B Page -- Aug. 28, 2010


Case Reserve Cross Preview  

Continued from A Page

The CWRU women enter the season ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA’s first regional poll of 2010.

“The only thing the poll tells us this early in the season is where we are not ranked,” said 10th-year head coach Kathy Lanese. “Hopefully, the poll motivates our women to perform to their true capabilities.” 

Jeroski, pictured right, is expected to lead the Spartans after placing 30th (22:44.1) in the nation during last November’s championships. She also posted five top-10 finishes throughout the year and was a first-team All-University Athletic Associationfinisher. As a team, Case finished second during the UAA meet and expects to be in contention for a championship in 2010.

“Winning the UAA is always our goal, but we also realize in our conference that a top-three finish is quite respectable and should keep us nationally ranked,” said Lanese.

Also back from last year’s national-qualifying squad are seniors Andrea Fischione (Export, PA/Franklin) and Cindy Spahn (Wildwood, MO/Ursuline) as well as junior Natalia Cabrera (Shaker Heights, OH/Shaker Heights). Cabrera also earned All-Region and All-UAA honors last season.

“Having Justine and a group of runners with an experienced mindset certainly helps our team,” noted Lanese. "However, we have a lower than usual number of reserve runners. We’re going to need to stay healthy and we’re going to need others to step up and perform.”

The Spartan men were fifth at regionals in 2009 and return two all-region runners in senior Robert Ontko (Houston, TX/Strake)and sophomore Philip Yeung (Pittsburgh, PA/Upper St. Claire). The USTFCCCA preseason polls tab the Spartans fifth in the Great Lakes Region.

“In the end, the men want to gain an automatic bid to nationals (top two in region),” noted Lanese. “We’re going to need everyone to run their best race for that to happen. Luckily, we have two months to get ourselves prepared.”

The Spartans also return a large group of experienced runners on the men’s side that Lanese feels will be in the mix. “I expect Robert and Philip (pictured right) to continue to be among our top runners and we also have a number of talented men that were not major players for us last year. I believe that our top spot could be mixed up each week.”

The Spartans open the season at the College of Wooster Invitational on Wednesday, September 1 at 6:00 p.m. Case also hosts the 10th annual Bill Sudeck Classic on Saturday, Sept. 4 in honor of the legendary former coach. Sudeck passed away in August of 2000. The meet begins at 11:00 a.m. at Squire Valleevue Farm in Cleveland.


CRUSHERS CONTAIN KINGS



KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Lake Erie Crushers rode a quality start from Alberto Rolon to contain the Kalamazoo Kings 3-2 in the middle game of a road series on Saturday evening. 



Lee Huggins helped Lake Erie open a first inning lead for the second consecutive night. With two outs and Wayne Bond on base following a single, Huggins drove a 1-1 pitch from Kalamazoo starter Alex Szymanski over the fence in left-center for his seventh homer of the year, putting the Crushers ahead 2-0. 



The Crushers placed runners on base in each of the first five innings but could not add to the lead. Alberto Rolon worked out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning and went on to retire 14 in a row for the Crushers from the end of the first through the sixth. Rolon pitched 6.1 shutout innings, establishing a career high with eight strikeouts. He scattered five hits with a walk to win for the first time in nine starts.



Lake Erie extended the lead in the seventh. Wayne Bond recorded a two-out single against Kalamazoo reliever David Goodenough.Andrew Davis roped a double into the left-center gap and Bond dove safely into the plate on a throwing error. The Crushers attempted a squeeze in the eighth with Matt Sutton at third, but Jodam Rivera failed to make contact and Sutton was thrown out.



Destan Makonnen homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Kings life. The homer followed a two out walk to Brendan Murphy and brought Kalamazoo within a run at 3-2. Jeff Cinadr settled down to record the final out and tally his seventh save of the year.



Wayne Bond and Joel Collins each recorded two hits in the game for the Crushers. Bond scored two runs. Andrew Davis reached base three times with a double and two walks.



The series concludes with a day game tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. in the final road game of the season for the Crushers. RHP Travis Risser (7-4, 2.89) takes the ball in the rubber match for the Crushers against RHP Mike Zenko (2-2, 4.15).



