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Men’s soccer faces stiff test in Creighton

first_imgBlake Succa and the Badgers will be hard pressed to get a win against a Creighton team that has won four consecutive games against Wisconsin.[/media-credit]After only two games at home, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team gets back on the road this weekend to take on No. 16 Creighton.Sporting a 1-4-1 record, the Badgers are still looking for another win, as their only victory came in the first game of the season. Hitting the road to face the Bluejays Friday, though, will be a tough challenge.Creighton is 5-1-0 on the season, returning six starters from last season. The Bluejays also have a new head coach this year in Jamie Clark, who previously coached at Harvard where he brought the team to the NCAA tournament two years in a row.“For a team like that – I played some guys this summer – they’re fast, they’re strong,” sophomore defenseman Kyle McCrudden said. “It’s hard to prepare for a team like that – high intensity practices. Hopefully we’ll come out this weekend and just play well.”The last time Wisconsin and Creighton matched up was in 2006, when the Badgers fell 1-0 at home. Overall, Wisconsin is 2-6-1 against Creighton. In their last four meetings, the Bluejays have bested the Badgers, something UW hopes to change this year.“We started off on the road for the first four games, we’ve been traveling a lot and then we had a home stretch here this last week,” freshman defender Blake Succa said. “We’ve had a few days off. We know they’re going to be a big challenge for us so we rested up for two days and [Wednesday] we got back in it. We had a pretty hard practice knowing that we’ll have [another] day of rest.”With a solid defense already in place, Wisconsin is now looking to get their offense rolling. In the spots they missed last weekend at home – connecting on passes and controlling the ball in front of the opponent’s goal – the Badgers are hoping corrections will bring more success.“We’re doing a lot of focusing on our top of game play, which is positioning,” junior defenseman Arnel Zahorivic said. “Keeping the ball in small areas and then distributing it out wide. Just keep working on that and keep building so we can use that against Creighton. I think we’ll be very effective with that.”Despite all the work put in during practice, UW knows Creighton will still be one of its biggest challenges this year. For the young team, playing a top-20 team is certainly a helpful experience.“We’ll give it our best shot,” Succa said. “It’ll be a challenge, but I think it’ll be good for us.”Heading back on the road again will serve as a test for the Badgers. So far this season, the squad has been learning a lot with every game. While the Badgers feel they are continually improving, going on the road against a tough team will show how far the team has come.“We’re developing as well,” Zahirovic said. “If we just keep working hard, keep improving, I don’t see why we couldn’t put up a challenge against them. After all they’re just another team just like us.”last_img read more

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Brandon Ingram adds to the Lakers’ defense

first_imgEL SEGUNDO >> It was the promise of offense that led the Lakers to draft Brandon Ingram. First, the length that allows him to breeze past defenders, to create space and score over and around challengers. Second, the sublime scoring intuition.However, while the Lakers wait for that part of Ingram’s game to mature, he is averaging 7.2 points through 10 games, they have found him helping in other, less-advertised ways. Namely: Defense.Late in Tuesday’s win over Brooklyn, Ingram met Nets forward Trevor Booker at the rim for a dramatic blocked shot to preserve a four-point lead.“He’s a good defender,” coach Luke Walton said. “He’s got a good feel for where cutters are coming from and how to use his length. If he puts his mind to it in practice and the games, down toward the end of games when it gets tight, and he really locks in on defense, he’s really tough to score on.” Ingram’s defense has been a factor in the Lakers’ 7-5 start. He and the team will be tested in the coming weeks with a tightly-packed schedule that includes the Spurs, the Thunder and a pair of games against the Warriors.“We’ve got a very tough stretch coming up,” Walton said. “There’s going to be some ups and downs and we’ve got to continue to just come in and work and continue to trust in what we’re doing. Whether we’re winning games and losing games and keep working on getting better as a team in what we’re trying to do.”Old and newWalton does not descend directly from the famed Gregg Popovich coaching tree, but there is a connection.Walton coached with Steve Kerr in Golden State and Kerr is close with Popovich from his time as a player with the Spurs, an organization Walton admires.“In my opinion they’re the most professional team there is in this league,” Walton said.The Lakers play host to San Antonio (9-3) on Friday, marking Walton’s first head-to-head coaching matchup against Popovich. The Warriors did not face the Spurs last season until after Walton’s 43-game run as interim coach.The NBA’s longest-tenured coach has disciples leading teams throughout the league and Walton is one of them, even if he has done his studying from afar.However, there is at least one lesson Walton has picked up from Popovich and that is coaching to the strengths of players on the roster. Popovich’s teams have played fast, they have played slow. The modern Spurs play nothing like the coach’s early teams in San Antonio.“You look at the big picture of what’s your own team’s personal strengths or weaknesses,” Walton said, “and you try to coach around that instead of just having one style and, no matter who your players are, doing it that way.“The way he’s done it on the move is incredible, without really any slippage from rebuilding processes is absolutely incredible.” Walton first told Ingram of his potential as a defender during his pre-draft workout last spring. Ingram was surprised to hear it.Through high school and one season at Duke, Ingram said, he paid little mind to defense. To be told that could be his calling card?“Coming into this league I would have never thought of something like that,” Ingram said.However, long and lean are among the most valued attributes in the modern NBA and Walton sees endless defensive potential in the young forward as he learns how to play angles and use his body, like on the block against Booker.“Once he fully understands it and fully commits to it, he’ll be great at it,” Walton said. “To play defense anyway at this level at his age is near impossible. These are grown men you’re playing against and normally it physically just beats you down, but he’s been pretty good with it.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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