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Heels, Devils dominate preseason All-ACC lacrosse team

unclacrosseReigning ACC Champion Notre Dame has been selected as the preseason favorite in the 2015 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll. The announcement comes in conjunction with Inside Lacrosse’s release of its annual Face-Off Yearbook.

Head coach Kevin Corrigan’s Fighting Irish received 23 points in balloting among the ACC’s five head coaches. Syracuse followed with 22 points and was selected second. North Carolina (13), back-to-back NCAA Champion Duke (10) and Virginia (7) were selected fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Preseason All-ACC Team features 11 returning United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-Americans from all five member schools, with five selections from North Carolina, three honorees from Duke and two from Syracuse. Notre Dame and Virginia each had one student-athlete selected to the team.

Twelve of the 13 student-athletes on the Preseason All-ACC Team were also named to Inside Lacrosse’s Face-Off Yearbook Division I All-America Team. The First Team included Duke senior midfielder Deemer Class and junior midfielder Myles Jones, Notre Dame senior attackman Matt Kavanagh, Syracuse senior attackman Kevin Rice and red-shirt junior defenseman Brandon Mullins and Virginia junior defenseman Tanner Scales. North Carolina sophomore defenseman Austin Pifani, senior attackman Joey Sankey and senior midfielder Chad Tutton were named to the second team. Duke senior shortstick midfielder Will Haus was tabbed to the third team, while North Carolina senior longstick midfielder Ryan Kilpatrick and junior goalkeeper Kieran Burke earned honorable mention honors.

All five ACC teams are ranked in the top 10 in Inside Lacrosse’s Face-Off Yearbook Top 20 poll. Notre Dame led the way at No. 2 followed by Duke (No. 3), Syracuse (No. 4), North Carolina (No. 6) and Virginia (No. 10).

The 2015 men’s lacrosse season gets underway in early February. The ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship will be played April 24-26 at PPL Park in Philadelphia, Pa. The semifinals are set for Friday, April 24 and the championship for Sunday, April 26. The fifth-place ACC team that does not qualify for the championship will play Penn at PPL Park on Saturday, April 25.

ACC Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Coaches Poll and All-ACC Team

Coaches Poll

1. Notre Dame (3 first place votes, 23 points)

2. Syracuse (2 first place votes, 22 points)

3. North Carolina (13 points)

4. Duke (10 points)

5. Virginia (7 points)

Preseason All-ACC Team

Attack

Matt Kavanagh, Jr., A, Notre Dame

Kevin Rice, Sr., A, Syracuse

Joey Sankey, Sr., A, North Carolina

Midfield

Deemer Class, Jr., M, Duke

Myles Jones, Jr., M, Duke

Chad Tutton, Sr., M, North Carolina

Defense

Brandon Mullins, R-Jr., D, Syracuse

Austin Pifani, So., D, North Carolina

Tanner Scales, Jr., D, Virginia

Faceoff Specialist

Stephen Kelly, So., M, North Carolina

Goalkeeper

Kieran Burke, Jr., GK, North Carolina

Longstick Midfielder

Ryan Kilpatrick, Sr., LSM, North Carolina

Shortstick Midfielder

Will Haus, Sr., SSM, Duke

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Mumps threat leads to Hurricanes postponing hospital visits

hurricanesheartThe Carolina Hurricanes’ holiday hospital visits have been postponed. The shopping trip at Crabtree Valley Mall with children from the Durham Nativity School, and skating event with children from the East Durham Children’s Initiative at the Ice Factory at American Tobacco Campus in Durham, still will take place.

The postponement of the hospital visits is a precaution due to some NHL players recently contracting mumps.

No Hurricanes players have symptoms of mumps or have been diagnosed with mumps. Most of the team’s players and staff received measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations in the last month.

The Hurricanes will work with REX Hospital, UNC Children’s Hospital, Duke Children’s Hospital and WakeMed Children’s Hospital to reschedule the visits.

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Former UNC wrestling coach speaks at Raleigh Sports Club

Bill Lam.

Bill Lam.

Former UNC wrestling coach Bill Lam will be the guest speaker Wednesday at the Raleigh Sports Club luncheon.

Lam coached 37 All-Americas and earned ACC Coach of the Year honors 10 times. In 1982, he was honored as national coach of the year. In 1983, he was voted National Man of the Year.

