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Sunday, March 03, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Sports

SPORTS

Bulls reach .500 with win over Huskies

After a week off, the women's tennis team rebounded from a loss last week when it met up with Northern Illinois on Saturday. The Bulls (6-6, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) defeated the Huskies (7-10, 1-5 MAC), 5-2, and did so in impressive fashion, as they never trailed in the match. Buffalo opened the afternoon by taking two of three doubles matches from NIU to capture the opening doubles point. The duo of senior Denise Harijanto and junior Aleksandra Petrova, who are currently ranked regionally, defeated the Huskies pair of Brooke Forsberg and Emily Rogers, 8-4, out of the No. 1 doubles spot. The Huskies quickly responded as Kathryn Friedman and Sara McLaughin took the second doubles match, 8-5, over the Bulls combo of freshman Tamara Markovic and senior Anna Subenkova. In an 8-4 victory, the Bulls pair of junior Diana Popescu and senior Diana Toia topped the Huskies team of Kelly Phillips and Stephanie Okuma to clinch the doubles point for Buffalo. The Bulls used the momentum they built during doubles play and converted it in their singles matches. Harijanto, Petrova and Popescu took the first three singles matches in convincing fashion to take a commanding 4-0 lead in the match. Playing out of the No. 1 singles position, Harijanto defeated Friedman in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1, for her third MAC victory this season. She improved her record on the season to 14-13. Petrova followed suit in the second singles match to defeat NIU's Emily Rogers, 6-1, 6-3. Popescu shut out Brittni Fausett of the Huskies, 6-0, in the first set and breezed through the second set, 6-3, to take the third singles match of the day. The Huskies captured their first singles match of the day when McLaughlin defeated Toia, 6-0, 6-1, out of the No. 4 slot. Markovic bounced back for the Bulls as she defeated Phillips, 6-3, 6-0, for the last Buffalo victory of the day. The Huskies' Martina Schnapp defeated Anna Subenkova, 6-3, 7-6 (4), to close out the meet. Huskies head coach Ryun Ferrell was rather impressed with Buffalo's top performers. "We fought hard today, but came up short in doubles," Ferrell said. "Buffalo had a very strong showing at the top of its lineup in singles play." The Bulls look forward to a weekend at home against conference opponents Miami (OH) (11-6, 3-0 MAC) and Ball State (7-10, 1-3 MAC) on Friday and Saturday. The back-to-back matchups will wrap up the Bulls' regular season home schedule. The first match against Miami is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

MAC to face WAC in Humanitarian Bowl

The Mid-American Conference and the Western Athletic Conference have signed an agreement to participate in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl starting next season. Both conferences have shown improvements during the last few seasons and will compete in a bowl game that has also gained some recognition as of late. Last year's game – played between the University of Idaho and Bowling Green State University on the day before New Year's Eve – received the best television rating in the history of the bowl. Some three million viewers tuned into ESPN to watch Idaho edge out the Falcons, 43-42. The two teams combined for 85 points, 21 more than the game's average and the most in the bowl's 13-year tenure. The game is usually a high-scoring affair and is entertaining for fans that love visiting the blue turf of Boise State's Bronco Stadium. "The TV rating further demonstrates that the Bowl appeals to fans throughout the country," said Kevin McDonald, executive director of the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl in a press release. "Viewers tune in each year with the expectation that they'll see a wild, entertaining game on the blue turf in Boise." The MAC and the WAC have signed a four-year contract that will pit top teams from each conference against one another in the bowl game that is sponsored by Roady's Truck Stops. Staff members from the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl and both conferences are excited about the newly inked contract. "We are so excited to have this agreement with the MAC and the WAC. These two conferences are known for playing a brand of explosive offensive football and [have] a great tradition of winning teams that are really a lot of fun to watch," McDonald said. "Last year's match-up delivered one of the most exciting bowl games of the year. We believe the game will always have that kind of drama and excitement for our fans." WAC commissioner Karl Benson recognized the successes that each conference has had as of late and anticipates that the bowl game will continue to be competitive. "Over the past several years the WAC and MAC have demonstrated a very high level of national success on the football field, " Benson said. "Last season the two conferences were awarded nine bowl berths. We look forward to carrying that success over into Roady's Humanitarian Bowl." The MAC is also pleased about its new opportunity to compete in a high-caliber bowl game. "We are very happy to have in place this tremendous relationship with a long-established and very successful bowl game," said MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher. "Based on last year's match-up between the two conferences, I believe fans of the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl game can look forward to exhilarating and competitive contests in the future." Buffalo won the International Bowl two seasons ago, but the game has ceased operations, leaving the MAC without one of their three bowl tie-ins. The MAC will send it's third bowl eligible selection to the Humanitarian Bowl with the first two teams competing in the Little Caesars Bowl and the GMAC Bowl. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

UB roller hockey team on the way to San Jose

It's a short drive from UB to the Kenan Center at 433 Locust Street in Lockport; a drive that members of the UB roller hockey club team know well because they make it every Tuesday night to practice. However, the team could not be found there this past week. Instead the team was on its way to the 2010 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association National Championships at the Silver Creek Sportsplex in San Jose, Calif. The UB roller hockey club team, called the UB Wings, started competing in the Northern Conference of the Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (ECRHA) in 1998. The UB Wings currently have two teams, a Division I team and a B Division team. The team usually holds tryouts in September, and 16 of about 25 players made the cut this year. Eligibility rules require players to take at least nine credits at UB in order to compete. Senior Tyler Walser captains the DI team, while sophomore Bryan Feiler leads the B team and also serves as the club's president. Although most students do not know about the UB Wings, they are one of the teams in UB's sports club program. "The team is run through the Student Association," Feiler said. "We get a budget from SA. Then each person pays out of pocket, a lucrative amount of money." Both teams made it to the NCRHA National Championships this year. SA helped pay for the team's entry fees, but the players pay for travel and rooming costs. This is the second time in the three years that both teams have made it to the championship, the last time was in 2008. The DI team went 17-0-1 in regular season play and the B team went 11-5. Each team competed at ECRHA Regional Finals for their divisions in Feasterville, PA from March 5-7. Buffalo's DI team took down Stony Brook (4-13-1), West Point (9-4-5), and rival Towson (11-6-1) by finals of 10-1, 5-3, and 12-2, respectively. The three victories advanced them to the semi-finals against Rutgers (12-6). Buffalo defeated Rutgers in a decisive manner, 9-1. This set up a rematch of last year's Division I Regional Championships between Buffalo and Rhode Island (15-5-2). Last year Buffalo lost in overtime, despite holding a 2-0 lead for most of the game. Senior Shaun Golden scored the opening goal for Buffalo just 46 seconds into the game. Rhode Island quickly tied it up but then freshman Chris Kendall scored a goal with two minutes remaining in the first period. Rhode Island controlled the puck early in the second, but Walser regained momentum for Buffalo and scored in the 5th minute. Rhode Island came back to tie it up, 3-3, at the end of the second. Buffalo scored three unanswered goals in the third period to cruise to the ECRHA DI Championship title. With this, the DI team clinched an automatic bid to Nationals in San Jose beginning April 7th. The UB Wings' B squad earned a bid to Nationals after defeating Suffolk CC (5-10-1), Stony Brook (5-10-1), and Towson (8-5-3) by scores of 6-2, 6-1, and 3-0, respectively. Buffalo took on West Chester (14-2) in the semi-finals. After trailing early on, 7-3, the Wings came from behind and scored five unanswered goals to pull off an 8-7 come from behind victory. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Sunny success in Ithaca

