Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cairney sends the Cottagers back to the Premier League

Jack Buckard
Staff Writer

The Premier League has, and always will be, the main focal point of football in England. With elite teams that have world class players, it’s hard for the Premier League not to be. Although, the lower leagues in England don’t get the same about of love, they do get some, but not enough. In order to progress up the league ladder to the higher division, the team has to finish in positions one or two, which achieve automatic promotion. However, if the team finishes in positions three through six, they go into a playoff and whoever becomes victorious in the final, is the third team promoted. On Saturday, May 26, it was Tom Cairney’s Fulham facing off against Jack Grealish’s Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium.
     Both Fulham and Aston Villa have had previous spells in the Premier League, with Fulham being a regular from 2001 to 2014. Aston Villa were also in the league from the start of the new Premier League in 1992, to 2016 when they were finally relegated. Fulham played a more possession-based style, using passes and weighted through balls to break down their opponents, while Villa played a more chaotic, counter-attack style to win games. Both teams went into the final on a high, and the game started to well with both teams trading chances until the 23rd minute. Ryan Sessegnon, a young left-midfielder passed a wonderfully weighted through ball between two Villa defenders to Tom Cairney, who finessed the ball into the bottom left hand corner to give Fulham the lead, which they would never give up.
     As the game wore on, so did the Villa fan’s stress levels. Chance after kept coming, but the strong backline of Fulham stood firm, not allowing Villa to grab a goal and level the game. Early in the second half, Villa forward Jack Grealish made a bad tackle on Tom Cairney, coming from behind, but only earning a yellow card for the tackle. This completely angered the Fulham fans and many users on Twitter, all stating that Grealish deserved a red card. Later, in the 70th minute, Denis Odoi received a second yellow card in the game, getting a full red and sending Fulham down to ten men for the remainder of the half. However, this ultimately led to nothing as Fulham stood strong and won the final, 1-0. Now, the Cottagers are moving on to the Premier League, where they hope to survive the season with the big dogs, while Villa are set for another season in the miserable EFL Championship.

Friday, May 18, 2018

NBA Playoffs Conference Finals set

Thomas Muzekari and Vince Vetrano

The Conference Finals matchups in the NBA playoffs are set and many questions are still in play.
     Is this the Rockets’ year? Will we see Warriors-Cavs IV? Will Lebron James make it to his eighth consecutive Finals? How will the Celtics keep playing without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward?
     There were many exciting matchups in both the East and the West in the first-round and the second round, and the Conference Finals matchups are very intriguing.
     In the Eastern Conference first-round series, the 1-seeded Toronto Raptors (59-23) defeated the 8-seeded Washington Wizards (44-39) 4-2, the 2nd-seeded Boston Celtics (55-27) beat the 7th-seeded Milwaukee Bucks (44-38) in seven games, the 3rd-seeded Philadelphia 76ers (52-30) defeated the 6th-seeded Miami Heat (44-38) in five games, and the 4th-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32) defeated the 5th-seeded Indiana Pacers (48-34) in seven games. 
     As for Western Conference 1st round matchups, the 1-seeded Houston Rockets (65-17) took down the 8th-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves (47-35) in five games, the 2nd-seeded Golden State Warriors (58-24)  eliminated the 7th-seeded San Antonio Spurs (47-35) in five games, the 3rd-seeded Portland Trail-Blazers (49-33) lost to the 6th-seeded New Orleans Pelicans (48-34) in a four-game sweep, and the 4th-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder (48-34) fell to the 5th-seeded Utah Jazz (48-34) in six games.
     The second round matchups in the East were Raptors-Cavs and Celtics-Sixers. Lebron led the Cavs to a sweep of the Raptors that included a Game 3 game-winning buzzer beater, his second buzzer beater this postseason. Head coach Brad Stevens led his well-rounded Celtics to a win over the Sixers in five games as rookie Jayson Tatum lead the team in scoring with 23.6 a game.
     Matchups in the West for second round were Rockets-Jazz and Warriors-Pelicans. The Rockets won their series against the Jazz in five games thanks to likely MVP James Harden’s 28 points a game and his backcourt buddy Chris Paul’s 24.6. The Warriors defeated the Pelicans in five games with Kevin Durant leading the team in scoring with 27.8 a game. 
     The Conference Finals matchups are underway. Currently, the Rockets-Warriors series is tied 1-1 and the Celtics-Cavs series is 2-0 in Boston’s favor. Game 3s are on May 19 (Celtics at Cavs at 8:30 pm on ESPN) and May 20 (Rockets at Warriors at 8:00 pm on TNT) as each series shifts to the other team’s home court.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

