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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

RailHawks midfielder Matt Watson honored by USL-1

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 6:57 PM

Matt Watson, fresh off winning team MVP honors, was named to USL-1's All-League second team. He follows fellow midfielder Kupono Low, who picked up the same two awards last year. Watson, who scored one goal and tallied four assists for six points total, played 25 games in a season in which he was often injured. He also attracted attention as an MLS prospect. ’Hawks fans hope such a career move will come later rather than sooner. Here's the complete list of the USL-1's All-League teams....

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The worst team in the ACC is not named the Blue Devils...

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 8:33 AM

Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } --> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} --> Other than that, there aren’t many conclusions to be drawn from Saturday’s 31-3 victory over Virginia—just more questions. The Blue Devils have quietly managed to climb out of the ACC cellar, but have done so by stepping on the piled carcasses of inferior and failing programs. They picked up their first conference win in 26 tries Saturday, but left the defense to do the heavy lifting while Thaddeus Lewis and...

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Savior Sexton?

Posted By on Sat, Sep 27, 2008 at 8:57 PM

 Until the second half of last week’s game against Virginia Tech, it looked like the Tar Heels had a good season going. Not a national championship season, but the kind of season that can reasonably be called progress, and might even include a shot at having some fun in the ACC title race. Then quarterback TJ Yates went down with a broken ankle, consigned to the sidelines for six weeks.   Even though Yates isn’t on anyone’s Heisman list, the injury was a boot to the groin of UNC’s offense....

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Ouch

Posted By on Sat, Sep 27, 2008 at 8:07 PM

Forrest will have reaction to today's UNC win a bit later. In the meantime, succumb to your inner 10-year-old and enjoy the day's best de-cleater:...

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The ’Canes were never going to win this one

Posted By on Sat, Sep 27, 2008 at 4:46 PM

With every one of the Philadelphia Flyers’ past captains (with the notable exception of Eric Lindros) in attendance and the doors of the Flyers’ old haunt, the Spectrum, about to be closed to the NHL forever, Philadelphia rode an emotional high and handed Carolina their third straight loss of the preseason, 4-2, this afternoon.   The Flyers’ newly-minted captain Mike Richards’ scored two (yes, two) short-handed goals on netminder Cam Ward, who finished the game with 27 saves. Joffrey Lupul and Braydon Coburn scored the Flyers’ other two goals, and Matt Murley – who scored with only .4 seconds remaining in the first...

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Athletes donate brains for concussion study

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 3:52 PM

Sixteen athletes, many of them pros, have agreed to donate their brains to science upon their death as part of a concussion study, reports the Associated Press, and printed in The News & Observer. Former Carolina soccer star Cindy Parlow is among those who've agreed to the study. Former New England Patriots linebaker Ted Johnson is among the prospective donors. His multiple concussions from 2002 through his 2005 retirement resulted in permanent and degenerative problems with memory and depression. He is quoted in The New York Times: “I’m not being vindictive. I’m not trying to reach up from the grave...

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

‘Canes fall to Washington, 4-1, in preseason opener

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 11:03 PM

Joni Pitkanen scored the lone goal in a game in which the Hurricanes failed to take revenge on the team that, just under four months ago, claimed their spot in the postseason. Tomas Fleischmann tallied two goals for the Capitals.   Neither team’s offensive juggernauts dressed for the game – Eric Staal and Rod Brind’Amour sat out, and Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom didn’t make the trip to Raleigh – though Washington had no trouble generating offense. Most of Carolina’s core defensemen were in the line-up, and all had NHL experience.   Instead of pointing fingers at the team's defense...

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Who is Drayson Bowman?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 4:05 PM

The Carolina Hurricanes’ first preseason game will be taking place tonight vs. Washington at the RBC Center, and all eyes will be focused on the young’uns gunning for a roster spot, including defensemen Casey Borer and Brett Carson and forwards Brandon Sutter and Drayson Bowman. ’Canes fans caught a sneak peak of Borer and Carson’s potential last season when they filled in during the great flu epidemic of 2008, and Sutter has his impressive pedigree working for him.   But who is this guy Drayson Bowman, who is currently practicing on a line with Eric Staal and Ray Whitney? His...

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

’Hawks awards round-up: Watson, Diallo, others cited

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 8:47 PM

  Prior to last Saturday's home finale, the Carolina RailHawks announced their team awards, citing five players for excellence during a rocky season that nonetheless ended with a 5-2-1 record over its last eight games, good for 16 points. Probably the biggest surprise was the choice for Most Valuable Player: midfielder Matt Watson....