The beautiful weather in Ithaca, N.Y., this past weekend brought forth an equally beautiful performance by Buffalo's rowing team. Facing off against their best competition to date, the Bulls finished in second-place in four out of five races on Friday against No. 7 nationally ranked Michigan State and Gonzaga. Buffalo also managed to top Syracuse on Saturday afternoon while also rowing stroke for stroke with the nation's top crew, Yale. Led by sophomore coxswain Alison Sheehan, Buffalo's Second Varsity Eight Boat finished in 6:48.3, only nine seconds behind first-place Michigan State and twenty seconds in front of third-place Gonzaga. Alongside Sheehan were seniors Sam Masucci and Kelsey Tretter, juniors Lindsay DiCosimo and Ashley Hanhurst, sophomores Alexandra Condon, Dakota Smith, and Jacklyn Postulka, as well as freshman Danielle Carlino. "What we have is a very young, talented team," said head coach Rudy Wheeler. "Racing against the competition that we did, and performing how we did against them, definitely makes it seem that we deserve a national ranking." The Bulls also managed to finish second in the Varsity Four race. Buffalo's boat of senior coxswain Britt Marshall, junior Megan Bayley, sophomore Rachel Cuthbert and freshmen Sydney Gilchrist and Sarah Gallagher finished in 7:29.5. The Bulls finished only five seconds behind the first-place Spartans while Gonzaga trailed the pack with a time of 7:46.3. The afternoon races continued the trend of the day as the Third Varsity Eight race saw the Spartans (6:52.4) cross the finish line ahead of second-place Buffalo (7:00.3) and perennial last place boat, Gonzaga (7:01.9). Buffalo grabbed its fourth second-place finish of the day in the Second Varsity Four. Michigan State picked up its fourth first-place finish with a time of 7:34.1, while the Bulls finished 21 seconds later, with a time of 7:55.5. Buffalo's streak of second place finishes snapped in the Varsity Eight Boat race as the Bulls finished in third-place with a time 6:33.1. The Spartans won their fifth race of their flawless day with a time of 6:15.9, while Gonzaga finished in second place with a time of 6:24.2. "Although our Varsity Eight Boat hasn't won a race this year, I think you can accredit that to their schedule of opponents," Wheeler said. "They're racing against some of the top crews in the country and to post the times that they're posting – while actually finishing ahead of them – is impressive in itself." On Saturday, the Bulls were back in the water with steady strides again as the team managed to win four out of five races against cross-state rival Syracuse. However, while Buffalo was able to hold its own, they could not top the countries' No. 1 ranked crew, Yale. The Bulls' Second Varsity Eight Boat shined for the second straight day as they finished the race with a time of 6:48.9, 10 seconds ahead of second-place Syracuse. The Varsity Four Boat raced well again after finishing ahead of the Orange by nearly 16 seconds with a time of 7:32.4. The Bulls' Varsity Eight Boat nearly pulled off a victory in a highly contested race, but lost by three seconds to Syracuse's time of 6:40.6. The program got its first chance in school history to row against a No. 1 ranked opponent during the afternoon races and showed that they could hang tight with a national powerhouse. The Bulls went stroke for stroke with Yale until the Bulldogs eventually pulled away to win the Varsity Eight Boat race. Buffalo finished just under 10 seconds behind Yale, while the Bulls' Second Varsity Eight Boat lost by nearly 12 seconds. "What we have is a very young team that is very talented," Wheeler said. "I'm very encouraged by the results of our team. I'm also pleased that our Varsity Eight raced against the best crews in the U.S. and raced well. All of our crews handled themselves well." After receiving three votes in the latest Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/USRowing poll, Buffalo hopes that their wins over Gonzaga and Syracuse will get them some more national attention. "That's what this is all about," Wheeler said. "It's all about becoming nationally ranked and going to the NCAA Championships. I took this program over eight years ago and we were ranked 87th out of 90 teams. We've made great progress and we will continue to make great progress going ahead." Buffalo will try to continue their hard work in the water next weekend when they travel to Camden, N.J., for the Knetch Cup. Races will run all day on April 10 and 11. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Former quarterback Maynard accused of using steroids

When Zach Maynard, former starting quarterback of the football team, left Buffalo earlier this year and transferred to play for the California Bears, many questions arose surrounding his reasons for departure. The picture has become much clearer now. According to an employee at drug-testing agency Quarry Diagnostics who wishes to remain anonymous, Maynard tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid commonly known as "Deca." The drug has been a popular choice in the past for athletes looking for a surefire – albeit illegal – way to bulk up. According to the source, who administers drug tests daily at the Quarry Diagnostics lab in Clarence, Maynard came in for a routine drug test shortly after new head coach Jeff Quinn was hired to replace former head coach Turner Gill, who left for Kansas. "I don't know why he came in for a drug test at Quest," said the source, who asked that he simply be referred to as Malcolm. "We've never tested NCAA athletes here as part of their official program." Malcolm did speculate, however, as to why Maynard, who passed for 2,694 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, may have come in that day. "Maybe he was trying to see if the steroids would show up, just in case the NCAA were to test him," Malcolm said. "Or maybe [Quinn] was testing his new players to make sure he had a clean team. But I don't ask questions. I was just doing my job." The test results, which were obtained by The Spectrum, did not show that Maynard had taken any other illegal substances besides the nandrolone. Members of Buffalo's athletic administration expressed shock and surprise at the behavior of their former teammate. "I am deeply saddened and disappointed to hear of Zach's decision to use nandrolone," said Buffalo athletic director Warde Manuel. "Anabolic steroids are illegal and that is not the right example to set as a representative of this school, this community, and our football team. Zach needs to remember that there are kids out there who look up to him." Manuel went on to say that Buffalo fans need not suspect any of the other Bulls to be involved with illegal steroid use. "I value the contributions that Zach made to our team, but having said that, we're glad he's chosen to leave if that's the type of behavior he's exhibiting," Manuel said. "We run a good, clean, healthy program here at UB and we will continue to do so." Students around the school were also surprised, but some offered possible explanations for Maynard's behavior. "He was pretty [expletive] skinny," said Geoff Turner, a sophomore biology major. "I heard he lost in an arm wrestling match to the punter. That might have driven me to do steroids as well." Senior political science major Horace Green conjectured that Maynard might know exactly what he's doing. "Well, as a transfer student, he's not allowed to play for a year at Cal," Green said. "Maybe he's just trying to get as jacked as possible during his year off so he has a better chance of playing in 2011." The California Athletic Department did not immediately return a phone call placed by The Spectrum. Rumors have circulated about where Maynard may have gotten the steroids. A person with knowledge of Maynard's habits, who also wishes to remain anonymous, says that Maynard began acting strange a couple of months ago. "It started when he was putting posters on his wall of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Marion Jones," Maynard's friend said. "Then he started hanging around with the sketchy guys at the gym and watching Jersey Shore a lot. Before I knew it, he was putting needles in his ass." Shortly after the news about Maynard surfaced, Jose Canseco announced plans for a new book, Maynard Exposed: In the Locker Room With Yet Another User. The book is expected to be published later this year. Stay with The Spectrum for updates on this developing story. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Bulls row to three second-place finishes

