Sevilla, Espanyol hope to chop Barca lead at the top of La Liga

first_img Tags: Spanish La Ligatop Levante vs Real SociedadEstadio Ciudad de Valencia, ValenciaFriday, 09-11-2018 @11:00 pmReferee: David JimenezBy playing in the Friday game in this round of La Liga fixtures, Levante have a good chance to go back into the top six. They’ll be level on points with 3rd place Sevilla if they can see off Real Sociedad here but the Basques will also see this as a chance to make some serious headway in a congested table. La Real come into this one in 13th place and they’ve been struggling with a few injuries of late. They were able to name a stronger team last weekend though as they drew at home to Sevilla, their third draw in four outings in all competitions. Asier Garitano hasn’t had quite the impact he would have hoped but there is quality in this Sociedad side and they’ll be thinking of a European challenge, particularly with usual candidates likes Valencia and Villarreal currently struggling. Levante too may have Europe on their minds if this form continues for much longer. They’ve been a revelation since Paco Lopez took charge and came within a few minutes of a 5th straight league win last weekend with Villarreal scoring late to deny them all the points. It was still a good result and they will take confidence into this.La Real are another side with a much superior away record. Like Levante, they’ve picked up 10 points on the road, the joint best return in La Liga and they’ve already won tough games at Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal. That will give them confidence heading into this one and they do have some genuine quality in their ranks. With Sociedad getting back to full strength and with both sides generally enjoying life more on the road, there is certainly reason to expect the visitors will get something here. Things aren’t quite clicking enough to suggest they might get the win though and going for the Draw could be the best move in the Full-Time Result market, particularly given 5 of the last 9 league meetings between this pair have ended up all square.The two meetings last term both produced 3-0 home wins. Levante have only won 1 of the last 9 meetings overall.Real Valladolid vs EiberEstadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla, ValladolidSaturday, 10-11-2018 @03: 00 pmReferee: Guillermo FernandezIt has been a dream return to La Liga so far for Real Valladolid. They head into this Saturday’s game with Eibar in the top half and they’ve been easily the most impressive of the newly promoted sides. Victory here would move them onto 19 points and already they’d be halfway to a figure that would most likely see them beat the drop. It’s hard to know what Eibar would settle for this season. They remain certainly one of the smallest teams in this division but they also feel like part of the furniture now, in their fifth season at this level. They’ve bettered their previous season’s finish in each of their previous top flight campaigns but it would still be a surprise if they can better last year’s excellent 9th place.That’s the position currently held by Valladolid. It could have been better than that had they not lost 2-0 at Real Madrid last time out, in a game they can genuinely feel aggrieved they didn’t at least draw or possibly win. The new boys rattled the Bernabeu crossbar twice and spurned a further couple of good chances before Los Blancos broke the deadlock in fortunate fashion late on. They should take great confidence from that showing and they look capable of winning this one. Valladolid had won 5 of their previous 6 heading into that one and they’ve looked very assured defensively. Only Leganes have picked up fewer away points than Eiber and overall they look slightly weaker this term but perhaps not quite by such a margin that they will end up in trouble.This will be the first competitive meeting since the 2005-06 Segunda Division season. There was only one goal in the two meetings, scored by Valladolid at Eibar.Getafe vs ValenciaColiseum Alfonso Perez, GetafeSaturday, 10-11-2018 @06: 15 pmReferee: Ricardo BengoetxeaThere was a collective sigh of relief at the Mestalla on Wednesday night as Valencia finally won their first home game of the season. They’ll be looking to back that up on Saturday as they travel to Getafe looking for a much needed win in La Liga.Getafe have made a pretty good start to the campaign and currently sit exactly where they ended up last term, in 8th place. They spent a fair amount by their standards over the summer and they are no longer the surprise package they were last term. Their style remains the same though and they are certainly the most physical team in the division so Valencia will be in for a battle here, as was the case in the meetings last term, neither of which ended 11-a-side.Valencia can at least finally take some confidence into this one. They actually totally dominated their game with Girona last weekend but somehow managed to lose 1-0, largely due to some inspired goalkeeping. They got the result they were looking for in midweek though, beating Young Boys 3-1 to improve their hopes of Champions League progression although Manchester United’s late comeback in Turin was not good news for Los Che.While it’s not been totally down to bad luck, they can perhaps feel aggrieved to be down in 15th in La Liga right now with an average of just a point per game. A lack of goals has been the main issue but finally, they have an in-form forward in the shape of Santi Mina. The Spaniard has bagged 4 goals in his last 3 games and is perhaps the first name