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Horizon League Tournament Tickets For March 5 Game On Sale Now


After clinching a 2013 Horizon League Men’s Basketball Tournament First-Round home game on Tuesday, March 5, at the Beeghly Center, the Youngstown State Athletics Department has announced ticket prices for the postseason game.

Tipoff will be at 7:05 p.m. and the game will be on 570-AM WKBN, the Horizon League Network and tape-delayed on MyValleySports.

Reserved tickets are $10 and general admission tickets are $7. Group general admission tickets will $4. Tickets for Youngstown State students are free with a current and valid ID.

Penguin Club members and season-ticket holders have until the end of business, Monday, March 4, to purchase their tickets before they are released to the general public.

The opponent for the Penguins has not been determined.

For more information, please call the Youngstown State Athletic Ticket Office at (330) 941-1YSU (1978).

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Guy Fieri Visits A Youngstown Phantoms Game


For the second straight year, Guy Fieri has come to Youngstown as a guest of honor of the Phantoms.  Fieri, personal friends with Phantoms owner Bruce J. Zoldan, attended the Kentucky Derby in Louisville in May with Zoldan when Animal Kingdom, owned by Team Valor of which Zoldan is a major investor, won in an amazing come-from-behind victory to win the Roses at famed Churchill Downs. Fieri joined Zoldan and his party in the winner’s circle.


The wildly popular Fieri, the host of NBC’s “Minute To Win It” and the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” was amicable and friendly with everyone who he crossed paths with.




Fieri’s advertised appearance on Veteran’s Day was well-publicized and the Phantoms enjoyed their biggest crowd of the season.  A lot of people left the Covelli Centre carrying barbecue sauce, Fieri’s newest creations.

Lisa Neeld: The Honest Interview, The Reality Show, And Diversifying The Portfolio

Lisa Neeld

Lisa Neeld has been a busy woman lately.  She has stacked her appearances, started filming a reality show for television, continues to sell barbecue sauce, and is a full-time mother.  I became enamored with Neeld when I asked her ten baseball questions at a Scrappers game.  She played along, the good sport that she is, and had fun with a segment that many Playboy models would scoff away from.  A year later, I followed that up with ten boxing questions.  Same playful Lisa, same comical approach, same demeanor.

Neeld is excited about her new reality show, simply called Lisa Neeld: VIP Style.  The show airs at 6:30 in the morning on the WB Network every Thursday.  It is commercial-free and the interview which I conducted will be featured on one of the upcoming episodes, so set your DVR, it is fun to watch.

Having never interviewed a Playboy model before, I was cautious, but brought my highest line of questioning.  Lisa, as always, was very accommodating and honest.  I have a lot of respect for her because of the way she is going about life without the stereotypical priss label. All too many times, albeit an athlete or a musician with some level of fame, certain media outlets are snubbed because a celebrity feels too “big” to be a part of anything less than TMZ or a major publication.


Paneech: Tell me about the reality show.

Neeld: I was doing small reality clips for 93.3, The Wolf, and all of a sudden we got with some friends who would film and edit.  My producer, Mike Kolovich, signed on with us to do it.  It airs every Thursday morning at 6:30 on the CW Network.  It showcases the lifestyle I lead with all of the different roles in comparison to businesswomen and moms.  Things that people don’t necessarily think of associating with me.

Paneech: You were in Playboy.  How does that work with two children?  Is that something you will have to tell them?

Neeld: My children already know.  My first issue came out in 2008 and then I was on the cover in 2010.  When the first issue came out, my son was ten.  We didn’t let him see the magazine, but we did tell him.  I would rather he hear about it from me rather than kids at school who may have heard it from their parents.  I didn’t want to put him in a bad light because I was proud of it.  Playboy is very classy and to be chosen by them, and later land a cover is honorable, but I would never want my children to think that I did something wrong. My daughter is only eight, and when she is old enough, she will know from me.  My children know everything that I do and there is nothing to hide.

