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Student Reporting Archive

Going Forward

Going Forward

Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez. SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Every day people are recovering at the Upstate Rehabilitation Institute for Human Performance. The circular room looks like a typical indoor gym, with a small auburn track running around weight lifting and cardio machines and a few patients working out. To one side of the gym […]

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Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Every day people are recovering at the Upstate Rehabilitation Institute for Human Performance. The circular room looks like a typical indoor gym, with a small auburn track running around weight lifting and cardio machines and a few patients working out. To one side of the gym is an open area with chairs lined up in rows.

Trainer and graduating Syracuse University student, Isaiah Johnson strolls into the room, towering high above everyone around him at 6’5″ and 270 pounds.

“Alright everyone let’s get started,” he announces.

There are about half a dozen people in the class and they follow Johnson as he leads them through warm up stretches. Although the athletic 23-year-old is half the age of most in the class, they pay close attention and follow his direction to a T.

Once stretching and warm ups are complete, the patients disperse to their individual workouts, with some starting with the ellipticals and the treadmills while others begin with weight lifting. Johnson works with this same group three times per week, and while he helps them recover from injuries and reach physical goals, Johnson is recovering himself.


April 9, 2015

“April 9, 2015 will always be a date in my head because for me that was the day that ended everything for me,” Johnson remembers. The former defensive lineman suffered multiple concussions over the course of 18-months and it was on that day team doctors told Johnson he was medically disqualified from playing the game he loved so much.

“Now that was a stab in the heart,” Johnson says, “Taking away something from somebody that you love because of an illness that you have, basically. That’s what a concussion is to me is an illness.”

He got his first concussion after sacking Florida State quarterback, Jameis Winston and the second and third were sustained during spring practices. Johnson says he thought he just had a headache, but really it was a third concussion.

“I was just trying to cope with it. I thought I just had a headache but I don’t remember anything after that practice.”

And just a few days later his football career was over.

“I didn’t even care that I had concussions,” he says, “Until they told me I couldn’t play no more.” Johnson says he deals with the side effects of multiple concussions every day. He’s sensitive to light and loud noises.

Finding his Niche

“Taking away athletics from me made me become a student first,” he says. Johnson also says he never had any aspirations to try to go pro and says not having football has made him become more mature.

“I want everyone to feel comfortable when they’re around me,” Johnson says walking around to check on each. He looks at their charts and goals and discusses where they are and what they are trying to achieve.

Johnson graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in public health and hopes to continue forward in the field by getting a master’s degree. Working with patients at the institute is in his realm of expertise and interest. He says after graduation he is heading home to Delaware to spend time with his family and will begin graduate school in the fall.

 

Skole Gets Gold Glove, Chiefs Get Rained Out

Skole Gets Gold Glove, Chiefs Get Rained Out

Story and photo by Lauren Walsh SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Chalk up another rain-out for the Syracuse Chiefs. The Pawtucket Red Sox were scheduled to take on the Chiefs for game three of the series on Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium, but the weather had other plans. By the 6:35 p.m. start time, the field was […]

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Story and photo by Lauren Walsh

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Chalk up another rain-out for the Syracuse Chiefs. The Pawtucket Red Sox were scheduled to take on the Chiefs for game three of the series on Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium, but the weather had other plans.

By the 6:35 p.m. start time, the field was soaked and not a single player had warmed up. The game was officially called off for Syracuse’s sixth rain-out of the season. The teams are scheduled to make up the game as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday, June 13th at 5:05 p.m.

Syracuse holds a 9-14 record, putting the Chiefs at the bottom of the International League North, Pawtucket is one spot above Syracuse in fifth place with a 12-12 record.

Skole honored

A bright spot for the Chiefs came despite the cloudy, rainy skies. Syracuse first baseman Matt Skole was presented with the Gold Glove Award for the 2016 season.

Skole put up a .990 fielding percentage in 974 chances. He made just one error in the field last season. The Woodstock, Ga. native is the third Washington Nationals organization player to win the award since 2005.

The Chiefs are on a two-game losing streak, both to Pawtucket and have lost seven of their last eight. Syracuse hits the road for a three-game series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. First pitch of the series is Friday at 6:35 p.m.

Stranded: Chiefs Leave 14 on Base, Lose 7-0 to PawSox

Stranded: Chiefs Leave 14 on Base, Lose 7-0 to PawSox

Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver Syracuse, N.Y. — Just as Syracuse Chiefs’ starting pitcher Taylor Hill set on the mound ready to take his first pitch, the sun made its first appearance at NBT Bank Stadium, peeking through a hole in the gray clouds. But three pitches later, it went back into hiding. Coincidentally, that happened […]

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Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver

Syracuse, N.Y. — Just as Syracuse Chiefs’ starting pitcher Taylor Hill set on the mound ready to take his first pitch, the sun made its first appearance at NBT Bank Stadium, peeking through a hole in the gray clouds.

But three pitches later, it went back into hiding. Coincidentally, that happened just as leadoff hitter Aneury Tavarez smashed his first home run of the season over the left field fence—a reoccurring theme in Wednesday afternoon’s game between the Chiefs and Pawtucket Red Sox.

The sun eventually came for good but the game remained gray for the Chiefs, as they were defeated by the PawSox 7-0.

 

Early Runs

Three batters after Tavarez’s leadoff homer, the Sox scored another run on a single up the middle by Sam Travis. Two runs were on the board before Hill retired the side.

He got through the next two innings unscathed. But, after a Travis infield single led off the fourth, Steve Selsky took the first pitch over the right field fence. It was 4-0 PawSox after four.

Tavarez followed suit the next inning with his second blast of the game. Two batters later, Rusney Castillo did the same.

Syracuse had its greatest opportunity to score in the bottom of the eighth when the Chiefs managed to get the bases loaded with just one out. But, a strikeout and groundout later, the threat was demolished.

A 1-2-3 ninth inning sealed the deal. Pawtucket beat Syracuse 7-0.

 

Starting Pitchers: Night and Day

“Starting pitchers set the tone,” manager Billy Gardner said in a post-game interview. “We just didn’t have it today.”

Both starting pitchers went five innings. Hill, however, allowed six earned runs. Among the nine hits he gave up to Pawtucket batters, four were homers.

Owens, on the other hand, blanked the Chiefs’ offense in his five innings of work, allowing just one hit.

 

Missed Opportunities

The Chiefs didn’t have a hard time getting runners on base—ten batters reached by way of a walk through the nine innings. But, the offense left 14 runners on base, nine of them in scoring position.

 

A Rollercoaster Season—Just 23 Games In

After starting off the season with just two wins in
their first nine games, the Chiefs went on to win their next six straight and was able to get above .500 during that winning streak.

But, that all ended on March 23.

Since then, the team switched back to its losing ways and is just 1-8.  The Chiefs now sport a season record of 9-14—the worst in the International League. The Red Sox’s 12-12 record lands them in the spot just above.

 

Onward

Both the Chiefs and the Red Sox return to the NBT Bank Stadium Thursday to close out the three-game series. The Sox will be looking for the sweep. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

“We’ve got to get a few of our guys that we thought would hit to start cooking a little bit,” Gardner said. “Once we do that we’ll start stringing more competitive at bats together and start putting pressure on them.”

PawSox Take Opener Over Chiefs

PawSox Take Opener Over Chiefs

Story by Robert Schiff Photos by Aubrie Tolliver SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After salvaging the final game of a six-game road trip with a win against Norfolk on Sunday, the Chiefs found themselves back in the loss column, dropping the series opener against the Pawtucket Red Sox, 3-1, at NBT Bank Stadium on Tuesday night. Shut […]

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Story by Robert Schiff

Photos by Aubrie Tolliver

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After salvaging the final game of a six-game road trip with a win against Norfolk on Sunday, the Chiefs found themselves back in the loss column, dropping the series opener against the Pawtucket Red Sox, 3-1, at NBT Bank Stadium on Tuesday night.

Shut Down

On a chilly night (52 degrees and 15mph wind at the first pitch) that had spectators and players bundled up, the Chiefs (9-13) could not find an answer for Red Sox starter Brian Johnson. After giving up a leadoff single in the 1st inning, the 26 year-old lefty retired 13 straight batters, before Chiefs’ catcher Pedro Severino drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the 5th inning.

Johnson didn’t allow another hit until the bottom of the 8th, when Chiefs’ second baseman Grant Green fought off a tough pitch and blooped a single into short right field. In his most impressive start of the season, Johnson lasted eight innings, giving up only two hits and striking out six, while earning his first victory of the year.

Pitchers’ Duel

While Brian Johnson’s performance was the talk of the night, Chiefs’ starter Austin Voth pitched well for Syracuse, tossing a season-high seven innings. His first mistake came against Red Sox left fielder Steve Selsky, who crushed his first home run of the season over the left field fence.

Voth struck out the side in order in the third, but ran into more trouble in the 5th. After giving up a double to Jantzen Witte, and a walk to catcher Dan Butler, right fielder Aneury Tavarez smacked an RBI double down the third base line. The next batter, Deven Marrero blooped a single into shallow center field, just out of reach of a diving Andrew Stevenson, as Pawtucket extended its lead to 3-0.

