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In final Ivy road trip, Penn women's basketball faces a pair of potential playoff teams

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It’s crunch time.

This weekend will be a telling one for Penn women’s basketball, as the team gets ready for its second straight pair of road games. This time, it’s against the Ivy League’s joint-third place teams Harvard and Dartmouth.

After blowing away struggling this past weekend, the Quakers (17-6, 8-2 Ivy) proved they were able to bounce back after a last Tuesday. This weekend, they will be eager to continue their good form.

However, the competition will be much tougher, and the stakes even higher.

“Coming off of those wins was huge for us, but we know it’s gonna be a really tough weekend for us, probably one of the toughest we’ve had,” senior forward Michelle Nwokedi said. “So just getting mentally prepared, being the best we can, and just trying to execute will be key.”

One of the biggest components of the Quakers’ success this season is their consistent offensive output. Penn has scored 65 points or more in 15 of its 23 games so far this season, already a higher total than the three previous seasons with at least four games still to play.

Penn has also shown that it can push the score high, scoring more than 80 points in four of its games. In the team’s last two seasons, they only achieved this feat a total of three times.

“Our returning kids got ssive parts of Virgil van Dijk’s game.The imposing centre-back established himself as one of the best players in world football in a season where the Reds claimed the Champions League trophy.”What has impressed me the most with Virgil is that he’s coa little bit better over the summer, and we’re playing at a faster pace,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “We’ve made open shots, and I think the addition of [freshman center] Eleah [Parker] in the middle is causing a lot of teams to crowd her, and it’s given our guards some good space.”

Unlike many other teams, the Red and Blue are not led by one star player. Instead, the scoring is fairly well split among the team’s starters.

Parker and Nwokedi lead the team with 11.9 points per game each, but all five starters average at least 7.7 points. With only a few points per game separating the starters, the Quakers have benefitted from one of the most even squads in the Ivy League.

“With this year, you never know who’s gonna be on,” Nwokedi said. “So many people have stepped up in different games, and in previous years it’s been one or two people leading the team, but we’re getting a lot of key contributions this year and it’s been helping us down the stretch.”

Last week on defense, the Quakers were efficient at shutting down the top scores for both Columbia and Cornell, but thids United owner Andrea Radrizzani has eased recent comments made about a possible club sale.The Italian businessman revealed in an interview that he had been approached ‘by more than 20 parties’ and that three of them were of particular interest.In rs week will be tougher as Dartmouth (14-9, 6-4) and Harvard (14-9, 6-4) both have more balanced rosters.

The Big Green have a trio of players averaging over 10 points a game and the Crimson’s starting five is the most productive in the Ivy League, so strong defense throughout the weekend will be essential for the Red and Blue to return to Philadelphia with two more wins.

However, Penn is the only one of these three teams to have seven players score over 100 points at this point in the season, a statistic that proves the Quakers’ depth and explosive bench.

Although the team only ranks fourth in the Ivy League in terms of points per game at 67.6, this year’s number is a dramatic increase from the last two seasons (61.3 and 62.5). Additionally, Penn currently averages more than league-leading Princeton, who fall just below at 67.4 points a game.

The Quakers had some of their lowest offensive efforts of the season against Princeton, where they scored only 95 combined points from the two games. If these contests are removed, Penn’s point average per game would rise to 69.5, good enough for second best in the Ancient Eight.

With the increased firepower of their offense, the Quakers are harder to beat this year than ever. As they prepare to take on Dartmouth and Harvard and attempt to clinch a spot in the upcominer Roman Abramovich.The former Blues manager returns to Stamford Bridge this weekend to face his former club.On Abramovich, Ancelotti said: “I probably spoke three times with Abramovich after leaving Chelsea. “It was always a pleasant conversatiog Ivy League tournament, keeping up their recent scoring frenzy will be crucial.

This weekend more than ever, it’s time for Penn to show what it’s made of.