Paneech: How about other family members?  Did they chastise you because of your decision?

Neeld: Actually, I have no family.  My mom passed away five years ago.  She raised me as a single parent and I have not had to deal with that issue.  She would have been proud of me.  The whole time I was growing up, she had me in dance line, pageantry, dancing lessons, and modeling.  She would have been very proud and it is sad that she is not able to see the things that I have accomplished like this show.

Paneech: How much charity work do you do?  Also, do you feel obligated to do charitable work, or is it something you enjoy?

Neeld: I have a personal charity that I work with.  I work with Someplace Safe, a charity that works toward the awareness and prevention of domestic violence, which is pretty important to me.  I always try to arrange something that will benefit them.  We have had bowling nights, a blizzard thing at Dairy Queen, sold cut-out hearts, and many other things.  I feel it is a charity which is often overlooked because victims are afraid to speak up.


Paneech: Lets talk about Hugh Hefner.  This guy is like 90 years old, lands beautiful 21 year-old girlfriends, is loaded, and seems unhappy.  At the same time, he seems humble and grounded.  What have your experiences around him been like?

Neeld: I have met him several times at the Playboy Mansion and he is very down to earth.  He is a nice and sweet guy and actually cares about the younger girls.  There are a lot of girls who come through that have had issues or problems and he is actually there offering his support and helping them.  He is an all-around great guy.  I feel like he sometimes gets a bad rap, but he is an amazing person.

Paneech: You seem busier these days than you were two years ago.  Do you have any spare time?

Neeld: I hang out with my children.  We kind of like to stay at home.  I am always out so much and I am not the best cook in the world, I’m not going to lie, so we prefer to hang out and enjoy our time together.  Personally, when I have spare time, I like to run.  I like to work out, box, run – it’s not hyper it’s high energy (laughs).  I would probably want to go to a spa, I guess.  Well actually, the perfect night to me is just staying at home and watching TV.  I don’t have to be “dolled up”, worrying about appearances, so it is nice to just chill out.  I like a good movie, but I am not into the price of popcorn though.

Paneech: A lot of models who have posed for Playboy have been approached to appear in adult movies.  Have you been bothered for that yet?

Neeld: Yeah…  Yeah, I was contacted about a year ago by a competitor of Playboy to do a shoot and we declined.  If it is something I am asked to do that I feel I would be embarrassed telling my son about, then I will not do it.  I won’t cross a line that would potentially put my child in an embarrassing situation.  If people opt to do that stuff, than that is their option, but I will not cross that line.  It is one thing to do appearances and have fun, but nothing too risque.


Paneech: What is with the barbecue sauce?  How did that start and how are sales?

Neeld: The barbecue sauce came about when my friend Guy Hughes, of Guy’s Barbecue, had all of his products lined up at a press conference.  I picked up one of the bottles and jokingly said, ‘Why don’t you make me a sauce and put my name on it.  I can call it Saucy Housewife’.  Next thing you know, we have attorneys checking copyright facts and it wasn’t taken, so a month later it is in production at Summer Garden on McClurg Road and going into a production run of 1,200 cases or some crazy amount.  The Scrappers made it the exclusive barbecue sauce of the stadium and they made pulled pork this season for the first time.  The label on it shows a little too much cleavage so we couldn’t market it at family grocery-type stores.

Paneech: When does all of this get tiring?

Neeld: Never.  I have my days when I want to stay home in my sweatpants and cuddle up with my kids.  However, it is my job.  There are days when I am sure you don’t want to go to work and do your job.  I love what I do and I appreciate people’s support and I never take that for granted.  No matter how many times, or which venue, I get excited that people are making the effort to come and see me, it is pretty flattering.

Paneech: You have barbecue sauce, security, a reality show, a career you love, but the one thing you don’t seem to have is an agent.

