Halfpenny form delights Jenkins

first_imgNeil Jenkins has hailed the “absolutely incredible” goalkicking performances of potential British and Irish Lions Test series hero Leigh Halfpenny. Full-back Halfpenny will line up in Saturday’s second Test against Australia as a player whose unrelenting accuracy could boot the Wallabies into oblivion. The Lions, 1-0 up and chasing a first Test series triumph for 16 years, have lost talisman lock Paul O’Connell through injury, while England prop Alex Corbisiero is rated doubtful as he battles calf muscle trouble. But when head coach Warren Gatland names his team on Thursday, Halfpenny’s name will not only be first on the sheet in terms of positional order, he is also arguably their most likely match-winner after scoring 78 points on tour so far, landing 27 from a possible 29 shots at goal. “He’s been absolutely incredible – his record speaks for itself,” Lions kicking coach Jenkins said. “He averages probably under one miss per game, which is incredible. He’s had an outstanding couple of years. “We (Wales) spoke to Leigh a couple of years ago about trying to get it (goalkicking) full time for the Cardiff Blues. He was doing a lot of long-range stuff for us, but we felt moving forward the more kickers we had then the better for us, really. “He’s pushed and pushed, worked hard, managed to get it for the Blues and then took over for us in Dublin (2012) against Ireland when Rhys Priestland missed a few – and he has never looked back. “Most kickers have got very good temperaments and the guys here on the Lions tour have incredible temperaments. “They are happy to rock up, irrelevant of the issues surrounding them. It might be a kick to win the game, the crowd, the amount of people watching on TV, they just seem to get into that zone. “You are trying to score the points for the team and you have got to put the work in to do that. You will have days when things don’t go right, that is understandable. You can’t get out of bed every day and everything goes well. “But I certainly believe if you put the work in, you work hard throughout the week, you put yourself in a good place.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Erickson: Kerdiles has tough path to clearance

first_imgRaise your hand if you are on Twitter or Facebook.Yeah that’s what I thought. It’s ok folks, I’m constantly tuned in to both.But these days words like “make your profile private” and “don’t share any of your personal information online” are becoming everyday turns of phrase just like “look both ways before you cross the street” and “never accept candy from a stranger.”Unfortunately for freshman forward Nic Kerdiles, he didn’t heed the aforementioned warnings and shared a little too much information via both popular social feeds. That little slip has caused the NCAA to question the Irving, Calif., native’s eligibility and as of this week, he has been suspended for the season. The Wisconsin men’s hockey team is currently appealing the decision.Here’s the situation. Kerdiles posted a photo donning gear from Pulver Sports – an agency – and also tweeted that he went out to dinner with them. These posts have cost him a year of college hockey. But the catch is, if Kerdiles didn’t keep the gear or if he paid for his own dinner then he should be cleared – something the athletic department is currently trying to argue.Now, all anyone can do is simply wait. Chances are if Wisconsin loses the appeal, Kerdiles will leave UW and play in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets. If he did that though, it would only delay serving the current ban. If that would be the case, it’s safe to say Kerdiles will never skate as a Badger.But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Here are the facts: Kerdiles is currently suspended because of ineligibility and Wisconsin is appealing that decision.To put it bluntly: it sucks. Kerdiles was expected to make an impact immediately, slated to skate on the top line alongside juniors Mark Zengerle and Tyler Barnes. The Badgers know what they have without him simply because he’s a freshman, but the 2012-13 squad would be bolstered that much more by the 18-year-old forward who was drafted 36th overall in the 2012 NHL draft.But also considering recent cases of similar situations, it’s quite unfair.There is no way the NCAA can be 100 percent positive Kerdiles actually did anything wrong, maybe he did pay for those meals on his own. Maybe he isn’t paying anyone from Pulver Sports and is simply getting advice – which is allowed.Kerdiles faces a very similar situation former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton faced two years ago. Newton was accused of allegations that would have made him ineligible for the season, which ultimately would have cost him a Heisman Trophy and a national title. But while the NCAA was processing the allegations he was still allowed to play. The NCAA sort of swept the whole thing under their living room rug and pretended nothing happened. They didn’t seem to really force the issue, even with their investigation. We also see this all the time in basketball.That begs the question: why are they being so harsh on hockey? The answer is money.Hockey has such a loud, proud niche audience. It’s not televised in the same way as basketball and football because it’s not as popular on a national scale. The NCAA won’t tarnish sports in-season the way the potential loss of Newton could have. Newton was superman. He had an inspiring background and a magic ability to make things happen on the field. To suddenly render him ineligible would have upset fans as if he was the next Tiger Woods.This is certainly a hypothetical situation, but the fact remains that hockey seems like a pest to the NCAA more than anything else. Major tournaments are played in sub-par arenas – especially on the women’s side – and the national title tournament is often dominated by the same handful of teams that the NCAA seemingly could really care less which hockey powerhouse wins it year in and year out.Kerdiles has found himself in a tough situation, but unfortunately for him, he’s guilty until proven innocent.Kelly is a senior majoring in journalism and un peu de Fran?ais. Think the NCAA is being unfair or for once sticking to its guns? Let her know at kerickson@badgerherald.com or on Twitter @kellymerickson.last_img read more

