Trojans head to Westlake to begin year

first_imgThe No. 2 USC men’s tennis team begins its first tournamentof the season today at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup in Westlake, Calif. The tournament will run through the weekend, and much like last year, the Trojans enter the season hoping to defend their back-to-back NCAA titles.Heavy shoulders · USC will lean on the leadership and experience of junior Steve Johnson, who ranks as the nation’s No. 6 singles player and is presently ranked as the tournament’s top seed. – Daily Trojan file photo The tournament remains a good opportunity for the team to show their competition what they have been preparing for in the offseason, but it will also serve as an early testament to their level of preparedness for the remaining slate.“Personally the most difficult part of this match is the pressure to start the season strong,” junior Daniel Nguyen said. “The tournament will be tough because for most of us this will be our first few matches of the season.”The importance of starting strong is perhaps of particular importance, given the high standards the team has set for itself through the success of the past few seasons.“I think coming back from winter break strong and making a statement by doing well and having one of our players win will be the most difficult and most important,” freshman Michael Grant said.USC is returning five players from its 2010 national championship team in seniors Jaak Poldma and Peter Lucassen, juniors Daniel Nguyen and Steve Johnson and sophomore JT Sundling.These veterans will have help from a cast of players, including freshmen Michael Grant and Ray Sarmiento, both of whom had strong fall seasons.USC also recently signed freshman Emilio Gomez from Ecuador to add depth to the team.“We’ve been lucky to have the depth necessary to go far, and it looks like we have it again this year,” USC coach Peter Smith said. “When we get to that point in the season where we’re playing really big matches, we have some experience on our side and we really hope to use that. The last thing we can do is try to maintain what we did.“We don’t just want to maintain; we’ve got to get better and better and better and keep proving ourselves. Our competition is out there trying to get better and we need to match that passion.”The path to victory will be a tough one, and it all begins Friday.“Every year, every team wants to win it all,” Smith said. “We’ve been pretty fortunate the last two years to do it. It’s definitely our goal again, and we’ll go for it with every ounce of our beings.”last_img read more

A.J. McKee ties Bellator record with 9th consecutive victory

first_img Published on August 26, 2017 at 10:21 am Contact Josh: [email protected] | @Schafer_44 Facebook Twitter Google+ VERONA, N.Y. — A.J. McKee struggled for the first time all night. Blair Tugman’s chokehold tightened as his undefeated opponents head sank deeper into the veteran’s bicep. “Hold it!” a ringside fan yelled as the crowd’s volume reached its highest decibels of the night. The 22-year-old eventually slipped out of the hold and finished the fight at Turning Stone Resort Casino Friday night off like he had his previous eight, with a victory. Mckee’s (9-0) victory over Tugman (10-7) marked his ninth in a row, tying him for most consecutive wins in Bellator history. The fight ended in a unanimous decision, marking only the third time the Long Beach, California, native has had to go the distance. “I see a lot of things we need to work on but overall he did good,” said McKee’s father Antonio, who is also his trainer. “He messed his hand up in the second round and we knew that was a problem but he kept his composure.” Several hours before the bout, McKee stood in a matching army green jumpsuit alongside his father, Antonio. The two yelled out tactics to Joey Davis, a fellow member of the BodyShop Fitness team inside a nearly empty Turning Stone Resort Casino. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Keep your hips down,” Antonio said. Davis pressed down hard against his opponent, Justin Roswell, and connected a crushing elbow. He landed several more punches and the fight was called. Technical knockout due to excessive blows less than two minutes into the first round gave the unmarked Davis the win to open the undercard of Bellator 182. A golf clap accompanied his teammates victory as McKee calmly sipped water and exited down the tunnel. The opening act for his fight proceeded.As the lights dimmed and the crowd filled the walkout towards the cage a custom walk-up song with McKee’s name in the lyrics blared through the speakers. Bellator 182 was live on SpikeTV. McKee found himself in a familiar position early in the fight. Antonio yelled, this time for his son, to keep his hips pressed down. But it didn’t garner the same results it had hours before with Davis. Tugman worked his way out of a McKee headlock and back on his feet where McKee stood arms extended and waving his hands in taunting his opponent. The crowd erupted in applause and the bell rang signaling the end of round 1. McKee sipped water from Antonio as the fight went to commercial break. McKee injured his left hand in the middle of the second round. He was unavailable for post-fight comments as he was in the hospital due to the injury. While McKee’s hand ached in pain his opponents flesh slowly flowed out from between his eyebrow. McKee combined a left kick and jab punch before falling back to defend. Moments later, he shot low for a takedown similar to the one which previously landed him in a headlock.  This time, his elbow smacked the already wounded skull of Tugman. A blood puddle formed to the left of the Monster Energy sign on the mat. The wooden sticks clanged together as McKee threw his final exchanges. The young star’s face flashed across the big screen in a Dave and Busters add as the crowd awaited the decision. The television screen shifted back to the cage and McKee’s victory announced. His personal ode boomed over the crowd noise once again as the fighter left the cage unmarked. Commentslast_img read more

Exclusive:Kevin-Prince returns for Egypt qualifier

first_imgGhana coach Kwesi Appiah has named Kevin-Prince Boateng in a 24-man squad to face Egypt in this month’s World Cup qualifying play-off. Also included in the squad are Dominic Adiyiah and goalkeeper Daniel Agyei as both players return to the Black Stars team to play the Pharaohs in Cairo on 19 November at the Air Defence Stadium.  The Black Stars lead the tie 6-1 after the first leg in Kumasi on 15 October as the aggregate winner will qualify for next year’s final in Brazil.Ghana squad: Goalkeepers: Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Adam Kwarasey (Stromgodset, Norway), Daniel Agyei (Free State Stars, South Africa) Defenders: Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro, Ukraine), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege, Belgium), David Addy (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor, Turkey), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Mohammed Awal (Maritzburg United, South Africa), Edwin Gyimah (SuperSport United, South Africa) Midfielders: Michael Essien (Chelsea, England), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough, England), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Christian Atsu (Vitesse Arnhem, Holland), Andre Ayew (Marseille, France) Strikers: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Abdul Majeed Waris (Spartak Moscow, Russia), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke, Germany) Jordan Ayew (Marseille, France), Dominic Adiyiah (Arsenal Kiev, Ukraine).last_img read more