Morning State Sports Briefs: Level 2 of state grid playoffs begins tonightWisconsin Sports
-- Round-Two begins tonight in the Wisconsin high school football playoffs. Exactly half of the 56 Level-Two games are being played this evening, with the rest set for tomorrow.
Round-Two begins tonight in the Wisconsin high school football playoffs. Exactly half of the 56 Level-Two games are being played this evening, with the rest set for tomorrow.
Four defending state champions will be in action tonight – Waunakee in Division-Two, West De Pere in Division-Three, Brillion in D-Five, and Edgar in D-Six. Twenty-four of the 28 Number-One seeds are still alive throughout the seven divisions. Sixteen teams are squaring off this weekend in each of the groups.
Middleton will play Milwaukee Marquette, and Neenah will face Kettle Moraine tonight in the Division-One semi-finals at the boys’ state high school soccer tournament. All four teams advanced yesterday after winning their quarter-final matches. Defending champion Marquette remains the only unbeaten team in the field, after eliminating Green Bay Preble 6-2. Patrick Hodan scored a hat trick for Marquette. Middleton blanked Brookfield East 1-0. Steven Harris had the game’s only goal. Last night, Kettle Moraine advanced with a 2-1 victory over Chippewa Falls. Bret Perinovic scored the deciding goal in the 72nd minute. And Neenah blanked Elkhorn 3-0, as Max Meier scored twice.
The tournament resumes this morning in Milwaukee with the Division-Three semi-finals. Winnebago Lutheran and Waupun Central Wisconsin Christian kick things off at 9 a.m. And then defending champion Racine Prairie takes on Wausau Newman. The Division-Two semis will be played this afternoon. Mount Horeb is up first against Sturgeon Bay. And then defending champion Waukesha Catholic Memorial takes on Fox Valley Lutheran. Title games will be played tomorrow in all three divisions.
NBA owners and players will resume their negotiations this morning on a new collective bargaining agreement that could end the four-month-old owners’ lockout. The two sides met yesterday afternoon and evening, after a marathon session on Wednesday. Seven Milwaukee Bucks’ regular season games have been canceled. But the union chief said it’s possible that a full 82-game schedule can be restored if a deal can be reached this week. They’re said to be making progress on so-called “system issues” – things like the salary cap and the luxury tax. But not all those issues have been resolved. Commissioner David Stern says he hopes they can start addressing the major issue today – the dividing of basketball-related revenues. The players say they’re willing to drop their share by almost five-percent, to 52-and-a-half. The owners have proposed a 50-50 split. Stern says he hopes a good night’s sleep will help both sides speed up their talks. He said there’s no guarantee for an agreement but quote, “We’re going to give it a heck of a shot.”
At the Pan American Games, the U.S. men’s basketball team came back from 17 points down in the third quarter to beat Brazil last night, 88-77 in Guadalajara Mexico. Former Wisconsin center Greg Stiemsma from Randolph started his second straight game for Team USA. He had four points, one assist, and a blocked shot in 12 minutes. Ex-Badgers’ forward Brian Butch from Appleton came off the bench for the Americans. He missed both of his shots in five minutes, and had one offensive rebound for the night. Blake Ahearn from Missouri State led the U.S. with 21 points. The Americans are now 2-0 in Group-“B.” They’ll play their final preliminary round game tonight against 0-2 Uruguay.
After coming back from 10-and-a-half games down in their division, and beating Milwaukee and Philadelphia in the playoffs, the Saint Louis Cardinals can win the World Series tonight. The Cards were down to their last strike twice in Game-Six last night, but they rallied to top the Texas Rangers 10-9 in 11 innings at Busch Stadium. David Freese sent the game to extra innings with a two-run triple in the ninth. Both teams scored twice in the 10th. And then Freese hit a walk-off solo homer in the 11th as Saint Louis tied the Fall Classic at three games apiece. Ex-Brewers’ prospect Nelson Cruz homered and scored twice for Texas. Former Milwaukee reliever Mike Adams gave up two hits in a scoreless one-third-of-an-inning for the Rangers. After losing the Series a year ago, Texas is going for its first championship tonight.
Brewers’ reliever Mitch Stetter can become a free agent, after he was sent outright to Triple-“A” Nashville yesterday. The 30-year-old Stetter had a five-point-one-four ERA in 16 appearances for the Brewers this year. The left-hander recently underwent surgery to fix a torn labrum in his left hip. The roster move means Stetter is no longer eligible for big league salary arbitration with the Brew Crew. The team now has one opening on its 40-man roster.
Concordia-Mequon is the coaches’ pre-season favorite to win the men’s basketball title in the North Division of the Northern Athletics Conference. The Falcons went 16-0 to take the regular season crown a year ago, but they lost their final two home contests – the NAC tournament semi-final against Edgewood College, and their first-round Division-Three contest to Luther. Edgewood is picked to finish second in the North this time, followed by Lakeland and Marian. Concordia-Mequon has a pair of all-conference second-teamers returning – forward Luke Doedens and guard Mitchell Schneider. Aurora is the coaches’ pick to win the NAC South Division, with Benedictine second and the Milwaukee School of Engineering third.
