Archive for November, 2010
The new-look Youngstown State University basketball team welcomed another MAC team to Beeghly Center Wednesday. Toledo came into this game 0-5 and was searching for answers. The Rockets left Youngstown scratching their heads, and Coach Jerry Slocum picked up his 632nd career victory. The Penguins remained undefeated at home and improved to 3-1 on the young season with a 73-67 win over Toledo.
Youngstown State looked sharp at times in the first half, but also looked rough during stretches. Coach Slocum talked about what he expected out of the gate tonight. “We had a tough loss the other night, and I was really anxious to see how this team would respond to a tough loss.” True, it was a bit sluggish, but when this team gets going, they are a force.
Vytas Sulskis showed no ill effects of a hyperextended knee suffered at Akron. Sulskis hit three times from long distance and finished the first half with 11 points and four rebounds and would finish the contest with 20 points for YSU. However, the Penguins trailed the Rockets 34-33 at intermission. Toledo got nine first half points from Malcolm Griffin and the Rockets out-boarded the Penguins 21-14 in the opening session. Griffin finished the game with 18 points.
In the second half, Sulskis continued to score as he hit two free throws with 14:14 left in the game to put YSU ahead 45-43. Toledo cut the lead to one when Zack Leahy hit a trey to make it 47-46. Richard Wonell gave the Rockets a three-point lead with just over twelve minutes remaining with an easy bucket in the paint that made it 50-47, Toledo.
Damian Eargle tied the game at 52 and was fouled on an offensive rebound put back attempt on the Penguins next possession. Eargle hit one of the two and then scored his fifth consecutive point on a nifty reverse layup. Eargle made it seven straight points the next trip up the court, and there was no doubt that the Warren G. Harding grad was in the zone. The Penguins would ride the hot hand of Eargle to take a 57-54 lead with 8:23 left in the game. Devonte Maymon hit a pair of free throws to extend the YSU lead to 59-54 with 7:49 left in the game.
Eargle was dominating the game on both sides of the court in the second half. He was scoring, blocking shots, rebounding (on both sides of the court), and passing. Eargle finished the game with six blocks, a career-high, as well as 15 points and six boards and commented on how he is approaching this season after being stuck on the bench all of last season. “I feel like I can get better every game, and I can see myself doing more. We are really feeding off of the energy of the crowd and it seems like there are a few more people coming each time we win.”
With YSU ahead 65-58 with 3:26 left in the game, Griffin stole a pass and drove the floor for a bucket to cut the YSU lead to 65-60.
YSU kept their foot on the gas pedal with a five point lead and 2:42 left in the game. Ashen Ward drilled a three with just under two minutes left in the game to increase the Penguins lead to 70-63. Ward has been the guy who hits the big shot in a couple of instances this season. Eargle also played a key role in preserving the win with a couple of blocks and rebounds in the waning minutes. Slocum credited DuShawn Brooks after the game as the “unsung hero” pointing out that Eargle was the recipient of some nice passes from Brooks at the high post.
After the game, Jerry Slocum talked about what he would be thankful for, and it wasn’t a win. “I am very thankful for my family. I know that all of this can take its toll and it really gets hard sometimes. My wife and my kids have put up with a lot, and I could not be more thankful than to have such a great family.”
Sulskis left the media room with a big smile on his face. “Man, is my turkey gonna taste good tomorrow.”
With the Holiday Season in the air on the Eve of Thanksgiving, Youngstown State’s Lady Penguins were scraping for reasons to be thankful. The team had not won a game in its last 34 attempts, or 627 days, although seem much improved over last season. Drought Be Gone! The Lady Penguins used 87.5% free throw shooting and some hustle from the role players to get by Bucknell.
Bucknell lost 71-45 the last time these two teams met in 1992. The margin would not be quite as big but was meaningful in so many ways. It marked Bob Boldon‘s first victory as new coach. It broke the drought of 34 losses in a row. Perhaps the most important thing the win did was give a group of scrappy girls who never quit an inkling of confidence to build on.