Neeld: At this point, I do not have an agent.  I have contacts in California who handle some of the bigger publications and things like that.  I pretty much handle everything else on my own, not necessarily by choice, but because there is too much of the legwork that I have already taken care of and it is just easier for me to handle it myself rather than explaining everything to a third person.  The third person can easily get things twisted.  As long as I can continue to handle it myself, I will.

Paneech: Tomorrow is a school day, your kids will probably be in school.  How will you spend your day?

Neeld: We start off at six.  My son gets his bus at seven, and my daughter goes by eight, so I am in ‘mommy’ role until then.  After that, I immediately get with my trainer and we will run.  Some days it is five miles, other days ten.  The way I look at it, it is job maintenance plus you always feel better after that anyway.  After that, I go right into making business calls and doing some networking.  It is not a typical day because things always change.

Paneech: If I rub this cup of lemonade you are drinking and a genie comes out and says you can have any three wishes, what would they be?

Neeld: Firstly, I would always wish that my children are safe and that nothing bad will happen to them.  Secondly, I would wish to remain happy, not knowing what that will entail over the next couple of years.  Third, I would say I want to be able to adjust to anything. No matter what happens, I would also want a Jeep for my friend, a red Jeep.

Neeld will be coming to a function you may be attending soon, make an effort to meet her, she is definitely not who you would think, in a good way.

Penguin Tidbits


  • The Youngstown State men’s tennis team dropped a hard-fought 4-3 match to third-seed Wright State on Thursday at the Horizon League Championships. The Penguins now face Butler in the fifth-place match on Friday morning at 9.
  • The Youngstown State women’s basketball coaching staff will offer three camp formats this summer for young student-athletes and high school teams.  For individuals entering fourth through ninth grade, the staff is offering a half-day camp from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Monday, June 27, to Thursday, June 30. Players who are preparing for the collegiate level are invited to participate in the overnight elite camp on Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1. There will also be a team camp for varsity and JV squads on June 10 and June 12.   For more information, contact the Women’s Basketball Office at (330) 941-3004.
  • The Youngstown State softball team picked up a single game against Ohio State tonight at 7 p.m. before heading to Indianapolis for a three-game Horizon League series against Butler, April 22-23.
  • Youngstown State had eight winter sport student-athletes named to the Horizon League’s various All-Academic teams on Tuesday. The swimming and diving program led the way with three selections.  Representing YSU from the swimming and diving program were senior diver Amanda Carpin, senior swimmer Alana Kane and sophomore diver Casey Hill. It was the second straight year Carpin, a 3.95 student in Special Education, was named to the team.  Sophomore Brandi Brown was named to the women’s basketball all-academic team. Brown is the first Penguin since Lauren Branson in 2007-08.  The track and field program had four representatives named to the Academic All-League team. On the men’s side, senior Adam Kagarise was named to the squad for a third time while sophomore Jeff Hanselman earned his first academic honor. On the women’s side, senior Alisha Anthony earned her third indoor academic selection while sophomore Samantha Hamilton picked up her first track and field academic honor.
  • According to YSU Sports Information Director Trevor Parks, the No Stone Unturned Pancake Breakfast held this past Sunday was a huge success.  The paid admission is estimated to be right around 1,000 meals served, which is 3,000 pancakes.  The charity function, headed by Coach Wolford and his wife, also did well with raffles and a Chinese Auction.

Julie Michaels: Beauty Inside And Out


Julie Michaels believes that everything that happens, happens for a reason, because God makes it possible.  The beautiful actress/stuntwoman has seen the lights and glitter but uses her faith to stay grounded and positive.  Although she has acted in or performed stunts in several horror genre films, she is that furthest thing there is from dark.  I have known Julie for a few years and she has always been a positive person.  She is beautiful, inside and out.

Julie’s big break came when she played the role of Denise opposite Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse. She is all over the place in bits and pieces and has recently been spotted on Weeds, Big Bang Theory, Desperate Housewives, and Southland.  I recently spoke with Julie via telephone and got as much time as I wanted to ask whatever I wanted.

