Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm Contact Phil: firstname.lastname@example.org | @PhilDAbb Last March, Syracuse pulled off an upset of Maryland to assert itself into the national spotlight. Paired with the Terrapins this weekend, the Orange once again has something to prove.“It was one of the turning points of our season last year,” sophomore attack Devon Collins said. “So I feel like this could set the tone for our season if we come out really strong and make a statement that we belong at No. 1.”The No. 1 Orange (1-0) will look to defend its early-season status as top dog when it hosts No. 4 Maryland (1-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. The Terrapins boast one of the best midfields in the country, one that features senior Katie Schwarzmann, the Tewaaraton Trophy winner from a year ago.On March 10, then-No. 6 Syracuse traveled to College Park, Md., and knocked off the then-No. 3 Terrapins, snapping Maryland’s home winning streak at 36 games. The Terps had won the previous 12 matchups against the Orange.In that game, Maryland was successful in keeping SU attack Alyssa Murray, who would lead the NCAA in points by the end of the season, off the scoreboard. But the Terps couldn’t stop Michelle Tumolo from recording a hat trick or Collins from scoring twice as well.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEven if Maryland slows down one of the Orange’s attacks, Gait is confident in the balance of the unit. If the Terps zero in on one of SU’s offensive threats, the surrounding players will step up, Gait said, just as Collins did last year. Gait pointed to Murray and freshman Kayla Treanor as more-than-capable scorers.Tumolo said she won’t be surprised if the Terps faceguard her Sunday. Regardless of what the Terps throw at SU, Tumolo believes the home team will be prepared.“They might press out a little bit more, try to rattle us a little bit,” Tumolo said. “I think we’ll be ready for that because we’ve seen it before.”Speaking at SU’s Media Day on Wednesday, Tumolo was ecstatic to get her season started with Sunday’s game – she was ineligible for the Orange’s win over Jacksonville on Jan. 13 because she drew a red card in last season’s championship loss to Northwestern.Tumolo was particularly excited to welcome Schwarzmann, her good friend who beat her by 5 percent in the voting for Inside Lacrosse’s Division-I Player of the Year, to the Carrier Dome.“It’s fun to play against your friends just because you get to see them and I’m excited for them to come to the Dome because she’s never been,” Tumolo said.The rest of the Orange is much less anxious to see Schwarzmann, who scored two goals in last year’s meeting.Syracuse assistant coach Regy Thorpe knows the Tewaaraton winner is going to score against his defense on Sunday. SU has a few defensive looks prepared for the Terps midfielder, Thorpe said, but the key will be to keep Schwarzmann in the 1-3 goal range, not the 5-6.In addition to Schwarzmann, the Orange will have an eye on Maryland attack Alex Aust, who Tumolo described as “phenomenal behind the goal.”But the toughest matchup will be at midfield.“They’re a super-athletic team that relies a lot on their midfield,” Gait said. “We’ve added a lot of depth in our midfield and we’re hoping that we can compete with them, get up and down in that area of the field.”In just its second game of the season and first contest in more than a month, Syracuse will have its hands full with the Terrapins in a difficult early-season battle.But if the Orange is going to prove it deserves the No. 1 distinction, Sunday’s meeting with Maryland is where the challenge begins.“It’s a statement game. Beginning of the season, first home game, to see where we’re really at,” Gait said. “There’s been a lot of talk about are we No. 1, 2, 3, 4 – where do we stand? This is a great opportunity to measure ourselves against one of the most storied programs in women’s lacrosse.” Comments
If you tried wrapping your head around USC’s football team this season, chances are you’d find yourself wanting to know more.Because of the ever-vigilant eye of the sports media and its constant barrage of prediction and analysis, it’s become a real challenge for a program of USC’s stature to sneak up on anyone. Still, this year’s squad possesses an enigmatic quality that’s hard to place.It’s not that the coverage isn’t there, for plenty of outlets continue to scrutinize the Trojan program on a daily basis. It’s not that coaches and players are being exceptionally cryptic or reserved or coy in their interviews. It seems more that there’s just less to know right now.Here’s what we do know: USC is irrelevantly ranked No. 25 in the preseason Associated Press poll. Junior quarterback Matt Barkley will return and will play well, likely making a splash in the Heisman race. And Tom Brady is jealous of this season’s receiving corps. That’s