Chelsea run riot against Everton, Stoke shock Man City at home

first_imgChelsea hammered Everton 6-3 to take the top spot in the Premier League standingsChelsea showed off its new-found attacking sparkle in a 6-3 win over Everton on a day Manchester City lost its cutting edge to slip to a surprise first defeat in its Premier League title defense.City’s 1-0 home loss to Stoke on Saturday was exacerbated by its title rival’s wild victory at Goodison Park, in which Spain striker Diego Costa scored in the first and last minutes to continue the superb start to his Chelsea career.Another big-money arrival in English football, Angel Di Maria, made a promising debut for Manchester United but its 0-0 draw at promoted Burnley left Louis van Gaal’s side with just two points from three games – despite a spending spree of 130 million pounds ($215 million) this summer.Chelsea has no such problems, with a third straight win leaving the team top of the early standings on goal difference from surprising Swansea.In Costa, Chelsea also has arguably the standout player so far this season with four goals already since joining from Atletico Madrid.”He’s literally got everything,” Chelsea captain John Terry said. “He’s been brilliant, and he’s off to a flying start.”With Costa in such electric form and Cesc Fabregas picking up two more assists, Chelsea has an attacking swagger it lacked last season.”I want the team to play the way we did, to be positive,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. “We were killers in attack.”Goals by Costa – after just 34 seconds – and Branislav Ivanovic put Chelsea 2-0 ahead inside three minutes, only for Kevin Mirallas to reduce the deficit for Everton just before halftime.advertisementSeamus Coleman’s own goal in the 66th minute sparked a rush of five goals in a chaotic 11-minute spell during which both defenses were carved open to the dismay of the team’s managers.Steven Naismith made it 3-2, Nemanja Matic regained Chelsea’s two-goal lead in the 74th but Everton came back again through Samuel Eto’o’s header on his debut, against the club that released him in the summer. Ramires put Chelsea 5-3 ahead and Costa wrapped up a madcap second half with a low finish after a back-heel from substitute Didier Drogba.In an all-action display, Costa was booked for a tussle with Coleman, and then goaded the defender provocatively after the right back’s own goal – sparking a melee with Everton’s American goalkeeper Tim Howard.”There are certain players who come to the Premier League who need to understand the ethics and the culture,” Everton manager Roberto Martinez said.Swansea is tied on nine points with Chelsea after beating West Bromwich Albion 3-0 thanks to two goals from Nathan Dyer and another from Wayne Routledge.Also Saturday, Wilfried Zaha scored an injury-time equalizer on his second debut for Crystal Palace in a 3-3 draw at Newcastle, Southampton won 3-1 at West Ham and Queens Park Rangers also earned a first win of the season by beating Sunderland 1-0.City and United had hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of attacking talent on show in the third round of the Premier League but couldn’t muster a goal between them.A flat display by City, five days after its impressive 3-1 win over Liverpool, was punished when former United striker Mame Diouf ran 70 meters in the 58th minute in a solo effort that was capped by a finish between goalkeeper Joe Hart’s legs.Stoke City shocked the reigning champions Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad stadium”I tried just to stay on my feet and keep on going,” Diouf said. “We will enjoy this win – it is a big one.”It was Stoke’s first-ever goal at the Etihad and earned the team a first win of the season under Mark Hughes, the former City manager.City failed to score at home for only the second time in 71 Premier League games, even with Argentina striker Sergio Aguero back in the lineup after regaining full fitness.”It’s a surprising defeat because we don’t expect to lose against Stoke but these games sometimes happen,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “Really we were not very creative, we did not find the space and that is credit to Stoke.”Di Maria made his first start for United after his British-record move from Real Madrid for 59.7 million pounds ($99 million) and showed enough signs that he will be a success at Old Trafford.He still couldn’t inspire Van Gaal’s team to a first win in any competition this season, with United lacking a cutting edge despite fielding Di Maria, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in an exciting front four. Van Persie was denied twice with United’s best chances.advertisement”When you have two points, that is not good enough and that is disappointing,” said Van Gaal, whose team lost 4-0 to third-tier MK Dons on Tuesday in the League Cup.”At the moment it’s certainly not a world-class team, but we have to wait, and have belief that it will come.”last_img read more

