Monday, November 20, 2006

COM: Blogarithmic #174

From my perch here, it was a pretty great weekend. Start off with William Lawson being a hero for Highland Park in round one of the playoffs, follow that up with good NCAA soccer news (considering most of my teams are already out), and top it off with a fine weekend in the studio. Here's some details.

HP defense rises up to clinch matchup with No. 1 Texas High
Dallas Morning News, 03:26 PM Central Standard Time on Saturday, November 18, 2006

MURPHY – McKinney North wrote the perfect script for ending Highland Park's 25-game winning streak Friday night.

It dominated time of possession. It didn't make mistakes. And with 2:32 left at Tom Kimbrough Stadium, McKinney North had the ball, two timeouts and one of the most prolific offenses in the area.

But that's when Highland Park did something it didn't do most of the night. It stopped McKinney North cold.

The final drive went nowhere, and with a 35-31 victory, Highland Park is still going somewhere. Now it will face someone it knows well, with Texarkana Texas up next in an area-round game of the Class 4A Division I playoffs at 1 p.m. Friday at Shreveport's Independence Stadium.

Highland Park (11-0) almost didn't look like it would get to a rematch with Texas High, which it lost to in 2004 and beat last season on its way to a state title. McKinney North (8-3), thanks in large part to a tremendous 14-catch, three-touchdown night by receiver David Douglas, nearly pulled the upset.

It was the game everyone expected earlier in the year, and doubted would happen when McKinney North struggled late in the season.

McKinney North rolled over its first eight opponents, setting a school record for wins and grabbing attention with a solid defense and an offense that looked unstoppable. It soared to No. 2 in SportsDay's area 4A rankings, building anticipation for a 1-2 showdown in the first round of the playoffs.

But a loss to Frisco ended McKinney North's perfect season. Then came last week's loss to Little Elm, which cost McKinney North a share of the 9-4A title, and maybe a little pride.

It got the pride back Friday night. The McKinney North team that looked disorganized two weeks ago, and disinterested last week, was sharp when it mattered.

In the first half, North didn't turn over the ball, didn't punt and didn't look one bit intimidated by the team that smashed it, 59-17, in last year's playoffs. When the teams headed to the locker room, North had scored on drives of 79, 59, 61 and 73 yards to take a 24-21 halftime lead.

But three points is a tenuous lead against any team. And against Highland Park, which averages nearly 50 points per game, few leads are ever safe.

Especially when Highland Park has luck on its side. HP certainly had that when it took a 28-24 lead early in the fourth.

On third-and-13 at the 50-yard line, William Webb threw a pass about 10 yards downfield that North safety Marqiese Milord-Sims leaped to knock out of bounds. But HP's William Lawson, who was not the intended receiver, caught the ball as he was running down the sideline and ran untouched into the end zone.

But Highland Park was more than lucky. After McKinney North took a 31-28 lead on yet another impressive drive, punctuated by Douglas' third touchdown reception of the game, Highland Park showed the underdog why it's still the big dog.

HP drove 73 yards for the winning TD. The biggest play came when Webb threw a 16-yard pass to Ross Bolin to convert a third-and-13. Four plays later, Alex Carroll scored from 5 yards out to give Highland Park the lead back.

That put the game back in the hands of the Highland Park defense, and it came through. McKinney North quarterback Eric Herbel was sacked twice on the final possession, allowing Highland Park to escape with the win.

And escape to yet another huge matchup. Texas High is the top-ranked 4A team in the state, and Highland Park is No. 2.

Another dramatic script awaits.


From Soccer America: My only men's team, Virginia, is still in the game. And those wonderful Aggie girls are still smokin', with Ashlee Pistorius scoring once again. Unofrtunately the Texas girls will be staying at home from here on out.

Men's powerhouses Maryland and Indiana fall
Maryland, the 2005 national champion, and Indiana, the 2003 and 2004 champion, fell in the third round of the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament on Saturday.

Joseph Lapira scored his 22nd goal of the season -- tops in the country -- with less than four minutes left in the second overtime to lift Notre Dame to a 1-0 victory at No. 5 seed Maryland. Lapira's goal came just 82 seconds after Stephen King came inches away from recording the golden goal for the Terps as a blast he hit nailed the left post.

No. 7 seed Indiana fell to Santa Clara, 5-4, in a shootout in Bloomington, Ind., after their game ended in a 0-0 tie.

