Pre-K Students Thank Governor Wolf for $75 Million Increase for Early Childhood Education in 2017-2018 Budget

first_imgLike Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Pre-K Students Thank Governor Wolf for $75 Million Increase for Early Childhood Education in 2017-2018 Budget $100 million increase in Basic Education Funding. Following $415 million in basic education and Ready to Learn Block Grant funding increases over the past two fiscal years, this increase will be distributed through the Basic Education Funding Formula, providing an equitable and predictable allocation to school districts across the commonwealth.$25 million increase in Special Education Funding. This increase, allocated to school districts through the formula adopted by the bipartisan legislative Special Education Funding Commission, builds upon a $50 million increase over the last two years.$75 million increase in high-quality early childhood education. Children who participate in high-quality pre-k programs perform better in school, graduate at higher rates and earn more throughout their lives compared to peers without access to early learning programs. Building upon $60 million in additional investment over the past two years, this nearly 40 percent increase in funding will allow more than 8,400 additional children to enroll in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.$8.9 million increase for the 14 universities of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The governor will continue to work with PASSHE to develop individual college plans that address performance, affordability, and accountability, while partnering with employers to create structured career pathways. Budget News,  Education,  Press Release,  Schools That Teach Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf was joined by members of the Pre-K for PA Campaign to discuss his early childhood education investments and was presented with Valentine’s Day cards from pre-kindergarten students as a sign gratitude for his dedication to education. Over the past two years, Governor Wolf has made a new way for Pennsylvania.  Instead of allowing schools to become the first casualty of our budget deficit, Governor Wolf has made them our first priority.  In just three years, Governor Wolf will have increased funding by nearly two-thirds of those short-sighted cuts to our public school system.“These children, and thousands of young people like them across the state, are counting on us in Harrisburg to have their backs – and to ensure that high-quality pre-kindergarten programs are available to them, in their communities,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Last week, I proposed a budget that invests an additional $75 million in high-quality early childhood education programs which will allow for more than 8,400 additional children to enroll in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program. When children are given this right – and have the support they need – all our lives are enriched.”The Principal Partners of the Pre-K for PA organization lauded Governor Wolf for his commitment to expanding access to high quality pre-k to more Pennsylvania three- and four-year-olds:  “The Pre-K for PA Campaign is grateful that Governor Wolf is standing up for kids in his 2017-18 budget proposal. Serving more kids with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will reap strong cost savings in the future in the form of less public spending on special education, social welfare programs, and crime. ”Studies show that children who participate in high-quality pre-kindergarten perform better in school, graduate at higher rates and earn more throughout their working lives compared to peers that do not have access to early learning programs. Additionally, children who were previously enrolled in Pre-K Counts outperform their economically disadvantaged peers in third-grade math and reading.Fair and increased education funding for all Pennsylvania schools continues to be one of Governor Wolf’s top priorities to ensure students are college and career ready.The future of Pennsylvania depends on making investments in what matters most. In this year’s budget, Governor Wolf is proposing an additional $209 million increase in education funding. Our commonwealth is facing a serious budget deficit, but by reducing government bureaucracy and finding cost-savings, we can continue to invest in our children’s futures so we can make Pennsylvania stronger.The 2017-18 budget investments in education include:center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter February 14, 2017last_img read more

