Student Reporting Archive

Chiefs Sweep Tides, Win Sixth Straight

April 23, 2017

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

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Story and video by Robert Schiff

Photos by Brianna Adams

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

Fast start

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

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

Cole solid

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

Nathan’s famous

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

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

April 23, 2017

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

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Story and photos by Aubrie Tolliver

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Beginning

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

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

 

Comeback No. 1

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

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

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

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

 

Comeback No. 2

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

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

The Orange almost did it.

 

Comeback No. 3 Falls Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What’s Next?

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

 

 

On Senior Day, One More One-goal Win

April 22, 2017

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

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Story and photo by Lauren Walsh

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

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

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

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

Senior Standouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orange Offense Struggles

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

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

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

Defense to the Rescue

Desko said defense saved Syracuse from an upset.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACC Tournament Time

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Chiefs Win 5th Straight, Down Tides 9-4

April 22, 2017

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

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Story and Photo by Jake Lapin

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

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

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

Big Bats From Top to Bottom

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

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

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

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

Taylor on the Hill

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

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

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

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

Looking Ahead

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

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

Tailored for Success; Balancing Business and Soccer

April 22, 2017

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

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Story, photos and videos by Bridget Chavez

 

 

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

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

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

“I get old”

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

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

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

The apprentice owner

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Changing seasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Spring in Their Step

April 22, 2017

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

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Story, video and photos by Jon Cerio.

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

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

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

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

 

 

Not your standard football game

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A happy Babers

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Chiefs Win Fourth Straight on Solid Voth Outing

April 22, 2017

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

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Story and photo by Mike Drew

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

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

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

Uncomfortable.

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

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

Mission accomplished.

Buckling Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offensive Support

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

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

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

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

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

It was that kind of night.

Back to Normal

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

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

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

It was his night.

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

Up Next

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

Strong Second Half Gives Orange Women Win Over Big Red

April 19, 2017

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

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Story by Ashley Moore

Photos by Dontae Harris

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

Playing From Behind

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Back to the Basics 

 

 

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

 

Parker also had two assists in the game.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Next Up


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

 

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

 

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

Making It Meaningful – In the Booth

April 18, 2017

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

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

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

 

On the go

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

Word painting

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

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

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

Preparation, preparation, preparation

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

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

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

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

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

Connecting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beginnings

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

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

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

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

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

A pretty neat marriage

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

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

A Monstrous Undertaking

April 17, 2017

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

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Story, photos and videos by Jon Cerio

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

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

Getting the Dirt

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

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

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

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

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

Running its Course

There were more than ten loads to go.

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

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

Staying on Track

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

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

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

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

No Room for Air

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

Get A Load of That

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

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

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

But that wasn’t the biggest challenge.

 

Monster Traffic Jam

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

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

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

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

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

Going the Extra Mile

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

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

Jam-Packed

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

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

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

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

The ‘Loud House’

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

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

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

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

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

No. 1 Orange Men Whip Big Red

April 12, 2017

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

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Story by Jacqueline Mundry

Photos by Dontae Harris

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

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

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

Familiar Faces

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

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

Big run, face-off control

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

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

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

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

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

#1

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

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

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

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

Rest

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

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

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


Up Next

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

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

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

A Night at the Show

April 10, 2017

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

April 10, 2017

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

April 9, 2017

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

April 9, 2017

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

April 8, 2017

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

April 6, 2017

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

April 6, 2017

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

April 3, 2017

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

March 27, 2017

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.