Men's Volleyball: No. 9 Ohio State topples No. 6 Loyola in four sets – OSU – The Lantern


Ohio State junior setter Sanil Thomas sets up redshirt senior middle blocker Nick Laffin during the Buckeyes’ 3-1 win against Loyola on March 29 at St. John Arena. Credit: Ris Twigg | Assistant Photo Editor

The energy was through the roof of St. John Arena with the No. 9 Ohio State men’s volleyball team (18-4, 9-2 MIVA) returning from its five-week road-trip in one of its most pivotal conference matchups of the year.

Lifted by the excitement, the Buckeyes came onto the floor and took care of business, beginning aggressively and defeating No. 6 Loyola 3-1. The lone loss came in the third set at the end of a 30-point overtime that ended 41-39 in favor of the Ramblers (19-5, 9-2 MIVA).

What began as an uneventful set eventually picked up speed at 15-14 and turned into one of the longest NCAA volleyball sets of the 2018 season. Ohio State senior outside hitter Maxime Hervoir said the only thought in a player’s head during a set like that is to continue fighting.

“You’re just trying to keep going,” Hervoir said. “You’re so tired that you’re just trying to do your best at that moment.”

In Ohio State’s previous matchup with the Ramblers in Chicago, the Buckeyes took the first two sets, but dropped the remaining three to lose the match. Entering Thursday night’s fourth set, the Buckeyes looked tired, but not beat.

Despite low energy, Hervoir said he was not worried about tonight’s match being a repeat of the last.

“At Loyola, we let them come back and on set three [of tonight’s match], we fought until the end,” he said. “So we were already in this mindset like, ‘just keep going and fight as hard as we can.’”

Ohio State took a 14-11 lead, one it  kept through the end of the set. Redshirt freshman opposite Jake Hanes finished the match with a service ace and the team swarmed the court, filled with the sweet taste of revenge.

Though both the longest set and the clinching set were the final two of the match, head coach Pete Hanson was especially pleased by the team’s performance in the first two sets.

“The first two sets, we played excellent volleyball,” Hanson said. “Just really, really did the things that we had talked about all week in practice. Our tactics were good. Our execution of our tactics [was] good.”

The first two sets seemed to portend a quick night with the Buckeyes beating the Ramblers 25-20 and 25-16.

The first set was fast paced with both teams playing well. However, Ohio State had the necessary edge to win. Ohio State senior outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen got the ball rolling for the team, leading in kills, service aces and digs. Rambler junior outside hitter Collin Mahan and senior outside hitter Ryan Jamison carried their team offensively, each tallying four kills in the opening set.

The entire Ohio State team seemed to be fired up with aggressive kills and big blocks on the net throughout the second set. Hervoir finished the second set with eight kills and two blocks. Throughout the remainder of the match, Hervoir didn’t let off, racking up a career-high 24 kills.

“I didn’t play very well when we were playing away,” Hervoir said. “We had a super long streak away and it was really hard for me mentally I was really focused today because I wanted to be better and come back hard in my gym and show that I will be here hard in conference.”

On Saturday in the team’s final home match of the year, Ohio State will play No. 10 Lewis, which beat the Buckeyes 3-0 on Feb. 22 and ended their 28-match MIVA winning streak.

Hanson said he feels good about playing Lewis after seeing what his team was able to do against another quality opponent during Thursday’s match.

“My personal feeling is Loyola’s a more balanced team, that they have more offensive weapons that can really hurt you at a high level,” he said. “Lewis has a couple good players but I think if we can kind of control their couple of guys, it should be hopefully in our favor. I think that if we play the kind of volleyball that we played tonight, we’ll be in a really good spot.”



Formula One looks to equestrian sport for inspiration after abolishing … – Horse & Hound


A motorsport chief has praised equestrianism for “blazing the trail” for gender equality in sport.

FIA secretary general Peter Bayer made the comments during the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne on 26 March.