Family of six finds home after six month search ends in Morningside

first_img MORE: A Bunya home with a mini ‘Wet n Wild’ lined up for the gavel Margot Robbie’s family home snapped up by an early buyer More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoSOLD: 8 Charlotte St, Paddington sold under the hammer for $901,000.“Because it was raining this morning, I said to myself it’s going to be a very long day and you’re not going to be talking to many people, but … I’m surprised by the numbers out and about,” Ms Wright said.She said about 30 people watched on as all five registered bidders vied to buy the three-bedroom Paddington cottage. In the end it sold to a long-time local, who had admired the home since he was a child.Belle Property Toowong principal Robin McIlwain was pleased to report the three-bedroom unit at 4/37 Grove St, Toowong sold under the hammer at its 9am auction yesterday.“We got it away under the hammer for $370,000,” Ms McIlwain said. UNDER CONTRACT: 82 Cascade Drive, Forest Lake went under contract last week for an undisclosed amount. Only one of the two registered bidders raised their hand, taking the bidding to $1,025,000, before the auctioneer placed a vendor bid of $1.1 million.The same bidder raised her hand again taking the bid to $1,125,000 when the agent and auctioneer went into a lengthy negotiation between the bidder and vendor. Brisbane Real Estate agent Saeed Moghaddam said his listing at 82 Cascade Drive, Forest Lake also went under contract last week for an undisclosed amount. A family of six not only celebrated the purchase of a new home yesterday, but the vendor even threw in a ride-one mower to seal the deal. Place Bulimba agent Dion Tolley presented 185 Barwon St, Morningside at auction on a cold and wet spring morning yesterday, October 13, 2018.Auctioneer Paul Curtain started the bidding on behalf of the seller at $1 million. SOLD: A three-bedroom unit at 4/37 Grove St, Toowong sold under the hammer for $370,000.“(We had) two registered bidders and we also had another two parties at the auction with conditional offers waiting to make offers, but they didn’t get the opportunity.”The three-bedroom apartment has city views.At least two properties were sold prior to their auction, including a Hawthorne cottage and a family home at Forest Lake.Brisbane Property Market licensee Stephanie Blundell said her listing at 41 Dover St, Hawthorn e went under offer for an undisclosed amount prior to the planned auction. SOLD: 185 Barwon St, Morningside sold under the hammer for $1,252,500.After about a 30-minute wait the property was announced on the market at $1,262,500, with the vendor throwing in the ride on mower to help maintain the 4047sq m block.Buyer Lucy McGuire said she had been searching for a new home for herself, her husband and their four children for more than six months.“I feel relieved we now have a home,” Ms McGuire said.She said the property offered enough room for each of her four children to occupy their own bedroom.Belle Property Paddington sales director Elizabeth Wright said she was surprised with the turn out at the auction of 8 Charlotte St, Paddington, which sold for $901,000 under the hammer. UNDER CONTRACT: 41 Dover St, Hawthorne went under offer for an undisclosed amount prior to the planned auction. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 6:49Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -6:49 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels768p768pHD600p600p384p384p240p240pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreen Property auction at 186 Barwon St, Morningside06:49A FAMILY of six not only celebrated the purchase of a new home yesterday, but the vendor even threw in a ride-on mower to seal the deal. >>FOLLOW EMILY BLACK ON FACEBOOK<<last_img read more

Drogba offers hospital as coronavirus treatment Centre

first_img Loading… FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba has offered his hospital in Ivory Coast to be used as a coronavirus treatment centre, as the country prepare for a huge jump in cases. The hospital – that is based in the city of Abidjan – opened in 2016 and is named after former Ivory Coast footballer Laurent Pokou, who passed away in the same year it opened. The current outbreak of COVID-19 has remained manageable across Africa, however, there are fears the deadly virus is about to spread much more rapidly. Former Chelsea and Ivorian international Didier Drogba offering his hospital for covid-19 battle Drogba has been recognised for his ‘patriotic gesture’ from Vincent Toh Bi Irie, the head of Abidjan’s regional council, who said the hospital will help them fight the disease. ‘We thank Drogba for this gift considered as an act of patriotism,’ Toh Bi said.Advertisement The first case of coronavirus was recorded in the country on March 11 and since there have been 574 people diagnosed with the virus and five have died. Across the entire continent, the health care systems are not as strong as the ones in the UK or USA and Simon Antara, of the African Field Epidemiology Network, explained: ‘We are preparing for disaster.’ Therefore, many believe African countries are still in grave danger of becoming the most effected in the world with isolation and quarantine predicted to not have the same impact on ‘flattening the curve’ of the virus. Read AlsoDrogba blasts French doctors for suggesting vaccine test in Africa The Ivorian’s hospital is part of the Didier Drogba Foundation, that was set up by the former Chelsea striker to provide financial and material support in both health and education to people across Africa. Drogba scored 65 goals for Ivory Coast in 105 appearances for his country. Promoted ContentImpressive Caricatures Of Marvel Characters By Xi DingThis Is Probably The Happiest Dog On Instagram7 Universities Where Getting An Education Costs A Hefty Penny7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The WorldBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever MadeWho Earns More Than Ronaldo?Which Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A DroneWho Earns More Than Ronaldo?Couples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayYou’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of AnimeThe Most Exciting Cities In The World To Visitlast_img read more

