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Archive for August, 2013

By BRUCE SCHREINER Associated Press

Boxing great Muhammad Ali wants to recognize some of the greatest humanitarians around the world.

The first-ever Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards will be presented Oct. 3 in Louisville, Ky. — the former heavyweight champion’s hometown.

The Muhammad Ali Center said Tuesday that six awards will honor people ages 35 and under for making significant contributions for peace, social justice and other humanitarian causes. Those awards will be given for exemplifying six core principles — confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality.

There will also be a Humanitarian of the Year Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Kentucky Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Ali and his wife, Lonnie, are members of the selection committee.

The Ali Center says award presenters will include people who’ve achieved greatness and worked for social change.

The Dodgers trot out the major league ERA leader for the continuation of their series in Philadelphia tonight. Clayton Kershaw is sporting a 1.88 ERA and an 11-7 record this season. He also enters the game seven strikeouts back of the Mets’ Matt Harvey for the NL lead.

Kershaw will be opposed by 10-9 Kyle Kendrick, who gave up 11 singles in 5 1-3 innings to Washington in his last start.

Felix Hernandez continues his push for Cy Young Award consideration when he pitches for Seattle in Texas against the AL West leading Rangers. The 2010 AL Cy Young winner is 12-5 and leads the AL with a 2.28 ERA and is second with 178 strikeouts. Hernandez tossed eight shutout innings of four-hit ball last time out and has worked eight or more innings eight times this season.

Detroit goes with 10-6 Doug Fister at home against Kansas City tonight. He’s coming off a rare loss that followed four straight victories.

Mat Latos tries to keep his post-All-Star-break run going when he gets the start for Cincinnati at Milwaukee. He’s 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA in the second half of the season.

By HOWARD FENDRICH

NEW YORK (AP) — A decade or so ago, Serena and Venus Williams ruled tennis together, swapping the No. 1 ranking and meeting in Grand Slam final after Grand Slam final.

Serena, the younger of the two, still holds a spot at the top of the game.

Venus has not been there for quite some time.

So there was a turn-back-the-clock feel to Day 1 at the 2013 U.S. Open, when both sisters were about as good as can be, dropping a combined four games in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Venus, now ranked 60th, beat 12th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2 Monday afternoon, and then Serena reduced 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone to seeking comfort from a ball boy’s hug during a 6-0, 6-1 runaway under the lights at night.

Asked which meant more on this day, her own victory or her sister’s, Serena replied: “They’re equal. I definitely was happy to see Venus win. I really was happy for her. I know she’s been working hard. I know she had a tough opponent. For her to come through was just awesome. Obviously, I want to do well, too.”

For years and years, a first-round victory by Venus at a major tournament would hardly merit a mention. She has won seven Grand Slam titles and was the runner-up another seven times (six against Serena).

And yet nowadays, at age 33, two years removed from being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that saps energy, hampered much of this season by a bad lower back, Venus entered this U.S. Open having won a total of three matches over the past five major tournaments. Plus, in Flipkens, she was facing a semifinalist at Wimbledon last month who beat Venus on a hard court this month.

Looking very much like the player she used to be, Venus smacked serves at up to 120 mph, returned superbly, and covered the court well enough to hit a handful of swinging volley winners.

“If Venus is there — if she’s fit, if she’s focused — she’s a top-10 player,” Flipkens said. “Everybody who knows a little bit of the game of tennis can see that. Today, she was like a top-10 player.”

There were bumpy patches early in the second set, when Venus faced eight break points, but she saved seven. At 2-all, Venus faced her final significant test, a 16-point, 12-minute game with three break chances for Flipkens that were erased this way: 113 mph ace, 115 mph service winner, 116 mph serve that set up an errant forehand. As that shot from Flipkens sailed long, Venus shouted, “Come on!” Venus won the next point, a 15-stroke exchange, with a volley winner and shook her left fist.

On a day that began with a retirement announcement by James Blake — a former top-five player who also is 33 — Venus showed she’s still capable of big shots at big moments.

“I stay positive because I know I can play great tennis. Sometimes you just have to go through more than what you want to go through,” the American said after winning the first four games and the last four games against Belgium’s Flipkens. “Sometimes you have to have losses.”

She was No. 1 in 2002, but hasn’t cracked the top 10 since she was No. 9 in March 2011. She hasn’t been past the third round at a Grand Slam tournament since a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon later that year. Indeed, Venus lost in the first round in two of her previous four appearances at majors.

Her match was the day’s second in the main stadium, and owing perhaps to the early hour — or the stricter security measures, including new metal detectors, that led to long delays for spectators entering the grounds — there were thousands of empty blue seats in the 23,000-capacity arena.

