Tuesday, March 31, 2015

XU caps California trip with victories vs. No. 19 Lewis-Clark

LA MIRADA, California -- Xavier University of Louisiana concluded its tennis trip to the Golden State with victories Tuesday against Lewis-Clark State. The Gold Nuggets won 7-2, and the Gold Rush won 9-0.

The Gold Nuggets (15-8) were 4-0 on the trip, all against NAIA top-25 opponents. The Gold Rush (12-6) were 3-1, including two victories against top-10 teams.

Four XU doubles teams -- Nour Abbes-Carmen Nelson and Brion Flowers-Brandi Nelson for the Nuggets, Tushar Mandlekar-Manav Chakma and Kevin Chaout-Adam Albrecht for the Rush -- were 4-0 on the trip. Including singles, Abbes was 7-0, Brandi Nelson was 6-0, and Carmen Nelson, Albrecht and Mandlekar were 7-1 apiece. Flowers and Chakma were 6-1 apiece.

Abbes clinched the Nuggets' dual with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Putri Dwinta. Kyle Montrel beat Yonas Woldetsadik 6-2, 6-2 to clinch for the Rush.

The NAIA's coaches polls were announced after the duals were decided. Xavier's men remained No. 6 -- their 34th consecutive top-10 appearance -- and Lewis-Clark State (3-6) dropped from 19th to 20th. Xavier's women remained seventh -- their 21st consecutive time in the top 10 -- and Lewis-Clark State (3-11) fell from 19th to 21st.

Next for Xavier will be duals against Auburn Montgomery's second-ranked women and third-ranked men at 2:30 p.m. April 10 -- one week from Friday -- at XU Tennis Center.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

TSU Tiger Camp Update: Special Teams

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The Tennessee State football team kicked off the third week of spring drills, Monday, with an afternoon practice session.

All three units showed marked improvements including the squad’s special teams.

The unit welcomes back sophomore kicker Lane Clark who will look to improve upon last year’s true freshman campaign and become a weapon for the team. Clark spent a lot of time in the weight room in the offseason, adding to his 45+ yard kicking range.

Clark will have to overcome the loss of holder Leon Holderhead, leaving the position in flux. Quarterback Ronald Butler has done most of the holding in spring, but he may have more pressing duties come fall.

Holderhead was also the team’s punter in 2014 and fellow Butte College standout Geordie Bunn will not arrive on campus until the summer. Therefore, the Tigers have been trying out different punters this spring including Clark.

TSU had the luxury of two returners last season, but De’Ante Saunders and Darion Hall both exhausted their eligibilities. Big Blue has tried a bevy of players at the spots this spring to find the best suited players for the jobs.

All three units will next take the field on Wednesday at 4 p.m.


Former DSU All-American Dan Candeloro takes football reins for Caesar Rodney High School

CAMDEN, Delaware -- Dan Candeloro remained patient and continued to gain experience as an assistant coach. Then, on Monday, he landed one of the premier high school football coaching jobs in Delaware.

The Caesar Rodney football team was assembled in the gym, and a loud cheer went up as Candeloro was announced as the Riders' new coach. He replaces Mike Schonewolf, who announced his retirement following last season but remains as CR's athletic director through the end of the school year.

"It's something I've been looking forward to, if given the opportunity," Candeloro said. "There are some big shoes to fill, a lot of questions to answer, a lot of work to be done. But I think we're ready to go."

The 50-year-old graduated from Dickinson High, then became one of the most decorated players in Delaware State's football history.


Morgan State Football Pro Day Set for April 1

BALTIMORE, Maryland – Darren Pinnock, the 2014 MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year, will be among 13 Bears who will work out for pro scouts tomorrow morning.

The reigning MEAC co-champion Morgan State football program will hold its annual Pro Day on Wednesday, April 1 beginning at approximately 8 a.m. in Hill Field House.

"Pro days are about proving yourself, and I plan on doing my best and having fun," said Pinnock. "I have been training at Morgan while finishing up school. It's been challenging, but I feel ready."

Pro scouts will be on hand to evaluate a selection of MSU football seniors and former Bears as they go through a series of drills and workouts. The Bears will begin with leaping and bench evaluations in Hill Field House before moving into Hughes Stadium for speed and agility evaluations.

For more information, please stay tuned to MorganStateBears.com.


Nuggets Tame Lions, but Unbeaten Vanguard Men Defeat XU


COSTA MESA, California — Xavier University of Louisiana defeated Vanguard 8-1 in women's tennis Monday, but the XU men lost 6-3 to the Lions.

The Gold Nuggets (14-8), ranked seventh in the NAIA, are 3-0 against top-25 opponents during their trip to the Golden State. The Gold Rush (11-6) lost to fourth-ranked Vanguard (19-0) after beating top-10 teams Saturday and Sunday.

The XU women swept the doubles for the second consecutive day. They got doubles and singles victories from Caroline Vernet, Carmen Nelson and Simone-Alyse Ewell, all of whom defeated regionally ranked singles players.

Nelson clinched the dual and stretched her singles win streak to a season-best four matches with her 6-0, 7-6 (7-3) victory against Ashley Wao-Udin. Sha'Nel Bruins won her sixth in a row, 7-5, 6-1 against Brooke Ferslov-Jensen.

At the top flight, Vernet and Ewell defeated Sarah Edwards and Nataliya Yamkova 8-3. Vernet earned consecutive doubles victories for the first time since Feb. 7-8.

Vanguard's women are 5-12 and ranked 15th.

In the men's dual, Vanguard opted to start with singles matches — and won 5-of-6. Manav Chakma earned the lone Gold Rush victory, a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 decision against Michael Rjazanov, who was 12-1 this semester.

Xavier's Nikita Soifer and Tushar Mandlekar won first singles sets. Mandlekar had a match point at 5-4 in the second set before losing 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 to Filip Burnac. Adam Albrecht led 4-3 in his first set and was serving for the second set at 5-4 before losing 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) to Daymon Johnson.

