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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Triangle FBS teams all try to stay perfect today

Posted by on Sat, Sep 20, 2014 at 1:42 AM

Jamison Crowder and the Blue Devils look to go 4-0 for the first time in 20 years. - FILE PHOTO BY CHRIS BAIRD
  • File photo by Chris Baird
  • Jamison Crowder and the Blue Devils look to go 4-0 for the first time in 20 years.

Here we go into Week 4 of the area college football season, and all three of the local FBS teams are still unbeaten.

If that continues all day today, one of them will have to beat one of the best teams in the country on the road.

The show starts today at 12:30 (FOX Sports Carolinas) at Wallace Wade Stadium, where Duke (3-0) will try to complete a perfect non-conference portion of the season against Tulane (1-2). The other home game is at 6 p.m., as N.C. State (3-0) tries to complete its non-conference schedule unbeaten with a victory over Big South member Presbyterian (2-1).

The biggest game in the state so far this season will be at 3:30 (ESPNU) in Greenville, as UNC (2-0) will visit East Carolina (2-1). The Pirates' chances to play in a Dec. 31 bowl game would remain alive with a victory. The other road game is at 6 p.m., as N.C. Central (1-2) takes on Towson (1-2) at Unitas Stadium.

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    UNC-ECU contest has national implications

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bulls come up short as Pawtucket wins Governor's Cup

Posted by on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 1:06 AM

Pawtucket players celebrate with champagne showers after winning the Governors' Cup. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Pawtucket players celebrate with champagne showers after winning the Governors' Cup.

DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK It all comes down to one game for the Governors' Cup.

The Durham Bulls will go for their fifth one in 13 seasons tonight against the Pawtucket Red Sox, who traditionally have been their worst regular-season tormentors. But the Bulls have won two Governor's Cups with Pawtucket on the short end, one in three straight in 2003 and another by a 3-1 count just last year.

The winner will play against the champions of the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday night at the brand new park in Charlotte.

Merrill Kelly will go for the Bulls tonight against Keith Couch.

Pawtucket will come into the final game with momentum, following a 4-2, 13-inning comeback win Friday night that left a large crowd stunned and the Bulls reeling.

The PawSox finish the job in Game 5, scoring all but the last run of the game in a 4-1 victory as the Bulls get only three hits.

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    4-1 loss denies Bulls second straight league title

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Something old, new and borrowed: Carolina RailHawks kick home blues with 3-1 win over San Antonio Scorpions

Posted by on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 12:52 AM

Enzo Martinez puts a licking on the San Antonio Scorpions during the Carolina RailHawks 3-1 win Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
  • Photo courtesy of Carolina RailHawks
  • Enzo Martinez puts a licking on the San Antonio Scorpions during the Carolina RailHawks 3-1 win Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—Facing the prospect of the first four-match home losing streak in club history, it was all boots on deck for the Carolina RailHawks. The long-awaited arrival of Nacho Novo—check. The short-term loan acquisition of a Major League Soccer striker in Devon Sandoval from Real Salt Lake—check. Prying Zack Schilawski away from his law school studies for a few hours—check.

Indeed, all three players saw action against the NASL-leading San Antonio Scorpions Saturday evening at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. However, it was a different trio of RailHawks who scaled the scoring column to pace Carolina to a pivotal 3-1 victory over the Scorpions.

“It was a great results,” said RailHawks manager Colin Clarke. “We’ve had our troubles at home the last few games, But if we’re going to be successful this season we have to win our home games. I thought it was a great response tonight under a little bit of pressure.”

On cue, one of Carolina’s new additions sounded a new attacking tone less than a minute into the match. Out of the opening kickoff, a through ball was played forward to Sandoval, who started as the center striker. Sandoval blazed a trail through the Scorpions’ back line and delivered a cross through the box that ended up far post at the feet of Ty Shipalane. Shipalane’s shot impacted the side netting. However, Sandoval’s instant threat signaled a confidence that the RailHawks have been sorely lacking throughout the NASL fall campaign.

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    The RailHawks basked in a result described using a word that hasn’t been heard much following the team’s recent home results: Fun.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blue Devils run wild in 41-3 rout of hapless Jayhawks

Posted by on Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 9:29 PM

Duke cornerback Breon Borders celebrates a big defensive play. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Duke cornerback Breon Borders celebrates a big defensive play.

WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM For the first time this season, Duke plays against another team from a big-time conference.

And folks have been saying all week it's a little too bad this isn't basketball.

