first_img Comments Published on February 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm Packed into a musty van in Tampa, Fla., a demoralized Syracuse team sought answers after a blowout loss to South Florida.It was not the opening Alessondra Parra and her veteran teammates envisioned for this season.‘We had a serious talk afterward about everyone taking responsibility for their own match,’ Parra said. ‘We felt like we should have hit the ground running, and we really took those two losses to heart.’With the addition of five freshmen to the SU roster and a tougher schedule, the defeat served as a reality check for the more experienced players like Parra and senior Emily Harman. The Orange (3-3, 2-1 Big East) quickly learned it had plenty to work on, especially the freshman class. And the veterans had to lead by example to help the freshmen gain confidence.SU head coach Luke Jensen said the freshmen will need to adjust and overcome the learning curve to form a competitive team with the already set pieces of Parra, Harman, and sophomores Maddie Kobelt and Aleah Marrow. The young Orange players will need to soak in the knowledge and experience of Jensen and the upperclassmen.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse carried a boatload of confidence into that season opener against the Bulls, but was knocked back by a deeper USF squad. The following weekend, Syracuse struggled against another nationally ranked opponent in Texas Christian. The Horned Frogs dominated nearly every game, and the Orange came out empty-handed with the exception of a lone Harman singles victory.However, Jensen, now in his sixth season at Syracuse, used both of those early losses as constructive criticism for his players. He challenged his team with those two matches, trying to see just how well they could hold up against two competitive opponents before the brunt of Big East play kicked in.And although SU’s vulnerable core of freshmen was battered in the loss, Jensen knew that those bitter feelings of dissatisfaction would be a great learning experience for future development.‘Every time we lose I feel like it’s much easier to coach these girls, especially the younger ones because they feel the sting and setback of defeat,’ Jensen said. ‘When we’re winning, they’re not pushing themselves as hard. And when we lose, it doesn’t leave a good taste in their mouth.’The Orange’s youth who were exposed after only two matches now hope for a strong start to the season quickly turned into sour disappointment.But Harman, who has been at the forefront of this tennis team since her rise as a freshman, followed Jensen’s lead and reminded her youthful teammates that they just needed to work a little harder.Whether it meant practicing with higher intensity or hitting the ball for an extra hour after practice, the senior captain was optimistic that the Orange could learn from its sluggish start.Harman said it was extremely important for the young players to get comfortable with the system under a high level of competition to create a strong dynamic and encourage development.‘As a freshman, I remember playing against Florida International, who was ranked No. 52 at the time,’ Harman said. ‘We didn’t win a single game in that match, but I gained so much because I was playing my heart out against someone who was better than me.’For the first time in their SU careers, five freshmen competed at a level of intensity beyond anything they had experienced in high school. And with the rigors of a tough schedule stacked against them, they were going to have to learn on the fly.The younger players look to Harman as a source of motivation.After opening her freshman season with a loss in the doubles and singles competition against TCU, Komal Safdar’s game was missing a spark. The former Greater Cincinnati Player of the Year wanted to step up and contribute. After being beat handily in her first match, Safdar used her loss as a reminder of what she has yet to accomplish.‘Playing against better competition gives us exposure and much more experience to work with,’ Safdar said. ‘We are still struggling, but that’s part of being young. As the season progresses, playing those quality opponents will give us a really good shot at winning.’Safdar and fellow freshman Amanda Rodgers built upon their mediocre performances by watching team leaders Parra and Harman during practice. The veteran duo hustled around the court to pick up tennis balls in between serves.Those brief moments of observation made the type of intensity and work ethic Jensen expects clear to the freshmen.With Jensen at the helm, the Orange has always been focused on maintaining an up-tempo and aggressive style during each match, something that Jensen said the younger players must do by constantly learning from one another.‘These guys have never been coached in this environment before, where they don’t have their private coach,’ Jensen said. ‘We don’t look too much into individual success. I mean, we each have individual matches, but we all play at the same time whether you’re on the sidelines or playing singles and doubles.‘It’s about everyone learning together and getting better as one unit.’Syracuse has rebounded from its early-season losses with wins in three of its last four matches. And both Rodgers and Safdar emerged in singles and doubles play to help the Orange get back on track.The turnaround all started by playing with a higher intensity level after the constructive talk in the crowded van down in Florida.And if the Orange freshmen want to turn small steps into large strides as the season progresses, they must soak in the competitive spirit of Parra and Harman and treat this year as a golden opportunity to learn and develop as players.‘Both Parra and Harman always come together at the end of practice and tell us how satisfying our accomplishments will feel if we keep playing up to our potential,’ Safdar said. ‘We can’t expect improvement to happen overnight, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t try to make it happen overnight.’ center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

