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Student Reporting Archive

A Night at the Show

A Night at the Show

In which our intrepid reporter gives us a look from the cheap seats at WWE in Syracuse on St. Patrick’s Day. Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio Video package:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M8P67T7NIY&t=64s SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty big deal in Syracuse.  People often call in sick, or take vacation time, to head […]

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In which our intrepid reporter gives us a look from the cheap seats at WWE in Syracuse on St. Patrick’s Day.

Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio

Video package:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M8P67T7NIY&t=64s

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty big deal in Syracuse.  People often call in sick, or take vacation time, to head to Tipperary Hill on the seventeenth of March.  93Q’s Ted and Amy were there for the 25th straight year, bright and early at seven am, broadcasting live from Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub.  Though early in the morning, all of the bar stools were spoken for.

Throughout the day, the bar saw more and more authentic and would-be Irishmen come to its doorstep.

Few dare hold a non-Irish-themed event on St. Patrick’s Day, off Tip hill no less.

World Wrestling Entertainment bucked the trend, and scheduled it’s live event at Onondaga County War Memorial on St. Patrick’s Day evening, a mere two miles away.

Call it an oversight of Syracuse culture, or confidence in brand popularity, but WWE anticipated a strong turnout.

In fact, WWE Live was the bigger draw on the night – 3,500 strong according to profightdb.com.
Of course Coleman’s can’t fit that many inside.

 

Step right up

They came to the War memorial in droves.  Dozens at a time crossed the intersection of Harrison and State Streets.  They all passed the usual saxophonist playing for events in the area as they approached the front doors to the building.

They had to walk past one of the large WWE trucks that hauled ring and production gear, plastered with the faces of John Cena and Roman Reigns.

WWE t-shirts of superstars like Cena and Reigns, along with Irishmen Sheamus and Finn Balor, outnumbered the green gear on this block.

Whether WWE recognized it or not, some fans agreed that scheduling the event on this night changed their plans.

“Well of course, St. Patrick’s Day is partying night,” Jared Crimmins said.  He came from Oswego to see superstars such as Kevin Owens.  “Why drink when you can see these guys live in action for the first time ever?”

He was there, wearing a black Sheamus t-shirt with green shamrocks on the front, to represent both parts of the special day.  He brought his girlfriend, Shirley Congdon. She was interested in seeing another Irishman, the up-and-coming superstar Finn Balor.  When asked why she was in downtown Syracuse, instead of out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, her answer was simple.

“Oh we love WWE,” Congdon said.  “We watch it every Monday and Tuesday night.”

“The price for this is priceless,” Crimmins added.

And children of all ages

There were more than a few children heading into the War Memorial, accompanied by moms and dads, aunts and uncles.  Many claimed they were there for their kids, but there was a gleam of excitement in their eyes as well.

One father said his son had been watching for five years.  He’s watched for 35-40 years.

Matt Lyon brought his son Jacob, a Brock Lesnar fan, to the event as well. Asked if they changed their plans for the day to come to the event, the father had a simple answer.

“No,” he said with a laugh.  “He had to see it.”

Interviews:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXys6WIAe5w&t=301s


Storm brewing?

When Joe Jarmuz and his friend Wes Alberts arrived on the scene, they were hard to miss.  It wasn’t because of any outlandish gear or crazy hairstyle, rather Jarmuz’s unique personality.

He immediately jumped in front of the camera, and gave a fake weather report as if about to be blown away by a grade-five hurricane.

“Wes and I have been talking about it forever,” Jarmuz said.  “We’ve been watching pay-per-views together, and it finally came to our town.  Here we are.”

When asked why they weren’t out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, they immediately answered.

“We are celebrating!” Jarmuz said.

“This is the real American way of celebrating St. Patty’s,” Alberts added.

Arthur Hunt wasn’t shy about letting his thoughts known, though his wife would have preferred he didn’t.  The lifelong fan from Mississippi knew exactly who he came to see.

“Bayley and Roman Reigns!” Hunt said.

He said the fact that it’s St. Patrick’s Day didn’t affect his plans either.  While some call in to work to go party – he scheduled the day off ahead of time to see WWE live.

“My boss called me and asked if I wanted to work tonight, and I said ‘Nope, I’ve got plans,’” he said.  The boss then asked if he was going to wrestling.

“Yes I am,” he said with a wide grin.

Obstacle course

Once they all headed inside, there was a long, and very slow line to buy tickets for the unfortunate ones who didn’t plan ahead.

To make matters worse for them, the doors to the arena were open, and they could see the popular combo of Enzo Amore and Big Cass in the ring, addressing the crowd.  Amore is a very charismatic, over-the-top sort of character, who isn’t afraid to speak out – so long as his seven-foot-tall friend Big Cass has his back.

Though several missed it, Big Cass ended up winning a one-on-one matchup with the nefarious Jinder Mahal.

Once fans got their tickets, they likely hopped at the end of the next line to grab some WWE merchandise – conveniently located on the way to the arena doors.  The vendor seemed frustrated with the children belaboring the decision between a Roman Reigns’ vest or the latest John Cena t-shirt.

But eventually, families and friends found their seats, and focused their attention on the show.  The closer the better, per usual with the seating, but even up high the seats weren’t all that bad.

Slide show here:

In the house

House shows, or untelevised live events, typically draw a different reaction from the crowd as do the weekly broadcasts of Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live.  Fans more or less cheer for the superstars that the company wants them to cheer for –ahem, Roman Reigns for example.

The first match of the night after the Enzo and Cass segment was an eight-man-tag match.  The good guys, or faces as they’re known in the business, consisted of R-Truth, Goldust, Sin Cara and Curtis Axel.  They squared off with the likes of Bo Dallas, the tag team of Epico and Primo, and Titus O’Neill.

All eight men are very capable in the ring, and have been performing for years.  Goldust in particular started wrestling with the company in the late nineties.

The fans gobbled up everything the performers did, including singing along with the rap entrance as Goldust and R-Truth headed to the ring.  If this match had taken place on Monday Night Raw, there would either be boos from the crowd – or far worse, the dreaded silence.

The show

As the night went on, the names got bigger.  A Cruiserweight Championship match between champion Neville and challenger Rich Swann.  A tag match featuring the popular stars Finn Balor and Sami Zayn against the much larger tandem of Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe.

Owens, the top bad guy, or ‘heel’ in the company, opened up to the crowd before the match about his ties to Syracuse.  He endeared himself to the fans by saying he spent a lot of time training here, and had a lot of good memories of Syracuse, leading to loud cheers from the crowd.

He then followed up by saying how things seem better the farther away you get from them, coming to the stark realization now that “Syracuse sucks.”  Fans were no longer enamored of him after that comment.

After a great performance with four of the company’s top grapplers, Zayn and Balor came away with the win.

Fans were given a 15-minute intermission.  Restrooms and concession stands were a popular choice during the break, but they had nothing on the merchandise booth. People were still waiting in line for gear when the entrants for the next match came out.

Cherish the ladies

The arena crowd cheered loudly for the women’s champion, Bayley, as she made her entrance with the wacky inflatable tube men on stage.  Arthur Hunt was probably among the loudest supporters.

She partnered with Sasha Banks for a women’s tag match against the monstrous Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair, daughter of the 16-time world champion Ric Flair.

Though the top women’s heel, Flair was met with a chorus of “Woos,” the catchphrase made famous by her hall of fame father.

The ladies put on a high-level performance, where the good side ultimately won, per the norm for untelevised live events.  The only time that a heel will win is if he or she is the champion.  Titles don’t change hands at house shows.

Irish eyes

One of the highlights of the night came during a triple threat tag match for the tag team championship belts.  The champions, notorious bad guys Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, garnered their fair share of boos from the crowd.  Though they ended up winning the match, they were disposed of at the end to make way for an entertaining segment for the crowd.

The other two teams, the New Day and Cesaro and Sheamus, were in the ring, dancing to the New Day’s music.  Sheamus, your typical tough-guy Irishman, wasn’t having it.  So Kofi Kingston of the New Day convinced the production crew to play something he’d be more comfortable with, since it was St. Patty’s Day after all.

After about 30 seconds of an old Irish song playing throughout the arena, and Sheamus’ tag partner Cesaro giving him a blinking green shamrock necklace that he borrowed from a fan at ringside, Sheamus obliged and sang the song for a few bars.

“Happy Patty’s Day!” he yelled to the crowd, receiving a big reaction.

Literal big finish

In the main event, the polarizing new face of the company, Roman Reigns, took on the massive Braun Strowman.  Thus far, Strowman has steamrolled through the competition, with his lone loss coming at the hands of Reigns a few weeks back on the pay-per-view “Fastlane.”

Strowman dominated for much of the match, with Reigns getting in a few spurts of offense here and there.  He had his chance toward the end of the match, delivering three “Superman punches” – a running jump with a fist to the opponent’s head – to knock his foe down.  When Strowman kicked out, the action spilled to the outside.  The fans oohed and ahhed with each traded blow.

In the end, Reigns won by disqualification on the outside, the cause of which was hard to discern.  Still, fans were treated to a more enjoyable resolution when Reigns gave Strowman his patented “spear” to send him packing.

Reigns’ music played as he walked around the ring, posing for fans, and climbing up on the turnbuckles to pander to the crowd.

Children, as well as some older fans, scrambled to the ramp to get an up close glimpse at their conquering hero, and maybe if they were lucky, get a picture or autograph, or even a fist bump.

Reigns raised his hands confidently one last time at the top of the ramp before heading backstage, and concluding the show.

Exeunt

Fans immediately gathered their things and made their way through the throngs of people to the exits.  While some lingered to soak in the experience, the majority pushed their way ahead through the arena doors.

The merchandise booth got a few people to stop, but the bulk of the crowd made their way into the cold St. Patrick’s Day night.  They were buzzing about the experience as they made their way down State Street, back to their vehicles.

When one older father and son pairing, Don and Mike Schad, were asked if they were glad they chose seeing WWE instead of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, they didn’t hesitate with their answer.

“Oh yes!” the father said.

“It was awesome!” the son added.

Putting on the Dogs

Putting on the Dogs

Story, photos and video by Bridget Chavez SYRACUSE, N.Y. — We’ve all heard the saying if you fall down, pick yourself up and try again. That’s exactly what you’ll see if you walk into the Syracuse Obedience Training Club on Deere Road in Syracuse. On this evening in particular, Han Solo is working on perfecting […]

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Story, photos and video by Bridget Chavez

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — We’ve all heard the saying if you fall down, pick yourself up and try again. That’s exactly what you’ll see if you walk into the Syracuse Obedience Training Club on Deere Road in Syracuse. On this evening in particular, Han Solo is working on perfecting his stance and balance. The black and white with touches of brown Smooth Collie is working on becoming a champion show dog. He needs to earn a total of 15 points at multiple dog shows to become a champion.

“Ah, ah, buddy put your leg back up,” the trainer calls from outside of Ring 2. Han tries to balance himself on four small wooden platforms. One for each paw. The dog struggles to keep his balance but ultimately stumbles on his hind legs.

He lets out a small whine as if to say, “I messed up. I can do better. Let me try again.”

“No dog is perfect,” Candace Ardizzone of Travler Collies says, “but it’s working to get as close as possible to perfection.

Lifetime love

Ardizzone has been breeding and handling dogs since she was eight years old. Ardizzone’s parents took her to get a puppy and the breeder was saving the Collie for a show home, where dogs are bred for dog shows, such as the Salt City Cluster at the New York State Fairgrounds, where we met Ardizzone.