Mr Bayer spoke of the difficulty motorsport has faced in getting more women involved and why having “grid girls” is at odds with the sport’s new direction.

“Grid girls” are models used to carry out promotional tasks at Formula One events. They would wear clothing bearing sponsors’ logos and their role included holding umbrellas for drivers, holding driver name boards and lining the walk-way to the podium.

Mr Bayer told the forum that getting more women involved in motorsport is “something we have been struggling with”.

He added it was great to see the equal balance of men and women on the eight-strong youth panel that took place at the forum.

“We are trying to understand why the drop-out happens and at the same time trying to improve participation of young women,” said Mr Bayer.

The FIA recently launched its “The Girls On Track” initiative to boost female participation in the sport and replaced “grid girls” with up-and-coming drivers.

“We felt by launching ‘The Girls On Track’ programme and trying to have equal participation and at the same time having grid girls holding an umbrella for our drivers probably doesn’t fit well together,” he said.

“It was a very difficult discussion, especially because the fans did not like it to start with, but the commercial rights group with whom we work very closely was very supportive.

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“The people coming on the grid with drivers [now] are young, future Formula One stars.

“They are people who are being selected by the federation, by the local governing body which allows them to enter the pit, which allows them to get exposure, which allows them to get international TV exposure and to be in touch with the national media.

“We believe it is an important step and I hope we can continue to exchange and to learn from [the FEI] about how you have achieved what you have done, which I think is amazing.

“We also have the same framework in place, we have men and women competing in the same races, in the same cars and we think this is something where [equestrian sport] has been blazing the trail and we would definitely like to hear more from you.”

For more news from the FEI Sports Forum, don’t miss next week’s issue of Horse & Hound – out Thursday, 5 April



Karjakin, Kramnik To Participate In Charity Blitz – Chess.com


Sergey Karjakin and Vladimir Kramnik, both participants in the recently concluded FIDE Candidates’ Tournament, are in Nice, France to participate in a one-day charity event that will support Red Cross.

The “Super Blitz” tournament will be held tomorrow in the famous Hotel Negresco in Nice, France. It is dedicated to the memory of Alexander Alekhine, who was born 125 years (and a half) ago. The fourth world champion from Russia lived part of his life in France.

The special aspect of the event is obviously the presence of two Candidates’: 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and 2017 Vice Champion Sergey Karjakin. They have agreed to participate for no fee, since all revenue for the event is going to the French Red Cross. 

The tournament has a €2000 prize fund and consists of seven rounds of blitz (10 minutes per person). 150 chess players are expected to participate. Karjakin and Kramnik will take the role of players and coaches, and Karjakin will also give a simul.

Negresco chess

The famous Hotel Negresco will be the location of the event. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

The event is organized by Nouveau Souffle sur nos ȊIes, a charity that collects funds for victims of hurricanes on French isles in 2017. With this one-day event, the organizers’ aim is threefold: remember Alekhine, boost the popularity of chess in Nice and support Red Cross.

Chess.com asked the organizers a few questions. Spokesperson Anastasiya Khavina replied:

Who are behind this event? 
“We are six girls-students of the EDHEC Business School in Nice. For the sake of our first year business project, we established the charitable association. And the amateur chess tournament became one of the association projects.”

How did it start, where did it come from? 
“It took us a lot of time to decide about the range of events we would be able to organize. My father, being a Spartak Moscow football club fan, gave me the contact of his friend Mr Dmitry Mints, who did already a lot to support for chess, and Mr Karjakin is also a big fan of Spartak Moscow. Karjakin is a wonderful person. You could be just a big sports professional, but Sergey thinks not only about his personal career, but is also doing a lot to promote chess in Russia, trying to revive the lost interest to this sport. Therefore, we thought about a chess tournament with the participation of this chess star. He was interested by the concept, supported the idea and decided to participate.”

