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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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SPORTS

NBA playoff preview

The NBA playoffs begin this Saturday and the matchups are now set. After 40 games in 40 nights, we'll have several questions answered after a long NBA season. Will "King James" finally take a seat on his thrown? Would a championship ring be enough to keep LeBron in Cleveland? Can Kobe Bryant return to the top of the mountain once again and inch closer to the legacy that Michael Jordan left behind? Can Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki capitalize on a key mid-season trade to win their first ever NBA Title? Here at The Spectrum, we'll take a look at the first round matchups and look forward to the NBA Finals. EASTERN CONFERENCE #1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #8 Chicago Bulls Typically, the No. 1 versus No. 8 matchup is an afterthought. This series may be no different, but there are a few interesting storylines. Chicago and Cleveland split the season series and Chicago took the last meeting against a Lebron-less Cavalier team, 109-108. Derrick Rose is a force and showed in last year's playoffs that he can lead a team when the Bulls fell just short of beating the No. 2-seed Celtics, 4-3. If the Bulls can steal a game in Cleveland, this could be an interesting series. But Cleveland has too much firepower to suffer an upset. Cavs in five #2 Orlando Magic vs. #7 Charlotte Bobcats Charlotte is a young team on the rise and has a great coach in Larry Brown. With that being said, they have no chance in this series. Vince Carter looks like he found a time machine this season and is playing like the all-star he once was. Dwight Howard is as dominating a force as any other player in the league today, and the Bobcats will be no match for either of them. Magic in four #3 Atlanta Hawks vs. #6 Milwaukee Bucks About three weeks ago, this series would have been an early favorite for best first round matchup. Unfortunately, Bucks' star center Andrew Bogut went out for the season with an injury, thus rendering the Bucks helpless. Brandon Jennings and John Salmons are good players, but they will not be enough to take out Joe Johnson and the Hawks. If Josh Smith plays well in this series, it could build some confidence and help the Hawks advance in later rounds. Hawks in five #4 Boston Celtics vs. #5 Miami Heat This may be the most interesting series in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Dwayne Wade is an elite talent in this league and has shown on a consistent basis that he has what it takes to lead his team deep into the playoffs. Kevin Garnett and company aren't getting any younger, but if they play with a chip on their shoulder, the Celtics will be tough to beat. The series will come down to who wants it more and whether or not the Heat can get enough production from their role players. Boston in seven WESTERN CONFERENCE #1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #8 Oklahoma City Thunder This is going to be a fun series to watch. Kevin Durant, this season's scoring champion, has been incredible in his third year as a pro. With a core of young, talented teammates accompanying Durant, the Thunder have the assets to give the perennial Western Conference champs a run for their money. While the Lakers took three of four in the regular season from Oklahoma City, there are some serious question marks surrounding Los Angeles. Injuries have hurt the yellow and purple, and they will need a healthy Andrew Bynum if they want to win another title. Kobe Bryant will be the focus of the series, but watch for Jeff Green of the Thunder to be a key player. If he provides scoring and solid rebounding, the Lakers are going to have their hands full. As good as Durant is and as bright of a future he has in store, it's not his time to shine yet. Lakers in six #2 Dallas Mavericks vs. #7 San Antonio Spurs The Mavericks have one of the most talented teams in the league from top to bottom and the Spurs pose little threat to Dirk and company. Long-time all-star Tim Duncan has showed a bit of wear and tear this season and Tony Parker is less than 100 percent. With a less than stellar supporting cast and little depth, Manu Ginobili will not be able to take out the Mavs single handedly. Jason Kidd doesn't have much time left and will be motivated to grab his first ring. Mavs in five #3 Phoenix Suns vs. #6 Portland Blazers If Brandon Roy were healthy, this would be the best Western Conference quarterfinals series. Roy is so dynamic and his play makes everyone around him better. As Roy's status remains in question, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire should be able to handle the Blazers and move on to the conference semifinals. Suns in five #4 Denver Nuggets vs. #5 Utah Jazz The Nuggets really hurt themselves down the stretch with poor play. The bad stretch dropped the team to fourth in the West and cemented their spot in a slugfest with the Jazz. Both teams feature great point guards and if the Nuggets can shake off the cobwebs, they should be able to take out the Jazz. Carmelo Anthony is an assassin and knows how to win. If Denver can get out of the series, head coach George Karl will return to the bench for round two – just in time for the Lakers. The Nuggets could ride a wave of emotion to the NBA Finals, but they have to be willing to pay the price against a gritty Utah squad. Give the slight edge to Anthony and the Nuggets. Nuggets in seven Predictions East Final: Cavaliers over Magic West Final: Mavericks over Lakers NBA FINALS: Cavaliers over Mavericks in seven games