“And my parents said, ‘Oh, that sounds like a fun hobby,” she laughs, “Little did they know. The petite 58-year-old is just as passionate for the sport today as she was when she was a little girl, passing on her love for dogs to her daughter.

“I’ve been doing this since before I was born,” daughter Bree laughs. The 24-year-old says she does it simply because of the dogs. The two say they’ve handled other breeds but Collies are the breed they are passionate about.

“There’s nothing like the phone call at the end of the day to tell the owner I got a point on your dog,” Bree says,”Nothing like that feeling.”

More than a pretty face

But these Collies in particular serve a greater purpose beyond the ring. Many of them go on to work as service dogs for people with disabilities. They work with Freedom Guide Dogs in Utica, N.Y. and have about 30 Collies working as service dogs helping veterans with PTSD, children with autism, a woman with diabetes and guiding the visually impaired, to name a few.

“As much as I love hearing how beautiful they are from the judges my dogs do more than that,” Ardizzone says, “They make a difference to humans and make their lives better.” One in particular that stands out is a Rough Collie by the name of Freddy. Not only is he a champion, but he now lives on a farm herding sheep and guiding his blind best friend.

Ardizzone says the skills the dogs learn to compete in shows transfer over to skills needed as a service dog. After several failed attempts, Han finally stands on the four small wooden platforms with ease.

“Once they’ve got it, they’ve got it,” Bree says. Standing on the platforms in particular trains the dog to be still and maintain posture for shows, but also if Han goes on to become a service dog he already has learned to stand at attention and remain still.

“They just know,” Ardizzone says.

 

 

Red Wings Sweep Doubleheader, Series over Chiefs

Red Wings Sweep Doubleheader, Series over Chiefs

Story by Jake Lapin Photos by Brianna Adams SYRACUSE, N.Y. — On a day so nice, why not play twice? At 65-degrees for the first pitch of each game of a doubleheader, it was hard to remember the first two games were rained out. However, it was pouring in the form of Rochester hits as […]

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Story by Jake Lapin
Photos by Brianna Adams

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — On a day so nice, why not play twice? At 65-degrees for the first pitch of each game of a doubleheader, it was hard to remember the first two games were rained out.

However, it was pouring in the form of Rochester hits as the Red Wings (3-0) swept the Syracuse Chiefs (0-3) winning 6-2 and 10-4 at NBT Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon, to sweep the three-game season-opening series.

Syracuse manager Billy Gardner was not available for comment after the doubleheader.

 

Game One

The Chiefs finally crossed home plate in their second game of the season, but the Red Wings used a four-run sixth to propel themselves to the victory on the road.

The Red Wings entered that inning trailing 2-1. After three singles tied things up at two, Ben Paulsen broke the tie with a monster three-run homer out toward the tents in right field off of reliever Rafael Martin.

Syracuse starter Jacob Turner looked solid in the first three innings of his Chiefs debut, but was pulled in the fourth with the bases loaded. His final line was three hits and an earned run as he walked three and struck out four.

Game Two

Rochester had a steady stream of scoring to pull away in the second game of the day. The Red Wings had a three-run fifth thanks to back-to-back home runs by Daniel Palka and Paulsen, his second of the afternoon and third in as many games. Paulsen hit a grand slam on Saturday in Rochester’s 10-0 win.

They tacked on five more in the sixth, all with two out thanks to a couple of doubles and another blast from Palka.

Taylor Hill got the start for the Chiefs. Hill, who was supposed to be the starter on Opening Day, had his season debut pushed back due to the rainouts. He picked up the loss, tossing four-and-two-thirds innings and relinquishing five runs, including three homers.

Down 10-1 entering the final frame, the Chiefs led off the inning with back-to-back-to-back home runs from Clint Robinson, Brandon Snyder and then Matt Skole. When the fireworks ended the Chiefs were still six runs short.

Runners in Scoring Position

Syracuse is just one-for-the-season batting with runners in scoring position, courtesy of a Brian Goodwin RBI single in the first game. Pedro Severino walked with the bases loaded for the other run, and all four of the Chiefs’ runs in game two came on solo home runs.

The Chiefs went just 1-for-10 with RISP on the day, and left seven men on base. The Red Wings left 16 men on throughout the day, including stranding the bases loaded on two separate occasions. However, Rochester went a convincing 8-for-21 with RISP.

 

Boeheim Added Value Day

Syracuse University men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim threw out the first pitch, right down the pipe to Trevor Gott.

“It’s great to be here today, another typical day in Syracuse, New York,” Boeheim told the crowd. “Seventy degrees, sunshine. That’s why we love living here.”

The Chiefs hosted Boeheim Added Value Day in response to the Greensboro, North Carolina Grasshoppers’ Boeheim (No) Value Night. That’s in response to the coach’s comment during the ACC Tournament that there is no value to holding that tournament in Greensboro.

Boeheim also told the crowd that he had a big recruit at the game, but did not specify who. Syracuse.com reported that prospect Jordan Tucker was expected to visit this weekend.

Boeheim signed autographs on the concourse during the first few innings of the game.

 

Other Notes

One of the Sunday games was a makeup from Thursday. The Friday game is to be played later in the season.

Goodwin went 3-for-4 day with three singles and an RBI in the first game, following up his Golden Sombrero, four strikeouts, on Opening Day. He finished the doubleheader a combined 3-for-7, adding a couple more strikeouts to his season total.

With twice as many games on the schedule, the Chiefs brought in more than twice the attendance of Opening Day. More than 4,800 fans made their way to NBT Bank Stadium at some point on Sunday during the doubleheader.

The Chiefs used six pitchers in nine innings in a 10-0 rout on Opening Day. In Sunday’s doubleheader, the Chiefs used six pitchers in 14 innings, surrendering 16 runs in the process. Syracuse has already used 10 different pitchers in the team’s first three games, with a team ERA of 10.2.

 

What’s Next

The Chiefs hit the road for the first time year, with a four-game set against the Pawtucket Red Sox and then another three games against Rochester.

The Red Wings still have four more games on the road in Buffalo before their home-opening series when they welcome in the Chiefs next weekend.

OT Win for Orange Women Lacrosse

OT Win for Orange Women Lacrosse

Story by Jacqueline Mundry Photos by Dontae Harris   SYRACUSE N.Y. —  The first day it really feels like spring always draws a lot of people outside, the No. 11 Orange women’s lacrosse (10-4, 3-1 ACC) team had a chance to take advantage of the warm weather too, hosting  No. 15 Virginia Tech (11-5, 2-3 […]

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Story by Jacqueline Mundry
Photos by Dontae Harris
 
SYRACUSE N.Y. —  The first day it really feels like spring always draws a lot of people outside, the No. 11 Orange women’s lacrosse (10-4, 3-1 ACC) team had a chance to take advantage of the warm weather too, hosting  No. 15 Virginia Tech (11-5, 2-3 ACC) at the SU Soccer Stadium on Senior Day, Sunday.
Under sunny skies with the temperature pushing 70, the two teams gave the crowd of 1.433 a show, seesawing back and forth until SU eventually won 12-11 with a free position goal by redshirt freshman Mary Rahal in overtime.
SU head coach Gary Gait said his team had a slow start but, “never gave up and kept battling.”
“It was a battle, it was a great day for lacrosse, beautiful weather out, Virginia Tech’s for real,” he said. “They came in and jumped on us early.”
Strong Hokie defense

Syracuse (11-4, 4-1 ACC) took a 2-0 lead but the Hokies (11-5, 2-3) came back to lead 6-4 at the half. The Orange had 13 turnovers in the half, giving Virginia Tech opportunities to score. Senior attack Devon Parker said SU was focused on the Hokies’ defense after watching film of how they played this week.In the second half the Orange only had six turnovers. Parker said, “focusing more on our offense instead of their defense,” helped keep the turnover count down.”
“When you can move the ball and not turn it over then you can get some scoring opportunities and that’s what happened,” Gait said.
Change in the net
 
At the beginning of the second half SU’s starting goalkeeper Asa Goldstock was replaced with sophomore Bri Stahrr.
“I was just trying to get a different flow in the goalie end,” Gait said. “Asa’s been playing okay but not great and I just wanted to give Bri a chance to see if she could step up and make some big saves.”
Stahrr said she thinks she played “alright.”
“There were definitely one or two that I could have saved but a win’s a win I guess,” she said.

Stahrr received support from her teammates and coaches heading into the net. She said at practice every day one person has to say something to the team and a few days ago it was her turn so she offered a quote from The Kite Runner – “For you a thousand times over.”

Right before Stahrr entered the game, junior defender Kathy Rudkin pulled her aside and said, “For you a thousand times over.”


Second half back and forth

The Hokies made it 7-4 early in the second half before the Orange went on a 5-1 run and Parker’s goal put Syracuse up 9-8.Tech tied it on Zan Biedenharn’s 28th goal of the season but consecutive goals by Emily Hawryschuk (her 23rd and 24th) gave Syracuse an 11-9 lead with 6:27 left in regulation.

Marissa Davey’s 28th goal of the year got the Hokies within one at 1:45 and then with just four seconds left, Taylor Caskey scored off a free position to send it into overtime.

Rahal got her turn just 1:23 into the overtime and she made it count. It was her 20th goal of the season.

 

Contributions

Gait said the win was a team effort. That rings true on both sides of the ball as there were six Hokies who scored goals, including Davey, who recorded the team’s only hat trick (3 goals.)
On the other side, the Orange had hat tricks from Hawryschuk and Parker.
Up next
Both of the Hokies last two games have been lost in overtime but they look to change that when they travel to South Bend to take on the No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday at 1.
The Orange will also hit the road and  to play No. 2 North Carolina on Saturday at noon.
Red Wings Blank Chiefs in Season Opener

Red Wings Blank Chiefs in Season Opener

Story and Photos by Jacqueline Mundry  SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It wasn’t the opening day they’d scheduled, and it certainly was not the outcome they would have preferred but they Syracuse Chiefs finally were able to open their season Saturday afternoon after two days of rainouts. The sun was shining with the temperature in the mid […]

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Story and Photos by Jacqueline Mundry

 SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It wasn’t the opening day they’d scheduled, and it certainly was not the outcome they would have preferred but they Syracuse Chiefs finally were able to open their season Saturday afternoon after two days of rainouts.

The sun was shining with the temperature in the mid 40s for the nearly two thousand people that came out to NBT Bank Stadium to watch the Rochester Red Wings shut out the Chiefs 10-0.

New season, same goal

Last season the Red Wings had hopes of making the Wild Card until the final week of the regular season when they fell 4-and-a-half games behind Wild Card contention and 10-and-a-half games behind the division frontrunner, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRaiders.

The Red Wings came out ready to play opening the new season.

Their starting pitcher, Jose Berrios, pitched six innings and gave up three hits before being relieved by D.J. Baxendale who pitched for the remainder of the game, allowing just one hit.

“Anytime you’re going against a quality starter like Berrios, you gotta get to him early and if you don’t, it gets too much for them,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said.

 

Bullpen trouble

The Red Wings not only shut down the Chiefs’ bats, but their offense lit up the Syracuse pitchers. The problems started early on when Joe Ross gave up six hits and four runs in two and two-thirds innings. Ross is beginning the season in Syracuse but is expected to be the fifth starter on the Washington Nationals roster, assuming he is healthy.

Gardner said he thought Ross looked “pretty sharp.”