The top three ACC seeds -- No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Wake Forest and No. 4 Virginia -- all won. Wake's 2-1 victory over Towson moved the Demon Deacons into the quarterfinals for the first time ever. Clemson, the fifth ACC team in the round of 16, lost at UCLA, 3-0.

Two years after finishing second to Indiana, unseeded UC Santa Barbara is back in the final eight after being Old Dominion, 2-1, on the road. The game turned on two missed penalty kicks. ODU's Evan Newton stopped a penalty by UCSB's Eric Avila -- his roommate at U-17 residency camp -- but Avila slotted home the rebound to put the Gauchos ahead, 2-1. UCSB keeper Kyle Reynish saved Ross Mackenzie's PK with five minutes left in regulation to preserve the victory. Mackenzie had earlier beaten Reynish with a spot kick for the Monarchs' goal.

For the third straight year, UNC Greensboro fell in the round of 16, losing to upstart Northwestern, 2-1. UCSB hosts Northwestern next Friday in a battle of the tournament's only remaining unseeded teams.

Third Round
Nov. 18

Virginia 2 (Reyering 65, 74) California 1 (Serafini 30).
Maryland 0 Notre Dame 1 (Lapira 107) (OT).
Old Dominion 1 (McKenzie pen. 57) UC Santa Barbara 2 (Perera 7, Avila 61).
Indiana 0 Santa Clara 0 (OT).
(Santa Clara wins 5-4 on penalties.)

Nov. 19
Duke 2 (Videira 20, Wadsworth 27, Grella 71) Lehigh 0.
UCLA 3 (Estrada 11, 90, Zizzo 25) Clemson 0.
Northwestern 2 (Usinger pen. 9, Alvarez 23) UNC Greensboro 1 (FitzGerald 9).
Wake Forest 2 (Curfman 65, Schilawski 76) Towson 1 (Healey pen. 90).

Schedule, Quarterfinals
Nov. 24

No. 2 Wake Forest (17-3-3) vs. No. 10 Santa Clara (13-4-5)
No. 4 Virginia (16-3-1) vs. No. 12 Notre Dame (15-5-2)
UC Santa Barbara (15-7-0) vs. Northwestern (14-7-0)

Nov. 26
No. 1 Duke (18-3-1) vs. No. 8 UCLA (12-5-4)


WOMEN: Rapinoe and Budge power Portland into elite eight
Defending NCAA Division I women's national champion Portland's long-shot bid to repeat remained alive with a 2-0 win at No. 1 seed Texas on Sunday
.

Rachael Rapinoe continued her torrid postseason play with the first goal just 194 seconds into the match in Austin. Natalie Budge added an insurance goal and senior keeper Cori Alexander had nine saves to lead the Pilots, who now travel to UCLA on Friday night for a rematch of the 2005 NCAA championship game in which the Pilots earned their second title with a 4-0 win. UCLA defeated Florida, 3-2, to advance.

Rapinoe blasted a shot from 35 yards out to score her fourth goal of the NCAA Tournament -- matching her regular-season output.

"My team asked me to score early to set the tempo, so I just saw the ball, set it up and put it into the side of the net," Rapinoe said. "It's always a relief to get a goal early."

Rapinoe and Budge have had to carry the attack in the NCAA Tournament. Rapinoe was moved from the backline to the attack after her twin sister, U.S. international Megan Rapinoe, was lost for the season with a knee injury in October. Freshman star Michelle Enyeart, who leads the Pilots with 16 goals, was injured in UP's second-round match against Utah and did not play against Texas.

Alexander was sensational in the first half with six saves.

"Texas did everything but win this game," UP coach Garrett Smith said. "It was a great effort from a great top seed."

Clemson is only other unseeded team to advance to the Elite Eight. The Tigers won their third straight shootout, winning at Stanford, 4-2, on penalty kicks after their game ended in a 0-0 tie.

Third Round
Nov. 17

Notre Dame 3 (Bock 16, 34, Hanks 89) Colorado 0.
Texas A&M 2 (Pistorius 20, Jones 23) Virginia 1 (Redmond 39).
UCLA 3 (Adams 8, Cheney 51, DiMartino 66) Florida 2 (Elliott 4, Bishop 88),
Stanford 0 Clemson 0 (OT).
(Clemson wins 4-2 on penalties.)

Nov. 18
North Carolina 6 (Hawkins 14, Engen, 19, Averbuch 32, Guess 57, O'Reilly 61, Moore 77) Tennessee 2 (Christoph 85, Redberg 87).

