve.“We still have a lot of space to improve,” Preuss said. “There are lots of things to improve on. But that’s OK, as long as we go game by game and really analyze what we did right and what we did wrong, we’ll be in a good spot when all is said and done.”last_img read more

Beat writer Q&A: Susan Degnan of the Miami Herald breaks down the Hurricanes

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Ahead of the first Syracuse-Miami matchup since 2003, Susan Degnan of the Miami Herald answered five questions from The Daily Orange about Saturday’s matchup. The No. 8 Hurricanes (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) will host Syracuse (4-3, 2-1), fresh off a massive upset over then-No.2 Clemson, at 3:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium. The game will air on ESPN. The Daily Orange: Even without star running back Mark Walton, Miami has scored efficiently, minimized turnovers and capitalized on red zone opportunities. What or who else offensively has keyed Miami’s hot start?Susan Degnan: The Canes have been fueled by a couple of receivers who were quieter in the past (one of them virtually nonexistent) and have found their groove in 2017. Senior wideout Braxton Berrios leads the team with 326 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 24 receptions. His numbers this season either match or exceed his combined stats from the past two seasons. Berrios became the first Hurricane since Reggie Wayne in 2000 to record a touchdown catch in each of his first four games of the season. He also is sixth nationally and first in the ACC with his 17.1-yards-per-punt-return.But let’s also not forget 6-4, 220-pound redshirt junior Darrell Langham, who had three catches since coming to UM in 2014 – before he became the hero the past two weeks in UM’s last-second victories against Florida State and Georgia Tech. Against FSU, Langham hauled in a 23-yard touchdown with six seconds left. Against the Yellow Jackets, he had a 28-yard catch on fourth-and-10 that set up the winning field goals with four seconds left.As for the quarterback making it happen, first-year starter Malik Rosier, despite at times being inaccurate, has been clutch when it counts most. And he can run.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe D.O.: UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz called Syracuse “the fastest offense in the country.” What are the defensive players saying about it, especially members of UM’s dangerous defensive line, and how are they preparing?S.D.: The Hurricanes defense knows what it’s up against. “Syracuse, they run about 900 plays a game,’’ said defensive end Trent Harris, who has five tackles for loss and leads the team with three-and-a-half sacks. “It’s going to take the whole D-line for this game, the pass rush. We’re just going to have to rely on each other.”Diaz insists there’s no way to simulate Syracuse’s speed in practice, so he made sure the D went live against the best players on offense this week. “They’ve got a good tempo,’’ understated tackle Pat Bethel. “They play hard. We just have to make sure we come out and play harder.’’ And this from safety Jaquan Johnson: “I believe we’re going to keep up with them. We’re working hard, we’re conditioned, we’re doing plays up-tempo, fast, and not taking breaks.’’The D.O.: Given how well Syracuse played against Clemson, how likely is another Syracuse upset? In other words, where is Miami vulnerable?S.D.: Miami’s defense is most vulnerable in the back end, where Diaz said this week that the Hurricanes are five to six DBs shy of what they should have scholarship-wise. UM lost two cornerbacks and two safeties to the NFL this season. This week, current starting cornerback Dee Delaney is out with a knee injury, and current starting safety Sheldrick Redwine sat out last week with an “upper extremity’’ injury. The backups don’t have a ton of playing time, to say the least.Miami’s offense is vulnerable in the depth at running back. With tailback Walton out, there’s one very talented back, Travis Homer, and pretty much total inexperience after that. The D.O.: Who is Miami’s X-factor in this game and is there a player who doesn’t get much of the spotlight whom fans should know about?S.D.: The X-factor could be Homer, a sophomore who was superb in his first career start last week after Walton sustained a season-ending ankle injury at FSU. The sophomore rushed for 170 yards and a 27-yard touchdown on 20 carries and added an acrobatic 17-yard touchdown reception against a strong Georgia Tech defense. He is averaging 8.4 yards a carry this season and is extremely tough and physical for his 5-11, 195-pound frame. Homer also stars on special teams, but had to be removed from two of his four units once he became the starting tailback. Until last week, Homer was pretty much low on the limelight scale. Not anymore.   The D.O.: How do you think the game will turn out?S.D.: If Miami’s defense can get accustomed to the Orange’s offense before it’s too late, then the Canes win comfortably – unlike the past two squeakers. Vegas is talking a 17-point spread. I’m going with Miami.   Comments Published on October 20, 2017 at 12:12 am Contact Matthew: | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

