BANGKOK – Pope Francis arrived inThailand on Wednesday to meet with its small but devoted Catholic minority on aseven-day Asian trip that will include a family reunion in Bangkok and take hisanti-nuclear message to Japan. Pope Francis is greeted as he arrives at a military air terminal in Bangkok, Thailand on Nov. 20, 2019. REUTERS Waiting for a glimpse of the pontiff, excitedCatholics thronged around the Vatican’s Bangkok embassy and St. Louis Hospitalto take selfies. “Once in a lifetime, I want to see himand be able receive prayer from him,” said 60-year-old Orawan Thongjamroon. (Reuters)
It’s safe to say that the 2013 season has been nothing short of disappointing for the USC men’s volleyball team. A year after a 26-7 run that saw them fall just one victory short of an NCAA title, the team, hampered by inexperience and inconsistency, has limped to a 6-16 record. But as the regular season winds down, the Trojans still have a chance to end the campaign on a positive note.Building for the future · Though the Trojans won’t be advancing to the postseason, the team has plenty of youth with room to improve. Sophomore Joey Booth (number 19) is one of 18 underclassmen on the roster. – Joseph Chen | Daily TrojanOn the heels of a 3-0 home sweep of Cal State Northridge Saturday on Senior Night (25-23, 25-22, 25-19), USC will conclude its season on the road this week with matches against UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday and UCLA on Friday.While the final two contests appear trivial for a club simply playing out the string of a lost season, USC head coach Bill Ferguson emphasized the importance of the games as measures of where the team stands heading into next season.“We have two games to improve as a team, and I know it sounds funny since we have only these two matches left and no playoffs,” Ferguson said, “but we talked to the team about using these two games to wrap our minds around a postseason-like situation, where we’re playing two matches in three games.”With graduating seniors Chris Trefzger and J.B. Green making rare starts, USC recorded its third sweep of the season Saturday. Trefzger and Green played a memorable final home game as Trefzger notched 37 assists and seven digs as setter while Green played in the libero position and notched two digs. Sophomore outside hitter Cristian Rivera was strong once again with 18 kills while hitting .500, and fellow sophomore Joey Booth recorded 13 kills to go along with six digs.“I think the team played as one [unit] the best we’ve had all year,” Ferguson said. “A big part of that was the fact that we started Trefzger and Green, who normally don’t start much. Having those guys start really galvanized the team, because they are examples of guys who do the right thing every day, and the other guys on the team really respect them. That allowed them to answer the call tonight.”In a tightly contested match that didn’t leave much room for error, the Trojans’ hitting put them on top, as they hit at a .418 over CSUN’s .256.“Our pin attackers played great matches,” Ferguson said. “Booth, Rivera and [freshman] Alex Slaught played great matches, and I think they did a better job of paying attention to video this week. We had Rivera be more aggressive, leading to key points, and [junior] Tanner Jansen had a great game on the right side. We knew that we were going to have a good matchup, so I think the guys were prepared to do well.”As the season winds down, Ferguson avoided evaluating the team’s performance this year, noting that even the final two matches, as unimportant as they might seem, can retain value for the squad heading into the offseason.“We have two games in three nights,” Ferguson said. “The semis and the finals are a day apart, and the Final Four is a day apart, so this is like a practice run to prepare us for the next season.”