Speakers encourage women to consider public service

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — The theme at the 28th Annual Lugar Series Luncheon on Monday was encouraging women to get involved in public service.“Run. Run, run, run. We absolutely need women at all levels of government to step up,” said Republican Indiana Congresswoman from District 5 Susan Brooks. “We don’t have enough women in the Statehouse. We don’t have enough women as mayors. We don’t have enough women leading at other levels of government.”Brooks along with Republican Indiana Congresswoman from District 2 Jackie Walorski highlighted this year’s Lugar Series Luncheon, taking part in a congressional roundtable discussion moderated by Teresa Lubbers, the Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education and one of the program’s founders, before a crowd of over 500 at the Marriott Downtown.The annual luncheon put on by the Lugar Series recognizes the current Lugar Series class and draws a large crowd by bringing in top-name female, Republican officials as keynote speakers.“Both, Congresswomen Brooks and Walorski are in a minority of just 21 Republican women serving in Congress,” said Anne Hathaway, executive director of the Lugar Series. “These women are leaders in Congress and members of key committees with significant impact on Indiana, additionally they are terrific role models for all candidates, men or women. My hope is by hearing from them today more women are inspired and motivated to run for office or get involved in public service.”Indiana GOP Chair Kyle Hupfer, the only male to speak at the luncheon, echoed the reoccurring theme by saying, “We not only put women on the ballot in Indiana, we elect them!”Hupfer’s remarks are referring to Secretary of State Connie Lawson, State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell and State Auditor Tera Klutz all Republican incumbents running for re-election in 2018.The Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series is a nonprofit organization inspired by former Indiana Senator Richard G. Lugar. The Series is a women’s leadership development program designed to increase the number of Republican women in local, state and national elective and appointive offices.For more information about the Lugar Series, contact Anne Hathaway at or visit the website.last_img read more

Tomori: England call-up, a dream come true

first_imgRelatedPosts Lampard: I still have confidence in Tomori Rennes want Fikayo Tomori, £25m for Mendy Lampard: Tomori won’t leave Chelsea Fikayo Tomori admits his England call-up was “a dream” after a whirlwind 12 months for the Chelsea defender.The 21-year-old, who was born in Canada and represented them at under-20 level, spent last season on loan at Sky Bet Championship side Derby, but has established himself in Frank Lampard’s team this term.That has earned him a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Euro 2020 qualification double-header against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.Tomori, who was picked along with in-form Blues team-mate Tammy Abraham, told a press conference: “I’ve taken everything as it has come.“This happened quite fast and quickly, but it’s been a good 12 months. I’ve been working hard, listening to people, trying to improve myself and it’s going well.“It’s a bit cliched but it is a dream (to be called up). Growing up in England and seeing the players playing at Wembley, it was such a good feeling.“It’s indescribable. I tried to take it in as much as possible, but it was a very proud moment.” Tags: Fikayo Tomorilast_img read more