Penn Athletics Weekend MVP: Tim Graul

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To assumed they would be hosting a lot of non-football events at the stadium as a way to pay off the building costs.They will be hosting several NFL games from next season, while the Saracens will play a Premiership match there every year from 2020 forpick just one star from Penn baseball’s four-game demolition of bitter rival and defending Ivy League champion Princeton — a series that saw the Quakers take four wins by a combined score of 35-12 — seems like it’d be a crime. But even in a weekend full of standout performances, the consistent offensive dominance from senior outfielder Tim Graul stood out from the pack.

With the Quakers trailing the first-place Tigers by only one game ihe club.Fernandes arrived at Old Trafford with a reputation as an on-field leader and he’s already barking out instructions on the pitch and urging for more from his teammates.And according to McTominay he is like that in training as well and takes tn the Lou Gehrig Division standings entering the weekend, every contest would be crucial as these longtime foes battled for that top spot. Graul wasted no time making a major impact in each and every game.

In the series opener, the senior produced his most clutch effort of the year in a instant classic game, poking a walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning of what was initially planned to be a seven-inning game as part of a 2-for-5 effort in a crazy 5-4 win. The second Saturday contest saw an eerily similar stat line — though there were no walk-off heroics, Graul did go 2-for-4 at the plate, scoring two of his team’s three runs in a called recruiting Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo for Sporting CP.Ronaldo celebrates turning 35 today and it was Pontes who set him on his way when signing him for Sporting as an 11 year-old.He told TMW: “I am proud to see him as a footballer and as tight 3-1 victory that gave Penn sole possession of first place.

As for Sunday’s games? With Penn winning the two contests by a combined 20 runs, Graul’s offensive output wasn’t quite as necessary, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. The first game saw the defending Ivy League Player of the Year reach base four times in five plate appearances (two hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch) en route to a three-run, two-RBI effort.

In the series finale going up against Princeton star Ben Gross, who led the Ivy League in ERA entering the afternoon, Graul spearheaded a fantastic team offensive effort that bounced the Tigers’ ace from the game after not even three innings. The senior’s stat line: 4-for-5, three runs, three RBI, a double and a triple, as he saved the best for last in a 10-2 win.

For those too lazy to do the math, here are his numbers for the weekend: 10-for-17 at the plate, a .632 on-base percentage, six RBI, eight runs and, most importantly, four wins. Thanks to Graul’s heroics, the Red and Blue find themselves with a two-game lead over Cornell in prime position to take their first Ivy League title in 22 years — and for that, he’s the Penn Athletics Weekend MVP.

Football star and assistant coach Lemonick dies

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Bernie Lemonick, one of the most illustrious players in Penn football history and an assistant coach with the program throughout the late 1950s, has died. The former offensive lineman for the Red and Blue died on Friday morning.

Born in 1928, Lemonick was a dedicated supporter of Penn football both during and after his time with the program. A Wharton graduate in 1951, the Philadelphia native was twice named national lineman of the week throughout his playing career – once in 1949 after a game against Dartmouth and once in 1950 after a matchup with Wisconsin.

Following his senior season with the Quakers, Lemonick was honored in various ways, including being named second-team United Press All-American and Grantland Rice All-America Honorable Mention. He played in both the Hula Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game before being drafted by the New York Gian Walker had to go in goal for the closing stages of the match.The full-back replacedome their next manager.The Hornets are chasing another boss after the sacking of Quique Sanchez Flores this weekend.The former Athletic Bilbao coach Ziganda was on their radar, but Sky Sports News reports that talks between the two parties ended with Claudio Bravo after the substitute goalkeeper was sent off during the 1-1 draw in Milan.Bravo was shown a straight red for a sliding tackle on Josip Ilicic outside tts in the 21st round of the 1951 NFL Draft.

Although Lemonick never played in the NFL, he stayed in Philadelphia and began coaching. Before returning to Franklin Field to serve as an assistant coach for the Red and Blue in 1955, Lemonick was a line coach at Saint Joseph’s Prep beginning in 1951.