Rainy weather could not slow the rowing team on Sunday as the squad started its season off strong against formidable competition. The Bulls finished in second-place after a day of races at the Indiana Invitational against Indiana, Eastern Michigan, Notre Dame and Purdue. "It was our first race of the year and we had a lot of second-place finishes in five-team fields," said head coach Rudy Wieler. "It was a good start to the season, but we could get faster in all of these races." Buffalo earned a first-place victory in the Second Varsity Four race with a time of 8:34.5, finishing ahead of Notre Dame by seven seconds. The boat, made up of senior coxswain Britt Marshall, junior Megan Bayley, sophomore Dakota Smith, as well as freshmen Sarah Gallagher and Francisca Strange, finished 16 seconds ahead of third-place Purdue and 32 seconds ahead of Indiana. The Bulls also earned three second-place finishes on the day. The Second Varsity Eight Boat, led by sophomore coxswain Kate Evely, finished with a time of 7:21.4, just seven-tenths of a second behind the first-place Fighting Irish. Alongside Evely were seniors Kate Garofalo, Francisca Nwoke, Sam Masucci, Kelsey Tretter, juniors Sasha Bailey and Lindsay DiCosimo, and sophomores Alexandra Condon and Jacklyn Postulka. The Varsity Four Boat earned a second-place finish after finishing with a time of 8:22.6, 16 seconds behind a superior Notre Dame team. Indiana, Purdue, and Eastern Michigan rounded out the five-team race respectively. The Novice Four Boat recorded the final second-place finish of the day for Buffalo. Once again, the Bulls came up short against Notre Dame, clocking a time of 9:07.9. The boat, made up of senior Kolina Dacko, Suvita Visqanathan and freshmen rowers Megan Klyczek, Ariana Blake, Samantha Shojaie, finished seven seconds behind Notre Dame's B boat. The Bulls did, however, defeat the Fighting Irish's top boat that finished third. In a tight race, the Varsity Eight Boat finished fourth with a time of 7:16.0. The Bulls finished behind Notre Dame, Indiana and Purdue, but were within 10 seconds of all three teams. The Novice Eight boat finished in third-place with a time of 8:07.2. The Bulls were only two seconds behind Indiana, who came in second-place. Wieler knows that there's room for improvement. "I feel that the Varsity Eight Boat can, and will, do better in races down the road," Wieler said. "They are capable of much more. The whole team can improve and one thing we're going to work on is maintaining our speed for the whole race." The Bulls will be back in the water for a meet at Cornell where they will compete against Gonzaga and Syracuse, in addition to No. 10 nationally-ranked Michigan State and the nation's top ranked team, Yale. The meet will mark the first time that Buffalo will ever race against a top-ranked crew. "This will be the toughest racing that we have ever had at Buffalo," Wieler said. "We are looking for one thing: to be competitive." Races are set to begin at 3 p.m. on Friday in Ithaca. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Bills open quarterback position to public

Jack Kemp, Joe Ferguson, Jim Kelly and Drew Bledsoe – all great quarterbacks in Buffalo Bills history. You could be next. New head coach Chan Gailey announced late Tuesday afternoon that the Bills will hold open quarterback tryouts to the public over a two-week period leading up to the NFL Draft. "This is a unique opportunity to add some raw talent to our depth chart for training camp," Gailey said during a press conference at One Bills Drive. "Mr. Wilson, Buddy [Nix] and myself debated back and forth over the idea of an open tryout. But ultimately, we decided it would be in the best interest of the franchise to open our doors to some quarterbacks out there who haven't been given a shot under center in the NFL." The Bills have had a glaring hole at the quarterback position since Bledsoe left via free agency after the 2004 season. Since then, the franchise has experimented with five different signal callers: Kelly Holcomb, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm and former first round pick J.P. Losman. During that time, Buffalo has gone 32-48 and has failed to qualify for the postseason for 10-straight seasons. Last season, both Edwards and Fitzpatrick struggled to take the reins under center while Brohm fluttered in his only outing of the year. "It's no surprise that this team is in need of a franchise quarterback," said first-year general manager Buddy Nix. "A team will go as far as your quarterback takes it. Look at the greats of today's game, like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Brett Favre. What do they all have in common? Playoffs and championships. That's where we want to be." Beginning April 3 at 8 a.m., Gailey will open the field house doors to anyone interested in landing a professional football contract. The nationwide quarterback search is open to anyone ages 18-28. While no previous football experience is necessary, Gailey did admit that those without experience could struggle to adapt to an NFL tryout. This isn't the first time an NFL team has held open tryouts. First-year head coach Dick Vermeil held an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978. With the no first-round draft pick, Vermeil opted to find players who may not have been talented, but knew the meaning of work ethic and sacrifice. The Eagles were rewarded with wide receiver and special teams ace Vince Papale. The 30-year-old played two seasons with the team in which he was voted Special Teams Captain by his teammates and earned "Man of the Year" for his charitable contributions. "I've had extensive talks with Dick about this process. He's been through it before and knows how successful it can be," Gailey said. "Knowing that Dick found a leader in Vince gives me some encouragement that we can do the same. There's somebody out there for us and it's just the matter of finding him." With the NFL Draft just three weeks away, many around the league are questioning the peculiar move by Bills management to hold an open quarterback tryout. With the 9th overall pick, Buffalo is in line to potentially land former Notre Dame star Jimmy Clausen in the first round. Should Clausen be off the board, other potential prospects will be available for the taking in the second round, including Colt McCoy, Dan LeFevour and Tim Tebow. The Bills have already been linked to Clausen and Tebow as draft day approaches. Buffalo held a private workout with Clausen while Hall of Famer Jim Kelly recently treated Tebow to a steak dinner at the Buffalo Chophouse. As Kelly praised the young quarterback, he stated that an open tryout could do nothing but hurt the organization. "Tim [Tebow] is a proven leader and a natural born winner. He has everything you'd want in a franchise quarterback," Kelly told The Spectrum. "There's no reason Buffalo should pass on him. The fact that Coach Gailey has decided to hold an open tryout leads me to believe they aren't looking to add a quarterback in the draft. It's an embarrassment, if you ask me." Opening tryout days will include rigorous strength and conditioning drills. Following first cuts on day three, contenders will hit the field for a technique and mechanics test in throwing and pocket presence. The field will be narrowed down to ten finalists on day eight, who will then be required to learn a standard NFL playbook and be thrown into live 7-on-7 action in full pads with the rest of the team. By the end of week two, Buffalo's coaching staff and management will offer a two-year entry-level contract to the most impressive quarterback. "By the end of this thing, we're going to have our man," Nix said. "Whether he is a former high school star, college dropout, CFL bust or Thanksgiving Day legend, we'll be heading into the season confident in our quarterbacks." With just 400 available spots, stadium organizers recommend arriving at the field house four days prior to the tryout to ensure your opportunity. "This is an exciting time in Buffalo Bills football," Gailey said. "I feel we've made significant strides since Buddy [Nix] and I have come on board. We've addressed holes on the defensive unit and offensive line and we are confident we'll have our quarterback of the future in the coming weeks. This is going to be fun, I'll tell you that." E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