In a statistically even first half, the Penguins looked better on offense than they had Saturday against IPFW, yet trailed 30-27. Brandi Brown was doing her best to end the drought with six boards and seven points at intermission. Newcomer Heidi Schlegel also had seven for the Penguins at the break. Bucknell was paced by Joyce Novacek‘s nine points and five rebounds.
Monica Touvelle hit a three-pointer at the 15:29 mark of the second half to give YSU a five point lead at 39-34. Next trip down the floor, Kenya Middlebrooks drilled a three, and at the 13:52 mark, the Penguins were in front by the score of 42-38. YSU held the lead until the 11:20 mark when Cosima Higham drove the lane to put the Bison up by a point, 45-44.
Liz Hornberger his a three from the corner to give the Penguins back the lead at 49-47 with 10:23 to go. Hornberger hit her second three of the half to put YSU back on top 52-50. Middlebrooks extended the lead with her ninth point of the night to extend the lead to 54-50 with 7:06 left in the game, and hold the phones, the chilled champagne might get uncorked in Youngstown.
With 5:36 left, Schlegel kept the Penguins safely ahead with her drive to the hoop that made it 57-53. YSU was getting some bounces, finally, and upped their lead to 60-53 on a pair of Macey Nortey free throws as the Penguins were 15-18 from the line to this point.
With 1:54 left in the game, Youngstown State enjoyed a 64-55 lead and was just looking to run the clock out. Free throw shooting was great all night and Schlegel hit a pair to move the lead to 66-55 with just over a minute left in the game. Nortey stepped up and followed suit with a pair to make it 68-55. The Penguins went 21-24 from the line to get the win and improve to 1-3 on the season.
After the game, Coach Boldon was complimentary and happy for the team. “They deserved to win tonight because of how hard they worked at practice this week. I am a believer that hard work at practice should translate over to wins on game day, and they earned this starting two days ago. I am very happy for the players and they will celebrate this victory, hopefully not too much, because we have practice at nine in the morning.”
Brandi Brown, who finished the game with 23 points and 11 rebounds was happy to get a win. “It feels amazing. It’s a humongous reward for how hard we have been working. When everybody plays their role and listens to Coach Boldon, we can win.“
Bo Pellini recently blew a fuse on Saturday. Knowing he was wrong for letting his temper get the best of him, Pellini apologized on Monday. Dennis Dodd is the Senior Writer for CBSSports.com and was very critical of Pellini’s actions.
You can read Dodd’s article by clicking here.
Which Utopian territory Dodd was raised in, I am not sure. However, the cheap shots he takes at the city of Youngstown, Ohio are horrible. Pellini is from Youngstown and we are proud of him, happy when he comes home, and support him. The same can be said for Jim Tressel, all of the Stoops brothers, Donald Jones, Brad Smith, Kelly Pavlik, Ed O’Neill, etc.
Dodd was correct when he referred to Youngstown as a proud and tough town. He had absolutely no reason to call my hometown “not particularly appealing”, in the first paragraph of his story. Youngstown lost people when the steel mills closed their doors over 30 years ago. This city is trying hard to take steps forward. Youngstown is anchored by a growing university, a revitalized downtown area, a new arena which in the last year alone has hosted Elton John, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Disney on Ice. It is General Motors territory, V & M Star territory, and has more to offer than so many other places.
Why, Mr. Dodd, do you make the empty claim that people from Youngstown have a chip on their shoulders?
Show me a Division-I NCAA Football Coach who wouldn’t blast the refs for being outflagged 16-2. Show me a winning coach who doesn’t grit their teeth, last time I checked Jon Gruden had a Super Bowl ring. If coaches are nonchalant and lax, they probably are thinking about retirement. So my question is simple: Are all good college football coaches from Youngstown, or is Pellini’s intensity magnified by you, Dennis Dodd, because he is from Youngstown?
You owe the fine people of Youngstown an apology, Mr. Dodd. Your story would have been more agreeable without the geographical name-calling and weak attempt at stereotyping. Bo Pellini acted in an unfavorable manner, was held accountable, apoligized, and is moving on. Again, when this man does countless hours of charity work in his hometown, has family and friends who love and respect him, has colleagues in the same profession he grew up with, and takes the time to talk to an ordinary Joe – we are proud to have him. Youngstown is proud.