Lemonick’s contributions to Penn football as an assistant mirror those from his playing career. A line coach under head coach Steve Sebo, Lemonick was on the sidelines when the Quakers clinched their first Ivy League title in 1959.

“We are incredibly saddened by the loss of such an iconic member of the Penn football family,” said cIFA Club World Cup final between Flamengo and Liverpool.The Hammers talent spotters were not there to spy on their Premier League rivals.They were present to assess Flamengo attacking duo Gabriel Barbosa and Bruno Henrique.The game ended in a 1-0 winurrent Penn football coach Ray Priore. “Bernie had illustrious careers both as a player and coach, and continued his unparalleled support of Penn football as an alum.”

Lemonick was part of Penn Athletics’ initial Hall of Fame class in 1996 and was named to the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He also served as Chairman of the University of Pennsylvania/Cornell University Trustees Cup annual awards dinner, a ceremony that recognizes the winner of the annual rivalry game between the two programs.

“Bernie will forever be remembered as someone who lived and breathed the Red and Blue, and we could not be more thankful for that,” Priore said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Lemonick family at this time.”

McHugh adds to his legacy

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There are very few ways to better finish a collegiate career than being named an All-American.

And even fewer than earning the honor twice.

Senior Brendan McHugh capped his Quakers career in Seattle this weekend with two 14th place finishes in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the NCAA swimming championships, earning honorable mention All-American nods. He also placed 39th in the 200 individual medley with a personal best time of 1:47.57.

McHugh’s times in the breaststroke events, 53.03 and 1:55.82, were personal bests and school records.

“I didn’t go quite as fast as I wanted,” McHugh said, “but I’m still really happy.”

While McHugh’s finish was the best NCAA performance in program history, he could not outswim Princeton’s Jonathan Christensen, who currently holds the Ivy League breaststroke records. Christenson won the consolation final of the 100 breast and finished seventh in the 200.

McHugh said not beating Christensen “bothered me, but it wasn’t the end of the world. “I can only control what I do.”

And though McHugh did not reach his ultimate goal of winning, he was happy withker Olivier Giroud says he can understand Arsenal fans’ frustration with owner Stan Kroenke.On Monday, a group of 16 prominent supporters’ groups and bloggers signed a letter calling on Gunners owner Stan Kroenke to “reinvigorate” the club.Giroud exp his poise throughout the meet, as most first-time NCAA competitors do not swim well under the pressure of the national stage and generally struggle to make it to the top 16 for a night swim.

“To go there and duplicate your times and make it [to finals] is a lot harder than you might think it would be,” assistant coach Dan Schupsky said.

McHugh, however, swam in the finals of two events and said head coaches from Texas and Georgia both approached him to say how rare the accomplishment was.

“I was happy with myself that I didn’t choke,” he said.

Howergen Klopp admits Sadio Mane after being taken off for their 3-0 win at Burnley.In a moment during the second half, Mohamed Salah wasted an opportusenal are attempting to recoup some much-needed cash by putting three squad members up for sale.Arsenal will try and sell Mohamed Elneny, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Carl Jenkinson.Mkhitaryan is one of the Gunners’ highest earners, while Jenkinson and Elnnity to pass to Mane when his team-mate was unmarked in front of goal.And asked if he knew why Mane wasver, missing the top eight and a chance to compete for gold in Friday night’s ‘A’ finals by .08 seconds was disappointing.

Schupsky said McHugh may have been “a little bit tense” before the swim. “That’s a little tiny tiny tiny disappointment in a fantastic list of accomplishments,” Schupsky said.

While the senior finished in the same place in both breaststroke events, he said his best night was Saturday, the final session of the meet.

“Cracking from 1:56 to 1:55 [in the 200 breast], even though it’s only two or three tenths, it still feels a lot faster, McHugh said. “I was definitely happiest about [that event].”

McHugh leaves Penn having rewritten the record books — he has six individual and four relay school records — and is excited to move on to training for Olympic Trials in June.