Nour Abbes

Vanguard's top three singles players, Stefan Kilchhofer, Fabio Silva and Roger Muri, improved their spring records to a combined 53-0 by beating Kyle Montrel, Soifer and Jordan Harrell.

Silva (19-0) beat Soifer 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Kilchhofer, ranked third in the NAIA, is 16-0 after beating Montrel 6-3, 6-3. Muri is 18-0 after defeating Harrell 6-1, 6-1.

Then the Gold Rush won 2-of-3 doubles matches, and not all the Vanguard streaks survived. Mandlekar and Chakma beat Silva and Burnac 8-3, the Lions' first loss of the season at No. 2. Burnac entered 17-0.

Kevin Chaouat and Albrecht defeated Johnson and Rjazanov 8-3 at the third flight. But Montrel and Soifer, the NAIA's sixth-ranked doubles team, lost for the third consecutive day, this time 8-6 to third-ranked Kilchhofer and Muri.

"A very close match on the men's side," XU coach Alan Green said. "We had chances to win the thing, but it wasn't to be."

Both Xavier teams will conclude their trip by playing Lewis-Clark State at 10 a.m. PDT Tuesday at Biola University in La Mirada. Both LC State teams are ranked 19th in the NAIA. The Rush and Nuggets will fly home Tuesday evening.

NOTES: The Nuggets are 4-2 this season against ranked NAIA opponents, and the Rush are 6-2 . . . The Nuggets have won 10 of their last 13 duals . . . New NAIA coaches polls will be announced Tuesday afternoon . . . Vanguard announced March 5 that it will discontinue men's and women's tennis after the 2014-15 academic year.

Caroline Vernet

Women's Tennis Results
Xavier 8, Vanguard 1

Monday, March 30, 2015
Costa Mesa Tennis Center, Costa Mesa, Calif.

No. 1 — Caroline Vernet - Simone-Alyse Ewell (XU) d. Sarah Edwards-Nataliya Yamkova (VU) 8-3.
No. 2 — Nour Abbes-Carmen Nelson (XU) d. Gabrielle Alford - Brooke Ferslov-Jensen (VU) 8-6.
No. 3 — Brion Flowers-Brandi Nelson (XU) d. Ashley Wao-Udin-Michaele Sullivan (VU) 8-2.

No. 1 — Caroline Vernet (XU) d. Sarah Edwards (VU) 6-1, 6-0.
No. 2 — Carmen Nelson (XU) d. Ashley Wao-Udin (VU) 6-0, 7-6 (7-3).
No. 3 — Simone-Alyse Ewell (XU) d. Gabrielle Alford (VU) 6-1, 6-3.
No. 4 — Sha'Nel Bruins (XU) d. Brooke Ferslov-Jensen (VU) 7-5, 6-1.
No. 5 — Jana van der Walt (XU) d. Michaele Sullivan (VU) 3-6, 6-0, 1-0 (10-8).
No. 6 — Nataliya Yamkova (VU) d. Dasia Harris (XU) 6-4, 6-4.

Order of Finish: Doubles — 3, 1, 2. Singles — 1, 2, 6, 4, 3, 5.
Records: Xavier 14-8, Vanguard 5-12.

Men's Tennis Results
Vanguard 6, Xavier 3

Monday, March 30, 2015
Costa Mesa Tennis Center, Costa Mesa, Calif.

No. 1 — Stefan Kilchhofer (VU) d. Kyle Montrel (XU) 6-3, 6-3.
No. 2 — Fabio Silva (VU) d. Nikita Soifer (XU) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
No. 3 — Roger Muri (VU) d. Jordan Harrell (XU) 6-1, 6-1.
No. 4 — Filip Burnac (VU) d. Tushar Mandlekar (XU) 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.
No. 5 — Daymon Johnson (VU) d. Adam Albrecht (XU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
No. 6 — Manav Chakma (XU) d. Michael Rjazanov (VU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

No. 1 — Stefan Kilchhofer-Roger Muri (VU) d. Kyle Montrel-Nikita Soifer (XU) 8-6.
No. 2 — Tushar Mandlekar-Manav Chakma (XU) d. Fabio Silva-Filip Burnac (VU) 8-3.
No. 3 — Kevin Chaouat-Adam Albrecht (XU) d. Daymon Johnson-Michael Rjazanov (VU) 8-3.

Order of Finish: Singles — 3, 1, 2, 6, 5, 4. Doubles — 2, 3, 1.
Records: Xavier 11-6, Vanguard 19-0.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

FAMU Rattlers Making Progress



Bryant's dream of playing Division 1 football comes true at MVSU

ITTA BENA, Mississippi -- When thinking about playing college football, Lucas Bryant’s approach followed the adage ‘go big or go home.’

The Jefferson County High School senior offensive lineman decided if he couldn’t play Division 1 football, he wouldn’t play at all.

When D1-AA Mississippi Valley State University came calling this spring, Bryant’s lofty goal began to unfold in front of his eyes.

“It just all seems like its going to work out for me,” Bryant said at a signing last Wednesday. “I was planning on not playing if it wasn’t division one.”

The 6’4” 360-pound lineman was recruited by a senior player of the MSVU squad and then received his only Division 1 offer from the Delta Devils.

Bryant has been a force on the Jefferson County offensive line for the past two seasons, and he hopes to continue that level of play in MSVU’s Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) this fall.


Monday, March 30, 2015

History made: FAMU Wind Symphony becomes first HBCU ensemble to play Carnegie Hall

FAMU Wind Symphony has been invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2016.

NEW YORK, New York -- It’s official. Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Wind Symphony makes history Sunday becoming the first classical ensemble from a historically Black college or university (HBCU) to perform at Carnegie Hall and is on its way to the Kennedy Center in 2016.

The ensemble performed to a mostly full house Sunday at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Dr. Shelby Chipman, associate professor and director of symphonic bands at FAMU.

“This is an opportunity for us to perform on a main stage that’s incomparable to any stage in the world,” Chipman said. “The students have been working very diligently the last couple of months.