The place was full for the night session, however, when the No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Serena won the first eight games, prompting Schiavone, in a brief moment of levity, to walk behind a baseline and envelope a ball boy in a full embrace.

“I don’t need a hug in that moment,” Schiavone joked afterward. “I need a game.”

It was that kind of evening for Schiavone, an often-demonstrative player who is certainly no pushover: In addition to her triumph at Roland Garros three years ago, she was the runner-up there a year later, and twice was a U.S. Open quarterfinalist. Ranked as high as No. 4, she is 54th this week.

“I knew playing a former Grand Slam champion in the first round was a really, really tough draw,” Serena said, “so I tried to be super serious.”

All told, the match took merely an hour. And it ended right in time, as far as Serena was concerned, because a light rain began to fall at the finish. Eventually, play was suspended for the day, and the last match of the night session, 17-time major champion Roger Federer vs. 62nd-ranked Grega Zemlja of Slovenia, was postponed until Tuesday.

Others in action Tuesday include the top-seeded man, Novak Djokovic, and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.

When Schiavone finally got on the board more than 50 minutes into her match against Serena, hitting a volley winner to hold serve and win her first game, she swung her right fist in a celebratory roundhouse punch and shouted. Her face then broke into a wide smile while she strutted to the sideline, and she tossed her racket toward her changeover chair.

“It was very, very nice to win a game,” Schiavone said. “For the first time in my life, I felt joy from winning a single game.”

At Serena’s news conference, she was asked by an Italian reporter: “Did you really want to win 6-love, 6-love against the poor Schiavone?”

That drew a chuckle from Serena, who responded: “No, it wasn’t that. I was just out there, trying to be focused.”

She is seeking her fifth U.S. Open championship, and 17th Grand Slam title overall. She improved to 61-4 with a tour-leading eight titles this season.

It’s been tougher going for Venus, who is only 12-7 and last won a tournament in October. In Grand Slam play, she lost in the first round of the French Open in May, then withdrew from Wimbledon for the first time in her career.

If Venus and Serena both win three more matches at the U.S. Open, they would set up an all-Williams quarterfinal.

That seems a long way away at the moment. So does the stretch when they played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam finals in 2002-03.

“I realize that I haven’t had a lot of chances to play this year or a lot of chances to play healthy this year, have had injuries and what have you, so I’m just going to have to keep working my way into it, maybe more than some of the other players,” Venus said. “But I know I can do that.”

By DAVE SKRETTA — AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, MO. — Jake Waters will be under center when defending Big 12 champion Kansas State opens its season Friday night against defending FCS national champion North Dakota State.

Wildcats coach Bill Snyder said on the Big 12′s media teleconference Monday the junior college transfer was more consistent throughout fall camp than Daniel Sams, who backed up departed Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein last season.

Snyder did say that both quarterbacks will play against the Bison.

Waters is considered the more polished passer after throwing for more than 3,500 yards, 39 touchdowns and only three interceptions for Iowa Western Community College last season.

Sams is considered the better runner. He had 235 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while playing in parts of eight games last year.

AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.

 

(Tyler, TX) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team opened its 2013 campaign with a 2-2 performance at the Tyler Junior College Invitational Tournament Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23 and 24, in Tyler, Texas.

On Friday, the Grizzlies, ranked eighth in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) preseason poll, fell to Panola College of Carthage, Texas, 19-25, 21-25, 15-25, and No. 13 Blinn College from Brenham, Texas, 13-25, 13-25, 23-25, but Saturday, they bounced back to defeat Navarro College of Corsicana, Texas, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-8 and Vernon College of Vernon, Texas, 23-25, 25-19, 13-25, 25-11, 15-13.

Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said she was pleased with the effort she saw on the court, especially Saturday in back-to-back five-set matches. “I’m happy with where we are at the moment. There are so many things I look at differently than most people. The value of playing two five-set matches and winning them is huge as we move through the season! We played hard for practically 10 games straight Saturday and didn’t back down, which was great to see,” she said.

Wiedemann said first match jitters played a role in the Grizzlies’ loss to Panola, and against Blinn, “we didn’t have enough fire power.” A decision to switch from a 6-2 rotation to a 5-1 rotation helped settle the players’ nerves, she said, which made them more consistent and made a difference in the outcome of the matches Saturday.

The Grizzlies took the court with only one player who had significant playing time last season – sophomore middle attacker Torika Balielekutu. “The experience our freshmen and returners picked up this weekend as a result is invaluable,” Wiedemann said. “They’re very competitive, and they showed me a lot. I’m very proud of them.