One and Done

The Chiefs finally got on the board in the bottom of the 8th. After the designated hitter Corban Joseph drew a one-out walk, Grant Green singled, moving Joseph to third. He eventually scored on a s sac fly by  the shortstop Adrian Sanchez.

The Chiefs got the tying run to the plate in the 9th after left fielder Brandon Snyder drew a two-out walk, but third baseman Matt Skole’s weak fly ball to center field ended the short-lived rally, and the game for Syracuse.

Bright Spot 

In his first game at the Triple-A level, the newest Chief made his presence felt immediately. Andrew Stevenson led the game off for Syracuse with a line drive single, much to the delight of the fans, who were excited to see the Nationals’ fifth-ranked prospect in action. Stevenson sported a .350 average in 80 at-bats with Double-A Harrisburg, and had back-to-back five-hit games a couple of weeks ago.

“It’s always kind of a dream to just keep moving, and try to get to the big leagues,” Stevenson said. “I’m one step closer, and I’m just going to keep working to try to get that ultimate goal.”

Looking Ahead

The Chiefs have now lost six out of their last seven games, and find themselves in last place in the International League North, five games behind the Buffalo Bisons. The Chiefs continue their series with Pawtucket on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m.

Running for Beau

Running for Beau

Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez LIVERPOOL, N.Y.  — It’s a bright morning at Onondaga Lake Park. It’s one of those rare days where the sun is shining reflecting off of the lake and there’s a slight breeze keeping the temperature nice and cool. It’s a perfect day to be outside and taking advantage […]

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Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez

LIVERPOOL, N.Y.  — It’s a bright morning at Onondaga Lake Park. It’s one of those rare days where the sun is shining reflecting off of the lake and there’s a slight breeze keeping the temperature nice and cool. It’s a perfect day to be outside and taking advantage of the weather. There are small children playing on the brightly colored jungle gym and their moms and dads are not far off keeping watch over their little ones. There’s a trail that circles the lake with distance markers along the way for runners and walkers alike.

There are about a dozen or so walkers and joggers sprinkled throughout the trail this morning, but one pair in particular stands out. They’re off and on the trail but they’re enjoying themselves and laughing. They are Jennifer Burnham and her four-year-old son Nolan. At first glance, you might think it’s a typical day out at the park for mother-son bonding time and maybe to an extent it is. Both mother and son are sporting athletic gear, running shoes and shorts, Burnham has her hair tied up as if she’s about to go for a run, but take a closer look and they’re both decked out in brightly colored gear that says, “#TeamBeau” and “IRun4Beau.”

 

More Than Your Average Training

Burnham is part of a national organization called”I Run 4 Michael” in which volunteers dedicate thier workouts, races or any physical activity to children or adults who may not be able to participate in physical activities and raise awareness for the diseases that are impacting their lives. Burnham is matched with a two-year-old boy, Beau, from New Jersey. She dedicates her current training and races she has coming up to Beau.

“We have kids the same age, so it clicked with us,” Burnham says, “It’s like an extra family that we’ve adopted.” Burnham says her son Nolan plays with both Beau and his brother Braden, also four, when the families meet up.

“I just hope he [Nolan] learns acceptance for other kids through all of this,” Burnham smiles. “There’s nothing wrong with any of these kids. And it’s great that he can see how normal this is.”

Beau has been diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy that affects his breathing, walking and muscle development.

“It’s an everyday thing for him just trying to breathe,” Burnham says. Beau is on respirators and has to have oxygen at night while he sleeps and isn’t able to eat so he has a gastrostomy feeding tube put in. Burnham says they’ve known Beau and his family for a little more than one year and she and her family are trying to spend as much time with him and his family as possible.

“We’re not just running to say, ‘Hey I did a marathon,’ we’re running to bring awareness,” Burnham says.

Full Circle

“I initially started running these miles for him, but honestly its turned into running for his entire family,” Burnham says. “it’s kind of come full circle and now they’re inspiring me.”

Burnham says when she first met Beau, he didn’t have any arm movement and as of recently, the family got him a wheelchair and he is now able to wheel and push himself around the house. Burnham says when he defies the odds, she pushes herself to do the same. Burnham has now run five half marathons and is taking it quite a few steps further.

“I signed up for a triathlon and I don’t even know how to swim!” Burnham laughs, “But if this boy can do it, then I will figure out a way to get this done.” Burnham is training the Iron Girl Triathlon in Syracuse in August and the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

“Hearing what Beau can do, I just keep pushing myself to the limit,” Burnham says.

Senior Day Win Gives Orange Series Sweep

Senior Day Win Gives Orange Series Sweep

Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver Video Report by Lauren Walsh Syracuse, N.Y. — Hannah Dossett smashed her second homer of the season as part of a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, leading the Syracuse University softball team to a 6-1 victory over Virginia Tech Sunday afternoon at Skytop Softball Field. The win gave the Orange […]

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Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver

Video Report by Lauren Walsh

Syracuse, N.Y. — Hannah Dossett smashed her second homer of the season as part of a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, leading the Syracuse University softball team to a 6-1 victory over Virginia Tech Sunday afternoon at Skytop Softball Field. The win gave the Orange a sweep of the three-game weekend series over the Hokies.

Syracuse celebrated its Senior Day with a pregame ceremony. Seniors Sydney O’Hara and Alyssa Dewes were given framed jerseys and flowers as gifts for their four years of commitment to the program.

“Throughout their career, they have both been consistent and meant a lot to the Syracuse program,” head coach Mike Bosch said in a post-game interview.

Consistently good

Batting averages, earned runs averages and fielding percentages—softball is a sport that measures consistency more than almost any other. O’Hara has been a poster child for the term “consistent” throughout her four years.

She has missed just seven of the 200 games SU has played and has a .347 batting average over that span. This season, she leads the entire Atlantic Coast Conference with a .475 batting average, which is on track to set a program record.

What most Orange fans will have trouble forgetting, however, is her four-home run game against N.C. State back in March where she drove in eight runs.

In the matchup against Virginia Tech, O’Hara went 1-3 at the plate with two walks.

Although she went 0-for-3 in this one. Dewes possesses a batting average of .265 and has 14 homers, 16 doubles and 56 RBI to her name,

“On and off the field, day in and day out, they give their best,” Bosch said. “A lot of leading is leading by example and they do exactly that.”

Even early

The SU offense began its scoring in the bottom of the second. The leadoff batter, Bryce Holmgren reached base by way of a walk. Afterwards, two consecutive singles through the middle of the infield—first by Dossett, then by Jessica Heese—plated Holmgren and the team’s first run.

But, the Hokies responded the following inning with a run of their own off SU’s starting pitcher AnnaMarie Gatti, when leadoff batter Jessie Mehr reached base an error by Dossett at third base.

A walk and a fielder’s choice put Mehr at third and Hokie first baseman Vanessa Gonzalez singled to shortstop Sammy Fernandez, knocking in her team’s only run. It was unearned.

 

Third is the charm for Syracuse

The bottom of the third was the most damaging inning for Tech. The Syracuse offense led off with three consecutive singles. The third was O’Hara’s only hit of the game but it gave her team its second run as Sammy Fernandez crossed the plate.

The following batter, Faith Cain, grounded into a double play—the second one the Hokies defense had turned—but Alicia Hansen scored making it 3-1.

The Hokies changed their pitcher from Olivia Lattin to Elizabeth Birie following a Holmgren single. But next batter Dossett atoned for her error in the top of the inning, rocketing a no-doubter over the left-center fence, making it 5-1.

Holmgren knocked one more run in for good measure in the fifth inning with a single down the left field line. O’Hara stepped into the circle the next inning and shut down the VT offense, just as Gatti had done five innings prior.

 

Next

With the win, Syracuse improved to 30-18 on the season and is an even 10-10 in the ACC. Virginia Tech finished off its season with a 19-34 overall record and a 5-19 conference record. The Hokies, who came in last in the ACC standings, will not be participating in post-season play.

The Orange, however, tab the seventh spot in the conference standings and will play in the ACC Championships starting Thursday, May 11.

But first, SU will end its regular season with a non-conference game against Cornell Tuesday at Skytop. First pitch is set for 3:15 p.m.

Second Straight Walk-off Win for Orange

Second Straight Walk-off Win for Orange

Photo, story, and video by Lauren Walsh SYRACUSE, N.Y. — With extra innings looming, Syracuse’s Sammy Fernandez got up to bat in the bottom of the 7th inning Saturday. The score was tied at one with two out. But for the second day in a row there would be no extra innings after all. Fernandez slapped […]

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Photo, story, and video by Lauren Walsh

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — With extra innings looming, Syracuse’s Sammy Fernandez got up to bat in the bottom of the 7th inning Saturday. The score was tied at one with two out. But for the second day in a row there would be no extra innings after all.

Fernandez slapped a single, beating out the throw to first base. As the crowd cheered, an audible, “Rally!” could be heard. The Orange obliged.

