Make it three NorCal tournament titles in a row for the No. 1 USC men’s water polo team.After defeating Stanford in a 10-9 overtime thriller in the semifinals, the undefeated Trojans defeated UCLA 7-6 in the title match on Sunday, holding off a late, frenetic push from the Bruins to cap a successful weekend in the Bay.Next level · Junior driver Nikola Vavic has always been known as a prolific scorer, but has become a bonafide star in 2012, scoring 26 goals. – Chris Roman | Daily TrojanJunior driver Nikola Vavic led the Trojans with 12 goals during the tournament, providing a consistent scoring threat across the weekend’s four matches. Also at the driver position, sophomore Kostas Genidounias scored five goals during the weekend and senior driver Michael Rosenthal added four.In the final, the Trojans jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first quarter and took a 5-2 lead into halftime. Though the score indicated otherwise, the game was never really in doubt, with UCLA only scoring in the final seconds of the match to cut the deficit to one goal.“We came out, executed our game plan, took an early lead, and that was that,” junior driver Stephen Siri said.USC’s defense limited UCLA — last year’s national runner-up to the Trojans — to just six goals. UCLA’s top scorers weren’t able to get into a rhythm against the Trojans’ defense, as no Bruin scored multiple goals in the match. In his second start as a Trojan, junior goalie James Clark, a member of Australia’s Olympic team in London, made 11 saves.After sophomore goalie Ely Bonilla played in the semifinal match, Jovan Vavic made the switch to Clark for the title match, although Jovan Vavic insisted not to read too much into the decision.“Clark’s more communicative in goal, that’s one of his big strengths,” Siri said.Nikola Vavic, the Trojans’ leading scorer so far in 2012 by a wide margin, scored four of the seven goals in the match to lead all scorers.Though Nikola Vavic paced the Trojans all weekend, perhaps the biggest goal of the tournament came on a backhand strike from junior two-meter Jeremy Davie that gave the Trojans a narrow victory over the fourth-ranked Cardinal.After dispatching Pomona-Pitzer 22-1 and No. 8 Pepperdine 9-4 in the first two rounds, the Trojans headed into the semifinal matchup against Stanford on Saturday expecting their greatest challenge of the season.The Cardinal did not disappoint.The Trojans started slow offensively, scoring just three goals in the first half as the Cardinal led 4-3 at the break.“We had a good first half defensively,” Siri said. “But we had small communication errors, and these led to missed opportunities on the offense.”The Cardinal scored first in the second half to take a 5-3 lead, USC’s biggest deficit of the season to date. The Trojans scored three straight goals to take a 6-5 lead, and the teams traded goals throughout the fourth quarter.After scoring nine goals in the first three quarters, the squads combined for nine in the fourth quarter alone.The Trojans almost won the match in regulation time, but Stanford’s B.J. Churnside scooped up the ball and fired in the equalizer with three seconds left in regulation.Overcoming the frustration of the Cardinal’s last-second score, the Trojans held on defensively for the first half of overtime, as neither team scored.Nineteen seconds into the second half of overtime, Davie found open space and powered the ball into the net to give the Trojans a 10-9 lead.After that, the goal was “to not let the other team breathe,” Siri explained.The Trojan defense clamped down on the Cardinal, and less than three minutes later their trip to the championship match was ensured.