Performing a 40-minute set featuring five pieces, the nearly 60-member wind symphony played Donald Hunberger’s arrangement of John Williams' "Star Wars Trilogy," the powerful composition "Cloudburst" and Bob Lowden’s rousing "Dixieland Jam" which featured several soloists in the band and audience participation.

A highlight of the concert was the wind symphony’s finale, David Maslanka’s "Symphony No. 7, Mvt. III." To prepare for the performance, Maslanka Skyped in during rehearsals to help the band with the intricate piece.


3 storylines to watch as Bethune-Cookman’s football team opens spring practice

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- There will be plenty to keep an eye on when the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats step on the field today for their first spring practice.

It will be Terry Sims’ first practice after replacing Brian Jenkins, who left for Alabama State in December, as the team’s head coach.

And it’s the beginning of a trek that could lead, provided B-CU can win the MEAC, to the newly created Celebration Bowl on Dec. 19 in Atlanta.

Here are a few story lines to watch as practice begins:

1. Eyes on the QBs
It will be interesting to see how Sims handles the quarterback position. Quentin Williams returns for his final season after passing for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns last season, but Larry Brihm, an athletic player who will be a redshirt sophomore, came on late last year and passed for 491 yards and four touchdowns.

2. The top target


Florida A&M Rattlers to play at Fenway Park next month

The Red Sox and sponsors will pay the expenses, including air travel and hotel for the Rattlers and NCCU Eagles.

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- The Florida A&M baseball team will make a historic road trip next month.

Courtesy of the Boston Red Sox.

The Rattlers and North Carolina Central will play at Fenway Park – home to the Boston Red Sox – on Saturday, April 25, at 10 a.m.

The game was scheduled by the organization to showcase HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) teams to Boston and surrounding areas.

Fenway Park has been home of the Red Sox since it opened in 1912 and is the oldest ballpark in the major leagues.

"It should be exciting, and I am happy for the kids to get this opportunity, " FAMU coach Jamey Shouppe said Sunday night.


With 4-3 victory over Grambling, Southern completes first SWAC sweep since April 2013

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- The Southern baseball team entered its weekend series against Grambling having lost five consecutive games to drop to 3-15 overall and 2-6 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Three games and three victories later, the Jaguars’ season looks like it might be changing course.

Coach Roger Cador cautioned afterward that he wants to see the improvement sustained for longer than one series, but the weekend was a good start.

Tyler Kirksey and Jose de la Torre homered, and Tyler Robinson rebounded from a poor outing Tuesday to pitch 8.2 solid innings as Southern completed the series sweep with a 4-3 victory at Lee-Hines Field.

Sunday’s victory in Southern’s first one-run game this season came on the heels of 10-1 and 9-6 victories Saturday and gave the Jaguars their first SWAC series sweep in two years. The last one came when Grambling visited April 20-21, 2013.


Nuggets, Rush beat ranked Northwestern Ohio teams

Wayne Bryan, father of the world's No. 1 men's doubles team, won't be at every match
 during XU's California trip. "But he's a fan of us now," XU coach Alan Green said.

WHITTIER, California  -- For the second time this season, Xavier University of Louisiana's tennis teams defeated ranked opponents on the same day. The Gold Nuggets beat Northwestern Ohio, ranked 24th in the NAIA, 8-1 Sunday, and the Gold Rush beat UNOH's 10th-ranked men 6-3.

The Gold Nuggets (13-8) are ranked seventh in the NAIA, and the Gold Rush (11-5) are sixth. The XU men beat a top-10 opponent for the second straight day, and the Nuggets beat a top-25 team for the second time in three days.

Nour Abbes, Caroline Vernet, Carmen Nelson and Simone-Alyse Ewell won in doubles and singles for Xavier's women. Abbes and Nelson trailed 7-4 before winning the final five games in a 9-7 No. 2 doubles victory against Kate Bondarenko and Vladica Djurdjevic.

Vernet rallied at No. 2 singles in a 2-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-4) victory against Djurdjevic. Abbes defeated 15th-ranked Melena Lopez 6-2, 6-1 to clinch the dual, and Nelson beat 48th-ranked Raquel Marques 6-3, 6-2.

Vernet and Ewell won 8-0 at No. 1 doubles against Lopez and Marques. Brion Flowers and Brandi Nelson defeated Valeria Popko and Ana Lacerda 8-5.

Ewell beat Bondarenko 6-4, 7-5, and Sha'Nel Bruins defeated Lacerda 6-4, 6-3 for her fifth consecutive singles victory.

In the men's dual, Xavier followed the same script of Saturday, when it beat eighth-ranked Westmont. Tushar Mandlekar and Adam Albrecht won in doubles and singles, and Kyle Montrel and Nikita Soifer beat ranked singles opponents.

Albrecht and Kevin Chaouat trailed 6-3 before earning a 9-7 No. 3 doubles victory against Ronnie Myburgh and Akira Kuwada. Albrecht beat Gabriel Cleto 6-2, 6-1.

Mandlekar and Manav Chakma needed a tiebreaker to defeat 11th-ranked Rik van Gerwen and Emin Alpan 9-8 (7-5), and Mandlekar clinched the dual with his 7-5, 6-4 victory against Alpan.

Montrel beat ninth-ranked Daniel Rueda 6-4, 6-2, and Soifer defeated 29th-ranked van Gerwen 6-0, 7-5.

UNOH's women are 8-6, and its men are 10-5. Site of the duals was Whittier College, an NCAA Division III member.

Next for the Nuggets and Rush will be 1 p.m. PDT duals at Vanguard in Costa Mesa, Calif. Vanguard's women are 5-11 and ranked 15th -- UNOH defeated them 5-4 Friday -- and the men are 18-0 and ranked fourth.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Florida A&M Rattlers Hold Spirited Second Scrimmage Of Spring

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – The Florida A&M Rattler Football team held their second scrimmage of the spring today, in a split practice that started on the practice field and ended with live plays inside of Bragg Memorial Stadium. The improvement in understanding and executing Coach Alex Wood’s philosophy is becoming evident as players are beginning to separate themselves within the system. Of crucial importance is the ability of quarterback Carson Royal to understand what the Rattler offense is trying to accomplish.