The season of firsts

The men's tennis team continued its winning ways at the Miller Tennis Center, blanking St. Bonaventure for its fourth-straight victory to keep its undefeated home campaign alive. After an exhausting comeback victory against Toledo on Saturday, the Bulls (8-4, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) faced off head-to-head with the Bonnies (6-6) on Sunday afternoon. Noticing the team's fatigue from the day before, Buffalo's coaching staff stepped up to give its athletes a bit of a spark. "From having such an exciting match the day before against Toledo, there was a good chance we were going to come out flat," said head coach Lee Nickell. "It was vital to make sure that the coaching staff was loud and manufactured some energy to prevent this from happening. Luckily our guys came through and had great energy." The Bulls started off the match on the right foot and didn't look back. Buffalo took the early command by declaring the doubles points in less than an hour of play. Buffalo's first doubles duo of senior Kirill Kolomyts and junior Marcelo Mazzetto cruised to an 8-1 victory against the Bonnies' Christ Post and Diego Valdenegro. The Bulls' No. 3 doubles team of freshman Vusa Hove and junior Mitch Zenaty also picked up a victory in doubles competition over St. Bonaventure's Oscar Yanez and Luis Guevara, 8-4. Sophomore Wojciech Starakiewicz and freshman George Tibil found themselves in a back-and-forth matchup against Enric Larregola and Mikhail Sudakov, but prevailed to clinch the doubles point with an 8-5 decision. Buffalo continued to overwhelm the Bonnies in singles play, winning all six matches on the afternoon Playing out of the No. 2 singles spot, Mazzetto clinched the victory for Buffalo with a 6-2, 7-6(4) victory over Larregola. Mazzetto made quick work of Larregola in the first set before Larregola came alive in the second set. Down 4-1 in the tiebreaker, Mazzetto rallied back to take six straight points to clinch the victory for Buffalo. The five other singles matches went off without a hitch for Buffalo. Competing out of the No. 5 slot, Hove blanked the Bonnies' Juan Garcia, 6-0, 6-0. Alex Kalinin retired Luis Guevara, 6-3, 6-2, while Starakiewicz needed three sets to defeat Valdenegro, 6-0,4-6, 6-1, in his first match at the No. 1 slot. Kolomyts and Tibil each won their matches in straight sets over their opponents as well. Sunday marked Buffalo's first win over St. Bonaventure since the 2006 campaign. The Bulls look to keep their undefeated home record in tact as they host defending MAC champion, Western Michigan, on Saturday at 3 p.m. "We have never beaten Western Michigan in [the] history of our program. This is obviously something we are looking forward," Nickell said. "We have them at home and [look forward] to see what's going to happen." E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

NHL moving to Hamilton

Amidst the most successful season in franchise history, it was announced late Monday night that the Valley of the Sun will be without professional hockey starting in 2011. The Phoenix Coyotes (47-23-6) will be changing climates to start next season as they become the Hamilton Tigers and return to the country that calls hockey home. Before becoming the Coyotes, the team was known as the Winnipeg Jets and only moved to the Grand Canyon State because of financial difficulties. As irony would have it, a long financial struggle would send the franchise back to Canada nearly 15 years later. After declaring bankruptcy on May 5, 2009, former owner Jerry Moyes was forced to sell the team to the NHL. Several attempts by the league to sell the club to a local business owner failed before the co-CEO of Research in Motion, Jim Balsillie stepped in and was approved as the new owner of the team. Balsille will move the Tigers to Hamilton, Ontario and has an arena already in place for the team in Copps Coliseum. "The people of Hamilton deserve this," Basillie said. "We're going to bring a Stanley Cup to the Great North once more." This was Balsille's third bid to the league to purchase a franchise. His previous two attempts – Pittsburgh and Nashville – failed and hope seemed bleak for the millionaire. With the move, the Coyotes will be changing their name to the Tigers, referring to the hockey club that once called Hamilton Home from 1920 to 1925. Hockey in Phoenix has been abysmal since its inception. In 12 seasons prior to this year, the Coyotes only qualified four times for the playoffs and have never made it past the first round. Before this year, the team has gone six seasons without playoff hockey. As strange as it may sound, the team is firing on all cylinders this season which makes this move even more puzzling. Not only is the team playing well, but they are exceeding the most optimistic predictions from the pre season. Hockey icon Wayne Gretzky coached the team for four forgettable seasons and his departure prior to the season has only furthered the idea that great players don't necessarily make great coaches. The Coyotes are fourth in the Western Conference and are ranked third in the league in points. Anchored by a core group of veterans, the Coyotes have found a perfect mix of youth and wisdom to carry them this season. Starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has been brilliant between the pipes for the Coyotes and has been somewhat of a find for the team. A career back-up, Bryzgalov has found a home in Phoenix and has been mentioned as a possible Vezina Trophy candidate. "I'm excited for the move," Bryzgalov said. "We'll miss our great fans in Phoenix but we're excited to gain a new family in the Hamilton area." Like the rest of the team, however, Bryzgalov will be packing his bags next season when the Hamilton squad starts a new chapter in the long and storied history of the team. The move will change many divisions throughout the league. The Tigers will move to the Northeast Division, with the Boston Bruins leaving to move to the Atlantic Division. To make room for the Bruins, the New York Islanders will then move to the Pacific Division, because "no one really cares about the Islanders anyways," according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Fans in Buffalo are devastated by the news as a large portion of the Sabres fan base comes from Hamilton and surrounding cities. "Because of the move, I won't be surprised if we don't fill HSBC Arena up on a daily basis," said Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano. "We might have to look into relocation ourselves if the situation gets to be unbearable." Olympic hero goaltender Ryan Miller released a statement after the announcement with some shocking news. "I love Buffalo, but I do not love the situation that I am being thrown into," Miller said in the press release. "With that being said, I am demanding a trade or a release from my contract effective at the end of the season. I don't want to be thrown into a situation where my godly goaltending skills will be jeopardized." As of late, there have been several police reports that the family of general manager Darcy Regier has filed a missing person report with the Amherst Police Department. A connection to the news has not yet been made. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Will the Yankees repeat?

