Archive for April, 2012

Giuriceo Impressive In Unanimous Decision Win

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Jake Giuriceo faced  his toughest competition to date Saturday and stepped up to the plate in a big way.  Juan “Chago” Santiago (14-9-1) had plenty of big-fight experience under his belt, including capturing, and losing, the WBC Latino Super Lightweight title.  Giuriceo scored a unanimous eight-round decision over Santiago proving his escalation to a higher level was warranted.  It was by far, Giuriceo’s most complete fight in a long time.

“I felt awesome tonight.  I felt like everything we ever worked on in all of my training camps came out tonight”, said Giuriceo.  ”I felt like I threw great punches.  It is awesome that we can move up in competition .  The boxing part was there, I was blocking punches and moving good.  What me and Keith [Burnside] worked on coming into this fight was throwing punches that count and not wasting any.”

In the first round, Giuriceo controlled the pace of the fight.  He showed the superior ring-general capabilities, and although he took a few shots, he landed many more, including a nice five-punch flurry on the ropes about two minutes into the round.

The second round featured Giuriceo mixing up his targets.  He would start out with a glove to each side of Santiago’s body and then hit him with a hook.  Santiago was taking and giving, but through two – Giuriceo, with slight blood showing in his mouth, was doing most of the giving.

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The third was an even toe-to-toe slugfest that neither fighter backed away from the other’s punches.  Santiago landed a couple of uppercuts and used a good jab throughout the round.  Giuriceo continued to pound the body and throw the big hooks. It was a round that may have went Santiago’s way.

Giuriceo hurt Santiago in the fourth with a strong left hook knocking the former champion into the ropes.  The Bull definitely scored well throughout the round, maybe his best of the fight.

The pace of the fight slowed slightly in the fifth as both fighters were starting to show signs of fatigue.  Giuriceo finished the round strong enough to claim it.   Giuriceo nailed Santiago with a good combination in the sixth round that stopped Santiago in his tracks.  Santiago’s corner kept screaming for their fighter to attack claiming that Giuriceo was hurt.  Santiago listened and paid a price each time he came forward.

In the seventh round, Giuriceo finished strong.  Give Santiago credit, he was still fighting too.  Giuriceo earned the round though, as ‘The Bull’, was fighting his style of fight, and winning, convincingly.

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In the eighth and final round, the two fighters used about all they had left in the tank.  Giuriceo looked fresher than Santiago did, and his punches were still crisp.

“”When I was working with Frankie [Duarte], we were focusing on getting more boxing skills”, admitted Giuriceo.  ”The boxing figured in tonight, but it all really came together.  The Bull showed up tonight.”

The judges scored the fight 79-73, 80-72, 79-73, all in favor of Giuriceo (16-0-1), who cleared his biggest hurdle to date in front of Roy Jones Jr., who may extend the olive branch to some potential promoters.

“I was trying to move a little out there tonight hoping that he [Jones] would see me and hoping that maybe he will give me a call”, said Giuriceo.  ”The Lord has blessed me with opportunities.”

“Jake fought a great fight, we didn’t waste punches in there tonight”, claimed Keith Burnside, Giuriceo’s trainer.  ”This kid [Santiago] was tough.  His losses are to very good fighters.  Jake stepped it up, but there is still work to do.  He is getting better each fight and we are going to come back stronger.”

The Bull is headed to the chapel to get married in a few weeks, that is his next step.  After the honeymoon, he will get back to business and Joe Corvino, his manager, will carefully plan his next step with the whole team.

*All photos, Courtesy of Ron Stevens

Third-Seeded Penguins Fall to Butler 4-2 at HL Championships

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The Youngstown State men’s tennis team was upset by sixth-seeded Butler on Friday during the first day of action at the Horizon League Championships at North Central High School. The Penguins lost 4-2 to the Bulldogs.

YSU was the third seed in the event and had knocked off Butler for the first time last Sunday in Youngstown.

The Bulldogs jumped on top 1-0 after victories at No. 1 and No. 3 singles. YSU won at No. 2 as Rodrigo Campos and Victor Theorin defeated Tommy Marx and Zach Ervin.

In singles play, the Penguins earned a stright set win at No. 3 at Dawoud Kabli (above) defeated Ervin 6-2, 6-0. At No. 5, Campos beat Billy Weldon 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 for the Guins’ other singles victory.

