On a team dominated by youth, defeseman Eric Springer, Wisconsin’s lone senior, has four assists and a goal to his name this season.[/media-credit]In the middle of a four-game losing skid, the Wisconsin men’s hockey faithful still have plenty to look forward to as the final stretch of the season approaches.The Badgers (12-14-2, 7-13-2 WCHA) have dropped four straight games to conference foes despite outshooting their opponents 74-47 in their last two games and now find themselves second-to-last in the WCHA standings.With the WCHA playoffs approaching and home ice seemingly out of reach, head coach Mike Eaves said his team isn’t ready to back down just yet.“We have a choice now – we can roll over and play dead, but that’s not human nature,” Eaves said in his Monday press conference. “Human nature is to fight and to scrap. All we can do right now is get ready for Friday night.”The road doesn’t get any easier for the Badgers. No. 10 Denver comes to the Kohl Center this weekend looking to extend its two-game winning streak, which was started by an impressive series sweep of the then-No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers.Currently sitting in third place in the conference standings, Denver will surely be a difficult test for Wisconsin. The Pioneers bring a high-powered offense to Madison with the best power play conversion rate in the WCHA at 24 percent and rank third in the WCHA in scoring offense with 106 goals on the year.“A lot of things you’d say you would want in a top-rated team, they have those qualities,” Eaves said of Denver. “They compete their fannies off.”Eaves hopes the week off will help re-energize the Badgers after their longest losing streak of the season. UW dropped two games on the road to North Dakota and was then swept on its home ice by St. Cloud State last weekend.Heading into the bye, Wisconsin suffered a painful 2-1 defeat in which the team fired off 42 shots but was unable to get past SCSU’s to take advantage.“Usually when you have a week off they come in with a little more jump,” Eaves said. “We hope they use that jump to help us this weekend.”Although the weekend series with Denver poses an array of challenges, the Badgers will likely be aided by the return of junior forward Derek Lee, who is probable for Friday’s contest after only playing in seven games this season due to injury.With a roster dominated by young, inexperienced players, most Wisconsin hockey fans expected the 2011-12 campaign to be a rebuilding year for Eave’s squad. As such, the Badgers are in the bottom half of the WCHA in several categories including scoring offense and goals allowed.Although the Badgers sit near the bottom of the WCHA with just six regular season games remaining, signs are still pointing up for the future. The team will lose just one player next season to graduation, that of Eric Springer, the team’s lone senior.Springer, a native of Wrightstown, Wis., has four assists and a goal on the year but remains a leader in the locker room and will prove a tough loss off the ice for the Badgers.“I think when you’re the only senior it’s difficult because there is a lot of responsibility there,” Eaves said. “He’s playing his best hockey now because he’s comfortable with his role and he understands what he needs to do to help this team.“This team is in the middle of growth. Are we going to quit growing or continue to get better day by day? Just knowing these guys, I think that’s the path that we are going to follow.”Many of the young Badgers currently on the squad will experience UW’s dying days in the WCHA after 43 years and the birth of the Big Ten hockey conference in the 2013-14.The future institution recently voted to hold its conference tournament at neutral sites, rather than have teams themselves host games, a move with which Eaves felt OK.“Well, I think if you look at the big picture, it’s always good to have games in your own barn and to play in front of your own crowd,” he said. “… There has been a real good success in neutral site with the WCHA Playoffs and such, that I think that the Big Ten came back around and looked at it again with all the things they were finding about getting home sites, and it looked like a real good alternative.“I think there’s more upside to doing a neutral site.”