The day started with stretching, position drills, segment drills and special teams on the Rattler practice fields. With an audience of a couple hundred curious fans, changes have become evident. Former FAMU quarterback and three-time MVP Albert Chester Sr., traveled from Jacksonville, Fla., to get a glimpse of what is to come. “It’s different. I felt the difference five minutes into seeing them. The way these coaches run practice reminds me of the way Rudy Hubbard ran practice. I’m seeing a sense of purpose and attention to detail that it takes for the team to look good,” he said. Chester, led the Rattlers to booth an undefeated season in 1977 and the inaugural NCAA I-AA national championship in 1978.

The scrimmage was enhanced by NCAA-sanctioned officials. An oversized crew was on hand to judge both drill segments and the scrimmage portion. They were there to ensure that the Rattlers’ execution was not only what the coaches wanted, but compliant within the rules. Alignment and techniques were critiqued by the officials, who reported their findings to the Rattler staff and players at the conclusion of practice. They also called penalties during the live portion of the scrimmage.

Wood felt the day was a positive step for the team. “I thought today was very competitive, which was good. That’s what we’re looking for…competition at all positions. We’re also looking for execution. For the first time, I saw in the first and second offense and defense execution that was clean with not too many penalties. We had a couple (penalties) and those were coaching and teaching moments. Overall, I thought it was a good day,” Wood said.

The first team offense started the scrimmage with a 10-play drive for a score. The second team offense also put up a score. But, the Rattler defense stiffened and began to come up with big plays as the practice ensued. The ebb and flow of practice was a product of the players beginning to understand what’s expected of them and now trying to put their talents into it.

Wood stated that Royal has begun to separate himself from the other quarterbacks in camp. “Carson is coming along well. We’ve still got some work to do with him as far as some mechanical things throwing wise and making him super conscious of situations as he manages the game for us from an offensive perspective,” Wood said. He also added that he has cleared himself as the offensive leader during practice thus far.

The Rattlers will break until Tuesday when they resume morning practice at 5:45 a.m. in Bragg Stadium. The Orange & Green Spring Game will be held on Apri. 11, at 2 p.m. in Bragg Stadium.

2015 season football tickets are available now at the FAMU Ticket Office, located in the Al Lawson Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium, and can be secured by visiting, or calling the office at (850)599-3141. Tickets to the North End Zone Experience are also available for pre-purchase at the ticket office.


Claflin U. Baseball Takes Two from In-State Rival Benedict

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina  -- The Claflin University Panthers took the first two games of a three-game Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) series from in-state rival Benedict College, sweeping a doubleheader, 4-2 and 6-4 Saturday at Historic Mirmow Field.  The two teams will close out the series Sunday at Historic Mirmow Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

With the win, Claflin, who has won their eighth straight conference game, secured its fourth straight SIAC series.  With the wins, the Panthers improved to 14-19 overall 10-1 in the East Division of the SIAC.  Benedict drops to 12-14 overall and 5-4 in conference play.

In Game One, Jesse minter had a RBI single to score Johnny Stevenson in the bottom of the third to give Claflin the early lead.  Benedict tied the game in the top of the fourth off a RBI fielder's choice by Andre Collum to drive in Shomarii Thomas and tie the game at 1-all.  Rashad Bivens hit a three-run inside the park homerun in the bottom of the six to break the 1-1 tie and give the Panthers the 4-1 advantage. The Tigers, who had bases loaded with one out in the top of the seventh, managed to only place one run on the board en route to the two-run Game One loss.

Sixto Guerrero had two hits and Stevenson and Jesse Minter each had one run in the win.

Justin Vreeland pitched six strong innings in picking up his third win in six decisions. He allowed two runs on eight hits and two walks.  Anthony Ford, who replaced Vreeland with bases loaded, picked up the save.

Kevin Davis had three hits to lead Benedict in Game One.  Andrew McCoy added two hits and an RBI while Robert Troiano took the loss for the Tigers.

Benedict got on the board first in Game Two, scoring one run in the top of the first.  The Panther scored three of their six runs in the bottom of the third.  After Minter reached base via walk, Rashad Hilton tripled to bring Minter in the bottom of the third for the Panthers first run of the game. In the same inning,Reginald Rogers reached base via walk and stole second, which gave Claflin runners on second and third with one out.  A wild pitch allowed Hilton to score and advanced Rogers to third. Rogers scored on a squeeze by Jabari Brown to give the Panthers 3-1 advantage by the bottom of the third.   Benedict scored one run in the top of the fourth, but Claflin picked up two runs in its half the fourth to push its lead to 5-2.  Both teams added runs in the fifth and Benedict scored the game's last run in the sixth en route to falling 6-4.

Darius Boykins pitched his seventh complete game in picking up the win for Claflin.  Boykins, who increase his record to 5-2, gave up four runs on 10 hits and a walk. He threw 114 pitches and fanned three batters in going the distance.

 Davis went 2-3 with two runs to lead Benedict offensively in Game Two.  Devon Leon suffered the loss for Tigers.



Badgers saddle Thorobreds in SIAC doubleheader

MOBILE, Alabama -- The Spring Hill College (SHC) baseball team won two Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) games over the Kentucky State University (KSU) Thorobreds by the scores of 19-6 and 12-1 at historic Stan Galle Field on Saturday afternoon.

The Thorobreds took a quick 4-0 lead in the 1st inning of the first game off a Grand Slam by first baseman Marshall Howard, but the Badgers rallied back to take a 6-5 lead with a four-run 3rd inning. KSU tied it up again at 6-6 in the 4th frame, but Spring Hill erupted for 11 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning.

Senior starter Jackson Howard moved to 6-0 on the year with five innings of work that included six hits, five walks and six strikeouts. Josh Dunn (2-4) took the loss for KSY in three innings with eight hits, seven walks and three strikeouts.

