For Iona Holloway, these past two weeks have been a telling time for the Syracuse field hockey team. Four starters from the beginning of the season were left home from a road trip to Albany Oct. 10 and have slowly made their way back onto the field. But in their absence, an internal search began. SU also struggled to find a leader last year, with only two seniors on the squad.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text ‘Last year we didn’t have a leader as such, and this year we are on the hunt for one. I think people are really stepping up over the last couple of weeks, and that’s really big for us,’ said Holloway, a sophomore back. One player Holloway is quick to mention who has stepped up for the team in the role is junior midfield Nicole Nelson. For a team that has had its ups and downs this year, Nelson has seen playing time in every game of the season and is described by head coach Ange Bradley as one of the most consistent players on the team. But to Holloway, it’s not just Nelson’s reliability that makes her an easy candidate for the role of leader. It’s the fact that Nelson has not only stepped up her game this season, but the performance of others. She has become one of the more vocal players on the team and provided on-field guidance for a team searching for direction. ‘Nicole has always been a vocal player, but I think this year she has really had to step up,’ Holloway said. ‘Especially this year, she is playing more of a central role. Last year I think she was more of a left back. It’s more significant, her communicating, because it’s a more pivotal position on the field. She speaks more now than she did, but I’ve always heard her.’ For Nelson, it wasn’t always certain what her role on the team would be. As a freshman, she came in and got some playing time at forward early on, but was then forced to play left back when one of the older players went down with an injury. Before she even knew it, Nelson was starting in a final four matchup against then-No. 2 Wake Forest. SU director of player development Guy Cathro remembers Nelson stepping up in those games and how composed the freshman seemed going against the best of the best. Two years later, Cathro isn’t surprised by the fact that Nelson has developed into one of the steadiest players on the team. Her contributions may not be immediately visible on the stat sheet — Nelson has only one goal on the year and no assists — but Cathro can see the growth. ‘She is doing very well at stepping up,’ Cathro said. ‘She understands the game well. She reads the game phenomenally well, and she is very confident in controlling the players around her, and she knows what she wants people to do.’ Nelson’s role as communicator became even more important when second team All-American Amy Kee went down with a knee injury and struggled with what Bradley called inconsistent play. Kee missed a total of four games with the injury and has come off the bench in a total of seven games so far this year. Kee, the team’s second-leading scorer from a year ago, has since started the past three games and is back to her form of last year. But in her absence, it was Nelson who filled the void. For Nelson, it wasn’t hard to adjust to being more vocal. It was simply second nature. ‘I naturally talk a lot,’ Nelson said with a laugh. ‘So I guess on the field it just comes out.’ With Nelson’s emergence and Kee’s return, the team has taken on a new form. Senior back Maggie Befort has gone from playing back at the start of the year to playing forward — a position she played as a freshman when she registered 35 points. Since the change, the Orange defense has given up only four goals in five games — and even held Georgetown without a shot during that stretch. For Bradley, Nelson is a player who she can trust and a player who she knows can take care of the team. When asked if Nelson is a player she considers to be one of the leaders on her team, Bradley responded without hesitation. Said Bradley: ‘Absolutely.’ email@example.com Published on October 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments
Both men will be at the Dublin Convention Centre this afternoon for the latest leg of their global tour to drum-up excitement ahead of their battle for Aldo’s featherweight title in Las Vegas.Other Irish UFC stars, Cathal Pendred, Aisling Daly, Paddy Holohan and Neil Seery will also be at today’s event.
The hordes of fans waited patiently outside the store, hoping they could either scream Jeremy Lin’s name or touch his hand. But instead of further inciting a mob scene near the Foot Locker at Westfield Mall in Culver City on Thursday, Lin slipped through the back entrance. Will Lin navigate his first season with the Lakers just as easily? “I just got to by myself and play my game. Everything else will take care of itself,” Lin said shortly before promoting his Adidas shoes and signing autographs for fans. “Going into my fifth year in the league, I’m not too worried about all the unknowns and uncertainties. I’m just focused on my own performance.”Lin’s shoe unveiling attracted both heavy turnout among fans and Asian media outlets and reinforced his following stays strong after sparking “Linsanity” amid a breakout season with the New York Knicks three years ago. As the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent, Lin’s global appeal only heightened his breakout season. Yet, Lin dismissed any ensuing hype, including whether he could win the starting point guard spot over Steve Nash. That’s why Lin spent the majority of his offseason working on his defense, footwork and explosiveness in the hopes of becoming what he calls an “elite defender.” Lin also believes his various starting and bench roles the past two seasons with the Rockets will help him adapt to any plan the Lakers take in limiting Nash’s minutes. “It gives me versatility,” Lin said. “I pretty much have seen it all, a lot of highs and lows in my career. I’ve been through it all. I feel like barring a devastating injury, I don’t think there is anything I haven’t seen or experienced.” That included receiving a warm reception in his first public appearance in Los Angeles, something Lin hopes he can replicate this season with a basketball in his hand. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I’d be just as excited as if I didn’t (start),” Lin said. “I honestly believe it’s more about what my role looks like in the grand scheme of things. I’ve started and not played in the fourth quarter. Then I haven’t started and I played the last 16-18 minutes of the game. For me, starting is pretty irrelevant.”That’s partly because Lin reported positive assessments of both Kobe Bryant and Nash after playing in a handful of pickup games with them this offseason. Bryant and Nash appeared in only a combined 21 games amid persisting knee and back injuries, respectively.“They both look really good and really healthy,” Lin said of Bryant and Nash. “That’s the biggest thing for us. Health is going to be a huge factor for us this upcoming season. They were moving well and looked much better than they did last year.”Still, the Lakers acquired Lin this offseason from Houston partly to provide a reinforcement for a possibly ailing Nash. Lakers coach Byron Scott also gushed about Lin’s foot speed and aggressiveness, mentioning that he shot 57.8 percent off drives last season, a mark that only trailed LeBron James (63.8 percent).“Maybe I should just keep attacking the basket more,” Lin joked. “In the NBA, you have to be great at something. For me it’s attacking the basket. I’ll just continue to work on that and shore up other areas of my game.”