Alicia Hansen came to the plate next and when she singled to left center field, Fernandez was off.

Virginia Tech bobbled the ball in the outfield, but it likely didn’t matter; Fernandez had her eyes set on home plate. She beat the throw and scored the game-winning run for the Orange (29-18, 9-10 ACC) in the 2-1 win over Virginia Tech (19-33, 5-18 ACC) at the SU softball stadium.

Close games

Head coach Mike Bosch said the ending was eerily similar to Friday’s game when Syracuse  beat the Hokies 3-2 with a walk-off hit by Fernandez.

“They finished with their #9 batter batting in the seventh inning as they did yesterday…” Bosch said. “We had our #8 and #9 batters lead off the bottom of the seventh as we did yesterday. It was just a matter of Sammy being the one to get on base and Hansen knocked her in.”

Syracuse got up to bat in the bottom of the 7th inning on Friday with the score tied 2-2. Olivia Martinez hit a double to right field and Alyssa Dewes came on to pinch run for her.

Fernandez ripped a single to left field and drove in Dewes for the game-winning run. in game one of the 3-game series.

On Saturday Fernandez made the slide at the plate look easy, but she hustled all the way from first to home on a single to left center field to score the walk-off run in game two.

Syracuse hadn’t had a walk-off win all season. Now, the Orange has had two in a row. SU recorded five hits in the first game and seven in the second.

Powerful Pitching

Three different pitchers took the mound for SU. Bosch said it was his game plan from the start to use all three.

AnnaMarie Gatti started the game and pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing 3 hits. Gatti gave up two hits in the first inning, but stranded those runners on base.

“She mixed the change up in there well, got ahead of batters, really didn’t put anybody on base herself, and I thought that was a really successful outing for her,” Bosch said.

In the bottom of the first, Faith Cain singled to right and knocked in Sydney O’Hara, a Cicero-North Syracuse grad, to give Syracuse the 1-0 lead.

After a quiet two innings, the Hokies got on the board. Gatti only allowed one run, a home run from VT’s Emma Strouth. Gatti also walked one and struck out two of the 18 batters she faced.

Alexa Romero relieved Gatti in the top of the fifth inning with two out. She pitched exactly one inning, striking out one of three Hokies she faced.

Next on the mound for SU was O’Hara. She came in for Romero in the top of the sixth and finished the game. O’Hara pitched 1 1/3  innings and allowed one hit while striking out three.

“She’s come in to close games and finished games and those pressure situations that you need to have an experienced pitcher in she’s done a great job,” Bosch said.

Syracuse struggled at the plate against a strong performance by Elizabeth Birle. The VT righty threw 6 2/3 innings allowing seven hits and just two runs. The SU offense finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh inning with that slap hit single from Fernandez and and the game-winning line drive by Hansen.

Dominant Defense

In Friday’s game, the Orange defense made two errors. Hansen said SU made sure not to make those same mistakes on Saturday.

“We wanted to clean up a little bit from yesterday,” Hansen said. “That was a goal. We had two errors on the board yesterday and as a whole we decided that we should clean that up and see how much better it leaves us.”

On Saturday, Syracuse didn’t record any errors. The Hokies committed one error but that error came in the seventh inning when Hansen singled to the outfield for the win.

Bosch said the Orange has been focusing on improving in the field to improve the outcome of games.

“Defensively we’ve tried to make an emphasis on playing well. When we do well in the field we tend to do well in the game.”

He credited Syracuse’s pitching in the strong defensive effort.

“I think it goes back to the start on the mound, I mean the ability to hit spots and make good pitches really limits the number of balls that are hit hard. “

ACC Tournament

Syracuse holds a 9-10 mark in the ACC. According to the USA Softball poll, No. 3 ranked Florida State is the only ACC school in the Top 25. SU lost all three games played against the Seminoles this season.

Despite those loses and a less-than-ideal conference record, Bosch and his players are optimistic about their chances in the ACC Tournament.
“I think if we keep taking this momentum into ACCs then we’re gonna be a tough team to beat,” Gatti said.

“The ACC in general is tough and it’s tight no matter who you’re playing, every game you play is tight and you need to make sure you’re playing your best. I think it’s an indication of how comparable and how competitive the ACC is,” Bosch said.

Hansen said Syracuse needs to be aggressive and set out to beat each opponent to do well in the ACC.

“We can’t count on other teams to lose for us to be in a better spot in the ACC. We need to do our job,” Hansen said.

 

The conference tournament takes place in Chapel Hill, N.C. from May 11-13.

Cold (and wet) Open

Cold (and wet) Open

With the Syracuse Chiefs on a six-game winning streak, having just gone unbeaten in their latest home stand, it might be hard – or painful to Chiefs fans – to remember how this season started. Here’s a reminder of what it was like. Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio. SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  On Thursday the […]

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With the Syracuse Chiefs on a six-game winning streak, having just gone unbeaten in their latest home stand, it might be hard – or painful to Chiefs fans – to remember how this season started. Here’s a reminder of what it was like.

Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  On Thursday the wait was finally over – and then, it wasn’t.  A rainy day spoiled what was to be a fresh start and a new season of Syracuse Chiefs baseball.

“I’ve been here since 9:30 am,” Tim Perez said from his tailgating spot in the parking lot.  He’s gone to every opening day at NBT Bank Stadium, and its other iterations, for the past 20 years.  He wasn’t about to break the streak.

Asked if he thought there might be a rain delay, he was quick to retort.

“No, it’s a beautiful day,” Perez said.  “First pitch 2:05, we’re going to get six innings in.  Lets go.”

“Safe!”

Fans passed through a new wanding system at the front gate, a measure required for all minor league teams this season.

“So far so good,” security supervisor Tom Bartezel said.  “One pocket knife that went back to the parking lot.”

Scores of people trekked up the stairs, rewarded with free programs and opening day coozies once they reached the top.  Some grabbed a hot dog for a buck, part of the “Dollar Thursdays” campaign at the ballpark.   Others just settled into their seats.

 

Home Away from Home

The stadium was full of fans like Perez, full of optimism, regardless of whether it was ill-founded or not.

“We come all the way from Auburn on the bus,”  Linda Waters said of her and her husband.   “Every year we take the time off from work, just to come to opening day.”

Waters was dressed in Chiefs gear, the lone exception a Cleveland Indians cap.  Her Auburn Doubledays aren’t playing baseball just yet.

“Gotta see baseball just as soon as we can,” Waters added.  “It’s a couple months before [Auburn] opens, so this is how we get our fix for baseball.”

 

Baseball Diamond

The Doubledays ballpark has a double meaning to Wendy.

“My husband proposed to me at the Doubledays Park 26 years ago,” Waters said.  “Yeah, so there’s a special affiliation there.”

 

Water Works

She would be doubly disappointed on this day.

With spring comes April showers, and imminent downpours pushed opening day back two more days to Saturday.

Don Adamczyk wasn’t happy with the call.

“Well, it’s disappointing,” he said.  “If they were going to cancel it, they could have cancelled it a little bit earlier.”

Adamczyk’s been coming rain or shine to the ballpark for more than 20 years now.  The weather doesn’t really affect him.

“I’d come if it was snowing, and they didn’t cancel,” Adamczyk said.  “After a long winter, I want to get the cobwebs out.  Brighter things to come.”

Rick and Jodi Franey were as giddy as school kids, skipping class to go to the game before the announcement played over the PA system.  This was nothing new for Rick.

“Except when I was gone away for college and the military, I’ve been making every home opener since 1970,” Franey said.

When the announcement was made over the PA system, the disappointment was apparent on their faces.

“They just canceled?” Jodi Franey asked.  Her expression immediately changed once the realization was confirmed.

“Bummer,” she said with a frown.

Seeing Green

In the parking lot, Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol was greeting fans as they exited, shaking hands of people he met, hugging those he’d seen before.

“I think it stinks,” Smorol said blankly.  “Everyone saw the green coming (on radar), and we thought there was a window.  We probably had 2,500-3,000 people show up.  Unfortunately we couldn’t play.”

Those waiting for months had to wait two more days.

 

Take Two: Bittersweet

When Saturday arrived it was a clear, sunny day. on Syracuse’s North Side  It also happened to be in the mid-forties.

Players can play in the cold, but not all fans want to sit outside in it.  A fraction of the size of Thursdays crowd was in attendance for the new Opening Day.

“I’m disappointed,” John Anderson said.  He’s not as much of a regular as some of the others that were in attendance, but enjoys coming to the ballpark for a little R&R.

“It’s a beautiful day,” he added.  “I know it’s cold, but we still got our winter coats still hanging in the closets.”

You also could have brought your blanket.  That’s what Jamie Coyne and his son Cameron did.  Coyne remembers when Opening Day was a much bigger deal.

“Back in the day, when I was a kid,  well back in MacArthur Stadium, this place would be filled,” Coyne said.  “You had to get tickets in advance to come to an opening day game.  Now, you don’t see that anymore.”

“It’s cold, but we’re glad baseball’s back!” he added.

