P.K., Newberry set for playoffs


Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
When the soccer season began, few people would have thought Newberry and P.K. Yonge would both reach the regional playoffs.
But the Panthers and Blue Wave have advanced to the Region 1-3A playoff. Although the teams reached the same destination, the journey couldn't have been much different.
Newberry coach David Hartwell, coming into his second year as head coach, set two goals at the beginning of the season. The first was to finish with a winning record, and the second was to reach the district championship game.
While these goals may not sound ambitious, neither feat had ever been accomplished in Newberry's history.
With the help of a 10-player senior class, the Panthers accomplished both goals.
"I think (a large senior class) was a real luxury," Hartwell said. "They've all been playing together for three or four years.
"They knew what they needed to do, and they got it done."
Hartwell said he wants his team to realize the importance and magnitude of its accomplishments.
"I hope they do," Hartwell said. "It's a little hard to read this group because they're all very low-key, but I hope they're excited about it."
For P.K. Yonge, the journey began when new coach Pauline Hazan joined the squad. Although the Blue Wave have more tradition than Newberry with regional tournament appearances in 2003 and 2004, P.K. Yonge failed to reach the tournament last year.
With only four seniors, Hazan, a four-year letterman at Division I Southern Miss, placed the emphasis on player development and conditioning.
Unlike Newberry, where most of the players have equal talent, Hazan had the advantage of a standout player in sophomore Mariel Mena, who has scored about two-thirds of the team's goals this season.
"She's been the foundation," Hazan said. "She brings a ton of leadership to the team. I'm so fortunate to have her."
P.K. Yonge finished the year 8-7-1 and captured the District 3-3A championship with a 3-1 win over Newberry. While both coaches feel the teams have exceeded expectations, Hazan doesn't want her team to be satisfied.
"We have to put (the district championship win) aside for now," Hazan said. "We still have business to take care of."
The teams face tough tests in the first round of regionals. The Blue Wave host Jacksonville Episcopal, which reached the regional finals last year. Newberry travels to Jacksonville to face Bolles, which finished 17-4-2 and reached the state semifinals last season.
No matter what happens, nothing can take away the achievements the Panthers have accomplished this season.
"They've already had a successful season," Hartwell said. "This is just icing on the cake."
Playoff previews can be found elsewhere on this page.
Gators open season with win over UCF
The No. 2-ranked Gators won their 21st-straight season-opening match Wednesday, sweeping Central Florida 7-0 at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.
Winning for the Gators were No. 1 Diana Srebrovic, Alexis Gordon, Nina Suvak, Whitney Benik, Boglarka Berecz and Lolita Frangulyan.
The Gators next travel to Furman for a match Saturday.
UGA board approves new contract for Richt ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia's athletic board of directors approved a new eight-year, $16 million contract for coach Mark Richt that also includes added incentives if his players meet high graduation standards.
The contract boosts Richt's annual salary to $2 million from $1.5 million.
Richt's new contract, announced one week before signing day, again places the Georgia coach among the highest paid in the Southeastern Conference.
Richt's 2005 team won its second SEC championship in the last four years. Before Richt's arrival, Georgia had not won an SEC title since 1982.

Athletics get Big Hurt to upgrade offense

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    No. 9 Baylor tops Iowa State

  • AMES, Iowa - Sophia Young had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Angela Tisdale added 17 points and No. 9 Baylor beat Iowa State 79-64 for its first conference road win of the season.
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  • OTHER NEWS: Denny Neagle has pleaded guilty to a charge of soliciting a prostitute and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service, prosecutors announced.
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