Midfielders carry Syracuse to 21-13 victory over Hobart

first_imgTucker Dordevic took a pass from Stephen Rehfuss along the right alley as the Hobart defender slid to him. Dordevic cut back, toward the middle of the field, causing the defender to step back as well. All it took was one last move — a spin through tangled legs, a fall to the ground, and a shot — in one fluid motion, to bring Syracuse’s lead back to three.The redshirt sophomore opened the scoring, and his spinning shot capped his career-high fifth goal. Syracuse got out to a 3-0 lead, and when the Statesmen began to answer every SU goal, Dordevic, Brendan Curry and Jamie Trimboli — SU’s first midfield line — always responded. That line scored 12 of SU’s 21 goals, had Curry and Dordevic (five goals each) set career-highs and allowed last week’s hero, Jamie Trimboli, to ice the game with two fourth-quarter goals. In an otherwise sloppy 21-13 victory over No. 19 Hobart (3-1), Syracuse’s (4-0) first line midfield showed up.“I’m not sure there’s a better midfield in the country,” Hobart coach Greg Raymond said.No. 3 Syracuse hasn’t always dominated teams this season, but when the Orange needed scorers to step up, they’ve delivered. Chase Scanlan in the opener, Trimboli against Army. Tonight was Dordevic and Curry’s night.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLike last week, the Orange matched up against a defense that pushed out and was slow to slide, forcing SU’s midfielders and attacks to win one-on-one battles in the open field. So, like last week, Syracuse made the same offensive adjustments. Inverting the offense, at times, and dodging along the wings.“Once we beat our guy and got a couple steps, we were able to stick some shots past ’em,” Curry said. In the second quarter, Dordevic ran the ball to X, and the Statesmen kept a short stick defending him. With the manufactured mismatch below the goal, Dordevic tried to skirt the crease and cut to the net. While his path was disrupted, SU’s offensive game plan became clear: If Hobart was going to defend them like Army did, Syracuse was going to beat them the very same way.On the other side of the ball, Syracuse struggled more than it has at any point in this young season. Face-off men Jakob Phaup and Danny Varello couldn’t establish a rhythm through the first half of the game, SU turned over the ball 13 times and the close defense finally showed signs of missing All-American anchor Nick Mellen. In place of Mellen, Brett Kennedy was tasked with lead coverage duties, and that meant guarding Hobart attack Eric Holden.Early in the contest, Kennedy managed, stopping Holden in his tracks and constantly checking over his shoulder to keep him at bay off ball. But as the game went on, Holden racked up his three goals and two assists and drew Kennedy into penalties that plagued Syracuse. Kennedy finished the game with three one-minute penalties, and Grant Murphy added one of his own. Soon following all three of Kennedy’s penalties, Hobart capitalized on the man-up. But while Hobart pushed the goal pace, Syracuse had a midfield on fire to lean on. Dordevic scored two goals prior to tonight’s matchup, but tonight was his return. After missing over 500 days of lacrosse, after two foot surgeries, after watching road trips from home and home games from the sideline, Dordevic was back.“It’s been a very, very long journey,” Dordevic said.After a fourth-quarter Curry goal that pushed the lead to four, the Orange obtained a rare clean stop. But on the clear, Peter Dearth collapsed to the ground and stopped the game. Dearth, clutching his hamstring, limped to the SU sideline. Then, Curry darted through the center and took a pass from Rehfuss on the wing.The pass  — almost a mirror image to the play Curry connected with Trimboli on twice a week prior — was quickly deposited in the back of the Hobart net. Despite penalties, turnovers and mediocre face-off work, SU’s midfield shaped into an undeniable, unstoppable force. “I don’t think we’ll ever doubt ourselves against anybody,” Dordevic said. Comments Published on February 28, 2020 at 9:32 pm Contact Mitchell: mbannon@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more