Beach in Nice, France

The two Russian grandmasters probably won’t mind spending some time in Nice, where they also played about a decade ago in the Amber tournaments. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Why is it happening in Nice? 
“We are living and studying in Nice. To realize such a business project, somewhere else was quite difficult. The Cote d’Azure attracts a lot of tourists, and has a considerably big Russian community. The great chess champion Alexander Alekhine spent many years of his life in Nice. For this reason, we decided to devote our tournament to his memory. We got in touch with Mr Herve Ribreau and his chess school “Riviera Chess Club.” Together, in good cooperation, we hope to make this event unforgettable.”

Why Karjakin and Kramnik? What exactly will they be doing?
“Mr Mints helped us a lot to organize the tournament and managed to invite both Mr Karjakin and Mr Kramnik. We are happy that they accepted their invitation to take part in our event.

Both champions will participate in the final stage of the tournament. After seven rounds of blitz games, the 10 best players will be selected. The finalists will face each other and the two champions. In addition, Mr Karjakin accepted our proposal to play simultaneous exhibition with up to 20 players.”

Why Red Cross?

“Red Cross is a reknowned international charity association. As I know, EDHEC has been in cooperation with Red Cross for many years. So, from the beginning of our business project we were well supported by representatives of this famous organization. So, we are completely sure that the money we collect will reach the addressees and help the hurricane’s victims.”

How can fans support the charity?

“We have a page on the Cagnotte Leetchi, where you can make an online donation: https://www.leetchi.com/c/association-de-nouveau-souffle-sur-nos-iles
In addition, you can contact us and make the remittance. There are our contact numbers:
+336-23-12-25-70 Anastasia Khavina (Representative of the Association)
+336-52-96-85-83 Herve Ribreau (Director of the Riviera Chess Club)
During the tournament, we will put a donation box. Everyone that would like to make a donation during the tournament will be very welcomed to do this.”

The official website of the event is www.niceopen.fr. Chess.com is in Nice, and we hope to bring the games in Live Chess. A report will be posted after the weekend, probably with video interviews with the two super GMs.



The Leagues Appear To Have (Close To) A New Model Sports Betting Bill – Legal Sports Report


Model sports betting bill

The running tally for sports betting bills is now… well, several dozen. It’s getting hard to keep an exact count with multiple bills introduced nearly every week. A decision in the NJ sports betting case is drawing imminent, and preparations are decidedly underway.

Legislation on the topic follows a few different paths, but every bill can be lumped into one of two groups: Those that follow the leagues’ preferred model and those that do not. The NBA and MLB have maintained that their blueprint is the only one they’ll support as the basis for legislation.

That was the unwavering stance until recently, at least. A new compromise bill has popped up in at least three states, though, and the NBA seems willing to listen. Active bills in New York, Kansas, and Connecticut now contain a set of modified concessions.

What’s new in this bill?

Here are the noteworthy deviations from the league model:

  • Bets are separated into two tiers, with the leagues given exclusive data rights only for “tier two” wagers, or ones beyond simple outcomes.
  • The “integrity fee“ payable to the leagues is reduced from one percent to .25 percent of handle, down from one percent.
  • Sports leagues can request betting restrictions but do not have the authority to dictate

Connecticut’s new bill (S 540) was introduced by Senate Finance Revenue and Bonding on Wednesday and is scheduled for a public hearing next Monday. Kansas and New York have already held such hearings (and so has Connecticut, on other bills).

All three states have competing bills on file, as well.

Where did this come from?

The language included in these bills first appeared in New York.

Earlier this month, Sen. John Bonacic introduced S 7900, providing the first glimpse at this new category. Bonacic chairs the Senate Racing Gaming and Wagering Committee, which quickly advanced the bill. Further action is pending.

A couple weeks later, S 455 appeared in Kansas from Senate Federal and State Affairs. That committee held a hearing on Tuesday, and NBA assistant general counsel Dan Spillane testified (mostly) in support.