WSOC : Syracuse goes into Big East tournament confident in underdog role

first_imgPhil Wheddon warned all season long opposing Big East schools would be surprised at what Syracuse was capable of. The Orange head coach knew his team was better than its opponents thought.‘Everyone wrote us off,’ Wheddon said Oct. 18 as SU prepared for the regular-season finale against St. John’s last Friday. ‘… I think some teams still do. I think a lot of people are going to look at us and say it was a fluke, Syracuse got lucky. It’s not luck, it’s hard work on the ladies’ part.’Now Syracuse (7-7-3, 6-5 Big East) looks to keep surprising teams as it attempts to navigate its way through the Big East tournament, starting with Georgetown (14-5, 8-3) this Sunday at 1 p.m. in Washington, D.C., in the Big East quarterfinals. Although the Orange has no experience in postseason play and already lost to Georgetown earlier in the regular season, SU still believes it’s capable of beating the odds once again and moving on to the semifinals and finals in West Virginia.The last time Syracuse was in the Big East tournament was back in 2005. As a result, there isn’t a single player on this year’s roster who has played in a Big East tournament in their college career. The Orange is arguably the most inexperienced squad in the 10-team tournament.SU’s opponent, Georgetown, finished with the most regular-season wins in school history and has 19 players who were on the team’s roster last year who advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2010. The difference in experience, though, doesn’t bother or concern Wheddon.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn fact, he’s encouraged by it.‘I think that can be a good thing,’ Wheddon said. ‘Sometimes there’s added pressure when you’ve already experienced something in the past.’And though this is foreign ground for players, it’s also unknown terrain for Wheddon. The fourth-year head coach will be roaming the sideline in a playoff match for the first time in his SU career.Wheddon said it’s imperative for him to stay grounded and be a calming presence for his players, unlike other coaches who might have the propensity to ‘freak out.’He said that some coaches allow their emotions to get the better of them, and they end up yelling and screaming orders. That lack of composure can put pressure on players on the field.‘The players should be excited to train,’ Wheddon said. ‘This week is about them. It’s not about the coaches.’Jenna Rickan, a junior forward, believes the team will be excited rather than nervous.Using the team’s lack of experience as a reason for any failures would only be an excuse, Rickan said.Rickan said though the Orange might be new to the postseason, it is familiar with a Georgetown squad that came into SU Soccer Stadium on Sep. 23 and topped Syracuse 3-1. SU had multiple scoring chances throughout the game, including one within the first five minutes, when Cecilia Borgstrom couldn’t capitalize on a one-on-one against Georgetown goalkeeper Elizabeth Hanna.Rickan said this time around, Syracuse has to cash in on its scoring opportunities.Junior midfielder Alyscha Mottershead said since that game the team has concentrated more on its attacking and defending inside the box. She also thinks that previous loss to Georgetown is one that will push them even more when the two meet Sunday.‘Just using the motivation that we lost to continue and go at them even harder than we did last time,’ Mottershead said.When Sunday finally approaches, Rickan thinks as long as the team goes into the match with the right mindset, a win is well within reach.But Syracuse can’t afford to be tentative in the early going even if the postseason is unfamiliar to the entire team.‘Just knowing that we deserve to be here and not being timid and coming out and just playing how we play, and we’ll come away with a win,’ Rickan said.And that’s what Wheddon hopes his team can do. He said in the playoffs, one bad bounce or slipup from a goalkeeper can change the entire game.Wheddon wants Syracuse to make its own luck. If the Orange can do that, then it can continue to exceed expectations.‘The sky’s the limit,’ Wheddon said. ‘When you get into a knockout situation anything can happen.’ Comments Published on October 25, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Syracuse’s Brenna Rainone switches from midfield to anchor Orange’s backer zone defense

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ A week before the biggest weekend of last season, Brenna Rainone went from a midfielder without a defined role to one of the most important defenders on the field.After Mallory Vehar tore her ACL in the NCAA quarterfinals, Syracuse needed someone to play the backer position — the last line of the Orange’s zone defense before the goalie — in the final four against No. 6-seed Boston College.So the SU coaching staff turned to Rainone, a two-way midfielder, with an opportunity to make a difference.“I didn’t play a lot last season so it was just more excited,” Rainone said of how she felt. “Obviously it was horrible for Mallory but the team needed me so I was ready and prepared and I had to execute for them.”Although Syracuse ultimately fell in the national championship game, Rainone succeeded in her newfound spot for the No. 6 Orange (8-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast). With three starting defenders graduating, SU needed replacements and now the junior has secured a starting role instead of being stuck as a backup in Syracuse’s clustered midfield.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Rainone met with head coach Gary Gait and assistant coaches Regy Thorpe and Katie Rowan at her individual end-of-year meeting last spring, she told them she wanted to keep playing defense to stay on the field.“She did a great job in the final four. I think it was a great move for her and she embraced it,” Gait said. “I think she loves playing defense and we’re happy with the move.”In SU’s defense, there are two backers on the field at once, Rainone said, and now that Vehar has recovered from her torn ACL, the two play together as the unit’s anchors.Although the Orange has allowed 10.6 goals per game, nearly two more goals than its average last season, Rainone said she’s enjoying her new position so far.“It’s definitely a lot more pressure than I’ve ever experienced,” Rainone said. “But I like that pressure. I like getting that pressure from my coaches, from my teammates.”Rainone said the week leading up to the final four was nerve-wracking. Now, 10 months later, she doesn’t even think twice about her position.Since Rainone played midfield her whole lacrosse career, playing defense wasn’t new, but she still had to pick up the intricacies.During one-on-one drills in practice as a midfielder, she always played on offense. So this past fall, she often got beat quickly when playing defense during one-on-ones and needed help with learning the backer. But since she had the whole offseason to adjust, she is now peaking, Gait said.Rainone is able to learn much faster by participating in defensive drills full-time instead of alternating with offense.Her experience has added a dimension to Rainone’s defensive game, midfielder Kelly Cross said. One of Rainone’s strengths is helping transition the ball from defense to offense, which comes from her midfielder background.“She has a really good stick for the ball, she’s really good at knocking it down, really good at picking the ball up in traffic,” Vehar said. “So when I see a bunch of girls in on the 8-meter, crashing in with the ball on the ground, Brenna’s always the one that comes up with it.”Both Cross and Vehar said that Rainone’s stubbornness helps her on the field. Vehar said that Rainone is often vocal, which helps the defense’s communication.And while the defense isn’t quite at the point where Gait would want it to be, he’s seen improvement throughout the season, especially from Rainone.“I think she’s starting to step up her game,” Gait said, “and solidify as an impact player on the defense.” Comments Published on March 24, 2015 at 12:05 am Contact Paul: | @pschwedslast_img read more