Paneech: When you were attending college at Washington University, you started participating in beauty pageants.  How do you get involved with those and are the myths about bulimia and anorexia fact or fiction?

JM: I got involved out of necessity.  I was a gymnast at Washington University and I got hurt.  I had to pay for my education, losing my scholarship.  So I went to a meeting and got involved.  It was a good way to make some money for school.  You didn’t have to win, and could still make money.  As far as the myths about anorexia and bulimia and other shenanigans about pageantry, they couldn’t be further from the truth.  There were very intense study sessions, harder than most of my college classes, that helped me.  You learn the proper way to do interviews and get comfortable with interviewing properly.


Paneech: What events did you compete in as a gymnast?

JM: I competed in the all-around segment.  I concentrated mainly on floor and vault.  The training was good for me and taught me a lot about how to utilize my body in the air.

Paneech: So when did you officially break into acting?

JM: After the University of Washington I attended a performing arts school.  There was a show called Follies and I got the role I was trying out for after my first semester.  It was a great experience for me.

Paneech: How were you lucky enough to land the role of Denise in Roadhouse?

JM: My definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity.  I went for a first audition, and seven auditions later, I was cast as Denise.

Paneech: Unfortunately, Patrick Swayze is no longer with us.  Were you close with him?

JM: Patrick and his wife, Lisa, were very giving and caring people.  After I did Roadhouse, I got a call for Point Break.  Patrick wouldn’t admit to helping me land the role I got for Point Break, but I always thought he had something to do with it.  Lisa counseled me through a very hard time when a friend of mine, a makeup artist, passed away.  Most of my experiences with Patrick were limited to the time that we shared working together.


Paneech: Tell me what you think about Charlie Sheen and the route he has taken.

JM: Everyone has an opinion, and you know what they say about opinions, that they are like rear ends and most of them stink.  I don’t know Charlie Sheen personally, I do know one of his closest friends.  This business is very overindulgent and we pray for those that Satan may have gotten to.  This industry, however, has a tendency to only report on the negative and not on good things.  You never hear about someone raising money for Haiti.  Most of the people I work with always give back.  The whole Charlie Sheen thing is an example of the media driving the negative.

Paneech: You are a very religious person, how could you be comfortable doing dark projects like Friday The 13th with people like Kane Hodder?

JM:  You know, I can only watch about the first eight minutes of that movie. I was filming a scene and Kane Hodder was not even in the scene, but he was hiding behind a door.  In the scene, I am running away.  He jumped out from behind that door and scared me.  I jumped over, not on, a car that was there.  Kane is a family man and a very good person.

Paneech: Do you ever go to your agent and say, I want a bigger role?

JM: I was told that I have the greatest agent in the world.  My agent is Jesus and when he wants you to do something, you will.  I always say that you can fight any battle on your knees.  The big trick is recognizing what God wants you to do.  Because of my spirituality, a role I get as a negative makes someone else look good.  It is the whole antagonist and protagonist thing.  I recently did Weeds and 95 percent of the dialogue was profanity, it is a role.

Paneech: What kind of current projects are you busy with these days?

JM: I just did an episode of the Big Bang Theory that aired last week, a good friend of Charlie Sheen’s actually got me in on that.  I also did a car crash for Southland. It was a scene where a felon was being chased and I was driving a car that got hit head-on.  The director told me that there would be no “cut” and that the scene would keep rolling to catch me in pain.  So even after the stunt, I had to act after I had been hit.  There was a cut phrase if I got hurt to cue the director to cut, but I got out screaming, “I can’t feel my legs!”

Paneech: How long can you continue to jump off of buildings and be in car wrecks before you call it a day?

JM: God tells me what to do.  If you listen, just get quiet and listen, you will know.  He will tell me when to move forward or when to step down.  With Him, all things are possible. Sometimes I am a quarterback and sometimes I am a water girl.

Paneech: Were you ever approached to do Playboy?

JM: Playboy is something I considered, but it isn’t me.

Paneech: Do you watch any sports?

