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Men’s tennis rallies to take second straight title

first_imgOftentimes when describing a team accomplishment, the cliché “the sum is greater than its parts” comes to mind.In many ways tennis is a very individual sport, but this past spring the USC men’s tennis team won the NCAA championship by validating that cliché and utilizing a collection of talent that performed at its best when acting as a whole.Two in two – Using a strong singles performance, the Trojans came from behind to beat No. 2 Tennessee in the NCAA Championship. – Photo courtesy of USC Sports Information The Trojans really needed a special performance in the championship match against No. 2 Tennessee, especially with many vocal Volunteer supporters in attendance.“The most intense moment for us this year was after we lost the doubles point to Tennessee,” said junior Steve Johnson.  “We hadn’t won a match all year after losing the doubles point — which was added pressure, but we came together and came out very strong in the singles.”A collective spirit was the main factor the players attributed to the ability to come back and win four of six singles matches to win the championship — following the loss of the doubles point.“Everyone on court in singles and everyone around the team and around the courts showed big mentality to fight back,” said senior Peter Lucassen.The Trojan singles lineup started off with some strong performances from the top two slots, with Johnson winning at the second slot and then-senior Robert Farah defeating the No. 1 ranked J.P. Smith in the top slot to tie the match score up at 2-2.“We’ve got some really good players that believed in themselves,” said USC coach Peter Smith. “We had some really powerful performances with No. 1 and No. 2 singles winning in straight sets. That’s special.”Lucassen followed his teammates with another straight-set victory, giving USC its first lead of the match.After dropping the first set in a tiebreak, junior Daniel Nguyen dominated the rest of the match — only losing one game in the final two sets to capture the trophy.The Tennessee match marked the second in a row that Nguyen clinched — he won the deciding match against top-ranked Virginia the day before in the semifinal round.“I grew tremendously throughout the tournament, each match I prepared myself to exceed expectation,” Nguyen said. “I’m known to get really nervous throughout my matches and having one year of college tennis has helped me develop into a more mature player. The UVA and [Tennessee] matches were probably the biggest matches I’ve played, having my teammates and a great coaching staff have helped me win these huge matches.”This championship was the second in a row for Smith’s squad, raising the Trojans’ all-time team championship total to 18 — the most among NCAA men’s tennis programs.In comparing the two championships, the most recent proved more satisfying to those involved.“The second championship was even better than the first one,” Johnson said. “To be able to come back and repeat as national champions really shows everyone how special of a team we had.”Nguyen was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for winning five matches during the course of the tournament.“Its an honor to be named [Most Outstanding Player] because there are so many great tennis players competing in the NCAA team championships,” Nguyen said.Along with Nguyen’s honor, five Trojans were also named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team: Farah and Johnson were awarded the  No. 1 doubles spot, with Nguyen and sophomore J.T. Sundling at No. 2 doubles. The No. 1 singles award went to Farah as well, with the second spot given to Johnson, the fourth to Nguyen and the sixth to Lucassen.Later in the summer, the awards kept coming in for USC as Farah was awarded the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National College Player of the Year and Smith was named the ITA National Coach of the Year.The stockpile of awards, along with the team’s second national championship in as many years, stands as a testament to USC‘s depth of talent, as well as the ability of all those involved with the team to succeed at the highest levels of collegiate tennis.“The NCAA Championship was my best experience so far in my tennis career,“ Lucassen said. “To win this championship you need good players on the team. But I think we won the championship because we showed how good we are as a team not only with players, but with coaches and trainers as well.”last_img read more

Tipp see off Clare challenge

first_imgIt was nip and tuck through the second half with Clare keeping Tipp under pressure and came to within a point of Michael Ryans side.However Tipp held on to win by 3 points on a scoreline of 28 points to 3-16.Afterwards Killenaule clubman John Bubbles O’Dwyer said Tipp were happy to come out on the right side of a tough battle.Clare join manager Donal Moloney said the loss was hard to take having run the defending champions so close.Wexford and Waterford meet in their quarter-final tomorrow afternoon in Páirc uí Chaoimh. Photo © TipperaryGAA Tipperary are through to the All Ireland senior hurling championship semi-finals.The reigning champions were made to fight all the way to overcome Clare this afternoon in Páirc uí Chaoimh.The Premier led by 5 points at half time 16 points to 2-5 despite conceding a brace of goals in the space of 2 minutes in the opening period.last_img read more