His time has finally come

first_imgAmid an ongoing NCAA investigation, player departures to the NBA and academic eligibility issues, the USC men’s basketball program appears to be in transition.For first-year coach Kevin O’Neill, the task of turning a program marred by recent controversy into an upper-echelon competitor in the Pac-10 may be an extremely tough challenge. But for a team looking for an identity and a leader to guide it toward a successful campaign, the one person the Trojans may rely on most is the one member of their team who has yet to suit up for a game: redshirt junior forward Alex Stepheson.Back at home · After spending his first season with North Carolina, Alex Stepheson joined the Trojans last season. The former Harvard-Westlake star is ready for his chance to play in front of his hometown crowd. – Courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications Stepheson, a former standout at nearby Harvard-Westlake High School, transferred from the University of North Carolina before the beginning of last season and was hoping to be a key contributor for USC last year. Just days into the season, however, the NCAA rejected his appeal to be granted immediate eligibility, and, for the first time in his basketball career, Stepheson was forced to watch from the sidelines.“Everyone was having fun together and winning as a team, and to not be part of that was a difficult experience,” Stepheson said.As USC staged its miraculous run to the NCAA Tournament last March, the 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward who had been a part of the Tar Heels Final Four team the previous year was left to play the role of cheerleader.For a player who had been lauded out of high school for his work ethic and love of the game, Stepheson did not waste his yearlong break from competition and instead spent the time improving.Stepheson, known primarily as a “defensive-minded” player, spent the majority of the last season working on another dimension of his game: his offense.“The year off gave me time to work on my post-up moves, 15-foot jump shots and free-throw shooting,” he said.And while the local high school product admits the defensive-minded label at times can be bothersome, he is excited for this year and the chance to prove to scouts and fans alike that he is a complete player.On paper, the program may have a tough road ahead, but Stepheson is confident that the Trojans will surprise a lot of people around the country this season.“This year is an exciting chance for us as a team,” Stepheson said. “It is an opportunity to prove to a lot of people we have what it takes to be successful.”Going into this year, the Trojans will not resemble the ’08-’09 team which captured the Pac-10 Tournament Championship for the first time in the program’s history. Star center Taj Gibson and freshman phenom DeMar DeRozan left school early with dreams of the NBA. Both were taken within the first 26 picks of the 2009 NBA Draft. Starting point guard Daniel Hackett went back to his home country of Italy to play for Benetton Treviso of the Euroleague. And, in the bombshell of the summer, Tim Floyd — the only coach to lead the Trojans to three straight tournament appearances — signed his letter of resignation, leaving the program in shambles and an inexperienced team to pick up the pieces.The team will be hard-pressed to repeat the level of achievement that has been regular the past few seasons, but Stepheson believes that O’Neill is more than an admirable replacement for the departed Floyd.For the pessimists around campus and the college basketball community at large, Stepheson has an exciting message.“You will see us run more, get out in more fast breaks and hopefully score more points,” he said.While he has been praised as a tenacious defender who has the ability to change games with his shot-blocking abilities and strength on the boards, Stepheson’s greatest asset to the team might be his ability to lead. After the departure of Gibson, a former Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and team co-captain, Stepheson realizes that this year the team will depend on his vocal presence as much as his on-court contribution.“I will do what it takes for us to win this year,” he said. “The team will definitely miss Taj’s passion for the game and constant hustle, but I hope to come in and instill a winning mentality and sense of toughness that is necessary to win at this level night in and night out.”The new post presence for the Trojans is well aware of the line of successful big men to play at USC, from Sam Clancy to Brian Scalabrine to Gibson. But for an athlete who was told he couldn’t even compete last year, Stepheson isn’t too concerned about what his legacy will be when his days at USC conclude.“It would be nice to be considered with the good post players who have come through this program, but this year is about working hard and making the most of the opportunity,” he said.So as the team gears up for its home opener against UC Riverside Nov. 17, the big man who left a powerhouse program in search of a chance to play in front of his hometown fans will relish his homecoming, even if it is more than a year in the making.On the surface the program may look like it’s on the rebound, left to carry the burden of past mistakes and key departures, but look closer and you will find a budding star and a leader ready to carry the torch.Alex Stepheson may not be a name you identify with yet. But if USC is able to make it to an historic fourth straight NCAA Tournament and rise above the negativity and cynicism that surrounds the team heading into this season, he will surely be a key reason.last_img read more