“This weekend gave me confidence moving forward,” he said. “A lot of confidence.”

Different cultures, same game for Eskenazi and Ion

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Though Sol Eskenazi and Alex Ion were both international recruits, their journeys to Penn were quite different.

As freshmen, both Eskenazi and Ion not only start, but lead the Penn women’s tennis team with eight wins each this spring.

Eskenazi, who hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, was given the tall task of replacing now-pro Connie Hsu at No. 1 singles. Eskenazi has been almost perfect, losing just one match this spring.

Ion has been equally dominant for the Quakers this season. The Bucharest, Romania, native has only gotten better at No. 3 singles as the season’s gone on, winning five of her last six matches.

However, the two freshmen are even more impressive when considering how they got to Penn in the first place.

Eskenazi’s path to Penn began when she left her family in Argentina to train at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France when she was 11.

She lived in France for three years before moving back to Buenos Aires. However, once she returned, she was constantly traveling to play in junior tournaments. “I didn’t see my family for like six months [at a time] and it was really hard,”

Eskenazi said.

But for her sacrifice, Eskenazi gained a reputation as one of the top young players in Argentina. She represented her country in the 2010 Junior Olympics and the 2009 Junior Fed Cup and competed in the 2010 Junior French Open and Junior Wimbledon.

At the time, Eskenazi was competing on the pro tour to build up her international ranking. However, she injured her left wrist in July 2010 and was unable to play on the tour for several months. To Eskenazi, the injury was somewhat of a relief. “I was quite tired of traveling a lot and competing,” she said.

Eskenazi had already been contacted by several college coaches and initially made Columbia her top choice. “I didn’t even know Penn at first,” she admitted.

However, after coming for a visit, she “fell in love with [Penn] and there was no other university that [she] wanted to go to.”

Compared to Eskenazi, Ion was a rather unheralded recruit.

Ion was unsure of what she wanted to do when she graduated high school and took a year off to play on the pro tour. Quickly, she realized that she was unlikely to make a living playing tennis and decided to pursue other options.

“I decided at that point that I really wanted to go to the U.S.,” Ion said. To help attract attention, she uploaded a video of herself playing tennis to YouTube.

She explained that her recruiting process was “mostly [her] reaching out to coaches,” as opposed to the other way around. “I felt like they were worried that I was an international player,” Ion said.

Ion was very excited when she spoke to Penn coach Sanela Kunovac.

“I heard a lot of good things about Penn,” Ion said, and decided to come to Philadelphia without going on an official visit.

Kunovac said deadlines prevented her from bringing in Ion for a visit, but she wasn’t worried about whether the Romanian would be a good addition to the team.

“In Alex’s case, it was so clear she’d fit right in,” Kunovac said. “As long as we got along in [phone] conversations, I knew she was going to like Penn.”

Eskenazi and Ion both cited Kunovac as one of the main reasons they decided to come to Penn.

“Sanela’s a great coach and that’s what convinced me,” Eskenazi said.

Kunovac, who was born in Bosnia, was an international player at Penn herself at and was named both Ivy League Rookie and Player of the Year in 2001.

Ion believes Kunovac’s background makes Penn mder Victor Lindelof admits he paid little attention to the new contract he was signing in September.Sweden international Lindelof agreed a new deal at Old Trafford until at least 2024 four months ago, which saw him more than double his salary from £ore attractive to international recruits.

“I felt like she’s more open to recruiting international players and I felt like she understood me.”

Kunovac agrees that she is better able than some of her peers to recruit internationally.

“I think one of the edges I have is that I played in Europe, which means that I know a lot of coaches and I have contacts,” Kunovac said.

*** While both players acknowledge that the adjustment to America, Penn and college tennis has been hard, the freshman phenoms have thrived in their first year at Penn.

Arriving in Philadelphia in the fall was Ion’s first time in America and she found “a different mentality, a different way of thinking,” than in Romania.

Eskenazi agreed. “I was just all over the place and school was really difficult. I would say I am still trying to adapt to the United States.”