With one of the largest senior classes in quite some time, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team had high hopes heading into this season and started off as the No. 2 ranked team in the country. But in the pursuit of a National Championship to live up to the big expectations both inside of and outside the locker room, the Badgers’ season was halted prematurely in the NCAA regional semifinal against North Dakota, ending the careers of nine seniors with the 5-2 loss.After winning the Big Ten Tournament last weekend, Wisconsin (24-11-2) secured one of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament and what it had hoped would be a bit easier path to the Frozen Four. But with the Big Ten Tournament win over Ohio State, which prevented the Buckeyes from receiving an automatic bid, Wisconsin ended up helping fourth-seeded UND in the tournament. And not only did the Badgers aid North Dakota’s tournament cause, but they were faced with the tough task of taking on North Dakota Friday night in Cincinnati at U.S. Bank Arena.Right out of the gates, North Dakota (24-13-3), who finished second in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular season and third in the tournament, hardly looked like an underdog and took the lead just five minutes and six seconds into the first period.Although Wisconsin had fallen behind early, defenseman Frankie Simonelli didn’t think the first goal changed Wisconsin’s attitude.“I don’t think we were on our heels at any point. It was a pretty toe-to-toe game for the most part,” Simonelli said.After digging an early hole, Wisconsin climbed back into the game to tie it at one, a situation Wisconsin found itself in again in the third period.In the third with UW down 2-1 this time, Nic Kerdiles skied the puck into the zone near the right wing boards which, after bouncing several times, eluded both UND defenseman that were clustered together near the blue line. Badgers’ forward Tyler Barnes came roaring into the zone behind the play and picked up the loose puck floating at the top of the right faceoff circle and, with a wide open look at the net, blasted the puck past North Dakota goaltender Zane Gothberg with 10 minutes and 28 seconds to go in the game.Even though Wisconsin had tied the game, North Dakota was the team that dominated the final period, outshooting Wisconsin 14-6 in the last 20 minutes.Badger netminder Joel Rumpel, who finished with 30 saves, managed to turn away the multitude of scoring chances and it appeared the game was headed for overtime. But with one minute and 44 seconds left, North Dakota’s Brendan O’Donnell let go what seemed like a fairly harmless shot from the right point. A screen in front of Rumpel by North Dakota’s Mark MacMillan meant to block his view resulted in a rather fluky goal as the puck caromed off MacMillan and somehow ended up redirecting into the back of the net.It appeared MacMillan had made contact with Rumpel, who immediately protested the goal, and so the referees reviewed the disputed go-ahead score.“The referee did come over and say, ‘Coach the North Dakota player did not bump your goaltender. It hit him and went it. It was a good goal.’ You have to trust their ability to make that call and that’s what he told us,” Eaves said.Having tied the game a few minutes before the game-winning goal and despite being outshot, Wisconsin appeared to have momentum on its side. But with the heavy advantage in the shot department in the period, the Badgers didn’t put themselves in a good position to win the game.All it took for North Dakota to secure the win, the 14th time since 2003 a No. 4 seed has upset a one seed, was the lucky bounce late in the game, which despite the lopsided-looking final score was close until the final minute.“Once we tied it up 2-2 there I really thought we had it. We were buzzing. It was kind of a flashback of our comeback games. We tied it up and then we had the momentum but like coach said, they got the bounce today,” junior defenseman Jake McCabe, who was on the ice when the game-winner was scored, said.Wisconsin made a last ditch effort to save its season by pulling Rumpel after the go-ahead goal was scored, but on the ensuing faceoff in the Badger offensive zone, UND’s Rocco Grimaldi backhanded the puck out of the zone which slid all the way down the ice into the Badger net.Down 4-2 now, the Badgers pulled Rumpel once more and again Grimald converted into the empty net to complete a hat trick and silence any hope of a comeback.Despite falling in their final games as Badgers, the nine seniors have left a lasting legacy not limited to just once performance. Eight of the nine seniors have played in more than 100 games in their careers, including Michael Mersch who played in every single game and was the leading goal scorer (67) in the Mike Eaves coaching era and Mark Zengerle, the new leader in points while Eaves has been at the helm with his 162.Although they were unable to get to the National Championship in their careers, the seniors led the way to back-to-back conference tournament titles, in the WCHA last year and the Big Ten this year, and will be missed greatly in the lineup come next season.“Your last of the year is always a tough game, especially for our group of guys. We’ve got nine seniors that gave us great leadership this year. But as we said to these young men, they left nothing inside of them. It was all on the ice and for that reason alone they can walk out of this building with their heads held high tonight,” Eaves said.