SPORTS

Bulls renew local rivalries

Coming off of three straight losses against conference-foe Toledo, the baseball team played three games in two days against two local rivals. The Bulls (15-15, 3-6 Mid-American Conference) hosted the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (5-18) in a non-conference, Big Four doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon at Amherst Audubon Field. A day later, the Niagara Purple Eagles (11-20) welcomed the Bulls to Sal Maglie Stadium for the Bulls' sixth game in five days. But fatigue did not affect the Bulls' bats. After dropping its first game to the Bonnies 5-4, the Bulls rebounded in the nightcap and salvaged the doubleheader with a 12-2 win. The Bulls' offense continued its hot streak on Wednesday and posted its second-highest run total of the season with a 21-4 win against Niagara. Head coach Ron Torgalski was very pleased with how his team responded to the grueling stretch of games. "This was our sixth game in five days and I thought they might be tired," Torgalski said. "However, the energy was there and we played a good all-around game." In the first game against the Bonnies, senior pitcher Brian Pullyblank competed in his third start of the season and went six innings in a 5-4 defeat. Senior second baseman Brad Agustin played well in the loss. He went 2-for-2 at the plate with a double, two walks and one run scored. After the tough loss in the first game, the Bulls turned to sophomore pitcher Kevin Crumb. Crumb came out throwing strikes and retired the first nine batters he faced. "We tell our guys if you come out and throw strikes, we got a chance to make plays behind you," Torgalski said. "Kevin came out, threw strikes, and was pounding the zone and they were hitting balls at us." The Bulls offense came out aggressive and gained an early 2-0 advantage, putting pressure on the St. Bonaventure defense. Buffalo stole four bases in the first inning alone. "That's the way we want to play, we want to be aggressive," Torgalski said. "We got some guys in the front of the line up that run well, that do a great job of reading pitchers and getting jumps. I think we rattled them, they had a young catcher back there." Buffalo's early surge snowballed and the game was never close. The Bulls pounded out 17 hits en route to a 12-2 victory. Eight of the nine players in the starting lineup scored at least one run, and the only player who didn't record a run was thrown out attempting to score on a close play at home. In the fourth inning, the Bulls batted around as the team sent all nine batters to the plate at least once on their way to a six-run inning. Pizzuto went 3-for-3 in the second game with a walk. He finished with two RBIs, two stolen bases and two runs scored. The Bulls' offense wasn't the only bright spot. Crumb combined with junior pitcher Jeff Thompson to allow only three hits in the game. Thompson earned the win, striking out four batters in three and one-third innings without allowing a run. Agustin reached base 7-of-9 times on the day while batting in the lead-off spot. With the run he scored in the first inning of the first game, Agustin set the record for runs scored in a career for the Bulls with 137. Against Niagara, Buffalo led 5-3 after four innings of baseball. From that point, Buffalo's offense erupted and scored nine runs in the top of the fifth, the most runs the team has scored in an inning this season. Senior designated hitter Brad Cochrane and shortstop Jacob Rosenbeck got it started with back-to-back RBI singles, and the Bulls never looked back. Freshman third baseman Alex Baldock followed with a two-RBI base hit and the Bulls extended their lead to 10-3. The Purple Eagles were forced to change pitchers, but it was to no avail. Freshman catcher Tom Murphy doubled to left in the first at bat against Niagara reliever Brett Sabourin. Cochrane then recorded his third RBI of the inning with a two-run home run to centerfield. The Bulls finished up their scoring for the inning with an RBI single by senior right fielder Charlie Karstedt. Buffalo scored their last two runs on the day in the ninth inning, bringing the team's scoring total to 21. "Offensively, we were very aggressive," Torgalski said. "We had a great approach at the plate with two strikes and it showed as we were able to record 19 hits. We were also aggressive on the base paths and had a good amount of stolen bases." Agustin and Lawler led the way with three hits apiece, while four other players had two hits each. Cochrane, Baldock, and Karstedt each recorded three RBIs on the day as well. Hitting wasn't the only area in which the Bulls excelled at on Wednesday. Buffalo only committed one error, compared to six by Niagara. Junior pitcher Mike Klaus earned his first career victory, striking out three batters over four innings. Torgalski was especially pleased with the pitching performance. "Most of our pitching staff was tired after this past stretch of games," Torgalski said. "The three guys who pitched today hadn't been getting a lot of time, and only gave up four runs over nine innings." The Bulls will not get very much time to celebrate the win as they hit the road for a weekend series with Ball State (14-18, 5-1 MAC). The first pitch on Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Diaz strikes out 16 to breaks school record