on Marcelino’s team-sheet right now having started out as Valencia’s 4th choice forward.Getafe did the double over Valencia last term with both meetings seeing the home team reduced to 10 men. The Madrid club are unbeaten in 4 games against Los Che overall.Atletico Madrid vs Athletic BilbaoEstadio Wanda Metropolitano, MadridSaturday, 10-11-2018 @08:30 pmReferee: Jose MartinezIt has been an excellent week so far for Atletico Madrid following an important victory in Europe on Tuesday. They head into this Saturday’s clash with Athletic Bilbao certainly expecting to pick up another win to ensure they head into the international break on a positive note. The Basques don’t have a good record against Diego Simeone’s men and they’ll do well to change that here.Atletico Madrid’s best and worst performances this season have both come against Borussia Dortmund. Battered 4-0 in Germany a fortnight ago, their dream of a Champions League win on home soil in the Madrid final next year seemed a distant one. However they bounced back with a much more assured display, seeing off the free-scoring Germans 2-0 at the Wanda on Tuesday and while their league form has been patchy, they are only 4 points off Barcelona. As for Athletic Bilbao, these are pretty worrying times. The general assumption was that this season couldn’t possibly be as poor as the last one when they finished 16th under José Ángel Ziganda. A change in coach has not brought a change in fortunes though and Athletic remain winless since the opening weekend heading into this game.Bilbao right now they look to have problems at both ends of the pitch. They’ve kept just once clean sheet this term and there have been a couple of really poor defensive displays such as the recent 3-1 Basque derby defeat to Sociedad. At the other end, their strikers aren’t firing either. Inaki Williams has scored just twice this term and Aritz Aduriz is yet to score in La Liga so there is a lot pressure on the rest of the team to step up.Atleti have a great recent record against Athletic. They’ve won 10 of the last 12 meetings, drawing the other 2. They’ve only conceded twice in their last 6 home games against the Basque club.Girona vs LeganesEstadio Camp Nou, BarcelonaSaturday, 10-11-2018 @10:45 pmReferee: Jose MelGirona have gone under the radar a bit this season with their performances overall not quite as impressive as last term. However they could actually climb into the top eight here with victory and they are favourites to get it against a Leganes side who head into this Saturday’s game down in 18th place. Only two newly promoted teams sit beneath them and it’s not a great surprise to see Leganes struggling given they have finished 17th in each of the last two seasons. They clearly haven’t lost all of their defensive qualities, which were so impressive at times last term under Asier Garitano. Already this season they’ve beaten Barcelona and drawn with Valencia and Atletico Madrid but they’ve not been getting enough victories in games against the teams they are likely to be battling with for safety. Girona couldn’t quite be put in that category but they are still a team Leganes will think they can take points off. They won 1-0 at the Mestalla last weekend despite a host of injury problems. Their Moroccan goalkeeper Bono was in inspired form and it’s safe to say they did ride their luck a bit but they do come into this game in very decent form overall with 7 points from their last 3 league outings.They are hoping to have a few players back in contention this weekend and overall they certainly look like much the more likely victors here. The main reason for that comes in the shape of Leganes’ miserable away record over the past 12 months or so. They’ve not won any of their last 21 away games in the Spanish top flight, the longest current winless streak on the road.Leganes haven’t won any of the 6 meetings this century. Girona won this fixture 3-0 last term and the sides drew 0-0 in the reverse clash.Deportivo Alaves vs HuescaEstadio de Mendizorraza, Vitoria-GasteizSunday, 11-11-2018 @02:00 pmReferee: Jose MonteroAlaves are winless in their last two games, with Abelardo’s side needing to get back to winning ways if they are to continue extending the gap between themselves and the relegation zone. The hosts are still unbeaten at Mendizorroza this season, posing Huesca with an extremely tough task on Sunday’s early kick-off. Huesca are still winless since the first day of their league campaign, but will take some heart from their 1-1 home draw against Getafe last time out.Ruben Duarte straight red last weekend will force Abelardo to reshuffle things at the back. Adrian Marin is a doubt with a knee problem, which will probably see Martin deployed at left-back. Ximo Navarro should slot in at right-back, while Antonio Sivera will deputise for Fernando Pacheco if needed in goal.Huesca are expected to continue with a back five this weekend. Xabier Etxeita is expected to start despite picking up a knock during the past week. Cucho Hernandez is expected to lead the line, while Gonzalo Melero misses out in midfield due to injury once again.Deportivo Alaves are undefeated in their last 6 home matches (La Liga).Barcelona vs Real BetisEstadio Camp Nou, BarcelonaSunday, 11-11-2018 @06:15 pmReferee: Antonio LahozBarcelona will look to continue their La Liga lead at the top of the standings and pick their fourth win a row this Sunday at Camp Nou when Real Betis come visiting. The Blaugrana are in impressive form and should pick up a win in this match that could see goals at both ends.Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at San Siro by Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League  match on Wednesday with Malcom and Mauro Icardi scoring the goals respectively. In La Liga it was a 3-2 win over Rayo Vallecano in the last round that made it three wins in a row. Barca lead the points tally with 24 points and three ahead of Espanyol. Barcelona’s home form has seen them land four wins out of six matches. Forward Lionel Messi is back in training, although manager Ernesto Valverde is extracting goals from forward Luis Suarez and midfielder Philippe Coutinho. Defence remains a worry, having conceded at least a goal in each of their last five La Liga home games.Real Betis were held to a 1-1 home draw by AC Milan in a UEFA Europa League fixture on Thursday. Giovani Lo Celso’s early goal was canceled out by Suso. The visitors haven’t been doing well in La Liga, losing three of their last four games. A high-scoring 3-3 draw against Celta Vigo was their last La Liga appearance. Loren Moron, Junior Firpo and Sergio Canales scored the goals for Betis, who couldn’t hold on to a win despite taking the lead twice. Betis start this round just four points above the relegation zone and have the second-worst scoring record of the league. Los Verdiblancos have just one win in five trips this season and have scored just one away goal.There have been 104 La Liga matches between these side with Barcelona leading 63-20 with 21 games ending up as drawn. The last meeting was won by Barcelona 5-0 with Messi and Suarez bagging two goals each, with Ivan Rakitic scoring once.Rayo Vallecano vs VillarealEstadio del Rayo Vallecano, MadridSunday, 11-11-2018 @08:30 pmReferee: Jose GonzalezRayo Vallecano were on the verge of recording a historical win over Barcelona at the weekend, but the title holders eventually scored two late goals and picked up all three points from the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano clash. Los Vallecanos gave fans something to cheer about, but Rayo supporters are hungry for victories. The capital club take on Villarreal on Matchday 12 and we are positive that they are going to grab something from Sunday’s football match if they repeat such a fine performance.The Yellow Submarine continue to struggle in the Spanish elite division and considering that they dropped two points in a 1-1 draw with Levante at the weekend, we are tempted to put our money on the hosts. In their last meeting in the suburbs of Madrid Rayo Vallecano recorded a 2-1 win over Villarreal and we believe that the history is going to repeat itself.Vallecano will be without Alvaro Medran, Tito and Elustondo for the visit of Villareal while Javi Calleja’s side are missing Carlos Bacca, Mariano Barbosa, Javi Fuego and Bruno.Vallecano have won both of their last two fixtures at home to Villareal.Sevilla vs EspanyolEstadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, SevillaSunday, 11-11-2018 @08:30 pmReferee: Santiago LatreSevilla and Espanyol find themselves occupying third and second on the table going into the this weekend’s fixture. At the start of the season, it was virtually unimaginable that after 11 games, they would be the two teams chasing Barcelona. However, their scintillating form recently has seen them climb up the table.Sevilla head into the games on the back of a 3-2 Europa League victory and will be hoping that momentum propels them to victory over inform Espanyol on Sunday.Espanyol are not in second by coincidence, Rubi’s side have lost only two games this season and none in their last six. The fixture list may have been favourable to them going into Sunday’s game but they have clearly done their part.Going into the game, Sevilla are expected to be without the injured trio of Andre Gomes, Gabriel marchado and Simone Kjaer while Espanyol will be without Hernan Gonzalez and Naldo.Espanyol have not defeated Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan since January 2011.Celta Vigo vs Real MadridAbanca Balaidos, VigoSunday, 11-11-2018 @10:45 pm (Super Sport 7)Referee: Alberto MallencoA week has shown itself to be a long time in football, and following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui, his successor Santiago Solari has achieved three wins in seven days at the helm of Real Madrid. Los Blancos’ most recent success came on Wednesday night as they recorded their biggest win of the season by beating Viktoria Plzen 5-0 in the Champions League. Solari was named an interim manager upon Lopetegui’s dismissal and the final match of his provisional period in charge is traditionally one of the toughest away trips of the season as the European champions visit Celta Vigo on Sunday night.Madrid were missing three of their first choice back four on Wednesday evening, with Dani Carvajal, Marcelo and Raphael Varane all missing. The latter two are almost certainly ruled out for the trip to Vigo, although Carvajal is closing in on a return.For Celta, Slovakian midfielder Stanislav Lobotka is missing.They may be in 11th place in the table, but Celta are the third top scorers in La Liga so far this season with 20 goals scored in 11 matches. Between them, Iago Aspas and Maxi Gomez have netted 14 of those 20 goals and the Galicians boast one of the division’s most dangerous strike pairings.Madrid have rediscovered their scoring touch after an inexplicably long drought earlier in the season and Los Blancos have netted 11 times in their last three matches, albeit against modest opposition.This fixture has delivered plenty of goals over the last few years.BET ON ALL THESE GAMES AND MANY MORE @Bunga BetComments last_img read more