Zach Humphries thinks that this is a great time to be in school. He claims the the job market is soft and that if he opts to pursue an MB Degree that he will be better suited for the real world when that time comes. I first met Humphries at a YSU home football game in the 2009 season. He was a polite and quiet kid who would deliver stat sheets to the assorted media personnel covering the games. Not ever knowing what his title or role was, I talked with him to find out what kind of program the college has created to utilize the talents of people like Zach.
Rewind to 1985, I was a freshman enrolled at Youngstown State pursuing a Telecommunications degree. There were some of the same extras that there are today like intramural sports, fraternities, and too many others to mention. However, I admit, I am jealous of the opportunities given to Zach as a Sports Information intern. I would have loved to work for people like Trevor Parks, Jamie Hall, and John Vogel for a grade. I would have enjoyed calling a YSU game for the HLN or Sirius Satellite Radio. I would have loved working with a professional the likes of a Robb Schmidt or a Rick Love.
The reality was, back then, there was nothing. No link at all between the communications department and anyone. You went to Bliss Hall, learned to cue up a record and follow an on-air log, and not much else. We were pacified with a hard-wired radio station called WUGS which was only heard in three locations of campus, one being Arby’s in Kilcawley Center. They left the volume on three and no one heard anything that we did, ever. Humphries knows that he is pioneering new opportunities for the next wave when he is gone, and I respect that. Having studied journalism, Humphries is a multi-functional type who has great upside when his time comes. I’m a fan.
I recently got to sit with Humphries and talk with him about these opportunities, where they may take him, and what his plan of attack is for the future.
Paneech: What has happened in the past year that takes you from passing out copies at sporting events to doing the play-by-play a year later?
Humphries: I have learned a lot from Trevor [Parks], Jamie [Hall], and John [Vogel], as well as Todd Mounce when he was here. All of those people have seen what I am capable of and created more opportunities for me. As a result, I am getting on the air and calling some games. All of the little things we are starting, like The Penguin Rundown, we are passing on to the younger students so that they can carry on into the future and even expand. You can only learn so much in the classroom in this field and you have to get out there and do some hands-on things before you can think about getting a job.
Paneech: Tell me about some of the programs that exist.
Humphries: The Horizon League Network (HLN) is great because it focuses on some of the smaller varsity sports. Everyone hears about the football and the basketball, but the HLN will do a lot with the soccer, tennis, and volleyball that do not get much attention from the larger media outlets. We have the access to jump right in and get interviews for the website. Speaking of, the new website is phenomenal and features a lot of technological progressive features.
Paneech: Do you see, or have you had, problems with coaches. I’ll give you an example of what I mean. The unwritten rule is that when the Men’s Basketball Team plays poorly, leave Coach Slocum alone. Rank your favorites for me from one to five with Slocum, Boldon, Wolford, Pasquale, and Burrows.
Humphries: I think it just comes down to being a good communicator. There are certain people who will come right up to you and start talking and there are others that you just have to know how to approach. I feel I am a good communicator and that helps me gather interviews from the shy as well as the outgoing. Pasquale is definitely the easiest. I would probably put Wolford next, then Boldon. I really haven’t had a chance to talk with Coach Burrows as much as the first three. Slocum is definitely the hardest. He wins games, look at his record, he one of the winningest coaches in Division-I Basketball. I just feel he is harder to approach and uses a different set of people skills than most others. Boldon, who is fairly new, complimented me a couple of times already and Wolford always acknowledges that he sees the Penguin Review and says nice things. They are all different, but all very good people.
Humphries (left), pictured with Roy Jones Jr. (center), and Todd Mounce (right), is the kind of guy who likes the new challenge, likes to make the inroads, and is closer to being the finished product than the work in progress. Robb Schmidt, a veteran media mogul, recently called a game with Humphries and commented on Zach’s performance. “Zach is one of the kids that has taken this opportunity to heart and really made the most of it. He is a youngster who is really more mature than a college student doing games while still cutting his teeth. It is obvious that he cares, but the most important thing is that he prepares. Broadcasting is a hands-on thing and you can only read so much about it. Zach has had the opportunity to experience some of those things on the internet and radio where he can see what he has done and learn from those mistakes. John Ridell, Zach, and these other students are really setting up something special for incoming students to have at Youngstown State.”
