Beach volleyball prepares for two home matches

first_imgAfter spending spring break playing on the sands of Queen’s Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, the No. 3-ranked USC beach volleyball team (9-2) is back in action on the mainland when they host No. 6-ranked Long Beach State (2-5) and No. 19-ranked Cal (7-4) Tuesday at Merle Norman Stadium. First serve against the 49ers will begin at 12:30 p.m., while the match against the Bears will follow at approximately 2 p.m.Starting out the season ranked atop the AVCA National Poll, a pair of tight 3-2 losses to Pepperdine and Florida State in a span of six days pushed USC back to sit at third overall in the nation. However, the Women of Troy seem to have regained their stride after a successful trip to the Islands, in which they posted four straight victories over tournament host and No. 5-ranked Hawaii and No. 15-ranked Nebraska to win the Hawaii Invitational.USC defeated both schools twice over the weekend as part of the four-team tournament, recording a pair of 4-1 victories over the Rainbow Wahine and the Cornhuskers on Thursday. In Saturday’s rematches, the Women of Troy put up a clean 5-0 sweep over Nebraska in the morning and capped the evening off with a 3-2 win over the host school. With the victories, the Women of Troy extended their winning streak to five dual matches in a row.In addition to winning the team tournament, the Women of Troy also produced a trio of champions in the Hawaii Invitational Pairs Tournament. USC’s top six teams dominated the field as all three championship matches in each flight were made up of USC pairs.In the gold bracket, the No. 1-pair of juniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes defeated teammates and the No. 2-pair of junior Sophie Bukovec and senior Alexa Strange, 21-15, 21-19. The silver bracket final saw No. 3-pair of juniors Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler outlast underclassmen and the No. 4-pair of sophomore Jenna Belton and freshman Abril Bustamante in three, 21-15, 19-21, 15-9, while the bronze bracket final had the No. 5-pair of sophomore Jo Kremer and senior Zoe Nightingale win over the No. 6-pair of sophomore Terese Cannon and freshman Katrina Kernochan in two sets, 21-15, 21-18. Furthermore, the bronze flight had freshman Becca Dunn and senior Emily Young win the fifth-place consolation match as USC’s seventh pair. Overall, USC went 16-4 on the day, with three of those losses coming at the hands of other Women of Troy pairs.After spending time on the island, the Women of Troy are now back in Los Angeles ready to face two in-state rivals at Merle Norman Stadium. USC will start with some familiar faces across the net in No. 6-ranked LBSU. Having defeated the 49ers once already this season, the Women of Troy have the upper hand playing at home. However, Long Beach State is one of just two programs in the country that own a winning record against USC all-time, albeit a slim 5-4 margin. The teams’ last meeting was back on March 6 at Zuma Beach for the Pepperdine Kick-Off, where the Women of Troy had to rely on Martin and Wheeler to win in 3 sets and seal the exciting 3-2 victory.The No. 19-ranked Cal Bears also come to Troy with a four-match winning streak. Tuesday will mark just the second all-time meeting between the two Pac-12 foes, with the last meeting going in USC’s favor by way of a 5-0 sweep over the Bears. Both matches on Tuesday will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.last_img read more

If Cardinals draft Kyler Murray, ripple effects will reach multiple leagues, sports