EXTRA SWINGS

Ø       Ronnie Morales has not allowed a run since August 8 against Oakland County, a span of eight appearances and 12.2 innings

Ø       Matt Sutton pinch ran for Joel Collins following a double in the eighth

Ø       Joel Collins is currently riding a five-game hitting streak and owns 11 hits in the last seven contests



GAME DATE: 08/28/2010

Lake Erie Crushers  3 AT Kalamazoo Kings  2

                                 YTD                                   YTD
Lake Erie          AB  R  H BI   AVG  Kalamazoo          AB  R  H BI   AVG
D.Duggan CF         5  0  0  0  .233  J.Sferra LF         4  0  2  0  .298
W.Bond LF           4  2  2  0  .232  E.Suttle CF         4  0  1  0  .279
A.Davis 3B          2  0  1  0  .291  K.Miller RF         3  0  0  0  .296
L.Huggins 1B        4  1  1  2  .235  M.Greener 3B        4  0  1  0  .295
J.Collins DH        4  0  2  0  .251  L.Rubin C           4  0  2  0  .284
M.Sutton PR        0  0  0  0  .172  B.Murphy DH         3  0  0  0  .224
A.McWilliams RF     3  0  0  0  .195   J.Poulter PR       0  1  0  0  .182
J.Rivera SS         4  0  0  0  .252  D.Makonnen 1B       4  1  1  2  .222
J.Rivera C          4  0  1  0  .168  J.Helps 2B          4  0  0  0  .234
J.Krause 2B         4  0  1  0  .050  B.Marquez SS        3  0  1  0  .233                                           

Lake Erie            2 0 0   0 0 0   1 0 0 -  3  8  0
Kalamazoo            0 0 0   0 0 0   0 0 2 -  2  8  1

2B--A.Davis (15), J.Collins (11), E.Suttle (9). HR--L.Huggins (7),
D.Makonnen (5). RBI--L.Huggins  2 (31), D.Makonnen  2 (27). CS--M.Sutton
(1). E--E.Suttle (8). LOB--Lake Erie 7, Kalamazoo 6. DP--L. Huggins(1B) - J. Rivera(SS). 

                                                                YTD

                                 IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR     ERA

Lake Erie

A.Rolon (W,3-4)                 6.1   5   0   0   1   8   0    2.66

R.Morales                       1.0   2   0   0   0   0   0    2.76

J.Cinadr (S,7)                  1.2   1   2   2   1   1   1    2.19

Kalamazoo

A.Szymanski (L,0-2)             6.0   5   2   2   3   3   1    3.68

D.Goodenough                    2.0   3   1   0   0   2   0    5.47

J.Stanley                       1.0   0   0   0   0   0   0    3.99

WP--A.Rolon (2). SO--D.Duggan 2, J.Rivera, J.Rivera 2, J.Sferra 2, K.Miller

3, L.Rubin, B.Murphy, D.Makonnen, B.Marquez. BB--A.Davis 2, A.McWilliams,

K.Miller, B.Murphy. BF--A.Rolon 24 (356), R.Morales 4 (246), J.Cinadr 7

(276), A.Szymanski 26 (183), D.Goodenough 8 (95), J.Stanley 3 (252).

P-S--A.Rolon 89-59, R.Morales 16-11, J.Cinadr 24-15, A.Szymanski 88-57,

D.Goodenough 30-20, J.Stanley 9-8. 

T--2:39.  

Next Game's Starters:  Travis Risser (7-4) vs. Mike Zenko (2-2)

Weather: 85 Clear

Umpires: Plate Ump - Scott Taylor, Field Ump #1 - Jim Muhleck

 

OU Grid Preview  

Continued from A Page
This time around, Ohio boasts an intriguing mix of senior standouts and superior depth. If the Bobcats transform their mediocre running game into something average and don't suffer an absurd number of injuries or turnovers, then they'll be in the thick of the MAC East race until the end. 

QUARTERBACKS
Ohio entered the 2009 season with two good, experienced senior quarterbacks. Boo Jackson (6-1, 202) and Theo Scott shared snaps in the season-opening loss at Connecticut, but the coaches decided Jackson earned the nod going forward. Then Jackson wrecked his throwing shoulder in Week 2 against North Texas -- and the Bobcats suddenly didn't have a quarterback derby anymore.

The silver lining to all this? Jackson, who needed surgery, took his redshirt year and returns for his final season in 2010. He was limited to individual drills during spring ball, but Jackson should be ready in all his dual-threat glory for the opener. If anyone has forgotten how Jackson performed in 2008, he set Ohio records for most total yards in a game (413) and a season (2,688). In his 14-game career, he has connected on 202-of-336 passes (60 percent) for 2,549 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

"He had a phenomenal year creating things," said Ohio offensive coordinator Tim Albin. "He's very smart with the ball when he leaves the pocket."