Zach Humphries is a name you will hear more of if you follow sports. Check out the Penguin Review on the YSUSports.com website and enjoy the hard work that is being put in.
Youngstown State product, Donald Jones, had his best Sunday as a professional. Jones did some damage and scored his first NFL touchdown in the Bills 49-31 come-from-behind win over the Bengals. Jones finished the game catching five of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s passes including a 28-yard touchdown reception. Jones’ five catches are a career-high and so were the 70 yards he compiled on the five receptions.
Jones also ran an end-around but the Bengals offense was not fooled, and Jones only gained one yard on the reverse. The playing time Jones received was partially because the Bills had to pass to get back into the game. Lee Evans running 60-yard go routes continuously will force him to take a play off here or there. With the opportunity, Jones may have secured himself additional playing time in the very near future for the Bills, who started the season 0-8, but have won two games in a row.
Youngstown State traveled West on I-76 looking for perhaps their biggest answer as to how good they could be against a quality team like Akron. The Penguins fought really hard and looked good. Brett McClanahan hit a 3-pointer as he was falling backwards at the end of regulation to force overtime. McClanahan’s three came after two missed three attempts as YSU held a three point lead with just seconds left. In overtime, the Zips got the bounces and the calls enabling them to walk away with a hard-fought 91-84 win over the much-improved Penguins team.
Vytas Sulskis poured in 20 points but missed most of the end of regulation and some of the overtime with a banged-up knee. “I will be okay'” said Sulskis after the game, “I hyperextended it [knee] when I fell, but I am fine.” Devonte Maymon and Ashen Ward each had 14 points, and Kendrick Perry chipped in eleven for Youngstown State.
“This hurts”, said Maymon. “That is some really bad luck we had out there tonigfht for them to get off three three-point shots in the last ten seconds. One rebound away.” Maymon and Ward drilled key buckets to put YSU ahead in regulation.
I can tell the YSU Basketball Universe that this isn’t last years team. This is a scrappy bunch who move the ball and function as a unit. They could win 20 games this season, easily. They are that good and are still getting better.
Dan Boudler also had a career-best night with nine points and five rebounds and Sheldon Brogden added a career-high nine for the Guins.
Maymon’s three put the Penguins ahead 77-74 with 27 seconds left. Needing a three to tie, the Zips started firing. First Daryl Roberts missed, offensive rebound by Zeke Marshall who kicked it back outside the arc to Steve McNees who also fired a three and missed. Marshall snagged another offensive board and found McClanahan just outside the right part of the circle in front of the Akron bench. McClanahan barely got the shot off on time and the backboard turned red and time just froze. When the sphere hit the twine, the Zips faithful at James A. Rhodes Arena blew the roof off.
During the overtime, Akron scored the first five points to go ahead 87-82 and never looked back.
The Penguins (2-1) return home on Wednesday and will play somewhere in the neighborhood of 7:30. The girls welcome Bucknell before the Men’s game at Beeghly Center.
The Youngstown State University Women’s Basketball Team opened their home schedule on Saturday afternoon. Working on busting up a 34 game losing streak, the Lady Penguins welcomed IPWF to the Beeghly Center. The new coaching staff was in place and Bob Boldon knew that the only way to go was up. Down as many as 14, the Penguins tied the game with four minutes left, before eventually falling 73-61.
In the first half, the Mastodons took advantage of their size in the low post. Stephanie Rosado scored 12 points and gathered seven rebounds. The 6’2″ Junior forward squandered few chances when the ball was in her neck of the woods. YSU got six points each from Brandi Brown and Maryum Jenkins in the opening half, but as a team, Youngstown State really struggled shooting only 27% from the floor and only hitting two of 13 from three-point range. Conversely IPFW shot over 40% from the floor to compile a 34-22 lead at the intermission, which was also their biggest lead of the game.