Lam wrestled at the University of Oklahoma under legendary head coach Tommy Evans. Lam earned All-America honors at 157 lbs. in 1964 and 1965, finishing third and second in the country, respectively. As a senior in 1966, Lam was undefeated and ranked number one in the nation.

He posted the Sooners’ record for career victories. A special education major, he received his bachelor’s degree from OU in 1966 and also earned his master’s degree at OU in counseling and guidance.

The club meets at Bradley Hall in Highland United Methodist Church at 1901 Ridge Road. Buffet lines open at 11:30 a.m. and the meeting is from noon until 1 p.m. Attendance fee for members is $15 while guest fee is $25.

Cayla Rodney, a cross country and track & field star at Cary High School who recently signed with East Carolina, will be honored as the RSC’s Student Athlete of the Week.

The annual membership fee is $70, which helps to fund the club’s scholarship fund. Each week from late August to early April meetings include a Southern buffet, door prizes, pick sheets and introduction to a deserving Student Athlete as well as hearing from a prominent sports figure as our guest speaker.
Raleigh Sports Club Membership Form

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Wake Forest falls in finals of 4-AA football to Mallard Creek… again

wakeforesthighPreviously undefeated Wake Forest fell to Mallard Creek 25-14 in the finals of the state 4-AA championship Saturday night. The Cougars also lost to the Mavericks in last year’s final.

Mallard Creek took a lead it would never relinquish on the second play when quarterback James Smith broke loose for 70-yard rushing touchdown.

Later in the opening quarter, Smith threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Horton for a 12-0 lead.

Wake Forest got back in it late in the first half when Bryce Love capped a 14-play, 81-yard drive with a two-yard plunge. After the point after, the Cougars trailed just 12-7.

In the third quarter, Smith again found a seam and ran 37 yards for a score to increase the Mallard Creek lead to 19-7.

The Cougars didn’t give up and got back in it after a blocked punt in the fourth quarter. Wake Forest QB Mack Moore threw an 18-yard TD pass to Brooks Cunningham to cut the margin to five at 19-14.

But Mallard Creek responded immediately with a quick pass-dominated drive that ended with a Smith quarterback sneak to wrap it up at 25-14 with five minutes left.

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Physical Kentucky team plays its best game vs. UNC

Roy Williams.

Roy Williams.

North Carolina has a 23-14 all-time record against Kentucky but it might not have mattered how well the Tar Heels played in this one as the No. 1 Wildcats played their best game of the year and ran by a scrappy but error-prone Tar Heel team 84-70 in Lexington.

Kentucky was hot and played physical and aggressively on the defensive end. Some believe the Wildcats will go undefeated this season – at least in the regular season.

Carolina took a lot of hits in this one – figuratively and literally – but kept coming back.

Marcus Paige hit four threes in the second half to help. The Tar Heels actually outrebounded the Wildcats by seven and had an impressive 18 offensive rebounds.

But Kentucky scored 24 points off Carolina’s 19 turnovers and scored 13 more points from the foul line.

UNC coach Roy Williams shouldn’t be happy with a loss; however, in light of how hard the Tar Heels played, I was surprised he was angry enough to cuss. We usually just hear the “dad gums” and such from him.

When asked to remember something he had said before the game about keys to the game, he said, “I’m too ticked off to think about any bullsh*t like that.”

Maybe he was just joking around.

For more on the game itself, please click here.

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Are Hurricanes in danger of dissipating in North Carolina?

caneslogoAttendance at Carolina Hurricanes’ games are the lowest they’ve been in any season since coming to Raleigh in 1999. With the team having lost twice as many games as it has won, attendance is just over 12,000 a game with the trend being even more downward.

Is the love affair with hockey over in North Carolina? Attendance is down 3,000 per game from last season and 5,000 per game from two years ago.

When the Hurricanes lost to the New Jersey Devils 2-1 at home recently, they fell to 8-16-3 overall and 1-4 on the home stand. Attendance was 9,815 – about half of capacity.

Certainly a couple of down years can hurt attendance, so can the economy. Injuries and youth have hurt the Canes. A lot of coaching and front office changes slows development as well, even if it becomes a positive.

Right now the Hurricanes really need to score more goals – even if they lose – and they need to play with enthusiasm. Of course, boisterous crowds help with the excitement so it’s a chicken or egg situation.