Wikki Turn Attention to League after FA Cup Exit

first_imgWikki Tourists midfielder, Harrison Madu has said his side have shifted 100 per cent attention on the top-flight after a shocking ouster in the Federation Cup.The Bauchi-based side were stunned 3-4 on penalties by the Nigeria National League (NNL) side, Crown FC after full time score stood goalless in Wednesday’s Federation Cup quarterfinals clash at the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja.Madu said his side were opportune to avoid the penalties but failed to make several chances at goal count positively. “We had several chances at goal to win the clash within regulation time but could not make it count and penalties are anybody game and it proves exactly.“We never bargained to lose the Cup quarterfinals clash against lower division side, Crown FC. Of course, we did not underrate the side but approached the match like any other top-flight match.“We were aware that Crown FC caused Enugu Rangers elimination from the Cup campaign. Well the Cup dream has been dashed we are heading straight from Lokoja to Uyo for the top-flight matchday 29 clash at Akwa United on Sunday.“Our 100 per cent focus has been shifted on the league, we have to concentrate fully on winning the league shield. The Cup ouster could turn out to be a blessing in disguise now that we just have the league to hit the continent,” said the Wikki Tourists playmaker to Tourists lead the 19-team top-flight on 47 points same as second placed side, Enugu Rangers but on superior goalsShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Bilic seeks Cup respite to league troubles

first_img0Shares0000West Ham United’s manager Slaven Bilic has reportedly been given two matches to salvage his job © AFP/File / Ian KINGTONLondon, United Kingdom, Oct 23 – West Ham manager Slaven Bilic is under even more serious pressure after Ronald Koeman’s sacking by Everton on Monday but he will hope for a filip in Wednesday’s Last 16 League Cup action.Media reports suggest that Bilic, who made his name as Croatian national coach, has been given two matches to salvage his job but a trip away to in-form Tottenham Hotspur is probably not the sort of challenge one would want as one of them. Everton — who despite splashing out £140million ($185mn) on players in the close season lie third from bottom of the Premier League — begin life post Koeman by travelling to champions Chelsea.Both may have to play their first teams in a competition which usually gives Premier League managers the chance to rest weary first choice players. Indeed the League Cup would be bottom of priorities for most Premier League managers in terms of silverware or for some simply to survive in the elite to keep on reaping in the millions that membership offers.However, for Bilic no such luxury can be afforded in that respect and facing a Tottenham side that put Liverpool to the sword 4-1 and firmly set aside the so-called Wembley jinx could not come at a worse time.The charismatic Croatian is clearly feeling the weight of expectations as one poor season last term — which came close to costing him his job — has been followed by no sign of a return to the form that they showed in his first campaign.“I’m the manager and I don’t want to run away from the fact that it’s my responsibility, and I take full responsibility,” he said.Hammers Portuguese defender Jose Fonte said the players owed the fans a good performance.“We have a game on Wednesday and we need to go and beat Spurs because we have to react, we have to bounce back,” Fonte told the club website. Defeat by Spurs would not be a catastrophe for Bilic but a loss next weekend to bottom side Crystal Palace would more than likely seal his fater and make him the fourth managerial casualty of the season.Whilst he waits nervously for Wednesday the greater part of the matches take place on Tuesday with the only all Premier League affair Swansea hosting holders Manchester United.United’s manager Jose Mourinho will be looking for his players to show more fight after blasting them following the 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield. Juan Mata, one of those players high up on Mourinho’s hit list and was replaced at half-time, issued a rallying cry to his team-mates on Monday.“Now, it’s time to learn from mistakes and keep going, as we always do, showing that the team sticks together when things don’t go so well, which is when we need it most,” the Spaniard wrote on his blog.United’s neighbours Manchester City host Championship leaders Wolves with the possibility that Sergio Aguero if given a run out could break Eric Brook’s all-time goalscoring record which has stood since 1939 — the Argentinian went level on 177 with a goal against Burnley on Saturday.City manager Pep Guardiola indicated 29-year-old Aguero would start — although the team will largely be made up of reserves and youngsters — and he was not taking Wolves lightly.“We deserve the respect of opponents when they look at us, when they watch us on TV, on the field, and say ‘that team makes a lot of good things’,” said Guardiola.“That is all I want.” The other clashes are tricky for the Premier League sides as they face in-form tier two outfits with Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace away trip to Bristol City and 2016 champions Leicester home to Leeds being two potential upsets. Tuesday (kick-offs 1845GMT unless stated)Arsenal v Norwich, Bournemouth v Middlesbrough, Bristol City v Crystal Palace, Leicester v Leeds, Manchester City v Wolves (1900), Swansea v Manchester UnitedWednesdayChelsea v Everton (1845), Tottenham v West Ham (1900)0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more