While Jackson focused on his footwork and light throwing during Ohio's 15 spring practices, Iowa State transfer Phil Bates (6-2, 224), a junior, and sophomore Tyler Tettleton (5-11, 201) shared all of the snaps. While Jackson will start if he's healthy, Albin wouldn't be hurt if he needed to turn to Bates or Tettleton. Both are dual-threat guys similar to Jackson.

Ohio tried hard to recruit Bates out of Omaha (Neb.) North High School in 2007, but he headed Iowa State's way shortly after Gene Chizik got that job. Bates left Iowa State midway through the 2008 season after getting to throw just 24 passes, but he flashed his versatility by playing some wide receiver as a freshman. "He's very athletic -- another level," Albin said. "He's got a little more juice with his running speed."

While Bates sat out his transfer year in 2009, Tettleton served as Scott's backup as a true freshman. His only lengthy playing time came in an upset loss to Kent State when Scott dealt with an illness that limited his snaps. Tettleton hit 7-of-15 passes that day for 111 yards and one interception. He also took five sacks.

RUNNING BACKS
If Ohio's offense had an offseason mission, it was to shore up the running game. The Bobcats finished 102nd out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in yards per game (102.0) and they rushed for just nine scores. Top rusher Chris Garrett (621 yards, 2 TDs) graduated, which leaves senior Vince Davidson (5-11, 191) as the leading returnee. Davidson carried 67 times for 260 yards (3.9 ypc) and one score last fall.

"Our No. 1 thing in spring was to be able to run the ball with more consistency," Albin said. "Vince will be our starter. He has good vision, and he's stronger than what you think. He's not a blazer, but he runs with nice pad level and has a little wiggle to him."

Redshirt junior Donte Harden (5-11, 176) stacks up as the leading backup after rushing 61 times for 237 yards (3.9 ypc) and two TDs last year. "Donte might be a step faster than Vince, but he doesn't weigh as much," Albin said. "He's a hard runner. He throws his body into the piles."

If things break right for the Bobcats, they'll have a serious ringer to throw into the running back fray. When Ken Ashley (5-8, 230) came out of high school in 2007, the four-star recruit from Los Angeles signed with nearby USC. But when he couldn't make the cut academically, Ashley attended junior college powerhouse El Camino and delivered 693 yards and 13 touchdowns in just 100 carries last fall.

If Ashley pulls the grades -- and in late spring the coaching staff was confident he could.he'll have two years of eligibility to make up for lost time at college football's highest level.

RECEIVERS
Ohio lost a terrific receiver in Taylor Price, who went in the third round to the New England Patriots. But if there's one position where the Bobcats could afford to bid a game-breaker goodbye, it's here. Albin believes he has two more studs on the NFL track in seniors Terrence McCrae (6-4, 198) and LaVon Brazill (5-11, 188). "Those two guys are ballers," Albin said. "Players through and through."

Brazill snagged 53 passes for 702 yards and six TDs last year while McCrae added 35 catches for 545 yards and 9 TDs. Sophomore Bakari Bussey (6-2, 204) gives Ohio a third guy who runs the 40-yard dash in less than 4.5 seconds. "That's pro-scout timing," Albin said. "We feel good about those guys stretching the field."

The Bobcats also welcome back senior starter Steven Goulet (6-2, 200) and junior Riley Dunlop (6-2, 184). Goulet caught 21 passes for 230 yards and one TD in 2009, while Dunlop added 12 catches for 122 yards and two scores before missing the last half of the season with a shoulder injury.

As if that's not enough quality, Albin is excited about redshirt freshman Mario Dovell (6-0, 187) and redshirt junior Jerry Gross (6-0, 172). The latter was limited by a knee scope last year, but he's ready to be in the rotation.

Ohio retains its top two tight ends from last year -- sophomore Jordan Thompson (6-4, 248) and senior Nathan Caldwell (6-5, 257). They combined for just nine catches in '09, but Albin plans to make them a bigger part of the attack in 2010.

"If you look at the stats, you might say they're just blockers," Albin said. "I don't view it like that."

OFFENSIVE LINE
Ohio retains just three starters from 2009 -- only one of whom received any All-MAC acclaim -- but Albin shares head coach Frank Solich's opinion that the Bobcats should be just fine on the offensive line. "We're billing them as the best O-line since we've been here," said Albin, who arrived in 2005. "Across the board, we have solid guys and really good depth. I hope they live up to the billing."

Right tackle Joe Flading (6-4, 289) enters the year with the best reputation. The redshirt junior earned third-team All-MAC honors last season. Left tackle A.J. Strum (6-5, 290) shifts from left guard to replace another third-team All-MAC guy in the graduated Chris Rodgers. "Strum was a tackle who we moved inside to get our five best guys on the field," Albin said. "When he's locked in, he can be a road-grader. He has some athleticism to him."