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Pioneering NC sportswriter Mary Gerber dies at 92

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 9:20 AM

Cheryl Miller, Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm can thank Mary Gerber who broke, with difficulty, the gender barriers for women sportswriters, and later, sportscasters. Gerber died Sunday in Winston-Salem at age 92, reports The New York Times. She covered high school and then the ACC  before branching out to a wide variety of sports for Winston-Salem papers. And, as the Times reports, she covered black athletics during the segregationist era in the South. The Times includes a humorous anecdote about the camaraderie between Gerber and a black sportswriter: She was working at “one of the games that one of the...

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Monday, September 22, 2008

UNC, NC State lose QBs to injury

Posted By on Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 3:36 PM

Bad day at the infirmary for both N.C. State and UNC, although the news is much worse for the ’Heels. First, Wolfpack QB Russell Wilson, who has already missed a game due to a Grade 3 concussion, will miss this Saturday's matchup against South Florida, as will linebacker and leading tackler Nate Irving. Both players are out indefinitely, and coach Tom O'Brien won't comment specifically on Wilson's injury. Second, UNC QB TJ Yates, who left Saturday's game against Virginia Tech with an ankle injury, will miss at least six weeks. The situation is more fraught for the ’Heels, given the...

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Upon further review

Posted By on Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 11:32 PM

Duke football is idle this week, leaving your friendly correspondent ample time to scour the Internets for a reason to question his previous assertions about the state of Duke football. Enter the North Carolina Business Litigation Report (NCBLR). You may have heard recently that the legal wrangling between Duke and the University of Louisville has come to a close. Louisville filed suit in 2007 after Duke opted out of playing the final three games of a series that was scheduled to run through 2009. Earlier this summer, Judge  Phillip J. Shepherd of the Franklin County Circuit Court ruled that the...

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Martin Nuñez scores, pandemonium follows

Posted By on Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 5:08 PM

It was a tough year for the Carolina RailHawks, but they still went into Saturday night's matchup against the Portland Timbers with a slim hope of making the playoffs. Although the ’Hawks prevailed, 1-0, on a heart-stopping finish, the result from the near-simultaneous Montreal-Minnesota match ended their season. Still, fans and players go to their winter's rest with the memory of a thrilling finale to the season's final game, in which Martin Nuñez--named before the game as the team's co-offensive player of the year--came up big in the last, desperate minute of stoppage time. A crucial uncredited assist was provided...

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Sea of red, populated in purple: NC State 30, ECU 24

Posted By on Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 1:16 AM

Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, large colonies of purple broke the sea of red and black that formed the bulk of Carter-Finley Stadium’s sell-out crowd of nearly 60,000. No section or ceremony seemed sacred, either: Mutual tailgates were cloaked by those in bright red and bright purple. Shocks of purple appeared among the student seats. The elevators leading to the luxury boxes of Vaughn Towers hosted good-hearted (and often well-lubed) arguments between fans of both persuasions. Driven by an intense, raucous, history, N.C. State’s 26-game rivalry with East Carolina remains one of the strongest and most peculiar in this state....

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

RailHawks claim six points and one trophy in two days to end season

Posted By on Sat, Sep 20, 2008 at 11:53 PM

A light but compact crowd gathered at Bull McCabe's in Durham on Friday night to watch the USL-1 Carolina RailHawks take on the Charleston Battery. It came as a surprise to some at the bar that such significant emotion could be generated for somthing that they did not heretofore know existed. Yet, there it was, a handful of grown men screaming with arms raised when Matt Watson pulled the midfield lever that sent Hamed Diallo racing through to goal in the 8th minute....

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UNC vs. Virginia Tech: The wrong kind of "statement game"

Posted By on Sat, Sep 20, 2008 at 7:46 PM

One of the interesting things about sports is the unquantifiable nature of much of it. No matter how much sportswriters and analysts try to fit the entirety of a game into a box score, there are always things that can't be measured. These things are often very important: They can comprise the "why" of winning and losing.   For instance, when North Carolina's defense went limp in the second half of an important game against conference rivals Virginia Tech Saturday, there was no easily discernible reason behind it....

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Former Bulls named Minor League Players of 2008

Posted By on Sat, Sep 20, 2008 at 9:17 AM

Former Bulls pitcher David Price and outfielder Fernando Perez were named the Tampa Bay Rays' Minor League Players of the Year after last night's game at Tropicana Field. Perez went 1-for-3 during the Rays' 11-1 rout of the Twins.  Perez hit .288 in 129 games for the Bulls this season.  With the Rays, Perez is hitting .244 in 41 at bats: two home runs, four RBIs, two stolen bases and 10 strike outs.  Price started the season with Single-A Vero Beach, passed through AA Montgomery and pitched two games for the Bulls, going 1-1, before being recalled by the Rays....