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Premier League: Crystal Palace earn first victory of season against champions Chelsea F.C.

first_imgCrystal Palace ended the worst-ever start to a Premier League season and condemned champions Chelsea to their second successive defeat with a 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park on Saturday.Palace had made unwanted history by losing their opening league games without scoring a goal but produced a much-improved performance as manager Roy Hodgson claimed his first win since replacing Frank de Boer last month.Chelsea have now lost three of their first eight league games and fallen nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City.A scrappy Cesar Azpilicueta own-goal handed Palace the lead in the 11th minute, but Chelsea levelled seven minutes later when Tiemoue Bakayoko headed in a Cesc Fabregas corner.Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, on his return from injury, restored the home side’s lead with a close-range shot on the stroke of halftime, and a lacklustre Chelsea were unable to equalise.”That was really enjoyable,” Hodgson said. “I have just said to the players that they really deserve to drink in that victory, because we played the champions of England but came off the field today having deserved our victory.”Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admitted his side had been hampered by the absence of striker Alvaro Morata and midfielder N’Golo Kante and the loss of Victor Moses to injury midway through the first half.”We started very badly and it was a very difficult day,” Conte said. “But we need also to understand the situation and to continue to work, to find solutions despite our injuries.”last_img read more

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Australia Wins Fifth World Cup Division

first_imgThe Men’s Open team has won a thrilling encounter against New Zealand this afternoon, winning 7-6. With a player sent for a period of time for the final two minutes of the match, things could have ended differently, but Australia dug deep and defended strongly to take out the match and the title. The Women’s Open team, after conceding the first touchdown, didn’t look back, to take the 5-3 win over New Zealand. The Mixed Open team came back from an early 3-0 deficit to eventually take the game 10-7.The Men’s 30’s were 18-2 winners over England, while the Men’s 35’s were 11-6 winners over South Africa. In the earlier game, New Zealand beat Australia 5-4 in the Men’s 40’s division.Australia has also lost its Senior Mixed final in a drop off, 7-6.More to come. Stay tuned to the website for all of the latest news and information.last_img read more

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Meet The Elite

first_imgIn the lead up to the 2015 Elite Eight Series, we catch up with each of the teams to see how their preparations are going in the lead up to the series.In the first edition of ‘Meet The Elite’, we hear from the New South Wales Country Mavericks’ Terry Deegan – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33601849 In the second edition, we catch up with Queensland Country Outlaws’ Laura Waldie –  http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33612073In the third edition, we hear from the Queensland Stingrays’ Michael Singh – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=0-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33625628In the fourth edition, we hear from the New South Wales Rebels’ Patricia Michaelopoulos – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=0-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33639069In the fifth edition, we hear from the Queensland Chiefs’ Jemma Mi Mi – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=0-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33655976In the sixth edition, we hear from the New South Wales Country Mavericks’ Rachel Beck –  http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33669659In the seventh edition, we catch up with New South Wales Scorpions’ Steph Maiolo –  http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33693634In the eighth edition, we hear from the New South Wales Mets’ Trent Touma – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33707036In the ninth edition, we hear from the Alliance’s Rebecca Beath – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33723768 In the 10th edition, we catch up with the Queensland Stingrays’ Ashleigh Kearney – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33736653 In the 11th edition, we hear from the New South Wales Mets’ Kristin Boss – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33743229 In the 12th edition, we hear from the Queensland Country Outlaws’ Trevor Moran – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33749910 In the 13th edition, we catch up with the Alliance’s Ben Hughes – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33749910In the 14th edition of ‘Meet The Elite’, we hear from the Queensland Chiefs’ Sebe Rey – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33769938In the 15th edition, we catch up with New South Wales Scorpions’ Daniel Barton –  http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33773338In the 16th edition, we hear from the New South Wales Mets’ Madalitso Masache – http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=14-907-0-0-0&sID=9248&&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=33776717 To view the ‘Meet the Elite’ series, please visit the National Touch League website – www.ntl.mytouchfooty.com.Stay tuned to www.touchfootball.com.au and www.ntl.mytouchfooty.com in the lead up to the event to hear from each of the Elite Eight teams and their preparations for the series which starts on Wednesday, 11 March in Coffs Harbour.You can keep up-to-date with all of the latest news and information from the 2015 National Touch League in the following ways:Websiteswww.ntl.mytouchfooty.comwww.touchfootball.com.auSocial MediaFacebook – www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustraliaTwitter – www.twitter.com/touchfootyaus (be sure to use the hashtag #NTL2015)Instagram – www.instagram.com/touchfootballaustraliaYouTube – www.youtube.com/touchfootballausRelated LinksMeet The Elitelast_img read more