The second game saw Stephen Douglas (4-1) pick up a complete-game victory with just three hits allowed, four walks and 10 strikeouts. Cornell Brown (3-1) took his first loss of the year with a complete-game in which he surrendered 17 hits with three walks and four strikeouts.


Rush earn 3rd win of season against a top-10 opponent

Xavier records its fifth victory this season against a ranked NAIA
opponent -- its third against a top-10 team.

SANTA BARBARA, California -- Xavier University of Louisiana earned its third men's tennis victory of the season against a top-10 opponent by defeating Westmont 7-2 Saturday.

The Gold Rush (10-5) -- ranked sixth in the NAIA and in the first of three dual matches in as many days against top-10 teams -- defeated three nationally ranked singles players and one ranked doubles team.

Westmont (8-7) is ranked eighth.

Tushar Mandlekar and Adam Albrecht won in doubles and singles for Xavier. Mandlekar and Manav Chakma defeated 22nd-ranked Jan Sibbel and Christian Mathis 8-4, and Mandlekar beat Sibbel, ranked 46th in singles, 6-3, 6-2.

Albrecht and Kevin Chaouat beat Tommy Nightingale and Travis Smelley 8-2 in the first completed doubles match. Albrecht clinched the dual with his 6-0, 7-6 (7-1) victory against Nightingale.

After losing their doubles match, Xavier's Kyle Montrel and Nikita Soifer dominated in singles. Montrel beat 25th-ranked Carl-Philip Lindqvist 6-1, 6-3, and Soifer ended his three-match singles losing streak by throttling 20th-ranked Luke Whalen 6-0, 6-0.

Xavier's other victory came from Jordan Harrell, who beat Joshua Barnard 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. Harrell had dropped four consecutive three-set decisions.

Both Xavier teams will play Northwestern Ohio at noon PDT Sunday at Whittier College in Whittier, Calif. UNOH's men are ranked 10th in the NAIA, and its women are 24th. Xavier's women, who are ranked seventh, did not play Saturday after winning 7-2 Friday at No. 11 Westmont.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Big Day Including a Game 2 Walk-Off Home Run Lifts FAMU Over NC A&T 10-7 & 3-2

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Alec Wong recorded his first two home runs of the season including a game two walk-off home run to lift Florida A&M (10-15, 6-5 MEAC) to a doubleheader sweep over North Carolina A&T (3-20, 1-9 MEAC) by scores of 10-7 & 3-2 at Moore-Kittles Field on Saturday. Wong had a monster day at the plate as he went 6-for-8 with two home runs, a double, 13 total bases, four runs scored and three RBI in the two games. The Rattler pitching staff only allowed three runs on nine hits over the final 11 innings combined in the doubleheader.

Marlon Gibbs went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in game one, while Ryan Kennedy went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored in game to for FAMU.

Cleveland Westbrook (2-0) pitched the final two outs in the eighth inning with one strikeout to earn his second win of the season in game one and Kenny McDonald struck out the only batter he faced in the ninth inning for his fifth save. McDonald (2-0) also picked up the win in game two after recording the final out in the top of the seventh inning. Game one Rattler starter Chase Jarrell pitched five innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits with four strikeouts in the no decision. Ryan Anderson started game two for Florida A&M and pitched 5.1 innings with just one run on three hits with two strikeouts while also recording a no decision.

NC A&T grabbed a 3-0 lead with three runs on four hits in the top of the second inning. Brandon Wilkerson led off the inning with a single to right and Erik Montero followed with a double to left center to put runners on second and third with no outs. Wilkerson then scored the first run of the game as Adan Ordonez grounded out to short. Ryan Jantsch’s RBI single back up the middle plated Montero and Milton Rivera’s double to right center with two outs scored AJ Hunt, who had singled up the middle, from first for the third run of the inning.

FAMU answered with three runs in the bottom of the second inning to tie the game at 3-3. Jeremy Barlow and Logan Seymour drew back-to-back walks with two outs before Wong roped an RBI double into the right center gap that scored Barlow for the Rattlers first run of the game. With runners now on second and third, AJ Elkins’ then tied the game with a two-run double to left center that brought home both Wong and Seymour.

The Rattlers took their first lead of the day at 6-3 after a pair of home runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Wong blasted his first home run of the season, with one out, in the bottom of the fourth inning and Michael Birdsong crushed a two-run shot over the fence in left center in the fifth inning to give FAMU a 6-3 lead.

North Carolina A&T rallied to tie the game at 6-6 with three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Kyle Clary doubled to left center to lead off the sixth, moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Wilkerson’s RBI single to center. Montero then doubled down the left line to put runners on second on third. Alex Carrasco would come in to relieve starter Jarrell and balked home the runner from third that made the score 6-5. Jantsch tied the game on an RBI groundout to second.

Florida A&M regained the lead at 7-6 with a single run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kennedy was walked for the third time in the game to start the inning and went to second as Brian Davis grounded out to first base. Kennedy went to third on a balk and Birdsong walked to place runners on the corners. Birdsong would steal second before Peter Jackson hit into a fielder’s choice and Kennedy was thrown out at the plate on the play by the shortstop. Birdsong took third base on the throw that went home and the catcher came up throwing to third trying to catch Birdsong. The throw went high into left field allowing Birdsong to come home and give FAMU the one run lead.

NC A&T again tied the game at 7-7 in the eighth with back-to-back one out doubles from Hunt and Jantsch.

The Rattlers would take the lead for good in what proved to be the game one final of 10-7 with three runs in the home half of the eighth inning. Seymour led off the eighth with a walk and took third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run as Wong singled back up the middle. Elkins sac fly to right scored Seymour for the go-ahead run. Gibbs’s then doubled down the right line to score Wong from second. With Gibbs on second and one out, Kennedy walked before Davis’s RBI single through the right side brought home Gibbs for the third run of the inning.

Aggie reliever Jason Gifford (0-1) suffered the loss after working the final 1.2 innings and allowing three runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Starter Mitchell McQueen also pitched a no decision after giving up six runs on five hits with six walks and two strikeouts in 4.1 innings.

