Published on September 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweets Facebook Twitter Google+ It didn’t take then-freshman middle blocker Lindsay McCabe long to realize why South Florida calls its home court ‘The Corral.’‘They (USF) had a wild and crazy crowd,’ McCabe said. ‘(They had) cheerleaders, the Bull mascot and everything else when we played in Tampa last year. It was a big home-court advantage for them, no doubt.’Syracuse (9-4) lost that away game in five sets last season. But in 2011, the team hopes for its own home-court advantage in a game against the Bulls (4-8) that kicks off conference play in the Big East. And it is hoped it will be enough of an energy boost to snap the team out of its funk of inconsistent, early-season play.The Orange and South Florida face off on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Women’s Building.SU assistant coach Kelly Morrisroe said the Orange could use a shot in the arm after experiencing the ups and downs of nonconference play, especially since the team is one year removed from a 17-0 start to the season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘A home match (against USF) couldn’t have come at a better time,’ Morrisroe said. ‘After three weekends of traveling to tournaments, we needed to get back in our comfort zone.’SU has yet to find that on-court comfort zone despite winning two nonconference tournaments — the Big Orange Tournament and the Blackbird Invitational. The team hangs its hat on defense, leading the nation in blocks per match.But at times, the Orange offense has sputtered, and that’s why the team is unable to keep pace in certain games. Opponents with similar or better size at the net and comparable defensive skills also gave SU trouble.Last weekend, SU lost to two such teams. Dayton, a team that would go on to win last weekend’s tournament and now sits just outside the NCAA Top 25, swept the Orange in three sets. The nationally ranked SU defense registered only one block against the vaunted Flyers attack, and it couldn’t stop a streak of four straight service aces by Atlantic-10 Player of the Week Rachel Krabacher.An upset loss to tournament host Buffalo in five sets provided another case study for SU’s inconsistency in nonconference play. The Orange had to fight off two match points by the Bisons to force a fifth and deciding set. When SU seemed to seize the match’s momentum, Buffalo surged ahead with a 7-2 run to open the last set and ultimately take the game.‘Dayton was a good test because they were so good, but we never really played our game the way we could all tournament,’ said freshman outside hitter Andrea Fisher.‘I don’t know what happened with Buffalo. I wasn’t expecting a loss there,’ Morrisroe added.For that reason, and many others, Morrisroe said USF shouldn’t be overlooked. Despite their 4-8 record, the Bulls have four players at or taller than 6 feet on the roster —kryptonite for the SU team this year.The Bulls also ended SU’s winning streak last season at 17 with a five-set victory in front of the raucous home crowd in Tampa.Before that loss, McCabe said, SU couldn’t fix its on-court issues. They were winning and everything seemed to be working.‘The difference this year is that we know what we have to work on,’ said McCabe. ‘I couldn’t be more excited to play teams from the Big East and prove last year wasn’t a fluke.’Syracuse squandered its school record 17-1 start last season, failing to reach the NCAA tournament by season’s end.But Fisher wasn’t a part of that team last season. And she says she can’t wait to play with this year’s battle-tested team.‘We’ve played better opponents earlier in our schedule, so we think we know where we stand,’ Fisher said. ‘Getting the first Big East win over would be great.’[email protected] Comments
Russia could face a ban from all major sports events over “discrepancies” in a lab database, the World Anti-Doping Agency has warned.The country has been given three weeks to explain “inconsistencies” or risk being excluded from the Olympics and world championships.Russia also faces being barred from hosting major events.”There’s evidence this data has been deleted,” chairman of Wada’s compliance panel, Jonathan Taylor, told BBC Sport.”We need to understand from the Russian authorities what their explanation is.”BackgroundRussia handed over data from its Moscow laboratory in January as a condition of its reintegration back into the sporting fold after a three-year suspension for a state-sponsored doping programme. But on Monday Wada said its executive committee had been informed that a formal compliance procedure had been opened over the discovery of “inconsistencies”.”This is hypothetical at the moment, but if the experts maintain their current view, then the compliance review committee will make a recommendation to send a notice to Rusada asserting ‘you’re non-compliant’ and proposing consequences,” said Taylor.”In a case with a ‘critical non-compliance’, there is now a starting point for the sanctions that can go up and down, and they do include sanctions against Rusada and options include no events hosted in Russia, and they do include no participation of Russian athletes in world championships and up to the Olympics.”Taylor emphasised that under a new set of rules, Wada now has the power to apply such punishments, but also explained that if Russia were to appeal, the case would ultimately be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).”Everyone has agreed they will enforce what Cas agrees,” he said. “We’ve got to be very careful. Procedure has got to be followed. We can’t prejudge the outcome.”Athletes are ‘furious’The International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected Wada’s recommendation to ban Russia from the 2016 Olympics in Rio following the doping scandal, but suspended the team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, with athletes forced to compete as neutrals.On Monday the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) confirmed its decision to uphold a ban on Russia just four days before the start of the World Championships in Doha after hearing a report from its task force overseeing the country’s reinstatement efforts.But Russia now faces the prospect of being excluded from many other events, including next year’s Olympics in Tokyo and football’s 2022 World Cup.Taylor said Wada’s new sanctioning powers justified the highly controversial decision to reinstate Rusada in January before the data could be analysed. But Rob Koehler of Global Athlete, a group that has been critical of Wada’s handling of the crisis, said his members were “furious”.”The time has come to demand resignations from Wada’s leadership because they have shown they are not fit for purpose.”I hope I, along with the athlete community, am proven wrong, but this entire ordeal will play out in favour of Russia as it has done all along with no meaningful consequences.”‘This is a test for the new system’Taylor said he had “no concerns” that 47 disciplinary cases already referred to international sports federations would be undermined by the database discrepancies, but others may be affected.”There will be cases where it looks like the data has irretrievably gone, and in those then potentially a cheat is going to escape. “But then the job is for Wada to respond to that action. If the experts say it was deliberate deletion of data…”The problem will be if Wada and its stakeholders don’t pursue and don’t get proper sanctions, but this is a test for the new system.”Obviously if the experts say the Russians have deliberately tampered with this evidence, of course it’s disappointing. But the question now is how is Wada and its stakeholders going to respond?”If they are able to respond in a way that sends a clear message that this kind of conduct carries severe sanctions, that’s all you can do.”You can’t stop cheating. You can only make sure you’ve got a system that allows you to respond to it.” In comments reported by the Russian news agency Tass, the country’s sports minister Pavel Kolobkov said: “What exactly are these discrepancies and what are they related to?”Experts in digital technology from both sides are already in collaboration. For our part, we continue to provide all possible assistance.”Russia had missed deadlines to hand over the data before finally granting Wada access to the Moscow anti-doping laboratory in January.