“I think there were some good things, I thought the ball came out pretty good, and he showed some good sliders so there’s some good stuff that came away from it, I know the numbers don’t look real good,” he said. “He came out good in that first inning, then had to fight to get through some traffic in the second inning.”

When Ross was removed Neal Cotts pitched one and one third inning followed by Austin Adams, Dustin Antolin, Mike Broadway and Trevor Gott. The Red Wings scored their ten runs on a dozen hits. The highlight was left fielder Ben Paulsen’s grand slam off Antolin in a six-run seventh inning for Rochester.

 

Up Next

They didn’t see a home team win but Chiefs fans got to go on the field to meet and play catch with the Syracuse players before they meet the Red Wings again Sunday.

The two teams are set to play a doubleheader beginning at 1:05. It’s also Jim Boeheim Added Value Day with the SU men’s basketball coach slated to throw out the first pitch and then greet fans with his wife Juli for about an hour.

Rochester and Syracuse are scheduled to.meet 17 times total this season.

 

Washed Out

Washed Out

Story and photo by Jake Lapin SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Mother Nature was the winner on Opening Day in Syracuse, Thursday as the few Chiefs fans who’d come out hoping to see their team in action against the Rochester Red Wings went away disappointed. Chiefs management had been holding out hope of getting the game in, […]

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Story and photo by Jake Lapin

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Mother Nature was the winner on Opening Day in Syracuse, Thursday as the few Chiefs fans who’d come out hoping to see their team in action against the Rochester Red Wings went away disappointed.

Chiefs management had been holding out hope of getting the game in, but about 20 minutes before the scheduled 2:05 p.m. first pitch, an announcement was made over the public address system that the game had been postponed due to expected inclement weather. Friday’s game was postponed as well.

It was just a drizzle at the time but the National Weather Service had issued a flood watch for much of Central New York through 8 o’clock Saturday morning.

Take two days and try again

Opening Day is rescheduled for Saturday afternoon with the scheduled Thursday game now set to be played on Sunday as part of a doubleheader, and Friday’s game postponed until Aug. 4 to be part of a doubleheader as well.

The rain around some promotions at the ballpark. The 53 or Free guarantee, which offers fans a free ticket of the same or lesser value to another game if the weather is below 53 degrees at first pitch, will now be in effect for Saturday when the high for the day is forecast to be 45.

Jim Boeheim Added Value Night has been rescheduled as well. Originally planned for Friday, Boeheim T-shirts will now be given away to the first 1,004 fans on Sunday, but the coach himself is no longer expected to make an appearance because of a prior conflict.

In for the Long Run

In for the Long Run

Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go somewhere and have every single person know your name? And no, we’re not talking about Cheers, “where everybody knows your name.”  Penny Noll of Cazenovia knows exactly what that’s like. Video package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqsbvCi6vWM&feature=youtu.be Pre-race Walking […]

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Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go somewhere and have every single person know your name? And no, we’re not talking about Cheers, “where everybody knows your name.”  Penny Noll of Cazenovia knows exactly what that’s like.

Video package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqsbvCi6vWM&feature=youtu.be

Pre-race
Walking into Fleet Feet on Erie Boulevard for packet pick up, you’d think Noll is a local celebrity to the Central New York running world and in a way she is. Folding tables labeled alphabetically by last name line the room and more than 6,000 runner’s bibs are neatly organized in red plastic containers. But as Noll walks up to the table labeled “N,” she’s greeted by every single volunteer in a highlighter orange t-shirt. Before she even utters a a word, they’ve already pulled her bib and have her packet ready for her. Now that she has her bib she ducks under the table, slips a volunteer shirt on and helps the next runner waiting.
Noll has been volunteering with the Syracuse Half Marathon since its inception in 2013. Usually, she sticks to volunteering, but this year she’s running the race.
“There’s some sort of magic that happens on that start line,” Noll says as she hands a racer his bib. “I feel all excited and a little bit nervous.”
Noll began racing when she turned 50 because she says she realized her kids were getting older and she wanted to make sure she would still be around. One by one runners come to Noll’s line to pick up their packets. Each is greeted and congratulated as if part of her own family.
“Congratulations!” she says to everyone racing and of course her motherly tendencies come out as well, “Now be sure you have everything and make sure you don’t forget this come race day,” she lectures.
She’s earned that right having run a combined total of 33 half marathons and full marathons in the last 15 years.
“I thought to myself, I want to be around for grandchildren,” the mother of two says, “I want to be healthy and I want to take care of myself.”
She started off by walking her dog around the block and progressed from there.
“A little more each day,” she laughs. And about a year later she was running her first half marathon. But Noll’s love for running developed further and she soon became a racing coach for the YMCA in Syracuse as well as a race coordinator and volunteer.
“She literally gets you through the race,” Kathy Krzykowski says. Noll helped her train for this race and she says she couldn’t have come this far without her support.
Race Day
 
Now, a cold, rainy Sunday morning makes most people want to curl up and stay in bed all day, but not for Noll who will turn 65 in June. Long before the sunrise she was literally up and at’em making sure every last detail was in place for the Syracuse Half Marathon.
The YMCA Runners of Syracuse gathered an hour before the start time in a corner of the OnCenter. Noll runs around throughout the morning counting heads to make sure everyone is there and ready to go. She also has a handful of gift bags for the runners she’s coached running their first race. The bags have a water bottle, energy bar, Gatorade, an orange and running goo.
Vicki O’Connor, who is also a member of the YMCA runners, says Noll has been with her from the beginning.
“She actually ran my first half marathon with me side by side,” O’Connor says of Noll. “It was such a gift.
On the Line
 
As the start time draws near an announcement is made over the loudspeaker for all racers to take their places at the starting line. Noll makes her way out of the OnCenter and into the cold to find her place in the starting pen.
“Good luck!” she squeals to a group of women from the YMCA.
“You’re going to be great,” she tells one nervous runner. “You’ve made it this far you can do it.”
Noll finds a spot near the guardrail and begins stretching. The sound of the crowd drowns out the music playing at the start line. After several tries, the announcer is finally able to make his announcement that the race will begin shortly.
The National Anthem blares over the loudspeaker and the crowd falls silent. Runners with American flags raise them high above the crowd.
“And here we go…” the announcer bellows. “Three….two…..one…” Bang the gun goes off and Noll along with more than 6,000 runners is off.
 
Post Race
Just over two hours and twenty minutes in, Noll is nearing the finish line. Now by this time many runners have a look of utter exhaustion on their faces, but her face lights up at the sight of the finish line.
“We can do this,” she encourages those alongside her. Noll finishes the race at the two hour and 22 minute mark. Vicki O’Connor from the YMCA is there to greet and give her the coveted medallion marking the accomplishment. The two embrace and Noll takes a quick walk to congratulate more runners.
“Okay, now I’m off again, “she says. She begins running the course backwards, seeking out the runners she’s been coaching and anyone who looks like they may need some extra encouragement.
She disappears out of sight, but soon is running side by side with a runner.
“You’re doing great. It’s all you from here,” she says. And again turns back around to seek out more runners. Returning again over and over with more runners. Doing this several times over, Noll ran alongside seven runners to help them cross the finish line.
Like the Energizer Bunny, Penny Noll keeps going and going.

 

Orange Physique

Orange Physique

Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It smells like the inside of a sweaty sock, and the blaring hum of the giant fans competing with someone’s Spotify playlist don’t exactly make you want to get your workout on. But for a lot of students at Syracuse University, getting a workout in at […]

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Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It smells like the inside of a sweaty sock, and the blaring hum of the giant fans competing with someone’s Spotify playlist don’t exactly make you want to get your workout on. But for a lot of students at Syracuse University, getting a workout in at Archbold Gymnasium is just something you have to do.

Walking into the gym you find yourself on the basketball court and usually a few students are shooting some hoops. A giant curtain stretched from the floor to the ridiculously high ceiling shields typical gym equipment from a basketball gone astray.

As soon as you get to the other side past the curtain, you find two rows filled treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines and bikes and in the third row weight lifting machines. Beyond this area is a profusion of benches, barbells, squat racks and an entire wall dedicated to free weights. And while the gym is typically filled with students of all shapes, weights and sizes, two in particular have been spending a large amount of their time here lately.

Once their workout is finished most students hightail it out of there as fast as possible, but Jermaine Shavers Jr. and Justin Villani can’t get enough of this place.

Pumped

Have you ever seen a kid light up with excitement and eyes nearly bug out of his or her head visiting Disneyland for the first time? Well, imagine that, add about four feet and 175 pounds, some facial hair, a couple of bro tanks and you can’t miss Shavers and Villani at Archbold Gym pumping iron. And I doubt you’d miss them but just in case, their “favorite ride” in their “happiest place on earth” is the free weight section.

Villani, a 6’1” 213 lb. junior from the Philadelphia suburb of Moorestown, N.J. is a pretty big guy but Shavers, a grad student from Jacksonville, Fla. Is even bigger at 6’5” and 235.

In between sets of shoulder presses Shavers says what they’re doing isn’t just a regular fitness routine.

“To be able to build and create you know, like what you feel you should be or what you want to be is really dope,” he says.

Strong Support

Moving on to the bench press, Shavers spots Villani benching more than 150 pounds. “Come on, come on,” he says. Having recently committed themselves to the competitive sport of body building, the two are each other’s primary sources of support.

“I saw the results of others and I thought, ‘Hey I think I want to try that,” Villani says, finishing up a set of squats. The two say they’ve been gym goers throughout their time at SU, but never like this.

And it all began while they were on the Syracuse cheerleading squad together.

Villani spent five seasons on the team and Shavers one, but in the fall of 2016, the two decided to hang up their cheerleading uniforms so they could dedicate their time to starting the first ever body building club on campus.

It was at the National Cheerleading Championships that they decided they were going all in, but not going it alone.

“Taking a leap by yourself is kind of scary and once you do it you’re blind,” Shavers says, “But it’s better to be blind with somebody because you have somebody to fall back on and help you up if things go left.”

People Who “Just Get It.”

They call the new organization Orange Physique in hopes of attracting more students to the sport. An essential team member, Stephanie Morales, a senior from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the only certified personal trainer on the team and says it’s nice being around others who “just get it.”

A major goal of the team is to shut down misconceptions people might have about body building. Morales says she’s noticed this particularly for women.

“A lot of girls just hop on a treadmill at the gym and are afraid they’ll get too big if they life weights. And that’s just not true,” she says. Diet plays a crucial part when it comes to getting the results people want.

“People don’t really take the time to research how what you’re eating affects your lift,” Morales says, adding that the group holds each other accountable when it comes to food. The three say sometimes they’ll meal prep together so they stay on track.

With a mix of about three dozen students ranging from freshmen to graduate students, Orange Physique is gaining more momentum, while waiting to be recognized by the university as an official student organization, which Villani says should happen soon.

Teamwork

As they three rotate between sets of curls, they say they want to offer students support in reaching their fitness goals. Even though it falls on the individual at the end of the day it’s the backing of the team that gets people where they want to be.

“It’s a lot of behind the scenes,” said Villani, who is getting ready to compete in his first show this summer, “but you need that team to help get you there and get you to that show in my opinion.”