In game two, NC A&T again scored first with a single run in the top of the second inning for an early 1-0 lead. Ordonez singled through the right side with two outs and scored all the way from first as Hunt doubled deep into center field.

FAMU grabbed the lead, at 2-1, in the bottom of the third inning as Kennedy blasted his third home run of the season, a two run shot to left field.

The Aggies tied the game at 2-2 with a run in the top of the seventh inning. Montero reached on an infield single with one out and Micah Carmony then came in to pinch run for him at first. Ordonez then doubled in Carmony for the tying run with a ball deep down the left field line. Hunt followed with a walk as runners were now on first and second. Each runner moved up a base on a wild pitch and after Jantsch walked to load the bases with one out, Rattler reliever McDonald came in to record two quick outs on a strikeout and groundout to end the A&T scoring threat.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Wong belted his second home run of the day, a walk-off over the fence in right, to give FAMU the 3-2 win.

NC A&T reliever Jerry Liang (0-4) came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh for the Aggies and gave up the home run to Wong for the game two loss.

Florida A&M and North Carolina A&T will conclude the three-game series on Sunday at Moore-Kittles Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 PM.

As always, fans can follow Rattler Baseball on Twitter @FAMUAthletics and live stats will be available via www.FAMUAthletics.com.




Saturday, March 28, 2015

Privateers Fall on Saturday to Arkansas-Pine Bluff

NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Privateers baseball team (9-17, 2-7 Southland) committed four errors and gave up three two-out runs in the third inning of an 8-3 loss to the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions on Saturday afternoon at Maestri Field at First NBC Ballpark.

Leading 2-1 with two outs in the third, the Privateers gave up a two-run double to right off the bat of Andre Davis to give the Golden Lions a lead they would not relinquish. A single by Jerimiah Figeuroa followed by one of the four errors in the game allowed Davis to score to make it 4-2. Arkansas-Pine Bluff continued to build on their lead while getting a complete game on the mound by Blake Estep.

Estep retired the final 10 batters in order as the Privateers had five fly outs in the final three innings. Of Estep's three runs allowed, just one was earned while he struck out seven batters. "You've got four errors today and you can't give runs away. We didn't hit the ball that well today either," said Coach Ron Maestri.

The Privateers answered a first inning run by Arkansas-Pine Bluff with one of their own in the bottom of the first. Ryan Calloway led off with a single and then registered his sixth stolen base of the year. The throw that tried to nab Calloway went into center, moving him to third. Jonathan Coco followed with an RBI single.

In the third, New Orleans started with back-to-back singles by Matt Rykaczewski and Preston Marsh. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners over. With two outs, Ryan Calloway beat out a ground ball for an infield single that gave the Privateers what would be their only lead of the day.

Jordan Priddle went 4.1 innings and allowed seven runs (three earned) on nine hits. Jarred Taylor recorded his longest outing of the year, going the final 4.2 innings and allowing just one run on four hits. Calloway and Marsh each had two hits at the plate.

For Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Rashawn Tillman went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a run. Davis, Figueroa, and Chris Burns each had two hits while Vladimir Gomez scored two runs. Estep threw 132 pitches in the contest.

The series will conclude tomorrow with a first pitch at 1 p.m.

For more information, follow the Privateers on Twitter @UNOPrivateers and @Privateers_BSB or like us on Facebook.



Former ASU back Cyrus supporting Jenkins, Alabama State

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Malcolm Cyrus' loyalty to Alabama State hasn't wavered.

One of the best running backs to ever play for the Hornets, Cyrus continues to support the school despite the firing of his college coach, Reggie Barlow, allegations being made against new coach Brian Jenkins and ASU reporting potential rules violations under Barlow's watch to the NCAA.

"It doesn't bother me because, to be honest about it, there are a lot things going on at a lot of other schools that we don't know about," Cyrus said. "Ours have just made it to the media. I love Alabama State. There's nothing bad about Alabama State. I'd never put Alabama State down. Alabama State, that's my home. Alabama State comes before any other college, and I was an Auburn fan. Alabama State comes before Auburn."

Cyrus, who led the SWAC in rushing last season with 1,662 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns, said he'd "encourage anybody" to go to Alabama State.


Former Northeast Guilford football coach has new job at SSU

McLEANSVILLE, North Carolina -- Former Northeast Guilford football coach Donovan Jackson has landed at Savannah State as the Tigers’ offensive line coach.

Jackson stepped down with two games to go in Northeast’s 2014 season after compiling a 4-16 record as the Rams’ coach. The Norfolk State alumnus takes over the offensive line for a Savannah State program that went 0-12 overall in 2014 and 0-8 in the MEAC.

After resigning as head coach at Northeast, he served as an assistant to Norfolk State coach Pete Adrian during the rest of the season, breaking down film and joining the Spartans for games to work with their offensive line.

“My work with Norfolk State allowed me to build a relationship with Coach (Earnest) Wilson at Savannah, and that, along with a recommendation from Coach Adrian, allowed me to get the interview,” Jackson said by phone today.

Jackson said he has to fulfill his obligations at Northeast, where his last day will be April 9, before starting at Savannah State on April 13. The Tigers do not have spring practice, so the emphasis now is on strength and conditioning to prepare for fall practice.


Row, Rolland, Moses lead Xavier at Bobcat Invitational

SAN MARCOS, Texas -- A school record by Tylor Row and NAIA national B-qualifying marks by Devinn Rolland and Joseph Moses III were among Xavier University of Louisiana highlights Saturday on the final day of the Bobcat Invitational track and field meet.

Row, a freshman, ran the women’s 100-meter hurdles in 15.63 seconds and finished 15th. It was the second time this season that an XU athlete broke the school record in this event -- Terri Cunningham set the previous mark of 16.03 March 14 at the McNeese Cowboy Relays. The school record entering the season was Cunningham’s 16.13 from 2014.

Rolland finished 20th in the women’s 200 in 24.93 and qualified for the NAIA National Championships in that event for the fourth consecutive year. Moses, a freshman, placed seventh in the men’s 200 with a national qualifying time of 21.60.