Sophomore pitcher Terese Diaz and the softball team showed little mercy against rival St. Bonaventure in Wednesday afternoon's doubleheader, outscoring the Bonnies 19-7 to take both games on the day. In their home opener, Buffalo (13-21, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) followed a 7-0 shutout victory with a 12-7 win over St. Bonaventure (7-16) to give home fans something to smile about at Nan Harvey Field. In the first game, Diaz recorded the first no-hitter of her career. In striking out 16 batters, Diaz set a new Buffalo single game school record, breaking the previous record of 12. The Bulls' offense supported Diaz with a solid offensive performance. Buffalo scored two early runs in the bottom of the first off key RBI singles from freshman infielders HYPERLINK "http://www.ubathletics.buffalo.edu/softball/roster/ward.shtml"Alyssa Ward and HYPERLINK "http://www.ubathletics.buffalo.edu/softball/roster/griffin.shtml"Jessica Griffin. In the bottom of the third, Griffin hit a home run off opposing pitcher Sherri Thompson with freshman infielder Kristin Waldron on base to increase the Buffalo lead to 4-0. Griffin led the team at the plate, finishing the day with five hits, six RBIs and two home runs. Buffalo took full advantage of St. Bonaventure's mistakes, turning the Bonnies' errors in the third inning into runs on the scoreboard. Assistant coach Jessica Jones had much praise for how her young team came together. "St. Bonaventure definitely left some bases open for us and we took full advantage," Jones said. "The girls are starting to focus on playing UB softball as opposed to just focusing on their opponents. These wins are definitely a confident booster." Diaz took the mound for the second game as well in relief of senior pitcher Sharon Barr, who gave up three earned runs on three hits and four walks in four and one-third innings. With Buffalo sitting on a comfortable 10-1 lead, Diaz struck out four batters to preserve the win in two and two-third innings pitched. Offensively, Waldron, Griffin, Ward and junior HYPERLINK "http://www.ubathletics.buffalo.edu/softball/roster/sheehan.shtml"Alex Bejarano all hit home runs as the Bulls scored in all but the fifth inning. The Bonnies scored a majority of their runs between the fourth and sixth innings to give UB a late scare, but could not complete the comeback. "When you're opponent falls behind, they start to play like they have nothing to lose, so they just start swinging" Jones said. "We didn't worry and it wouldn't rattle our girls too much." UB will host co-MAC leaders Ball State and Miami this weekend. The weekend will begin with a doubleheader against Ball State at 1 p.m. on Friday. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Wiffleball evolved

Since the invention of baseball, the concept of the game has captured Americans across the country. Like any other sport, however, not everyone could play competitively. In 1953, David Mullany created a variation of the game that would later be named wiffleball. Since that time, people, young and old, have swung for the fences in backyards everywhere hoping to generate that rare feeling of blasting a ball into a neighbor's yard. While baseball hasn't changed much over the years, wiffleball has gone through several facelifts. It started with a simple ball and thin yellow bat. Since then, you can walk into any toy store today and find balls as big as grapefruits and bats that look like they came straight out of the Flintstones. The newest enhancement comes in the form of the Blitzball. Crafted to be the most realistic baseball-like experience in the wiffleball community, its shape and design make the ball's speed and movement unlike any wiffleball experience in the past. Aaron Kim, creator of the Blitzball, has been perfecting his invention for some time now. "I came up with the original Blitzball concept around 4-5 years ago with the idea that a flat sided ball would allow for super curveballs by deflecting airflow better when spun," Kim said. "My original prototype looked something like a rounded cube. It didn't work very well and then I just made a series of improvements since then." Wiffleballs are notorious for the intense spin that can be applied to a pitch and the Blitzball takes this feature to another level. The Blitzball mimics the actual mechanics of a real baseball, which allows pitchers to throw the ball just like they would a normal baseball. Hitters are able to swing freely, as well, as the ball travels farther than a normal wiffleball. Kim and other Blitzball users agree that the distance factor is huge when deciding which product to use. "I think that baseball novices will prefer the Blitzball over traditional wiffleballs because of the substantially improved distance you get when you hit it," Kim said. Although Blitzball seems to be a solid new product, whether or not it can make a dent in the wiffleball market remains to be seen. Kim has been a lifelong fan of the wiffleball and doesn't know for sure if his product will be able to replace the American classic. With that said, he does think that people who sample his product will have a tough decision to make. "I think that people who try the Blitzball for the first time will be quite surprised by the improved action that you get," Kim said. "In another 50 years, who knows?" A few important questions came to mind when looking into the Blitzball, none more glaring than its durability. After seeing it batted around the diamond, it is safe to say that the ball can take some punishment. Kim explained that the Blitzball is made with the highest quality materials and if a customer finds any defects in the ball, a full refund will be issued. An interesting incentive to trying out the Blitzball is a contest the company started last year. Anyone who has purchased a Blitzball can film a home video of the Blitzball in action and submit it for a chance to win $1,200. The company uses their Facebook following as judges and the top three videos win a prize. Kim feels this customer interaction goes a long way towards building a fan base for the Blitzball. "Since we have such a tiny advertising budget compared to other guys like Wiffle, we have to be more creative with our marketing ideas," Kim said. Anyone interested in a Blitzball can visit the website at collegehillgames.com. The current promotion lets a customer purchase four Blitzballs for $11.99. Whether or not the Blitzball will catch on remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure -- a bunch of people are going to have a lot of fun testing it out. And in the end, that is what this game is all about. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