JM: I love baseball and football.  I was a big Seattle Mariners fan growing up in that area.  The Mariners of the early 90’s were my team. They were like the Yankees in training.  Football, I have really taken a liking to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  There are a lot of Steelers fans here and they have bee really fun to watch.


One Word Answers

Favorite Toppings On A Pizza: Canadian Bacon and Pineapple.

Greatest Cartoon Character Ever: Snoopy.

Favorite Kind of Music: Broadway and Show Tunes.

Biggest Phobia: Stupid People.

Worst Habit: Leaving Drawers Open, Drives Me Crazy!

Favorite Holiday: Christmas.

Favorite TV Show: House and Southland.

Favorite Drink: Champagne.

Favorite Thing To Do: Cook.  Cook and Feed The Neighborhood!

Penguins Swimmers Set Records At Horizon League Championships


The Youngstown State swimming and diving team set two more school records on Saturday, the final day of action at the Horizon League Championships at Busbey Natatorium. YSU placed sixth at the meet with a score of 308.5.

Sophomore Samantha Roberts finished fifth in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:18.52. Roberts was the previous record holder with a 2:21.16 which she set a last year’s HL meet. Also at the 2011 Championships, Roberts was fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Senior Caitlin Cook had two solid performances in her final day as a Penguin. Cook placed sixth in 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:06.74 in the finals. Earlier in the day she set a school mark in the event at 2:06.32.

Freshman Megan Ciampa finished eighth in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 17:36.19 while fellow freshman Brittany Vigar was 12th clocking a 17:53.67.

Also for Youngstown State on Saturday, Nishani Cicilson was 14th and Kirstin Walker was 16th in the 100-yard freestyle. Freshman Laura Paz was ninth in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:07.79.

YSU’s 4×400 freestyle relay team just missed the school mark in the event. The Penguins posted a time of 3:30.57. For the meet, the Guins set school records in four of the five relay events.

Green Bay won the event for the seventh straight year with a team score of 788.5

The Cavs Join The Browns And Indians And Set New Lows


Being geographically close to Cleveland, I feel bad for my fellow sports fans who root for Cleveland teams.  Admittedly, I am a Cavs fan and will continue to root for the team with a shiny new record for most NBA losses in a row with 26. The overall compilation of these three teams has produced zero championships in 50 plus years in any of their respective sports.  Certain towns (Cubs fans, turn your heads), have a team who hasn’t won anything over a longer time span, but collectively, the Browns, Indians, and Cavs comprise the worst trifecta of a regional sports market that currently exists.

Let’s start with the oldest, the Cleveland Indians.  The Indians won a World Series in 1920 then had to wait 28 years to get another.  This is when there were no more than 20 teams in the league and the odds of winning were greater.  The 1954 Indians, who won a then-record, 111 games, failed to complete the mission and are simply a highlight of a Willie Mays running over-the-shoulder catch.  Did this start the futility on the diamond?  In 1995, with a start studded lineup and a brand new stadium, the Indians drew large crowds and won games, but no trophies or flags.  Nowadays they are playing the Pittsburgh Pirates price is right.  Dump Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, etc. but make some scratch.


Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, and Larry Nance were the nucleus of some of the best Cavs teams of the late eighties and early nineties.  Unfortunately, as Craig Ehlo can testify, they played during the Michael Jordan Era.  We all know about Lebron James and the “decision” he made.   Before his decision, he got Cleveland into the 2007 NBA Finals to play San Antonio.  It was big progress for a franchise that never won.  Now that James is wearing a Heat uniform and playing with two All-Stars and his former supporting cast starring Anderson Varajeo and Antwan Jamison has set the NBA standard for consecutive losses, did he still do the wrong thing?  Or was he that good?  I think he was.  His supporting cast sucked, and still do.  The guy wanted to win a championship, not babysit Delonte West or teach JJ Hickson how to dribble.

