Women’s soccer takes on Georgia, Auburn

first_imgBrian Ji | Daily TrojanSuperstar scorer · Senior midfielder Morgan Andrews led USC with 12 goals last season, earning a spot on the MAC Hermann watchlist.The women’s soccer team is taking a trip to the South this weekend to face off against the University of Georgia and No. 12 Auburn University in the Auburn Soccer Classic. The Trojans enter this weekend with a 1-2 record in non-friendly competition. They’ll face an important opponent in their second game of the tournament against Auburn, a team known for pressing the attack and forcing mistakes on defense. Auburn will bring an impressive own set of offensive firepower, fueled by senior attacking midfielder Casie Ramsier, who was named to a list of 36 players on the MAC Hermann Watch List in July. “These are two highly skilled teams that we’re facing [this weekend],” head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “SEC teams will run at you. They’re very athletic and it’s going to give us a challenge.”But the Trojan lineup is equally stacked with praiseworthy players. Senior defender Kayla Mills and senior midfielder Morgan Andrews were also named as potential MAC Hermann recipients, making USC one of seven schools to boast multiple players on the list. And a new influx of freshman strikers such as Taylor McMorrow is adding new life to an offense that struggled to connect last year.Last season’s main difficulties came from a lack of finishing. Although the Trojans often dominated possession through solid defensive and midfield play, the front line struggled to convert offensive opportunities into points. This led to a style of offense that didn’t pressure defensive backs as much as McAlpine wanted.“In the past, teams weren’t as concerned with our front line and the pressure they could bring,” McAlpine said. “Last year, we were a team built on defense.”This year’s pace of attack is much more of his speed, with a mix of experienced and fresh strikers to create more pressure in the front line. Now, the main focus for McAlpine has shifted toward cementing a backline that has seen a great deal of transition since last season. The team started this season off balance, dropping two games to Santa Clara and Long Beach State in between dominating victories in exhibition games against Air Force and Beijing General. With a top 25 ranking and a Sweet Sixteen finish from last season, it was an unexpected way to kick off the year.After an up-and-down start the year, the Trojans needed a win against No. 20 Pepperdine — and the front line delivered. An early penalty kick followed by two more goals in the first half was enough for the win, and McAlpine felt that his team gained a necessary boost in confidence following the 3-0 win. He looks forward to the weekend’s tournament with the expectation that both games will provide both a challenge and an opportunity for his team to make adjustments as they head into the regular season.“They’re feeling good,” McAlpine said. “They’re definitely smiling a lot more during practice. I think everyone collectively made the decision to step up. They pulled together and locked in and the energy has been great since then. They’re ready to have fun this weekend.”last_img read more

Hyun-Jin Ryu bolsters his free agent case in what could be his final season with Dodgers

