Syracuse faces Notre Dame on Saturday for chance to advance to Big East tournament semifinals

first_imgIan McIntyre said his players are bouncing off the walls with excitement.Louis Clark, Ted Cribley and the rest of the Orange have been itching for an opportunity to play in the postseason.They’ll finally get that chance when Syracuse (12-5, 5-3) plays Notre Dame (13-3-1, 5-2-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday at SU Soccer Stadium in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. The game is the first postseason home game in Syracuse men’s soccer history and marks the first conference tournament game for the Orange since 2005. A win would send SU to Red Bull Arena for the semifinals and essentially ensure a spot in the NCAA tournament.“Big picture: We’re very excited to still be playing,” McIntyre said. “The guys deserve this opportunity based on the work they’ve put in over the last three months. It’s a big night for the program to have an opportunity to host a postseason game.”The past three months of training and fighting for position in the Big East have come to fruition. Now the Orange can control its own destiny with a win against Notre Dame.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBeating the Fighting Irish is always a challenging task for SU, though. Syracuse is 2-9-2 all time against UND, including a penalty shootout loss in the conference tournament in 2005.Notre Dame has the No. 1 RPI in the nation and is ranked No. 7 in the NSCAA poll, and is perennially one of the strongest programs in the nation.The Irish lead the Big East with 40 goals and possess a high-octane offense.One key component of that explosive offensive attack is Ryan Finley, who leads the conference with 17 goals, 37 points and 76 shots.Despite the impressive stats on paper, Cribley is confident his defense can keep Finley and the rest of the Irish in check. Syracuse has posted the third most shutouts in the country with 11 and has only allowed 10 goals on the season.“The stats are obviously impressive,” Cribley said. “We’ve got the players to deal with him. Clearly he’s a top player, so we have to be wary of him, but we’ve got some good players on our team.”Clark recognizes Notre Dame is a powerhouse program and will provide a challenge for Syracuse, yet the senior forward isn’t fazed.Clark knew his team would be playing Connecticut, Georgetown, Marquette or Notre Dame. He said all four of those teams are in the same echelon and any of the four can beat anyone else on a given night.Clark considers Syracuse right beside those teams and feels SU has a legitimate shot to knock off Notre Dame.“Everyone in our locker room sees ourselves in that group,” Clark said. “We see ourselves as good as them. It’s just a game of football.”For Clark, Saturday can’t come soon enough.“I just can’t wait,” he said. “We want to get this place rocking. It’s going to be brilliant. We know what to do to beat Notre Dame. We know it’s going be a tough game, but we’re just going to go out there and give it everything we’ve got.”McIntyre said his team earned a chance to play in such a monumental, season-defining game.While he said his approach is no different than any other Big East game, there is a sense of excitement around the locker room, as all the players and coaches are ready to rumble and attempt to knock off the Irish.“These are the games that players want to play and coaches want to coach,” McIntyre said. “As we look to grow and evolve as a program, these are the special nights that we’re looking to have.”Cribley said Saturday night is easily the biggest game he’s played in at Syracuse, and has a chance to be one of the most pivotal and exhilarating games of his career.Though Cribley said his team could still hang its head high with a loss against UND, he and his teammates have bigger aspirations.“It’s been a whirlwind season,” Cribley said. “It hasn’t been easy. We’re not finished yet. We’re hungry.” Comments Published on November 1, 2012 at 12:05 am Contact Trevor: | @TrevorHass Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Offense still needs more time to mature