A tale of two days

The softball team traveled to Ohio in search of their first win over a Mid-American Conference foe since 2005. After a tough first day, Buffalo finally broke the trend. Things didn't start off as planed for the Bulls (11-21, 3-3 MAC) as they fell to the Kent State Golden Flashes (17-16, 4-2 MAC) in the opener on Saturday, 8-2. After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, Kent State scored the game's first run on a solo homer by Amy Hair in the bottom of the second frame. Buffalo played small ball to tie the game in the third inning after converting on a walk, a bunt single and a balk that set up a sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Candace Sheehan. Hair countered with her second homerun of the day in the fourth inning to headline a four-run outburst by the Golden Flashes. KSU scored another run in the fifth inning on a solo long shot by Jess Carmichael. The Bulls scored their second and final run in the top of the sixth. Sheehan led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Sophomore catcher Kristin Waldron then drove Sheehan home on a double. Kent State responded once again with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth and coasted the rest of the way to earn the victory. "We knew we were going to face [Kent State's] number one pitcher, Kylie Reynolds," said Assistant Coach Jessica Jones. "She has a great curveball and we focused on our offense to make sure we weren't just guessing. We did a decent job going into the first game, but we seemed to have a mind block and were still very passive at the plate." Sophomore pitcher Terese Diaz started the game for Buffalo and struck out two batters in only one inning of work. Senior pitcher Sharon Barr earned the loss in relief despite retiring eight batters over five innings. Sunday's game was a different story as the Bulls tallied seven hits en route to a 2-1 victory for the program's first win over Kent State in five years. Buffalo struck first in the opening inning as freshman left fielder Ashley Bertot led off with a single and then stole second base. Waldron followed with a single to set up an RBI opportunity for freshman first baseman Jessica Griffin. Griffin delivered with a single to left to score Bertot. A wild pitch by Reynolds gave the Bulls a 2-0 lead after the first. The Golden Flashes threatened in the bottom of the first, but left the bases loaded for a second consecutive day. Kent State's Mary Holt cut the lead in half with a solo home run in the fourth, but that was all that the Golden Flashes could muster against Barr in game two. The Bulls stranded two runners on base in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings but their two first-inning runs held up to notch the victory. Five different players had at least one hit on the afternoon. In her second contest in two days, Barr pitched a complete game and struck out 11 batters. Jones was very pleased with how the team played. "We watched a video of the game on Saturday night as a team and each player critiqued how we played," Jones said. "A hitter can learn a lot about their game when they see themselves on the screen. We responded very well on Sunday and used a full team effort to beat a solid Kent State team that is tied for first in the MAC." The Bulls will try to earn consecutive victories when they make their season debut at Nan Harvey Field against St. Bonaventure (7-14, 2-6 Atlantic-10 Conference) on Wednesday. "We are in a great place right now," Jones said. "We are playing with high energy. We are close-knit and we have great chemistry. We are just going to keep doing what we're doing and our play will continue to improve." First pitch is set for 3 p.m. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

"Caps, Sharks lead pack as NHL playoffs begin"

As Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins prepare to begin their Stanley Cup defense tonight against the Ottawa Senators, we take a look at the field of 16 vying to claim Lord Stanley as their own. From team previews to finals predictions, The Spectrum will get you set for the run at the cup. Eastern Conference 1. Washington Capitals (54-15-13, 121 pts.) It has been four years since the league has seen a team as dominant as the Capitals were this season. They are the first team since the 2005-2006 season to score more than 300 goals and clinched the Presidents' Trophy with more than a week remaining in the regular season. Led by Alex Ovechkin, the Caps boast the league's most dangerous offense that includes seven players with 20 or more goals. Ovechkin topped the 50-goal mark for the fourth time in his five-year career and Nicklas Backstrom quietly amassed 101 points. 2. New Jersey Devils (48-27-7, 103 pts.) The Devils edged Pittsburgh for the Atlantic crown in the final home stretch of the season thanks to a stingy defense and perpetually strong goaltending. Jacques Lemaire's offense finished 19th in the league with just 216 goals for after he failed to find cohesive line combinations. The team has star forwards Ilya Kovalchuck, Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner to carry the load, but all eyes will be on 17-year veteran Martin Brouder to backstop the team in between the pipes. Brouder led all goalies in wins this season with 45 as the Devils allowed league-low 186 goals. 3. Buffalo Sabres (45-27-10, 100 pts.) After a two-year hiatus, Buffalo is back in the postseason after winning the Northeast division thanks to arguably the best goalie in the world, Ryan Miller. The 29-year-old posted a 41-18-8 record with a 2.22 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in 69 games this year. Lindy Ruff's plan for the future has finally panned out as Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville stepped into the vacant skates left by Chris Drury and Daniel Briere to provide leadership and consistent production. Roy led the team in scoring for the third-straight season with 26 goals and 69 points while Vanek led the club in goals with 28. Pominville also netted 24 while veteran Jochen Hecht added 21. Defenseman Tyler Myers amassed 11 goals and 37 assists in his rookie year. The Calder Trophy candidate has quickly become the team's top blue-liner and has provided a physical force alongside veterans Henrik Tallinder, Steve Montador and Tony Lydman. 4. Pittsburgh Penguins (47 -28-7, 101 pts.) The defending champions enter the postseason as the fourth seed for the second straight year. After upsetting Detroit in game seven of last year's finals, the Penguins failed to produce the consistent play that they had hoped for entering the season. But last year's cup run has given the team plenty of playoff experience to emerge as contenders once again. Sidney Crosby hit the 50-goal plateau for the first time in his career after finishing with 51 scores. The Rocket Richard Trophy co-winner is accompanied by centers Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Stall, as well as Alex Ponikarovsky, Bill Guerin and Ruslan Fedotenko as the Penguins' leader's up-front. Marc-Andre Fleury will need to play consistent in net if Pittsburgh plans to repeat. 5. Ottawa Senators (44-32-6, 94 pts.) The Senators exceeded expectations this season after the emergence of strong goaltending from youngster Brian Elliot gave life to the team midway through the season. Cory Clouston took over the bench at the beginning of February and led the club to a 19-11-4 finish, including nine-straight home wins, in the last two months. Elliot will be making his NHL playoff debut after posting a 2.57 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and 29 wins in 55 appearances. The young netminder will have plenty of help from his defensive unit, which accumulated 721 blocked shots between five blue-liners. 6. Boston Bruins (39-30-13, 91 pts.) It was a letdown in "Beantown" this year as the Bruins failed to replicate their success from last season. After trading away star forward Phil Kessel, the team struggled to muster much offense and finished last in the league with just 196 goals. Marco Sturm was the team's only 20-goal scorer while Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci tied for the team lead in scoring with 52 points. Boston's hopes lye on the shoulders of rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask, who won the job over Olympian Tim Thomas halfway through the season. Appearing in 45 games, Rask posted a dazzling 1.97 goals-against average and .931 save percentage – both league bests. With a defensive unit decimated by injury, it'll be up to Rask to keep Boston off the golf course. 