Rolland and Row ran the first two legs in the 1,600 relay. Tramaine Shannon and Clarke Allen ran the final two legs in a ninth-place finish and a season-best 3:59.56. Ireyon Keith (16 feet, 1½ inches, 21st) and Vinnie Briggs (15-6¾, 23rd) had season bests in the women’s long jump, and Christopher August posted a career best (2:03.44, 29th) in the men’s 800.

The meet was Xavier's fourth of the outdoor season. Next for the Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets will be the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Championships April 11 at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans. Xavier is the two-time defending GCAC women's team champion.

Here are all of Xavier's Saturday results from the Bobcat Invitational:


200: Devinn Rolland, 20th in 24.93: Kailey Williams, 37th in 25.62; Destini Thomas, 54th in 27.26

400 Relay: Chelsea James, Vinnie Briggs, Clarke Allen, Devinn Rolland, 7th in 48.36

1,600 Relay: Devinn Rolland, Tylor Row, Tramaine Shannon, Clarke Allen, 9th in 3:59.56

100 Hurdles: Tylor Row, 15th in 15.63

Long Jump: Devinn Rolland, 20th in 5.08 meters (16 feet, 8 inches); Ireyon Keith, 21st in 4.91 meters (16-1 1/2); Vinnie Briggs, 23rd in 4.74 meters (15-6 3/4)


200: Joseph Moses III, 7th in 21.60

800: Christopher August, 29th in 2:03.44

110 Hurdles: Chris Adams, 12th in 16.16

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Southern University’s Ronald Mason among 3 finalists for University of the District of Columbia job

The other finalists for the UDC job are Malcolm X College President Anthony Munroe and Bennet College President Emerita Julianne Malveaux.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- Southern University System President Ronald Mason has been named a finalist in the search for the University of the District of Columbia’s next president.

Mason is slated to be on the UDC campus April 3 for interviews. Two other finalists for the job will interview this week and April 10,according to the university.

Mason’s pursuit of other opportunities doesn’t come as a surprise. His contract at Southern University will run through June 30, and the system Board of Supervisors has set out on a search for a new leader, after opting not to try to renew Mason’s contract.

“If selected I would be university president and head of the HBCU system of higher learning that serves the nation’s capital,” Mason said of being one of three finalists for the UDC job. “It has the usual challenges, but it also has the potential to be something special in higher education. Being part of a team that helps it reach that potential would be good work to do.”


VIDEO: FAMU Wind Symphony holds dress rehearsal for Carnegie Hall debut

MANHATTAN, New York -- The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Wind Symphony makes final preparations for its Carnegie Hall performance at a dress rehearsal on Saturday at the New York Hilton Midtown Manhattan Hotel.

A ballroom on the third floor of the hotel was converted to a rehearsal hall for the nearly 60-piece band under the baton of band director Dr. Shelby Chipman.

John Williams’ “Star Wars Trilogy,” Eric Whitacre’s “Cloudburst” and David Maslanka's “Symphony No. 7, Mvt. III” are among the songs the ensemble rehearsed for its debut appearance scheduled for Sunday night.


SCSU: Pough happy with progress after scrimmage

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- As the S.C. State Bulldogs neared the halfway point of spring drills with the conclusion of Saturday morning’s scrimmage at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium, head coach Buddy Pough said he saw enough to remain upbeat.

“I think we have some guys that can make some plays, Pough said. “We have some guys that understand they can take a chance out there. When you have some experience, and some high-level quality guys returning they have a little bit better confidence level, so they’ll try some things you might not see with some younger guys, so I’m excited about the level of experience we have. We have some guys that should be able to make some plays.”

Saturday’s 90-minute scrimmage focused mostly on S.C. State’s underclassmen. Aside from rising junior quarterback Adrian Kollock Jr., who saw most of the snaps at quarterback, many of the Bulldogs’ regulars spent a significant amount of time off the field.

Rising junior Javon Hargrave, the reigning MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, did not dress, watching from the defensive sidelines in sweats.


TSU Strength and Conditioning to Hold Clinic Apr. 18-19

Courtesy: Tennessee State University Athletics
NASHVILLE, Tennessee -The Tennessee State athletic strength and conditioning staff will host USA Weightlifting and conduct a Sports Performance Coach Certification Course on Apr. 18-19.

The course with involve hands on and lecture materials for coaching the "Olympic" style lifts of the snatch, clean, and jerk and will take place on the first floor of the Gentry Center.

The event is open for the public to attend by registering before Apr. 10. For more information please contact Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach TJ Greenstone at tgreenst@tnstate.edu.


TSU Tigers Cap Week Two With Scrimmage

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- The Tennessee State football team concluded the second week of spring practices with a Saturday scrimmage at Hale Stadium.

The defense looked ahead of its counterpart on a sunny, yet brisk morning. Many of TSU’s attempted running plays were blown up in the backfield and Marvin Maddox provided multiple sacks for the unit. Dell Porter recovered a botched hand-off for a fumble and Javon Brandon supplied the other turnover of the day courtesy of an easy interception.

On offense, Marcus Deanes provided the most production from the running back position. The redshirt freshman had multiple medium-sized runs and even caught the day’s only touchdown out of the backfield.

Both quarterbacks looked equal on Saturday, but Oshay Ackermann-Carter led the only touchdown drive that was set up by a deep pass to Chris Sanders-McCollum. Other notables on offense included Patrick Smith who caught a couple of outside passes and Rodney Morriswho had big gains off of drag routes.

The team will return to the practice field on Monday at 4 p.m. and will end the week with a scrimmage under the lights of Hale Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m.


'Magic' Johnson mixes basketball with business during South Carolina State University visit

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- South Carolina State University’s Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center was configured for a speaking engagement on Thursday, but NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson stepped out to what might normally be center court as he fielded questions from an audience of students, faculty and alumni.

One of Johnson’s favorite inquiries came from a member of the South Carolina State basketball team. Senior forward Luka Radovic wanted to know what Johnson picked up on during his time in athletics that he has been able to translate into success in business.