first_imgA new year and new opponents await the University of Wisconsin football team, and many critics are saying this year is going to be a walk in the park for the Badgers.Many people, however, seem to have forgotten that nothing ever seems to come easily for this Wisconsin team. Starting off the season with the departures of some of the most talented players and injuries already plaguing this team, this year seems like it is going to be a bit of a struggle for UW.Football: Jack Cichy to miss 2017 seasonThe University of Wisconsin Athletic Department announced Thursday morning senior Jack Cichy will miss the 2017 season due to a Read…The problemsFor starters, there are not that many games against any of the major Big Ten East teams. With Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State all missing from this year’s schedule, the Badgers are not going to get much quality experience from the Big Ten East.This experience is necessary for the Badgers if they want to make it back to the Big Ten tournament this year — and win. With so many power schools missing from this year’s schedule, Wisconsin will find themselves going into Indianapolis this year with little practical experience against the team they will be facing.One of the other problems is their opening, non-conference schedule. The Badgers are facing three relatively inexperienced schools who will offer little to no insight on UW’s weaknesses. Schools like Florida Atlantic, who the Badgers will play Sept. 9th, will most likely be a walk in the park.Football preview: What to expect from the Badgers this seasonThe University of Wisconsin football team enters the 2017 season with high expectations and hopes of replicating, or even exceeding, Read…This does not help when you consider that after these three games, Wisconsin will face Northwestern in their first Big Ten game of the season. Northwestern has an even better non-conference schedule than Wisconsin, playing Bowling Green, Duke and Nevada within the first three weeks of play — which will help them in the long run.This means that the Badgers will have to fix their mistakes immediately if they want to keep their Big Ten record competitive enough to ensure their spot at the Big Ten Championship game. That kind of pressure could be suffocating for the team, and it means that one small mistake could be a disaster for this teamThe benefitsSince Wisconsin doesn’t see much of the Big Ten East, that also means they will save their record from some potential losses. Not seeing schools like Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State means Wisconsin will not have to worry so much week to week about their record and their standings within the Big Ten.Another benefit of not seeing the Big Ten East as much this year is that it lowers the chances of injuries happening. Schools like Penn State and Ohio State tend to be aggressive defensively, which can lead to injuries. Injuries like these, which tend to happens late in the season, can be devastating when proceeding into the later part of December.The worst part of the schedule The last two weeks of the regular season are probably the toughest for Wisconsin. The Badgers will close out their home season run against Michigan, which is arguably one of the best teams in the Big Ten. While this game does take place in Camp Randall, it also means that the Badgers could end their season on a bad note while home.The next weekend of the schedule is not much better, with Wisconsin heading to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota. Typically, the Battle for the Axe is an intense game to begin with, but taking on the Gophers at home is going to be one of the more tougher games this season.Football: Chryst’s 100th win begins slowly, develops momentum in second halfWhile the first game of the season might have resulted in a win, the University of Wisconsin football team definitely Read…Wisconsin is looking at taking the Axe home for the thirteenth year, and taking on the Gophers in the heart of TCF Bank stadium is one of the hardest challenges known to Badger football.After those two games, the Badgers hope to head into the Big Ten Conference game, which will hopefully result in the Badgers heading to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl in January.What the Badgers are sayingJazz Peavy“We are in the Big Ten, and it’s not like we’re second class to any division in this league. Any game is a game that we have to prepare for. Nothing is ever going to come easy to us.”Sarah Godfrey/The Badger HeraldChris James“The Big Ten, overall, is well-rounded. Even a 3-10 team can compete [against the best teams]. This is a tough division. The east division is extremely tough, with Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State all in the same division. Ohio State and Michigan used to play in the Big Ten championship game, but now they can’t. Those match-ups cause a lot of ruckus and a lot of upsets.”Natrell Jamerson“A lot of people doubt our defense, especially after losing so many great players. We feel like our defense is even better than last year. People just doubt our team in general. We’re trying to do a lot more than we did last year.”last_img read more

first_img Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the Hobbs Mechanical Inc. Homecoming and Fall Festival Barbecue Cookoff at Sellers Park on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015.The cook will have four categories: chicken, pork ribs, brisket, and pork butt. Teams must enter all four categories to win the grand prize. All four categories will have a first, second and third place. First place is $100, second place is $75 and third place is $50. Grand Champion prize is $250. Reserve Grand Champion is $150. People’s Choice Award is $100.Entry deadline is Friday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.Entry fee is $50. There will be a People’s Choice contest.Judging begins at 10 a.m. and the People’s Choice is at 12 p.m. Winners will be announced when all judging is complete. Contact the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce at (620) 326-7466. Click here for entry form.Follow us on Twitter.last_img read more