Pat Spencer overpowers Nick Mellen with 9 points as Loyola tops Syracuse in NCAA tournament

first_img Published on May 11, 2019 at 5:30 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+ BALTIMORE — Before the first faceoff, the matchup was clear. Syracuse’s Nick Mellen would be stationed next to Loyola’s Pat Spencer on the edge of SU’s defensive zone. The officials and faceoff specialists readied and Mellen held his long-stick across Spencer’s chest. They had both been there before, facing another team’s best player. Now it was a matter of seeing who was better. For the better part of the last two years, Mellen has simplified SU’s defensive gameplan: No matter the size or skillset of a top-attack, Mellen wouldn’t be unmatched. For the last four years, Loyola deployed Spencer the same way, just on offense. Saturday’s biggest matchup boiled the game down to its core: one-on-one. Spencer hunted for shots and assists. Mellen did anything possible to stop, or at least limit, Spencer’s stardom. In the end, after their greatness linked them together for 60 minutes, Spencer had overpowered Mellen in Loyola’s (12-4, 7-1 Patriot League) 15-13 win over Syracuse (9-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) at the Ridley Athletic Complex. From the sidelines, SU coaches, who spent two weeks planning for Spencer, could just watch. He posted nine points (three goals, six assists), scored when needed and found grey jerseys at crucial moments to lead a Greyhound comeback after facing a four-goal deficit. Spencer’s afternoon — one in which he matched and set numerous NCAA records — ultimately carried Loyola to the second round of the NCAA tournament and ended Syracuse’s season. “He’s a load, number one,” Mellen said of guarding Spencer. “He’s a big guy, too. His vision is tremendous. He’s able to find the open guy even with a lot of pressure on him — by me.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKaci Wasilewski | Senior Staff WriterLast week, Mellen downplayed his matchup with Spencer. The redshirt-junior that had locked down Cornell’s Jeff Teat and Hobart’s Eric Holden, among others, saw their clash as another matchup. During film review sessions, coaches would show SU players clips of an opponent’s top-performers. Spencer led off the Loyola highlights. While no Orange coach explicitly said that Mellen would defend Spencer, the defense knew that Mellen would draw the challenge, goalie Drake Porter said. When they went on the practice field to run through sets, Mellen jogged over to freshman attack Mikey Berkman, SU’s scout-team version of Spencer. “We were a little back and forth on things,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said of stopping Spencer. “I didn’t think we helped out like we could’ve. We wanted to see how the game was gonna go, how many opportunities he was gonna have.” In their first in-game battle, Mellen jabbed at Spencer’s stick 30-yards away from the goal. Loyola’s top attack charged left while Mellen side-shuffled. Approaching the crease, Spencer swung the ball to sophomore Aidan Olmstead, who then found senior John Duffy for a score. On fields with no hash marks, Mellen said he relied on other SU defenders to let him know how far he was from the cage since the Orange usually plays on football fields. Against Spencer, however, it didn’t matter. Other Orange jerseys rotated toward Spencer and opened a hole in the zone. Greyhounds head coach Charley Toomey said that his team wanted to attack SU from the goal line. At first, they inverted midfielders to set up big-little matchups. Then, they rolled Spencer behind and let him operate. Desko said that SU was prepared for the strategy. Again, it didn’t matter. The senior attack utilized his 6-foot-3, 205-pound-frame to pound the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Mellen through the zone. Spencer even dotted the midfield to scoop ground balls at times. In the first quarter, while backing Mellen down, Spencer lowered his shoulder and generated space. Facing Porter’s left, Spencer wrapped his stick around his shoulder and slipped one near post.  Porter turned and watched the replay. Spencer stared at the net, his work causing those in attendance to gasp loudly. From the sidelines, Desko rubbed his hands together and shook his head. For Mellen, it was the first goal he allowed to his assignment in a month-and-a-half.Kaci Wasilewski | Senior Staff WriterSU committed bodies inside and forced Spencer into four turnovers. Mellen covered his size disadvantage in spurts, consistently watching Spencer’s hips and smacking him with plastic. In one midfield scrum, three SU players collided into Spencer when Brett Kennedy ran in and sent Spencer tumbling.“Sometimes the going gets tight and I feel like I need to make a play and I need to get this team rolling,” Spencer said. “Sometimes I do. But, other times, they’re gonna slide quick and I gotta trust the guys to make the plays.” Down four goals late in the third quarter, Spencer said the offense didn’t rush — they knew they’d have a chance to come back. Standing at the top of the offense, staring back at an Orange zone man-down defense, Spencer picked out Olmstead for a strike. Then, Spencer clogged space and Olmstead found freshman Chase Scanlan for another score. Two back-to-back penalties later, SU had jump-started a Loyola run it couldn’t stop. With 1:11 left in the game, Spencer capped off the victory with a goal that bounced into an open net. Behind him, Mellen walked with hands on his hips. Spencer turned to the Loyola bench while his teammates rushed. Before they reached him, Spencer held his arms out one more time.He was the best player on the field on Saturday. He’d been there before. “I felt like I had (Mellen) from the start,” Spencer said. “He’s a good player. I just think there are spots I was able to get to on the field.” Commentslast_img read more