Nov. 19
Florida State 1 (Rowland 20) Illinois 0.
Penn State 1 (Aden-Buie 52) Boston College 0.
Texas 0 Portland 2 (R.Rapinoe 4, Budge 81).

Schedule, Quarterfinals
Nov. 24

No. 1 Notre Dame (23-0-1) vs. No. 2 Penn State (13-6-3)
No. 2 UCLA (20-3-0) vs. Portland (17-3-3)
No. 2 Florida State (17-3-4) vs. Clemson (11-7-5)

Nov. 25
No. 1 North Carolina (24-1-0) vs. No. 2 Texas A&M (17-5-2)

NCAA DIVISION 2: Dowling and Metro State claim titles
Dowling won its first national championship in any sport when it beat defending champion Ft. Lewis, 1-0, to win the NCAA Division II men's championship Saturday afternoon at Brosnaham Soccer Complex in Pensacola, Fla.

Ivorian Guy-Roland Kpene, the final four's Most Outstanding Offensive Player, set up 26-year-old Norwegian Morten Jensen for the game's only goal in the seventh minute.

Metro State defeated Grand Valley State, 1-0, on Kira Sharp's goal on free kick in the fourth minute of overtime to win the NCAA Division II women's national championship.

The national title is Metro State's second in three seasons. The Roadrunners won in 2004 over Adelphi.

NJCAA: Jefferson and Young Harris win D1 championships
Jefferson College of Missouri won its first NJCAA Division I men's title with a 2-1 overtime victory over perennial power Mercer County Community College in the final on Sunday in Tyler, Texas.

The Vikings didn't crack after conceding an own goal in the 56th minute. Four minutes later, Judner Joseph tied the score, and Rhamon Silva won the game in overtime. The tournament MVP was Viking Claudio Dantas.

Young Harris College of Georgia beat Iowa Western College, 2-0, to win the NJCAA D1 women's championship.

SEMIFINALS: NCAA Division 3 & NAIA Pairings
NCAA Division 3 Men
Nov. 24 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Wheaton (Ill.) (15-7-4) vs. Ohio Wesleyan (16-0-5)
Messiah (19-1-2) vs. New York U. (15-3-4)

NCAA Division 3 Women
Nov. 24 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Virginia Wesleyan (18-3-4) vs. Wheaton (Ill.) (22-2-0)
Messiah (18-2-1) vs. College of New Jersey (17-1-3)

NAIA Men
Nov. 20 in Daytona Beach, Fla.
William Jewell (18-2-2) vs. Azusa Pacific (16-3-3)
Graceland (16-4-2) vs. Webber International (14-4-0)

NAIA Women
Nov. 20
in Olathe, Kan.
Azusa Pacific (19-1-0) vs. Concordia (Ore.) (20-1-2)
Lindsey Wilson (22-2-0) vs. Martin Methodist (19-3-0)


Adu Packs His Bags as Britain Wonders What all the Fuss is About
The Guardian
Freddy Adu shows up next week to start training with Manchester United, and the press is getting ready. Just about every major British paper has included some kind of story on the 17-year old Ghanaian American's two-week training session. They're all wondering, of course, whether the hype surrounding the kid is even justified. It's important to keep in mind that few of these reporters and columnists have ever seen him play; Major League Soccer, of course, isn't broadcast in Britain. So most point to his numbers in MLS, which columnist Ian Plenderleith points out are not bad, especially for a 17-year old. Played almost exclusively as a winger in his three years with D.C. United, Adu has scored 11 goals in 59 starts and 29 appearances as a sub. Healthy numbers, but no one in the American media is referring to Adu as a "teen phenom" anymore-that ship sailed a while ago. When Freddy signed his contracts with MLS and Nike in 2004, the U.S. media were all over him. He was on the cover of newspapers and magazines, featured on TV news programs and compared to Pele; he even made an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. However, big media haven't cared much since then, partly because America wants to see its "phenom" scoring three and four goals every game. Adu, meanwhile, has had a lot of growing up to do at D.C. United. Now a regular starter with Peter Nowak's United, he has indeed done a lot of growing up since 2004, but Adu's relationship with Nowak has never been easy. Says Plenderleith, "Whether Adu remains the victim of media hyperbole, or whether he goes on to fulfil his undoubted potential, may depend on who coaches him next."


Turner Studios, 19 November 2006, working on Vignettes
Tony Young - recording, Ryan Bailey - piano, Garrett Whitten - lead guitar, Steven Toler - guitar, Zack Morris - guitar, Charles Bryant - photography










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