Collison clinches Hammers victory

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first_img Press Association The result – only the second home league loss for Stoke this season – saw West Ham move up to 12th, level on points with the Staffordshire side, who are now 11th. The Hammers made a less than ideal start to the match, having to make two substitutions within the opening 11 minutes. Matt Taylor took a boot in the face as Peter Crouch attempted an overhead kick and was down for some time before heading down the tunnel in the 10th minute, with Collison coming on in his place. Moments later Joe Cole was also departing the field having picked up an injury, the midfielder being replaced by Vaz Te. The contest was struggling to spark into life, with Andy Carroll seeing a shot deflected and the ball cleared away, and Crouch sending a tame effort bouncing through to Jussi Jaaskelainen at the other end. West Ham looked to be responding well following their early disruption and they went close in the 25th minute as Collins looped a flicked header on to the bar. Collison then unleashed a shot from outside the box straight at Asmir Begovic, before Carroll leapt in front of goal, only to direct his header well wide. With seconds of the first half remaining, West Ham managed to do break the deadlock. Having attempted to play a one-two with Carroll and had the ball come back to him as the England striker was tackled by Ryan Shawcross, Vaz Te slipped a pass in for Collison, who turned and drilled a shot beyond Begovic. Following the restart Matt Jarvis collected another Vaz Te through-ball and saw his shot saved by the legs of Begovic. Crouch then brought a stop out of Jaaskelainen with a low attempt. Vaz Te tried to carve out the space to shoot in the box but was unable to do so, and Stoke then almost snatched a dramatic equaliser as Adam rifled a volley against the goalframe in stoppage time. In a first half of few chances, Hammers defender James Collins’ header clipped the bar before Collison netted in stoppage time, finishing on the turn after collecting a through-ball from his fellow substitute Ricardo Vaz Te. It proved to be the winner, with Potters substitute Charlie Adam going close in added time at the end of the game by cracking a volley against the bar. The hosts’ protests that Guy Demel had handled in the area were then waved away by referee Jonathan Moss. center_img West Ham ended a run of five straight Barclays Premier League away defeats as Jack Collison’s strike secured them all three points in a 1-0 win at Stoke.last_img

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MLAX : Syracuse defense expects challenge against explosive Villanova attack in Big East semifinals

first_img Published on May 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: cjiseman@syr.edu | @chris_iseman Facebook Twitter Google+ John Desko doesn’t see this as a matter of life and death, but as an opportunity. Syracuse starts a new season Thursday with the chance to put its disappointing regular season in the rearview mirror.The Orange fell to Villanova 11-10 on March 25 in its first-ever conference loss. Now, Syracuse has a chance to earn revenge and extend its season.‘I think we can do better this time and it gives us an opportunity to get to the Big East championships,’ Desko said, ‘and if we win the Big East championships, we’re in the NCAA (tournament).’To do that, Syracuse’s defense must be ready for an experienced Villanova lineup dotted with aggressive shooters. The Wildcats’ offensive firepower beat Syracuse (7-7, 3-3 Big East) once already, and the Orange’s defense is focusing on correcting its mistakes to ensure the Villanova (8-6, 4-2) attack doesn’t repeat that performance Thursday at 7 p.m. at Villanova Stadium in the Big East tournament semifinals. If Syracuse wins, it’ll face the winner of the game between Notre Dame and St. John’s. The Orange likely has to win the Big East tournament to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament to avoid missing the postseason for the first time in five years.The No. 3 seed SU is looking to take two of No. 2 seed Villanova’s most formidable scorers, Kevin Cunningham and Jack Rice, out of the game by sliding early, increasing communication between defenders and keeping them from getting any easy looks at the goal. Back on March 25, Rice had two goals and Cunningham had three assists.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange’s defense has been in flux since the start of the season. Three goaltenders have rotated in and out of the net, the close defense line has two new starters in sophomore Matt Harris and redshirt-junior David Hamlin, and Steve Ianzito is in his first season as a defensive midfielder.All of that has led to a slow-to-develop cohesiveness for the unit. Without sufficient communication, opposing scorers have exploited the Orange’s defenders’ inability to sufficiently slide. ‘We need to be a lot more talkative, we need to communicate a lot better, and I think we need to slide a lot more,’ Hamlin said. ‘We need to have our two slides, and know we’re out there playing team defense, that we’re not out there by ourselves.’Freshman goaltender Bobby Wardwell, who has started the last six games, will likely get the nod in net. Dominic Lamolinara started in goal against Villanova the last time the two teams played, and the Wildcats took 11 shots in the first quarter, the most it took in any period in the game. Villanova will almost certainly do that again Thursday to throw Wardwell of his game and unnerve him early on.It’s a strategy Desko stresses to his offense before each game.Hamlin said Desko routinely tells his attack to take the first couple of shots, and make sure they’re well placed, and if it works the way he wants, the goaltender’s confidence will be shaken at the start.With SU’s season on the line, Wardwell will have little time to overcome early nerves. Villanova has 50 first-quarter goals this season, which is the most it has in any quarter by 13.‘I’d say I’m starting to feel a little bit more comfortable,’ Wardwell said. ‘The first couple of games I was pretty nervous, and then I kind of relaxed a little bit more.’Still, Wardwell is going to need help.Syracuse’s defense is responsible for slowing the Wildcats down. The unit has to communicate and slide to those shooters when they’re about to get an open look. Hamlin said it might even require falling into a zone defense, not only to force long shots, but also to confuse Villanova on the fly.Though the Orange typically employs a man-to-man defense, Syracuse fell into a zone at Notre Dame and stifled the Fighting Irish’s offense in the second half after some slow rotations in the first half.For a unit that’s still looking for consistency – much like the Orange as a team – the defenders need to reverse the mistakes they made in the first matchup with Villanova. That could begin and end with communication among the defenders.Keeping Rice and Cunningham, who have 29 and 20 goals this season respectively, from hitting the back of the net could be the difference between Syracuse going home for good or playing in the championship round.Said Hamlin: ‘The communication on the field is going to be the biggest help.’cjiseman@syr.educenter_img Commentslast_img