Butler won in three sets at No. 1 and No. 6 and won in straight sets at No. 4. At No. 4, Max Schmerin lost 6-3, 6-2 to Pulok Bhattacharya. At No. 1, senior Tariq Ismail split the first two sets with Austin Woldmoe before dropping the third. Ismail dropped the opening set 6-1 before rebounding to win the second 7-5. Woldmoe won the third and deciding set 6-1.

At No. 6, Zeeshan Ismail forced a third set against Stephen McLoughlin, but came up short. McLoughlin won the first set 6-4 before Ismail won the second set 6-4. Ismail lost 6-0 in the third set.

At No. 2, Silviu Mistrean was leading Marx 4-6, 6-4, 4-2 when the match was decided.

Butler 4, YSU 2

Singles:
No. 1 – Austin Woldmoe (BU) def. T. Ismail (YSU) 6-1, 5-7, 6-1
No. 2 – Mistreanu (YSU) vs. Tommy Marx (BU) 4-6, 6-4, 4-2
No. 3 – Kabli (YSU) def. Zach Ervin (BU) 6-2, 6-0
No. 4 – Pulok Bhattacharya (BU) def. Schmerin (YSU) 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 – Campos (YSU) def. Billy Weldon (BU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-1
No. 6 – Stephen McLoughlin (BU) def. Z. Ismail (YSU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-0

Doubles:
No. 1 – Austin Woldmoe/Billy Weldon (BU) def. T. Ismail/Kabli (YSU), 8-4
No. 2 – Campos/Theorin (YSU) def. Tommy Marx/Zach Ervin (BU), 8-1
No. 3 – Stephen McLoughlin/Sam O’Neill (BU) def. Mistreanu/Z. Ismail (YSU), 8-5

Help Youngstown on Walmart: Fighting Hunger Together Contest!

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Walmart is holding a contest on Facebook called ‘Fighting Hunger Together‘. The top community in votes at the start of next week wins $1,000,000 to feed the hungry in that community. The next twenty communities win $50,000 each. As of tonight, Youngstown is in 2nd place and just 1,772 votes behind Johnson City, TN.

We ask that you please vote once per day through the end of the weekend and that you please forward this email on to your family and friends from the community!

 

Vote by clicking here

Phantoms Eliminated From Playoffs By Green Bay, 4-1

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With their backs against the wall, the Youngstown Phantoms were fighting for survival and trying to force a game five.  Through two periods, they did just that.  However, the high octane offense of Green Bay came to life when it needed life fast and eliminated Youngstown from the postseason with a 4-1 win.

Following the game three home loss on Tuesday night, Anthony Noreen vowed that his team would come out fighting for their lives and doing all they could to survive.  The first-year coach can be proud of the effort his team put forward against ,arguably,  a USHL dynasty, in Green Bay.

It only took 1:35 for the Phantoms to nab a 1-0 lead.  Mike Ambrosia emerged from some early chaos in front of Green Bay’s Ryan McKay and whizzed it past the Gambler’s netminder to stake the Phantoms to the early lead.  Sam Anas earned an assist on Ambrosia’s goal.  Unfortunately, the goal would be their last of the year.

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Matt O’Connor was a brick wall of resistance through two periods, recording 32 saves.  The 6’5″ Phantoms goaltender sent the message to both his teammates and the Green Bay squad that nothing was going in easily.

With the Phantoms ahead 1-0 when the second period buzzer sounded, a frustrated McKay heaved his water bottle across the ice toward the red line.  The Phantoms had only taken 14 shots at McKay through the first two periods, but one of those found the underdog Phantoms ahead of his Gamblers.

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With 11:26 left in the game, Nolan LaPorte made a nifty move putting the puck through a Phantoms defenseman’s legs, skating around, and then bursting toward O’Connor and finishing by hitting the inside of the right post for a Gamblers goal.

Typical of Green Bay, the next goal came fast.  With 7:37 left in the game, Sam Herr gave Green Bay its first lead of the game.  Alex Broadhurst and Jordan Schmaltz were credited with assists on Herr’s tally.

Grant Arnold and Herr knocked in empty-netters to cap the scoring.

The Phantoms accomplished a great deal in Noreen’s first season and this franchise has so much to look forward to with him leading the charge.

Broadhurst Nets Three Shorthanded Goals As Green Bay Reclaims Home Ice, 6-3

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The Youngstown Phantoms stole home ice from Green Bay with their 5-3 win Sunday. Green Bay got to Youngstown and stole it back with a 6-3 win over the Phantoms. Green Bay’s equivalent to the NHL’s ‘playoff beard’, was every member of the team dying their hair blond (seriously).  The dye paid off, as Green Bay took 32 shots compared to Youngstown’s 20, and Alex Broadhurst scored a trio of shorthanded goals.

