Women’s Tennis: Badgers look to make final push for Big Tens over weekend

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin women’s tennis team (8–13, 2–7 Big Ten) will travel on the road to face No. 44 Nebraska (16–6, 5–4 Big Ten) and Iowa (10–12, 2–7 Big Ten) this weekend.With only the top 10 teams reaching the Big Ten Championships, Wisconsin is especially motivated to perform well this weekend. In the Big Ten, Wisconsin is No. 13 behind Iowa and Penn State at No. 11 and Maryland and Indiana at No. 9. In the standings, they are currently 2–8, a half-game behind Iowa and Penn State’s 2–7 conference record and just 1 1/2 games behind Maryland and Indiana’s 3–6 conference record.Since Wisconsin beat Maryland earlier in the year, the Badgers could break the top 10 through a tiebreaker with the Terps if they both finished equal in the standings. For this to happen though, Wisconsin would probably need to win their last two decisions and have both Penn State and Maryland perform poorly in their final contests.But first, Wisconsin will need to focus on what has been a very impressive Nebraska team this year.Four Badgers to be honored at Team USA Awards as part of USA Olympic women’s hockey teamAfter winning gold in February, former Badgers Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight, Meghan Duggan and Alex Rigsby could take home even Read…Despite being ranked so highly, Nebraska’s strength seems to come at the back end of their slots in singles play. In the No. 1 slot, the Cornhuskers have won only 40 percent of their matches but they’ve won 70 percent of their overall singles decisions.The team’s winningest player is Katerina Matysova who has a 16–3 overall record mostly in the No. 5 slot.Paula Del Cueto Castillo and Brianna Lashway have also been successful in the No. 1 doubles slot for Nebraska, holding a 14–4 record in that position.For Iowa Elise van Heuvelen has been the most frequent player in the No. 1 slot this year, with a 7–8 record in that position but a 13–8 record overall.When they play, they look invincible. But off the field, they struggle with mental health like anyone elseOur sports heroes are invincible. Their feats become legendary. They hit harder and run faster. Simply by the virtue of Read…Zoe Douglas and Yufei Long will likely be in the first doubles slot for the Hawkeyes with a 7–3 record playing in the top spot.The Badgers will counter this attack with one of the best freshmen in the country, Lexi Keberle whose 25–10 record speaks for itself.Keberle will play in doubles alongside her partner Kelsey Grambeau where the two have a 7–6 overall record this year. For Grambeau this could be the final set of matches in her illustrious career with the Badgers.Women’s tennis: Slumping Badgers fall short in final home match against Ohio StatePrior to the match on April 8, the University of Wisconsin women’s tennis team was eager to close the at-home Read…Though the Badgers have struggled recently dropping their past six decisions Grambeau sees the team as on par with the rest of the conference.“I think obviously on the score lines it looks like it hasn’t been what we wanted,” said Grambeau. “We faced the top two teams in the Big Ten this past weekend and we’re right there with them. We know that we can play with these guys.”Opening serve in Nebraska will begin at 5 p.m. Friday with matches starting against Iowa at 12 p.m. Sunday.last_img read more