The 2-0 Blue Devils will entertain 1-0 Kansas in front of about a half-full Wallace Wade Stadium. An interesting sidebar to this one is that Jayhawk coach Charlie Weis hired current Duke coach David Cutcliffe to be his assistant at Notre Dame before Cutcliffe resigned at the beginning of his long rehab following a 2005 heart attack.

The two teams played their only previous meeting in 2009 in Lawrence, with the Jayhawks rolling 44-16.

Today the Blue Devils make a statement, folks. Duke just dominates every phase of the game in a 41-3 rout.

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    Duke lays out worst whipping over big-league intersectional foe since leather-helmet days.

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Duke, NCCU, State all face key challenges today

Posted by on Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 1:45 AM

Duke's Josh Snead looks for daylight earlier this season against Elon. - CHRIS BAIRD
  • Chris Baird
  • Duke's Josh Snead looks for daylight earlier this season against Elon.

Three weeks into the Triangle's college football season, there haven't been any real shockers but there have been a couple of surprisingly close calls.

There was one of those last week when UNC had to come back to claim a 31-27 win over San Diego State at Kenan Stadium.

And the week before, N.C. State needed its own big finish to escape Georgia Southern 24-23 at Carter-Finley.

Duke hasn't had a nail-biter yet, while N.C. Central took a thumping at East Carolina before laying one onto CIAA member Elizabeth City State last week.

Today there will be two home games and one on the road, as 2-0 UNC - which lost its Top 25 ranking following the close call - is idle.

Duke (2-0) will take on Kansas (1-0) in its biggest non-conference game of the season at 3:30 (Fox Sports Carolinas) at Wallace Wade Stadium. NCCU (1-1) will host UNC Charlotte (2-0) at O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium.

N.C. State (2-0) has the road test, perhaps its toughest assignment so far this season when the Wolfpack travels to South Florida (1-1) for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff (CBSSN) at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.

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    Blue Devils, Wolfpack play best opponents so far while Eagles' game is rated a tossup.

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Jabang, Jabang: Tar Heels declaw Pitt Panthers in men's soccer 3-0

Posted by on Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 12:10 AM

Nyambi Jabang celebrates with his Tar Heel teammates after his goal in UNC's 3-0 win over Pitt Friday in Chapel Hill. - PHOTO COURTESY OF UNC ATHLETICS
  • Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics
  • Nyambi Jabang celebrates with his Tar Heel teammates after his goal in UNC's 3-0 win over Pitt Friday in Chapel Hill.
FETZER FIELD/ CHAPEL HILL—The headline is that the North Carolina Tar Heels won a decisive 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers to open its 2014 ACC men's soccer season. The real story of the match is the player who propelled them to the win.

The first goal and assist by redshirt sophomore Nyambi Jabang paced the No. 3 Tar Heels to their fourth win of the season.

According to UNC head coach Carlos Somoano, however, the game didn't start so swimmingly.

“I didn’t like the way we came out,” Somoano said. “I thought we were sluggish. The tempo of the game was not what our expectations are. The substitutes came on and made a difference, so I’m very pleased that those young guys were able to come on and separate the game for us and give us a win.”

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    "I think I speak for everybody on our team that it brings a smile to our face to see [Jabang] out there.”

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nacho Novo, Glasgow Rangers legend, signs with Carolina RailHawks

Posted by on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Nacho Novo poses with his new Carolina RailHawks jersey Thursday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. - NEIL MORRIS
  • Neil Morris
  • Nacho Novo poses with his new Carolina RailHawks jersey Thursday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.
The Carolina RailHawks’ long-gestating rumor is now official: Nacho Novo, the lauded Spanish striker who spent seven seasons with Glasgow Rangers of the Scottish Premier League, has signed with the RailHawks of the North American Soccer League (NASL).

The 35-year-old Novo, who last played this spring for Carlisle United in England’s League One, traveled to North Carolina in June to trial with the RailHawks and also took in a few of the club’s matches.

Novo and the club agreed to contractual terms several weeks later. However, immigration entanglements delayed Novo joining the team until this week.

After arriving in North Carolina late Wednesday evening, a jet lagged Novo trained with his new teammates Thursday morning after passing a team physical. Afterwards, he spoke with INDY Week about what brought him to Cary, NC.

“The advantage I had was I came over here and saw the facilities and the city, and I felt relaxed,” Novo says. “The main thing for me is to feel relaxed and settled, where I come every day and enjoy training. At my age, I still enjoy football like when I was 12 years of age.”