On the women’s side, Wisconsin Lutheran is the pre-season favorite to win the North Division basketball crown, and Dominican is picked win the South. Both won their respective division title last spring. Wisconsin Lutheran is coming off a 26-4 campaign in which they won an NCAA Division-Three game for the first time. Lutheran has four starters returning, including all-conference second-teamer Rachel Johnson. Concordia is picked to finish second in the North, followed by Edgewood and Marian. Dominican is the coaches’ favorite to take the South Division, followed by Benedictine and MSOE.
Kalla Schaefer of UW-Whitewater was named yesterday as the WIAC’s first women’s tennis player-of-the-year. The senior won the Number-One singles’ tennis title, plus her share of the Number-One doubles’ championship at the recent conference tournament. Schaefer went 19-3 in singles’ play and 16-7 in doubles, to help Whitewater claim its fifth straight first-place trophy. She was only the third player in WIAC to win three Number-One doubles’ titles during her career – and she also won two league singles’ crowns.
UW-Milwaukee officials say an architectural firm is in the middle of a feasibility study of a possible new sports arena, especially for men’s basketball. Athletic director Rick Costello says the Milwaukee firm of HGA is studying possible locations, along with how big it should be and how much it would cost. The UW Board of Regents would have to approve any new facility. If that happens, Costello says the Panthers could be playing in the new arena by 2016-or-17. The school’s most popular team, men’s basketball, now plays downtown at the U.S. Cellular Arena. But Costello says UWM students have made it clear they want a new facility on the campus. The school is leasing the downtown arena for one more season – and Costello says he’s had informal talks about a possible extension. Costello says the Panthers need a place to play but quote, “the Cell has been good to us.”
UW-Platteville has a new softball coach. Lee Negrelli will replace Heather Townsend, who resigned in August after five seasons as the Pioneers’ coach. Negrelli spent the last two years as an assistant at Francis Marion University in Florence South Carolina. Her team went 36-16 last year, and was a runner-up in its NCAA regional tournament. Negrelli will also serve as the coordinator of Platteville’s Pioneer Activity Center. School officials said her background in softball, fitness, and nutrition made her the perfect choice for Platteville’s program.
Next time you go to a Packer game, you won’t have to worry about a Viking fan or a Chicago Bears’ fan with a hidden gun next to you. The Packers have announced that weapons will remain off-limits at Lambeau Field when the state’s new concealed carry law takes effect next Tuesday. Packers’ security director Doug Collins says they’ve examined the new law, met with police officials, and decided to continue their no-weapons policy on the stadium property. Fans can keep their weapons in their vehicles at the Lambeau parking lot – but they can’t walk around the lot with them while folks are tailgating. Green Bay Police say violators could be cited for trespassing, with fines of up to 177-dollars. Under the new law, stadium officials will have to post signs stating that guns are banned. But other than that, Collins says fans should notice very little difference from their current policy.
UW-Stevens Point has won its first its WIAC volleyball title in 30 years. The Pointers clinched at least a share of the regular season crown with a four-set victory over La Crosse last night. The Pointers finished their conference schedule at 7-1. Eau Claire and Whitewater can also win part of the crown with victories in their final two matches tonight and tomorrow night.
For the first time in 41 years, UW-Oshkosh is looking for somebody to run the scoreboard at its football games. Ben Zalas turns 90 next month – and he has decided to retire after this season. He started running the scoreboard at Titan Stadium in 1970. Zalas says it’s been a fun way to meet terrific people, and to watch great college football. Last weekend, Zalas was at the controls when Oshkosh gave the nation’s top-ranked Division-Three football team a run for its money, as the Titans just barely lost to UW-Whitewater 20-17. Zalas says he’ll feel a little sentimental when the clock winds down to zero at the final Oshkosh home game next month. He served in Italy during World War Two, and he won the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Zalas jokes that it’s time to turn the Oshkosh scoreboard over to a younger man – perhaps in his 70’s or 80’s.
The Green Bay Blizzard of the Indoor Football League has hired a new head coach. Robert Fuller replaces Rik Richards, who quit last week to look for other opportunities. Fuller was named the league’s coach-of-the-year last season with the Fairbanks Grizzlies. They won the Pacific Division crown with a 10-5 record.
The Marquette University men’s basketball team has recruited a 6-10 post player from the Houston area. High school senior Aaron Durley gave his verbal commitment to the Golden Eagles last night. He chose Marquette over South Florida, South Alabama, and Tennessee-Chattanooga. Durley made his official visit to Milwaukee two weeks ago, and he said Marquette seemed to be the best fit for him. He said Marquette players Chris Otule and Junior Cadougan, who are also from the Houston area, helped him with his decision. Durley was an all-state player as a sophomore, but he sat out his junior year with a torn Achilles’ tendon. He played AAU ball this summer and said the Achilles’ was fine. Durley said he can play both power forward and center, and his post play is his biggest strength. He was 6-8 when he played baseball for an Arabian-American team in the 2006 Little League World Series. Durley said he wears a shoe size from 17-to-19, depending on the product – and Houston Rockets’ center Yao Ming has given him sneakers.
The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team scored a 2-0 shutout at UW-Milwaukee Wednesday night. Blake Succa and Tomislav Zadro had first-half goals for the Badgers, who improved to 8-6-2. Both goaltenders had three saves, but the Panthers failed to take advantage of Wisconsin’s 11 fouls. Milwaukee only had five fouls. UWM was shut out for the second straight game, and they fell to 5-8-2.