This is from his verbal testimony:

It’s not where we started. We had some proposals that differ from what’s included in the bill right now. If we were drafting it ourselves, we’d do some of these things a little bit differently. And there are a few issues which we plan to iron out, and some adjustments to be made on certain aspects of the bill.

But we do think that this represents a lot of work, a good balance of all the various competing interests that went into this. And again, we are supportive of the general framework that’s reflected here.

Spillane’s comments indicate that the league did not author this version in its entirety, which makes it unclear where or how it originated. But it does seem like they had input. We know some of the language in the bill first appeared from Sen. Bonacic,

The bill certainly didn’t come from operators. Here’s what Seth Young of Foxwoods had to say when he saw the new Connecticut proposal:

In related news, the NBA and MLB have retained lobbyists in each of these three states (among several others). They currently spend more than $40,000 per month to lobby in New York alone.

What the leagues like

Despite containing some concessions, the compromise model does acknowledge the leagues’ position. It still includes the requisite consumer protections, provisions for mobile and internet wagering, and information-sharing clauses. It also allows them to collect a fee, enjoy partial data exclusivity, and influence the available bet types.

Spillane testified that the NBA believes the elements it’s seeking are present in S 455.

Rep. Vic Miller double-checked with him, specifically as it related to the integrity fee: “You made a case for compensation; is .25 percent adequate compensation?”

Spillane has argued for a one percent fee on several occasions, and he contended that he could do so once again. But he didn’t. “In the spirit of compromise here in the state of Kansas, we’re supportive of the framework and we’re accepting that element,” he said.

He also indicated that the league would reconsider the fee entirely if operators could show it to be untenable.

Compromise or last-ditch effort?

It is no surprise to see a series of bills emerge that try to meet in the middle. The job of lawmakers, after all, is to balance the needs of stakeholders and the general public. It’s just not clear if this is a willing compromise from the leagues or even something that commercial casinos would accept.

The league model is on file in several states, and their lawyers have faced significant pushback during testimony in each. And they’ve done a good job with it; Spillane is adept at fighting the good fight. Considering the disagreements on the specifics, he has been well-received in each state.

The leagues aren’t making significant inroads — at least publicly. West Virginia heard testimony from them before passing a law that dismissed their requests. And Pennsylvania sports betting became law before there was even a chance to lobby. Of the dozens of bills on file, only a handful follow the leagues’ model.

Even in Kansas, where this compromise bill was just filed — an even newer bill was introduced on Wednesday that reverts back to the state-centric model.

All of that being said, there is evidence of some limited progress.

Connecticut is a good example. Next week’s hearing won’t be the first on the topic, and state lawmakers have been quotably opposed to the leagues so far. The smart money appears be on Connecticut sports betting moving forward without league input. But now this compromise bill has appeared, and it’s up for a hearing.



Michigan basketball: Final Four run has changed John Beilein's legacy – Detroit Free Press


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Michigan basketball’s Moritz Wagner meet with reporters on Thursday, March 29, 2018.
Nick Baumgardner/Detroit Free Press

SAN ANTONIO — John Beilein is changing how we think of him. That’s what Final Four runs can do. 

For years, the Michigan basketball coach held the respect of his peers within the college coaching community. But he operated as if he were in a classroom in the back of campus.  

“I want to be known as a teacher and mentor,” he said Thursday from inside the Alamodome, site of the Final Four. “Not the coach.” 

Well, he may not have a choice if he keeps landing on the national stage. Now that he’s back here, it’s time to reconsider his legacy. Because it’s changing by the day. And it’s time he got his due. 

For discovering talent. For developing players. For changing. 

More:

Michigan coach’s sick mom before Final Four: ‘Tell those boys, you gotta be hungry!’

Loyola-Chicago embracing the abnormalities of a Final Four journey

It was nearly midnight back in Ann Arbor when Beilein stood outside his team’s locker room last Saturday for his final interview of the night. He was deep inside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. 

And from the moment his Michigan basketball team had beaten Florida State and earned a spot in the Final Four, Beilein had been talking. 