The baseball team welcomed Wake Forest to Dedeaux Field this weekend, and the Trojans nabbed their first series win of the season to push their record above .500.The No. 21 Trojans took down the Demon Deacons 2-1 in the three-game series winning the first one 9-4 before dropping a 4-5 loss on Saturday. USC finished strong though with a 2-1 performance Sunday afternoon.The team still sat even with a 3-3 record when Sunday rolled around for the series finale. Senior Brent Wheatley took the mound, and the right-hander locked horns with Wake Forest sophomore Drew Loepprich in a pitchers duel. Wheatley turned in six strong innings of work, scattering one run, three hits and two walks throughout while striking out six batters, and the Trojans and Demon Deacons remained knotted at one run apiece through the top of the eighth inning.USC finally broke the deadlock in the bottom of the eighth. Senior outfielder David Oppenheim drew a one-out walk and redshirt junior Reggie Southall was put in as a pinch-runner. He promptly swiped second base and moved to third on a ground ball from junior catcher Jeremy Martinez, and Oppenheim scored on a wild pitch to push the Trojans in front. A clean inning from senior closer Marc Huberman sealed a 2-1 USC win and the team’s first series win of the season.Head coach Dan Hubbs praised his players’ fighting spirit when facing a pitcher who was on his game.“I was proud of them for grinding out a game,” Hubbs said. “We put up some runs over the first two days, and then we showed we could win a 2-1 game.”After a tough outing to begin his season last weekend, Wheatley said he took a simplified approach into Sunday’s start, and it paid dividends.“I had a different mentality,” he said. “I was just trying to throw hard and make good pitches.”Two games led up to Sunday’s deciding contest. Senior pitcher Kyle Davis toed the rubber for the Trojans to kick off the series on Friday, and the veteran right-hander turned in seven strong innings, however, he allowed four runs in a sloppy fifth inning. Martinez and freshman centerfielder Lars Nootbaar had big nights at the plate as the USC bats backed up their ace in a 9-4 win.“We saw the fastball a lot, and we took advantage of it,” Nootbaar said.Martinez, who smashed his first home run of the season on Friday, also tipped his hat to associate head coach Matt Curtis for preparing the offense for the Demon Deacons’ pitchers.“Give a lot of credit to coach Curtis,” Martinez said. “We had a scouting report … so I was just trying to stay inside, put a good swing, and [the ball] just happened to run right into my barrel.”Junior pitcher Bernardo Flores started game two, and like Davis the night before, fought through one tough inning but was sharp otherwise, allowing four runs across six frames of work. Flores left the game with the score knotted at four thanks to a game-tying solo shot from sophomore third baseman Adalberto Carrillo— his second of the season. Redshirt junior Joe Navilhon replaced Flores and struck out the side in order in his first inning of relief.After cruising through two innings, however, Navilhon ran into trouble in the top of the ninth. The right-hander made an errant throw to first base on a leadoff bunt attempt, and freshman first baseman Dillon Paulson dropped the throw from Carrillo on the subsequent sacrifice bunt.Senior pitcher Brooks Kriske then entered the game to try to put out the fire, but Martinez fired a low throw past Carrillo trying to pick off the runner at third, scoring the go-ahead run. The Trojans committed three errors in one inning and were unable to rally in the bottom of the ninth, dropping a 4-5 contest to set up Sunday’s deciding game.Although he was disappointed with the ninth inning fiasco, Hubbs said it shouldn’t have come down to that at all.“That’s not where the game was lost,” Hubbs said. “The game was lost when we left 14 guys on base. We had all sorts of opportunities to score a lot of runs, and we didn’t.”It is still early in the season, however, and Hubbs said his squad, carrying high expectations, just needed to settle down.“A lot of guys did some good things,” Hubbs said. “We just have to have some guys be able to relax in the moment and get it done.”Next up, the Trojans hit the road on Tuesday for a tough tilt against Long Beach State before a weekend that includes hosting Oklahoma and Mississippi State as well as the annual game against UCLA at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.
Hearts of Oak coach David Duncan says the 1-1 draw with Asante Kotoko was a fair result despite believing his side could have carried the day.The two giants sold out a highly entertaining game in the Ghanaian version of the ‘El Classico’ at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.Hearts jumped into the lead through a driven effort by striker Winful Cobbinah in the 27th minute and went on to control the game in the first half.Kotoko however came back strongly after recess to equalize through a Michael Helegbe header.It was end-to-end stuff afterwards with both sides committing forces in search of that elusive winner.Kotoko could have carried all three points at the depth with Richard Mpong’s lob over goalkeeper Tetteh Lugard going agonizingly wide to ultimately end the game 1-1. And though coach Duncan says the draw was a fair result, he believes his team could have won the game with a bit more purposeful effort upfront.“Yes it (the game) could have been won especially in the first half but we didn’t take our chances,” he said in the post-match interview.“And when we came back in the second half we continued to create and I thought there were a few opportunities that we could have taken even though they were few and far in between as compared to the first half.“It was one of those situations where we weren’t lucky enough so 1-1 I think was a fair reflection of the game.”The thrilling draw leaves Hearts in eight with their opponent climbing to second on the Ghanaian top flight. The Phobians will next travel to take on already-relegated Real Tamale United on Wednesday.
Eritrea will play Djibouti at 2:00 pm while Uganda faces Sudan in the final last group A game at 4:00 Pm Pece Stadium.Sudan lead group A with four points, Uganda second while Eritrea and Djibouti are third and fourth respectively.*****URNShare on: WhatsApp Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Hippos head coach Morley Byekwaso has said his team will defeat Group A leaders Sudan, in the last group game in the on-going CECAFA U-20 challenge cup.Byekwaso in an interview on Wednesday says that he has been emphasizing ball possession and physicality as well as clinical finishing especially in the final third of the pitch.Byekwaso however says, Sudan is a matured team and needs to be approached cautiously.Mohamed Mousa the Sudan head coach says his players are confident and ready for their last group game.Mousa says during their training they focused on the defensive midfield and defence especially after seeing Uganda score five goals past Djibouti on Monday.