Sports journalists are reckoning with USC’s uncertain season

first_imgThe Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s press box may have limited capacity to accommodate the six-foot social distancing guidelines. (Sara Heymann | Daily Trojan) “You could cover the game from home, and you’d almost have the same access,” Weber said. “I think the one thing you would miss … is, what is it like in terms of the fans and the access, and what does it sound like and what does it feel like, and you can’t quite get that on television.” Or maybe they are among the lucky few who have been granted press credentials and given the opportunity to squeeze into their own socially distant corner of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum press box with no more than 20 other people, squinting down at the field and catching the red glare of the empty stands that beam back at them.  But for Kartje, beyond news of the University ending its disassociation with former USC football legend Reggie Bush and the creation of the United Black Student-Athletes Association to combat racial inequity in the Athletic Department, he is careful in predicting whether the news cycle will flourish or hit the wall completely without the guarantee of a live sports schedule. “You’re still trying to create content, and they’ve made coaches and players available for more long-form stuff,” Abraham said. “I’ve done some live YouTube videos with coaches for, say, 45 minutes apiece… It’s been nice to maybe get the players and coaches in a different environment where instead of, like, three minutes after practice you get them for 45 minutes. You get a real better feel for what’s going on in their lives.” “We’re kind of at the mercy of whatever USC decides they want to let us do in some regard — not in every regard, but it makes it a lot tougher to actually tell these stories and, you know, to really serve in sort of a watchdog role,” Kartje said. “That element is pretty much impossible.” With a smaller outlet like USCFootball.com, one additional respite from the pandemic-induced sports paucity has been breaking news. From the announcement of different L.A.-based recruits that has USC sitting at No. 7 in the nation for overall 2021 team rankings to the six new assistant coach hires that will round out the Trojans’ arsenal, fans seem to be chomping at the bit for news that looks favorably for USC after the past couple of years, even if it isn’t an announcement about head coach Clay Helton’s status. In another dimension, Weber said he would put his high school football coaching knowledge to work on providing readers with ghost notes from practices, along with a five-to-seven minute analysis of impressions, implications and updates that cover the already limited 20 practice minutes reporters were allowed to observe. So far, the press has only had access to one practice back in March before campus shut down.  Or football might not even happen.  Following the announcement, USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn released a joint statement with UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond on Twitter expressing their tentative satisfaction with the Pac-12’s confirmation. One point in particularly good graces was the flexibility of the new schedule, allowing the crosstown matchup to be moved from Sept. 26 to Oct. 31 or Dec. 12 should earlier conditions not bode well for the health and safety of athletes and staff. “It’s tough because I’m not sure that [USC] really knows,” Kartje said. “It’s such a fluid situation, but I have spoken with [Sports Information Director] Tim Tessalone a little bit just kind of hypothetically on what the media situation might look like. I’m still pretty hesitant that it will even matter, because I don’t think there will be a football season.” “I have to imagine, you know, especially in the situation that journalism in the economy is — it’s a time that it’s important to show that you’re important, especially when you’re a sports writer and the sport isn’t actually playing, so that is definitely a concern,” Kartje said. “I’d imagine other people in my situation have similar concerns.” Even with gamedays shaping up to be a distinct divorce from the typical USC football experience, sports journalists have already lamented the lack of coverage that everyone from the casual to the uber-fan enjoys heading into a game. “You’ll still be able to talk to selected players and selected coaches after practice, but it won’t be the same as actually seeing it or being there or being able to change hands there and get your direct impressions from what you’re actually seeing,” Weber said. “I don’t know how that’ll play out but it won’t be the same as what it’s been.” The other side to creating content is reader engagement, which Weber has gleaned has stayed constant if not improved because of USC’s uncanny ability to attract media attention. Kartje is more cautious to make this claim but recognizes a lasting effect in how national news surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and the NCAA’s adapting policies on athlete name, image and likeness will change sports journalism. “Basically, the goal of SIDs everywhere is to provide the highest quality work environment and proper access to the media, as well as a similar experience whether the media is able to attend games in person, or because of personal health issues, space/access limitations, budget concerns or other reasons, they must do so from elsewhere,” Tessalone wrote. Additionally, Abraham was able to adjust some of the site’s content output because coaches, staff and players were more available to interview during the most restrictive of the quarantine period. Fifty-seven days before teams were hoping to invite competing schools onto their campus or pack up for a road game, the Pac-12 CEO group approved a conference-only format for football. The Trojans are slated to participate in a 10-game schedule, kicking off the strange season with a familiar and rousing matchup against UCLA. These are some of the many scenarios that reporters such as Dan Weber of USCFootball.com, a website offshoot of 247Sports that provides news and content directly related to the Trojan football team, are anticipating as they wait for an announcement from the USC Athletic Department that will come … eventually.  Sports journalists may be gearing up to report on the 2020 college football season from the best seat in the house: their couch. After inching closer to the television screen and wrapping up play-by-play coverage, they might head to their home office to catch a postgame press conference hosted over Zoom. Despite the in-person uncertainty, Ryan Abraham, founder of USCFootball.com, said he appreciates the University’s increased access and communication as decisions are made. Kartje, along with Abraham and Weber, anticipate that if fans can’t attend games, if the classic Notre Dame-USC rivalry isn’t renewed at the Coliseum this fall and if the stadium goes completely quiet, sports journalism will probably never be the same in the coronavirus’ wake. “You can just see it with conversations about other things about NIL, about, you know, in terms of systematic racism and college athletes kind of taking a role in that,” Kartje said. “So I do think some doors may open in terms of society, how we look at athletes and their role in the full system as far as journalism goes.” There is already much speculation as to what this kind of work environment might look like if it is in person. Kartje and Weber both acknowledged that the press box sitting mightily above the gridiron already doesn’t provide much elbow room as it is, and to imagine the capacity being limited to no more than a quarter — ultimately limiting who and what outlets get to report — brings up other discouraging but ultimately critical questions: Are the stadium managers going to let them into the elevator up to the press box one at a time? Does each reporter stand in their own socially equidistant circle? Are photographers and videographers going to be let on the field to document the action? All remains to be seen. As a veteran football beat writer and former college sports administrator at Northern Kentucky and Xavier universities, Weber is worried not so much about the ability of journalists to report on the games themselves but rather about recreating the game day energy that makes USC football especially stimulating. Finding new leads is the hinge of a reporter’s work, which Abraham describes as a “content tree,” where one interview might give rise to four or five different stories. Given the limited review of practices contrasting with the increased time to talk with coaches and players, a story that might’ve been a predictive analysis of offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s Air Raid offense might turn into a deconstruction of remarks that junior safety Talanoa Hufanga made about the cohesion of the Trojan defense. For journalists like Kartje and others at large publications, staffers could soon see major ramifications for their daily functions as outlets move on in the possible absence of college football. Kartje could see the Times moving him to report on the NBA or even to join the news desk as the paper tries to keep up with the slew of coronavirus-related developments. So are football beat writers racing to register press credentials and already driving to the Rose Bowl to find a good parking spot? No, and they shouldn’t, said Ryan Kartje, the USC beat writer for the Los Angeles Times.  In an email to the Daily Trojan, Tessalone wrote that schools’ sports information directors and the media, including the Football Writers Association of America, will accommodate local and state public health guidelines and apply these plans to all fall sports. “At this point I’m just hoping journalism makes it through the pandemic still intact,” Kartje said. “But I think out of this will, you know, maybe we emerged as a more skeptical media, who is sort of on the lookout a little bit more and maybe, maybe that’s a good thing — I hope. I’m trying to be optimistic when it comes to that stuff in terms of journalism.” Note: This article was written prior to the postponement of Pac-12 sports through 2020.last_img read more