Photos: A look back at iconic images of Jackie Robinson

first_imgPHILADELPHIA — As cities across the country honored Jackie Robinson’s pioneering baseball career, one also apologized for its racist treatment of Major League Baseball’s first black player nearly 70 years ago.When Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodgers played the Philadelphia Phillies in 1947, he was told to “go back to the cotton fields” by the Phillies’ manager, refused service at a local hotel and taunted by players with racial slurs when he came to bat. On Friday, Philadelphia’s city council publicly acknowledged the incident as a dark chapter in the city’s history.“He faced tremendous racism in our city,” Councilwoman Helen Gym said. “It was something he never forgot … but neither should we.”• PHOTOS: 67 classic photos of Jackie Robinson Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error April 15 is recognized nationally as Jackie Robinson Day, and ballparks around the country are also celebrating the 69th anniversary of the day he broke the league’s color barrier in 1947. Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers until 1956. Gym presented a resolution , passed by the council last month, before about 100 children, city leaders and Robinson fans — some wearing his No. 42 Dodgers jersey — gathered at the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park. Among them was 79-year-old Carolyn Mitchell, who saw Robinson play as a girl. Mitchell, who is black, said Friday’s ceremony was “very meaningful” and that passing by the park gave her back fond memories of watching baseball growing up. The youngest of eight children and her parents’ only daughter, Mitchell took to sports early and saw Robinson play in Philadelphia in the early 1950s.“He was unbelievable,” she recalled, smiling. “He could run like crazy. He used to love to steal bases.”Robinson’s skill for base-stealing is depicted in a mural on Philadelphia’s north end painted nearly a decade ago in his honor. Walking near the mural on Friday afternoon with her 10-year-old daughter, Nate’, Tikeena Harris explained that blacks and whites didn’t used to play sports together.center_img Tommy Keels, who lived nearby and passes the mural regularly, said Robinson was a groundbreaker who represented his race well.“I lived through Jim Crow,” said Keels, 60, who is from Miami. “I was raised in the South. I experienced a lot of things I know he did on a monumental scale.”In Los Angeles, where the Dodgers played their first game in 1958, Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and daughter Sharon were participating in a pregame ceremony before the Dodgers faced the San Francisco Giants at Chavez Ravine — where the club first retired Robinson’s uniform number on June 4, 1972.Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, who was there for Robinson’s career in Brooklyn, said Robinson’s “self-control under some pressurized circumstances was remarkable.”“We all knew that that fire of competitiveness was always on high, and he was not always welcomed. But he overcame all of that,” Scully said. “That, to me was the most remarkable thing — how controlled he was with all the hell that was running around him. He took a lot of abuse, but kept his jaw tight. He had to be an unusual man, and he was.” Orlando Hudson, a 12-year veteran who played second base for the Dodgers in 2009, still has a couple of framed No. 42 jerseys hanging in his home, along with a photo of himself and Rachel Robinson — among his most treasured souvenirs from his playing career.“Being an African-American male, playing the same position with the Dodgers that he did and wearing number 42 on this day, you can’t get better than that,” said Hudson, who now works for the Arizona Diamondbacks and has done some speaking engagements with Robinson’s widow over the years.Robinson died on October 24, 1972, at the age of 53, months after he became the first black player inducted into the Hall of Fame.———Online:The resolution: http://bit.ly/1SQ33TQ ———This story has been corrected to remove reference to a statue at the park, which is not of Jackie Robinson.last_img read more

Nashville Predators name former Devils coach John Hynes head coach

first_imgIt didn’t take long for John Hynes to find employment.The former Devils head coach, who was fired Dec. 3, has found a new home with Nashville, as the Predators named Hynes head coach Tuesday. “John Hynes is a bright young coach and great leader who has a track record of both effectively developing young players and successfully motivating veterans,” Nashville president David Poile said via team statement. “We love his coaching resume and are confident that he has learned from every stop during his career, and has the best skill set to get the maximum potential out of our team.”MORE: NHL mock draft 2020Hynes spent just over four full seasons as the head man in Newark, making the postseason once, but suffering a first-round elimination during the 2017-18 NHL Playoffs. Hynes replaces Peter Laviolette, who was fired Monday. Laviolette led the Predators to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, losing to Pittsburgh, and followed up that appearance with back-to-back Central Division titles. Two disappointing early exits in the playoffs and a lackluster 19-15-7 record in 2019-20 later, his Music City exit was finalized Jan. 6.“This is a tremendous opportunity to join an organization with a history of success, a team with immense talent and a phenomenal fanbase,” Hynes said via news release. “This organization has a strong foundation, from its ownership and executives to the entire front-office staff, and I’m excited to come in and try to maximize this team’s abilities.”Hynes, 44, is still one of the younger coaches in the NHL, with Chicago’s Jeremy Colliton (34), Toronto interim HC Sheldon Keefe (39), Alain Nasreddine (44) and Ottawa’s D.J. Smith (42), the only head coaches younger.last_img read more