7. Philadelphia Flyers (41-35-6, 88 pts.) Philadelphia snuck into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season with a shootout win over the Rangers. Despite finishing just 4-5-1 in their last five games, the Flyers cemented a matchup with division rival New Jersey, who they were 5-1 against this season. The Flyers were a bit of a disappointment after many had pegged them as Stanley Cup favorites prior to the season. Mike Richards led the team in scoring with 62 points, while Jeff Carter led the orange and black with 33 goals. Goaltending was miserable for the Flyers as starter Brian Boucher posted a 9-18-3 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and .899 save percentage. Boucher's strong play at the end of the season will need to continue if the Flyers have any chance of advancing 8. Montreal Canadians (39-33-10, 88 pts.) The Habs finished 33 points behind first-round opponent Washington and have an uphill battle to climb if they want to hoist Lord Stanley. The club had an inconsistent season and finished the year winning just three of their final 11 games. Montreal will rely heavily on Jaroslav Halak to provide strong goaltending, but will be on a thin wire with Carey Price waiting in the wings. The Canadians enter the postseason as heavy underdogs and will likely be cleaning out their lockers in quick fashion. Western Conference 1. San Jose Sharks (51-20-11, 113 pts.) Spring has been unkind to the Sharks. San Jose made to the Western Conference semifinals three of the last four years but failed to win more than two games. At the top of the west for the second-straight season, the Sharks are looking to end their playoff futility behind the top offensive line of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley. The Sharks' offense is sure to generate goals as San Jose boasts a lineup with five 20-goal scorers. San Jose will need goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to improve on his 32-31 lifetime postseason record if the team has aspirations for a Stanley Cup birth. 2. Chicago Blackhawks (52-22-8, 112 pts.) The Original Six squad has Chicago excited about hockey again. Behind young stars Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, the Blackhawks have a core of exciting players who can score (eight players scored 17 or more goals in the regular season) and wear down opposing defenses. Like San Jose, the question remains on goaltending. Both Cristobal Huet and rookie Antti Niemi, who replaced Huet as the starter, are inconsistent. They have a solid defense protecting them, but who knows what'll happen when Chicago runs into an offensive powerhouse. 3. Vancouver Canucks (49-28-5, 103 pts.) Vancouver has a questionable defense behind a deep and talented offensive front. Art Ross Trophy winner Henrik Sedin will lead the strong offense, but defender Willie Mitchell sustained a concussion and Sami Salo suffered an injury before the Canucks' last game. Goaltender Roberto Luongo is one of the best in the league, but needs the blue-liners in front of him to prevent an all-out assault on his net. 4. Phoenix Coyotes (50-25-7, 107 pts.) Last summer, the question was where the Coyotes would end up. The least possible answer was the playoffs. Now, they have home-ice advantage in the first round. Phoenix will ride breakout goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, but the team drew Detroit, the hottest team in the NHL. In front of Bryzgalov is a defense that ranked third in goals against per game. But will Phoenix be able to score? The team ranked 24th in goals per game. Phoenix's Cinderella tale will continue if the Coyotes can find some offensive answers. 5. Detroit Red Wings (44-24-14, 102 pts.) Since the Olympic break, Detroit has been an NHL-best 16-3-2. Traditionally one of the best NHL teams is entering the playoffs as the hottest team. Rookie goaltender Jimmy Howard has played well this season and gave up only 2.26 goals a game. Coach Mike Babcock has his team winning games on special teams as the Red Wings placed in the top 10 in penalty killing and ranked ninth in power play. 6. Los Angeles Kings (46-27-9, 101 pts.) The Kings make their first playoff appearance since 2002. Despite the reputation of being a young inexperienced team, L.A. has a nucleus of experienced players who have playoff success. Ryan Smyth is a warrior who played in the 2006 Stanley Cup, Justin Williams won the '06 Cup with Carolina, Fredrick Modin helped Tampa Bay capture the '04 Stanley Cup, and Rob Scuderi was a key defender in Pittsburgh's run to the title last season. The Kings are prime for an upset if goaltender Jonathan Quick can step up: the 24-year-old goalie was winless in his last eight appearances. 7. Nashville Predators (47-29-6, 100 pts.) Nashville is far from being a hockey-driven town, but the Predators have its fan base excited. Led by a solid group of blue-liners and goaltender Pekka Rinne, the Predators will face a Chicago team expected to run to the Stanley Cup. Nashville doesn't hold many advantages against the Blackhawks, but has a young and energetic team with no pressure on its collective shoulders. Nashville will need to improve on special teams: the Predators finished the regular season 24th in power play and 28th in penalty kill. 8. Colorado Avalanche (43-30-9, 95 pts.) Like every other Western Conference underdog, Colorado was not expected to qualify for the postseason. Colorado was on a roll earlier in the season, but enters the playoffs with just three wins in its last 13 games. The Aves possess a core of young stars that is experiencing the playoffs for the first time. This is good news for the future, but Colorado goes up against a more-talented San Jose team in the first round. STANLEY CUP PREDICTIONS Paterno: Pittsburgh over San Jose (seven games) Sanchirico: Chicago over Pittsburgh (six games)