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By now, the debacle of Serena Williams and the U.S. Open is old news. Everyone knows about the alleged cheating, the racket throw, the “thief” comment and all of its fallout. But while it might be easy to move on from this controversy, I’ve found over the last week that the incident was a frightening barometer for the attitude of the sports world towards black female athletes.It must be pointed out that the U.S. Open wasn’t having a stellar year in gender equity before Serena entered the mix. Days before, French tennis player Alizé Cornet was penalized after she rushed to change her shirt during a heat break, then took it off to turn it right-side-out on the court shortly before resuming play. In the same tournament, male stars John Isner and Novak Djokovic had removed their shirts and sat shirtless without receiving penalties, and the disparity earned mass criticism from sports fans across the country. The foundation for an apparent pattern of unbalanced violation enforcement already existed before Serena and her opponent, Naomi Osaka, even took the court on Saturday afternoon.And for Serena, maybe, it just felt like it was all just too much. This moment can’t be taken out of context for her, either. The star battled a life-threatening complication after delivering her child last year, then was banned from wearing a suit made to help her condition at the French Open. This is a woman who has been questioned and criticized with open abandon for the entirety of her career. Now, she has been accused of cheating and robbed of a game point by a man in a chair who was abnormally strict in his enforcement. Maybe on Saturday, with her game slipping against a young challenger and her body tiring after an exhausting year of competition, it all just felt like too much. As we transition away from the Open weekend, the issue now, however, isn’t whether Serena was right or wrong. The debate over Carlos Ramos’ decision raged over the weekend, but it’s midweek now, and attention is turning already away from tennis and back to Thursday Night Football and College GameDay. There won’t ever be a conclusion to that debate. Sports media thrives off of debates — Was that a catch? Was that a foul? Were those balls deflated? The question now isn’t the “right or wrong” of the debate. It’s the way that the two black women at its center have been treated by those on either side.No voice has been minimalized more in American culture than the voice of the black woman. Black women are silenced, ignored and oppressed more than almost any other figure (perhaps, besides, Native and trans people) in our country, and this pattern polices our expectation for them.Nothing is more strictly regulated than the anger of a black woman. Just look at the way Serena’s actions have been described. The most commonly used word was “meltdown,” a word that paints the picture of a woman throwing a tantrum, not of an athlete aggressively advocating for her rights. Serena’s actions are repeated by many — mainly white — men in the game, yet they are not seen as threatening or overemotional. The difference is clear. Men may voice their opinions in firm tones. Men may be bullies. But women are expected to be docile, calm, respectful. This myth of the calm woman actually comes from the fear of women who are the opposite — fiery, strong, unafraid of challenge.This fear is best represented by an Australian cartoon that ran this week, which depicted Serena in an aggressively racist fashion based off of Mammy cartoons from the 1930s. Even if the umpire’s decision wasn’t racist or sexist, the reaction to Serena’s conduct has been unendingly so. It’s not just racist caricatures, either. One of the arguments against Serena that I’ve heard most often is that she stole the show from her opponent, the 20-year-old Osaka who became the first Japanese woman to win the Open. Somehow, it became Serena’s fault that the crowd booed during the trophy presentation, that the national headlines focused on the American runner-up rather than the Japanese winner.This is not fair, and you wouldn’t see it with male competitors. Serena should not stay silent and stop advocating for herself just because Osaka is making history, and this expectation that she should step aside to lift up other women is yet another double standard that is often foisted on women in sports.Women should be allowed to be competitors. They should be allowed to argue with referees, to complain about violation calls, in the same way that LeBron James is allowed to, without nationwide controversy. This expectation of deference is common, yet it unfairly expects female athletes to put other women’s needs above themselves. That expectation must be erased in order for female athletes to be able to equally advocate for themselves.Win or lose, Serena’s willingness to speak for herself should be applauded, not condemned. And until that sentiment is widely felt, the world of sports will not be equal for men and women.Julia Poe is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs Thursdays.