Both credit their teammates and Kunovac for making their transition easier.

“I think it really helped that I made friends through the team,” Ion said.

This year has been Ion’s first time playing on a team, so she’s had to learn to cheer for her teammates and adjust to team meetings.

“It’s a positive change,” Ion said. “Being part of a team definitely brings out the best in us.”

Eskenazi agrees that being on a team has been a great experience. “You’re playing for everyone, not just yourself,” she said. “I think that’s the biggest difference between professional tennis and [college tennis].”

Despite any language or cultural barriers, the two have forged close bonds with their teammates.

“In the end, I feel like tennis is universal,” Ion said. “It is its own language.”

Both Ion and Eskenazi have loved their American experience thus far, but have experienced some culture shock.

“I think [America has] everything,” Eskenazi said. “America is the perfect society in some ways.”

What do the two miss most from home? “Meat,” the freshmen said in unison.

“I guess here twinter market move for Villarreal attacker Samuel Chukwueze.Foot Mercato says the 20-year-old has been attracting interest across Europe following his fine performances in La Liga, and it is thought that Villarreal would accept a bid of around £34m here is no meat,” Eskenazi said. “The first semester I think I had one steak, overall.”

Ion agreed, explaining that America has a “different food culture” than what she’s used to at home.

Beyond food, Ion and Eskenazi agree that the people here are different, but their individual cultural backgrounds lead them to different opinions as to why.

“People are more relaxed here,” said Ion in comparison to formerly Clder leave for £21million.The 22-year-old star proved a big hit during a season-long loan at Championship play-off finalists Derby, but it is believed Jurgen Klopp will allow him to leave the new European champions permanently.Wilson is desperate foommunist Romania. “They’re more optimistic. There’s not that much pressure.”

Eskenazi, who is from the more laid-back Argentina, whole-heartedly disagrees.

“Here, everything is really structured and in Argentina it’s not. I love that [about Argentina],” she said.

Kunovac believes “it might be easier” to be an international athlete at Penn now than when she was a student here 10 years ago.

“Communication is so different,” she said. “They’re so much more connected.”

Perhaps living in the age of Facebook and Skype as opposed to AOL and instant messenger makes it easier to make the transition to Penn as an international student.

Regardless of their backgrounds, Eskenazi and Ion have quickly broken into the starting lineup and made an impact on the Penn women’s tennis team.

That’s no simple task.

Football Notebook | Wide is the new Blackmon

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When crafting his offense this preseason, Penn coach Al Bagnoli conceived of a backfield that utilized the shifty Bradford Blackmon in tandem with the powerful Mike DiMaggio.

“I think we’ve got a really nice one-two that hopefully are gonna cause people some problems,” Bagnoli said in early September.

Lately, though, that two-headed monster has been missing one of its noggins. Blackmon is still part of the Quakers’ attack, but he’s no longer receiving many handoffs.

In Penn’s 24-21 loss to Harvard on Saturday, the sophomore had just two carries – more than in the past two weeks combined. Most often, he set up not in the backfield, but as a slot receiver; when he began the play behind the line, he was usually sent in motion.

So while Blackmon is quickly fading as a running option – despite beginning the year as Penn’s starting back, he’s fourth on the team in net rushing yards – he’s helped bolster a shaky receiving corps. He hauled in two passes on Saturday to give him 20 for the year, and his two touchdown receptions pace the Quakers.

Big play from the big man. Harvard’s Matt Luft is the Ancient Eight’s tallest receiver. Indeed, at 6-foot-6, he’s one of the Ivy’s most sizable players of any kind; only a handful of offense linemen can look down upon him.

So when he lined up against Penn corner Chris Wynn, well, the Quakers knew they had a problem.

As athletic as he is, Wynn stands just 5-foot-9, a full head below Luft.

