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

  • OAKLAND, Calif. - Free agent slugger Frank Thomas agreed to a $500,000, one-year contract with Oakland, giving the Athletics the big bat they've been searching for in the middle of their lineup.
    Thomas, a two-time American League MVP who has been slowed by injuries in recent years, can make an additional $2.6 million in bonuses based on plate appearances and not hurting his left foot.

    Adidas-Reebok merger poses challenge to Nike

  • PORTLAND, Ore. - Adidas-Salomon AG has just added some marketing muscle with the acquisition of Reebok International Ltd., boosting the combined U.S. share of No. 2 Adidas and No. 3 Reebok to 21 percent - enough to be a real contender, analysts say.
    Shareholders of Canton, Mass.-based Reebok approved the $3.8 billion takeover by a 98 percent margin, a day after Adidas won European Union regulatory approval. No antitrust objections were raised by U.S. regulators.
    Reebok said the companies now expect to close the deal by Jan. 31.

    Red-hot Hurricanes win in shootout with Florida

  • SUNRISE - Erik Cole and Ray Whitney scored in a shootout to lift the streaking Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers.
    Hurricanes forward Rod Brind'Amour had sent the game to overtime with his second-power play goal with 1:04 left in the third period. Cullen also scored for Carolina, which is 11-1 in its last 12 games.
  • CANADIENS 5, FLYERS 3: Jan Bulis scored a career-best four goals and Montreal snapped a seven-game road losing streak with a victory over Philadelphia.

    Wallace to move into broadcasting booth

  • CONCORD, N.C. - Rusty Wallace became the first on-air hire by ESPN and ABC Sports when he was named lead auto racing analyst. His first assignment will be covering next month's Daytona 500 for ESPN's SportsCenter.
    "I feel like broadscasting is my calling," Wallace said. "I knew when I retired this is what I wanted to do. I feel like I am well educated on the cars, NASCAR, the whole industry."

    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.
    Baylor (14-3, 4-3 Big 12) - which shot 11-of-23 on 3-pointers and outrebounded the Cyclones 50-39 - took the lead midway through the first half and never looked back against one of the league's top home teams.
  • NO. 12 DEPAUL 48, LOUISVILLE 44: Allie Quigley had 17 points and nine rebounds, leading No. 12 DePaul to a victory over Louisville.
    Richt had five years remaining on his current contract. The new contract extends through the 2013 season and retains a stiff buyout clause. Richt would have to pay Georgia the remaining value of the contract if he were to leave for another coaching job.
    n INDIANS: First baseman Ben Broussard avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year, $2.5 million contract with Cleveland, who still have outfielder Coco Crisp.
  • 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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