Albin believes he has six guys who can handle the three spots between the tackles. Redshirt sophomore Eric Herman (6-4, 300) started all but one game at right guard last year -- and he battled through the final four games with torn ligaments in his ankle. Surgery on that ankle forced Herman to the sidelines for spring ball, but that allowed other guys to get valuable snaps.

Sophomore Vince Carlotta (6-4, 289), who shared time at left guard last fall before suffering a concussion and broken hand, earned the starting job there during the spring. Sophomore James Davis (6-2, 295) and junior Kadre Pinder (6-2, 301) enter the fall as backups who deserve snaps. Sophomore Skyler Allen (6-3, 277) takes over at center for the graduated David White.

In case you didn't notice, none of the eight guys listed above are seniors. "We're looking forward to working with these guys for the next two years," Albin said.

DEFENSIVE LINE
If you're looking for a weakness in Ohio's defense, don't waste time checking here. The Bobcats retain four senior starters and feel pretty darn good about their backups as well. Don't underestimate the importance of the latter half of that sentence.

"We basically stuck with four down linemen toward the end of last year," said defensive coordinator Jimmy Burrow. "That wore us down a little bit."

Senior defensive end Dak Notestine (6-3, 250) serves as the best proof of that. The former walk-on delivered four sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in Ohio's first seven games, but he settled for 2.5 sacks and just 0.5 TFL during the Bobcats' last seven games.

"The first half of last year, he played at an All-MAC caliber," Burrow said. "It was just the number of reps he had to play. He can really run, and he's turning into the total package at defensive end. He does a good job on a tight end and also over a tackle."

Senior Stafford Gatling (6-4, 239), who posted two sacks and 5.5 TFL last season, handles the opposite end of the line. Like Notestine, he began his career as a linebacker and moved down to take advantage of his quickness.

"He's even faster than Dak," Burrow said. "He's got great length in his arms and he's strong."

Junior Curtis Meyers (6-2, 257) serves as the top backup, but he should be viewed as something more. He was ticketed to start last fall before suffering a season-ending knee injury during two-a-days. Meyers posted two sacks in 2008 and scored a touchdown against Ohio State when he fell on a bad shotgun snap in the end zone. "He has a great motor," Burrow said. "There's a meanness to him that we like."

Redshirt sophomore Tremayne Scott (6-4, 249) produced two sacks last year, including one in the MAC championship game against Central Michigan. He'll be in the rotation as well, while sophomore Melvin Payne (6-2, 232) is a converted middle linebacker who Ohio plans to put on the field in pass-rush situations.

Ohio welcomes back third-team All-MAC tackle Ernie Hodge (6-2, 292) and Marcellis Williamson (6-1, 340) as the anchors to its defense. Both are seniors. Hodge delivered 48 tackles and 5.5 TFL last year while Williamson notched 46 tackles, 6.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks. They're athletic specimens who, despite their heft, fulfill the Bobcats' speed-first philosophy.

"I had thoughts of Ernie as a linebacker about 60 pounds ago," Burrow said. "He's been our most consistent lineman for three years. Marcellis' motor is good enough that you'll see him making plays from sideline-to-sideline, which is particularly impressive for a 330-pounder."

Junior Jeff King (6-1, 269) and sophomore Neal Huynh (6-3, 279) aren't too far behind Hodge and Williamson and will receive ample snaps in line coach Pete Germano's rotation.

LINEBACKERS
One of the best things about Solich's previous life at Nebraska (a life shared by many of his assistants) is the fact Ohio has the contacts to sneak into the state and grab some terrific players.

That's how it worked with senior middle linebacker Noah Keller (6-1, 227), who led Nebraska's Kearney High School to a state title before making an immediate and lasting impact with the Bobcats. Keller enters his final year with a pair of second-team All-MAC seasons on his resume, including a 2009 campaign where he finished sixth in the nation in tackles (11.1 per game). He set a MAC championship-game record with 16 stops against Central Michigan and followed that performance with 17 tackles against Marshall in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

"He's a heck of an athlete with speed," Burrow said. "He's very smart. He's the glue that holds the defense together. Noah's a true inside 'backer, but he plays in space, too."

Keller won't have his usual running mates in 2010 as first-team All-MAC weak-side linebacker Lee Renfro and usual strong-side starter Errik Ejike have graduated. Junior Eric Benjamin (5-11, 211), who posted 30 tackles while subbing in every game last year, takes over on the weak side. The former safety has the speed and consistency Burrow treasures.