The Crimson didn’t exploit the matchup often – Luft cmer teammate Raul.October 29, 2019, marks the 25th anniversary of Raul Paulo Fonseca’s Roma) to Serie A, but for now the impact of Inter Milan pair Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku has been decidedly different.The Chilean, on-loan from Manchester United, is struggling a lot, between the bench and injuries that are keep’s Real Madrid debut.”We had already been told that there was a kid who was banging in the goals in the lower age groups and that he was different,” Hierro told Radio MARCA.”He wasaught just three balls – but when they did, they made it count. Three plays after quarterback Keiffer Garton’s 63-yard third-quarter rush brought the Quakers within three points, Harvard quarterback Chris Pizzotti lofted the ball high and deep down the left sideline. Forty-two yards later, Luft came down with it.

“We knew that was going to come – it’s not hard math or anything,” Wynn said of the height matchup. “He just made a better play on the ball than I did.”

Luft added: “Chris put it up in thl Madrid are threatening Manchester United plans for Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes.Record says Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane is looking to strengthen his midfield before the start of the new La Liga campaign and had been hoping to complete air, and whenever he does that, the thought process from him is just go up and make a play: ‘Here’s the ball, it’s your turn.'”

Asked if it helped to be 6-foot-6, he said, “Probably a little bit,” with a laugh.

Head-scratching hardware. For the second straight week, Garton took home conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.

To be sure, Garton’s 174 rushing yards were the most by any quarterback in Bagnoli’s 17 seasons, and the signal caller accounted for 316 of Penn’s 336 second-half yards.

But he also threw three interceptions, a Penn season high. Two were in the end zone, derailing key Quakers threats, and the other set up a Harvard field goal.

He is, not surprisingly, the first player this year to win the award after throwing three picks.

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M. Golf | A new chip off the old Blodgett

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This spring, the men’s golf team has a winning formula that seems to be equal parts new and old.

The new starts at the top. The University hired coach Scott Allen in August following the retirement of twelve-year veteran Francis Vaughn. Allen was previously the head coach of the men’s team at George Washington for fourteen years.

In addition, the Quakers will get a boost from their three freshmen, most notably Scotty Williams, wAston Villa have a deal in place for Manchester City midfielder Douglas Luiz.Sky Sports says Villa are working on a deal to sign Douglas Luiz from City.The fee is believed to be around £15 million for the midfielder.Villa are working to obtain a we Zidane insists he’s unconcerned about the form of Eden Hazard.The €150m arrival from Chelsea has struggled to meet expectations in his first months in Madrid, though was impressive for the Champions League win at Galatasaray on Tuesday night.Zidaork permit for the 21-year-old Brazilian.Douglas Luiz spent last season on-loan with Girona.ho got the most playing time of any rookie in the fall.

But this year the Red and Blue will also be led by an old favorite in a new role. Senior Michael Blodgett, who made history last year by becoming Penn’s first-ever player to win an individual title at the Ivy League Championships, will take on a new position as team captain. Blodgett sees this as a “big opportunity” to help his teammates “prepare for some of the courses that I’ve seen for four years.”

“My role on the team may be changing, but it’s something that I’m embracing,” he said.

It already seems like the Quakers have benefited from the new leadership. The team performed well at most of its fall tournaments, particularly at the Rehoboth Beach Invitational, which Penn won.

Blodgett played an excellent game in the fall, placing first at Rehoboth in September and ending the season with a fourth-place finish in October’s Columbia Invitational.

Allen believes he is one of the factors that makes this year’s team a threat.

“We’re fortunate to have some great leadership . in Mike Blodgett, welder Paul Ince is amazed by the form of David Luiz under Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.Ince has praised Arteta for getting the best out of the centre-back.He said: “You look at David Luiz, he was terrible under Unai Emery.”You look at him now and allho was obviously one of the best players in the Northeast in the fall,” Allen said. “It’s nice to know you’ve got a guy like that in your lineup who’s always going to post a solid score.”

However, the Quakers will have to rely on other players for at least some of this season. Blodgett is currently suffering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, an injury that affects the neck and shoulder. He’ll miss early-season tournaments.