Shavers on the other hand says he’s not going to compete in a show until later next year but he’s doing everything he can to help and will keep training with his buddy,

 

 

Syracuse Mentality

Syracuse Mentality

Story, photos, video and audio by Jon Cerio SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  People in Syracuse and Central New York know that, like the weather, plans can change in a heartbeat. Sometimes the weather is the reason for the change and they were reminded of all that during four days in the middle of March. When it comes […]

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Story, photos, video and audio by Jon Cerio

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —  People in Syracuse and Central New York know that, like the weather, plans can change in a heartbeat. Sometimes the weather is the reason for the change and they were reminded of all that during four days in the middle of March.

When it comes to Syracuse men’s basketball, some fans are more hard-core than others. You could call it “Syracuse Mentality.”

The Syracuse men’s basketball team and its fans went from hoping on Selection Sunday for a spot in the NCAA tournament to planning an NIT game at the Carrier Dome for Tuesday, to finally playing the game on Wednesday.

Media got the postponement news in an email on Tuesday from the team’s Sports Information Director Pete Moore.

“After consultation with Onondaga County and City of Syracuse authorities, as well as the NCAA, and with fan and participant safety the top priority, tonight’s NIT game between Syracuse and UNCG has been postponed,” it read.

Onondaga County had issued a travel advisory early that morning and while the University of North Carolina at Greensboro team had arrived on Monday, getting fans and others safely to the game and back remained a concern.

Say it Ain’t Snow

Between Tuesday morning and 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, more than 25 inches of snow fell in the city.  Schools and businesses in the area were closed or running on essential staff only on both days and with SU students away on spring break, that applied to the university as well.

Even on the eventual game day, conditions were still pretty challenging.  The advisory had been lifted in the afternoon but the Syracuse University campus is located on a hill, and cars and trucks still had trouble making it up the slick Adams Street incline.

On Waverly Avenue, near Marshall Street and Irving Avenue a few blocks downhill from the Dome, intersections were still filled with slush. Drivers hoping to get a running start to power through the mess had to watch for pedestrians crossing in front of them.

The temperature was about 20 degrees but the wind chill made it feel more like six.

Snow Patrol

Normally, Syracuse city police officers are stationed by the busy intersections of Harrison Street and Almond street, at the off ramps of Interstate 81 North and South, directing traffic for SU games.   On Wednesday, their absence was apparent.

There were no lines of cars waiting to sneak past patrol’s waving arms.  No sea of red taillights impeding your progress as you inched forward.  Nothing but white covering the roads, buildings, and white knuckles on fists clenched to steering wheels.

Even if you got up the hill and through the thick, icy terrain, you still had to park.  University staff did a reasonable job of clearing parking lots, including the West Lot, with one key exception – exiting on foot.

Poor ‘Soles’

Unless your plan was to backtrack the 50-plus yards or so to where you entered on this blustery night, you had to find the footpaths of previous patrons’ steps to exit the perimeter.

There were lines in the lot of fans trying to do this, with borderline success.  It was a balancing act of sorts – one shoe in a foothold, leg covered in the white stuff, as you pivoted your other foot forward, hoping that you weren’t stepping onto ice or slippery slush.  The process was even harder for media people carrying cameras and tripods, as the added weight made balancing even more of a challenge.

Slippery steps and howling into the wind

Then came the steps – which you avoided if at all possible.  The 20 or so steps in between Sadler and Lawrinson residence halls were even more harrowing.  Even though there were railings for support, the steps were not well cleared.  It was as if you were attempting an obstacle course, finding the path, each step more precarious than the last.

If you cleared those, you then made your way around Sadler, where the bitter wind would beat against you, as if offended by your persistence.

One fan spoke into the wind loudly enough for passersby to hear.

“How did Wake Forest get in (to the NCAA tournament) over us?”

Salt of the Earth

When you finally made it to the Carrier Dome, you had plenty more steps to climb.  At least these ones, along with the surrounding sidewalks, were better cared for.

That’s thanks in no small part to Syracuse University maintenance workers such as Chris Oliver.  Oliver put in the extra hours shoveling dozens of steps, and then applying a generous amount of salt afterward, to help protect the fans.  For him and his coworkers, this storm was harder than the norm.

“Just a heavier snow load the last couple of days, you know a little windier,” Oliver said.  “So you just gotta apply it a little heavier and keep moving.”

Oliver maintained his smile, but appeared a little winded by the conditions.  When asked if he was glad there was yet another home game to prepare for, he only had to say two words.

“Oh yeah,” Oliver replied with a smile.

And with that, he was down the steps, spreading some extra salt.  Another local guy with a tough Syracuse mentality.

 

Hi-Yo Silver

Once through the Dome’s doors, the idea of sparse lots, sidewalks and roadways paled in comparison to what greeted you inside.

The sight of silver was jarring, as row upon row of aluminum bleachers sat empty.  The bright Dome lights reflected off the benches, making the bleak turnout that much more apparent.

For fans of one of the Northeast’s premiere teams, it was like the Wild West when finding a seat.  The usual rules and restrictions did not apply on this night.  It was first come, first serve, as bargain hunters willing to brave the elements were rewarded with good basketball – and a better vantage point.

“I’d seen some tickets for $25 for courtside, so I was like ‘I ain’t missing this,’ Watertown resident Montezze Smarr said.  “If I had to get stuck, I was going to get stuck. Courtside at a Syracuse game?  You can’t beat that.”

Smarr was giddy with enthusiasm, getting to witness his first game up close.  He made the 85-mile trek from the Fort Drum region to see the Orange in action.

“We’re kind of used to it.  We were kind of wondering why everyone was complaining,” Smarr kidded.  “Welcome to our world.”

Syracuse Mentality

On the floor, Orange players warmed up in shirts with the slogan “Syracuse Mentality.”

It refers to the attitude of the team, but just as easily describes the attitude of the hard-core fans who made it to the Dome on this night

“It’s not a blizzard,” Syracuse native Steve Haller said.  “We live in Syracuse.  It’s a Tuesday – Wednesday in this case.  It was supposed to be a Tuesday.”

“Eh, it’s not too bad,” Andy Wilson said.  “It’s alright, we’ve had worse.”
Wilson stood at the most congested spot in or out of the Dome that night – the concession stand.  Due to the limited turnout, very few stands were in operation.  As a result, fans were bottle-necked through the area at halftime.  If you didn’t know any better, you’d have thought you were in the middle of a sellout crowd.

Not-So Loud House

When you combine the tough conditions, and the fact that SU had been eliminated from NCAA tournament contention,  the “loud house” wasn’t quite as loud on this evening.

Syracuse had drawn more than 30,000 fans for its victory against Duke a few weeks back, on a mild, February night.This was not Duke nor was it the NCAA. NIT games, rare as they are in Syracuse, usually don’t draw big crowds anyway. Here in mid-March, in the lingering wake of the storm only 4,288 fans bought a ticket.

“It was definitely a smaller crowd,” Syracuse freshman guard Tyus Battle said.  “It’s just good seeing people out there to support us.”

White Out

Fans who did show up were rewarded.  Besides cheaper-than-normal seating, the team pulled off a victory.

Syracuse beat UNCG, thanks in large part to graduate student forward Andrew White III’s record night.  White hit seven three-point shots, and officially passed current assistant coach Gerry McNamara for most threes made in a single season.  White ended up with 109 on the season after the game, two ahead of the McNamara record that stood for 12 years.

“I just wanted to make sure that I gave my team and my coaches and the fans that were here supporting us something to be proud of,” White said.

Storm Troupers

After the game, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim spoke of the fans to an average-sized crowd of about 20 in the press corps.

“I thought the people were good, I thought they were very good,” Boeheim said.  “Obviously it’s tough to get out and get here.  The fans that were here were very good, very excited.”

After the game, fans weren’t as excited to head back out into the night and make their way home. One thing did make it a little easier, however.

There were no traffic jams on this night.

 

 

Fighting Irish Crush Orange Women in the Dome

Fighting Irish Crush Orange Women in the Dome

By Andrew Leffler Photos by Dontae Harris SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish came into the Carrier Dome on a three-game losing streak, Sunday and proceeded to blow out the host Orange women 16-7. The Irish took a 7-4 lead into halftime than ran away in the second half building the lead to 12-4 […]

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By Andrew Leffler

Photos by Dontae Harris


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish came into the Carrier Dome on a three-game losing streak, Sunday and proceeded to blow out the host Orange women
16-7. The Irish took a 7-4 lead into halftime than ran away in the second half building the lead to 12-4 and there was no coming back for Syracuse

“Our seniors came out and won us today,” Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny said. “They remembered how awesome it felt to win in the Dome, because it doesn’t happen very often. I don’t know what stat we have out here, but Syracuse doesn’t lose in the Dome very often. So you come here and already know that, so when things start to break your way, realistically, we rely on our preparation.”

“You play a good team like Notre Dame, who are fighting for their lives, coming off three losses, and they came here with tons of energy, fired up,” Syracuse head coach Gary Gait said. “Backs against the wall, and they got the best of us today, but the good thing is, the season is not over, wasn’t a playoff game, it was a conference game. Just gives us more to work on.”

Not so Sweet Homecoming 

The last time the Syracuse Orange women were at the Dome was March 5, when they defeated the University of Virginia 16-15. Since then, Syracuse had back-to-back losses at number one-ranked Maryland (17-7) and number three-ranked Florida (19-12), and a 16-15 overtime win against Harvard on a neutral site in Winter Park, Florida.

The 15th-ranked Fighting Irish were ready for an upset, and their play proved it. A last second goal in the first half gave the Fighting Irish that 7-4 lead. Their second half run was aided by three man-up goals while SU’s Nicole Levy served a non-releasable penalty for an illegal stick. But the Irish pretty much had their way even with both teams at full strength.

“It looked like we lacked a little bit of intensity,”Gait said. “Lack in communication and chemistry out there. And then we’re not flowing between offense and defense. We couldn’t stop them in the end, and unfortunately we couldn’t capitalize on that stop.”

The Upset 

Any spectator that doesn’t know or follow lacrosse could have walked in the Dome and easily thought that Notre Dame was the 4th best team in the country.

The teams finished the game with 30 shots each, but Notre Dame picked up five more ground balls than Syracuse (20-15).

Another difference maker was the free-position shots. While Notre Dame had six compared to Syracuse’s 10, Notre Dame went 4 of 6 on free-position shots, versus Syracuse scoring on only 3 of the 10.

Fighting Irish Kept Fighting 

“I think they tried a couple of different defensives,” Halfpenny said. “They were in their man, they were in their zone, but really I think it was just a bit more about us being a little bit more deliberate and disciplined on offense.”

Halfpenny credited her seniors for carrying the team and setting the tone all game long.

Notre Dame’s Cortney Fortunato finished with a game high four points, scoring three goals and getting one assist.

Luck of The Irish

Notre Dame’s goal had a brick wall in front of it. This brick wall came in the form of sophomore goalie, Samantha Giacolone, who recorded 13 saves, compared to Syracuse’s Asa Goldstock’s 9.

“I’ve been working a lot on position shots,” Giacolone said after the game.

“I got thrown in a lot this week in position shots because they’re not my strong suit. But I think just being proactive, reactive, being quick with my hands and having my body follow. They’re going to throw whatever they want on me but it’s all up to me focusing on the ball. And I know they’re going to go for my left side, and I baited a little bit, but it goes both ways, and today it went my way.”

Giacolone mentioned getting lucky, which Coach Halfpenny disagreed with.

“I don’t think our kids were lucky today,” she said.

“I think they took all of their preparation, and made sure destiny was in their hands, battling and winning the ground balls, or battling on the draw because Syracuse has been very strong on the draw. Today we threw a different defensive look at Syracuse and I don’t think they prepared for the style that we played today.”

