– GFF still tight-lipped on teamON November 11, 2011 at the Guyana National Stadium, the ‘Golden Jaguars’ roared to a 2 – 1 win over the ‘Soca Warriors’ to end the Twin Island Republic’s 2014 World Cup hopes, and, at the time, created history by reaching, for the first time, the penultimate round of the CONCACAF leg of the qualifiers.Four days later (November 15), Trinidad and Tobago, playing at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain, defeated Guyana 3 – 0, but the damage was already done.The two countries will now meet for the first time in six years on Tuesday, November 14, at the Ato Boldon Stadium, when Trinidad and Tobago play host to Guyana in a match played on a FIFA International date.“This is a game I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Head Coach, Wayne Dover told Chronicle Sport in an exclusive interview last evening, adding, “I think if anything else, we want to ensure we come out with a win.”The match on November 14 will be the 21st meeting between the two countries in the sport, with the first being in 1978.The ‘Soca Warriors’ have won 14 of those meetings, while four matches ended in a draw. Guyana’s last victory was on November 11, 2011 and their first was a 4 – 0 win in the Island’s capital.Guyana will also travel to Indonesia on November 25 for an international friendly, but Dover stated that the strongest possible team will be selected for the Trinidad and Tobago encounter, while for the match on the Asian continent, the team will feature predominantly local players.GFF tight-lippedTrinidad and Tobago have already published their squad for the up-coming game against Guyana, but, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) remains tight-lipped about the composition of Guyana’s team, leaving many pundits and fans upset and wondering why the secrecy.Dover stated that Blackpool’s midfield maestro, Neil Danns, will not be available for both friendlies, but pointed out “what you will see is a very strong team with our best available players for the Trinidad game because that’s a game where we could actually get some points, since it’s an official FIFA date. We have some players training here (in Guyana), but most of those players are really for the Indonesia game since that’s where we want to expose our local bunch.”Veterans, Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson and Anthony ‘Awo’ Abrams, who both played in the Trinidad and Tobago Pro-League, were named in Dover’s squad for the Friendly International, which should also feature UK-based Chris Bourne and Samuel Cox.“I believe that we owe it to our supporters to assemble the best team for the game against Trinidad. I think people look at what happened on 11.11.11, but much has changed for both countries since then. Right now, we (Guyana football) are going through a rebuilding stage while trying to keep some of the old guards around to help in the process.It’s going to take some time and I believe matches like these will help significantly,” Dover said.While Guyana would’ve dropped significantly since their infamous 11.11.11 victory, Trinidad and Tobago would’ve rebounded to return to their dominant place in the region and CONCACAF, alongside Jamaica.Guyana is ranked 165 in FIFA, dropping nine places in the recent rankings, while the ‘Soca Warriors’ moved 16 places up to 83 and eighth in CONCACAF.While Guyana is coming off an upsetting 1 – 0 loss to Grenada in their last international outing, Trinidad and Tobago is playing for the first time since their historic 2 – 1 win over the United States, causing the ‘Red, White and Blue’ to miss the 2018 Russia World Cup.