first_imgDallas Keuchel, 30 years old, and Patrick Corbin, 29, headline the crop of available left-handed starters. Yusei Kikuchi, 27, could join them if he is posted by his Japanese team this winter as expected. A bidding war for Kershaw would dictate the entire market.A perennial Cy Young Award candidate, Kershaw’s contract status overshadows almost any conversation around Ryu. Kershaw has two years and $65 million remaining on his current deal, but he can opt out once the season is over. While Friedman has expressed strong interest in keeping Kershaw in Los Angeles for a long time, the market might encourage Kershaw to test the free-agent waters.Against this backdrop, Ryu might emerge as a potential under-the-radar target or a prominent factor in another Dodgers postseason run. The difference could have a measurable effect on his next contract.For his part, Ryu said he has not pondered what it would be like to pitch for another team.“I’m a Dodger right now and I’m in L.A.,” he said. “I’ve never really had a chance to think about it. All I’m focused on is winning for the city and playing for this city.”While Friedman can rather easily imagine his pitching staff without Ryu – he had to for almost all of 2015 and 2016 – Ryu has no reference point for living and working in another major league city.As of the 2010 census, Los Angeles County had the highest Korean population in the country by a wide margin, greater than that of the next three U.S. counties combined. Ryu said he was aware of these demographics before he signed with the Dodgers. It helped catalyze his decision. For a time, Ryu’s mother lived with him in a downtown high-rise, where the ingredients for traditional Korean home cooking were never far away.In retrospect, Ryu said Los Angeles was the ideal city in which to begin his major league career.“Knowing that I have the Korean society and community and fans behind me, when I was trying to make this transition because it was my first time playing in the States, definitely helped me a lot,” he said. “I can’t imagine any other cities would provide me that kind of help.”Ryu has done plenty on his own to position himself well for free agency.Listed at 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, Ryu has long been praised by his teammates and superiors for his athleticism. It tends to announce itself in flashes, like on Wednesday, when he hit three home runs in batting practice without any unusual effort.More often though, Ryu’s athleticism expresses itself in things unseen. He rarely, if ever, needs to correct his mechanics. His core and lower-body strength translate to an easy, almost effortless arm motion. It’s a carbon copy of how Ryu threw a baseball before the groin, elbow and shoulder injuries stalled his career.Between the rehab process and the maturity that comes with age, Ryu believes he’s mentally stronger now too.Related Articles Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies LOS ANGELES — When Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with the Dodgers before the 2013 season, he was quietly guaranteed a spot in a rotation that included Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and not much else by way of healthy, experienced starting pitchers. Ryu was an unknown then, a 26-year-old veteran of seven seasons in Korea.Ryu made 30 starts that season, won one fewer game than Greinke, and finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. He started a National League Championship Series game and shut out the St. Louis Cardinals for seven innings. It looked as if the Dodgers had found a rotation stalwart for the next five years.A lot has changed since then. As he surveys the Dodgers’ clubhouse now, Ryu is one of five players still standing from that 2013 team. Matt Kemp’s career took a couple detours before making it back to Los Angeles, and Kenley Jansen, Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw are the only other familiar faces in the room. This fact isn’t lost on Ryu.“Everyone’s a new face,” he said through his interpreter. “Time has sure flown by.” “The fact that I’m married now, I need to take care of my family, it has definitely encouraged me to be a better player,” he said. “Now that I’ve been in the league for a while, having this many years under my belt, knowing there are a lot of young guys coming from the bottom, I have to be mentally strong first in order to compete with the best of the best in this league.”On Monday, Ryu shut out the Colorado Rockies for seven innings, winning the first of three games in the Dodgers’ biggest series of the season. In a playoff-like atmosphere, Ryu might have clinched a spot in the postseason rotation.While his four-seam fastball has lost a tick since he debuted, Ryu was never reliant on velocity. His best pitches remain a changeup and curveball, and that repertoire could bode well as Ryu ages. It is more than effective in the present.Ryu’s agent, Scott Boras, was also quick to point out that Ryu has thrown 561-2/3 major league innings over the last six seasons. The missed time that once defined Ryu’s time as a Dodger will soon be used to bolster his free-agent credentials.“His best years,” Boras said of Ryu, “are ahead of him.”center_img While the team around him changed from top to bottom, there were times when it seemed Ryu’s career stood still. The general manager who signed Ryu, Ned Colletti, was replaced by Andrew Friedman. The Dodgers’ starting rotation morphed from a unit carried by its aces to one built on depth. Ryu witnessed this transformation from the discomfort of the disabled list.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.In May 2015, Ryu had surgery to repair a labral tear in his left shoulder. He pitched one major league game in the two years that followed. In September 2016, he had arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow. After a healthy and productive start to the 2018 season, Ryu suffered a groin tear in May that sidelined him until August.Now, in a season that has seen seven regular starters shuttle in and out, Ryu has been arguably the Dodgers’ best pitcher when healthy. In 13 starts, he is 5-3 with a 2.13 earned-run average. Friedman said these numbers are difficult to compare to his own expectations because he was not sure what to expect from a pitcher who had barely pitched since he arrived.“Last year to this year, when you have that much time off and you come back, there’s a transition period,” Friedman said. “This year is very similar to last year except for the fact that all of (Ryu’s) pitches are a little bit better, a little bit sharper, a little bit more consistent. When you put that together with the feel he has, the array of pitches, it’s put him in position to have the success he had this year.”In a couple months, Ryu will be a free agent. At 31 years old and coming off two major injuries, how Ryu finishes the season won’t merely determine the Dodgers’ fate in October. It will either boost or weaken what looks like a fairly thin free-agent class of starting pitchers. Exactly where Ryu fits in with the group is unclear. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire last_img read more

Starrcast II date, location special guests, panels, more

first_imgFollowing the success of the first Starrcast convention, Starrcast II will take place on May 23-26 in Las Vegas in conjunction with the AEW Double or Nothing show. The second Starrcast event will be a four-day professional wrestling fan convention and will once again feature numerous wrestlers, wrestling personalities and podcast personalities.The first Starrcade event — the brainchild of Conrad Thompson — took place over Labor Day weekend 2018 in Chicago alongside the All In wrestling event, both of which turned out to be huge successes. That convention included meet and greets with current wrestlers and legends, a radio row of live podcasts, and various panels including a Monday Night War Debate between Bruce Prichard and Eric Bischoff as well as a War Games Retrospective with JJ Dillon, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger, and Road Warrior Animal. Starrcast II looks to be even bigger with the buzz surrounding Double or Nothing and the list of guests that have already been announced. Keep checking here on Sporting News for updates here for more guests, panels, and other shows as they are revealed. Starrcast II date, tickets, start timeStarrcast II will take place on May 23-26 at a location to be determined in Las Vegas. The ticket pre-sale started on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET with general public tickets going on sale Friday, Feb. 15 at 12:00 p.m. ET at www.Starrcast.com.How to watch Starrcast IIFans not in attendance will be able to watch the featured events on the FITE TV app, which is offering the Starrcast Weekend Pass.Starrcast II special guests— Sting— Bret Hart— Jim Ross— Jerry Lawler— Bruce Prichard— Tony Schiavone— Eric Bischoff— Sean Mooney— Shane Helms— Arn Anderson— Lita— Scott Hall— Magnum T.A.— Tully Blanchard— Kevin Nash— Sean Waltman— Ricky Steamboat— JJ Dillon— Barry Windham— Tommy Dreamer— Bill Apter— Terry Funk— Konnan— Jerry Lynn— Joey Ryan— David Arquette— Colt Cabana— The Godfather— Rob Van Dam— Leva Bates— Brian Pillman, Jr. — Hornswoggle— The Young Bucks— Cody— Christopher Daniels— Frankie Kazarian— Scorpio Sky— Brandi Rhodes— Joey Janela— The Undertaker Starrcast II panelsTBA  Starrcast II podcastsTBAlast_img read more