first_img“The 19th Hole” ran Mondays. To comment on this article e-mail Joey at or visit For the 16,850 USC fans in attendance, Saturday’s annual spring game at the Coliseum was not pretty, littered with interceptions, incomplete passes and missed field goals.With senior tailback Marc Tyler and sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods sidelined with various ailments, USC’s offense was noticeably out of sync and overwhelmed by a defensive front that has made significant strides in the past year.But it wasn’t supposed to look like that.With Trousdale lined with cardinal-clad fans and Traveler trotting around on the sidelines, it was supposed to mirror a fall game, where the Trojans would at least show some cohesiveness.Instead, it became plainly evident the festivities were taking place in April, not October, based on the number of botched plays, especially on the offensive side of the ball.Still, for a team severely handicapped by injuries and scholarship restrictions, a perfectly legitimate argument could be made that the team performed admirably considering the hand it was dealt.In other words, it might be a tad premature to start scaling back expectations for the 2011 Trojans.Because at certain moments Saturday, albeit brief ones, they looked rather sharp, particularly in regard to the ground game.On a play mid-way through the first quarter, freshman tailback D.J. Morgan reeled off a 34-yard run, showcasing breathtaking speed that could enable the Taft High standout, who redshirted last season because of a torn ACL, to crack the team’s starting rotation next September.Minutes later, junior tailback Curtis McNeal, who was academically ineligible last season, put his speed on display as well, finding the endzone on a 49-yard run down the north sidelines.The tandem combined for 196 yards on 27 carries.“I just matured,” McNeal said of his newfound success this spring. “I told myself ‘If I want to go to the NFL, I have to change my attitude.’”Yet the team’s success on the ground was not limited to either back. Sophomore tailback Dillon Baxter, who also received criticism for his immaturity last season, reminded those in attendance why he was such a highly touted prospect coming out of high school with 104 yards on 14 carries, despite recovering from an ankle injury.“I liked Dillon’s toughness there at the end,” said USC coach Lane Kiffin. “He came back in there pretty banged up.”And on the last play of the game, Baxter threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Barkley to cap off his afternoon.Considering the team’s depleted offensive line, their performances were not anything to shrug off, as four of USC’s projected starters for next fall were unavailable Saturday. Sophomore right tackle Kevin Graf and junior center Khaled Holmes missed all of spring practice with injuries, and freshmen guards Cyrus Hobbi and Aundrey Walker have not yet enrolled in school.Such circumstances might explain some things on the offensive side, particularly with Barkley, who looked uncharacteristically erratic, throwing 42 passes and completing just 20 of them in addition to throwing two interceptions.“The lack of depth was obvious throughout this whole spring, Barkley said, “but I do believe we made progress.”Provided you’re scrambling for a few positives, most of the issues Saturday stemmed from injuries. No Woods. No Brandon Carswell. No Rhett Ellison. No Kyle Prater, either.Barkley, as a result, was forced to throw almost entirely to his cousin, 6-foot Robbie Boyer, and Markeith Ambles, who seemingly spent most of the spring trying to fix his alarm clock.“It is hard to assess with so many people out all of spring and so many people coming in that are going to have to play for us,” Kiffin said, trying to maintain perspective.Fortunately, many of the depth issues could be shored up.With the return of at least 11 players from injury, as well as 24 incoming freshman, according to Kiffin, the Trojans will be afforded at least some depth, and whatever positive glimpses that were seen on Saturday could be magnified.In short, it boils down to depth. It always has.It’s no small secret USC lost games last season in the final minutes, against Washington, against Stanford, against Notre Dame. What it has in talent (see: Barkley, Woods, etc.), it lacks it depth.And if somebody like Woods is out, there aren’t a lot of options behind him — walk-ons mostly.But come fall at least, those walk-ons turn into highly-touted freshman recruits from across the country — Walker, Hobbi, wide receiver George Farmer and tailback Amir Carlisle, among others.Reinforcements are coming, in a few months. Yet nonetheless, it remains to be seen, whether any of them will be effective.last_img read more

Asafa Powell engaged to Canadian model

first_imgAsafa Powell engaged to Alyshia Akua MillerWedding bells are in the air. Asafa Powell is officially now off the market. He popped the big question to Canadian model girlfriend Alyshia Akua Miller.UPDATE: Asafa Powell weds Canadian model Alyshia MillerPowell and Miller have been public with their relationship since September of last year after they were spotted at a Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica.Asafa Powell, engaged to Alyshia Akua Miller, and were spotted at a resort in Montego Bay, JamaicaMiller was born in Canada to a Ghanian mother and Canadian father and was featured in a 2016 issue of the Essence Magazine.Read More: Asafa Powell says he is not looking pass 2018She is managed by Women 360.Canadian model Alyshia Akua MillerPowell was once the world’s fastest man and has the most sub 10 second clocking of any 100 meter sprinter. Despite not achieving individual gold medals at the World and Olympic Championships, he is still regarded of one of the premier sprinters of his generation.Asafa’s career coming to an endThe 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia may be the last time Asafa Powell don’s his running spikes. Asafa Powell, who is now engaged, may be looking to engage in activities other than running in the near future.“I am not thinking about 2020 right now, the farthest I will be going is 2018, maybe the Commonwealth Games and that’s where I see myself, just two years and not 2020,” said Powell, who was in India as brand ambassador for Airtel Delhi Half Marathon’s (ADHM) on Sunday.Read More: Powell, Thompson, Blake to lead Jamaica’s charge to World RelaysPowell, who was part of the winning 2008 quartet in 4x100m relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said the competition in track and field was growing with each passing day.“In Rio 100m finals, there were six runners who ran under 10. Currently there are so many people who can run sub 10s,” he said.“Sports is evolving. The athletes are getting more technical. The coaches are doing a lot more. The sport has come a long way. Eight athletes in the finals who all were capable of going sub 10s.”“A lot has changed and it’s going to get better and better as we go further. We know guys from all over the world who can run sub 10s, may be we will have guys from India who can run sub 10s soon,” he added.last_img read more