Syracuse scored seven goals, taking 30 shots. Giacolone made 13 saves. Do the arithmetic, and Syracuse had 20 shots that hypothetically would have gone in the net. Giacolone made sure 13 of those 20 did not.

Look Ahead

As Gait said, the season isn’t over and the team has a lot to work on. The Orange women are 8-3 (2-1 ACC), and will head to Princeton on March 29, where they will face a strong Tigers team. The Irish are 9-4 (3-1 ACC) and go home to South Bend to host second-ranked North Carolina April 2.

Orange Men Do It Again – OT Win Over Duke

Orange Men Do It Again – OT Win Over Duke

By Andrew Leffler  Photos by Ashley Moore SYRACUSE,  N.Y. — It wasn’t Batman dancing “with the devil in the pale moonlight,” but Orange men dancing with the Blue Devils on an early Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome.   It was not basketball, but lacrosse and 11th-ranked Duke seeking to be the Joker and upset 5th-ranked […]

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By Andrew Leffler 

Photos by Ashley Moore


SYRACUSE,  N.Y. — 
It wasn’t Batman dancing “with the devil in the pale moonlight,” but Orange men dancing with the Blue Devils on an early Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome.

 

It was not basketball, but lacrosse and 11th-ranked Duke seeking to be the Joker and upset 5th-ranked Syracuse. But in the same building where the Orange basketball team had upset favored Duke just over a month earlier, the Blue Devils fell just  short of returning the favor, losing in overtime 12-11.

 

The win puts Syracuse’s streak to four and marks its sixth straight game decided by one goal.

 

“Another W for us in overtime,” head coach  John Desko said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to draw from our experiences to help us in these situations.”

 

Devils Came Ready To Battle 


Duke dominated the first half statistically but led just 6-5 at the break.


Leading scorer Jack Bruckner had two of his four goals in the first half (29 goals this season) and finished the game with five points, adding an assist in the mix. Rowe was 11 of 13 in face-offs heading into halftime. Duke had two more shots on goal (19) than Syracuse (17), and picked up 13 ground balls and keep Syracuse to under 10 ground balls (9).

 

“Congrats to Duke,” Desko said in his postgame press conference. “I thought they played a hell of a game and they really came ready for play at the Carrier Dome.

 

 A freshman finishes it

 

Syracuse shut out the Blue Devils in the third period and took an 8-6 lead, only to see the Blue Devils go on a 5-1 run in the fourth and grab an 11-9 lead.

 

Brandon Bomberry cut the Duke lead to one and then Nick Mariano’s 15th goal of the season tied it with 1:26 to go in regulation.

 

The 7,309 fans in attendance were roaring as Duke had the final possession, but did not score resulting in  sudden death overtime.

 

Duke face-off specialist, Kyle Rowe, who won 16 of 26 face-offs, gave Duke the early possession in overtime, but a quick turnover in Duke territory allowed Syracuse to capitalize. Freshman Jamie Trimboli ripped the shot into the net, giving Syracuse the win.

 

Battle at the X

 

“Rowe was tremendous today,” Desko said. “He really does a great job getting the ball out to himself. I don’t know how many ground balls he had, but I’m sure it was a bunch, and that’s what makes him so dangerous.”

 

Syracuse face-off specialist Ben Williams has been regarded as one of the best in the country, and Duke’s Rowe was able to shut him down the majority of the game.

 

“Going up against him, he’s a fantastic athlete,” Rowe said. “He’s much more than just a ‘face-off guy,’ so you have to prepare for that aspect and know it’s going to be a fight. Other than that, it comes down to wing play, boxing out, and fighting for ground balls. To beat him, it takes a team effort.”

 

Even though Duke finished the game with five more ground balls than Syracuse (25-20), and a dominant face-off performance, it wasn’t enough to maintain the two goal lead in the closing minutes of the fourth period.

 

Saving and scoring


Both goalies made six saves.

 

Syracuse’s Nick Mariano and Sergio Salcido both finished the game with four points. Mariano scored three goals and dished out an assist, and Salcido scored two goals and handed out two assists.

 

Mariano has 10 career points against Duke.

 

“It’s like any game,” he said afterwards. “You try to play every game like it’s your last, like you’ll never play again, but we stepped up when we needed to. Duke is always a good team to play against, they’re well coached, and I just think we were able to come out on top today.”

 

Even in almost every way

 

After four periods of play, and a minute of overtime, Duke and Syracuse each had 33 shots on goal, but it was that one shot in overtime that was the difference maker.

 

Overtime began with a Rowe face-off win, nothing new during the course of the game, but it was that critical turnover on Duke’s side of the field that set up Trimboli.

 

“I guess the pass was for Nick,” he admitted, with Mariano seated to his right. “But I caught it, and I rolled, and the guy fell over my shoulder, saw open space, and kinda shot the ball as a hard as I could.”

.

 

Irish on tap


Besides the win against Duke extending Syracuse’s win streak to four, it was also the fourth straight win decided by one goal, and the fifth of the season. SU’s only loss also game by one goal to Army. The Orange are now 6-1, and will head to South Bend to face second-ranked Notre Dame April 1, while the Orange women will play Notre Dame Sunday at noon in the Carrier Dome.

Cardinals Down Orange Softball in SU Home Opener

Cardinals Down Orange Softball in SU Home Opener

Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver SYRACUSE, N.Y.— The Cardinals’ junior catcher Jenna Jordan knocked in a career-high five runs on two hits as the University of Louisville softball team beat Syracuse University 7-4 Friday afternoon in an ACC matchup. The Cards improved their season record to 19-8 and remain a perfect 4-0 against ACC opponents. […]

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Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— The Cardinals’ junior catcher Jenna Jordan knocked in a career-high five runs on two hits as the University of Louisville softball team beat Syracuse University 7-4 Friday afternoon in an ACC matchup.

The Cards improved their season record to 19-8 and remain a perfect 4-0 against ACC opponents. Syracuse falls to 17-10 overall and is 3-4 in conference games.

Due to unplayable conditions at Syracuse’s Skytop Softball Stadium, the Orange played its 2017 home opener Friday at the softball complex at Onondaga Community College.The game was delayed due to weather conditions and the second game of the scheduled doubleheader cancelled.

Pitchers duel early

With the game time temperature 41 degrees, a muddy infield and snow on the ground just outside the fences, Syracuse freshman pitcher AnnaMarie Gatti started on the mound for S.U., facing off against a Louisville team that had won six of its last seven games.

The only loss in that span occurred just two days ago, when the Cardinal offense was no hit in five innings by the University of Wisconsin’s ace, Kaitlyn Menz. The team remained hitless through the first four innings of Friday’s game.

“They might have been a little tight from the Wisconsin game because that was something that had not happened to us in a very long time, to be no hit,” UL head coach Sandy Pearsall said.  “So, I think our team was feeling a little tight when we first started off but they just needed to find their groove.”

The Cardinals’ starting hurler, Maryssa Becker, struggled early on, allowing a double and two walks to Syracuse in the first inning. However, an inning-ending double play preserved the 0-0 score.

But, sophomore second baseman Alicia Hansen broke the scoreless tie for Syracuse in the bottom of the third with an RBI single up the middle. It was 1-0 Syracuse at the end of the inning.

Cards break out


In the top of the fifth, the Cardinals managed to load up the bases with just one out.  Sydney O’Hara, a senior utility player for S.U., took the mound in place of Gatti, inheriting the runners. Just two pitches in, Jordan served up a bases-clearing double. With one swing of the bat the score was flopped, 3-1 in favor of the Cards.

Jessica Heese, a junior outfielder, had a chance to put Syracuse back ahead in the bottom of the inning. With two runners on, Heese smacked a deep fly ball to the warning track, but the ball found the glove of center fielder Nicole Pufahl. One batter later the inning was over.

In the top of the seventh, Jordan entered the box, once again, with the bases loaded—this time with two outs. Head Coach Mike Bosch elected to go back to his starter, Gatti, to take care of the batter. But when Jordan’s at bat was over, two more runs had been plated, with an RBI single that narrowly went past the outstretched arm of Orange shortstop Sammy Fernandez.

Louisville tacked on two more before Syracuse got the final out.

Orange rally falls short

The Syracuse offense retaliated in the bottom of the inning, capitalizing on a couple of Cardinal errors. The Orange plated three runs, all with two outs.

“We are a team that will always fight,” O’Hara said. “No matter what the score is, we could be down ten. We are going to fight. We are not going to lose by more than four runs.”

But, that rally only cut the deficit in half. It was 7-4 Cardinals when the final out was made.

Gatti was charged with her fourth loss of the season, dropping her record to 5-4. Becker boosted her record to 14-5 and, since only one of the four runs scored was earned, lowered her earned run average to 1.81.

Jordan finished the game 2-3 with five runs batted in. She had just five RBI on the season prior to the game. Hansen finished the game with three hits, as well, in four at bats. She had two RBI on the day.

Pearsall, who blamed herself for the team’s loss to Wisconsin in a post-game interview, commended her players for their resilience.

“I thought that our team was already upbeat coming in here. They were ready to go and ready to play.”

One more game

Saturday, the two teams are scheduled to play the final game of the series, once again, at the O.C.C. softball complex.

Head coach Mike Bosch said he will give the Louisville offense a different look by starting left-handed pitcher Alexa Romero, a freshman sporting a 6-3 record with a 2.62 ERA in her first collegiate season.

First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Getting the Bad News: What it was Like for SU Sports Media on Selection Sunday

Getting the Bad News: What it was Like for SU Sports Media on Selection Sunday

Video report package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHfYSyUqqQs&feature=youtu.be Story, photos, audio and video by Jon Cerio SYRACUSE, N.Y. – When you walk into the Carmelo K. Anthony Center on the Syracuse University campus, you can’t help getting caught up in the nostalgia. Among the banners, trophies and tributes, The Orange, or Orangemen at the time’s, historic 2003 championship game normally plays […]

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Video report packagehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHfYSyUqqQs&feature=youtu.be

Story, photos, audio and video by Jon Cerio

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – When you walk into the Carmelo K. Anthony Center on the Syracuse University campus, you can’t help getting caught up in the nostalgia. Among the banners, trophies and tributes, The Orange, or Orangemen at the time’s, historic 2003 championship game normally plays on repeat.

You can see a more youthful Jim Boeheim, a lights out performance from deep from current Orange assistant coach, then freshman Gerry McNamara.  You can watch his fellow freshman on the team, and current NBA all-star, Carmelo Anthony dominate on the block. You can also see “the block,” as lanky junior forward Hakim Warrick extended from seemingly nowhere to save the game – and Syracuse’s only national title.

On Selection Sunday, Men’s Basketball Sports Information Director Pete Moore switched the mode on that monitor from past to present.

Eyes on the Prize
All eyes were on one small screen encased in glass, awaiting the word on Syracuse’s future. Reporters would watch the NCAA selection show together, then get head coach Jim Boeheim’s reaction at a podium barely 50 feet away.
Would the 18-14 team that began the season in the Top Twenty, beat Duke, Virginia and Florida State but got clobbered by woeful St. John’s and Boston College get a bid?

CNY Central Sports Director Niko Tamurian was there, along with News Channel 9 sports reporter Mario Sacco.  Spectrum News’ Gabrielle Lucivero was doing live shots on what to expect. Ted Goldberg was there too.

Post- Standard and Syracuse.com beat reporters Mike Waters and Donna Ditota pulled up their chairs for a front row seat at the small screen.

