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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Duke comes frustratingly close to Hokies in another home loss

Posted By on Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Photo by Kristin RuffeVirginia Tech tight end Eric Martin celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown on Logan Thomas' 2-yard pass. WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM Duke’s chances for going to a bowl this season have gotten a lot less likely over the past couple of weeks, but today the Blue Devils get an opportunity for a big upset. The visitor on a cold, damp afternoon is No. 15 Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1 ACC), which is already locked into post-season play and could take a big step towards a Coastal Division title and a spot in the ACC title game with...

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Tar Heels knock off rust, race past Pembroke

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 11:52 PM

SMITH CENTER/CHAPEL HILL— Top-ranked North Carolina took the court tonight for the first time this season, shrugging off a dire first half to blow out over-matched UNC-Pembroke 100-58 in an exhibition contest. This game was played mostly because Pembroke coach Ben Miller worked for Roy Williams as an assistant at Kansas, and the gulf in class between the teams proved obvious and insurmountable. Still, for a half this game resembled the brutal stretches witnessed against Barton College in an exhibition game last season. Strangely enough, preseason All-American Harrison Barnes shot terribly for the second straight year against a Division...

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tar Heels could earn bowl spot while Duke, State look for big upsets

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 7:40 PM

File photo by Al DragoDuke running back Desmond Scott runs the ball against Florida State earlier this season. Somebody from North Carolina is going to earn a bowl bid on Saturday at Kenan Stadium. Resurgent Wake Forest (5-2, 4-1 ACC) will take on resilient UNC (5-3, 1-3) at 3:30 p.m. And while a win would keep the Deacons’ unlikely ACC championship hopes alive, a Tar Heel victory would lock UNC into a post-season spot. That will be the last of three ACC games involving Triangle teams, as N.C. State (4-3, 1-2) will try to keep its two-game winning streak alive...

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Liston, Peters lead the charge in Duke Blue/White contest

Posted By on Sun, Oct 23, 2011 at 5:52 PM

CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke unveils its 2011-12 women’s basketball team today with the annual Blue/White game. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke wing Tricia ListonAnd the Blue Devils, who went 32-4 last season, will unveil the nation’s top recruiting class today. The 6-3 center Elizabeth Williams was the biggest prize along with 6-4 forward Amber Henson and 5-10 guard Ka’lia Johnson. Also added to the roster is 5-6 walk-on Jenna Frush out of Northern High. Scoring is slow at the outset, but the White ends up prevailing 75-53 in a contest in which most of the key players switch jerseys during the...

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Canes lose way on road, drop back-to-back games

Posted By on Sun, Oct 23, 2011 at 8:10 AM

FS SOUTH (TV)—After snuffing the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins in their home rinks, the Canes went into the back half of a four-game road swing flying high. But on back-to-back nights in St. Louis and Winnipeg, Carolina's first visit to the new home of the ex-Atlanta Thrashers, the team was laid low. Photo by D.L. AndersonCanes, meet the drawing board. Carolina needs a reset after blowing two 2-0 leads to close a road trip with losses in St. Louis and Winnipeg.Inconsistent play kept the Canes on the outside of the playoff club last season, and they're swapping Jekyll and...

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blue Devils come up just short against Deacons - again

Posted By on Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 5:15 PM

WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM Duke is home for the second game in its three-week “homestand,” and faces a must-win situation today. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke QB Anthony BooneThe Blue Devils (3-3, 1-1 ACC) have improved from non-existent to competitive in David Cutcliffe’s fourth season at the helm, and have won three of their first four games. But the opponent is unlikely nemesis Wake Forest (4-2, 3-1), which has beaten the Blue Devils a ridiculous 11 straight times. The Deacons come into the contest as 3½-point favorites. Duke really, really needs a win, because the stated goal is to play in a...

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Duke the only one at home in underdog day for ACC's Triangle

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 1:24 PM

File photo by Al DragoDuke running back Desmond Scott looks for an open hole last week against Florida State. Saturday will be a really important day for the Triangle’s three ACC football teams, and none of them will be favored. UNC (5-2, 1-2 ACC) will visit surprising No. 8 Clemson (7-0, 4-0) at Death Valley at noon. At 12:30, Duke (3-3, 1-1) will host unlikely nemesis Wake Forest (4-2, 3-1) at Wallace Wade Stadium. And at 3:30, N.C. State (3-3, 0-2) will visit Virginia (4-2, 1-1) at Scott Stadium. Interim coach Everett Withers’ Tar Heels, who come in as 10...