As the second half progressed, the Penguins cut into the twelve-point lead more than once. With 11:48 left in the game, the Penguins had the lead down to ten as Macey Nortey had a runaway lay up off of a Mastodon turnover. Heidi Schlegel cut it to eight at 51-43 with 8:56 left in the game on a nice cut to the hoop.
At the 6:54 mark, Anne Boese drilled a three to put the Mastodons back up by 10. The Penguins fought hard to stay in the game, and Brown nailed a three with 5:58 left in the game that suddenly found the Penguins only down three, at 54-51. Brown hit a drive at the 5:20 mark to cut the lead to just one, and the people made some noise for the home team. Brown, on a major roll, kept the hot hand and tied the game at 55 when she followed her own miss for a put back and her 25th point.
IPFW did not roll over or go away. The Mastodons went on a 7-0 run to take a 64-55 lead with 2:44 left in the game and never looked back. The Mastodons were paced by Rosado, who tallied 22 points in the victory. IPFW also got good a game from Jordan Zuppe who had a huge rooting section of her own, and 15 points.
Youngstown State was led by Brown who finished the game with 29 points, which is a career high, and nine rebounds. Jenkins and Nortey contributed eight points each.
IPFW, which stands for Indiana and Purdue at Fort Wayne, Indiana, improved to 2-1 on the season. The Penguins fell to 0-3. After the game, Coach Boldon addressed the media with the problems plaguing his team. “It’s a new system and I can’t expect us to look perfect. I can assure you that we will not look perfect against Bucknell on Wednesday. We didn’t play very good basketball in the first half and we need to get better at every facet of the game. It’s a work in progress.”
Brown commented on her best-ever game. “It is a new offense. Last season I was strictly a post player, whereas this year Coach Boldon trusts everyone on the team to shoot threes. I like the versatility and know that being multi-dimensional is good for the offense.”
The Omaha Lancers only make one trip to Youngstown each season. The Youngstown hockey fans were treated to a great game that featured a couple of Gold Medalists who recently represented the United States. Scott Mayfield (left) of the Phantoms and Seth Ambroz (right) of the Lancers were honored before the game started as teammates on the US Championship Team. Ambroz shined a bit brighter on this night chalking up a pair of assists as Omaha broke open a close game in the third period to win 5-2.
The Phantoms did have chances early and got on the scoreboard first when Ty Loney connected from close range to beat Lancers net minder John Keeney. It was the fifth goal for Loney in only his ninth game this season. Picking up assists on the goal were Cody Strang and Jiri Sekac.
Omaha wasted little time responding and tying the game. Nick Oddo knocked in his fourth goal of the season. The even-strength tally was assisted by Justin Crandall and Ambroz. Keep the name Ambroz in your memory, he is NHL-bound and really has a nose for the puck.
Before the first period ended, the Phantoms scored a goal to claim a 2-1 lead. Sekac took the puck top shelf (below, note the water bottle on the net going vertical from the puck) over Keeney’s right shoulder for his fifth. The even-strength goal yielded assists to Loney and Strang.
The Lancers scored the lone goal of the second period to tie the contest at two goals apiece. Colin Markison connected unassisted on a power-play goal. The Phantoms had 22 shots after two periods compared to the Lancers 20.
With 3:36 gone in the third period, the Lancers again scored with a man advantage. The Phantoms Jordan Young was whistled for hooking. About ten seconds into the Lancers power-play, Oddo connected and Ambroz gained another assist. The 3-2 advantage was the first of the night for Omaha.
Stefan Demopoulos picked the pocket of a Phantom inside the Phantom zone and beat Matt O’Connor on a shorthanded chance. The goal was the fourth of the year for Demopoulos, and even when the Phantoms seemed to have momentum, a Lancer deflated the hopes of a game-tying goal. The Phantoms managed only one shot through the first 14 minutes and only one more the rest of the third period.
Crandall put an exclamation point on things for the Lancers as he floated one past O’Connor to give the team from Omaha an insurmountable three-goal lead at 5-2, which is where this one would end.
After the game, Coach Curt Carr voiced his displeasure with his team only getting two shots on goal in the final period. “We didn’t come out in the third period, we just didn’t show up. I’m not sure why, I think our guys maybe took for granted that we could ease through. We need to keep working hard and realize that we are a very young team.”