Although we are fighting off 40-degree weather, Spring Training has basically come and gone. Bats have been swung, pitches have been thrown, rotations have been set and injuries have been recorded. And as April 4 approaches, teams are ready to take the diamond for another 162-game season. The editors at The Spectrum have compiled a brief list of teams to watch and ones that will flop and have set in stone their predictions. Enjoy. Teams to Watch American League Texas Rangers: Coke scandals aside, the Rangers are the real deal. They missed the playoffs last year, but the Rangers have a young core of talented players and made a serious push at the end of last season. Although the AL West has been dominated by the Los Angeles Angels for the past five years, the 2010 playoff spot will be home to the Rangers. Scott Feldman is their No. 1 pitcher and went 17-8 last season. Look for him to have a breakout 20-win campaign and lead the Rangers' rotation to a trip to the postseason. He'll receive plenty of help from Rich Harden on the mound and Vladimir Guerrero in the outfield and at the plate. One word for the Rangers this season: dangerous. -Wiktor National League Philadelphia Phillies: It's the easy choice, but it's also the right one. Look for the Phillies to repeat as National League champions. Their lineup is absolutely loaded from top to bottom and they are also one of the MLB's best defensive teams. Philadelphia's three, four, and five hitters, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth, respectively, all have slugging percentages over .500 at their batting positions. Though they lost left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners, they acquired six-time All-Star Roy Halladay, who dominated as a Toronto Blue Jay last season. Their lone question mark remains Brad Lidge, who should be making his yearly decision about whether to play brilliantly or horribly any day now. Expect another deep playoff run and many more Jimmy Rollins commercials. -Hammill Teams to Flop American League Boston Red Sox: Everyone is back on the "Baastin" bandwagon after the team seemingly bolstered its rotation in the off-season by adding John Lackey of the Anaheim Angels. While pitching may win championships, you do need some semblance of a line-up to compete. Don't get me wrong here, the Red Sox could be "wicked good," but I don't feel they did enough to combat the Yankees in the division. The Boston rotation is filled with guys that are familiar with the disabled list. Josh Beckett is the key for Boston to make it back to a World Series. If he returns to the dominating force he once was, opposing batters beware. He won 17 games last year and struck out 199 batters, but got knocked around by the Angels in the first round of the playoffs. The Sox hope that by adding Lackey, who also couldn't beat the Yankees in October, the combo will be enough to take out the hated Bronx Bombers. I don't see it happening. -Parrino National League New York Mets: No hometown favoritism here: the Mets are just that bad. We all know how the last two seasons panned out, but I love bringing it up anyway. Injuries and late season collapses have plagued the squad from Queens and even a brand new multi-million dollar stadium won't help the blue and orange. Jose Reyes has already struggled with injuries this season, and although he looks like he may start the first game, it's only a matter of time until someone else goes down. Even with Carlos Beltran out, fans swear that this is their year. I can't deny that the team's offense can do damage, but that's only if they stay healthy. And as the past few seasons have shown, that's a big ‘if'. -Wiktor Predictions American League Cy Young AW: Felix Hernandez. He went 19-5 last year with a 2.49 ERA and he's only 23. This Venezuelan has dirty stuff and will make batters looks silly all season long. MP: C.C. Sabathia. He won 19 games a season ago and as he get more comfortable in the big apple I fully expect him to improve on that total. The Yankees got better in the outfield defensively and will provide a more solid backing for the pitching staff. MVP AW: Mark Teixeira. He was the heart and soul of the World Champs just a season ago and has found his home in New York. MP: A-Rod The Bronx Bomber will return to icon status this year and continue where he left off last season when his team won the World Series. His numbers will look more like they have in past MVP years and his contributions will help the Yankees win the AL East. National League Cy Young AW: Roy Halladay. He was a powerhouse on a struggling team last year, so just imagine the damage he'll do when all of his games will matter. Expect another stellar year. MP: Roy Halladay. I think this award was won the day the Phillies executed the trade to bring the best pitcher in baseball to the Phillies. He gives the club the closest thing to a guaranteed victory every five days as there is in the league. MVP AW: Ryan Howard. Coming off of a season where he hit 45 homers and drove in 141 RBIs, the lefty is looking to show the league he's as dominant as he was when he won the NL MVP in 2006. The middle of the Phillies' lineup is lethal and Howard is its driving force. MP: Albert Pujols. Look for Pujols to lead the league in home runs this season as he adds another 50 or so to his total. Albert is one of those players that can single handedly put a team on his back late in the season. World Series AW: Yankees over Cardinals in 6 games. MP: Yankees over Rockies in 7 games. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Buffalo's own basketball upset

The courts of Alumni Arena have never seen so much excitement or so much drama. Friday night, the men's and women's basketball teams came together for a friendly postseason game for charity. The men's team was playing for a cure for diabetes, while the women's team was playing for Rihanna's Battered Women and Children Fund. Both teams pulled out all the stops in an effort to earn bragging rights as the better Bulls basketball team. The men were confident that they were going to take the title, but they did not deliver as the women came out on top, 72-57. The men started out strong, taking a 6-0 lead off of back-to-back 3-pointers by senior guard John Boyer and senior forward Calvin Betts. A three-pointer by junior forward Jessica Fortman and a two-point jumper by sophomore guard Brittany Hedderson put the women right back in it with 16:41 left in the first half. Freshman guard Chrissy Cooper earned a chance to take the lead after Victor E. Bull, the referee for the night, called a foul on senior guard Sean Smiley. Cooper sank both foul shots to give the women a 7-6 advantage with 16:01 remaining. Senior guard Rodney Pierce attempted to regain the lead by driving in for a lay-up, but junior forward Kourtney Brown stripped him of the ball, much to the dismay of Pierce and everyone on the sidelines. "I couldn't believe it when she stripped me, but then again a lot of the things that happened in tonight's game surprised me," Pierce said. "The guys couldn't stop talking about that play at the end of the night. It's something that I won't live down anytime soon." The efforts of Brown, Hedderson, and Fortman allowed the women to dominate for the next five minutes. Freshman guard Abby Dowd knocked down a 3-pointer to cap off a 17-3 run. This gave the women a 13-point lead with just under 10 minutes to go in the opening half. Senior forward Max Boudreau began a 10-2 run for the men, scoring their next six points. Pierce and sophomore forward Mitchell Watt each contributed a bucket as well to bring the score to 26-19 with 4:55 to go. This was the closest the men would come for the rest of the game. The women continued to build on their lead, showing greater speed and agility than the men with every passing minute. They ended the first half ahead, 38-27. The men decided to approach the second half with fresh perspectives by putting some of their younger players in. The women mirrored this strategy and outdid the men, going with an all-freshman lineup. It paid off for the women as they continued to steamroll the men. Freshman forward Nytor Longar led in the annihilation. Longar blew past sophomore guard Dave Barnett and proceeded to drive hard to the basket for a slam dunk. The senior men looked on in awe, not knowing what to do next. "We've come back in some pretty tough situations before," Smiley said. "Things just didn't go in our favor. We came in thinking that we could easily beat the girls … I guess we just underestimated them." It didn't get better for the men from there as the women went on a 20-8 run over the next 10 minutes. With the score at 58-35 and 6:37 on the clock, the women enjoyed their largest lead of the game and were able to relax a little while the men tried to dig themselves out of a very deep rut. "We knew that we pretty much had the game in the bag at that point," Hedderson said. "So we just tried to keep doing what were doing and have fun." Though the men were able to score more in the second half, they could not get over the hump. Brown and Hedderson tied as the leading scorers for the women with 23 points apiece. Betts led the way for the men with 17 points, followed by Pierce and Boudreau with 15 and 12 points, respectively. The two teams plan on making this an annual event to benefit charities of their choice. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Bulls reach new heights at Raleigh Relays

Momentum seemed to spread to everyone on both track and field teams this weekend, and record-breaking performances were the result. Both the men's and women's track and field teams had impressive showings at the Raleigh Relays, a two-day event at North Carolina State's Paul Derr Track. The teams won a total of five events, breaking five school records in the process. The men's relay team broke two of those records. The sprint medley relay team of seniors Ezekiel Porter and Brian Smith, along with sophomore Isaiah Mask and junior Shaun Brummert, ran its way to a record-breaking time of 3:26.57 and a third-place finish. The team's time broke the mark set at last year's Raleigh Relays. Porter and Smith joined seniors Dan Schichtel and Dan Harris in the 4x200-meter relay and produced a record-setting time of 1:25.51. The time earned them a fifth-place finish in the event. Other successful finishes came in the 5000-meters, as junior Jacob Hagen came in second-place with a time of 15:11.30, and in the 400-meter hurdles with freshman Will Cole placing fifth in 52.62. Sophomore Casey Garbaty also broke a school record as he won the javelin throw. His heave of 224-6 (68.43m) was not only 10 feet better than the second-place throw, but crushed his mark from last season of 209-9 (63.93m). Men's head coach Perry Jenkins spoke about Garbaty's performance after the match. "Casey [Garbaty] was definitely a key performer this weekend," Jenkins said. "He is now number two in the east and number four in the country in the javelin throw." The rest of the men's throwers were impressive as well. Sophomore Rob Golabek earned third-place in the shot put with a toss of 56-11.50 (17.36m). Fellow seniors Jake Madonia and Alex Stamatakis also finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Junior Matt Gac finished fifth in both the discus (165-2, 50.35m) and the hammer throw (196-5, 59.87m). Gobalek placed in the hammer throw as well, finishing ninth with a throw of 183-1, 55.81m. Jenkins was very pleased with his team's performance over the weekend. "It was a great trip down there and we competed very well," Jenkins said. "We broke five school records and are showing improvement in almost every event." The women's team was very successful as well, winning three individual events and a relay race at the meet. Sophomore Becky O'Brien won in discus with a throw of 166-3 (50.67m). The throw also broke Sarah Vance's 2007 record by more than five feet. Freshman Erin Miller finished in seventh with a personal best throw of 142-0 (43.28m). O'Brien was also part of an impressive showing in the women's shot put, which included three spots of the top 10. O'Brien finished second with a personal-best throw of 51-1.75 (15.59m). Sophomore Kristy Woods came in third at 50-0.75 (15.26m), and Miller finished ninth with a throw of 43-1.75 (13.15m). Woods also earned a sixth-place finish in the women's hammer throw at 175-10 (53.59m). The women's team was just as successful on the track. Sophomores Jackie Burns and Ellen Muster earned the top two spots in the second section of the women's 1,500-meters. Burns won the race with a time of 4:39.98, and Muster came in second in 4:41.61. Freshman Katie Sanders rounded out the top 10 with a time of 4:46.26. Buffalo also won the sprint medley relay with a time of 3:59.96. Burns ran the anchor leg and was joined by freshman Jamiee McClary, sophomore Natalie Fildes and senior Allison Grimes. McClary continued her successful weekend, breaking the women's record in the 200-meters. Her time of 24.18, which broke a 10-year-old record set by Janelle Callender, earned her a seventh-place finish. Jenkins is very excited for the next match at the Florida Relays. "I think we are going to compete very well down south," Jenkins said. "We're going to need to continue to train hard and make sure to get our throws to qualify in the warmer weather. Our goal is to make the top 48 teams in each event to get into the NCAA." The Bulls will head to Gainesville, Fla. for the Florida Relays, which are set to start at noon on Friday. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Perfect home