Unemployment insurance expands

first_img23 July 2008The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) registered a staggering R27.8-billion in collections at the end of March 2008, Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana told delegates at a labour workshop in Pretoria last week.“This figure shows a massive growth from the R7.031-billion reported in April 2004,” he said in a statement issued by the Labour Department.“When I came in 1998, the fund was technically bankrupt.”The Unemployment Insurance Act and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act apply to all employers and workers, but not to workers working less than 24 hours a month for an employer, learners, foreigners working on contract, workers who get a monthly state pension, and workers who only earn a commission.‘Almost half’ of SA’s workers insured“During the period April 2004 and March 2008, over 2.2-million beneficiaries were paid UIF benefits of R11.02-billion,” he said.He said the number of employees registered on the UIF database stood at 7 392 493.“This is almost half the number of working people in South Africa,” Mdladlana said. “This is the information you don’t get anywhere.”He added that the number of employers on the UIF database was 1 166 467.Long queues eliminatedAt the same time, Mdladlana said, the long queues associated with the signing of the UIF register and collection of payment benefits have been eliminated since the introduction of the electronic payment system.He added that the number of claims processing centres in the country had increased from 14 in 2004 to 57 in 2008.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Maharashtra releases Koyna water to crisis-hit Karnataka

first_imgPune: The Maharashtra government on Sunday released water from the Koyna dam in Satara district to alleviate the water crisis in Karnataka. Around 0.5 TMC water will be released over a 10-day period, authorities have said. Water level in the Kaveri river basin has plummeted due to the soaring temperature.This is the second such discharge from the Koyna reservoir to Karnataka. Last month, 2.5 TMC water was released from the reservoir following a high-level meeting between officials of the neighbouring States.This cumulative discharge of 3 TMC follows a direct appeal on part of Karnataka Water Resources Minister M. B. Patil to provide relief to Belagavi, Bagalkot and Vijaypura districts. In return, Karnataka will release water from the Almatti dam to cater to the needs of Solapur district and others parts in Maharashtra facing water shortage.Late last month, Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan had said nine of the 12 dams in Karnataka barely had 20% of their water stock. “The available live storage in the reservoirs has touched an all-time low,” Mr. Mahajan had said, adding that he had ordered the discharge from Koyna dam to bring immediate relief to farmers in Karnataka.With a storage capacity of 105 TMC, the Koyna reservoir is one of the largest dams in the State. It houses the massive Koyna hydropower generation plant.Three consecutive years of drought have aggravated the agrarian crisis in Karnataka, especially in the north.last_img read more

a month agoChelsea winger Hudson-Odoi: Lampard appointment helped contract decision

first_imgChelsea winger Hudson-Odoi: Lampard appointment helped contract decisionby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveCallum Hudson-Odoi says Frank Lampard’s appointment gave him an “extra boost” towards signing a new contract with Chelsea.The 18-year-old signed a new five-year contract on Thursday after over a year of negotiations.And Hudson-Odoi has credited Lampard’s presence will helping him decide his long-term future.”I’ve been thinking for a while what it would be like to be playing for Chelsea for the next five years and how everything might go, especially now Frank is here as the manager. “It’s a great feeling for all of us because we know he gives everybody a chance if you’re playing well and working hard.”He’s a very good manager. I can tell that by what he’s trying to do and the things he’s trying to implement into our football. He has the mentality of winning, which we all want and we all need, so him coming in was just an extra boost for me.”He’s already given me confidence, having a chat with me here and there, and it’s great when a manager has faith in you. I’m delighted he’s here and I’m looking forward to working more with him.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Kevin Nealon To Host 2014 Melanoma Research Foundation Golf Classic