Student media reporters including Kevin Ryans, Noah Eagle, Paul Schwedelson, Connor Grossman and Andrew Carter, were there representing Citrus TV, WAER, The Daily Orange and more.

Regardless of the station, paper, or website they represented – whether covering the team for 20 years or 20 weeks – everyone had something in common – nervous energy.

Selective Objectivity

Some may not have wanted to admit it.  After all, they work in a profession centered on objectivity.  But it was apparent that objectivity often only really matters when you’re officially reporting.  The before and after part is fair game for fandom.

“It’s your job, you have to stay neutral,” Tamurian said.  “In your heart you want them to win.”

The East Syracuse native is an unabashed fan of SU athletics, as was evident during the selection process.  He would grimace when an at-large spot went to another team, nervously rubbing his face or biting his nails, looking to colleagues for support.

Student reporters were on edge as well.  There was a lot of nervous laughter from some, fidgeting from others.

“I’ve been here, rooting for Syracuse basketball since my freshman year,” SU senior and Citrus TV reporter Kevin Ryans said.  “Obviously with the media, you want to cool it off with the fan thing.”

Bubbles Burst

As each region was announced, the room got quieter, until it reached a breaking point.

When the final spots were revealed, and Syracuse’s name wasn’t on any line, a collective sigh filled the hallway.  Someone let out an “Ouch!”

Ditota summed it up in two words:

“That’s it,” she said.

Video interviews and Boeheim press conference:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9thp5P4sWb4&feature=youtu.be

 

Not-So Mellow Center

The mood at the ‘Melo’ Center turned from hopeful to somber rather quickly.  Reporters solemnly carried their chairs back up near the podium to prepare for a surely more despondent head coach.

There wasn’t much conversing – mostly cameras getting a final once-over, last-minute microphone checks at the podium, bracket distribution, and laptops powering on.  It wasn’t long before the main event began.


Melo Drama

Boeheim entered through the glass doors, stoic and silent.  Reporters rushed to place their audio recorders on the podium as he stepped up.

“Obviously it’s disappointing,” the coach said.  “Especially for our seniors, our two fifth-year seniors who came here, who wanted obviously to make the tournament.”

Reporters didn’t ask many questions – they already seemed to know most of the answers.  The press conference lasted all of five minutes, and mainly consisted of Boeheim listing his team’s accomplishments, admitting its shortcomings, and relaying his players’ disappointment.

Much of the time was taken up by awkward silences. The coach’s final answer summed it up well.

“Everybody’s disappointed,” Boeheim said with a sigh.  “It’s what you would expect.  Nobody’s happy.”

After about 15 seconds more of silence, Moore asked if there were any more questions.

No one spoke up.

“OK, “Boeheim said and left as quickly and quietly as he had come in.

“Thank you,” Moore said. And that was that.

Audio interviews & Boeheim press conferencehttps://soundcloud.com/user-857188699/full-interviews-audio-kevin-ryans-niko-tamurian-matt-park-jim-boeheim-press-conference

 

“That’s a Wrap”

Video cameras were taken down after a few cracks at wrap ups were recorded.  Cables were coiled, laptops zipped up.  One by one, the reporters left, for the most part without much said.

There would be no out-of town trips to cover this team unless it made it to Madison Square Garden for the NIT Final Four.

“Certainly people around here are going to be disappointed with that choice,” ‘Voice of the Orange’ Matt Park said.  The men’s basketball and football play-by-play man probably had made an understatement. And he wasn’t just talking about fans.
After most had left the building, Citrus TV’s Andrew Carter, decided to make the most of the situation.  He switched hats from journalist to fan again, and filled out his NCAA tournament bracket.

“I’ve got Louisville winning the national championship,” Carter said.

Back on that small TV screen Syracuse’s 2003 Championship Game was soon playing once again.

Hit or Miss Season for Syracuse Ends with Ole Miss, 85-80

Hit or Miss Season for Syracuse Ends with Ole Miss, 85-80

Story and photos by Jon Cerio SYRACUSE, N.Y. — An up-and-down season for Syracuse basketball ended on another down note Saturday in the Carrier Dome, as the University of Mississippi upended the top-seeded Orange in the second round of the NIT, 85-80.  In a constant for Syracuse this season, the defense was picked apart by sharp […]

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Story and photos by Jon Cerio

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — 
An up-and-down season for Syracuse basketball ended on another down note Saturday in the Carrier Dome, as the University of Mississippi upended the top-seeded Orange in the second round of the NIT, 85-80.  In a constant for Syracuse this season, the defense was picked apart by sharp shooting opponents on the perimeter.

“This game is really a microcosm of our season,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said.  “We fight hard, we battle. When our shots aren’t going, we aren’t able to stop the other team’s shooters.

The 9,556 in attendance saw Syracuse end the year one win shy of Boeheim’s 37th 20-win season.

Center of Attention

The Orange started the game much the way it has all season – with Taurean Thompson.  The freshman center gave SU the early 2-0 lead with one of his eight field goals in only eleven attempts.  He had 18 points in the game, tied for a team-high with Andrew White.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a freshman center that was that good right away, not once,” Boeheim said.  “He’s a very creative offensive player and defensively in the second half tonight, he was much better.”

 

Achilles Neal

Syracuse held a narrow margin for the first 4:22 on baskets from Thompson, Tyler Lydon and John Gillon.  At 15:38, Rasheed Brooks nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 10.  It was Brooks’ only field goal of the game, but just the beginning of the Rebels’ onslaught from deep.

Tyler Roberson and Deandre Burnett traded baskets, before Neal Cullen sank the second of 15 threes for Ole Miss on the day.  The Rebels nursed the lead for the better part of four minutes, until Lydon scored inside., making it 18-17 Orange.

“They shot 15-for-32, and they’re good shooters, but nobody’s that good,” Boeheim said.  “We have to get up and make them change the shot. We didn’t do that.”

 

Forwards and Backwards

In what may end up being Lydon’s last game in an Orange uniform, he put up a strong performance, particulary in the first half.   At the intermission, the forward had ten points and seven boards, winding up with a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds.

The teams went back and forth, with four ties and three lead changes after the Lydon make, until the 6:30 mark at 25-25.

 

Game of Runs

From there the Orange went on a 9-0 run over the next 3:52.  Frank Howard put up four points in the stretch, and Lydon added a three and a baseline jam to get the fans pumped up.

Terrence Davis broke the run for the Rebels with a layup.  He converted on 5-8 field goals and eleven points in the first half, then exploded in the second.

With 1:04 left on the clock in the first, Syracuse had a 38-30 lead.  Then Deandre Burnett happened.  He drained back-to-back threes, one at the buzzer, to cut the lead to 38-36 at the half.

It was a sloppy first 20 minutes of action, with six Ole Miss turnovers, and four for Syracuse.  On the whole, there were six ties and six lead changes in the opening stanza.

After 40 and 34 point outings for Andrew White in his last two games, he had five points at halftime – all from the free throw line.

 

Can’t Miss

The Rebels picked up where they left off at the close of the first half.  Davis and Burnett hit consecutive triples for Ole Miss, forcing an Orange timeout.  It was 42-38 Rebels after less than two minutes of play in the second half.

Davis hit another one from deep, giving him 17 points at that point.  He finished an impressive 11-14 from the field, with 30 points.

SU answered with a 6-0 run of its own, including a Thompson jumper, and layups from Battle and White.  It was 45-44 Rebels with 15:34 to play.

After a Sebastian Saiz layup put Ole Miss up by three, Tyus Battle came back down the court and tied things up from downtown.  19 seconds later, Cullen Neal answered in kind with a three, one of his three makes from deep.

Ole Miss worked its lead up to five, not allowing the Orange to creep back within more than three points.  That is, until Tyus Battle went baseline with a monster jam, making it 54-53.

 

Answering the Call

Seemingly with every big make for the Orange, the Rebels answered immediately from deep.

After the Battle slam, Davis drained another three.  After a big Thompson basket inside, it was Davis with another three.  It was 61-55 with 9:58 remaining.

Battle answered with five straight points, cutting the lead to a single point.  Right on cue, Davis hit again from deep.  Battle returned fire with a three of his own – which was answered with a Burnett inside score.

 

White on Time

Ole Miss held onto the lead until the 4:14 mark, in the middle of Andrew White’s hot streak.  He drained three from behind-the-arc, his second tying the game at 71.

Again, the Rebels answered from deep with Cullen Neal.  White’s third three in a row tied things back up at 74 with 3:40 remaining.

“The threes that Andrew hit at the end were tougher than the ones he had missed, for the most part,” Boeheim said.  “He had a bad day and we could have overcome that if we had played a little bit of defense and we didn’t.”

 

Rebel Alliance

Syracuse never got the lead.  A Burnett three and a Saiz dunk made it 79-75.  Thompson went inside with the slam to cut it to two and Lydon added a free throw to trim it to one.

Like clockwork, Burnett came back with a dagger of a three, putting the Rebels up four with 1:22 remaining.

There were some questioned calls down the stretch.  Battle was called for two straight fouls in the press that looked to some in the Dome as near Rebel turnovers.  Fans booed loudly at the officials, questioning their agenda.

Ole Miss outlasted Syracuse at the free throw line down the stretch, and pulled out the 85-80 victory.  With the win, Ole Miss improved to 22-13 on the year, and faces the winner of Georgia Tech and Belmont in the third round of the NIT.

 

Bittersweet End

Syracuse ended its year on a sour note, with a record of 19-15.  Still, there were some positive takeaways from Boeheim and the players.

“It’s a season where we did some great things,” Boeheim said.  “We fought our way from the bottom of the league to start out, to the middle of the best league in the country. We tied for seventh (after) being in a bad place and this team fought back.”

“It was definitely a learning experience for me,” Tyus Battle said.  “We had a lot of ups and downs this season, but we kept on fighting and that’s what I love about this team.  We just had a a lot of heart and we had a lot of fight in us.”

There are uncertainties for next season.  It remains to be seen whether Lydon will return for his junior season.  It’s also a possibility that Battle could look to go pro as well.

It is certain that White, Gillon, Tyler Roberson and the often-injured DaJuan Coleman are out of eligibility.

Boeheim hasn’t confirmed that he plans to be back as scheduled for one final year next season either, though he sounded as if he is planning on it.

“We’ve got some work to do, and we’d like to bring someone in so we’ll see what happens,” Boeheim said.  “I like the three guys we have commitments from.  I think we’ll try to find somebody else.  But, we’ll see what happens.  We’ve got some good young players, we just have to get some help for them, especially inside.  I think the guys we have coming will help us.”

 

Senior Scribe

Senior Scribe

Video package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4klrANE4VSQ&feature=youtu.be   Story, photos, video and audio by Jon Cerio   Additional photos by Bridget Chavez   Scribe – (noun) – writer; specifically: journalist – Merriam-Webster Dictionary SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It only happens once a year.  For athletes, it’s once in a lifetime – well, maybe twice in a lifetime, for the occasional grad student.  […]

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Video package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4klrANE4VSQ&feature=youtu.be

 

Story, photos, video and audio by Jon Cerio  

Additional photos by Bridget Chavez

 

Scribe – (noun) – writer; specifically: journalist – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It only happens once a year.  For athletes, it’s once in a lifetime – well, maybe twice in a lifetime, for the occasional grad student.  On this year’s Senior Day, 30,448 paying fans greeted Syracuse men’s basketball’s graduating class before the game with Georgia Tech, March 4.  Players soaked in the cheers and applause, hoping to remember the roar of the crowd one last time.
A few rows behind one of the baskets, another team looked on.  Syracuse.com and Post-Standard beat reporters Mike Waters and Donna Ditota watched alongside senior columnist Bud Poliquin.  For Poliquin, it was a scene all too familiar.  After all, he had been to more than 30 senior days in his time.