The Miller Tennis Center has been a tough place for opponents to play this season and the men's tennis team was hoping to continue that trend as it kicked off conference play over the weekend. Trying to defend a perfect home record so far this year, the Bulls (7-4, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) hooked up with conference foe Toledo (8-11, 0-1 MAC) on Saturday. Buffalo used the home-court advantage to rally and pull off a 4-3 comeback win over the Rockets. Needing to capture victories in two of the final three matches to win the match, the Bulls depended on their fourth and sixth slot players to edge the Rockets. Sophomore Alex Kalinin fell into a deep hole early, dropping the first set of his match against Toledo's Gursher Harika, 6-2. All hope seemed lost as Kalinin trailed 2-0 early in the second set, but the sophomore came to life and rallied to win the next six games, taking the second set, 6-2, to tie the match at one set apiece. Kalinin's surge continued in the next set as he gained an early advantage en route to a 6-2, third set victory to notch a point for the Bulls. "Alex Kalinin really battled out there," head coach Lee Nickell said. The pressure then shifted to freshman George Tibel, who needed to win if the Bulls were to beat Toledo. Tibil dropped the first set, 4-6, to Rockets sophomore Leo Sarria. The freshman then cruised in the second set, winning 6-2. In the third and final set, Tibil fell behind a break at 4-2. The Bulls' hopes of preserving their perfect home record looked slim. But Tibil was able to break Sarria, and in the process took a 5-4 lead. Both players held serve to force the tiebreaker and Tibil defeated Sarria, 7-4, to claim a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory. "It was a great win for George Tibel after being down a break in the third set," Nickell said. The Rockets jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after winning two-out-of-three doubles matches. In the first singles match, the Bulls captured a win when sophomore Wojciech Starakiewicz came back from being down a break in the second set to defeat the Rockets' Sven Burus 6-1, 6-4. Toledo then broke the tie score in the second singles match. Junior Aleksandar Elezovic handled Bulls junior Marcelo Mazzetto 6-3, 6-2. In third singles, Rockets junior Nutthavit Likitkumchom needed three sets to defeat senior Kirill Kolomyts, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Freshmen Vusa Hove won in straight sets in the fifth slot match. Hove defeated Toledo freshman Bryant Dudzik, 6-2, 6-3. The Bulls needed strong performances from many of their players to beat Toledo, and Nickell was pleased with the team's overall effort in the win. "It was a very strong fighting performance for our guys," Nickell said. "We showed great resiliency to come back. Our energy seemed to rise as the game went on and that's what put us over a good Toledo team." E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Buffalo's home-opener not so homey

The baseball team played its first Mid-American Conference game of the season in less than favorable conditions. The team aimed to get out of the box quickly against a conference foe in hopes of sending a message to the rest of the MAC. Buffalo (10-10, 1-2 MAC) found some success but fell short in the end against Eastern Michigan (10-14, 2-1 MAC), dropping two out of three games over the weekend. Due to unfavorable conditions at the Bulls' home field, all of the games took place in St. Bonaventure's Fred Handler Park. The Bulls won the first game, 5-2, while the Eagles took the last two games in convincing fashion. EMU took the second part of the Saturday doubleheader, 7-2, and beat Buffalo 4-1 on Sunday. "Offensively we didn't produce," said manager Ron Torgalski. "Eight runs in three games... is not going to cut it." Buffalo was the first team on the scoreboard in Saturday's first game. In the bottom of the second inning, senior center fielder Adam Skonieczki hit a single towards left field to give the Bulls something to work with. Senior designated hitter Charlie Karstedt converted on the opportunity with an RBI double that sent his teammate home. A stolen base and an RBI single by Eastern Michigan's Ken Battiston tied the game at one run apiece in the following inning. The Bulls put the game out of reach, however, on an RBI double by senior first baseman Rob Lawler. Senior Chaz Mye toed the rubber for the Bulls in the win and was sharp for eight-and-a-third innings. Mye surrendered only five hits in the game and struck out 10 Eagles in the win. The Bulls kept the lead thanks to senior shortstop Brad Agustin's run and Lawler's RBI double. The win marked the Bulls' first victory in a conference home opener since 2002. Senior pitcher Pierre Miville-Deschenes took the mound for the Bulls in game two and pitched well for the first four innings, until everything came undone. Miville-Deschenes hit a batter and threw two wild pitches. The Eagles capitalized on the errors, scoring six runs to all but bury the Bulls in the contest. Buffalo added two runs in the last inning on a double by senior left fielder Bobby Pizzuto, but it was too little, too late as the Eagles walked away with the second game of the doubleheader. Miville-Deschenes recorded seven strikeouts in his four-and-a-third innings of work. "We had had a couple of opportunities with guys on base [and] we didn't take advantage of them," Torgalski said. "We needed somebody to step up and come up with a big hit in certain times and it didn't happen. In the final game of the series, the Bulls just couldn't figure out Eastern Michigan's lefty Collin Taylor. Buffalo scored only one run in the game off of a steal by Skonieczki. Taylor struck out five Bulls and gave up five hits in the Eagles' win. Buffalo junior pitcher Josh Edwards allowed six hits and struck out four Eagles in six-and-a-third innings of work. "Edwards went into the seventh inning with a two hitter," Torgalski said. "He just kind of ran out of gas. He gave us an opportunity and we just didn't score runs for him." Buffalo will head back to Fred Handler Park Tuesday to take on St. Bonaventure at 2 p.m. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