“Certainly whenever you take your best player out of the lineup it hurts a little bit, but on the flip side, it’s going to give another player a chance to play,” Allen said.

Fortunately for the Quakers, the team is more than just its captain. Blodgett is joined by three other seniors, including Brett Rendina, who was the Quakers’ top finisher at last year’s Big 5 classic.

The younger players on the team also show promise. Williams placed sixth at Rehoboth and 22nd at Columbia. Returning sophomore Kevin Huntington had a strong season last year and placed 13th in September’s Cornell Invitational. In fact, this year’s team is so skilled that Allen is hard pressed to nail down the lineup at this point.

“If you ask me to pick the five that are going to play in the Ivies right now, I’d have no idea, which is good,” Allen said. “We’ll have a lot of guys competing and pushing each other to try to see who’s in the best shape come the end of April.”

Next week the team will travel to the west coast and spend spring break in California, home to four of the players and many alumni. The Quakers plan to take advantage of the weather and get some practice time in before returning to Philadelphia. A week later they will begin their spring season at the George Washington Invitational, as Allen returns to D.C.

By all accounts, this could be Penn’s year. Both Allen and Blodgett are optimistic about the season.

“We’re looking forward to a good year,” Blodgett said. “I’m eager to start the season.”

Phanatic, Iverson Penn's first choices for speaker

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(This article appeared in the 4/5/04 joke issue)The fact that Penn settled for a dirty hippie instead of a sports figrevealed they tried to complete a deal for Hakim Ziyech in January.The 26-year-old midfielder is set to join the Blues at the end of the season after the club agreed a £37million deal with Ajax.“We tried and it was not possible,” the Blues boss toure as its graduation speaker has left some students wondering how the University screwed this one up.

“We screwed this one up,” University President Judith Rodin sa attacker Nicolas Pepe admits he’s not met expectations.Pepe struck two late free-kicks, including one in stoppage time, to complete a 3-2 comeback against Portuguese side VitoriaGuimaraes.Yet despite his match-winning contribution, the 24-year-old aid on her failure to bring in a Philadelphia sports icon on two separate occasions. “Our first two choices didn’t exactly work out.”

Obviously, the first choice was the Phillie Phanatic — the large, green mascot who has been Drexel’s speaker for 14 years running.

“We really wanted the Phanatic,” Rodin said. “He exemplifies everything we would like in a graduation speaker: dedication to a cause and pride in the city. Plus, he transcends race and gender … you know, because he’s a Phanatic.”

While Rodin and her posse were hellbent on choosing the Phanatic, Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky disagreed.

“He doesn’t talk,” Bilsky said. “How can you have a speaker that doesn’t talk? That would be like fencing without a fence.”

Bilsky’s side gained the upper hand as talks with the Phanatic’s agent stalled.

“He’s too busy recovering from the trauma of the head-stealing scandal,” said Tony Attanasio, the Phanatic’s agent. “That’s a lot to handle when your nose and mouth are the same thing.”

With the deal dying a slow death, Attanasio agreed to send his client back north of Chestnut Street for a 15th straight year.

The Phanatic said nothing as usual, only shaking his oversized rear end in disgust at the prospect of entertaining Drexel “graduates” again.

After the Phanatic fiasco ended poorly, the University was quick to approach another candidate from the Philly sports scene.

Rodin was looking for a speaker with a positive attitude and a favorable view on race relations. Instead, she found basketball star Allen Iverson.

The administration quickly notified Iverson that no member of the Philadelphia Police Department would be present at the ceremony, nor would there be any mandatory practice for his speech.

With that being said, Iverson jumped on board, much to the delight of all parties on the University side.

Then, the unthinkable happened, after Iverson read the order of speeches for the graduation.

“They scheduled me to talk second,” Iverson said. “I don’t know any franchise player talk second. I don’t know Rangnick has opened the door to taking the technical director’s job at Manchester United.Rangnick was head coach and sporting director at RB Leipzig last year and is now head of sport and development at Red Bull, with responsibility for teams in Newany Olympian talk second. I don’t know any former MVP talk second. I don’t know any All-Star talk second. Why Allen Iverson talk second?”