first_imgActor and comedian Kevin Nealon will reprise his role as host of the annual Melanoma Research Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic on November 10th at the Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank, CA.Kevin is partnering with the MRF for the third year in a row to raise critically-needed funding to fight melanoma, a cause close to the actor’s heart. After losing a friend to skin cancer, Kevin committed to advancing melanoma research, education and advocacy.“I am happy to partner with the MRF and the Celebrity Golf Classic to help combat melanoma. I have personally felt the impact that skin cancer can have as I lost a long-time friend to this disease,” said Kevin. “The last two years have been so important and I’m proud to help fund more research, education and advocacy in the battle with this deadliest form of skin cancer.”Attending golf enthusiasts and celebrities will play an important role in advancing the fight against melanoma while playing a round of golf with some of their favorite celebrities and VIPs at one of the nation’s prestigious members-only golf clubs. Each golfing foursome will be joined by one of Kevin’s celebrity friends. Celebrities who attended the 2012 and 2013 events included Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, stars from Mad Men, Dexter, 24, Ray Romano, David Spade, Vinnie Jones, Joe Pesci, Richard Karn, Mark Moses, Scott Elrod, Joe Mantegna, David James Elliott and Gregory Harrison.“Kevin is a passionate supporter of melanoma prevention and research, and the MRF is pleased to continue fighting this disease in partnership with him,” said Tim Turnham, executive director for the MRF. “Kevin’s commitment and that of his friends help us reach more people across the nation who might not be aware of the risks of UV exposure and dangers associated with melanoma.”As tournament players conclude their rounds, cocktails will be served before a dinner reception and awards presentation. Following the awards ceremony, Kevin will host a joke telling contest in which three celebrity judges will award the funniest joke presented by any interested tournament attendee.If you would like to join Kevin and the MRF at the Celebrity Golf Classic and help advance the goal of finding a cure for melanoma, please contact Emily Lauer-Bader at (202) 742-5901. To learn about sponsorship opportunities, email MRF is grateful for the generous support of the following 2014 event sponsors: Kevin Nealon, City National Bank, Dunkin Donuts, Craig Stern, John W. Carson Foundation, One America and Crackle.last_img read more

Petronas said to possibly be looking to buy Chevrons stake in Kitimat

first_imgTORONTO, O.N. — Petronas could possibly be looking to get back into the Canadian LNG game after sources said that Chevron is exploring options including selling its minority stake in the proposed Kitimat LNG project.According to Reuters, three unnamed sources said that Petronas is among the parties in talks with Chevron for a possible stake in Kitimat LNG, after it scuppered plans to build the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project last July because of unfavourable market conditions. Speaking anonymously, the sources told Reuters that it was not guaranteed that Chevron would sell its stake. They said that Chevron is considering selling a stake in Kitimat LNG to a financial investor such as a Canadian pension fund or a private equity firm.The sources added that Seven Generations Energy Ltd and Tourmaline Oil Corp are also in discussions to supply natural gas to Chevron’s project, and that Seven Generations may also consider buying a stake in the project by partnering with other gas producers. Kitimat LNG, a 50/50 joint venture with Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd, has a 20-year, 10 million-metric-tonne-per-year export license for LNG and is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars to build. Story courtesy The Globe and Mail/Reuters: read more