Michigan coach John Beilein celebrates and raises the West Region championship trophy after defeating Florida State in the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament in Los Angeles, Calif., Saturday, March 24, 2018. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press)

First on a makeshift stage at midcourt. Then on a dais in the formal media room. Then in a scrum of television and print reporters in the half-moon-shaped hallways outside the team’s locker room. 

He’d talked about the journey, about his players, about the visceral thrill of getting back to the Final Four. Finally, around 9 p.m. local time, Beilein stopped for one last chat. 

He smiled as he spoke, a drenched and giddy coaching lifer trying to get a handle of the moment. Thirty feet down the hallway, Kathleen Beilein watched.  

And beamed. 

More: How Michigan basketball plane crash changed John Beilein and his wife

With pride, absolutely. With wonderment, too. 

“John and I had just talked a few weeks earlier about what it would be like to get back to the Final Four again,” she said. “We remembered how it felt when we didn’t make it in 2014, the year after our first Final Four.” 

That stung. Because it reinforced to them how hard it was to get to the Final Four. They wondered if they’d ever get back.  

Beilein understood how random the NCAA tournament was. How you needed a few breaks, a late-game shot, the right matchup. When asked what his goals are each season, he never mentioned the Final Four. 

“Did we compete for Big Ten championships?” he said. “… that’s how I want to be judged at Michigan.” 

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Yet teams that thrive during the long haul of the regular season aren’t always a lock for postseason runs. Certain kinds of teams are better suited to survive the vagaries of March. 

Last year’s Wolverines, for example, got on a roll and often overwhelmed teams with offense. But they weren’t built to withstand as much physicality.  

This year’s squad can handle any style. That’s not an accident.  

“Yeah, I’ve changed,” said Beilein. “I’m always changing.” 

More Michigan basketball:

Final Four: Michigan basketball vs. Loyola: Who has the edge?

Before Loyola’s Sister Jean, there was Michigan coach John Beilein’s aunt, Sister Frances

In the way he considers defense. In the way he considers coaches. 

“When (former U-M assistants) Bacari Alexander and LaVall Jordan both left to take head coaching jobs, I decided: You know what, I want to do this right, and I need to hire somebody that just … all I want them to think about is defense.” 

But he wanted to hear it, too. Wanted to hear what a defensive voice sounded like during the game. So he changed the seating arrangement on the bench. 

“(I wanted) to put (that) guy right next to us,” he said.  

Who does that? Who reconfigures their approach after so much success doing things? 

With both little things, like changing a seat, and big things, like hiring assistants.  

Before last year, Beilein didn’t like considering a coach he didn’t know. At least in some way.  

“I think earlier in my career I was very fortunate that, ‘OK, this guy, they say he’s a good coach. I like him, I know him, let’s hire them,'” explained Beilein. 

And that worked. Obviously.  

Yet he sensed something was missing from the way some of his teams competed. An attitude. Or a mental approach.  

“Enthusiasm,” Beilein said. 

At times, he would roll out a team with skill all over the floor but without an inner will connecting it. Players who were almost too coachable. Who stayed quiet in the huddles.  

Beilein knew he needed to sprinkle in a few more recruits in the mix like Zavier Simpson, the sophomore point guard who thrives on defending, but also loves to lead.  And he knew he needed a different kind of voice in the coaching room. 

That meant looking beyond candidates he had some kind of connection with. Which is what he did when he hired Luke Yaklich. 

More: How Luke Yaklich may give Michigan an advantage vs. Loyola-Chicago

“I still can remember when I offered him the job,” said Beilein. “Tears were in his eyes. And it was … great.” 

Not that the defensive-minded assistant was crying, but that they’d connected, because Beilein had ventured out.  

Because he’s constantly asking himself this: 

“What do we need? What does this team need? Because my first loyalty is the University of Michigan, to find the best coaches to represent this university that can help us win. And then the second one is to my family, to make sure that Coach Beilein can keep his job. And so it’s really important that you get a good staff.” 