On 3-game skid, Eaves hoping for growth

first_imgWith his young Wisconsin Badgers squad struggling, head coach Mike Eaves is eyeing a turnaround this weekend.[/media-credit]Wisconsin men’s hockey coach Mike Eaves is looking for a transformation or “evolution” similar to what most kitchen tables probably go through over the Thanksgiving holiday.Eaves said is looking for his extremely young group of Badgers (5-8-1, 4-7-1) to progress from a team that is playing sub-.500 hockey to a team that can play at a national championship level.“Now we’re not [a national championship-caliber team] yet, but we’re moving toward that, and that’s where we evolve every day, every week because today’s efforts are going to determine tomorrow’s results, so we’re going to control what we can,” Eaves said at his weekly Monday press conference.It will not be easy for the Badgers, but Eaves said he is seeing some encouraging signs from his team despite the two most recent losses Wisconsin picked up at Colorado College over the weekend. The two losses extended the Badgers’ losing streak to a season-high three games.Wisconsin dropped the opener on Friday 4-2, although it managed to keep it a one-goal game into the third period. Saturday, the Badgers fell 4-1 after digging themselves a 3-0 deficit just 10 minutes into the game but played a 1-1 game over the final 50 minutes.“Looking at the video, we weren’t as bad as I thought we were,” Eaves said. “We had some major breakdowns that they capitalized on, but after the 10-minute mark of the first period, the rest of the game was even, and we actually had some excellent scoring chances and didn’t finish.”Eaves referenced Joseph LaBate, Brad Navin, Matt Paape and Brendan Woods as specific individuals who demonstrated an elevated level of play; he said having some of the youth on the team stepping up is exactly what the Badgers need right now.There is one Badger in particular, however, who is playing at an extremely high level as the season heads into December. Sophomore forward Mark Zengerle extended his career-high point streak of 13 games against Colorado College and has the longest such streak since Chris Tancill scored a point in 15 consecutive games in 1990. Eaves himself holds the school record at 21 games during the 1977-78 season when he suited up for the Cardinal and White.“The one thing we talked about with the team the other day is when you are playing well, looking back in time, the one thing you don’t want to do is take what you’re doing for granted when you are on an offensive streak,” Eaves said. “When you’re playing well, don’t take it for granted. When you’re practicing well, don’t take it for granted. Bring that every day because it’s a precious commodity, this offensive momentum that you have. Mark is on a great streak, and you want to ride that wave for as long as you can.”Zengerle and Eaves will be looking for the next man to step up in the coming weekend. Friday and Saturday will present multiple opportunities for Wisconsin to evolve as it welcomes Mercyhurst (6-5-1, 5-1-1 Atlantic Hockey) to Madison for a non-conference holiday series battle.Wisconsin swept the only series in which the Badgers and Lakers faced off in October 2004, but that hardly offers any insight into this weekend’s series. Wisconsin typically plays a “Big Ten” series against Michigan or Michigan State over Thanksgiving weekend, but as both those teams are ranked in various college hockey polls, a relatively lighter opponent may prove beneficial in getting the Badgers back to their winning ways.“Our scheduling is tough enough as it is,” Eaves said. “[But] the fact is we still have to win these games. It doesn’t matter if it’s Michigan or Michigan State; it’s a matter of going out and winning, and that’s our task this weekend.”The Wisconsin coaching staff began watching Mercyhurst on film Monday morning and planned on viewing more Monday night, but Eaves had little to comment on apart from brief general compliments.“They are well-coached, … and they play hard,” Eaves said. “That’s about what I know of them right now, … and any time a team plays hard, they give themselves a chance to win.”last_img

Boxing: Manny Pacquiao’s 3 fights before Floyd Mayweather 2020 rematch

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