Ohio State baseball handles BethuneCookman in 3game sweep

Junior left fielder Ronnie Dawson (4) takes a swing during a game against Bethune-Cookman. Credit: Giustino Bovenzi | Lantern reporterThe Ohio State baseball team swept the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats over the course of the weekend, extending the Buckeyes’ season-high winning streak to seven games. The Scarlet and Gray (19-7-1) were powered by strong pitching from junior lefty Tanner Tully in the series-opening 6-2 win, a career day from senior shortstop Craig Nennig during Saturday’s 11-2 victory, and an overpowering 15 hits for a 13-5 win on Sunday.OSU has been red hot, winning 12 of its last 13 games dating back to the 8-7 win over UNLV in Las Vegas on March 15. OSU coach Greg Beals said he really likes what he’s seen from his team over that stretch of play. “The key today was getting a win and finishing out the home stretch in a very good fashion,” Beals said. “A good ball club needs to take care of business at home, and now we need to go on the road and keep the win streak alive.”Game 1 Tully set the tone early for the Buckeyes, overpowering the Wildcats throughout his career-high 8.0 innings of work on a blustery day in Columbus. The Buckeye offense broke through in the fifth inning with three runs to provide Tully with all the run support he needed to earn his fourth win of the season. Tully (4-1) struck out three, walked one and only allowed two runs in his seventh appearance of the year, lowering his ERA to 2.53.Beals said Tully’s performance was big for OSU because it allowed the bullpen to remain fresh for the rest of the series after being used heavily in the two midweek games against the Ohio Bobcats and Toledo Rockets. The Buckeyes were led offensively by junior catcher Jalen Washington and junior center fielder Troy Montgomery. Washington went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored and Montgomery went 1-for-4 with an RBI double, two stolen bases and a run scored in the game.Game 2 The weather played a huge role in the second game of the series, seeing sunshine, rain, snow and heavy winds that eclipsed 30 miles an hour. But Nennig wouldn’t let the bad weather hold the Buckeyes back as the Wrightstown, Wisconsin, native had a career day at the plate. Nennig went 3-for-4, including a three-run home run in the second inning to get the party started for the Buckeyes. His six RBIs accounted for more than half of OSU’s runs in the 11-2 victory. He fell a double short of hitting for the cycle. Senior pitcher Daulton Mosbarger picked up his first win of the season after his 2.2 innings of scoreless work. Redshirt sophomore pitcher Adam Niemeyer, who started the game for OSU, earned a no-decision for the fourth time this year after leaving the game in the fifth inning after pulling his hamstring, Beals said. With the weather being the way it was, Beals said the coaches “just didn’t want to push it at all.”“Hopefully it’s not too bad and (Niemeyer) is able to take his start next weekend,” he said. Game 3OSU continued to pour it on in the final game of the series, pounding Bethune-Cookman for 15 hits en route to the 13-5 victory.  Senior pitcher John Havird (2-1) picked up the win for OSU after allowing two runs on four hits and a walk during his 5.0 innings of work. OSU’s offense across the board had a stellar day. Eight of the nine starters recorded a hit. But redshirt junior right fielder Jacob Bosiokovic and senior second baseman L Grant Davis perhaps had the best outings for the Scarlet and Gray. Bosiokovic went 3-for-4, including his Big Ten-leading ninth home run of the season. Davis went 2-for-5 with a career-high 4 RBIs, three of which came on a bases-clearing double in the fourth inning. Even though OSU put up 30 runs over the weekend, Davis said the Buckeyes still haven’t reached their true potential.“We haven’t really been clicking as a lineup, as a whole,” Davis said. “There’s been certain parts that have been picking each other up throughout each game. I think that if we can figure it out, in terms of getting everyone clicking and everyone putting good swings on the ball, it’s very, very scary what this team is capable of.”OSU is next scheduled to head to Kent, Ohio, on Tuesday for a matchup with Kent State. It begins a four-game road swing that ends with three games over the weekend against the Maryland Terrapins from Friday through Sunday. Edward Sutelan contributed to this story. read more

Despite recent struggles mens hockey team improving coach says

With only four games remaining in the regular season, the Ohio State men’s hockey team has little time to make a push for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament. OSU is currently the ninth seed with the top five seeds receiving a first round bye. “It’s crunch time,” senior forward C.J. Severyn said. “These last four games could mean life or death for us.” OSU coach Mark Osiecki said he likes the way his team is playing, though it lost six of its last seven games. He said he thinks the team hasn’t gotten the puck to slide its way. “That’s the hard thing,” he said. “We don’t have that puck luck.” Osiecki said it has been the same for his team all year. The pucks don’t seem to go its way, but he said that’s something the team has to overcome. “You’ve got to have great will,” he said. “You’ve got to have a relentless part of your game.” Though Osiecki said he thinks his team has been playing well, he said it’s not where the players expected to be at the beginning of the season. “I’m not sure if it’s where we want to be,” he said, “but we’re certainly better.” Four of the six losses — all of which were conference games — have been by two goals or fewer, so the team is usually within a couple of plays of winning. “We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes of Buckeye hockey,” Severyn said. “That’s where we’re going to get our wins.” The Buckeyes have two home series, of two games apiece, to round out the regular season: one against Lake Superior State and one against Ferris State. This weekend’s series against Lake Superior State is senior weekend, a time when the senior players reflect on their four years — especially this one — at OSU. One of the things the seniors have had to adjust to is a coaching change. Osiecki is in his first year as the men’s hockey coach, and it has been a transition for the seniors who had a different coach the previous three seasons. “It’s a hard thing to go through as a senior,” forward Kyle Reed said, “but I’m happy with it.” The Buckeyes (14-15-2, 9-13-2) have played well at home this season, going 7-5-1, and will look to continue to do that this weekend against Lake Superior State (10-12-8, 8-9-7). The games are scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the OSU Ice Rink. read more