California love

Many students at UB would love to be living in California, but for one freshman, moving from the Golden State to the Queen City was a welcoming change. Softball first baseman Jessica Griffin is a long way from home. But for Griffin, making the trek across the country to join the Bulls was the right choice. Born and raised in Placentia, Calif., Griffin grew up under the rays of the sun with her feet in the sand for much of her life. Making the transition from fun in the sun to sleet, snow and cold is usually tough for most people. But for Griffin, the weather was overshadowed by more important factors when she decided to come to Buffalo. "When I came on my visit here I really liked the environment. I felt like I was on a college campus [and] everyone was really dedicated to making sure that athletes had the academic focus that we needed," Griffin said. "[They had a] really strong work ethic and I liked the diversity of the school." As an international studies major, diversity played a large role in Griffin's decision to attend Buffalo. She felt that understanding where people came from was very important. Griffin has started every game for the Bulls at first base this season and has made her presence in the line up felt by opponents. Just ask Louisiana Tech. In the third game of a triple-header, Griffin went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and blasted her first career home run in a 10-7 victory over the Lady Techsters. "It was very exciting to get those first few hits out of the way, [and getting my] first home run out of the way felt great," Griffin said. Difference making performances from Griffin will be a common sight in the near future as she progresses and learns the ways of playing Division I softball. Griffin feels that her best attributes were on display during the Tech game. "I like to feel like I bring power to the team. I really want to bring clutch timing and a presence," Griffin said. But Griffin has a bigger goal that she would like to accomplish: bringing home a Mid-American Conference Championship is something she feels the team can accomplish this season. "I really want to win [the] MAC," Griffin said. "Definitely the goal is to get to the MAC tournament and be champions there and [then] go to regionals and so forth." During spring break, the softball team traveled to California to play games in San Diego and Long Beach, a homecoming of sorts for Griffin. San Diego is roughly two hours from her hometown and Long Beach was a short drive of 20 minutes. Griffin was excited for the opportunity to play close to home as her family and friends attended the games. She looked forward to catching some of her high school team's games while she was back on the west coast as well. Although she is enjoying Buffalo, Griffin did admit it would be nice to get back to the more desirable weather of southern California. "Weather [in California] was great," Griffin said. "[A] tiny difference from here." E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Four Bulls battle at NCAAs

Although the results weren't ideal, four young wrestlers gained valuable experience at the NCAA Championships. Sophomores Desi Green, Kevin Smith and John-Martin Cannon, as well as junior Jimmy Hamel, all competed at the NCAA Wrestling Championships over the weekend in Omaha, Neb. After battling through injuries throughout the first day, Cannon and Hamel were eliminated, while Green and Smith each advanced in consolation rounds before being defeated. "It's just the nature of the NCAA championships," said Bulls' head coach Jim Beichner. "One guy leaves happy and one guy doesn't." Competing in the 149-pound weight class, No 18. nationally ranked Green defeated Virginia's Shawn Harris in a 9-8 decision in his first bout. In the following match, No. 6 ranked wrestler, Matt Kyler of Army, shut out Green, 9-0. On the second day of action, Green met Mid-American Conference rival and No. 19 ranked Seth Morton of Ohio University. At the MAC Championships earlier in the month, Green defeated Morton to win the individual crown. The results weren't any different this time around as Green won the match 5-4 to advance to the fourth consolation round. Green's NCAA trip came to an end against No. 16 Andrew Nadhir of Northwestern. Down 6-3, Green battled his way back into the match to even the score at six, but Nadhir regained control of the match to edge out Green in a 9-6 decision. Making his first appearance at an NCAA Championship, 17th ranked Smith wrestled in the 133-pound weight class. Smith's tournament began with his toughest opponent of the season in a bout with No. 3 Daniel Dennis of Iowa. After a close first period in which Smith trailed 2-1, Dennis pulled away for a 6-2 victory. Dennis eventually won championship in the weight class. Later in the day, Smith notched his first victory by defeating Jimmy Kirchner of Rider, 11-5, to advance to the third consolation round. Smith was set for a rematch with 14th ranked Steve Mytych of Drexel, who defeated Smith 6-4 at the East Stroudsburg Duals earlier in the year. After a closely contested first period, Mytych held a 3-2 lead over Smith and held on to win the match, 5-2. Also making his first appearance in the Championships, Cannon competed at the 165-pound weight class. Struggling with an injury against No. 5 ranked Colt Sponsellor of Ohio State, Cannon was defeated by pin fall at 6:22. Cannon was also defeated by 10th ranked Paul Young of Indiana. Cannon kept the match close through the first period but trailed by a slim margin of 2-1. Cannon decided to keep wrestling despite taking an injury timeout in the second period, but eventually by a 10-2 decision. Making his second-straight NCAA appearance, Hamel wrestled in the 197 pound weight class and met 20th ranked Micah Burak of Penn in the first round. After an exciting extra overtime match, Hamel was defeated by a score of 6-5. In his next match, Hamel held an early 3-0 advantage over Tyler Sorenson of South Dakota State. Sorenson came back to win the match 5-3 to eliminate Hamel. The Bulls only lose three seniors and should be able to utilize the experience gained this year to compete in the MAC and national championships next season. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Bulls fall to Bears in outdoor matchup

Warm weather in Providence allowed the women's tennis team to play outdoors, but despite the sun shining, the Bulls looked cold on Sunday. Buffalo (4-4) fell to nationally ranked Brown (11-3) by a score of 5-2 to finish non-conference play. Despite a victory in the first match by senior Denise Harijanto and junior Aleksandra Petrova, Brown claimed the doubles point. Harijanto and Petrova, who are ranked 10th in the Northeast Region, defeated the Bear's team of junior Bianca Aboubakare and sophomore Cassandra Herzberg, ranked third in the region and 71st in the nation, by a score of 8-5. Buffalo failed to win either of the other doubles matches as the freshmen pair of Tamara Markovic and Kira Golenko fell to Brown's team of freshmen Misia Krasowski and sophomore Julie Flanzer, 8-4. The Bears' No. 3 team of senior Emily Ellis and junior Marisa Schonfeld clinched the point with an 8-5 victory over junior Diana Popescu and senior Diana Toia. Buffalo picked up a pair of singles victories as Harijanto and Petrova continued their great play. Harijanto, the No. 1 starter for Buffalo, defeated Herzberg in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. Herzberg was ranked seventh in the region in singles prior to the match. Petrova followed suit in the third singles, defeating Krasowski 7-6 (2), 6-3, earning the Bulls' second point of the day. Head coach Kathy Twist was delighted by the performances of Harijanto and Petrova. "The highlights of the match were definitely Denise [Harijanto] and Alex [Petrova]," Twist said. "They showed great poise and each beat opponents that were ranked higher than them in the Northeast." Unfortunately, Harijanto's and Petrova's play did not carry over to the rest of the team, as Buffalo dropped each of the other four singles matches in straight sets. Popescu dropped a heart-breaking first set to Aboubakare in a tiebreak, 7-6 (9), before losing the second set 6-1. Markovic also played valiantly in the No. 6 match, but couldn't force a third set, falling by a score of 6-2, 7-5. Buffalo ended non-conference play with a 4-4 record, but will use its experience to prep them for Mid-American Conference play. Due to a tough non-conference schedule, Twist feels confident that the Bulls will be ready to begin conference play this week. "We have gotten a lot of good competition," Twist said. "We're going to go back and work harder. We are always stronger at the end of the season because our schedule is structured around the conference tournament. We know our game against Akron will be a battle, but we now have experience playing against great teams." The Bulls will travel to Akron (11-0) on Saturday for a 1 p.m. matchup on Saturday. The Zips had their first winning season since 1996 last year and were ranked No. 1 in the MAC in the preseason polls E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Possible MAC expansion