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Nick Saban Upset With Media, Claims He Wasn’t Making An Excuse For Alabama’s Sugar Bowl Loss

first_imgnick saban press conference sec media daysWednesday morning, Alabama head coach Nick Saban raised a few eyebrows at SEC Media Days when he mentioned that NFL Draft grades, which are delivered on December 15, might have caused some of his players to play “not to get hurt” during his team’s Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State. The comments were perceived by many, including ESPN’s Danny Kanell, as an excuse for his team’s loss. Saban doesn’t appear to agree.This afternoon, Saban joined Paul Finebaum and defended his statement, clarifying that he wasn’t making an excuse for his team losing the game. He wasn’t thrilled with the whole situation.Glad Finebaum asked Saban to address whether this draft distraction thing was an excuse. Saban accepted blame for the loss. Clears that up.— David Ching (@ESPNChing) July 15, 2015Saban: “It wasn’t an excuse at all for losing to Ohio State. There’s no excuse.”— Saturday Down South (@SDS) July 15, 2015Saban: “It kind of surprises me that somebody in the media would take it that way when you make a suggestion that would make things better.”— Saturday Down South (@SDS) July 15, 2015Whether Saban meant to sound like he was making an excuse or not, that’s the way it came across to many. That being said, he does make a decent point – when players see how much money they can make if they stay healthy, they are naturally more incentivized to preserve themselves. Whether it’s ethically right to move the day back is up for debate.last_img read more

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McArthur sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years