Trojans take MPSF crown with late win

first_imgThe lone skid mark for the No. 2 USC men’s water polo team (26-2, 6-2) this season came in mid-October when the Trojans stumbled in consecutive weeks on the road at Stanford and at home against California. In the words of USC coach Jovan Vavic, complacency had started to set in.Final strike · Freshman driver Nikola Vavic boosted the Trojans to both an MPSF title and a NCAA berth with his overtime goal. – Courtney Sandlin | Daily Trojan “Our desire wasn’t where it needed to be,” said the Trojans’ 16th year head coach.With a guaranteed trip to the NCAA tournament on the line Sunday during the finals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament, the Trojans emerged 8-7 winners over the Stanford Cardinal in triple overtime.“Our desire was much greater this time,” Vavic said. “I told the guys that I didn’t do the best job in preparing them for that Stanford game earlier in the year, and in the week leading into this conference tournament, we rested our guys more.”It paid off for the Trojans, as the youthful bunch was forced to play in three games in three days, including Sunday’s thriller which went far past regulation.“We didn’t give them morning practices; the practices were shorter,” Vavic said. “We did some stuff that was relaxing for the guys. It was just a much wider work schedule.”In turn, the Trojans looked fresh in the final moments of a triple-overtime title match with a Cardinal team that had given them trouble in the past. With 1:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, junior two-meter Matt Burton seized an opportunity, putting a five-meter penalty shot past Stanford goalie Brian Pingree to knot the score at five apiece, forcing extra time.However, initially neither team could gain an upper hand in overtime, forcing sudden death, when freshman driver Nikola Vavic recorded yet another timely game-winner, securing the win, MPSF title and automatic NCAA tournament berth.“He’s really playing at a high level and some significant minutes,” Vavic said when asked about his son, who finished with six goals in the three-day tournament. “He’s really stepped up in these games.”But the game that produced a close, contended finish, didn’t start that way.Despite playing in Stanford’s home pool, the Trojans embarked on a strong run early in the first frame, eventually building a 3-1 lead before the Cardinals were eventually able to crawl back and take a one-goal lead of its own at 5-4.“Stanford is a very tough defensive team,” Vavic said. “They scouted us really well. They knew our plan. They had good matchups and they are physical, big and strong. They don’t give up. They really are a much better team than their record shows. They made it tough for us.”But the Trojans, who had already easily disposed of UC Santa Barbara and UCLA 10-5 and 10-2 in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, leaned heavily on their anchor, junior goalie Joel Dennerley when it counted the most in overtime.“In the game against Stanford, Joel was tremendous,” Vavic said.  “It was just really unbelievable.  He probably had his best game of the season.”Dennerley, who finished with 12 saves, was all the more important in overtime. In the first frame of sudden death, the Australian native blocked a shot taken from point-blank range with 54 seconds remaining, which would have given Stanford the win.Instead, the Trojans, not the Cardinals, have begun preparation for this weekend’s NCAA tournament, scheduled to take place in Berkeley, Calif.USC, the No. 1 seed, is scheduled to face No. 4-seeded St. Francis at 1 p.m. on Saturday, where a win would put them in the tournament finals for a sixth consecutive, a NCAA record.“It’s a team loaded with foreign talent,” Vavic said. “They have some very good players, and they can be dangerous. But I do feel we’re in a good position to defend a title.”last_img read more