Only one Mid-American Conference men's basketball team made it to the NCAA Tournament this season. Recently, however, there have been rumors that the conference is looking to spice things up, hoping to have two teams get bids in the future. Andy Katz of ESPN reported that Temple University and Western Kentucky may become the 13th and 14th teams of the MAC. Temple is currently in the Atlantic 10 Conference and Western Kentucky competes in the Sun Belt Conference. Both teams are historically successful basketball programs. Still, the addition of these teams remains hearsay at this point. "The topic of expansion is one that the conference and its member institutions and affiliate members will continue to discuss internally," said Ken Mather, assistant commissioner of media and public relations for the MAC. "Any other comment on expansion, number of sports, divisional alignment, etc. would be pure speculation at this point." According to Mather, there are signs that the two teams are interested in the conference, which has 12 members for all sports. Temple is currently an affiliate member for football only. Temple joined the MAC in 2007. Since then, the Owls have brought excitement to the conference: the team tied for first place in the MAC East in '09, and many remember the Bulls' last-second Hail Mary that won Buffalo the game on Sept. 13, 2008 against Temple. The addition of these two teams would create the largest conference in college football and could also help resolve some scheduling conflicts. Currently, the MAC has an uneven amount of teams (13), making scheduling difficult and team distribution between the two divisions uneven. Aside from making the football conference larger, the addition would add depth and skill to the basketball league, too. WKU has been to two of the last three NCAA Tournaments, and Temple is coming off its third-straight Atlantic 10 Tournament championship. The Owls won 29 games this season and were rewarded with a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If Temple and WKU joined the MAC, this would make the MAC men's basketball regular season more competitive and would also open the doors for Buffalo to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Officals from Temple and WKU did not return phone calls to The Spectrum. Stay with The Spectrum for updates on the possible expansion of the MAC. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Luck of the Irish

On the heels of St. Patrick's Day, the softball team needed to borrow some luck from the Irish to capture a win down in Myrtle Beach, S.C. at the Coastal Carolina Classic. In the first of five games at the Classic, the Bulls (8-16) needed a little help from their opponent to squeak past Oakland (8-18), 6-5, in extra innings. Buffalo's luck ran out in the next game as the Bulls fell behind early to Coastal Carolina (12-13) and dropped the contest 9-1. Buffalo and Oakland battled back and forth for six innings until Oakland put together a rally in the top of the sixth inning. Two Golden Grizzlies reached base and both advanced on a fielder's choice. Junior outfielder Alyssa Deacon stepped up and knocked an RBI double to left centerfield to break the tie and put Oakland ahead 5-4 with just two innings to play. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Bulls comeback began as freshman outfielder Taylor Franich turned on the jets to get Buffalo over the hump. Franich didn't let a strikeout lower her awareness; she noticed a passed ball and took first base. While on first, the freshman utilized her speed, stealing second and then taking third base on a wild pitch. A few pitches later, with two outs on the board, Franich scurried home on a passed ball to tie the game at five runs apiece. In the first extra frame, the Bulls capitalized on sloppy pitching by Oakland to secure their eighth win of the season. Senior Jaime Sheffler led off the inning with a single and advanced to second base on a throwing error. Sheffler made her way home after pitches hit a series of Buffalo batters, ultimately giving Buffalo the 6-5 win. Senior Sharon Barr threw a complete game in the win, striking out six while only giving up four earned runs. It wasn't Barr's best outing this season, but her eight strong innings got the job done for the Bulls. The Classic continued, but game two ended without another Bulls victory. Buffalo sent junior pitcher Kate Kraus to the mound in game two against host school Coastal Carolina to make the first Division 1-A start of her career. Kraus struggled in the debut outing and yielded six earned runs in just four innings of work. The Chanticleers feasted off Buffalo pitching, accumulating 13 hits on their way to the 9-1 win. Coastal Carolina exemplified a balanced effort as each Chanticleer in the starting lineup accumulated at least one hit. Franich went 1-for-3 in the game and recorded the Bulls' lone RBI. The rest of the Buffalo offense was stagnant all game, collecting only five hits in the loss. Buffalo continued play at the Classic against Sacred Heart (8-8) and Houston Baptist (7-14). For coverage of these games, check Wednesday's edition of The Spectrum. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

A golden interview

At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Buffalo's very own Steve Mesler made Western New York and the United States of America proud when he won a gold medal in the four-man bobsled. A City Honors School graduate and former decathlete at the University of Florida, Mesler pursued a bobsledding career after college and didn't look back until he was on top of the podium. His team beat out Germany's silver medalists by just 0.39 seconds to bring home the USA's first gold medal in the event since 1948. Mesler arrived home in true Buffalo fashion, throwing a party that was open to the public at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. During the party, Assistant Sports Editor Luke Hammill got the opportunity to take Mesler away from the crowd for a few minutes and sit down for an interview. The Spectrum: What made you decide to leave the warm weather as a track and field athlete at the University of Florida and come back to the cold climate to compete as a bobsledder? Steve Mesler: That's a good question. I wasn't ready to be done yet. My track career hadn't gone where I wanted it to go — I had injury after injury after injury. I finished up with Tommy John surgery as a senior [in college], and I wasn't ready to accept that I had peaked when I was 17 years old at high school nationals, so I was just looking for something else. S: Your bobsled team went into Vancouver as the defending world champions from the 2009 competitions. Would anything less than a gold medal have been a disappointment? SM: I would have liked to have said "no," that simply medaling would have been fine, but the only 100 percent satisfaction would have been what's sitting right here [points to his Olympic gold medal]. S: You competed at one of the last events in the Olympics. Did that leave you with any time to absorb the entire Olympic experience? SM: No, you absorb it a little bit at the beginning, but then for the rest of the time you just go back to work. If you're sitting there and absorbing it, then you're thinking about it all the time and you're feeling too much, so you go to work. You absorb things when you can, but it's two weeks of work for us. S: Was the training from your track and field career similar to your training now as a bobsledder, or is it totally different? SM: It was very similar. It crossed over really easily for me. It's a lot of sprinting — all short sprinting, under 90 meters (30, 60, 90 meters). It's a lot of lifting, a lot of [plyometrics], a lot of bounding, hurdle hops, cleans, RDLs [Romanian dead lifts], stuff like that. S: After the initial push and hop into the sled, what was your job while the driver guided the speeding bobsled down the track? SM: Our job in the sled is: we have different aerodynamic positions that we put ourselves in on the way down. You have to flow with the sled as you go around turns — the best analogy is being in a car and you're in the passenger seat. If someone takes a hard left-hand turn, you get pushed into the right side door. Well, if that happens in a sled and the driver takes a left-hand turn and you all crash into the right side of the sled, you're going to skid because you're on the ice and lose time from the skidding. So we actually have to flow with the sled as it goes around the turns. S: Were you worried at all after seeing the unfortunate death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a crash? SM: No, it was just sad to see. We weren't worried about that. From our standpoint, you can't think about it. You mourn it for a day and then you have to put it out of your head. S: Now that you're back, what's it been like? You dropped the puck at the Sabres game on March 10. SM: It has been fun. The Sabres game thing is something I've always wanted to do since I was a kid, so it was very cool. Hopefully I got some good pictures. We went down in the locker room afterward and met the players — they had a day off the next day … it was a good time. S: I'll get you out of here with this question: What's next? Thinking about a repeat in 2014? SM: For the first time in my life, I actually don't have to look four years down the road. I don't have to look ahead; I can just enjoy what I've done and not really worry about down the road yet. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com





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