first_imgRead the McMahon’s complete reasons for sentence below:Justice John McMahon’s … by on Scribd Bruce McArthur will be 91 years old when he is eligible for parole after a judge sentenced him Friday to eight counts of first-degree murder, to be served concurrently.The serial killer sat emotionless in court as Judge John McMahon read out his reasons for the sentence.Last year McArthur waved his right to a preliminary hearing and last week he pleaded guilty to all eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.Reporters Adrian Ghobrial and Momin Qureshi were at the sentencing. Read their updates below.McMahon said McArthur’s actions caused devastation to not only the friends and family of his victims, but also to the LGBTQ community and the people of Toronto.“One of the most aggravating factors is the impact on the victims’ family, friends and loved ones. The family friends and the community have been victimized twice – once when they went missing … then again when they learn the horrific truth,” McMahon said.“Today hopefully brings a final end to the criminal justice process without a lengthy and graphic public trial. I recognize for the family, friends and the community, the end of the criminal process doesn’t bring closure to their loss. They will live with this nightmare for the rest of their lives. This court cannot give them what they want the most – which is their loved one back.”However, when it came to deciding if he was going to deliver a consecutive sentence – where McArhur would be eligible for parole in 50 years – or concurrent, McMahon said the sentenced needed to be realistic, not symbolic.“Even if the accused is eligible for parole at 91 – it’s highly unlikely that, due to the savage nature of the crime, he would be granted parole.” McMahon explained.“Sentencing Mr. McArthur to parole ineligibility until he is 116 years of age is symbolic. There’s a fine line between retribution, which is an appropriate sentencing principle, and vengeance.”McMahon said that in coming to his decision he took into account the safety of the public, McArthur’s advanced age, as well as deterring others from committing similar crimes.“If the accused had either had a trial or would have been a younger man, I would have had no hesitation of imposing a consecutive parole.”He also considered McArthur’s decision to plead guilty – saving friends and family of the victims, as well as the community and a jury, the gruesome details of a four-month trial.Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders addressed the sentence during a conference at police headquarters.“If it was one of my loved ones (who was a victim) there wouldn’t be any sentence that would make me happy,” Saunders said. “Let’s be honest here, I do not see Bruce McArthur seeing daylight. I do not see him in a public setting again.“If he were to be paroled we would have to start questioning our sentencing in the country. I’ll take it for face value that in this case that life will mean life at the end of the day. He’s eligible for parole in 25 years, that doesn’t mean he’s going to be free.” Statement from Crown Prosecutor Michael Cantlon and his team. pic.twitter.com/wvE6qDAlqM— Adrian Ghobrial (@CityAdrian) February 8, 2019During the two hours it took for the judge to read his reasons for sentencing, McMahon recounted other cases he had looked into involving multiple murders, in which the accused had pleaded guilty.He noted that in Ontario, the closest case to McArthur’s was that of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, the former registered nurse from Woodstock who murdered 14 patients with insulin injections.McMahon noted that an important difference between the two cases was that Wettlaufer expressed remorse for her actions – “unlike Mr. McArthur.”McMahon called McArthur a “sexual predator” and a “serial killer” who “lured his victims on the pretext of consensual sex and ended up killing them for his own warped and sick gratification.”He sited the USB found with the sub file titled with the names of McArthur’s victims and containing photos of them, both alive and dead, as something done “no doubt for his own perverted sexual gratification.”McMahon said McArthur not only took advantage of vulnerable people in the community but also innocent people like the homeowners on Mallory Crescent, where he had stored the cut up body parts of his victims, unbeknownst to them.“All of the victims were vulnerable individuals lured to their deaths,” he said.“(McArthur) also exploited others in the belief that he was their friend … they placed their trust in him which he manipulated and used to his advantage. I find this exploitation of their vulnerability to be extremely aggravating.”During his decision McMahon spoke about the good work by Toronto police in capturing McArthur and said that there was no doubt in his mind that had they not intervened when they did, McArthur would have killed the man found tied to his bed at the time of arrest.A ninth sub file on McArthur’s found USB storage device had been titled “John” – the name of the man found handcuffed to the bed, naked, with duct tape over his mouth.center_img “This is a crime of stark horror,” prosecutor Michael Cantlon said in a statement after the sentencing. “Although there can be no closure from a crime of this magnitude, we hope that these eight convictions for first degree murder will assist our community in beginning a new chapter of healing.” Toronto Mayor John Tory said McArthur’s victims should “never be forgotten.”“It is my hope that he will never again know freedom and that this sentence begins the difficult journey of delivering justice to the victims of these crimes, their friends and families, our LGBTQ community, and our entire city,” Tory said.Police are still reviewing a series of cold cases to see if they can find any links to McArthur but have said that so far, they believe he didn’t kill anyone else. Related stories:In quotes: Reaction to Bruce McArthur’s sentencingTimeline of Bruce McArthur case in Toronto‘I have waking nightmares:’ Loved ones of McArthur’s victims shatteredCourt hears gruesome details of ‘planned and deliberate’ murders at Bruce McArthur sentencingSerial killer Bruce McArthur plucked his victims from margins of societylast_img read more

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Monumental court victory for longstruggling Grassy Narrows

first_imgAPTN National NewsGrassy Narrows First Nation in Ontario has won a victory in an Ontario Court.For years the First Nation has been battling the province to stop logging and mining companies from trespassing in its treaty area.APTN National News reporter Candace Maracle has this story.last_img

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France Is Rich With Offense But Is Winning With Defense