Wiedemann singled out several individuals including sophomore attacker Nella Ioramo, who led the team in kills with 64, aces with five, and points earned with 71.5. “Nella played fantastic. To see how far she has come since just last spring is phenomenal, and I know she hasn’t reached her peak yet,” the coach said.

Freshmen who turned in good performances include defensive specialist Alyssa Aldag, who led the team in digs with 77; middle attacker Leondra Barrett, who led the team in blocks with 7.5, including four solos; and setter Brianna Zebert, who led the team in assists with 135.

“Alyssa is solid. She dug almost five balls per game, and she anchored our passing,” Wiedemann said. “Brianna responds well to what needs to happen on the court. She just needs more experience. For a freshman getting out there in her first tournament, she did a good job. And Lee Lee did a good job of making herself an option in transition, which is something she struggled with early. It’s a new level of play for our freshmen, and we talk about how it will take more than one swing and more than one dig in each rally to get things done.”

The Grizzlies will return to the road this week for the Salt Lake Community College Invitational Friday and Saturday, Aug. 30 and 31, in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are expected to play the host team, ranked sixth in the preseason poll, at 10 a.m. Friday and No. 16 Western Wyoming Community College, Rock Springs, at 2 p.m. Friday. Saturday, they will face No. 1 Western Nebraska Community College, Scottsbluff, at 9 a.m., then No. 19 Casper (Wyo.) College at 11 a.m.

“I’m looking forward to Salt Lake this weekend. All of the teams we face either competed in last year’s national tournament or have a tradition of competing in the national tournament. We’re going to have to be ready to play,” she said.

The Grizzlies’ first home match will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 6 against Region 16 arch rival Jefferson College of Hillsboro, Mo., in the West Plains Civic Center arena. The match will follow the annual Grizzly Fall Picnic at 5 p.m. in the civic center exhibit hall. Everyone is invited to enjoy a free picnic meal, courtesy of Stacey Johnson, owner of The Fish Shack and The Pizza Shack in West Plains, and hosted by the Grizzly Booster Club. Admission to the volleyball match is free.

The Sept. 6 match also will give area residents the opportunity to participate in a community service-themed activity, which will be part of all Grizzly home volleyball matches and basketball games this season. Fans may bring toys and other “every day items” to donate to the South Central Child Advocacy Center that evening.

For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.

Volleyball Jamboree

The Willow Springs lady bears will participate in their first volleyball jamboree. This is a new rule that was implemented this year. The jamboree will be held on Tuesday, August 27th at Houston high school and will start at 6:00 pm. The schools participating are Liberty, Houston and Cabool. The format of the 4 team scrimmage:

 

Max 6 sets (2 against each school to 13 points)

HOUSTON- CABOOL

WILLOW- LIBERTY

CABOOL- WILLOW

HOUSTON- LIBERTY

CABOOL- LIBERTY

HOUSTON- WILLOW

 

Bus will Depart @ 4:30 pm

 

GATORADE SCRIMMAGE

On Thursday, August 29th the lady bears will have their Intersquad  Volleyball Gatorade Scrimmage. The scrimmage will be held at Munford gymnasium and will start at 6:00 pm. Admission for the scrimmage will be a sports drink of some kind.

Carly Thomas, Kaitlin Jaeger named preseason all-conference

St. LOUIS – In what looks to be a competitive and high-level Missouri Valley Conference volleyball race this season, Missouri State has been picked to finish third by the league’s coaches in the preseason poll released Wednesday (Aug. 21). Senior setter Carly Thomas and junior middle blocker Kaitlin Jaeger represent the Bears on the six-player all-conference team.

The Bears totaled 83 points in the poll, including a pair of first-place votes, trailing UNI by a single point for second. Wichita State garnered the remaining eight No. 1 votes and 98 points as the preseason favorite.

Illinois State (67), Southern Illinois (60) and league newcomer Loyola (44) round out the six teams expected to make the league tournament held in Wichita, Kan., Nov. 28-30.

Thomas sets her sights on a third first-team all-MVC selection this year after ranking third in the MVC and 34th nationally with 11.12 assists per set while averaging 1.31 kills, 2.94 digs and 0.37 blocks per set on .237 hitting as a junior. The Swansea, Ill., native enters her senior year second in Missouri State history with 3,398 career assists to go with four career triple-doubles, five MVC Player of the Week awards and one CVU.com National Player of the Week honor.

Jaeger ranked fourth in the MVC as a sophomore with a .322 hitting percentage, bumping that number to third in conference matches at .338 on the way to a second-team all-league nod. The Webb City, Mo., product had 216 kills and 73 blocks last season despite missing several matches with an injury, and averaged 2.43 kills and 0.82 blocks per set. She posted two matches with at least 13 kills and no errors, including a 14-0-18 performance for a .778 attack efficiency against New Orleans.