“I’ve been around enough so that, ‘Jeez, I’ve seen this before, I’ve asked this question before, I’ve heard this answer before,'” he says.

The faces and numbers have changed over the years, but their stories seem to blur together for Poliquin.

 

Different day, same stuff

Sitting in on his radio show,  “Bud and the Manchild” in the  ESPN Radio Syracuse studio in Armory Square several days later, that same sentiment comes through when discussing the Syracuse Orange’s tournament chances.

Filling in for regular co-host Jim “Manchild” Lerch, producer Paul “Boy Green” Esden, Jr. tries to get Poliquin to hammer home a point he had already nailed into place several times during the broadcast.

“This is a cyclical conversation,” Poliquin says.  “The redundancy is numbing.”

After the show, Poliquin sits down for an interview one room over and gives some perspective.

Full audio interview:     https://soundcloud.com/user-857188699/full-bud-poliquin-interview
Coast to Cold

The native Chicagoan, who worked in blissful San Diego, says he gave up sunshine and sit-down interviews for blustery Syracuse, New York because his bride Kathleen is from the area.  The community gained a writer who had had one-on-one interviews with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mickey Mantle, and Michael Jordan .

“I find myself going from interviewing professional men, to 18 and 19-year-old young men, boys dare I say,” Poliquin says. “I’m not saying they bore me. They’re just not as interesting.  I wasn’t interesting when I was 20-years-old.  I’m far more interesting now, I hope to goodness I am.”

Poliquin also notes that with each passing year he gets older, while the players stay the same age and there is a growing disconnect between himself and his subjects. But he knows that doesn’t excuse him from generating good content.

Sitting in a box of a room with antiquated recording equipment filling a space smaller than your typical Central New York kitchen, Poliquin says he must constantly write himself outside of the proverbial box.

“The onus is on me,” he says.

 

 

One-On-One

Though the athletes may not have changed much over the years, Poliquin says that’s not the case for his industry.

“The thing that I most mourn in the business is the absence of these one-on-one conversations. Nowadays, everything is presented in press conference fashion.  It’s antiseptic.  There is no such thing as real intimate conversation.”

Poliquin recalls a time when he could go up to an athlete, and ask him or her to talk, without anyone facilitating the conversation.  He says that’s the way he interviewed some of the all-time sports greats.

“Nowadays, you have quarterbacks that say ‘Oh, I only talk on Wednesdays.’ And they talk to a room full of 40 people.  And you’re supposed to get something out of that?”

 

On the periphery

In the fall, Poliquin sticks to the periphery, finding the football players no one else is engaging in conversation.  You’ll notice in photos from press conferences and locker room media scrums (a term that shows up often in his columns), Poliquin is either in the background, or not present at all.

Don’t think it goes unnoticed.  Earlier in the season, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim called into question some of Poliquin’s tactics in one of his articles.  In a room filled with dozens of media reporters, their exclusive exchange lasted the better part of seven and a half minutes.

“I like it when you come, because usually you don’t come and I don’t have anyone to talk to.” Boeheim joked with the veteran writer.

Poliquin says that’s by design, and that the current setup affects the way he pursues an angle.

“I very rarely ask a question in a press conference, because I don’t like the idea that if I’m asking a question that I think has some meat on the bone, and he says something, now everyone’s got it. I’ve given away my trade secrets so to speak.  I’ve given away my piece.”

 

The Golden Age

Poliquin says if today’s standards had existed back when he was starting out in his career, he might not have stuck with it.

“I might not have lasted this long, I wouldn’t have liked it at all.  It would be so unfulfilling to me.”

“I lived in what I think will be the golden age of sports writing,” he adds. “We, the industry, we held off radio when it came.  We held off TV when it came.  We lost to the Internet, the Internet beat us, and there’s no win in that.  We’re done, in the way that we were.”

 

A Re-imagined State

Poliquin knows the clock is ticking down toward his own Senior Day.

“As to how long I’m going to do it, it’ll probably be a shorter amount of time than a lot of people think,” he says.  “There’s a thing out there called life that I might want to take a look at.”

Still, at 64, the idea of retirement scares him.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be a retired gentleman, but I’ll be a fellow in a re-imagined state,” Poliquin says with a smile.

 

 

Orange Men Hold Off UNCG to Advance in NIT

Orange Men Hold Off UNCG to Advance in NIT

Story and Photos by Jon Cerio SYRACUSE, N.Y. — There were no “Greensboro versus Boeheim” t-shirts visible in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night – there were barely any Orange ones. One day after blizzard conditions postponed a first round NIT matchup between Syracuse and UNC Greensboro, Syracuse weathered the storm against a tenacious Spartan team […]

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Story and Photos by Jon Cerio

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — There were no “Greensboro versus Boeheim” t-shirts visible in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night – there were barely any Orange ones.

One day after blizzard conditions postponed a first round NIT matchup between Syracuse and UNC Greensboro, Syracuse weathered the storm against a tenacious Spartan team in front of 4,288 hardy fans, 90-77.

“I thought the people were good,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said.  “I thought they were very good. Obviously, it’s tough to get out and get here.”

Crystal Clear

A game that the Orange appeared to be in control of in the second half wound up becoming a bit of a nail-biter down the stretch as the Spartans cut a 22-point Syracuse lead to seven.

While the coach’s comments in Brooklyn about there being no reason to hold the ACC tournament in Greensboro led to a mini-tempest in the media a week before, Boeheim had nothing but praise for Greensboro’s hometown college team.

“I think that UNCG is a very good team,” Boeheim said.  “I thought to get them down 22 the way they played – I mean they won their last seven regular season (games) and came within a shot of getting to the (NCAA) tournament.”
From the start, UNCG made it clear it was not to be taken lightly.  Kyrin Galloway got behind the Syracuse zone and put the first points on the board with a slam dunk on the assist from Diante Baldwin.
A Tyus Battle three and a pair of Taurean Thompson mid-range jumpers put the Orange up 7-2.  Over the next 2:21, the Spartans made it a one-point affair, after a Francis Alonso three made it 10-9.

Syracuse went back inside to Thompson, who connected on his eighth point in the first 6:30.  But the Spartans exploited the zone on the other end with a James Dickey dunk.

 

White-Out

That’s when Andrew White III took over.  White connected on nine straight Orange points from deep in 1:27.  Those in attendance made themselves heard.

“We obviously shot the ball really well and played well,” Boeheim said.  “When he gets it going like that he doesn’t miss many.”

“My big thing was just trying to get juiced up early – get going early,” White said.  “Because obviously the vibe was a little different, the stakes were a little different, so I just wanted to try and light a fire up under my team and just make sure that we were ready to go and play this game so that we could take care of business.”

In fact, White broke Gerry McNamara’s Syracuse school record of 107 made threes in a season in Wednesday night’s game.  White has made 109 on the season, and was 7-9 from deep in this one.

“Andrew shot the lights out,” freshman guard Tyus Battle said.  “I feel like when we give him the ball and the ball goes up, it’s going in the basket. I’m really lucky to be playing with a shooter like that.”

 

Offensive Flurry

Greensboro wasn’t deterred.  They answered with a Demetrius Troy triple, followed by a third dunk – this one from Galloway to tie the game at 21 with 9:53 remaining until the half.  After a White jumper, Troy again connected from downtown, giving the Spartans the lead at 24-23.

That was the last lead of the game for UNCG, as Syracuse went on a 12-0 run, including Frank Howard and Andrew White threes, a Battle field goal, and a Tyler Lydon slam off the nifty assist from Howard.  It was 35-24 with 6:11 til the half.

Another three from Troy got the lead back down to six at the 4:10 mark, but Syracuse pushed it back to double digits two minutes later and took the 47-37 advantage into halftime.

UNC Greensboro found success inside, with 18 points in the paint in the first half.  The Orange cashed in on 10 fast break points.  White shot 7-10 from the field for 19 points, and the team as a whole hit 64 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.

 

Snowball Effect

Syracuse stretched its lead to 17 in the first 3:39 of the second half.  Tyus Battle had six of his 20 in that stretch.

Aside from some easy dunks from Dickey and Baldwin, the Orange looked to be in control, ballooning the lead to 22 with under twelve minutes remaining, 69-47.

 

Digging Out

But the Spartans weren’t done.  An 8-0 run, including four points from RJ White, cut the lead to 14.

Syracuse kept the lead in the double digit range however, at least until the waning minutes.  At the 5:38 mark, White hit from deep for three of his game-high 34.  Then Greensboro went on an 11-0 run, capped off by a Diante Baldwin three.  It was 81-74 Orange with 2:05 to play.

That was as close as UNCG got.  Syracuse closed out the game at the line, hitting nine free throws down the stretch.

 

Forecasting the Future

“I don’t think Syracuse has ever won an NIT Championship before, so we’ll be making a little bit of history,” Battle said.  “As a competitor, I just want to win and that’s the main thing – winning games. I don’t care if it’s the NCAA Tournament or the NIT – we’re just trying to win and keep on playing.”

The Orange (19-14) advances to the second round of the NIT tournament, where it will host Ole Miss (21-13) on Saturday at 11 a.m.  The Rebels defeated Monmouth in the first round on Wednesday, 91-83.

“I saw part of their Monmouth game, we’ll see that tonight,” Boeheim said.  “Monmouth is really good and tough to beat at home. I thought they really played well. That’ll be a tough game.”

 

 

 

Another One-goal Game to Orange; Survival at St. John’s

Another One-goal Game to Orange; Survival at St. John’s

Story and photos by Dontae Harris Queens, N.Y —  On a very cold Saturday with snow still piled up on the sides of the field. the Syracuse Orange men held on to escape the St. John’s Red Storm on Saturday, winning 9-8 in a lacrosse game many had expected to be a blowout. With Spring […]

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Story and photos by Dontae Harris

Queens, N.Y —  On a very cold Saturday with snow still piled up on the sides of the field. the Syracuse Orange men held on to escape the St. John’s Red Storm on Saturday, winning 9-8 in a lacrosse game many had expected to be a blowout.

With Spring Break underway in Syracuse, New York Area alumni and students on hand made the atmosphere almost as if the game was played in the Carrier Dome. After every Orange goal, the orange fans cheered “Let’s go, Orange.”

The Orange went, just effectively enough to get out with the win. And when it was over, one SU player was heard to say, “We gotta get back on the bus.”

The Orange men are now 4-1, having played four consecutive one-goal games, winning three. They’re back in action Saturday, March 18th  at John Hopkins.

Link to Daily Orange story here:

http://dailyorange.com/2017/03/syracuse-narrowly-escapes-st-johns-9-8-in-seasons-first-road-game/

 

Showing Them the Ropes

Showing Them the Ropes

Story, Video, Audio and Photos by Jon Cerio Video package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmHJVaxFCYg&feature=youtu.be SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When you park at ShoppingTown Mall, and enter between Sears and the old Media Play entrance, you can’t help noticing the stark contrast between what is and what was. There’s an emptiness in the parking garage and exterior that bustled a few years […]

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Story, Video, Audio and Photos by Jon Cerio

Video package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmHJVaxFCYg&feature=youtu.be

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When you park at ShoppingTown Mall, and enter between Sears and the old Media Play entrance, you can’t help noticing the stark contrast between what is and what was.