SPORTS

Success at Bison meet

After a couple of trips through North Carolina and a stop in Florida to begin the spring season, Buffalo's track and field team made one final road trip to Pennsylvania this past weekend before it makes its home debut at UB Stadium this upcoming Saturday. Friday afternoon, the men and women opened up competition at Bucknell University for the Bison Outdoor Classic, a two-day event. Despite windy conditions, the field team posted strong results on the first day of the meet as sophomore Chris Davis won the men's long jump with a season-best jump of 23-6.75 (7.18m). On the track, junior Gillian Taylor won her heat in the 1500-meter invite, clocking in at 4:41.97. In the same event on the men's side, freshman John Inzina won his heat with a personal best time of 4:04.87. Buffalo also prospered in the longer distance events as freshman Katie Sanders finished 16th out of a field of over 70 runners. Sanders's time of 17:43.15 qualified her for the USATF Junior National Championships. With the sun shining down on Lewisburg on Saturday, the Bulls were rewarded with better results and a record-breaking performance. The men's throw team put together another strong showing in the shot put as sophomore Rob Golabek set two new records. His throw of 59-11.75 (18.28m) set a new Bucknell facility record and broke the Buffalo all-time record. Seniors Jake Madonia (57-7.50 [17.56m]) and Alex Stamatakis (57-6.50 [17.54m]) finished right behind him to complete a Buffalo sweep. The women's team found success on the field as well. Sophomore Shante White won the hammer throw with a season-high distance of 187-8 (57.20m). Sophomore Kristy Woods collected another shot put victory for the Bulls with a throw of 51-9.25 (15.78m), a new facility record. Junior Kim Black won the triple jump with a jump of 40-8.25 (12.40m) in her first and only jump of the day. "[The success] was a combination of a lot of people stepping up today," said men's head coach Perry Jenkins. Junior Shaun Brummert gave Buffalo another victory after finishing with a time of 1:52.54 in the 800-meter race – a full second ahead of runner-up sophomore Isaiah Mask. In the women's 800-meter race, sophomore Jackie Burns finished in third place with a time of 2:13.16, her season's best. Freshman Brooklynn Ventura came in second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.55, and also finished fourth overall among 32 entries in the 400-meter hurdle. Freshman Jamiee McClary recorded a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash. "Brooklynn's 400IH was an excellent start to the season," said women's head coach Vicki Mitchell. "She's excited for even more." The relay teams found moderate success near the end of the meet. The 4x800 meter relay team of senior John Bauman, freshman Michael Pressler, Brummert and Inzina finished in third place with a time of 7:45.69. The women's 4x800 team of freshmen Aimee Hopkins and Leah Wightman, as well as Burns and Taylor, finished in second place with a time of 9:13.21. The performances of the relay teams capped off a successful meet for the Bulls. "We are very pleased with the results," Mitchell said. "This meet was the perfect meet for us to compete at. The competition was solid, the venue was nice and the weather cooperated." As the season continues through April, Jenkins recognizes that success at the MAC Championships continues to be the main goal for the team. "We were not looking to break records," Jenkins said. "We're looking to do well at the MAC championships and try to get as many people to the first round of the NCAA [Championships]." The Bulls will host the UB Invitational Saturday morning at UB Stadium. The first event is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