Missouri State fields an experienced roster in 2013 that includes seven seniors and four juniors, and returns all but two players from a 2012 team that finished 16-15 for a 14th consecutive winning season. The Bears open the 2013 season in Dayton, Ohio, for a three-match tournament Aug. 30-31. Missouri State will face Northeastern, Tulsa and 22nd-ranked Dayton in the event.

2013 MVC Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Wichita State (8) – 98
2. UNI – 84
3. Missouri State (2) – 83
4. Illinois State – 67
5. Southern Illinois – 60
6. Loyola – 44
7. Evansville – 37
8. Bradley – 35
9. Indiana State – 26
10. Drake – 16

2013 MVC Volleyball Preseason All-Conference Team
Chelsey Feekin, WSU
Elizabeth Field, WSU
Kaitlin Jaeger, MSU
Ashley Rosch, ILS
Carly Thomas, MSU
Macy Ubben, UNI

Coach Terry Allen and the Bears will interact with fans at Hy-Vee, luncheon at Ebbets

SPRINGFIELD — With the Aug. 29 season opener for the Missouri State Bears just over a week away, Coach Terry Allen’s squad will have a couple of opportunities in the coming days to meet with fans in the Springfield area.

On Tuesday, Aug. 27, the Missouri State Quarterback Club will host the team’s kickoff luncheon at Ebbets Field (1027 E. Walnut St.), featuring Coach Allen and the 2013 MSU team captains. The public is invited to attend the luncheon will take place in the upper level at Ebbets, beginning at 11:45 a.m. The $10 lunch, includes the sandwich bar and available beverages. No reservation is required to attend the kickoff luncheon.

The Bears will take on Northwestern State in their season opener at 6 p.m., next Thursday (Aug. 29) at Plaster Field. Tickets are available now at MissouriStateTix.com, by calling (417) 836-7678 or stopping by the Chevy Pickup Window at JQH Arena during regular box office hours.

These are the results of the Tyler Junior College invitational Volleyball Tournament in Tyler Texas.

Friday, August 23
Lady Grizzlies lost to Panola College (Carthage, TX) 19-25, 21-25, and 15-25
Lady Grizzlies lost to Blinn College (Brenham, TX) 13-25, 13-25, 23-25

Saturday, August 24
Lady Grizzlies defeated Navarro College (Corsicana, TX) 25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-8
Lady Grizzlies defeated Vernon College (Vernon, TX) 23-25, 25-19, 13-25, 25-11, 15-13

Next…
Salt Lake Community College Invitational
Salt Lake City, Utah
August 30 & 31

First home action…
Lady Grizzlies vs Jefferson College
September 6 in the West Plains Civic Center
Grizzly Fall Picnic at 5pm and volleyball match at 6pm

Tom Benyo Class A GCSAA
Willow Springs Municipal Golf Course

Leagues

The Casual League played a straight scramble and the Robert’s family were the winners with a 5 under 30.  Michele McDaniel was closest to the pin.

In the Cat and Dog League 3 teams had 1 under 34 and three had 37′s.  The teams with a 34 were Rainy and Brent Roberts, Sherri Unger and Steve Coatney, and Linda and Tom Benyo.  Rainy won closest to the pin.

Tee Changes

A few of the gold tees have been moved up in an effort to equalize scoring opportunities.  Naturally it was met with cheers of gladness and jeers of derision.  No one likes change.  We’ll see how it goes.  Golfers can play any set of tees they want…blue, white, gold, red and silver.  From an agronomic standpoint it is imperative that golfers play from one of those five tee placements.  We move tees around to protect grass, utilize the entire tee and present a challenge to golfers.  It also goes without saying that no one should move tees for their own personal benefit.  Many golf courses have only 3 sets of tees, so we are fortunate to have 5.  Building tees is not only an expense, but finding flat ground and getting a water supply to it can make the task difficult to achieve.  When I came here we only had three sets of tees and since I have been here we have built 4 new teeing grounds and expanded several others.

Aerification

Our new aerification technique should be done on Monday August 26.  There should be no discernible disturbance to the greens with the new machine that I wrote about last week.  I will be very anxious to see if it gains for us the advantages that it claims.  More to come on that next week.

In the meantime come out and enjoy a round of golf.  Fall weather (if it comes back again) is a great time to play golf.  Remember too that we have only had one hole in one this year and we usually average 3-5.  This could be you…but you could have won the lottery and came up with triple wild cherries on the slot machines too.