When the Bobcats start in the 4-3, sophomore Alphonso Lewis (6-1, 206) gets first call at the Sam. Lewis (20 tackles in 2009) is yet another burner who's building up the strength to play linebacker. When the Bobcats start in the nickel, senior corner Shannon Ballard (5-11, 193) makes the start. Ballard returned a fumble 75 yards for a score against Marshall in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Ohio's top subs at linebacker are either guys who began their career at safety or guys who also can move up to play defensive end in a pass-rushing pinch. Senior Chad Clemens (5-11, 214) and sophomore Jelani Woseley (6-2, 208) are the outside backups, while junior Jay Edwards (6-0, 228) and sophomore Brandon Weaver (6-2, 215) are Keller's understudies in the middle. Weaver lettered as a true freshman, but he took a redshirt last fall after suffering an injury in Week 2 against North Texas.

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Let's have Burrow, Ohio's veteran defensive coordinator, be as blunt as possible for a moment: "We did lose two great corners. How good we'll be depends on how our corners come on. We're going to need them all."

On paper, the Bobcats have the potential to be just fine ... but many of their corners haven't been able to get on the field because of injury. One exception is senior Julian Posey (5-11, 187), the older brother of Ohio State receiver DeVier Posey. One of the Bobcats' best athletes flashed his big-play ability last year when he returned an interception 41 yards for a score against Northern Illinois and posted a 59-yard interception return against Kent State.

Junior Kenny Jackson (5-9, 168) and sophomore Travis Carrie (6-0, 203) are the leading candidates to start at the other corner, but both missed spring ball because of injuries. Carrie sat out last fall as well while Jackson returned an interception 69 yards for a score against North Texas in his limited time.

Junior college transfer Omar Leftwich (6-1, 190) took advantage of others' injuries to leap onto the two-deep during spring ball. And, of course, Ohio can put senior nickel back Shannon Ballard at corner if necessary. "He's one of our better 'press' guys," Burrow said. And don't count out redshirt freshman Xavier Hughes (6-1, 159), a converted safety who picked off a bunch of passes during the spring.

Fortunately for Ohio, the safety spots appear to be more settled. Sophomore free safety Gerald Moore (6-1, 191) earned third-team All-MAC honors after picking off six passes -- including two in the MAC East showdown with Temple -- and making 68 tackles. "He's got the size and speed to get where he needs to be," Burrow said.

Senior Steven Jackson (6-2, 198) entered last fall with high hopes after reaping third-team All-MAC honors in 2008. He posted 24 tackles and one interception in four games last year before taking a redshirt year because of a groin problem. He was protected from spring ball, which gave senior Donovan Fletcher (6-0, 201) a chance to take the strong safety job from Jackson. Fletcher, who started two games and posted 42 tackles in 2009, is the brother of St. Louis Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher.

Senior Hilton Dawson III (6-0, 207) and redshirt freshman Jeremy Green (6-0, 180) are in the mix for playing time as well. The coaches had high hopes for Dawson last year before a knee injury truncated his season after one game.

SPECIAL TEAMS
The Bobcats lost first-team All-MAC kick returner Chris Garrett, whose 95-yard touchdown was the highlight of his 27.0 yards per return. But if conference rivals had their choice, they probably would have preferred senior punt returner LaVon Brazill to have been the one to graduate. Brazill, a second-team All-MAC pick, returned three punts for scores and averaged 13.5 yards each time he touched the ball.

Running back Donte Harden, who returned five kicks for 76 yards last fall, has the most experience on the roster and headed into the offseason as the team's most likely candidate.

KICKERS
Sophomore Matt Weller (6-0, 208) earned first-team All-MAC honors after a solid rookie year. He drilled 21-of-29 field goals, including 9-of-13 from 40 yards and beyond, with a long of 52 yards.

Weller converted just 32-of-36 extra points.

PUNTERS
Matt Schulte had one year of eligibility to go, but Ohio sent him packing after an off-field incident in December as the Bobcats prepped for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Junior Paul Hershey (6-3, 190), listed as a wide receiver on the NCAA's official roster in 2009, handled the punting against Marshall and did all the punting during the spring.

NEWCOMERS
As part of Ohio's plan to compete for another MAC title, the Bobcats signed four junior college transfers to supplement their already solid upperclassmen. Running back Ken Ashley could make the biggest impact, though cornerback Omar Leftwich has a chance after enrolling in time for spring practices.

 

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