While it is hard to overlook the USC men’s volleyball team’s trip to the MPSF championship match just a year ago, the club’s mounting losses and inability to sustain consistent periods of execution have put an even greater premium on winning, and winning now.The Trojans will look to right the ship this weekend in Honolulu, where they will face off against Hawai’i on Friday and Sunday to conclude their four-game road trip. After christening the trip with a decisive 3-1 victory over Pacific, the Trojans fell 3-2 to Stanford on Sunday, dropping to 4-9 on the season.The triumph against Pacific was a welcome sight for USC head coach Bill Ferguson, who saw his team drop three consecutive critical matches during a four-game homestand at the Galen Center.“I thought we took care of the easy plays a lot better,” Ferguson said. “We focused the entire week on outplaying and out-competing the opponent. We talked to them about playing at an increased intensity, and we felt like we withstood their challenge, so winning was huge for us.”Not surprisingly, the Trojans were once again led by their workhorses, as redshirt junior opposite Tanner Jansen recorded 21 kills while sophomore middle blocker Robert Feathers collected 16 kills. The momentum failed to lift the team against the Cardinal, however, as the Trojans recorded 20 service errors en route to the five-set defeat.“We’re starting to rack up some more aces, which is good, but we still have a high number of errors,” Ferguson said. “We’ve had to become more of a high-risk, high-reward team. Our team has to get used to playing in that manner. We dug ourselves a hole early, but I thought we did a great job of coming back in the fourth set and staying involved in the match.”The team’s subpar performance throughout the season is glaring in comparison to the success of the 2012 squad, and it remains to be seen whether Ferguson’s optimism and emphasis on greater team effort will come as motivational tools for his players as they enter the second half of their schedule. Still, it is important to note that while last year’s team cruised to a 24-6 record and an appearance in the championship game, they were able to do so on the strength of 2012 national player of the year Tony Ciarelli and All-American middle blocker Steven Shandrick , both of whom are gone.“I think our guys understand the importance of our opponents and the importance of the season,” Ferguson said. “They know what these games mean to us and they are aware of the task at hand, so we’ll be ready to go.”Despite the team’s struggles this season, a trip to Hawai’i not only represents a homecoming for multiple players on the squad, but also provides a better playing atmosphere, in Ferguson’s eyes.“(Hawai’i) is probably the best volleyball environment in the country, and it’s something our guys look forward to because the fans are knowledgeable and there’s a lot of love for us over there,” Ferguson said. “It’s a great place to play volleyball, but we know that the Warriors serve well and pass well, so we need to focus on excelling in those aspects because they will direct the show.”Following the doubleheader, the Trojans come back home for three games, starting with a match against 2012 champion UC Irvine next Friday.
After sweeping St. Cloud State in stunning fashion, the Badgers (30-4-2, 19-1-2 WCHA) face off against the No. 9 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the WCHA semifinal in Minneapolis Saturday.Both series between the two teams this season were close, with the last two matchups resulting in ties. Out of the four games that the Badgers and the Buckeyes played this season, each team has come out on top just once.The Badgers have not played Ohio State in WCHA playoff competition since 2010 when they lost two overtime games to the Buckeyes in the quarterfinal round. Despite their losing track record against the Buckeyes in previous postseason conference play, Wisconsin has enjoyed great success in the WCHA tournament.Women’s hockey: Badgers earn slew of WCHA Season HonorsIn what has already been a truly special season for the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team, four Badgers took Read…Since Mark Johnson took the reigns of the program in 2002, he has led the Badgers to victory in the WCHA semifinals 11 out of their 17 conference playoff appearances. The only time the Badgers did not advance past the quarterfinals of the WCHA tournament is when Johnson took a one-year sabbatical to coach the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey team in 2010.With a history of WCHA Playoff dominance, the Badgers enter Saturday confident in their ability to perform at the highest level when it counts the most. The Badgers seem to be able to tap into this postseason momentum when it counts the most, especially against tough opponents like the Buckeyes.Aside from their domination of St. Cloud State last weekend, Wisconsin also enters the weekend with a flurry of accolades to their name.Senior captain Annie Pankowski was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Year as well as the WCHA Player of the Year. Also receiving WCHA awards were freshman Sophie Shirley for WCHA Freshman of the Year, junior goalie Kristen Campbell for WCHA Goaltender of the Year and Johnson for WCHA Coach of the Year.Yet these trophies aren’t a guarantee for postseason success. With an average of just two goals per game scored against the Buckeyes this season, the Badgers have largely struggled to achieve their characteristic offensive production when facing Ohio State.Women’s hockey: Badgers defeat St. Cloud State to advance to WCHA Final FaceoffLast weekend, the University of Wisconsin Badgers (30-4-2, 18-4-2 WCHA) took on St. Cloud State (10-25-2, 5-19) in the first Read…But coming off of their second-best offensive performance of the year against any opponent, look for the Badgers to come out swinging against a team that has stifled their production all season.The Badgers have struggled to close out games against the Buckeyes throughout the year but with the top offensive producer and goalie in the conference, it’s tough to bet against them.Puck drop is set for 5 p.m. Saturday evening from Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. The game can be listened to live on 100.9 FM.