There’s an emptiness in the parking garage and exterior that bustled a few years ago.  Go a little further, and inside the void continues.  Empty storefronts, house music reverberating through abandoned halls.Through a black curtain under one of those storefronts, some light shines through.

Pass through the curtain and a dim illumination greets you.  It’s hard to make out the various wrestling posters from local house shows in the past decades plastered to the walls.  Painted banners that fans no doubt held up with pride during the events now drape the room’s perimeter, motionless.
To the side, Derek Potoki’s students quietly change their shoes, and stretch their calves and quads.  Just beyond, a large ring – gold and purple ropes surrounding a flat red mat.   It’s appearance entices you to step inside, but the sights and sounds of bodies grimacing as they crash into its plywood platform give you second thoughts soon after.
Still, there is an energy in that dark room modestly lit by fluorescents, infused with dried perspiration.  There is a tangible hunger in these young men and women – a desire to conquer that apparatus, and master the commands that their larger instructor doles out…whatever the toll might be on their bodies and psyche.

A Tall Order

Professional wrestling is often referred to as sports entertainment.  Derek Potocki is uniquely qualified for both aspects.

The 41-year-old  Syracuse native is a veteran of the professional wrestling scene of more than two decades.  Trained by the legendary “Killer Kowalski,” the same man who trained WWE superstar “HHH,” Potocki learned the rigorous ins and outs of the business.

Potocki said there were many times when he worked a full five days locally, then drove to Boston with his seven-foot-tall UPS truck driver friend, Bob Leo, to train for the weekend at the Kowalski school.  At 6’3,” and 232 pounds, Potocki said he rode the coat tails of his friend to break into the business.

“Kowalski saw him, a 7-foot guy, and liked him,” Potocki said.  “So I just went with him up to (Kowalski’s) school.”

After attending the school, Potocki said he hit the road with his taller friend, often wrestling multiple times a night, all across the country, on into Canada.  Potocki said it wasn’t long before promoters recognized his ability.

Where the Big Boys Play

When WWE owner Vince McMahon went to Killer Kowalski for enhancement talent, also known as jobbers, wrestlers whose main purpose is to enhance talent by losing matches to better-known wrestlers, Kowalski decided to use wrestlers from his school.  As a result, Potocki, known as Zaquary Springate III, got the call.

“I got to do a lot of stuff, and wrestle a lot of guys, huge stars and big stars, and my idols growing up,” Potocki said.  “So, I had a good career.”

Potocki recalled one particular night in Toronto, Canada, wrestling WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.  He said he was overwhelmed by the bright lights and the roar of the crowd.

“I remember seeing his shadow over me, about to do the splash,” Potocki said.  “I thought about all the people he did that to – Bob Backlund, and Don Muraco, just the legends…and he’s about to do it to me.”

Shopping for Talent

Now Potocki runs the school in Shoppingtown.  He said he wants to give back to the industry that’s given him so much.

The teaching is more than physical, however.  As a former entrepeneurship teacher at Syracuse University, Potocki said he recognizes the value of an education.

“I try to tell my guys to go to school and get an education,” Potocki said.  “If you’re just working a 9-5 job, and you plan on being a professional wrestler, you’re going to be in big trouble.”

Renaissance Man

The gritty grappler’s exploits go far beyond the ring.  Besides teaching at Syracuse University, Potocki has worked as an engineer for news stations, acted in several plays, and fronts an eighties cover band called Pop Rox. At a recent show at Roadhouse 48, just outside Thunder Island in Fulton, they belted out songs such as “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Don’t You Forget About Me.” It’s not hard to imagine a wrestling tie-in there.

Potocki said the opportunity to still perform for audiences with the band helps him deal with not performing for wrestling fans.

“There’s nothing on earth that’s like that, there’s no high like that in the world,” Potocki said.  “It’s tough to let go of that.”

 

The “Family” That Skis Together

The “Family” That Skis Together

Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez Video package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2NvFknFTh4&feature=youtu.be CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — When it was over, the people involved called it a memorable year. The Cleveland Metro Ski Council held its final race of the season at Bristol Mountain on March 4 and 5. The group primarily races in New York and Ohio during the […]

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Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez

Video package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2NvFknFTh4&feature=youtu.be

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — When it was over, the people involved called it a memorable year.

The Cleveland Metro Ski Council held its final race of the season at Bristol Mountain on March 4 and 5. The group primarily races in New York and Ohio during the skiing and snowboarding season.

The Council is made up of 24 ski clubs and more than 8,000 skiers and snowboarders, but regardless of the large size, members said everyone is close with one another.

“We found our people,”skier Keri Cavanaugh said. “We pretty much call it a family,” She and friend Emily Paris met through the group. The two raced alongside wearing matching inflatable unicorn costumes just for added fun, they said.

“So many people don’t understand,” Paris said.

Raw interview with Cavanaugh and Parishttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2As_oXEBSrI&feature=youtu.be

Competition at your own level

In addition to the fun and spunk the group brings, members compete with one another for the best time out of three races. Racers are divided into classes based on ability, and Race Committee Chair Becky Bertuzzi said all ages are welcome to compete.

“It doesn’t matter what your ability level is, you’ll be racing with people of the same ability,” Bertuzzi said.

Something special

Larry Steele has been skiing since the 1970s and still hasn’t grown tired of the sport and said it’s his “good genes” that allow the 70-year-old to continue to ski competitively.

“I like to ski,” Steele said. “I just do. It’s fun and I just like being outside in the winter.”

Although they all come from different backgrounds, the one thing each member has in common is their love for the sport and the outdoors.

“Skiing is unlike anything else,” Cavanaugh said. “There’s a moment where you have quality time by yourself as well as quality time with other people doing the same sport.”

 

Lacrosse: Orange Men Down Cavs on Last-minute Goal

Lacrosse: Orange Men Down Cavs on Last-minute Goal

Story by Andrew Leffler Photos by Dontae Harris SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men dug themselves out of another deep hole at the Carrier Dome on Sunday and this time finished the job with a 14-13 win over Virginia on a Sergio Salcido goal with 15 seconds left. “To be able to pick away at […]

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Story by Andrew Leffler

Photos by Dontae Harris

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men dug themselves out of another deep hole at the Carrier Dome on Sunday and this time finished the job with a 14-13 win over Virginia on a Sergio Salcido goal with 15 seconds left.

“To be able to pick away at it, and get back into it, and to win it at the end, is a great win for Syracuse, and I’m very proud of the guys of how they played down the stretch,” Orange head coach John Desko said.

Rivalry Renewed

Sunday afternoon at the Carrier Dome was intense. An absolute showdown between two powerhouses in the collegiate lacrosse world. It was a battle of “blue and orange,” as Syracuse hosted its ACC rival. Coming in Syracuse was 2-1, and Virginia was 4-1. Both teams’ only losses had a one goal differential (Army defeated SU on a last-second goal 14-13; UPenn downed  UVA 11-10).


For the majority of this game, Syracuse again was playing catchup. Even though both teams scored four goals in the first period, Syracuse was scoreless in the second, putting Virginia up 8-4 at the half.

Syracuse made up for it in the second half.

Matt Lane and Nate Solomon finished the game with five points, both scoring three goals and racking a pair of assists. And then there was Salcido. Salcido also finished the game with five points, dishing out three assists and scoring a couple of goals.

It was his second goal that carried the most weight.

“When I got the ball, I looked over and they were shutting down everyone, making me take the matchup they liked,”Salcido said. “So I knew I needed to make a play. I dodged the middle, kind of zigzagged going back and forth, just trying to get a step on my guy, and shoot the ball and make sure I got a quality shot.”

“It’s not often you can win a game by one goal, having the roundball discrepancy, like we did in this game,” Desko said. “Hats off to [Virginia], I thought they played really hard, but I thought our guys played hard the whole way, especially in the second half, being down like we were down.”

Room for Orange Improvement

The big head scratcher in the game was the fact that Virginia managed to pick up 43 ground balls, compared to Syracuse’s 27. As happy as Desko was, being in these close games is something he’s not a fan of.

“I don’t want to play that way,” he said. “I want to get off to a better start. Again I thought we had some opportunities in that second period. We could have put a few back up there and made it a lot closer going into halftime, but credit to their goalie, and I didn’t think we shot great, especially in the first half.”

Salcido agreed that the team needs to get better starts.

“I think like Coach Desko said, obviously it’s not what we want to be doing , getting these nail-biters, coming here down the stretch, probably like to get a lead early and control the game. But you got to adapt and overcome, and it’s something we’ve been preaching all fall to the guys and all spring. We want to win, and it’s important to us. We work hard so we make sure we are pulling out these games the best we can.”
Despite Loss, Virginia Found A Win In Central New York


It was a homecoming of sorts for first-year Cavaliers head coach Lars Tiffany, who grew up in Lafayette. and he had some things to be happy about.

Virginia’s Michael Kraus finished the game with six points, scoring four goals and dishing out two assists. In addition to Kraus’ performance, Dox Aitken finished with five points, scoring three goals and getting two assists.

“I don’t think I could be any more proud of my team,”  Tiffany said after the game. “We really did a great job on the ground balls. We flew around and we created extra possessions for ourselves most of the game. The last half of the fourth quarter, give Syracuse credit. They were the ones getting the extra possessions and getting loose balls and creating more shots on goal. But I’m really excited to be coaching Virginia because of the passion we play with.”

“That’s the way the game is meant to be played,” he said. “What an exciting atmosphere.” Having grown up in the Syracuse area, Tiffany is well aware of the importance lacrosse has in Central New York.

“It’s really special to be able to play in front of so many rabid lacrosse fans, who were obviously rooting against us, or most them were rooting against us, but what an atmosphere. Obviously the loss stings, but I want to put this in perspective, what a great way to spend a Sunday. Running up and down against Syracuse University in a high-scoring, big hitting, action packed game.”

Onondaga Experience

Despite losing the game, Virginia did something special during the visit. After Tiffany
made his opening statement on the game, he said he is very appreciative for the opportunity he and his team were a part of the previous day.

“Special thanks to the Onondagas, and the Onondaga Nation for allowing us to go on the reservation yesterday and spend some time with Alfred Jacques, and seeing the stick making skills that he has. Really appreciate the Onondagas for inviting us on their land.”

Michael Kraus said he learned a lot from being on the reservation, especially how the Onondagas see the sport of lacrosse.

“That was a one of a kind experience for us to be able to go on the reservation and spend time with Jacques and go in their indoor facility.

“I think what struck me was what lacrosse means to them. It really is their whole entire life, and they lacrosse for the Creator, it’s kind of how they live their life. It’s how they raise young boys to become men.

“That’s what stuck out to me and also when they play, they play the game to the fullest extent. Clean, no hatred, no revenge, it’s just a clean game, something bigger than themselves, and I think that’s what stuck out the most to me. ”

Kraus said he tried to implement what he learned on the reservation to Sunday’s game today, and after the performance he had, he clearly learned something new. Before the game, the freshman had 26 points, 13 goals and 13 assists. Now he has 31.

 

Look Ahead

The next SU men’s game will be on March 11, when Syracuse will be in Queens to face St. John’s.

The Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse team had a win of its own Sunday, also defeating Virginia 16-15 in overtime. Its next game is also on March 11, and will be on the road, facing the Orange women’s nemesis, Maryland.