Scott Mayfield reflected on the loss. “We are in a slump. Our first line is rolling, but we need to get the puck on net more, being outshot 14-2 in the final period shows that we are not playing to the level that we should be. They capitalized, they had a five on three and scored, that is what we need to start doing when we have those chances.”
The Phantoms fell to 5-9-1 with the loss. Omaha improved to 7-4-2. The Phantoms host the Dubuque Fighting Saints, a team rejoining the USHL after a nine-year absence Saturday night at the Covelli Centre. Catch some live hockey, the guys could use a boost in the form of audience noise!
Youngstown State University (1-0) showed flashes of just how good they could be. Buffalo (1-0) was coming off of an 18 win season and have been a force in the MAC over the past couple of seasons. This game was played with a lot of new bodies on both rosters and seemingly the team that committed the most mistakes would probably lose. Youngstown State did a great job down the stretch converting free throws and maximizing opportunities on their way to 2-0 for the first time since 2004, posting a 64-53 win.
The first half was a strong one for Youngstown State. Buffalo raced out to an early 10-2 lead, but YSU scored the next 13 points unanswered showing an array of weaponry that Coach Slocum has envisioned in his “potential meter“. Vytas Sulskis hit a three forcing Buffalo to use a timeout and capping the 13-0 Penguins run.
YSU had a 12 point lead with 4:30 left in the first half before Buffalo cut into the Penguins lead and only trailed by three points at the intermission. Devonte Maymon had ten first half points to lead Youngstown State. Sulskis chipped in with eight, and newcomer Tre Brewer added six. Buffalo was paced by Jawaan Alston and his seven points and four rebounds. At the half, the Penguins looked impressive and held a 32-29 lead.
YSU maintained a three point lead throughout the first part of the second half. With 11:57 left in the contest, the Penguins were ahead by the count of 42-39. Buffalo was really struggling from the free throw line connecting on only nine of 23 to this point in the game. Youngstown State’s kryptonite was the 14 turnovers committed.
With 7:31 left in the game, Youngstown State had a 46-43 lead. Neither team could capitalize on the other’s struggles. Javon McCrea hit a lay-up to cut the lead to one and Buffalo had a chance to take the lead but turned the ball over. Ashen Ward capitalized on the Penguins next possession by hitting a bucket while being fouled and converting the free throw to give YSU a 49-45 lead with just over six minutes to play.
One thing the Penguins did extremely well in this game was rebound. Dan Boudler grabbed one on offense with 4:41 left in the game and tipped it back in. On the Bulls next possession, Kendrick Perry created a steal and drove the length of the court to give YSU their biggest lead of the second half at 53-45. Alston kept his Bulls in it with a basket to cut the lead to 53-49 with 3:19 remaining. Ward hit a three with 2:00 left in the game to increase the Penguin lead to 58-49.
YSU was led by Maymon who knocked in 13 points. Eargle and Brewer gathered 24 rebounds for YSU. Buffalo was paced by Alston and Barnett who poured in eleven points each in falling to 1-1 on the young season.
A festive Jerry Slocum addressed the media after the game. “Anytime you can win a game when you shoot under 40%, you did a good job battling. This is as good of a team win as we have had in a very long time around here. Damian [Eargle] and Trey [Brewer] really stepped up getting some big rebounds for us down the stretch, that is what wins games.”
Junior Ashen Ward, who had a career-high 13 points, echoed the sentiments of the coach. “Winning is fun, and we are having fun because we are winning. Everything is easier when you are winning, practices are fun. Guys are buying in and things are working well so far this year.”
Saturday was the end for some young men and women. It was the last football game that the seniors would participate in. It was the last football game to cheer, twirl, march, or dance for. This was a good group of seniors that played football. A 3-8 record is not something to pattern a life after, but as Coach Wolford said, “It will be the way that these young men handle real life situations in the face of adversity that will define the people that they have become.” On that note, this group was undefeated. Here are a few pictures from that last day to remember what a life-changing event the last game is.
Congratulations on all of your achievements as athletes, cheerleaders, musicians, and scholars. Best wishes on a productive and healthy future, and keep Tweeting!