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Canes handle flustered Bruins again, 4-1

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 7:14 AM

FSN SOUTH (TV)—In a game interrupted throughout by fights, the best play of the night was a refusal to drop the gloves. Photo by D.L. AndersonJoni Pitkanen, seen here at a recent practice, added a rocket-powered slapshot goal to his two assists to bury the Boston Bruins in Beantown Tuesday night, 4-1.Midway through the third period, the home-ice Boston Bruins had just pulled to within a goal and had all the momentum. But Tim Gleason refused to engage an enraged Nathan Horton in a fight, staring at him instead with a mixture of ambivalence and bemusement. Three minutes, several more...

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Miami picked to win women's hoops title; Duke 2nd, UNC 6th, State 7th

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 6:26 PM

It’s a rare preseason ACC all-star team in any sport with not a single player from a North Carolina school on it. But that was the case when the preseason all-conference team was released on women’s basketball media day at Greensboro Coliseum. Actually, all five come from two other states. Miami’s preseason player of the year Shenise Johnson — last season’s ACC player of the year - and Riquna Williams, are on the first unit, joined by Florida State center Cierra Brevard and Maryland’s center Lynetta Kizer and forward Alyssa Thomas. And if the members of that panel are right,...

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ugly result, beautiful game: Carolina RailHawks ousted from playoffs by NSC Minnesota Stars

Posted By on Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Rob Kinnan PhotographyKupono Low laments after Carolina RailHawks semifinals loss to NSC MinnesotaWAKEMED SOCCER PARK / CARY - When soccer enthusiasts rhapsodize about “The Beautiful Game,” their mind’s eye pictures the sort of contest that took place Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. Yes, the second leg of the NASL semifinals series between the Carolina RailHawks and the NSC Minnesota Stars featured 10 bookings and 28 fouls. But, both teams fought hard and valiantly, toiling through 120 minutes of regular and extra time plus a PK shootout. Both teams left with more respect for their opponent than the...

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Short streaks end, long one persists as Florida State blasts Duke

Posted By on Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 8:37 PM

Photo by Al DragoDuke quarterback Sean Renfree was 26 for 43 passes for 226 yards. WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM Duke resumes its series with Florida State on a perfect afternoon for, well, anything anyone would want to do outdoors. And everything seems to be pointing in the direction of a possible Duke upset. It’s the first meeting in four years. Now yes, FSU has won all 16 meetings in the series and has never come closer than 19 points. And David Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils (3-2, 1-0 ACC) are on a three-game winning streak while Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles (2-3, 0-2) — which...

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Countdown to Craziness welcomes fans home

Posted By on Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 3:33 AM

Photo by Al DragoSenior Miles Plumlee prepares to dunk during the dunk contest. (This story is not by Mike Potter but by Al Drago, an IndyWeek sports photographer and Elon photojournalist.) DURHAM/CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM—Duke basketball fans got their first taste of the new season as the Blue Devils hosted their annual “Countdown to Craziness” event Friday evening in a sold-out Cameron Indoor Stadium. Players entered the court through a stage that resembled a plane, which is fitting considering how much traveling the players have already done. The team played a series of exhibition games on tours in China and Dubai...

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Blue Devils, Tar Heels look to make statements today

Posted By on Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 12:57 AM

Floridians will be invading the Triangle for a couple of pretty big ACC football games today. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke coach David CutcliffeAnd while both Miami and Florida State are having subpar seasons by their own past standards, UNC and Duke are both probably better than expected. UNC (5-1, 1-1 ACC) will host Miami (2-3, 0-2) at 12:30 at Kenan Stadium, while Duke (3-2, 1-0) will entertain preseason conference favorite Florida State (2-3, 0-2) at 3 p.m. at Wallace Wade. N.C. State (3-3, 0-2) is idle, waiting for its trip to Virginia a week from today. The Tar Heels have...

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Familiar expectations welcome as Tar Heels open season

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Arianna Hoffmann/Triangle SportsBarnes entertains a ravenous media CHAPEL HILL — Roy Williams is that guy. The Tar Heels’ head coach acknowledges his team’s power and potential heading into the 2011-12 season, and he unflinchingly compares his club to Carolina’s national championship squads of 2005 and 2009. While most coaches view amplified preseason accolades with a combination of fear and contempt, Williams understands and embraces why the Tar Heels are ranked by most the No. 1 team nationally this fall. The blueprint was laid two years ago. Elite talent? Yes. Experience? Yes. Players flirting with the NBA draft, only to pass...