2018 Phillies look inconsistent in their first month

Justin Fischetti
Staff Writer

The Phillies started the season with modest expectations following a big off season. Though they missed the playoffs last season, the franchise overall appears headed in the right direction while in midst of a long rebuild. Many of their key players from last season are still young and are poised to improve, such as starting pitcher Aaron Nola, center fielder Odubel Herrera, and left fielder Rhys Hoskins. In combination with a few big off season moves, such as the signings of Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana, and expectations were that the Phillies in 2018 would improve from their 66-96 record in 2017 and perhaps even finish around an 81-81 .500 record, though playoffs were still a long-shot.
  About a month has passed into the 2018 MLB season, and for the Phillies, their first month can be called a success despite some issues here and there. At the conclusion of the team’s final game in April, the Phillies had a 16-12 record; a record that has been viewed as surprising by some followers. Throughout the month, fans have seen some players perform well and surprise them while other perform poorly and disappoint them.
  Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez, and Rhys Hoskins have, as many expected, hit the ball well. These three have been crucial to producing many of the team’s runs. Some followers may say that Maikel Franco has had a pleasantly surprising start so far, and he is on track to easily improve from his disappointing 2017 season. In terms of pitching, Jake Arrieta has so far proven he was worth signing with a 3.49 ERA (and this number is inflated from one bad start), and Aaron Nola has continued his dominance from last season with a 2.58 ERA. Despite a few poor games, the bullpen has been good so far this season as well.
  Things aren’t all good, though. Outside of Herrera, Hernandez, and Hoskins, hitting has been inconsistent, and Carlos Santana in particular has been a disappointment since his signing. Starting pitching has also been inconsistent aside from Nola and Arrieta. Newly signed manager Gabe Kapler has taken some criticism with an especially tough first week highlighted by taking Nola out from his opening day start after just 68 pitches, a decision that backfired when the bullpen blew a lead, and a game where miscommunication resulted in a pitcher from the bullpen being inserted into the game without time to warm up. Phillies fielding has also been poor; it is statistically the second worst in MLB in terms of defensive runs saved.
  The biggest issue for the Phillies has been their inconsistency, which is to be expected for a young team like the Phillies. As a whole though, the Phillies first month can rightfully be called a success due to the 16-12 record and more positive signs from the young developing players than negative. The current 2018 total win forecast, according to FanGraphs, is 79 wins. A 79-83 record would be their best since the 2012 season and would make a good impression for contention in future seasons. Contending for a playoff spot this season, however, would require the Phillies to surpass those, and almost all other projections.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Girls’ Lacrosse gets set to take on the 2018 competition

Shayna Berman
Staff Writer

Despite the fact that snow is still on the ground, March has begun and therefore spring sports are well underway. As usual, the girls’ lacrosse team seems to have a bright season ahead of them. There are a lot of talented freshmen joining the team this year and seven seniors to lead the way. The girls are extremely excited for the games to begin to show off how hard they’ve been working in practice.
 Due to weather, the team has had to overcome unexpected obstacles resulting in indoor and even cancelled practices. Senior Riley Brennan expressed her frustration: “Even though the spring season is the shortest, it’s definitely the most difficult to schedule and plan because of the unpredictability of the weather and the effect it has on field conditions.” The girls are anxious to get outside and practice on an actual field, but they have to work with what they have for the time being. The team has been practicing and playing scrimmages on the weekends to get in some extra time on a turf field.
 Senior captain Laura Nagg expresses her excitement for the season: “This year we have a strong team and new, fresh skills. Although the weather has gotten off to a rough start, I am excited to see what the season has in store and know it’s going to be a lot of fun!”
 As of now, it is hard to predict what the season will look like for the Lady Lions, but the team is hopeful and optimistic that their season will be full of success.