https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/50/3e/jamarius-way-quote-041919-getty-ftr_1vdicoufy17861nwcb1r5mstm9.png?t=912055082&w=500&quality=80 Four years separated Jamarius and Robert. Jamarius calls Robert his mentor, though, like most brothers, there was rivalry as they were growing up.”It was definitely competitive,” he said. “We would always try to out-do each other. I really looked up to him, but I never let him know that he was my role model because I always wanted to be better than him. I used to always lose, I’m not going to lie, but he kept my head on straight. He was a mentor to me in the absence of my dad in my life. He’s a big part of where I’m at now.”Family bragging rights have tilted in Jamarius’ favor. Way is off to the NFL, having escaped the poverty and the fields and the other hardships that have enveloped so many other kids from the area. https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e0/ef/jamarius-way-quote-041919-getty-ftr_xazyfk8f3ugb1uhoa7f7ydjot.png?t=912006066&w=500&quality=80 From the smoke and ashes, the latest to emerge is Jamarius Way. A receiver from South Alabama, Way hopes to follow in the footsteps of the dozens of “Muck City” residents who have reached the NFL, a list that includes Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson, running back Fred Taylor and receiver Anquan Boldin.”I’m not going to bash my city because I love my city,” Way said of his hometown of Belle Glade. “But, at the same time, it’s not someplace that I’d recommend someone to come stay because there’s not much to do. It’s a lot of motivation being able to play football and being able to go to college and get away from all of this. To be able to go to college and play and one day have a chance to go to the NFL, it’s all a big motivation. It’s part of the reason why we go play football — to help our families live a better life.”MORE NFL DRAFT:Best prospects by position in 2019 classGenerations of kids have gone to the burning fields to chase rabbits. It’s a tradition that is dying among the area’s athletes, said former Glades Central High School star Roosevelt Blackmon, a fourth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 1998 and one of Way’s former coaches at Glades Central.Not with Way, who joined his older brother — former Bethune-Cookman linebacker Robert Way Jr. — and cousins in the fields before going rabbit hunting for the first time when he was about 14.”Growing up in Belle Glade, it’s a very small town. There’s nothing to do besides play football,” Way said. “When you’re playing football, you want to try to get speed. In order to get speed, during sugar-cane season, they burn the cane in the fields and all the rabbits come out, so we chase the rabbits just for fun, just to get fast. We eat them, too, but we chase them just to get fast.” The fertile fields of “The Muck” produce sugar cane and football players.Every year from October to April, sugar-cane farmers burn the leaves of the plants to expose the canes that produce the sugar you put into your cookies or morning coffee. During those months, plumes of smoke soar into the air around the Palm Beach (Fla.) County communities of Belle Glade and Pahokee. As long as the sugar-cane fields have burned, boys from the area known as “Muck City” have braved the heat and smoke to chase rabbits in pursuit of dinner, a few bucks and bragging rights. The scene during cane season defies description. “The Muck” is aptly named. The fertile ground is muck; dark and wet. The black smoke “will kill you,” Way says, and limits visibility. The kids stand downwind from the smoke and the flames and wait for the frightened rabbits to emerge from the fire and tractors.Then, the chase is on.With their speed and ability to veer this way and that, the rabbits have the advantage.”You try your best to trap them and corner them to keep them from running in between canes,” Way said. “Once you get behind one, you jump down and you grab them. Rabbits cut really fast, so it could help you with your agility.”MOCK DRAFT 2019:Cowboys, Bears trades pay off for RaidersGrowing up, Blackmon figures he was a veteran of perhaps 20 rabbit hunts. He laughs when recalling his experience: “There’s a trick to catching a rabbit. You don’t just get behind the rabbit and run and catch it. You hit the banks and you hit the side and wait for them to come out. You use a stick to catch a rabbit.”Whatever the technique, the cane fields have helped produce scores of athletes. Way, a late-round prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, is the latest. He spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Ellsworth Community College — “Cold. Very cold,” was Way’s description of Iowa Falls, Iowa — before landing at South Alabama. He caught 47 passes for 762 yards and three touchdowns in 2017 and 61 passes for 855 yards and eight touchdowns in 2018.Possessing size (6-3 1/2) that comes naturally and agility that was honed by chasing rabbits, Way will have overcome more than burning sugar cane to get to the NFL.”I had one of my closest friends get murdered three years ago,” he said. “That’s not the type of life that we’re supposed to be living. My friend was living a lifestyle he shouldn’t be around on the streets. I tried to talk to him and tell him, ‘Yo, this ain’t us. Come on, man. Come on the other side.’”That made me realize that life is too short. I’d rather go out with a bang than go out with nothing behind my name.” MORE: All you need to know about the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville”The crazy thing about all of that is it’s so scary,” Way said of the draft process. “You never know when your phone’s going to ring. You never know if your phone’s going to ring. It’s a scary process but, at the same time, it’s something that I’ve dreamed about.”I was always playing ‘Madden’ and wanted to get me on the game and created myself. Now, I won’t have to create myself. I’ll be on the game.”