Passing Time with a Past Time

The cold didn’t stop lifelong fan Bob Kelty.  He’s gone to every opening day since the fifties, and he still umpires high school games.

“I’d say 60 years,” Kelty said.  “Used to write an excuse to get out of school to go to the opening game.”

Kelty was in the parking lot on Thursday when he found out the game had been called.

“Back in the old days sometimes it would be a beautiful day for opening day,” he said.

 

“Spring Batter-Batter!”

What makes Opening Day so special that fans like Kelty and others keep coming back each year?

“Just the fact that around here, winter’s over,” Coyne said.  “It’s the first sign of spring.”

John Anderson thought of some additional reasons.

“I mean look at these guys,”  he said.  “This is this guy’s first-up for the season.  I mean these guys have been waiting, some of them just got pulled up, and this is it, this could be their chance.  It’s a big day, a big deal for them.”

There was another reason.

“They’re always undefeated until the first game,” he added.  “So there’s a lot of hope, you know?  That’s why.”

[The Chiefs were undefeated, until a few hours later, when the Red Wings soured Opening Day with an 8-0 victory.]

 

Sunshine

Sunshine

Story, photos and video by Bridget Chavez SYRACUSE, N.Y.  — The sound of rebounding feet springing off the blue floor echoes through the gym as cheerleaders  practice their routines. Championship banners and inspirational messages with sayings such as, “Follow your dreams,” and “You can do it,” hang on the walls in the building on the […]

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Story, photos and video by Bridget Chavez

SYRACUSE, N.Y.  — The sound of rebounding feet springing off the blue floor echoes through the gym as cheerleaders  practice their routines.

Championship banners and inspirational messages with sayings such as, “Follow your dreams,” and “You can do it,” hang on the walls in the building on the city’s North Side.

The one thing that isn’t written explicitly, but jumps out at you with every chant, cartwheel, back-handspring and toe-touch, is equity.

“We include everyone,” Coach Zoey Smith says.

Getting a chance

Smith and Rachael Brady coach the Sunshine special needs cheerleading team.Its all-inclusive uplifting approach showcases all athletes giving each of them a chance to participate in the sport.
“One, two, three, four,” Brady and Smith chant in unison as they lead the team through its warm up.

The team has seven athletes and ten volunteers who help on a regular basis. The volunteers are cheerleaders from the more advanced skill level teams who dedicate a few hours each week to Sunshine.

 “It makes me feel like I make a difference,” advanced cheerleader Lindsey Condon says. She says she wants to work with kids when she’s older so volunteering is a great way to do what she loves and help out.

 

Meeting the challenge

The volunteers attend practices and assist the athletes during performances. Sunshine has been practicing since September of 2016, preparing for its spring performance.

 “We try to challenge them and push them throughout the year to become unassisted and get through the routines by themselves,” Smith says.

Some of the athletes require little to no assistance which is the ultimate goal.  Condon has been helping out Bradley for the past six months.

“We always give each other high fives,” Condon laughs as she and Bradley clap hands.

“Yeah!” he says excitedly.

 

Performance Day

On the 23rd of April, teams from across Central New York gathered in the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College to showcase the results of all of their hard work.

“It’s great because I mean even other gyms are so excited for them,” Brady says. “And the kids definitely feed off that and they’re just so excited to be there.”

The arena erupts with applause as the announcer bellows, “Up next, CNY Storm Sunshine!”

For one parent in particular, this performance means more than most.

“We never really know what the next day is going to bring,” Rhonda Payne says. “Every time she’s up there we just try to relish every second of it.”

Her six-year-old daughter, Caroline has mitochondrial disease and has been cheering at CNY for two years.

“I like doing the stunts!” Caroline exclaims.

“I cry every time,” Payne says, “I cry even just talking about it.”

Caroline’s sisters also cheer at CNY, making it a family sport they can all enjoy together. At this performance, it’s not the scores that matter, it’s showing everyone that there’s more to cheer about than winning or losing.

Chiefs Sweep Tides, Win Sixth Straight

Chiefs Sweep Tides, Win Sixth Straight

Story and video by Robert Schiff Photos by Brianna Adams SYRACUSE, N.Y. – An abysmal start to the 2017 season saw the Syracuse Chiefs drop seven of their first nine games this spring. But The club has found its groove over the last week, completing a three-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides on Sunday afternoon, 8-2, […]

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Story and video by Robert Schiff

Photos by Brianna Adams

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – An abysmal start to the 2017 season saw the Syracuse Chiefs drop seven of their first nine games this spring. But The club has found its groove over the last week, completing a three-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides on Sunday afternoon, 8-2, and extending its win streak to six games. The Chiefs (8-7) hadn’t won six in a row since last April.

Fast start

The Chiefs jumped on Tides’ starter Gabriel Ynoa early. After back-to-back singles in the bottom of the first inning, Clint Robinson moved the runners over with a fly ball to center. Matt Skole then drove home the first run of the game with a slowly hit grounder to first, allowing Rafael Bautista to come home, giving the Chiefs an early 1-0 lead.

Ynoa’s struggles continued in the third. After a single by Robinson, Chiefs’ third baseman Brandon Snyder crushed a line drive to center field, scoring Robinson from first. The offense didn’t stop there. Two batters later, second baseman Corban Joseph crushed a liner to right field, increasing the Chiefs’ lead to three. Ynoa’s afternoon didn’t last long, as the former Met was pulled in the fourth after walking Bautista to start the inning.

Cole solid

Those three runs proved to be enough for Chiefs’ starter, A.J. Cole. The young right-hander established his fastball early, striking out two of the first three batters he faced. After a two-out double in the second by Francisco Pena, Cole completely fooled David Washington, who swung at a pitch in the dirt for strike three. After retiring the side in order in the bottom of the third, Cole walked Johnny Giavotella to start the fourth, but the 25 year-old Florida native escaped trouble again. Cole struck out the next batter, Robert Andino, and Chiefs’ catcher Pedro Severino shot a laser to second, gunning down Giavotella for the strike him out-throw him out double play. Cole earned his first victory of the season, going five innings, and allowing just two runs on five hits. He also struck out five.

Nathan’s famous

Longtime closer and MLB veteran Joe Nathan came on in the ninth to seal things up for the Chief’s and easily received the loudest ovation of the afternoon. Nathan made quick work of the Tides, retiring them in order, and securing the win and a perfect homestand for Syracuse. The Chiefs will begin a six-game road trip, starting with a three-game series against the Durham Bulls (11-6) on Tuesday night.

Carolina Edges Orange Softball in Opener, Game Two Called to Catch a Plane

Carolina Edges Orange Softball in Opener, Game Two Called to Catch a Plane

Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  It’s always something. After a nearly complete season plagued by bad weather—playing alongside snow piles on the outskirts of the field and throwing softballs dampened from the rain-soaked outfield—the sun finally shined at Skytop Softball Stadium on an Orange game day, Sunday. It wasn’t however, as bright […]

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Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  It’s always something.

After a nearly complete season plagued by bad weather—playing alongside snow piles on the outskirts of the field and throwing softballs dampened from the rain-soaked outfield—the sun finally shined at Skytop Softball Stadium on an Orange game day, Sunday.

It wasn’t however, as bright a day for the Syracuse softball team as SU (26-17, 7-10 ACC) fell to the University of North Carolina (36-13. 14-6) 11-10 Sunday morning.

A doubleheader was scheduled for Sunday when game one of the series on Friday couldn’t be played because of the rain. But UNC had to catch a flight back to Chapel Hill, so game two had to end by 2:30 p.m. Game one went into extras innings, killing the chances of the second game being completed in time and it was called with UNC leading 3-1 but before it was an official game.

In that first game, North Carolina had a steady stream of runs scoring throughout—what eventually would be—nine innings.

Syracuse’s output came in spurts. But, those runs did come just at the right moments. Except at the end.

 

The Beginning

In the top of the first, an Orange error led into the first Tar Heels run. Leah Murray led off the game with a double to center field. Third baseman Hannah Dossett fielded a sacrifice bunt but botched the throw. Murray went on to score on a fielder’s choice to the shortstop.

Three more blue runs came in before the first Orange one. That happened in the fifth.

 

Comeback No. 1

The score was 4-0 when Sammy Fernandez drove in that first run for SU with a single. But Kelsey Johnson was gunned down at third trying to advance on the play.

The next batter was Alicia Hansen. With a runner on second, she blasted her second homer of the season to straightaway center.

Faith Cain completed the comeback three batters later with a line drive that smacked the left field fence at full force. The double brought home Sydney O’Hara.

It was knotted up at four after five innings and remained tied going into the seventh. The Tar Heels put three runs on the board in that top half. A home run apiece from Kendra Lynch and Katelyn Shifflett did the damage.

 

Comeback No. 2

But, SU counterattacked in the bottom of the inning, also scoring three runs. Dossett, who came to the plate with runners on second and third, drove home the tying run with one swing of the bat—a single to left. The hit propelled the two teams into extra innings with the game tied at seven.

In the ninth, Syracuse tried to do the same thing it had done two innings earlier: rally back after UNC had put up four runs in the top of the inning.

The Orange almost did it.