“We have been doing the bleach blond hair and dark facial hair for four years and it hasn’t hurt us”, said Broadhurst.  

Green Bay started the scoring when Broadhurst intercepted the puck while the Phantoms were on a powerplay.  Broadhurst burst into the Phantoms zone on what looked like a penalty shot and snuck the puck past Matt O’Connor just 2:41 into the contest.

The Phantoms tied the game when Todd Koritzinsky connected for his second goal of the playoffs.  Koritzinski’s goal came at even-strength with 3:22 left to play in the first. Pat Conte and Chris Bradley (below) picked up assists on the Phantoms goal.

With 25 seconds left in the opening period, Sheldon Dries gave Green Bay a 2-1 lead to take back to the locker room.  With 14:42 left in the second period, C. J. Eick increased the Gambler lead to 3-1 when he finished off a 3-on-2 breakaway chance.

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The Gamblers offensive onslaught continued as they added another score.  Grant Arnold didn’t get all of the slapshot he took between the right faceoff circle and blue line, but O’Connor was screened and the puck bounced and rolled by him.  With 8:51 gone in the second, it was suddenly a 4-1 Gamblers lead.

A frustrated Phantoms team racked up ten second period penalty minutes.  The one time they had the numbers, Broadhurst again intercepted a puck and gathered his second shorthanded, unassisted goal of the game to make it 5-1.  Through two periods, the Phantoms were outshot 27-14.

“Bottom line is that we have no room left to lose”, said Anthony Noreen.  ”If we do lose, it’s all over and we are not ready for this to end.  We will be fighting for our lives tomorrow night.”

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In the third period, with 13:39 left in the game, Ryan Belonger broke into the Green Bay Zone and fired a shot from inside the right faceoff circle that trickled through Ryan McKay‘s equipment.  Belonger’s goal was unassisted and made it a 5-2 game.

Green Bay is a very good hockey team that can score in waves.  But the disturbing thing that showed was how cocky they play.  They were chirping in the Phantoms ears every whistle of the game.

The cockiness caught up a bit when Youngstown scored on a powerplay chance.  J.T. Stenglein scored with 6:55 left in the game to make it 5-3.  Stenglein’s goal was a result of crisp passing and execution on the powerplay.  Austin Cangelosi and Mike Ambrosia picked up assists on the goal.

Broadhurst completed his rare shorthanded hat trick at the 13:44 mark of the third period.

“That was my first hat trick in the USHL”, said Broadhurst, a 2011 seventh round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks.  ”I played hard and felt like I deserved that, they are a good team, so I was happy to get those chances.”

With the win, the Gamblers took a 2-1 series lead and can eliminate the Phantoms with a win Wednesday night at the Covelli Centre.

Hazimihalis Fight Cancelled, Possibly Fighting In Detroit Saturday

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Chris Hazimihalis will have to wait on fighting a little closer to home.  Jim Hazimihalis, the manager for his brother, said the 27th annual Erie Boxing Classic was a no-go for Friday.

Hazimihalis has been training in Detroit at the Kronk Gym, the brainchild of Emanuel Steward.  His last several fights have been far enough from home to keep his fan base hoping for something closer, which was to be Friday in Erie.

“A couple of guys pulled themselves out”, remarked Jim Hazimihalis.  ”Chris is going to have to start training for eight-rounders.  It is tough to get anyone in that weight class to commit to a six-round fight.”

Hazimihalis can still be fighting this weekend, but in Michigan.

“We were looking forward to heading to Mountaineer Saturday to catch Jake [Giuriceo] in his fight, but now we are probably headed to Michigan.”

More details as I get them.

Kayla Haslett Tosses Shutout, YSU Splits With Wright State

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Freshman Kayla Haslett pitched her first career shutout allowing just five hits with one strikeout as the Youngstown State softball team defeated Wright State, 10-0, to split a doubleheader and win the season series against the Raiders. The Penguins dropped the first game, 8-0.

Sophomore Samantha Snodgrass went 2-for-3 with a double and four runs batted in while junior Vicky Rumph was 2-for-3 and drove in three runs for the Penguins.

The Guins improve to 25-13-1 overall and 10-8 in the Horizon League while the Raiders fall to 20-26 overall and 8-10 in the league.

Rumph began the scoring for the Guins with a single through the right side to plate  Caroline Krombach with the game’s first run.