Ohio State fall sports wrap

It was a down year for the Buckeye fall sports teams, with no Big Ten championships won by any squad. However, the teams secured five NCAA tournament bids this season with women’s volleyball still in contention. Women’s field hockey and men’s soccer ended the regular season with the best conference success, narrowly missing out on first place and securing second in the Big Ten. Despite the overall lack of championship success, the Buckeyes earned several high individual honors and each team had its own season highlights. Men’s soccer For the first time since 2006, the Ohio State men’s soccer team was not a part of the NCAA tournament. Junior midfielder Chris Hegngi and senior defender David Tiemstra headlined a list of eight OSU players who received Big Ten awards; Hegngi and Tiemstra were named the conference’s best offensive and defensive player, respectively. Tiemstra and Hegngi were named First-Team All-Big Ten while senior forward Parnell Hegngi, junior midfielder Austin McAnena and junior goalkeeper Matt Lampson earned second-team honors. The Buckeyes finished with an overall 10-7-2 record, 4-2 in the Big Ten, placing second behind Northwestern. After losing to Northwestern on Oct. 9, a regular season conference championship seemed unlikely as the team sat at 7-5-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference. Coach John Bluem said the game was “one of the worst performances by an OSU team in (his) 15 years here.” The team responded, going 3-0-1 in its next four contests to put itself in a position to win the title in its final regular season game. OSU was not up to the task as they fell to Indiana on the road, 1-0. “It was certainly a disappointment to come away without a win and not win the championship outright,” Bluem said in a press release. “But it was definitely a difficult task at hand.” OSU had won the Big Ten tournament the last four years, but the team was defeated by Penn State in the first round of the tournament, ending its season. Women’s soccer At first glance the OSU women’s soccer team’s final regular season record of 10-8-1 and subsequent first-round loss in the Big Ten tournament doesn’t seem like anything too special. However, it was a couple of program milestones and an unlikely run in the NCAA tournament that made the 2011 season memorable. The Buckeyes received a bid to the national tournament, albeit one the team and coach Lori Walker did not expect to receive, and collected upset victories against Tennessee and Milwaukee to advance to the Sweet Sixteen to play Duke, the top-seeded team in the region. OSU led the Blue Devils, 1-0, at halftime, but two second-half goals by Duke ended the Buckeyes’ tournament run. “This team found a second life and made something of it,” Walker said following the loss. “We always said we wanted to advance until we met a team that is playing better than us … I give credit to our seniors for leading us to be here and we’ve got nothing to be disappointed about.” The 2011 senior class tied last year’s class as the winningest four-year group in program history with 51 victories. The Buckeyes also recorded program win No. 200 on Sept. 23 at home against Illinois. Field Hockey The field hockey team ended its 2011 campaign with a 12-9 overall record and 4-2 mark in conference play. By losing to Old Dominion in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the team overcame its semifinal loss in the conference tournament to make the big dance in three consecutive seasons. This was the Buckeyes’ seventh appearance in the tournament, while six of them have been under 16-year head coach Anne Wilkinson. The team was led by captain and First-Team All-Big Ten honoree Jenn Sciulli while forwards Berta Queralt, Danica Deckard and midfielder Paula Pastor-Pitarque were named Second-Team All-Big Ten selections. The team strongly depended on its defense in many of its games. Goaltender and captain Ally Tunitis notched four shutouts on the season and now holds the single-season wins record for OSU goalkeepers. The season was far from a failure due to the girls’ most notable win against No. 11 Michigan when they won, 2-1, in a thriller to kick off conference play. Tunitis described the win as the “most meaningful moment of the season.” Women’s volleyball The women’s volleyball team has yet to finish its season, as it will be making its way to Florida, Saturday and Sunday, for the Gainesville Regional to face the winner of Illinois and Marquette in the Sweet 16. The team finished its regular season with an overall record of 21-14 and a conference record of 9-11. The Buckeyes’ rollercoaster ride of a season sparked surprise at their tournament run, but a win over No. 14 Tennessee on Friday kept the girls’ season hopes alive. Junior Mari Hole was the only Buckeye named a First-Team All-Big Ten honoree while Kelli Barhorst was named a Sportsmanship Award honoree. Men’s cross-country The OSU men’s cross-country team was without its No. 1 runner for most of the 2011 season. For most teams, losing a top runner would spell doom, but for the Buckeyes this season, it did not. OSU qualified for the 2011 NCAA National Championships in Terra Haute, Ind., and finished 23rd out of 31 teams on Nov. 21 to conclude its season. The National Championship appearance was the third in five years for head coach Robert Gary and the Buckeyes. Redshirt senior Jake Edwards, OSU’s top runner coming at the beginning of the year, suffered a hamstring injury at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 30 and missed the rest of the season. Led by junior Donny Roys and redshirt senior Taylor Williams, the Buckeyes were resilient. Two weeks after losing Edwards, OSU ran at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 14. Among a field featuring 20 of the top 30 programs in the nation, the Buckeyes finished 17th. The men went on to finish fifth at both the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 30 and NCAA Great Lakes Regionals on Nov. 12, and received an at-large berth to the NCAA National Championships. Roys and Williams paced the way for the Buckeyes at the National Championship meet, placing 95th and 100th, respectively. Gary said the 2011 season was one of his all-time favorites. “I would have to say … (the 2011 team) was my third favorite team ever to have,” he said. Women’s cross-country The 2011 OSU women’s cross-country season has assistant coach Chris Neal optimistic for 2012. The Buckeyes sent two runners to the 2011 NCAA National Championships in Terra Haute, Ind., on Nov. 21 as individual qualifiers, and finished sixth at the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals on Nov. 12. Four of OSU’s top-five runners will return in 2012. “(This season) is definitely a building block going forward,” Neal said. Jordan Jennewine, the team’s lone senior, along with junior Tori Brink and freshman Nicole Hilton, led the Buckeyes this season. A first-place finish at the Mountaineer Open in Boone, N.C., on Sept. 16 by both Jennewine and OSU as a team, started off the season on a high point. Following a disappointing 38th-place finish at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 14, the Buckeyes failed to impress at the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 30, placing ninth as a team. OSU sixth-place finish at the regional meet didn’t earn the team a bid to the NCAA National Championships, but Brink and Hilton were individual selections. Brink and Hilton ran well again at the National Championship, finishing near the top half of the field in 120th and 142nd place. Golf The OSU men’s golf team’s opened its autumn slate on a high note with its second consecutive and 19th team title overall in the 15-team Marshall Invitational, with senior Alex Redfield claiming the individual title. The Buckeyes hit a bit of a rough patch after that, finishing in a tie for 10th out of 15 teams in the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational from Sept. 16-18 and earning a last-place 11th in a rain-shortened Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational on Sept. 27. As the host team of the Jack Nicklaus Invitational from Oct. 10-11, OSU finished second out a field of 12 teams, placing higher than four Top 25 ranked teams. The Buckeyes concluded the season with a last-place performance in the 15-team Isleworth Collegiate Invitational from Oct. 23-25. The OSU women’s golf team finished in third-place or better in all four autumn tournaments in which it played. The Buckeyes opened the season with a runner-up performance in the 12-team Mary Fossum Invitational from Sept. 16-17 and recorded a third-place finish out of 15 teams in the Windy City Invitational from Oct. 3-4. In the Lady Northern Invitational from Oct. 10-11, on the same course that the 2012 Big Ten championship will be played this spring, OSU finished second out of 12 teams. The Buckeyes concluded their fall slate by finishing third out of 18 teams in the Landfall Tradition from Oct. 28-30. Both OSU golf teams will resume play in February. read more