 

Comeback No. 3 Falls Short

They drove in three runs when the top three batters singled, tripled and doubled. But the fourth batter of the inning, Cain, who had played hero earlier in the game, grounded into a double play. A run scored but the play left the bases empty and the Orange with two outs.

The next batter was the final batter for SU. Dossett grounded out to short, which sealed the Tar Heels victory, 11-10.

Brittany West knocked in four runs for UNC on two hits, including a double.

Both teams’ starters, Alexa Romero for SU and Brittany Pickett for UNC, gave up seven runs. Although six of Romero’s were earned.

AnnaMarie Gatti was charged with the loss for the allowing the Heels’ offensive rally in the ninth. She is now 7-6 while Lynch, UNC’s reliever, improved to 10-4.

After beating the Tar Heels 3-1 on Saturday, Syracuse wound up with a split in what turned out to be the two-game series.

 

What’s Next?

Syracuse softball is set to take on Colgate Wednesday for a nighttime doubleheader in Hamilton, N.Y. before returning home for the team’s final ACC series against Virginia Tech.

 

 

On Senior Day, One More One-goal Win

On Senior Day, One More One-goal Win

Story and photo by Lauren Walsh SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse seniors marched out of the tunnel with smiling faces, surrounded by their families to honor them on Senior Day. However, Binghamton nearly spoiled that bliss for the Orange at the Carrier Dome, Saturday afternoon. In a back-and-forth game, No. 1 Syracuse (11-1, 4-0 ACC) managed […]

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Story and photo by Lauren Walsh

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse seniors marched out of the tunnel with smiling faces, surrounded by their families to honor them on Senior Day. However, Binghamton nearly spoiled that bliss for the Orange at the Carrier Dome, Saturday afternoon.

In a back-and-forth game, No. 1 Syracuse (11-1, 4-0 ACC) managed to hold on to a 9-8 victory over Binghamton (10-3, 3-2 America East) in its ninth one-goal game of the season.

Head coach John Desko highlighted offensive struggles for Syracuse as a main contributor to the close score. He credited the defense for keeping Syracuse in the game throughout the afternoon.

“It turned into a dogfight in the second half,” Desko said. “Their game plan was a lot of long possessions, so hats off to the defense. They really gutted it out.”

Senior Standouts

Jordan Evans and Nick Mariano headlined the senior contributions. Evans had three goals on eight shots and picked up two ground balls. Mariano, the Syracuse sharpshooter was a little quieter than usual with three shots on the day and just one making it in net for a goal.

“A lot of emotion to start the day with Senior Day,” Desko said.

Syracuse goalie Evan Molloy, a redshirt senior, had nine saves in the win, including stoning Griffin Konen from point-blank range on what would have been the tying goal with eleven seconds left.

“I got a little emotional today,” Molloy said. “Obviously seeing those seniors walk out, there’s just something special about today. I really just took it in.”

One senior who doesn’t necessarily grab your eye on the score sheet is Scott Firman. He quietly anchors the Orange defense and shuts down the most prolific scorers in the ACC. Against Binghamton Firman had three ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Despite his 40 points on the season, redshirt senior Sergio Salcido put up a goose egg in the points column Saturday.

“He kept trying to make something happen and a lot of them turned into bad decisions,” Desko said.

Orange Offense Struggles

Syracuse surged to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter, but fell behind 5-4 in the second, before Evans and Mariano put the Orange back up 6-5 at the half. But the Bearcats’ defense shut down the Orange in the third quarter, getting ahead 7-6, until Evans tied it with four seconds left in the quarter.

Goals by Ryan Simmons and Jamie Trimboli gave the Orange a 9-7 lead with 9:43 left, but Syracuse did not score again. When Tom Moore netted his fifth goal of the game to put Binghamton within one at 2:38, it set the stage for Molloy’s heroics and yet another one-goal Syracuse win.

Syracuse’s ace faceoff man Ben Williams, struggled at the X, with the Bearcats’ Austin Macchi taking 12 of 20 draws. Still, Williams passed Chris Cercy in the third quarter to become SU’s all-time faceoff wins leader. Williams ended the game with 626 career faceoff wins in just three years.

Defense to the Rescue

Desko said defense saved Syracuse from an upset.

“We needed to roll up our sleeves and really get between positions on the offensive ends and we didn’t do that,” Desko said.

The Orange forced 14 turnovers on the defensive end. The Bearcats beat SU in the ground ball game 27-22. Not to forget, Binghamton’s Tom Moore netted five goals past Molloy.

Despite some of those defensive shortcomings, the Syracuse defense bailed out a less aggressive offense after a disappointing practice week according to Desko.

“I didn’t think we had a great week of practice last week,” he said. “We need to pick it up again this week.”

Jordan Evans echoed his coach on Syracuse’s rather flat offensive performance. “Our goal as a team has been to get better each game that we play,” Evans said. “I don’t think the bar was set as high today as it has been in past games.”

Although Syracuse forced 14 turnovers, the team also turned the ball over 13 times throughout the game. Desko said overall there were too many turnovers and too many bad decisions from SU.

ACC Tournament Time

The one-goal win over Binghamton was the Orange’s last regular season game in the Carrier Dome and its last game before the ACC Tournament.

Last year Syracuse was the ACC Tournament champion, but had a rather early exit in the NCAA Tournament in a 13-7 loss to Maryland.

This year the  No. 1 seed Orange takes on  No. 4 seed UNC in the first round at Duke.

Earlier this season, Syracuse beat the Tar Heels 12-11 in overtime at Chapel Hill. Sergio Salcido scored the game-winner for  Syracuse’s third overtime win of the season. SU is 8-1 in its nine one-goal games this season.

UNC is 6-7 overall this season and 1-5 in the ACC.

 

The “Cardiac ‘Cuse” begins the first round of the tournament at 6 p.m. on Friday. The other semi pits Notre Dame against Duke.

Chiefs Win 5th Straight, Down Tides 9-4

Chiefs Win 5th Straight, Down Tides 9-4

Story and Photo by Jake Lapin SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After a slow start to the season, the Syracuse Chiefs kept things rolling in front of 2200 fans with their fifth-straight win in a 9-4 victory over the Norfolk Tides at NBT Bank Stadium, Saturday afternoon. “We’re playing good baseball,” manager Billy Gardner said after the game. […]

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Story and Photo by Jake Lapin

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After a slow start to the season, the Syracuse Chiefs kept things rolling in front of 2200 fans with their fifth-straight win in a 9-4 victory over the Norfolk Tides at NBT Bank Stadium, Saturday afternoon.

“We’re playing good baseball,” manager Billy Gardner said after the game. “Pitching and defense have been key for us right now.”

For a team clicking defensively and on the mound, the Chiefs also piled it on from the plate. Every batter in the lineup had at least one hit in the nine-run explosion. The Chiefs as a team had scored just 13 runs in their previous four wins to start the streak.

Big Bats From Top to Bottom

It was all about the offense in the Chiefs’ second game versus Norfolk in this three-game set. Syracuse put up a crooked number in three different frames, chasing Norfolk’s Tyler Wilson after just three innings and four earned runs. Not only did the entire lineup get a basehit, but also all but Adrian Sanchez crossed home plate.

The bottom three hitters in the lineup today, Caleb Ramsey, Sanchez and Irving Falu in that order, are all hitting above .300 on the season.

Ramsey went 3-for-4 with two doubles on the afternoon, both nearly homers off the right field wall. One of those doubles came with two-outs and drove in two runs, opening up the Chiefs’ lead to five in the bottom of the seventh.

“Any time you get the guys at the bottom of the order swinging the bats and getting on-base you’re going to do some damage,” Gardner said.

Taylor on the Hill

Taylor Hill picked up his first win on the season, throwing six innings of two-run ball. He’s struggled early on this season, with his ERA still over seven, but settled in today after a couple of early Norfolk runs.

“I thought he did a nice job,” Gardner said. “His changeup was very effective, threw some curveballs for strikes.”

Neal Cotts came in with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh, one run already scored for Norfolk. He limited the damage started by Mike Broadway to just one more run thanks to a big strikeout of Chance Sisco, the number one prospect for the Baltimore Orioles according to MLB.com, to retire the side.

Those two runs marked the first surrendered by the bullpen in 13 innings. Rafael Martin threw a scoreless eighth and ninth to finish off the win.

Looking Ahead

The Chiefs will be looking for the sweep over Norfolk and their sixth-straight win in the series finale Sunday at 1:05 pm. After that, they hit the road on Tuesday for a three-game set with the Durham Bulls and then a rematch with the Tides in Norfolk.

The Tides have a six-game homestand waiting for them back home starting Tuesday, starting with the Buffalo Bisons and then a weekend series against Syracuse.

Tailored for Success; Balancing Business and Soccer

Tailored for Success; Balancing Business and Soccer

Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez     SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When it comes to looking your best for prom, a wedding or any other special event, Giovanni’s Tuxedos in North Syracuse, is overflowing with suits, ties, cummerbunds, cuff links, vests, shoes and pocket squares in almost every color imaginable. The walls are lined […]

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Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez

 

 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When it comes to looking your best for prom, a wedding or any other special event, Giovanni’s Tuxedos in North Syracuse, is overflowing with suits, ties, cummerbunds, cuff links, vests, shoes and pocket squares in almost every color imaginable.