Novo says the longest time he's previously spent in the United States was a month-long vacation in Orlando, Fla. Now, his contract with the RailHawks extends through the 2015 season.

Novo is arguably the most pedigreed player to ever join the RailHawks. During his time with Rangers from 2004-10, Novo scored 47 league goals, 25 of those in his first season with the club. During that initial season, Rangers won both the Scottish League Cup and Scottish Premier League, with Novo scoring the winning goal against Hibernian to clinch league title.

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    Novo is a member of the Rangers Hall of Fame and played on the team that advanced to the 2008 UEFA Cup Final.

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lightning strikes twice as Tar Heels foil San Diego State

Posted by on Sun, Sep 7, 2014 at 1:21 AM

Marquise Williams looks for an opening as the Aztecs' Josh Gavert pursues. - CHRIS BAIRD
  • Chris Baird
  • Marquise Williams looks for an opening as the Aztecs' Josh Gavert pursues.

KENAN STADIUM/CHAPEL HILL UNC plays its first game against an FBS team this season as the Tar Heels entertain San Diego State on national TV.

It's "Stripe Out" night in the Southern Part of Heaven, as the No. 21 Tar Heels are wearing black jerseys over Carolina Blue breeches and black socks. The "Tar Pit" student section is dressed in black shirts, while the rest of the stadium has sections alternating in black and light blue.

The Aztecs are a pretty good team from the Mountain West Conference, but they don't get out this way much. This is their 13th football game in the Eastern Time Zone. Ever.

And they'll be leaving with a very, very hefty paycheck, as the Tar Heels won't be heading to Qualcomm Stadium any time soon.

UNC trails most of the night, but a second-half comeback and three huge interceptions make for a 31-27 win.

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    Three interceptions - one early and two late - save Tar Heels' bacon.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Three home games in area college football today

Posted by on Sat, Sep 6, 2014 at 12:20 AM

Jacoby Brissett will attempt to improve to 2-0 as N.C. State QB as the Wolfpack hosts ODU tonight. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Jacoby Brissett will attempt to improve to 2-0 as N.C. State QB as the Wolfpack hosts ODU tonight.

It's Week 2 of the college football season, and so far there haven't been any major surprises for any of the local teams.

Things went pretty much according to form last Saturday, except that N.C. State had plenty of trouble from Georgia Southern in a 24-23 nailbiter. UNC finally escaped Liberty in a 56-29 result, while Duke walloped Elon 52-13 and East Carolina crushed N.C. Central 52-7 in Jerry Mack's debut with the Eagles.

This time all four local teams are favored, and three of them are at home. The Eagles host old CIAA rival Elizabeth City State at 5 p.m. at O'Kelly Riddick Stadium, while the Wolfpack entertains Old Dominion (1-0) at 6 p.m. at Carter-Finley and No. 21 UNC squares off with San Diego State (1-0) of the Mountain West at 8 (ESPNews) at Kenan. Duke will visit Sun Belt member Troy (0-1) at 7.

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    All four teams at least two-TD favorites.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bruins ruin Tar Heels' opening weekend as top-ranked UCLA men's soccer clips UNC 1-0

Posted by on Sun, Aug 31, 2014 at 11:41 PM

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FETZER FIELD/ CHAPEL HILL—The North Carolina Tar Heels men’s soccer team demonstrated this weekend that they are a good team. The UCLA Bruins showed that they might be a championship-caliber team.

After defeating No. 11 Wake Forest on Friday, UCLA traveled to Chapel Hill and ground out a 1-0 win over the No. 10 Tar Heels. North Carolina had beaten California 3-1 on Friday and were hoping to notch a victory over the top-ranked Bruins to open their 2014 season with a Cali clean sweep.

However, a match that was mostly evenly matched was decided by a momentary first-half lapse by the Tar Heels. In the 31st minute, the Bruins played one of many long balls forward to freshman forward Seyi Adekoya. As the ball was in flight, UNC goalkeeper Brendan Moore began to rushing out toward the top of the area in anticipation of intercepting the ball. However, the orb found the statuesque Adekoya, who chested it back to star midfielder Leo Stolz stationed just outside the 18-yard box. With Moore caught in no-man’s land, Stolz calmly slotted the ball past defenders and keeper. His shot ricocheted off the left post but nestled into the inner right netting.

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    UNC head coach Carlos Somoano: “If you want to be the best team—and that’s our expectation—you've got to be better than UCLA."

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