Then there are the Browns.  Always a good supporting cast, but no stars, and Phil Dawson may have his own “decision” show on the deuce here pretty quick.  Granted, Art Modell is a hated man in Cleveland and rightfully so.  However, the drafting and coaching since Palmer took over in 1998 for the return season have been awful.  Butch Davis? Wow. The worst part is that Browns fans have argued with anyone who questions the ability of a hired hand in Cleveland.  Draft Day is a mess too. Hopefully the Browns can pick something other than a new season ticket package offering reduced ticket prices for 2011.

The one constant that amazes me is the fan support of all three teams.  Hats off to Cleveland sports fans for remaining some of the most loyal people who root for a team.

YSU Men’s Tennis Dominant in 6-1 Victory Over St. Francis


The Youngstown State men’s tennis team picked up a strong 6-1 win over Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sunday morning at the Boardman Tennis Center. YSU won five singles matches and won the doubles point against the Red Flash.

It was the first dual win for first-year Head Coach Mark Klysner.

YSU won the doubles point to start the morning winning at No. 2 and No. 3.

In singles, Tariq Ismail won by default over Elahn Pogque and Rob Emig dispatched of Kirby Medes 6-0, 6-0 to put YSU in front 3-0.

Max Schmerin won a hard-fought two setter 7-5, 7-6 (5) over Andres Rosa while Rodrigo Campos defeated Youlian Natchev 7-5, 6-2.

In the final match of the day, Zeeshan Ismail came back and then held off Stephen Kowalski 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in a three-set victory.

The Penguins return to action on Feb. 26 when they visit Niagara.

YSU 6, Saint Francis (Pa.) 1
Feb. 20 at the Boardman Tennis Center

No. 1 – Tariq Ismail (YSU) def. Elahn Pogue 3-0 by default
No. 2 – Max Schmerin (SFU) def. Andres Rosa (YSU) 7-5, 7-6 (7-5)
No. 3 – Nate Fleming (SFU) def. Felipe Rosa (YSU) 5-7, 6-2, 10-3
No. 4 – Zeeshan Ismail (YSU) def. Stephen Kowalski (SFU) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
No. 5 – Rodrigo Campos (YSU) def. Youlian Natchev (SFU) 7-5, 6-2
No. 6 – Rob Emig (YSU) def. Kirby Mendes (SFU) 6-0, 6-0

No. 1 – T. Ismail/Rosa (YSU) lost to Pogue/ Fleming (SFU) – 8-6
No. 2 – Schmerin/Z. Ismail (YSU) def. Kowanski/Rosa (SFU) 8-6
No. 3 – Campos/Emig (YSU) def. Natchev/Mendes (SFU) 8-3

Butler Sets And Spikes YSU Into Straight Set Volleyball Defeat


Admittedly, I know very little about volleyball.  YSU Sports Information Director for Volleyball, John Vogel, gets an attaboy for explaining what I was watching.  Former Lady Penguin cager turned athletic trainer, Kaitlyn March,  gets an assist for verifying that the winning squad is the one that gets to 25 first (win by two).  With all that being said I watched Butler University beat YSU in straight sets with scores of 25-16, 25-16, and 25-15.

With the loss, the Penguins fell to 2-17 on the season (0-6 in the Horizon League).  Butler improved to 10-7 (5-1 HL) and pretty much had their way with the Penguins.  YSU Head Coach Krista Burrows was frustrated by her teams performance.  “We need a better effort than we got tonight as well as some consistency.  We need to really work on our fundamentals, right now we just are not doing much of anything well.”


YSU Captain Dani Soubliere (pictured) shared the frustration level of Coach Burrows.  “At the beginning of the season we were communicating well, now we are really searching for answers, it’s very frustrating.  We will have a hard practice tomorrow, and we brought that upon ourselves the way we played tonight.”

Soubliere paced the Penguins in defeat with six kills from her setter position, a rarity of sorts.  Brittany McNeil had 11 digs for the Penguins.  Butler was led by Katie Daprile‘s 10 digs and Jessica Wolfe had 11 kills.