The walls are lined with fabrics and samples of all textures displayed around mannequins proudly displaying the latest tuxedos and suits.

The shop is a Syracuse area staple and has been in business since 1968, opened by Giovanni “John” Scuderi after he came to the United States from Italy.

“I get old”

Back in 2014, Scuderi decided it was time for him to retire but he wanted to make sure his life’s work remained a family business.”I get old,” Scuderi laughs with a thick Italian accent. “So I decided to retire.”

Proving blood isn’t necessarily thicker than water, he sold the business to Syracuse Silver Knights Defender, Domenico Vitale, who had little experience in the tailoring world. Although he had already realized his dream of playing pro soccer, he knew he needed a plan or fallback for when he would no longer be able to play the game.

“Soccer is great,” he says, “But you can never do that your whole life.”

The apprentice owner

Originally, the plan was to have Scuderi help him learn the business for about a year, but that’s now turned into three.

“I still help him,” Scuderi says, “but he’s learned very well, he’s done very good.”

Vitale says even though he had little experience, he felt is was the right move.

“I guess it’s in my blood,” he says smiling, noting that his grandfather was a tailor who used to work with Scuderi.

“I’m still learning, there’s always something to learn like with any job,” he says. “I think I got the most part done.”

 

 

Changing seasons

Vitale says while balancing soccer and business can be challenging at times, it works out because the busy seasons are opposite each other.

“Soccer is winding down now and our busy season is starting here with prom and balls,” he explained, just after the Silver Knights’ season ended.

But above all he enjoys getting to fulfill both of his passions.

“That culture kind of runs in my blood. I had no choice. I had to play.”

The Central New York native grew up playing soccer with family and friends. He says his parents realized when he was young that he could go far with the sport, so he started playing for clyb teams and traveling. He starred for Cicero-North Syracuse High School and LeMoyne College.

Now, with the soccer season over, he is fully focused on his business. He says it is nice that the busy seasons don’t overlap, but when things do get busy he can always rely on Scuderi for an assist.

 

Spring in Their Step

Spring in Their Step

Story, video and photos by Jon Cerio. SYRACUSE, N.Y. –– If Saturday’s Spring Showcase game in the Carrier Dome is any indication, the Syracuse University football team looks to have made some defensive strides in the off-season.  The Orange first-string unit came away with a 14-0 victory thanks to an Antawn Cordy pick-six and an Eric […]

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Story, video and photos by Jon Cerio.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. –– If Saturday’s Spring Showcase game in the Carrier Dome is any indication, the Syracuse University football team looks to have made some defensive strides in the off-season.  The Orange first-string unit came away with a 14-0 victory thanks to an Antawn Cordy pick-six and an Eric Dungey 35-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wideout Devin C. Butler.

Admission was free and those who showed up seemed happy they came.

“Well I’ll tell you what, it was fun watching that offense,” Syracuse fan Mark Gallivan said.  “The quarterback looks terrific.”

“For today, by far the most fans that we’ve had for a spring game since I’ve been here,” senior linebacker Zaire Franklin said.  “Just thankful for everybody that showed up and just showed us support today.  This meant a lot.”

 

 

Not your standard football game

The game consisted of four twelve-minute quarters, though that wasn’t strictly enforced.  There was also a five-minute break for halftime.

The game itself is an annual tradition on the hill.  The timing of this game seemed to be a little later than normal.  There was some speculation in the media that this was in part planned to give players more time to heal from surgeries and injuries.

Junior safety Cordy had missed much of last season with a broken forearm.  He had the biggest play of the game, intercepting senior quarterback Zack Mahoney and returning it 40 yards for the score.

“It was good for me to be out there today,” Cordy said.  “With my injury it was tough going out like that.”

The defense came away the real winners on the day, with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries, one by Franklin.  Asked if he was happy with how his team performed, he was quick to respond.

“Yeah of course,” Franklin said.  “We got out there.  The defense won today, so I’m always happy.”

 

A happy Babers

“I just thought it was a fantastic effort,” head coach Dino Babers said.  “I thought they were physical, they ran around.”

“There were times when they got a little taxed,” Babers added.  “I remember Cordy made a play, scored a touchdown for the defense, then once they kicked off they had to go right back out there again.  I just said ‘Hey, it’s not me, that’s Cordy’s fault.’”

In fact, for a team last year with such a stark contrast between offensive and defensive effectiveness, today’s performance – though not as exciting, certainly was important.

“I was really proud of the defense,” Babers said.  “I thought it was a really balanced spring,  We’re definitely excited about the improvement on the defensive side.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chiefs Win Fourth Straight on Solid Voth Outing

Chiefs Win Fourth Straight on Solid Voth Outing

Story and photo by Mike Drew SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It didn’t take long for the Norfolk Tides to figure out what they were up against on Friday night. Designated Hitter Johnny Giavotella was the second batter of the night to face Chiefs’ starter Austin Voth. The second pitch of their encounter was a blistering fastball […]

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Story and photo by Mike Drew

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It didn’t take long for the Norfolk Tides to figure out what they were up against on Friday night.

Designated Hitter Johnny Giavotella was the second batter of the night to face Chiefs’ starter Austin Voth. The second pitch of their encounter was a blistering fastball up and in, forcing Giavotella to uncomfortably back off the plate.

Turns out, that was the best term to describe Norfolk’s hitters all night.

Uncomfortable.

Over six shut-out innings, Voth threw struck out five Tides on 87 pitches. He extended the staff scoreless innings streak to 19. He also yielded only four hits, allowing the Chiefs (6-7) to cruise to a 3-0 victory over Norfolk (5-9).

“I wanted to focus on being down in the zone and throwing three pitches for strikes,” Voth said.

Mission accomplished.

Buckling Down

Voth was only truly tested twice all night. Both times in the middle innings.

He walked Giavotella and Right Fielder Pedro Alvarez in the fourth, but managed to punch out Second Baseman Robert Andino and get Catcher Chance Sisco to bounce into a fielder’s choice to short to escape the jam.

Then in the fifth, Voth allowed three singles. The last one was a perfectly executed bunt by Center Fielder Logan Schafer to load the bases with one out.

Promptly, Voth settled down and got Giavotella to pop out to second. Left Fielder Chris Dickerson followed with a ground out to the same spot.

Just as soon as Norfolk mounted a rally, it was over,

“He did an outstanding job of situational pitching,” Chiefs Manager Billy Gardner said. “He was under some pressure there and made the pitches to get out of it and avoid any damage.”

Offensive Support

Despite the current winning steak, the Chiefs’ offense had only scored four runs combined in its last two games.

On Friday, they managed to string three runs together in the third against Norfolk starter Mike Wright (6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K),

It started with a single up the middle from the number eight hitter, Shortstop Adrian Sanchez. Right Fielder Caleb Ramsey followed with a walk. Then, Left Fielder Brian Goodwin delivered an RBI single to make it a 1-0 game.

After that, Designated Hitter Brandon Snyder (who drove in the Chiefs’ only run in Thursday’s win over Toledo) punched a two-run single into the gap in left-center. Ramsey scored all the way from first on the play and all of a sudden the Chiefs were up three.

At this point, most everyone in the ballpark knew the game was over.

It was that kind of night.

Back to Normal

Voth entered this season ranked as the number ten prospect in the Washington Nationals’ system as well as the number three pitching prospect by Baseball America.

Uncharacteristically, he was shelled in his last outing by Rochester (3.0 IP, 9 H, 7 ER).

On Friday, it was clear to everyone that Voth had returned to form.

It was his night.

“He really located well,” Gardner said. “I thought he changed speeds and had outstanding timing.”

Up Next

Both teams will go at it again Saturday afternoon at 1:05. It’s game two of a three-game series that will wrap up Sunday at MBT Bank Stadium. Taylor Hill (0-1, 9.64 ERA) will start for Syracuse, while Tyler Wilson (1-1, 5.40 ERA with the Baltimore Orioles) will get the ball for Norfolk.

Strong Second Half Gives Orange Women Win Over Big Red

Strong Second Half Gives Orange Women Win Over Big Red

Story by Ashley Moore Photos by Dontae Harris   SYRACUSE, N.Y — A close first half followed by a strong second half propelled No. 7 Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse past No. 12 Cornell in the Orange women’s regular season home finale, 11-8 in the Carrier Dome Tuesday night. It was Syracuse’s fifth straight win, and third in a […]

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Story by Ashley Moore

Photos by Dontae Harris

 

SYRACUSE, N.Y — A close first half followed by a strong second half propelled No. 7 Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse past No. 12 Cornell in the Orange women’s regular season home finale, 11-8 in the Carrier Dome Tuesday night.

It was Syracuse’s fifth straight win, and third in a row over a Top 20 team (Virginia Tech, then No. 20 and North Carolina, No.2)

 

“The defense stepped up in the second half and really came through for us,” Syracuse head coach Gary Gait said.