England0.89 Portugal1.10 Pogba has much more rarely gotten into the final third to create, passing instead more from deep and wide areas. This has kept him from being particularly dangerous in the attack, where his shot involvement has dropped by 4.6 shots attempted or assisted per 90 minutes with Manchester United to 2.8 for France. But in this disciplined, defensive role, the midfielder has found ways to affect the game, most recently with six attempted tackles and two penalty area clearances against Belgium. Pogba has been asked to trade his usual attacking production for defense, and so far, the plan has worked.The one man on France who doesn’t seem limited by these tactics is Kylian Mbappe. With Pogba playing deep, Mbappe has been asked to move the attack through the final third. He has attempted 52 take-ons, most in the tournament — a rate of about 10.6 per 90 minutes. Mbappe is a dangerous dribbler, but for Paris Saint-Germain last season, he averaged 6.4 take-ons per 90. If you’re hoping for excitement from France, wait for Mbappe to get on the ball. He will be looking to beat a defender or two, and that will be the primary danger France poses in open play. Otherwise, Les Bleus will be focus on defending.Will this strategy work against Croatia? Deschamps has to trust that his attack will produce goals even while outnumbered in the final third, while the midfielders trail the play. If Mbappe cannot progress the ball for his teammates, a long and scoreless match is possible.Croatia has thus far excelled in long matches, surviving extra time three times to reach the final. Its strength is its skilled midfield, where Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic all rate among the world’s best passers. Over time, opposition teams lose the legs to press Croatia, and the midfielders can find space to work. England successfully pressed Croatia in the first half and kept possession about even at 47 percent to 53 percent, but Croatia dominated the ball 64 to 36 percent in the second half, when it scored its equalizer.In the final, Croatia is likely to depend on its defense (seventh in the World Cup in the chart above) to hold back a more talented opponent. France will likely refuse to commit numbers to the attack and hope its skill wins out. If France can notch an early goal, it’s hard to see Croatia finding a comeback as it did against England. But France’s strategy has the same weakness that was discovered by Portugal in the final of the 2016 Euros. If the opposing team’s defense is solid, Les Bleus do not have the kind of swarming, overwhelming attack that can be counted on to pick up a needed goal. And if the match is running late and Modric starts to find himself with an extra yard of space in midfield, the possibility of an upset — and a first-time World Cup winner — starts to look a lot more likely.France is rightly favored, and its defense, strengthened by some conservative tactical choices by Deschamps, has been impregnable. But the final of the Euros showed what happens when this French approach fails, and if Croatia’s defense can hold back Mbappe and the French forward line to start, its midfield has the skills to pull off a late upset.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. Spain1.02 Brazil0.56 Senegal0.64 Sweden1.00 TeamExpected goals allowed France0.61 Three players exemplify how the French approach works. First is N’Golo Kante. He may be the world’s premier open-play defender. Kante has averaged about 7.5 tackles or interceptions per 90 minutes since 2014-2015, most in the world among players with at least 8,000 minutes played in league and Champions League play those four seasons. Brazil’s Casemiro, at 7.04, is the only other player with more than 7. Kante’s talents prevented Leicester City’s open attack from leaking goals during the Foxes’ miracle title campaign, and they then helped Chelsea rebound to a title after falling out of the top four the previous season. He is the primary reason that France so rarely concedes good chances. But instead of giving Kante the job of cleaning up midfield himself, as he often does for his club teams, Deschamps gives him added protection with the deployment of Paul Pogba.Pogba is a great playmaker who does much of his best work in more advanced areas. With France, Pogba is reserved, and his forays into the final third are limited. The blue wallTeams with the fewest expected goals allowed per match in the 2018 World Cup Uruguay0.50 Source: Opta Sports Croatia1.00 France entered the European Championships in 2016 with perhaps the most talented squad, and Les Bleus beat fellow tournament favorite Germany in the semifinal. A final matchup loomed against a less-heralded Portugal, which had never won the tournament. Portugal had played a defensive style that bottled up the midfield and limited opposition attacking opportunities.Sound familiar?In this World Cup, France knocked off two former champions from South America before winning its semifinal over Belgium, the next-best team remaining in the tournament according to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index. Croatia, like Portugal in 2016, has never won a major tournament and got to the final through a comparatively easy draw. In the 2016 final, Portugal managed to stymie France and won its first ever European championship on an extra-time strike. Will this international final see another upset and first-time winner, or will the French golden generation bring a second-ever cup home?Croatia is a clear underdog — as it was in the semifinals against England — and there’s reason to believe the task ahead is even more difficult than it seems. SPI rates France as a solid 59 percent favorite to win. Through the tournament and even in qualifying, as Mike Goodman pointed out before the games started, it has been clear how France would choose to play. Despite an incredible blend of world-class attacking talent, Les Bleus set up first to prevent opposition chances and win on defense. And they have. France has conceded just four goals in six matches — three of which came against Argentina in the round of 16. And Didier Deschamps’s team has even better underlying numbers, with about 0.6 expected goals conceded per match. Australia0.76 read more