first_img Murray also will not be the last athlete to play both sports at the professional level. Tim Tebow, also a former Heisman Trophy winner, did not have sustained success in the NFL despite a memorable rookie season. Tebow, however, has made the trek through he minor leagues and is trying to crack the Mets’ major-league roster. Tebow would be a great story in majors, one MLB should be rooting for considering Tebow is one of the good guys in sports. It also is wise to leave that door open for Murray in case he flops in football — a long game, of sorts.Speaking of good guys, Larry Fitzgerald turns 36 in August. Would Murray prompt the future Hall of Fame wide receiver to play a little longer? Fitzgerald, who has 1,302 career catches, needs 22 more to reach 1,325, which will tie Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez for the second most catches behind Jerry Rice (1,549), a 49ers legend. Speaking of the 49ers, if the Cardinals were to draft Murray, then San Francisco would be in line to draft the player who previously had been considered the No. 1 pick.That was Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, who for this reason would have his NFL career linked to that of Murray if he were to go No. 2 in the draft. Bosa, however, would not be the only former Buckeye impacted by the Cardinals drafting Murray.Dwayne Haskins set Big Ten records last season and finished third in the Heisman voting. At 6-3, 231 pounds, he is considered the prototype when it comes to QB size. If Murray were to be selected over him, and if Murray were to succeed in Arizona, it would be interesting to see how that development affects QB evaluations in the future — even as early as next year.MOCK DRAFT: Four QBs picked in first roundWhat does that mean for Jalen Hurts? The QB who backed up Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama last season transferred and will follow Mayfield and Murray at Oklahoma. Some believe Hurts has no chance to play QB in the NFL. Some were saying the same thing about Murray before last season. If Murray were to be drafted by the Cardinals and have success as a rookie, among QBs in the 2020 NFL Draft class — which could include Tagovailoa, Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Oregon’s Justin Herbert — Hurts would have the most to gain. And he would at least get a chance in the NFL.That all spins back to Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, who was a walk-on QB behind Kingsbury at Texas Tech. Should the Cardinals draft Murray, Riley, 35, will have sent back-to-back Heisman Trophy-winning QBs to the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick. That’s unprecedented, and it makes the fact that Kingsbury might try Murray that much more interesting. The impact could be seen in the NFL right away.We are talking as soon this season, when the Cardinals will play the Browns in Arizona. Imagine the NFL schedule release giving us Mayfield vs. Murray as part of the annual “Monday Night Football” doubleheader in Week 1 — this one to kick off the NFL’s 100th season.MORE: What could Cards get in Rosen deal? Sporting News’ latest mock draft indeed has Arizona taking taking Murray. If that were to happen, then there would be a chain reaction that impacts multiple professional sports leagues and levels of football, not to mention several players and coaches in those sports.IYER: Murray, Cardinals just can’t hide the loveNew Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury would back up his own foreshadowing. On Oct. 28, 2018, Kingsbury, then the coach at Texas Tech, said he would draft Murray with the No. 1 pick if given the chance. His doing so now would confirm that he will get to design his own offense in Arizona. Kingsbury was a risky hire, but he also is recognized as one of the best offensive minds through all levels of football. The coach’s success or failure would be directly tied to Murray.If Murray were to be drafted No. 1, then Josh Rosen likely would be traded. There are a handful of teams that should investigate a potential deal. Rosen makes equal sense in Washington as the starter and in New England as the heir apparent to Tom Brady — that shows how much wiggle room the Cardinals have, and the wide range of franchises that could be impacted by Murray going No. 1.Cardinals general manager Steve Keim’s job hinges on this decision, too. Keim last made headlines when he was arrested on a DUI charge in July and suspended by the team. Drafting Murray No. 1 would be a move that goes against the grain.The Cardinals would be sending a message to their own players in dumping one franchise QB for another after just one season. Rosen was taken with the No. 10 pick last year and made 13 starts on a team that was doomed from the beginning. Is that where the level of patience stands in today’s NFL? Or does it lend credence to an evolving trend with a certain Power 5 conference?MORE: Why your team should trade for RosenThe Big 12 was the breeding ground for a couple of the best young current NFL QBs. Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield both played for Kingsbury at Texas Tech. Mayfield, of course, transferred to Oklahoma and preceded Murray. Mahomes led the NFL with 50 TD passes last season in his first year as starter. Mayfield broke the single-season rookie record with 27 TDs passes. If Murray were to have success in Arizona early, then the Big 12 could become an even more trendy medium for QB development.Of the QBs who finished between Mahomes and Mayfield in TD passes last season, former No. 1 pick Jared Goff is the only one who will not be older than 30 in 2019. Goff and the Rams reached the Super Bowl from the NFC West, where the Cardinals would be competing in the division with the league’s most interesting QB/coach combinations. Goff and Sean McVay are the standard. Russell Wilson, paired with Pete Carroll, has answered the questions about QBs 6-0 or shorter ahead of Murray. The 49ers were the “it” team last offseason with Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan. That all translates to a hyper-interesting division. It would be much more interesting than, say, the American League West.The Murray decision remains a hit to MLB considering he chose football over baseball after it was assumed the Athletics’ first-round pick would play in their minor-league system. Murray even bristled at Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $330 million contract. MLB now might need to reform its minor-league setup to entice prospects to stick with baseball. Murray will not be the last athlete to have to choose between football and baseball. Kyler Murray talk dominated the 2019 NFL Combine, and the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma didn’t even throw a football.Murray created headlines with his measurements and his answers to media questions. On top of that, rumors that the Cardinals are considering drafting him with the No. 1 overall pick are swirling. What if that becomes reality?center_img It all makes too much sense.That is the Kyler Murray Effect, and it would start the second NFL commissioner Roger Goodell belts out the phrase. “With the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft … “Don’t say we didn’t prepare you for what comes next.last_img read more