“It’s all about scoring goals,” the Hurricanes’ Nathan Gerbe said. “You have to score more than the other team to win, and that’s what we didn’t do.”

The Hurricanes have been taking more shots than their opponents but not scoring. Why is that?

“That’s the million-dollar question right now,” head coach Bill Peters said. “We’ve got to find the answers and be solution-based.

The Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner says the team isn’t working hard enough. “Everyone in here wants to win,” Skinner said. “When you find ways to lose, it’s tough and frustrating.”

There are lots of ways for families to spend their money, especially during the Christmas season. If the Hurricanes don’t start scoring some goals and winning some games, the question is going to get louder and louder – will North Carolina continue to support hockey?

It would be as a shame for the Hurricanes – a team that brought tailgating to the NHL and a team that has had perhaps the loudest fans during Stanley Cup runs – to leave Raleigh. But as things are now, how long would it take for the average person to know they are gone?

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Duke’s Jones earns ACC rookie of the week honors

Tyus Jones.

Tyus Jones.

Freshman point guard Tyus Jones earned the first ACC Rookie of the Week award of his college career Monday, as announced by the conference office and voted on by a select panel of media members. Teammate Jahlil Okafor earned the honor the previous three weeks, making it four consecutive weeks a Duke freshman received the accolade.

The Apple Valley, Minn., native helped lead the fourth-ranked Blue Devils to an 80-70 road victory over No. 2 Wisconsin Wednesday, scoring a team-high 22 points, while also leading Duke in rebounds (six) and assists (four). Jones shot 7-of-11 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and 6-of-8 from the foul line as Duke won its eighth straight game by 10-or-more points. In the victory over Wisconsin, Duke shot an impressive 65.2 percent from the field, marking the first time in the 18-year history of the Kohl Center that a Wisconsin opponent shot over 60 percent.

Duke returns to competition Monday, Dec. 15, welcoming Elon to Cameron Indoor Stadium. The contest, scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff, is set to air live on ESPNU.

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UNC soccer loses chance to play in Cary for NCAA title

heelsuclasoccerEarl Edwards Jr. saved Warren Marshall’s penalty in the eighth round of a shootout to send No. 2 seed UCLA through to the NCAA Men’s College Cup after a 3-3 draw with North Carolina Saturday evening at Drake Stadium.

Carolina, which played more than 90 minutes with 10 men after a straight red, rallied from a 3-1 second-half deficit on goals by Tyler Engel and Andy Craven to force penalties. Omar Holness’ first-half free kick goal gave UNC a 1-0 lead before the Bruins scored three times in six minutes after halftime.

Carolina (15-5-2) had the upper hand in the early going before referee Alex Gorin showed Alex Olofson a straight red card after a challenge near midfield in the 20th minute. UCLA (13-4-5) benefitted from the extra man immediately, and Brendan Moore was forced into several saves from close range.

It appeared that the teams would head to halftime with no score, but Alan Winn won a free kick in a dangerous area on 40 minutes. With the opportunity to go for goal from the right side, Holness made no mistake with a low line drive into the bottom left corner to give Carolina an unexpected 1-0 lead.

The Bruins threatened early and often to open the second half, with Leo Stolz ringing a free kick off the woodwork in the 58th minute. The man advantage finally paid off in the 69th minute as Brian Iloski followed his own shot and converted from close range to make it 1-1.

Christian Chavez made it 2-1 just moments later, and Abu Danladi’s goal on the counter saw the Bruins go up two in the 74th minute.

But just as quickly as Carolina fell behind, the Tar Heels rallied. Engel capitalized on a goal mouth scramble after a corner kick in the 78th minute to make it 3-2 before Raby George’s inch-perfect through ball to Craven was turned home for the equalizer 24 seconds later.

It was an incredible turn of events, but it took more heroics from Moore to force the penalty shootout. The senior keeper stopped Andrew Tusaazemajja’s free header in the 95th minute before coming up big again after a corner late in the first period of overtime. After 10 more scoreless minutes, it was up to a shootout to decide the final team in the Men’s College Cup.

Moore saved Iloski’s effort to open the shootout before eight straight kickers converted, with George, Rob Lovejoy, Verneri Valimaa and David October finding the net for the Tar Heels. But Edwards saved Glen Long’s potential winner in the fifth round and then stopped Marshall in the eighth to send the Bruins through in dramatic fashion.