Youngstown State used six unearned runs to the bottom of the third to cushion their lead to 7-0 with the help of four Wright State errors in the frame.

Snodgrass’ two-out bases-clearing double put the Penguins ahead 4-0, then senior  Kristen Philen single through the left side to score Snodgrass and sophomore Sarah Ingalls added a two-run single up the middle driving in Sarah Gabel and Philen.

In the bottom of the fourth, Rumph drove in senior Haley Thomas and Krombach with a single up the middle and moved to second on the play at the plate.

Snodgrass plated pinch-runner Kelly Fox with a single up the middle to give the Guins a 10-0 lead.

Wright State only threatened Haslett once with bases-loaded and two outs in the top of the fourth, but the right-hander induced an infield pop out to squelch the scoring opportunity.

In game one, Wright State’s Krystian DeWitt fired a two-hit, complete-game performance with eight strinkeouts to pick up her 13th win of the season.

The Guins face Toledo, Tuesday, April 24, in doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. in Toledo, Ohio.

YSU Mens Tennis Beats Butler For First Time Ever

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The Youngstown State men’s tennis team picked up its first win over Butler since joining the Horizon League knocking off the Bulldogs 5-2 on a chilly Sunday afternoon at the YSU Tennis Courts.

The Penguins came out strong winning the doubles point by taking two of three matches. Butler won two of the first three singles matches, before YSU clinched the victory with strong three-set wins at No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles.

At No. 2, Silviu Mistreanu (above) picked up a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Tommy Marx. At. No. 1, Tariq Ismail suffered a 6-1, 6-3 loss to Austin Woldmoe while Dawould Kabli dropped his match to Zach Ervin after winning the opening set. Kabli won the first set 6-3, but dropped the next two 7-5, 6-4.

Mistreanu finished Horizon League play with a 6-1 record. He carrys a five-game winning streak to the HL Championships 14-5 overall.

At No. 4, Rodrigo Campos battled back after losing a first-set tiebreaker to beat Pulok Bhattacharya 6-3, 6-3 in the final two sets.

Zeeshan Ismail picked up the clinching point for the Penguins at No. 5. Ismail dropped his first set 6-3, to Billy Weldon before battling back to win the next two 6-4, 6-4. At No. 6, a firery Felipe Rosa won 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 over Stephen McLoughlin.

With the win, the Penguins improve to 9-10 overall and 4-3 in the Horizon League. Butler falls to 3-19 and 2-4.

YSU returns to action on Friday in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament.

Youngstown State vs. Butler

Singles
No. 1 – Austin Woldmoe (BU) def. T. Ismail (YSU) 6-1, 6-3
No. 2 – Mistreanu (YSU) def. Tommy Marx (BU) 6-1, 6-2
No. 3 – Zach Ervin (BU) def. Kabli (YSU) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
No. 4 - Campos (YSU) def. Pulok Bhattacharya (BU) 6-7, 6-3, 6-3
No. 5 – Z. Ismail (YSU) def. Billy Weldon (BU) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
No. 6 – Rosa (YSU) def. Stephen McLoughlin (BU) 6-2, 6-7, 6-4

Doubles
No. 1 – Woldmoe/Weldon (BU) def. T. Ismail/Kabli (YSU) 8-4
No. 2 – Campos/Theorin (YSU) def. Marx/Erwin (BU) 8-4
No. 3 - Mistreanu/Z. Ismail (YSU) def. McLoughlin/O’Neill (BU) 8-4

Phantoms Steal Home Ice From Green Bay With 5-3 Victory

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The Youngstown Phantoms responded to a trouncing in their series-opener with three power play goals to help down the Green Bay Gamblers 5-3 Sunday at the Resch Center. The win evened the best-of-five Eastern Conference Semifinal series at 1-1 heading back to Youngstown for Games 3 and 4.

Soren Jonzzon netted a pair of power-play goals and Dylan Margonari bookended the scoring with first-and-third-period tallies. Austin Cangelosi also put one in on the man-advantage as the Phantoms went a perfect 3-for-3 on the power play.  Goaltender Matt O’Connor, who was pulled after the first-period of Game 1, was superb between the pipes, turning away 40 of 43 shots, including 24 in the third period.

“It was definitely a bit of an eye-opener last night,” O’Connor said. “Tonight was a must-win game for the team. We knew that going back home down two games would be a big hole to dig ourselves out of and it was a great way to carry some momentum heading back to the Covelli Centre.”