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Friday, September 19, 2008

RailHawks keep season alive, but the door closes tighter

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 11:55 PM

The Carolina RailHawks outlasted the Charleston Battery 2-1, behind two explosive first-half goals from Hamed Diallo. In a game that showed USL soccer to good advantage on national television, the Battery anwered with a goal in the 64th minute but couldn't equalize, despite a series of furious attacks.  While the ’Hawks accomplished what they had to do to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, tonight Atlanta managed to gain one of the three four points they need to clinch position themselves for the last playoff spot by battling first-place Puerto Rico to a 1-1 draw. This means that not only must the ’Hawks...

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Carolina RailHawks weekend preview

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 5:28 PM

In a final flurry of very ruffled feathers, the Cary-based Carolina RailHawks flap into a doubleheader against the Charleston Battery and Portland Timbers in USL-1’s final regular season weekend. The stakes are high, as anything less than six points will snare no better than an 8th-place finish for the sophomore ’Hawks. In addition to winning two in two, they only make the playoffs if Atlanta and Minnesota choke. On the bright side, if they do manage this Sisyphean task, they will be in the playoffs, which is of uncertain benefit other than fashioning a mantle of Cinderella to be lugged...

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

’Canes dropping like flies: Williams tears Achilles, out four to six months

Posted By on Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 4:47 PM

For the second time in two days, a Hurricanes core player will require surgery due to a preseason injury. After yesterday’s announcement that captain Rod Brind’Amour will miss most of the preseason after having surgery on his recently-repaired ACL, ’Canes GM Jim Rutherford announced that All-Star right winger Justin Williams tore his right Achilles tendon and could be out until 2009. Williams tore his ACL in December of the 2007-2008 season, which, when coupled with Brind’Amour’s injury, left the ’Canes without two of their top scorers and penalty killers. Before the injury, Williams notched 9 goals and 21 assists in...

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Injury woes begin early: Brind’Amour undergoes minor knee surgery

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 4:56 PM

The captain’s return will be put on hold for the time being, as Rod Brind’Amour underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage this morning in Raleigh. He is expected to return by Oct. 10, when the Hurricanes open the regular season. Brind’Amour tore the ACL in his left knee Feb. 14 vs. Pittsburgh during his first shift and missed the rest of the regular season. He rehabbed for months and recently told the Raleigh News & Observer that he felt as good as he ever had, but he evidently managed to tweak the same knee over the weekend.   Dr. Marty Isbell,...

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Conjecture, thy name is Vernal. (Also, Duke is 2-1)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 3:03 AM

Take notice Blue Devil nation, it may very well be that your football team—by ACC standards at least—does not suck. True, their only wins have come by way of teams who either played seemingly without the benefit of a secondary (Navy), or who were altogether lacking of a pulse (James Madison). And it's also true that the offensive fireworks and final 41-31 score do mask what was an otherwise sloppy game. That said, it's customary for teams to fill out the early portion of the season with twinkies, creampuffs and other easily digested confectioneries; all the better to work out...

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Tampa overrun by Bulls

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 1:52 PM

If you're sad that the Bulls season is over, you might want to turn your attention to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Bulls' parent club, who have quickly morphed into Durham South. Major league rosters expanded to 40 players from 25 on September 1st, as they do each season, and the Rays seem to have filled nearly every available slot with a Bull. Immediate dividends were paid: Last week, just after Dan Johnson's promotion, he hit a game-tying, ninth-inning home run off of Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon. Yesterday, David Price put on his Rays uniform for the first time --...

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCarthy: O’Neill could move to center; more notes from Hurricanes dinner

Posted By on Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 3:03 PM

The Carolina Hurricanes held a dinner last night on the floor of the RBC Center to thank the “group leaders,” or those who bought tickets in mass quantities last year. After the plates were cleared and autographs were signed, John Forslund, the ’Canes’ TV personality, conducted a long Q&A with assistant coach Kevin McCarthy. Much of it was fluff—throwing out thank-you’s to the audience, making vague connections between 2006 and the upcoming season—but McCarthy and Forslund brought up several interesting points....

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Objects in minors may be closer than they appear

Posted By on Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Before the Bulls played last night's (season-ending) game against Scranton, I wrote that this was a chance to see the young Yankee phenom Phil Hughes in action before "his inevitable return to the Bronx next year." After watching Hughes strike out a staggering 12 Bulls in just five innings—a pace that would have had him threatening the all-time record had he pitched the whole game—the Yankees brass decided there's no time like the present and summoned Hughes to the majors. He could start as early Wednesday for the decimated, lethargic, out-of-contention major league squad. Not to be outdone, Tampa called...

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