about it.If you read the preliminary depth chart aloud, the number of times you heard “or” might lead you to believe you were glancing over the crew team’s inventory.We don’t know which tailback is going to find a way to distinguish himself from the rest. Will it be sophomore Dillon Baxter? Redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan? Junior Curtis McNeal? Freshman Amir Carlisle? USC coach Lane Kiffin probably couldn’t even guess.Will redshirt freshman Xavier Grimble or another tight end develop a connection as Barkley’s comfort target, a role Anthony McCoy shaped so well in 2009?What constitutes Monte Kiffin’s simplified defense? Will USC be able to apply it to any level of success on that side of the ball?Then, of course, there are the motivation questions. Can USC figure out how to cope in its second year of bowl ineligibility? Can Kiffin start to carve a legacy like his predecessor?The sheer number of questions left unanswered to this point can be troubling with the opener against Minnesota just two short days away. This obscurity suggests a level of unpreparedness that could render the Trojans sorely regretful Saturday night. A loss to Minnesota seems implausible, but if USC isn’t ready, a 0-1 start is far from out of the question.“I would be blown away if this team is overconfident: number one, because we’re not very good, and number two, because [Minnesota] is very, very well-coached and has a dynamic playmaker touching the ball every snap,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said after Wednesday’s practice.That said, it’s premature to necessarily associate indecision with disarray.With little at stake this season, it’s understandable for Kiffin to wait as long as he can before playing his hand, giving everyone on the depth chart a shot to blow him away. And the last thing he needs is the intricacies of his pop’s defensive modifications getting out to opponents.Really, staying off the radar and providing critics with so little fodder to craft narratives and sketch out the season is an advantage. Expectations can be a healthy burden on a team. Eschewing them as much as possible allows these guys to go out and play and not concern themselves with how they stack up.Then there’s the strategic leg up.You can place your bets now that Minnesota coach Jerry Kill lacks even the faintest idea of who will be lining up at the bottom of USC’s I-formation Saturday afternoon, or at receiver, guard, tackle, center or a handful of other positions.Minnesota’s already an enormous underdog coming into the Coliseum this weekend, and now it has to gameplan for about seven billion lineups? There’s no relief in facing an opponent that has so many options and so much left to reveal.One of the great aspects of Oregon’s stellar season last year was that the team crept up on everyone, both on and off the field. The Duck’s 72-0 shellacking of New Mexico in the opener last season was an eye-opening statement of authority that the Ducks were going to, well, make a splash. Yes, they were already ranked No. 11 at the time, but few saw that uptempo game rushing them all the way into the national championship game.USC’s team this year is no 2010 Oregon — in part because its offense isn’t so hectic but also because the Trojans have no championship to play for. Still, that model of taking teams by surprise is worth emulating. USC has a rare chance this year to evade the microscope that comes as a packaged deal with the program’s prestige, and the team would do right to take advantage of it.The lack of information about this team is puzzling, especially to fans.But that indefinable quality? That’s not going to hurt the team one bit. “Suicide Blitz” runs Thursdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Danny at email@example.com.
Medeama head coach, Samuel Boadu, says the nation’s football space should start taking notice of him and what he brings to the table in terms of coaching.His comments follow his side’s 1-0 victory over Asante Kotoko on Thursday on match day 2 of the ongoing Normalisation Committee Special Competition.Boadu stated rather confidently that it was time for all to see the work he was putting in and give him the needed recognition.“We thank that football is back in Ghana but this is the time to prove that there is a coach somewhere. People do not know Samuel Boadu but I know myself and I know what I am capable of doing. I think that Medeama is gearing up for more based on the match we played against Kotoko.”Medeama’s victory came via a penalty kick early in the game and the result pleased him greatly.“I am happy with the result and the players. Kotoko were in the CAF Confederation Cup while we were just training. The boys were in camp and when this competition was announced, we broke camp and they went back home.”Medeama host Bechem United on match day 3 of the Special Competition on Sunday in Tarkwa.