Last week in Los Angeles, as Beilein finished his interviews and was getting ready to ride the team bus back to the hotel, Kathleen took a few minutes to reflect on how they’d gotten to that moment, and what it meant for her husband’s legacy. 

“He doesn’t see himself as on top of the coaching world,” she said. “He’s humble. He really values what other people know.” 

Beilein’s always been driven by ideas and information. That quest has never changed. What’s different now is where he’s getting it from, and that he doesn’t always have to control it. 

“I think he’s really doing a good job with that,” said Kathleen. “Letting go a little bit. Believing in coaches. It’s not surprising. (He’s just) doing that at a higher level now.” 

The basketball world has noticed. 

Contact Shawn Windsor: 313-222-6487 or swindsor@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @shawnwindsor.

 



Mastroianni claims National wrestling title; two Rams earn All-American honors – New Canaan Advertiser


Justin Mastroianni has been stunning people with his talent on the wrestling mats since the start of his freshman campaign with the New Canaan Rams. This past weekend, he added one more chapter to his remarkable season.

Mastroianni became the first Connecticut wrestler to win a Freshman National championship when he won the 132-pound weight class at the National High School Coaches Association’s national tournaments in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Ram freshman went 6-0 at the tournament, winning his first match via pinfall and then scoring five consecutive decisions.

Mastroianni capped his weekend by defeating Jagger Condomitti of Pennsylvania 1-0 in the final. The one point came on an escape early in the second period.

Fitch senior Jarod Kosman, who won the Senior National title at 113 pounds, and Mastroianni became two of only four Connecticut wrestlers to win a NHSCA National championship.

New Canaan’s Tyler Sung, a sophomore, also had a big weekend, going 5-2 to finish seventh in the 138-pound weight class. He had one pinfall and four decisions among his victories, and his losses including a one-point defeat and an overtime match.

Mastroianni and Sung both earned All-American honors for their performances. Other Connecticut wrestlers to receive All-American honors were Danbury’s AJ Kovacs (145) and Ryan Jack (120), New Milford’s Mel Ortiz (126), Foran’s Ryan Luth (152), and Kosman (113),

Both Mastroianni and Sung won FCIAC championships this winter, and Sung followed with with a CIAC Class L title. At the New England championships earlier this month, Mastroianni was the runner-up at 126 pounds, and Sung was fourth at 138.

Mastroianni wrestled at 126 pounds during the high school season, but was bumped up to 132 at the Nationals.

In his opening bout, Mastroianni pinned Florida’s Ignacio Pavoni in 3:28, and he then defeated New York’s Will Carano 17-9, Kentucky’s Thomas Ketchen-Carter 6-5, and Maryland’s Grayston DiBlasi 9-6 to reach the semifinals.

Wrestling against Washington’s Ethan Davis in the semis, Mastroianni pitched a 5-0 shutout, scoring a takedown in the first period, an escape in the second, and another takedown in the third frame.

He then defeated Condomitti 1-0 to claim the title.

Sung rolled through his first three matches without surrendering a point. He blanked New York’s Max Maquet 6-0 in his opening bout, pinned Virginia’s Josh Epperly in 3:27 (he was leading 3-0 at the time), and then zipped Pennsylvania’s Drew Vlasnik 3-0.

In the quarterfinals, Sung was edged by West Virginia’s John Martin Best 5-3 in overtime, but bounced back to defeat Pennsylvania’s Steven Storm 3-1 while scoring all three of his points in the third period.

Colorado’s Jax Garoutte edged Sung, 2-1, in the consolation quarterfinals.

In the match for seventh and eighth place, Sung scored three points on an escape and takedown in the second period and went on to win 4-0 over Florida’s Noah Castillo.

New Canaan freshman Justin Mastroianni earned a National title in Virginia Beach last weekend. — Dave Stewart photo