Denny Morrison – Holiday Update

first_imgDenny Morrison will be skimping on Turkey again this Christmas.He and the Canadian Long-track Speed Skating Team kick-off the annual Canadian Single Distance Championships on Dec. 27th.In a Christmas interview with Jon Zacks, the Fort St. John native admits the championships aren’t as important for him, as for some others, because he has already qualified for the Olympics in the 1,000, 1,500, and team pursuit events.- Advertisement -Click here to listen to the interview: [asset|aid=2318|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=6c025424e78ccce9760eee68dfc9dec9-Denny-dec23.09_1_Pub.mp3]Morrison has won four medals so far this season, including a three-medal weekend at World Cup #4 in Calgary.last_img

Area teams in running for A-Rod

first_imgHandicapping these sweepstakes is sure to be tricky. The Dodgers’ chances of landing Rodriguez certainly have been altered with the news that the team might make Joe Torre its next manager. Rodriguez and Torre were together in the Bronx for the past four seasons. During that time, Rodriguez averaged 43 home runs and 128 RBIs per season. Dodgers officials were unavailable for comment as they presumably tend to the Torre proceedings. Speculation as to where Rodriguez will land next season has been going on all summer. It intensified during the deciding game of the World Series on Sunday night, when Boras officially said his client would opt out of his contract. That means Rodriguez will walk away from a guaranteed $72 million. He had three years remaining on a record-breaking, 10-year, $252 million deal he signed with the Texas Rangers before the 2001 season. According to reports, Major League Baseball on Monday received the letter that officially requested Rodriguez’s release from the deal. The opt-out clause was written into the contract. The Angels have made it no secret that they are interested in upgrading their offensive attack. But as dominating as he can be, Rodriguez might not fit into their plans. Angels owner Arte Moreno has repeatedly said that even though he respects Rodriguez as a player, he has no interest in placing 25 percent of the team’s payroll in the hands of one player. Indications are that Rodriguez could be seeking anywhere from $200 million to $240 million over eight seasons. Asked about Rodriguez at the conclusion of the season, Manager Mike Scioscia did not sound as if he is expecting to pencil Rodriguez’s name in the 2008 lineup. “I would speak to what Arte said, and I agree to what he says,” new Angels general manager Tony Reagins said. “You want to position yourself to make your club better. For the club and the fans, if it makes sense, then you will explore the opportunity.” This might not make sense, though. “Obviously we will do things within reason,” Reagins said, declining to speak about Rodriguez in particular. “There is not an endless bank here. It has to make economic sense and it has to make baseball sense.” According to reports, the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, New York Mets and San Francisco Giants are expected to be interested in Rodriguez along with the Angels and Dodgers. Also Angels outfielder Tommy Murphy and right-hander Marc Gwyn were outrighted off the 40-man roster and are now minor league free agents. Another spot on the Angels’ 40-man roster was cleared when outfielder Nick Gorneault was claimed off outright waivers by the Texas Rangers. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BASEBALL: Dodgers and Angels both given a good chance to sign Rodriguez. By Doug Padilla Staff Writer You can bet on this: Alex Rodriguez will be playing for the Angels or Dodgers on opening day in 2008. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Really, you can bet on it. Now that Rodriguez has opted out of his lucrative New York Yankees contract to become a free agent, a proposition bet on where he might land is being offered by the gambling Web site www.bodoglife.com. The site is giving 3-to-1 odds that Rodriguez will be wearing Angels red next season, the lowest odds on the board. Just behind the Angels are the Dodgers, coming in at 4-to-1 to land A-Rod. Where the two-time MVP really ends up is anybody’s guess. Rodriguez is about to earn his third league MVP award in the coming weeks. Adding to the speculation that A-Rod will land in Southern California is information from a former National League general manager who is still involved in the day-to-day operations of a major league club. He has indicated that Rodriguez recently purchased property in the Orange County area. The unsubstantiated information could mean that Rodriguez already has his sights on joining the Angels, Dodgers, or even the San Diego Padres. Or not. It could just mean that his Orange County-based agent, Scott Boras, found him a sweet deal on a long-term investment. last_img read more