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Beware the Ides of October - Carolina RailHawks fight for playoff lives Saturday versus NSC Minnesota

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Rob Kinnan PhotographyPablo Campos and the rest of the RailHawks hope to avoid seeing stars this Saturday vs. NSC MinnesotaThe fault, dear readers, is not in the Stars. Yes, the Carolina RailHawks, winners of the 2011 North American Soccer League regular season title, face a one-goal deficit entering the second leg of the league playoff semifinals against the NSC Minnesota Stars, the only team in the NASL Carolina has not beaten this year. But, a loss to the sixth-seeded Stars this Saturday evening at WakeMed Soccer Park would be especially devastating considering how Carolina arrived at this point. Merely three...

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Canes dump Bruins for first win, 3-2

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 10:07 AM

RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—Question: When is the fourth game of an 82-game season a must-win? Answer: When you lost the first three games. The Carolina Hurricanes finally broke through in the win column Wednesday night, assembling their first comprehensive effort of the year. All it took was a nationally televised visit from the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. File photo by Rob RoweTim Gleason, seen here in a game last year against Florida, was the game's number one star for his stalwart play versus the Boston Bruins on Wednedsday.Joni Pitkanen, Anthony Stewart, and Jiri Tlusty each scored their first goal of...

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hurricanes bounce back but fall in OT to Capitals

Posted By on Sat, Oct 8, 2011 at 9:26 PM

FSN SOUTH (TV)—The Canes didn't take advantage of their overtime power play. The Capitals, however, capitalized on theirs. Photo by D.L. AndersonGoalie Brian Boucher, seen here at a recent practice, made his Hurricanes debut in a 4-3 overtime loss at Washington.After an embarrassing opening-night loss at home Friday, the Carolina Hurricanes wanted to bounce back in Washington on Saturday, and bounce back they did. Except on the scoreboard, where the Washington Capitals did the Canes one better, 4-3. Eric Staal put a forgettable Friday debut behind him, notching two power play goals and an assist. He was stronger in all...

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Glennon, Wolfpack solid, improve to .500 at the half

Posted By on Sat, Oct 8, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Photo by Al DragoWide receiver Jay Smith scores the first touchdown of the game moments after State receives the ball. CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM/RALEIGH N.C. State will play its final non-conference game of the season at home on a perfect day for football, and the Wolfpack needs to win this one badly. State (2-3) is on a two-game losing streak and hosts Central Michigan (2-3) of the Mid-American Conference in the schools’ first meeting in football. For the first time in school history the Wolfpack will don black jerseys and black pants, the jerseys trimmed in pink this time as part of...

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Canes take it on the chin in home opener, 5-1

Posted By on Sat, Oct 8, 2011 at 6:39 AM

RBC CENTER, RALEIGH—The Carolina Hurricanes made a lot of changes over the summer. But game No. 1 of this season could have been mistaken for game No. 83 of last season. Photo by D.L. AndersonCam Ward's 29 saves weren't enough Friday as the Tampa Bay Lightning spoiled the Canes' home opener, 5-1.The Tampa Bay Lightning once again were unwelcome guests, dumping the Canes 5-1—the same margin of victory they posted in last season's final game, which kept Carolina out of the playoffs. And as it was so many times last season, the difference was special teams. In a tilt made...

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Tar Heels really need to win, but Wolfpack absolutely has to win

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 12:53 PM

The ACC’s two local state universities each have home non-conference football games this week, and they’re in vastly different positions at this point in the season. Photo courtesy UNC athleticsUNC QB Bryn RennerDespite all the scandal surrounding the program over the past 15 months, UNC is off to a solid start. But N.C. State, which went into the season with very high hopes despite losing quarterback Russell Wilson to Wisconsin, has had an uncanny rash of injuries on the defensive side of the ball and is struggling in the standings.UNC (4-1) will open Saturday’s action at noon, when Louisville (2-2)...

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jackets efficient enough to hold off Wolfpack surge

Posted By on Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 9:09 PM

CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM/RALEIGH N.C. State gets one of those perfect “football weather” days for its battle against Georgia Tech. Sunny and 60 with a steady breeze and a tiny chance of rain. The Wolfpack (2-2, 0-1 ACC) is badly in need of a victory, but will be a 10-point underdog against No. 21 Georgia Tech (4-0, 1-0). State beat the Yellow Jackets 45-28 last season in Atlanta, but that was then and this is now. Tech is averaging 630.5 yards per game in its ground-oriented, physical option offense, and State has a beaten-up defense. DE Jeff Rieskamp (shoulder) and LB Terrell...

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This was a great read until we got to the World Cup part (who knows or cares, this is America) …

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