Margonari scored the game’s first goal, and his first of the postseason, 4:49 into the first period.  Ryan Lowney led a 2-on-1 rush and picked out Margonari streaking toward the net. The Greensburg, Pa. native quickly corralled the puck and put it past Gamblers goaltender Ryan McKay to put the Phantoms ahead for the first time in the series.

“Hockey’s kind of a game of karma – when you do things the right way, it seems like you get the bounces,” Noreen said. “Last night, we didn’t do things right and honestly, we didn’t deserve any bounces… Tonight our guys had a better approach [to the game] and when you put that sort of effort in, you seem to get those bounces.”

“I sat down with Matt and 8 o’clock this morning and he flat-out said to me, ‘Coach, I’m going to steal one,’” Noreen said. “You just saw the confidence all day. He kind of had that swagger.”

The Phantoms return to the Mahoning Valley for Games 3 and 4 this Tuesday and Wednesday at the Covelli Centre. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. EST both nights.

Dealing With Adversity, Part 1: Eric Wolford

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A couple of weeks ago, I was strolling through Dillard’s at the Southern Park Mall.  As I was trying on a new pair of dress shoes, the sales representative, a female in her thirties, commented on my YSU apparel.  Her comments echoed disdain toward the Penguins Eric Wolford.

“He is pretty arrogant and I heard his players hate him.”

That was the exactness of her wording.  Of course, I raised the defense on behalf of Wolford and said that he was a stand-up guy who cares for his players and has a lot on his mind.  There was not much conversation beyond that, other than me telling her I didn’t like the shoes.

I didn’t purchase any shoes. The thing I took away from that experience was the idea to contact Wolford, Kelly Pavlik, and others in the area who have had to deal with adversity.  Plus, I thought the saleswoman had issues.  Dillards has joined my small list of businesses that are now ‘closed’.

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During the season last year, Wolford made a comment about adversity and how everyone in the room would have to deal with an uninvited circumstance sooner or later.  I thought his addressing an issue that way was commendable and it stuck with me.

Kevin Watts, a YSU football player, recently lost his father.  Wolford commented on how he helps others when they face adversity such as the death of a parent.

“Kevin’s dad was obviously a very big part of his life.  Other kids have parents who are sick and not doing very well.  As coaches, we try to step in and provide a father-figure role to take them under our wing and encourage them to get through that part of life.  We will offer grief counseling if it is needed, anything to put their mind at ease and to know that they have someone they can turn to.”

It’s not just death and sickness, there is always something going on.

“These kids all have so many things going on at home.  Some of them send their financial aid checks home so that their parents can pay the car insurance or the rent.  It sounds crazy, but it is the reality some of these kids are faced with.”

“I live with adversity every day, and these guys know that”, added Wolford.  ”When I get home every night, I have to wonder if Stone will be there.  It is something that I live with every day and the players know my relationship with Stone.  The players can reflect on that relationship and see the degree of adversity that exists.  It helps them deal with something on a smaller scale sometimes.”

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Wolford, and his wife, Dr. Melinda, started a foundation called No Stone Unturned which helps families pay bills that our out-of-whack health insurance system hits people for.  Wolford has referred to it as ‘paying ahead’.

Dr. Wolford commented on Coach Wolford’s relationship with his players.

“Eric loves each and every one of those kids.  He has to handle how he coaches differently with each of them.  Some respond better to yelling, some are better with sit-down meetings.  One player was going to quit because he didn’t like being yelled at.  Eric found that kid after pursuing him for a couple of days.  They talked and worked it out, and you are always going to have that at every school.  A coach that seeks to resolve the problem, sends the message to the players that he cares.”

Wolford faced a different adversity earlier in his coaching career.  Dr. Wolford told the story of her husbands worst nightmare coming true.

“Eric was hired by Coach Stoops to be the line coach at Arizona.  He was helping with recruiting and found a lineman in Texas.  The lineman committed to come to Arizona and Eric was thrilled about the addition.  Early on during Summer workouts, the recruit died in Eric’s arms, collapsed at practice and never recovered.  Eric had to call the family and tell them that their son was dead.  He was so devastated, but he made his way to Houston for the funeral, and he even spoke there.  The next season, another recruit was shot in a separate incident and never was able to play football after that.  Eric still stays in touch with that young man and his family.”

Wolford is special, and he treats those who let him, as part of his huge football family.    I know Wolford will make mistakes, we all do, it’s just human nature.  However, the fact that he never turns down a speaking appearance to assist local charities, donates more money than you would ever know to causes he considers worthwhile, and has a unique home life where adversity is faced daily, he is a role model people could learn something from.  Far from arrogant.