“Discipline,” said Johnson, who said he still gets up every morning at 4 a.m. for an hour of cardiovascular training followed by an hour of weightlifting. “I’m probably the most disciplined person in the world. If there’s something, you want, it comes down to discipline and focus.”

The two-time NBA Hall of Famer, three-time league MVP and five-time NBA champion focused mostly on his life as an entrepreneur in delivering a speech as as part of the S.C. State School of Business Exectuive Speaker Series. But there was more than a little basketball woven into the visit.

WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC


SCSU Sports Hall of Famer, St. Lucie educator, politician Havert "Coach" Fenn dead at 87, but his legacy continues...

Coach Fenn photos (start video at 1:40 - 2:59).   Mr. Fenn played football
and ran track at South Carolina State University from 1946 to 1949. He was
inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame in April 1998. Coach
Fenn is also inducted into the St. Lucie County Sports Hall of Fame.

FORT PIERCE, Florida — Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County officials Friday were mourning the death of St. Lucie educator and community leader Havert “Coach” Fenn.

Fenn died Thursday night at age 87, according to his son, Morgan Fenn.

“Everything about the man was truly gracious and committed to the community,” said St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky.

In 2008, officials named the Havert L. Fenn Center on Virginia Avenue in Fort Pierce in his honor. The $14.7 million, 62,575-square-foot facility serves as a recreation center and storm shelter.

“The building that you’re in is the future of St. Lucie County, just as Coach Fenn has been our past,” said then-County Commission Chairman Joe Smith during the 2008 opening ceremony.

In 1979, Fenn was elected to the Fort Pierce City Commission before becoming the first African-American appointed to the St. Lucie County Commission in 1982 by then- Gov. Bob Graham.


GCAC honors Montrel, Abbes, Moses and Chatters

NEW ORLEANS — For the fourth consecutive week and the seventh time in eight weeks, students from Xavier University of Louisiana received multiple Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Athlete/Player of the Week awards. Honored for March 16-22 were Kyle Montrel in men's tennis, Nour Abbes in women's tennis, Joseph Moses III in men's outdoor track and Drew Chatters in women's outdoor field.

Montrel is a junior from Atlanta and a graduate of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. Abbes is a sophomore from Tunis, Tunisia, and a graduate of Lycée Sportif d'El Menzah. Moses is a freshman from Baton Rouge, La., and a graduate of Christian Life Academy. Chatters is a freshman from Lake Charles, La., and a graduate of St. Louis Catholic High School.

Montrel set a GCAC men's tennis career record with his seventh player award. He won in singles and doubles (with Nikita Soifer) vs. NCAA Division I Nicholls State, NAIA No. 21 William Carey and NCAA Division II's sixth-ranked team, Columbus State — all on the road. Montrel defeated regionally ranked Theo Baudin of William Carey in three sets, then beat 16th-ranked Oussama Zoghlami of Columbus State 6-1, 6-1 and snapped Zoghlami's eight-match win streak. Montrel and Soifer defeated Columbus State's 11th-ranked Marco Almorin and Adi Malicbegovic 8-2.

Abbes was unbeaten during the week and extended to 10 her GCAC career record for women's tennis awards. Abbes defeated William Carey's 21st-ranked Audrey Leitz in three sets, and she also won in doubles in a 5-1 road victory against the NAIA's No. 20 team. Abbes teamed with Carmen Nelson for the Gold Nuggets' first doubles victory against Nicholls State since 2004.

Moses, a GCAC award recipient for the second consecutive week, was the only XU athlete to finish fifth or higher at the Louisiana Classics meet in Lafayette. He placed fourth in the 200-meter dash in 21.87 seconds — making him the No. 10 individual in the NAIA in that event this season — and he was fifth in the 100 in 10.89. He also ran anchor in a 43.00-second performance in the 400 relay which ranks Xavier 17th in the NAIA this season.

Chatters, a first-time GCAC weekly winner, placed 11th in the javelin at the Louisiana Classics with a best throw of 35.52 meters (116 feet, 6 inches). She is the NAIA's 12th-ranked woman this season.

Xavier's men's and women's tennis teams will fly to California early Friday for several dual matches against ranked NAIA opponents. The Gold Nuggets will play Westmont at 2 p.m. PDT Friday. The XU men's and women's track teams will compete Friday and Saturday in the Bobcat Invitational at San Marcos, Texas.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director


Xavier produces five season bests at Bobcat Invitational

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Five student-athletes from Xavier University of Louisiana produced season bests Friday in the Bobcat Invitational track and field meet. 
The Gold Rush got season bests from Chris Adams in the 400-meter hurdles (58.63 seconds, 18th place) and Christopher August in the 1,500 (4:11.93, 28th). The Gold Nuggets' season bests came from Kailey Williams (12.66, 35th) and Destini Thomas (12.96, 42nd) in the 100 and Clarke Allen (59.20, 36th) in the 400. 
Freshman Joseph Moses III had Xavier's highest finish, 13th in the men's 100 (11.10). Catherine Fakler was 17th in the women's 5,000 (18:54.34) and 20th in the 1,500 (4:58.78). 
The meet will conclude Saturday. Field events will begin at 9 a.m., and track events will start at 2 p.m. The final event, the men's 1,600 relay, is scheduled for 4:40 p.m. 
Here are all of Xavier's Friday results from the Bobcat Invitational: 


100:  Devinn Rolland, 31st in 12.55; Kailey Williams, 35th in 12.66; Destini Thomas, 42nd in 12.96 
400:  Tramaine Shannon, 34th in 59.13; Clarke Allen, 36th in 59.20 
1,500:  Catherine Fakler, 20th in 4:58.78 
5,000:  Catherine Fakler, 17th in 18:54.34 
400 Hurdles:  Tylor Row, 19th in 1:10.09 

100:  Joseph Moses III, 13th in 11.10     
1,500:  Christopher August, 28th in 4:11.93 
400 Hurdles:  Chris Adams, 18th in 58.63 

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director