As Syracuse passed the ball around the perimeter, one fan let out the cry of a flaking offense. “Someone move,” he yelled.No one did. The ball flung around the perimeter to freshman Brycen Goodine. He took a step forward and jumped. The shot was blocked. Another Syracuse possession had ended without points and the crowd groaned again. Fans flooded up the bleachers toward the exit. With a little more than five minutes to play, the Orange hadn’t cracked 30 points. When the last ball finally clanked off the rim and Syracuse players had turned their heads in anguish enough times, No. 11 Virginia (1-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) beat Syracuse (0-1, 0-1), 48-34, on Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome. It was Syracuse’s worst offensive performance in 74 years. The Orange shot 23.6% from the field, including 5-of-29 from beyond the arc. On the opening night of the 2019-20 season, Syracuse needed to find a new offensive identity. Instead, it met the strangling bully of Virginia’s pack-line defense. “We just are not ready to play against that defense,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “I thought we were going to be a little better, but we really just did not do the things offensively…we just really never got movement and when we got it, we just really didn’t get positive actions off the movement.” AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse’s 34 points against UVA is the lowest total any Jim Boeheim team has scored. Max Freund | Staff PhotographerSyracuse’s first opponent of the 2019-20 season wasn’t the easy win it had become accustomed to. Instead of Eastern Washington or Cornell, the Orange welcomed the defending national champions and a perennial conference juggernaut under head coach Tony Bennett. Virginia’s defense has ranked in the top 10 of Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency stat each season since 2014. Boeheim described the Cavaliers as the best defense Syracuse would see all year. And without its top two scorers from a year ago, Virginia’s defense stifled the Orange. The defensive set itself, known as the pack-line, is a man-to-man. Freshman Joe Girard III noted the classic man scheme but it’s like “you’re against 1-on-5,” he said. The way Virginia sags off players who don’t have the ball creates a fortress around the paint, and Syracuse couldn’t penetrate it.“They’re always in front of you,” forward Marek Dolezaj said. “They never jump at a shot fake. They are always at the same place. They just don’t let you do anything.” So, Syracuse stood from outside the wall created by the Cavaliers and fired. Even 29 3-point attempts couldn’t bail the Orange out.It all came down to movement, both Boeheim and players said. Elijah Hughes, who led Syracuse with 14 points, admitted it can become easy to stand around when shots aren’t falling. The Virginia defense builds on its opponent, slowly lulling the players without the ball to sleep. They needed to screen the ball more. Or screen off-ball. Or screen for Hughes. Or screen for Buddy Boeheim. Packed in close, Virginia’s defense had Syracuse where it wanted: Far away from the basket. The Orange never moved so Virginia didn’t have to either. “It’s just hard,” Hughes said. “We didn’t get in a rhythm because of it and they just made it difficult for us.”Boeheim noted in the preseason that his time will rely more heavily on the 3-pointer. Numerous shots rimmed out in the first half when the Orange had open looks. More than 10 minutes into the game, Syracuse’s lone points had come from a Bourama Sidibe layup. Marek Dolezaj was one of three players to score over three points. He went 2-for-8 on the night. Max Freund | Staff PhotographerIn spurts, SU flashed what it could be offensively. On one series, a Virginia defender stuffed Hughes’ jump shot from the elbow. Syracuse retained possession though, and when Hughes drove to the basket, he finished through a foul. The redshirt junior, clenched his fists and let out a roar. That’s what this offense can be — a Hughes takeover. But it didn’t last as he clanked the ensuing free throw.Girard III, New York State’s all-time leading scorer, sank his first bucket for Syracuse against Virginia, a 3-pointer in which the ball bounced off the back of the rim and in through the mesh. Kihei Clark, the Cavaliers star guard, frequently picked Girard III up at or before the half-court marker. Girard III crossed his defender up on a drive to the basket midway through the first half, drawing a resounding “ooo” from the crowd. As the freshman guard drove toward the baseline his kick out pass was far off from any white jersey and went toward the radio announcers. As the freshman dribbled around the top just beyond the three-point arc, an extra defender sometimes slid up to help out despite Bennett waving them back. Girard III then advanced the ball on to Dolezaj in the high post. With no man on him, Dolezaj scored once. Another time he looked for a skip pass. It soared over Buddy’s head in the opposite corner. Syracuse’s offense can be a Girard III or Buddy shooting show. On Wednesday, it was off the mark.“We’ve got guys that can shoot,” Boeheim said. “I’ve got to get them in better position to get them better shots, better looks and we’ll see how we can build in the next week or so.” Syracuse kept it close with Virginia all night. The shots just never fell. At some point, it all adds up. Or in Syracuse’s case, not enough added up. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 6, 2019 at 11:10 pm Contact Josh: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Schafer_44