The Spectrum
SPORTS

Rowing team impresses at Knecht Cup

Buffalo's rowing team had an extraordinary afternoon of competition on Saturday as the squad won nine of its 11 races and placed six of its seven boats in Sunday's Grand Finals at the Knecht Cup in Camden, N.J. The Bulls proved they were worthy of receiving 15 votes in the latest national poll as the Varsity Eight boat won its opening heat by more than 10 seconds with a time of 6:46.2. Led by sophomore coxswain Alison Sheehan, the crew improved its time by 10 seconds in the semifinals, beating Boston College by six seconds with a time of 6:36.72. Alongside Sheehan were seniors Sam Masucci, Kate Garofalo, Cathleen Streicher, Tara Rudkowski, Francisca Nwoke, Alana Sharpe, junior Sasha Bailey and sophomore Brittany Ronald. The Varsity Eight boat boasted the second-fastest time of all 18 boats in the semifinals, as Duke edged the Bulls by only six-tenths of a second. The Bulls advanced to Sunday's grand finals for a matchup with Drexel, Duke, Temple, Boston College, and Rutgers. Buffalo's Second Varsity Eight boat of sophomore coxswain Kate Evely, juniors Ashley Hanhurst and Lindsay DiCosimo, sophomores Dakota Smith, Alexandra Condon and Jacklyn Postulka, as well as freshmen Rosa Kemp, Shannon David and Danielle Carlino, were also very impressive after posting the top times in both the opening and semifinal heats (6:52.69 and 6:55.17). They also advanced to Sunday's final to face Drexel, Temple, UMass, Duke and Rutgers. The Novice Eight boat picked up a pair of wins as well after recording the second fastest time of the opening heats, 7:01.21. In the semifinals, the Bulls defeated Colonial Athletic Association-rival Delaware and improved nearly five seconds to a time of 6:56.54. The Novice Eight, consisting of freshman coxswain Kara Buchheit, sophomore Jamie Varble, and freshmen Melissa James, Kylie Lewis, Lauran Benz, Deborah Garth, Bethany Cross, Elizabeth Murphy and Katelynn Hentz advanced to Sunday's final against Delaware, West Virginia, Wisconsin, UMass and UConn. The Bulls' Varsity Four boat also qualified for Sunday's finals. After winning its opening heat, the Varsity Four posted a time of 7:44.51 – less than a second behind first place finisher Villanova – for a second-place finish. The Bulls advanced to Sunday's final for a race against Colgate, Lafayette, Miami, West Virginia and Villanova. The Second Varsity Four boat only raced once on Saturday and clocked in at 7:55.79 for a first place finish to advance to the finals to meet Fairfield, Colgate, UMass, Fordham, and Loyola. The Novice Four boat finished in first place in its opening heat with a time of 8:30.77 and followed up with a third-place semifinal finish to advance to Sunday's petite final. Buffalo's eighth nationally-ranked lightweight boat did not compete on Saturday and automatically advanced to Sunday's Lightweight Eight final to race off against Lafayette, UMass, MIT and two boats from Wisconsin. Check back in Wednesday's issue of The Spectrum for coverage of Sunday's finals action. Additional reporting by Andrew Bellaflores, Staff Writer E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


SPORTS

Bulls sweep Cougars and remain perfect in MAC

Although it was cold in Buffalo on Saturday, the men's tennis team stayed hot. After defeating four-time defending Mid-American Conference champion Western Michigan University for the first time in school history last weekend, the Bulls continued to coast in conference play. With a win on Saturday, the men remained undefeated in the MAC and shut out Chicago State 5-0. The Bulls (10-5, 3-0 MAC) dismantled their injury-ridden rival Cougars (0-9, 0-1 MAC), recording four singles wins without dropping a single game. The Cougars were undermanned due to injuries, and the two teams played only six of what should have been nine matches. UB won one doubles contest and five singles matches. The Cougars did not have much of a chance at any point of most of the matches. In four out of five singles matches, Marcelo Mazzetto, Kirill Kolomyts, Vusa Hove, Kristof Custers defeated their Cougar opponents in Rodger Federer fashion, as they didn't allow the Cougars to win a single game in any of their matches. Mazzetto, Kolomyts, Hove and Custers picked up the wins 6-0, 6-0 in each contest. Even when the Bulls were challenged, they came out on top. Wojciech Starakiewicz defeated Ivan Mojsejev 6-2, 7-5 in what was the closest contest of the day. In the only doubles match, Mitch Zenaty and Alex Kalinin defeated Ivan Mojsejev and Jerrick Boone by a crushing 8-1 deficit. UB will finish its weekend in the Prairie State with a MAC match at Northern Illinois on Sunday following up with a visit to Ball State next Saturday. Doubles 1 Mitch Zenaty/Alex Kalinin (UB) d. Ivan Mojsejev/Jerrick Boone (CSU), 8-1 Singles 1 Wojciech Starakiewicz (UB) d. Ivan Mojsejev (CSU), 6-2, 7-5? 2 Marcelo Mazzetto (UB) d. Jerrick Boone (CSU), 6-0, 6-0? 3 Kirill Kolomyts (UB) d. Michael Chew (CSU), 6-0, 6-0? 4 Vusa Hove (UB) d. Morris (CSU), 6-0, 6-0? 5 Kristof Custers (UB) d. Worley (CSU), 6-0, 6-0 E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


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





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