Xhaka, 27, blamed death threats to his family for his furious response, saying he had reached “boiling point”.“My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months have hurt me deeply,” he wrote on Instagram.“People have said things like ‘We will break your legs’, ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’.“That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium.”Xhaka had only been confirmed as captain by Emery in September after the Spaniard took a dressing room vote to decide on the skipper after the departures of Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech. FILE PHOTO: Xhaka London, United Kingdom | AFP | Arsenal manager Unai Emery confirmed on Tuesday that Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the club captaincy after an emotional outburst towards supporters.The Swiss international swore and threw the captain’s armband to the floor after being booed as he was substituted against Crystal Palace 10 days ago.Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who led Arsenal for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Wolves, will take over as captain.Xhaka was not included in the squad for the Wolves match or Wednesday’s visit to Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League.“I was speaking with him this morning and also I decided he’s not one of the captains in our group and I decided that and I told him this morning,” Emery said. “He accepted my decision.“We have now Aubameyang, Hector (Bellerin), (Alexandre) Lacazette and (Mesut) Ozil – they are the four captains, and first is now Aubameyang.”“I needed to take one decision, and now it is closed,” Emery added. Share on: WhatsApp
SHARING A LAUGH—Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, left, jokes with teammate LeBron James during a practice session May 30, in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) by Stephen D. Riley and Perry GreenFor New Pittsburgh Courier (NNPA)—Sequels usually aren’t as good as the original, but the 2011 NBA Finals should be an exception. The Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks will face off in a championship series for the second time since 2006, and this time around there’s a lot more star power on both rosters.Heat star guard Dwyane Wade, with center Shaquille O’Neal as his teammate, outperformed Mavs star forward Dirk Nowitzki to win the 2006 championship, but now Wade has 2-time MVP LeBron James and All-Star Chris Bosh as running mates. Dallas has also upgraded its 2006 roster by adding future Hall of Fame guard Jason Kidd and veteran center Tyson Chandler, along with several strong role players. So, which team is better equipped to win Miami vs. Dallas, Part II?AFRO sports writers Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley argue it out:Green: Let me start by saying I’m no Dallas Mavericks fan. There’s just something about owner Mark Cuban that rubs me the wrong way, so when the Mavs advanced to face the Miami Heat in the NBA Final, I instantly became a Heat fan and will be one for the remainder of the series. But as much as I dislike Cuban, I must remain a realist: the man has pieced together one hell of a team that deserves to be the favorite to win the title. All odds favor Dallas to beat Miami in every facet of the game, from scoring to rebounding to defending. This team offers so much quality, veteran talent, with two Hall of Famers in the starting lineup and several great shooters coming off the bench. It’s almost not fair how much more complete a team Dallas is compared to Miami, and that’s why the Mavericks will win in six games.Riley: What’s not fair is what Miami will end up doing to the Dallas Mavericks for the second time in half a decade. The Heat made it this far in the postseason for two reasons: LeBron James and Dywane Wade. When you have two MVP-caliber players like that, plus a legitimate all-star in Chris Bosh contributing, what else do you need? This Miami roster has been playing the best lock-down defense we’ve seen this postseason. Defense wins championships and that’s how Miami will earn their second title in six years.Green: No doubt, Miami has played terrific defense. But I don’t think they’ve been tested for what they’re about to face in game one on May 31. Nowitzki has put on a postseason performance we haven’t seen the likes of since Michael Jordan in his prime. When I say the man hardly ever misses, I’m being literal. Put a hand in his face, it doesn’t matter; it’s still going in. You can’t even try to beat him up defensively because you’ll only send him to the foul line where he’ll make 90 percent of his shots. Nowitzki simply can’t be stopped, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Just ask the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, who were swept by Dirk and the Mavericks in the second round.Riley: Props to Dallas for sweeping the Lakers, but you don’t get anything extra for sweeping the defending champs. That’s a nice feat, but so what? The Lakers self-destructed and that’s why they were eliminated. Overall, Miami has been the more impressive team throughout the playoff. You say Dallas has a complete team, but so did the Bulls. Chicago finished with the NBA’s best record and was supposed to have the best reserve players with the most well balanced team offensively and defensively. But we saw what Miami did to the Bulls. LeBron put the clamps on MVP Derrick Rose and ended Chicago’s hopes of a premature championship appearance. Now he’ll do the same to Dirk.Green: LeBron did a great job defending Rose, but there is a difference between guarding a 6-foot,3-inch guard and guarding the greatest 7-foot-tall shooter in the history of the NBA. But if Dirk is off, Dallas still can lean on veterans Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic and Shawn Marion, who’ve all played very well this postseason. It’s just too much to compete against.Riley: I don’t care how many good players Dallas has on its roster. This is a superstar’s association and right now, Miami has the advantage in that category with LeBron and Wade. The only duo to counter that is Shaq/Kobe or Pippen/Jordan and since none of those four are playing, I’m going with the Heat.(Reprinted from the Afro American.)