 

 

 

Playing From Behind

 

Syracuse (13-4, 5-1 ACC) never held a lead in the first half. Cornell (10-3, 5-0 Ivy League) got off to a quick start as sophomore attack Sarah Phillips scored just over a minute into the contest. Senior attack Devon Parker answered back with her first of two goals in the half, but Syracuse continued to play catch-up.

 

Cornell’s largest lead was two with nearly five minutes to go in the half, when senior midfield Kristy Gilbert ended a nine minute cold-streak for the Big Red with a quick release goal off of a high pass from Sarah Phillips.

 

Just before the end of the half, Parker re-entered the game after serving a two-minute penalty. Shortly after, Riley Donahue tied the game at five on a close-net ground ball after junior midfield, Neena Merola’s shot was denied by Cornell goalie Renee Poullott, who had 14 saves in the game.

 

“I just happened to be in the right position, and saw an open net and shot it,” said Donahue, who had two goals and three assists in the game.

 

Back to the Basics 

 

 

The Orange came out attacking early, going on a 5-1 run in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Parker scored her third goal of the game in the first minute of the second half, giving Syracuse its first lead at 6-5.

 

Parker also had two assists in the game.

 

“We just started playing our offense instead of playing into their defense like we did in the first half,” Parker said.

 

Just five minutes later, Cornell’s Sarah Phillips ricocheted the ball off the ground and into the net to tie the game at six, but that was as close as the game would get as the Orange defense swarmed the Big Red in front of the goal and Asa Goldstock came up strong, totaling eleven saves.

 

Syracuse pulled away from Cornell with great defense and even better offense, handing Cornell its first loss by multiple goals.

 

“A little better timing, a little better looking for each other and communication in the second half,” Gait said.

 

 

 

Next Up


Cornell will go on to face Ivy League opponent, Princeton at home, Saturday at 1 p.m.

 

Syracuse goes on the road to play Louisville in its ACC regular season finale Saturday, at 1 p.m.

 

The ACC tournament starts the following Thursday in Richmond, Virginia. The Orange is tied with North Carolina at the top of the conference.

Making It Meaningful – In the Booth

Making It Meaningful – In the Booth

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — You can recognize his voice every weekday on his talk show on 97.7 and calling play-by-play for the Syracuse Crunch. You may even remember him calling Chiefs baseball for Time Warner– but who is the man behind the voice? That voice belongs to Dan D’Uva. And the bigger question just might be […]

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — You can recognize his voice every weekday on his talk show on 97.7 and calling play-by-play for the Syracuse Crunch. You may even remember him calling Chiefs baseball for Time Warner– but who is the man behind the voice? That voice belongs to Dan D’Uva. And the bigger question just might be how does he do it?

“You learn to anticipate what’s next,” D’Uva says.

 

On the go

Although listeners may only hear him a couple to a few hours broadcasting depending on the day, D’Uva’s jobs, yes plural, keep him busy around the clock. On this Friday in particular, he starts his day at the OnCenter War Memorial Arena, home to the Syracuse Crunch. He then breaks away to walk the dozen or so blocks to the ESPN Radio studio in Armory Square for the radio show for a couple of hours, squeezes in time to grab a late lunch on the go, then it’s back to the War Memorial until game time.

Word painting

About 40 minutes before the puck is dropped, the 5’7” D’Uva eases into the cramped broadcast booth in the rafters of the War Memorial, where he plainly is comfortable. He usually is painting the action with words on radio but is calling TV on this Friday night in the same booth. Soon he is adding his words to the live video of the Crunch beating the Binghamton Senators 4-1.

Between periods he is joined by former Crunch captain Luke Witkoswki for an interview.

And no, when the final horn sounds he’s still not done. He does another radio show for the Crunch post-game and then still has to prepare game notes for the following day’s game against the Utica Comets.

Preparation, preparation, preparation

It takes hours and hours to prepare for a game, and even his interns agree that you can never have “too much” material.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from him it’s that your preparation has to be on point,” says Crunch intern Julian McKenzie, a graduate student from Montreal at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. “It’s a bit intense but if you’re really into sports and really into hockey, you can survive Dan D’Uva.”

Whether he’s interviewing players or coaches, gathering stats or preparing game notes, he’s always working.

“No one’s going to outwork him,” says intern Logan Grossman, a Newhouse a third-year student with senior standing from Livingston, N.J. “He’s got more jobs to do than I can count.”

And as if preparing for a game isn’t a ton of work already, D’Uva balances that with his radio show, “In the Booth” that airs daily on ESPN Radio in Syracuse from 2 to 4 p.m. And yes, he has to prepare for this too. The hours just keep on adding up, but D’Uva’s face shows no wear. He couldn’t be happier to do what he’s doing.

Connecting

D’Uva, who just turned 32 in February, enters the radio booth with a childlike enthusiasm as if he can’t believe he gets to do this every day. It’s like he just found the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. But trade in the candy and chocolates for a microphone and sound board. It’s that enthusiasm that keeps listeners coming back and sticking around for more.

“As much as we think about listeners and an audience,” he says, “really a broadcaster’s relationship with the listener, singular, is what makes it meaningful.” D’Uva attributes this to his idol, Marty Glickman. In fact, he proudly displays a photo of Glickman on his desk, not to mention that as an undergraduate he received the Fordham University radio station WFUV’s Marty Glickman Award for excellence in play-by-play.

The show gets going and D’Uva and Seth Goldberg find their groove and talk sports. Goldberg is a 2016 Syracuse grad who produces “In the Booth” and has evolved into being D’Uva’s co-host for most intents and purposes, The chemistry between them is so natural you’d think they’d known each other all their lives, and they do share some roots. They grew up in towns about 30 minutes apart in northern in New Jersey and D’Uva did play-by-play for Goldberg’s school, Livingston High. Yes, the same school intern Logan Grossman comes from.

“They couldn’t find anybody to announce,” Goldberg laughs, “Enter Dan.” Goldberg’s teacher had previously seen D’Uva broadcasting for Ridgewood High School and showed his tapes as an example for what the productions should look like.

It’s now time for listeners to call in and first up is “Wayne from Solvay” calling to thank D’Uva for his generosity for giving his entire family tickets to a Crunch game. They talk some hockey but mostly D’Uva asks about him, he asks about the listener.

“How many kids ya got?” D’Uva asks. “And how old are they?” He says if you make it a personal relationship and with that in mind you make it a closer bond with the people that are listening to you.

“History is human and as a play-by-play broadcaster I get to write the first draft of history,” he says with a grin. He’s still smiling after a 14-hour day that still isn’t quite over.

 

Beginnings

His first ever go at play-by-play came about when he was about eleven years old watching his younger brother play football.

“My dad’s job was to videotape the games,” he remembers,” and I sat next to my dad with a roster and kind of gave play-by-play a shot.” And since then his interest and passion for sports broadcasting grew. During a journalism class at George Washington Middle School in Ridgewood, D’Uva and his friend Guy Benson both declared that they wanted to become sports broadcasters and from then there was no looking back.

“We started making play-by-play tapes in my basement of Yankees and Mets games,” he chuckles. “We plotted that by the time we got to high school we would start doing our school’s football, hockey and lacrosse games.” And by the time the two graduated they were on in 280,000 homes in three counties in northern New Jersey. D’Uva started at Syracuse and transferred to Fordham when broadcast jobs in the New York City area presented themselves, while Benson headed off to Northwestern.

But the two wanted to continue broadcasting together so they started the broadcast network for the Cape Cod Baseball League. And since its inception Benson has moved from sports broadcasting to news and politics, making a name for himself as a conservative pundit and contributor to Fox News. But the duo is reuniting this summer for the 15th anniversary of the Cape Cod Baseball Network where they will team up for a reunion broadcast.

“We’ve stayed close throughout the years,” D’Uva says, “It’s great to look back on how far we’ve come since our days at the GW Post in middle school.”

A pretty neat marriage

Going back to his first go at play-by-play for his brother’s football team, a 14-hour day doesn’t compare to how much time and effort D’Uva has put in to his career.  Although his buddy moved to a different realm of broadcasting, D’Uva is confident he’ll stay in sports. D’Uva has been with the Crunch since 2012.

“It seems to me that it’s a pretty neat marriage of loving sports and loving storytelling that has kept me doing this.”

A Monstrous Undertaking

A Monstrous Undertaking

Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  This year’s Carrier Dome attendance record of 30,448 for the Syracuse men’s basketball team’s Senior Day win over Georgia Tech was shattered on Saturday when Monster Jam rolled into town.  An estimate of around 38,000 were anticipated for the event, with 32,000 tickets sold three days […]

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Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  This year’s Carrier Dome attendance record of 30,448 for the Syracuse men’s basketball team’s Senior Day win over Georgia Tech was shattered on Saturday when Monster Jam rolled into town.  An estimate of around 38,000 were anticipated for the event, with 32,000 tickets sold three days before the show.

Saturday, the “Loud House” truly lived up to its billing.  The sounds of the trucks revving their engines and the roar of the crowd could be heard several blocks away.