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Football Ohio State defensive tackle Malik Barrow will miss season with torn

Ohio State redshirt freshman defensive tackle Malik Barrow will miss the rest of the season due to a torn ACL he suffered during the Buckeyes’ 54-21 win versus UNLV Saturday, head coach Urban Meyer announced Monday.“It’s just a tough — prayers for him,” Meyer said. “He’s such a good kid.”Barrow has not played much in the first four games of the season and has not recorded a tackle. He played in Saturday’s blowout victory with Ohio State’s backups.The former four-star prospect from Tampa, Florida, suffered an ACL injury in his other knee as a senior at IMG Academy.

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Womens Volleyball Ohio State faces Top10 opponents in Wisconsin and Minnesota

Ohio State freshman opposite hitter Vanja Buklić (13) spikes the ball while team watches on Sunday, Oct. 14 at St. John’s Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Michigan State in 3 matches. Credit: Claire Kudika | Assistant Design EditorIn its final home series of the season, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team will host No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 3 Minnesota this weekend at St. John Arena.The team has four matches remaining on its schedule that will mean a lot for its postseason hopes.“If we win our next four matches, which obviously is a daunting task, but if we do it, then we will actually make the [Big Ten] tournament so we’re still in that mode a little bit,” head coach Geoff Carlston said. The competition will be tough for Ohio State. Minnesota is on a 17-match win streak, and is 22-2 and 16-0 in the Big Ten, while Wisconsin is 18-6 and 11-5 in conference play. The Buckeyes have lost 10 of its past 11 matches. “We’re really trying to educate and help this young group understand what it’s going to take to win,” Carlston said. “We’ve laid out three to five benchmarks that we’re going to try to lock in in our last four matches.” Carlston specified error percentage and opponent hitting percentage as “benchmark statistics” the team will focus on for the remainder of the season and into next year. The Buckeyes’ focus will be tested against Wisconsin sophomore middle blocker Dana Rettke, who leads the Badgers with 344 kills and 133 blocks.“She’s able to get the ball even when the pass isn’t there,” Ohio State sophomore middle blocker Lauren Witte said. “They force balls to her. She’s 6-foot-8 so she can get on top of our blocks, which is something that our defense is going to have to work around.”Senior setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson has been starting for Minnesota for the past four years. She has 937 assists and 26 service aces this season. “If she’s not there, that’s a different team,” Carlston said. “You have a four-year starting setter who’s been running the offensive flow. That’s a pretty big benefit for any attacker. That’s basically your quarterback running the show. Having someone like that for four years and never missing a match is a big deal.”The Buckeyes will continue to build on their experience in the upcoming years. The team signed four players on Wednesday to join the 2019 squad: Gabby Gonzales, Reilly MacNeill, Kylie Murr and Mac Podraza. Witte said the team will be young again next season, but still have experience in its favor.“We might be young on paper but the fact that sophomores and freshmen had such a big year this year experience-wise, they won’t seem as young,” Witte said. “They got so much playing time that they’ll be ready for next year.”The Buckeyes will host both teams at St. John Arena. Ohio State faces Wisconsin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Minnesota at 7 p.m. on Saturday. read more

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