0Shares0000Sofapaka FC head coach John Baraza all smiles during a training session at the club’s base in Eastleigh on February 15, 2019NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – Five wins in six matches and 2009 Kenyan Premier League champions Sofapaka have created the belief that a second title cannot be yonder than the 2018-19 campaign. Emphatic victory against table topping Mathare United last Tuesday hoisted John Baraza’s men to third in the standings with a two-point deficit from the leaders and another victory against holders Gor Mahia on Sunday will all but surely put them firmly in the race. Baraza who has engineered a turnaround for the side since taking charge says his side is focused on harvesting all three from Gor and believes they are in the right mentality to do so.“It is very important to win because Gor just like Mathare, Tusker and Bandari are firm title contenders, same to us. We have to make sure we get points out of them and this will improve our position on the table,” Baraza told Capital Sport.Sofapaka’s Titus Achesa (right) leads teammates in celebrating his goal against mathare United during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Kasarani Stadium on February 12, 2019. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYATuesday’s four-star performance against Mathare has further fueled Batoto ba Mungu’s belief that they can go the full length and compete for the table.“Mathare is a top team and getting a win over them was important for our motivation as a team. If we keep winning against such teams then, we are heading somewhere,” he noted.The youthful tactician who won the league with the club as a player in 2009 took charge with results being hard to come by and the side willowing in the bottom half of the table with only one win in seven games.However, he has brought back belief to the side and he attributes this to giving the players more freedom to express themselves.One of the players who has hugely flourished under Baraza is defender Faina Jacoms whose prowess in the defensive pairing with Burundian international Mousa Omar has been phenomenal.Faina arrived with former head coach Melis Medo from Mount Kenya United but was on the fringes for most of the games, only starting twice and playing at right back.Sofapaka FC defender Faina Jacobs contends for the ball with teammate Umaru Kassumba during a training session at the club’s base in Eastleigh on February 15, 2019However, when Baraza took charge, he swung him into central defense and has flourished with the side conceding only three goals in six games, two of them coming off set pieces.“He is a player that I knew from long ago because when I was playing and he was at Muhoroni, he was a tough defender to take on. When I took over, I knew immediately where to place him and the results have been evident. He has been one of our best players,” Baraza added.Sofapaka has only won thrice against Gor Mahia in 20 league meetings. Last season, the first leg ended 3-3 in a dramatic game in Machakos. Gor were leading 2-0 before Sofapaka fought back to lead 3-2, but then conceded a late equalizer.The second leg was a one-way swing for Gor ho comfortably won 3-0. The last time Sofapaka beat Gor is in June 2017 when they won 2-0.Baraza’s men will hope to capitalize on Gor Mahia’s fatigue as they will have only two days to rest after playing a tough game away in Angola in the CAF Confederations Cup.AFC Leopards head coach Cassa Mbungo greets forward Brian Marita during his first match in charge against Mount Kenya United at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on February 7, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluMeanwhile, under pressure AFC Leopards will be out to leave the doldrums of relegation when they take on a struggling Ulinzi Stars in Machakos on Sunday.Ingwe are second from bottom in the standings, only one point off the bottom having lost all their last four games. New boss Cassa Mbungo will have his work cut out as he looks to lift Ingwe off the bottom.Ulinzi on their side are struggling as well, the military side failing to win any of their last five games with four draws and a loss.KPL weekend matches:Saturday: Kariobangi Sharks v Bandari (Kasarani), Nzoia Sugar v Chemelil Sugar (Sudi, Bungoma), Tusker FC v Kakamega Homeboyz (Ruaraka).Sunday: KCB v Sony Sugar, AFC Leopards v Ulinzi Stars (Machakos), Zoo Kericho v Mathare United (Kericho), Western Stima v Mount Kenya United (Kisumu), Vihiga United v Posta Rangers (Kakamega).0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)