Getting the Dirt

But before any of that could happen, there was a monstrous undertaking to get the arena ready.

“This truck just dumped its load, and now it’s going to go out and back around to Skytop,” Lacey Cole said.  The Syracuse University alum, who’s been on the Carrier Dome staff since 2012, was describing the odd sight of a dump truck exiting the structure.

“It’ll get loaded back up with more dirt, and then come back in,” Cole added.  “And they just make this route all day, until the floor is covered.”

Cole and her crew had been outside on the crisp, sunny Wednesday for approximately eight hours at that point.   She was under the assumption that the work was almost complete.

“We probably have around ten more loads,” Cole said.  “That’s a guess, but we probably have around ten more loads.”

Running its Course

There were more than ten loads to go.

“I’m hoping to get out of here by 11:00 pm,” Pete Sala said.  The Vice President of Facilities Operations for Syracuse University had to constantly run in and out of the building for meetings.

“I don’t know if that will happen, depending on these guys with the dirt.  I’ve got to talk to them about that.  I still see we’ve got quite a few deliveries left to get into the building.”

Staying on Track

The long days didn’t start on Wednesday.  On Monday they started to put the plastic down.  They also had to remove any items that could be damaged.

“Plastic on every piece of carpet in the building, wrapped TVs up with garbage bags, things like that,” Sala said.

Sala brought in 65 students to lay down the plastic and plywood for the event.  You can’t just throw all that dirt on the turf.

“6:00 this morning wrapping up the floor covering,” Sala said.  “7:00 this morning talking through the track layout with the dirt crew.  8:00 the first truck rolled in.  And then we’ve just been going non-stop since 8:00 this morning.”

No Room for Air

It was a sight to behold – two dump trucks at a time, driving through the elephant doors at the Dome’s loading dock.  Since the structure’s roof relies on a constant level of air pressure, the trucks had to squeeze in bumper-to-bumper in the corridor, while a member of the crew closed the outside door.  Once shut, he would then open the massive door to the arena.

Get A Load of That

It was bizarre to see the Dome floor covered in dirt.  It was just as strange seeing the construction vehicles moving mounds of the stuff around to shape the piles for jumps.

Sala estimated it was going to take about 200 loads of dirt to get the job done, at least for Wednesday.  They used garbage dumpsters to pour dirt on top of to minimize the amount that needed to be brought in.

The next day was set aside for shaping and building the tracks, along with painting the cars and course.

But that wasn’t the biggest challenge.

 

Monster Traffic Jam

“The toughest part is the unknown, the things people don’t think about,” Sala said.  “The parking is always challenging, because people still think you can leave – the event’s at 7:00, they can leave at 6:30 and get here and walk in the door.”

That was definitely not the case on Saturday.  Syracuse Orange basketball traffic paled in comparison the line of cars for Monster Jam.  Traffic was backed up to the 81/690 interchange.

Getting in that line wasn’t the way to go.  If possible, you had to stay on 690 until the Teall Ave. exit, and then back track.

Once you got to campus, the struggle wasn’t over.  Cars filled every side street for a mile in every direction.  Even if you had a parking pass for a nearby lot, getting there was nearly impossible.

The only way to get to the show on time if you didn’t leave early enough was to find alternative means.

Going the Extra Mile

One man had the right idea.  He was running a rickshaw around campus, at a great rate too – $5 a ride.  He knew the roads to avoid as well.  Though the route was a little longer than a normal trip to the Dome from Marshall Square Mall – including a stroll through Oakwood cemetery – it was well worth it.

Every person that you passed turned to look, smiling or pointing fingers in amazement.  It was a show in and of itself, before the actual show began.

Jam-Packed

Once inside the Dome, it was quite a sight to see.  Fans were actually filling the upper sections all the way around.  Granted, the bottom sections near the track were blocked off for safety.  Still it was impressive.

The track was colorfully decked out in blue and orange, probably not by coincidence.  That wasn’t the only sight to see on the Dome floor.

The monster trucks were all lined up next to one another on the west end of the arena.  They stood out for their bright paint jobs – an Easter egg assortment of greens, yellows, and blues.

The size of the trucks was hard to miss as well.  When four military servicemen came out to sing the national anthem, they were dwarfed by the beasts on 65-inch tires.

The ‘Loud House’

When the trucks started rolling, the arena was deafening.  It was easy to see why they’re such an attraction.  The raw power and force of these machines at full speed as they burst around the dirt track was a sight to behold.

“As a guy I love it,” Don Baker, a Carrier Dome vendor said.  “The big horse power, loud noise, dirt – life is good.”

The fans actually rivaled the decibel count in the ‘loud house,’ cheering on their favorite drivers and trucks.

In fact it was so loud, the Dome itself couldn’t contain the noise.  Outside, as some last minute stragglers finally found their way into the arena, they no doubt could hear both the engines and the audience’s adrenaline revving.  Some oblivious passersby even stopped to ask what was going on inside.

Heading down the hill past the castle-like Setnor school of music, with a full moon lighting the way, it was still very audible and apparent – something monstrous was running wild in the night

No. 1 Orange Men Whip Big Red

No. 1 Orange Men Whip Big Red

Story by Jacqueline Mundry Photos by Dontae Harris SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Tensions run high during almost every game, but especially against longtime rivals. That was especially true on Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome when the No. 1 Syracuse Orange (9-1, 3-0 ACC) defeated the Cornell Big Red (3-7, 2-2 Ivy League), 15-8. Seven penalties […]

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Story by Jacqueline Mundry

Photos by Dontae Harris

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Tensions run high during almost every game, but especially against longtime rivals. That was especially true on Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome when the No. 1 Syracuse Orange (9-1, 3-0 ACC) defeated the Cornell Big Red (3-7, 2-2 Ivy League), 15-8.

Seven penalties were assessed against the Orange and six on the Big Red totaling 12 minutes. Five were for unsportsmanlike conduct and another for unnecessary roughness on Cornell’s goalie, Christian Knight.

“I don’t think it was that chippy, honestly, it’s Cornell and Syracuse.” Cornell head coach Matt Kerwick said. “I think that the tradition of this game and the history of this game, back in the day that’d be nothing.”

Familiar Faces

Sophomore attack, Nate Solomon got into it with Cornell’s Brandon Salvatore less than three minutes into the game and both were called for unsportsmanlike.

Syracuse’s Brendan Bomberry and Cornell’s Marshall Peters were flagged for a scuffle early in the fourth quarter. With under six minutes left, the Big Red’s goalie, Knight slammed a shoulder into SU’s Tyler Ford, who’d just cross-checked another Cornell player, earning the roughness call on Knight.

“I just think, we know a lot of people on Cornell, they know a lot of our friends as well, and it’s just a big in-state rival,”  Solomon said.

History

It was the 102nd meeting between the Central New York two teams. They first met in 1920, and Syracuse has ruled the series with a 65-36-1 all-time.

Only Cornell and Hobart (138 games), Johns Hopkins and Maryland (113) and Syracuse and Hobart (103) have played each other more.

Syracuse also has gotten the win in two national championship games against the Big Red.

But last year Cornell upset the Orange 10-9 in overtime at Schoellkopf Field and was looking to do it again Tuesday night.

Big run, face-off control

Cornell took two-goal leads over Syracuse twice in the first half, until Syracuse went on a 4-0 run to end the half and scored ten in a row over the second and third quarters to put the game out of reach.

Not only did the Orange dominate offensively, but Ben Williams, who had been in a slump, won 20 of 26 face-offs. Head coach John Desko said that had a lot to do with the team’s dominance.

“It makes it easier when you score a goal and get the ball right back, you get into a real rhythm of your offense and they didn’t get any opportunities to get the ball to the defensive end of the field and slow things down,” Desko said.

Williams said this comes from practicing as a face-off team throughout the week.

“I think our face-off group has done a good job at keeping our heads down and working week to week,” Williams said. “The wings did a phenomenal job too.”

#1

This week the Orange is ranked number one in the AP poll but Desko’s players say they’re not really thinking about it.

“We’ve got bigger goals ahead of us than the number one seed,” senior attack Jordan Evans said.

Evans, who recorded a hat trick, has been a member of the Orange for all four years and he said this year is special.

“We’ve been focusing more on ourselves than we have on other teams, this is one of the tightest units I’ve been a part of,” Evans said.

Rest

With the seven point lead, Desko had the opportunity to rest some of his players.

“We were fortunate to get in a lot of players tonight for two reasons, so they could get some experience and to rest some of our starting group because we’re going to be hopping on a plane on Friday morning.” Desko said.

Although he would have liked to play a full 60 minutes at full strength, he understands the demands of playing two games in a week.


Up Next

The Orange will have a quick turnaround as it takes on the reigning national champion North Carolina Tar Heels (6-5, 1-1 ACC) on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Tar Heels are fresh off a win over Virginia.

The Tar Heels and SU Women will play at noon in the opener of a doubleheader in Chapel Hill.

The Big Red are set to host Lehigh on Saturday at 1 p.m.