Championship culture the goal for Ohio State womens basketball

Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston (14) drives to the basket during a game against Iowa Jan. 19 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 81-74.Credit: Ryan Robey / For The LanternDespite having a new coaching staff and playing the hardest schedule in the country, the Ohio State women’s basketball team is three games above .500 on the year and has plenty to look forward to on the season.The Buckeyes (12-9, 2-3) are led in scoring by sophomore guard Ameryst Alston, who is averaging 17 points per game and was a two-time Associated Press Ms. Basketball in the state of Ohio while at Canton McKinley High School.OSU has also received key contributions this season from another sophomore guard, Cait Craft, who leads the team in 3-pointers.Craft, who is averaging 8.8 points a game so far this season, said the OSU program has a very bright future.“I do have a lot of confidence in the team, especially this year,” Craft said. “I have a lot confidence with the new coaching staff. Everyone is buying into their system which makes it a lot of fun.”OSU coach Kevin McGuff is not only trying to change the culture of the program, but his attempts to bring in the nation’s best players are not going unnoticed. OSU’s 2014 recruiting class is ranked No. 7 in the country, according to ESPN.Not only has McGuff signed a top-10 recruiting class, he has also brought in two transfers from power conference schools, Georgetown and Duke.Freshman guard Kianna Holland from Duke and freshman forward Shayla Cooper from Georgetown are set to join the team on the court after Fall Semester exams are finished.Even with everything building toward the future, McGuff said he is still focused on the current season.“I have not thought too much about next year,” McGuff said. “When I think about the future, it is just about creating a championship culture.”Creating that culture could be made easier by the return of Alston and Craft to the lineup — both lead the team in average minutes per game — as well as redshirt-junior guard Amy Scullion, who is set to return next year as a fifth-year senior.Scullion, who leads the team in 3-point shooting percentage, said expectations are high going forward.“I want us to make the (NCAA) tournament,” Scullion said about the current Buckeye team. “I think coach McGuff has done a great job of changing the culture of this program and he has made it a winning program.”The Buckeyes missed out on the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since the 2001-02 season, ultimately leading to the firing of former coach Jim Foster. OSU also finished tied for eighth in the Big Ten last season, tied for their worst finish in the conference since the 2000-01 season.The Buckeyes are looking to further the winning culture this Thursday, as they are set to travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan (13-5, 4-1) at 7 p.m. read more