It was a bitter end to the careers of the UNC seniors, including captain Boyd Okwuonu, goal-scorers Engel and Craven, and standout goalkeeper Moore.

UCLA will face Providence in one of two national semifinal games next weekend in Cary, with Virginia and UMBC contesting the other College Cup contest.

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Hatchell to speak at Raleigh Sports Club

Sylvia Hatchell.

Sylvia Hatchell.

Sylvia Hatchell, the UNC women’s basketball coach, will be the guest speaker at Wednesday’s Raleigh Sports Club luncheon Wednesday, Dec. 10.

Hatchell missed all of last season after being diagnosed with leukemia. Now cancer-free, Hatchell is back on the sidelines.

The club meets at Bradley Hall in Highland United Methodist Church at 1901 Ridge Road. Buffet lines open at 11:30 a.m. and the meeting is from noon until 1 p.m. Attendance fee for members is $15 while guest fee is $25.

Emily-Kate Wallace, a junior captain of the North Raleigh Christian Academy basketball team, will be honored as the RSC’s Student Athlete of the Week.

The annual membership fee is $70, which helps to fund the club’s scholarship fund. Each week from late August to early April meetings include a Southern buffet, door prizes, pick sheets and introduction to a deserving Student Athlete as well as hearing from a prominent sports figure as our guest speaker.
Raleigh Sports Club Membership Form

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Hurricanes Alumni Fantasy game planned

alumnigamehurricanesThe National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes today announced plans to host their fourth-annual Alumni Fantasy Game on Sunday, March 22. The event will provide fans a chance to get an NHL experience, skating in a game that includes Hurricanes alumni on the ice at PNC Arena. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Carolina Hurricanes Kids ‘N Community Foundation.

Currently, 12 Hurricanes alumni are scheduled to participate in the 2015 Alumni Fantasy Game: Rod Brind’Amour, Glen Wesley, Niclas Wallin, Sergei Samsonov, Stu Grimson, Bates Battaglia, Jesse Boulerice, Aaron Ward, Shane Willis, Robert Kron, Steve Rice and Tripp Tracy.

Additional participants will be announced as they are confirmed. Fans playing in the game will dress in the Hurricanes’ locker room and enjoy a game atmosphere in the arena, including Hurricanes Play-by-Play Announcer John Forslund’s call on the video board, Stormy, the Eye Care Associates Storm Squad and more.

The Hurricanes’ coaching staff will work the benches for the game, which will be no-hitting, with three running-clock periods and full intermissions. Fans not participating on the ice are welcome to watch the game free of charge, with an optional contribution to the Kids ‘N Community Foundation at the door.

The entry fee for playing in the Alumni Fantasy Game is $3,000, and includes:

Participation in the game on the ice, and the full game-day player experience
Invitation to the “Team Announcement Party” on Friday, March 20
Practice on the ice at PNC Arena on Saturday, March 19, followed by a team lunch
A personalized Hurricanes jersey with special Alumni Game patch
A customized dry-fit 2015 Alumni Game shirt
Two tickets for the Hurricanes’ home game against the New York Rangers on March 21
A DVD of the Alumni Fantasy Game, as called by John Forslund
Access for four people to a post-game cocktail reception following the Alumni Fantasy Game

There are spots for 26 players and three goaltenders to participate in the Alumni Fantasy Game. Those slots will go on sale to season ticket holders, suite holders and corporate partners at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 10, and are first-come, first-served, with registration forms available at CarolinaHurricanes.com/alumnigame.

Any remaining spots go on sale to the general public on Friday, Dec. 12. Players must be at least 18 years old and have hockey-playing experience. Any questions about the event prior to the on-sale may be directed to Shane Willis at shanew@carolinahurricanes.com.

The Carolina Hurricanes Kids ‘N Community Foundation provides much needed funding to children’s charities and education programs throughout North Carolina. The Kids ‘N Community Foundation has funded scholarship programs, youth hockey, educational and literacy efforts, children’s health programs, the arts and other children’s related initiatives. During the 2013-14 season, the Kids ‘N Community Foundation donated $582,000 in grant monies to 32 North Carolina children’s non-profit organizations. Every member of the Hurricanes organization is actively involved in community activities and the Hurricanes take great pride in the ability to have a positive impact in our state.