Philadelphia 76ers are hoping for a late season playoff berth

Jack Gawason and Logan Waterman
Staff Writers

After years of suffering and tanking, the process is finally starting to show results. The Sixers currently have their best winning percentage since the ’03 season and are sitting at sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Their success can be credited to upcoming stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Joel Embiid is having a phenomenal season playing in all three events during all star weekend topping it off with a strong performance against the league's best players.  Ben Simmons is having a phenomenal Rookie of the Year campaign averaging 16 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds per game. Other key players include youngster Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and T.J McConnell. Two under the radar off season signings in J. J. Redick and Amir Johnson have paid dividends as the two have absorbed plenty of minutes along with their leadership for the youngsters.
 At the trade deadline the sixers stayed quiet besides the small addition of Trevor Booker which proved to be trade that moved Jahlil Okafor out of Philly. They seemed to be satisfied with their progress but when Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova become available they had to add them to the roster. So far both have strived adding valuable minutes replacing star players. The have won ten of their last fourteen games and four of seven important games the biggest against the Cleveland Cavaliers. If they keep playing like this a playoff berth seems likely considering they have the easiest schedule in the East for the rest of the season. With this teams youth and the success they have already shown keeping in mind that their first round draft pick is still injured this team and the city of Philadelphia could be enjoying success for years to come.

NCAA Spotlight: People Go Mad for March Madness

Frank Spadavecchia and Devin Bock
Staff Writers

All of the conference tournaments are coming to an end, which means it is time for the big dance. Left and right teams are punching their tickets into the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. With all of the upsets and close games that have taken place this year, the NCAA Tournament is looking like it may be one of the best yet. Look at a team like St. John’s, a team that won’t make the tournament but beat two top five teams in Duke and Villanova in back-to-back games. These types of games have occurred across the country this year in college basketball. Therefore, we can only expect that these good Mid-Major teams have a solid chance to upset the higher ranked Power 5 conference teams. Leading to one of the most exciting March Madness’ we may ever see.
  Teams have two ways to get into the tournament. The easiest is by simply winning their conference. Each team has their own individual conference tournament which they have a chance to win resulting in the conference champion moving on with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Many upsets in these conference championships have already taken place. For example, teams like Nevada who were expected to breeze through their tournament lost in their championships. Number 1 seed Xavier lost in overtime to unranked Providence. These are just a few of the upsets that took place this weekend. The other way is by putting your fate in the hands of the NCAA selection committee. This means that the selection committee will look at each team’s season and determine whether or not they deserve to be in the tournament. Because of this, teams can end up being on the bubble. Teams that are on the bubble have records that are both worthy and not worthy of making the tournament. Then on Selection Sunday their fate is decided by the selection committee which will either make or break the dreams of many colleges.
  Then from this point on the real madness begins. Now teams will have to play opponents they have never played against, resulting in a totally new atmosphere of basketball. Each team has a clean slate and every game is single elimination meaning that it only takes one off-day to cause a total upset. It is this complete unpredictability that causes this mayhem and confusion surrounding the tournament. This time period of “March Madness” is the pinnacle of college basketball. For any new basketball viewers this is a perfect way to submerge yourself into the college basketball scene. So find a nice spot on your couch with some snacks in one hand and your brackets in the other cause it’s March Madness baby!

Lady Lions’ Basketball concludes their 2018 season

Laura Nagg
Copy Editor

The NHS girls basketball team finished their season with a loss against Notre-Dame Green Pond, in the first round of Districts. Their district qualifying game was clinched when they placed second in the BAL, after a 58-40 game against powerhouse Jenkintown. This was the team’s first loss in the BAL in the past few years. Despite their disappointing outcome, the young team does not look back on the season with regrets. Junior starter Zoe Palau said: “It’s impressive how we held our own against some good teams because we are so young.”
 The rest of the season was filled with excitement and victories. The Lady Lions’ overall record this year was 16-1, and in their conference, they were 6-1 over the 3 month season.
 New Hope taps into their younger players, including starting two freshman, Rachel Saxton and Julia Covino, and one sophomore Sydney Ives. With this young talent, the girls can look forward to a strong team in the next few years, along with using the newly renovated gym which was completed shortly after their season ended. The girls were able to host their home games and celebrate Senior Night, honoring Olivia Keenan and Sarah Wilson, in the UES gym. Olivia Keenan will attend Millersville University studying Early Childhood Education and Special Education in the fall. Lion’s top scorer, Sarah Wilson will be playing basketball on a full ride at Nyack College.
 Captains Sarah Wilson and Jordan Sherman reflected proudly on their team stating: “We had a lot of fun this year especially with all the new freshman.”