Badgers’ Mitchell steps into leadership role

first_imgKnown as a fierce competitor on the court with her powerful kills, Mitchell’s (10) athleticism has led in large part to her success on the court. The senior middle blocker currently leads the Badgers with an average of 2.86 kills per set.[/media-credit]The Wisconsin women’s volleyball team is off to a 5-1 start to the young season as the Badgers open their home season Friday with the annual InnTowner Invitational. The Badgers are more experienced this season, thanks to the leadership of senior middle blocker Alexis Mitchell. Mitchell says her individual goals are similar to those of the team.“I want to make it to the (NCAA) tournament,” Mitchell said. “That’s an individual goal and a team goal. Whatever the result is at the end of the year with awards, I’m not really worried about that. I’m more worried about leaving my team with a legacy they can carry on, get more years up on those banners and make it to the tournament consistently.”Mitchell already has a load of accolades accumulated throughout her career. She was honorable mention All-Big Ten in both 2010 and 2011. She was a member of the 2011 Rhode Island Invitational All-Tournament team, the Inntowner Invitational All-Tournament team in 2010 and the 2010 Milwaukee/Marquette Invitational MVP. But it’s Mitchell’s leadership that doesn’t show up in the stat books.“Her attitude is her biggest strength,” sophomore setter Courtney Thomas said of Mitchell. “The happier she is and the more excited she is helps our team so much. It gives us fuel against the other team.”Wisconsin coach Pete Waite says Mitchell’s leadership spills outside of the Field House floor as well.“She’s been a very good leader,” Waite said. “She found ways off the court, even in the summer, to step up by helping organizing the team to get together and get in the weight room. She has been doing this since her freshman year. She’s always been a person who’s been very comfortable speaking in front of the group, and now she’s backing it up with how she conducts herself off the court and on the court in practice.”Mitchell led the Badgers in hitting percentage (.299), blocks per set (1.00) and total blocks (113) in 2011 while also ranking second on the team with 2.26 kills per set. Her .299 hitting percentage – Mitchell’s career best- also ranked her 10th best in all of the Big Ten.As a team, the Badgers showed improvement in 2011, winning eight Big Ten matches – their most since winning 17 in 2007. The growth of players and leadership from seniors such as Mitchell will be crucial if Wisconsin wants to build on last season’s improvement.“The biggest change is maturity and confidence in her own game,” Waite said of changes in Mitchell from last season. “She realizes she has more control over what she’s doing now that she’s learned all the skills that she’s worked so hard on over the last three years.”Mitchell also notices a big jump in her play from last season to this season.“I think I’ve grown in maturity,” Mitchell said. “I’m more of a leader on and off the court than I was last year, and I’ve stepped into that role. Physically, my game has come a long way, and I feel more comfortable and confident in it. Last year, there [were] sometimes when I would doubt myself, but now I know that when I’m on the court I can get the job done.”Mitchell hasn’t disappointed this season either, helping Wisconsin lead the Big Ten in blocks per set this year. Her 1.33 blocks per set currently ranks third in the Big Ten while her 2.86 kills – her .409 kill percentage is a team best – per set is the second best on the team.The Badgers’ star middle blocker will need to continue her strong game, as the Badgers start Big Ten play at the end of the month. The conference is loaded with top teams including Nebraska and Penn State, who are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. After upsetting Penn State last year, Mitchell wants teams to respect Wisconsin more than they have in years past.“I want us to be a team that people in the Big Ten want to beat,” Mitchell said. “When we walk into a gym we’re respected, or when they talk about us in the media we’re respected. I don’t want us to be one of the underdogs. I want us to be in the top six [Big Ten] and competing with other teams in the Big Ten.”Waite knows that much of the team’s success depends on Mitchell.“She’s a competitor and has a real fire in her belly. She loves competing at the highest levels and that’s what the rest of the team is able to follow. When she starts getting into her zone, everybody feels they can do anything or beat anybody, and that’s huge for a team. She’s not gonna back down to anyone.”last_img read more