Iverson immediately backed out of the gig to start sulking, leading to an outraged Rodin.

“Speak English, son,” Rodin said. “You don’t know any locker room cancer and detriment to his team who talks second.”

After the Phanatic’s dismissal and Iverson’s refusal, the University was left scrambling for a replacement. It found such a replacement in a second-rate washed up singer.

Oh, well. There’s always hope for next year. At least there better be, according to one irked junior.

“We better get somebody real in here next year,” junior Nameir Majette said. “Or else.”

ruce has explained the benching of Allan Saint-Max

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Like many Fantasy owners, I’ve been pondering all spring which will be present in 2013? Will it be the hitter from 2009 and 2012 that tore the cover off the ball? Or will it be the player that disappointed so many Fantasy owners in the 2010 and 2011 seasons? With less than a week to go before the regular season, I’m in the belief Hill will be more of the ’09/’12 hitter.

A lot has to do with the fact he has had a pretty good spring. He’s batting .432 (19 for 44) wnoli at AC Milan.Sky Italia says Barca asked after the defender in talks with Milan over the departure of Jean-Clair Todibo.Wh club.Guardiola has confirmed Sane is back in training with City after fully recovering from knee surgery. The Germany attacker, .6m.The 33 year old Frenchman had a year left on his contract at Emirates Stadium and the Gunners wanted him to stay.But he asked for a free transfer and refused to travel on a pre-season tour of the United States.”We decided to sanction his move to however, remains a target for Bayern Munich.Asked about Sane’s situation, Guardiola stated: “Unfortunately, I have no newile there’s no immediate plans to sign the Italy international, Barca have him on their list of potential future additions.Rith a .636 slugging percentage, a homer, six doubles, 13 runs and 13 RBI in 16 spring games. I wish I had more confidence in Hill earlier in the spring because I think I would have reached for him in drafts instead of punting on second base, which was my strategy in most drafts. I’m with my colleague Scott White by behind Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler and Ben Zobrist.

Arsene Wenger following his 2019 Legends of Footb

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outfielder was scratched from the lineup for Saturday’s Cactus League gated boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.King proved the matchwinner against his old club on Saturday.”For me, it’s a bit extra special scoring against my former club and some of my former teammates and former manager,” King admitted after the game.”I know Ole me against the Dodgers due to lower backe Gunnar Solskjaer decided to move him to the wing.Lukaku ended up joining Inter Milan in the summer for £73million and the Belgian has revealedrom England.O Jogo says Newcastle are interested in signing Gudelj – who has impressed on loan at Sporting Lisbon.The Magpies, Sporting, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Real Betis are all battling it out in the race to sign the 27-year-old.Newcastle will when he knew his time was up at Old Trafford. The 26-year-old, speaking to Corriere dello Sport, said of stiffness, .com reports. Rios said he felt it while lifting weights, but it’s not considered serious. Rios is 7 for 17 (.412) with four RBI and five runs scored through seven spring games.

announced the passing of manager Justin Edinburgh.

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Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick turned in a finer United defender Chris Smalling is reluctant to rush a decision over signing permanently with Roma.Despite repeated claims of a permanent deal being close to agreement, the clubs have not entered negotiations and Smalling is happy to wait until the performance on Monday, giving up an unearned run over six innings of work. Brett Gardner reached on a bunt single in the fourth inning, and reached second after Kendrer his success with RB Salzburg.Haaland hit a Champions League hat-trick against Genk last night.Solskjaer said of his former Molde protege: “It was nice watching the Gunners draw with Standard Liege on Thursday takes Ljungberg’s record to one win, one draw and two losses since taking over as caretaker boss. Asked about his feeling toward the job, the Swede said: “It is a mixture of every emotion I have ever exhe game last night, it was great watching him. “Everyone’s excited by his development.ick made a throwing error. Gardner scored on a double by Ichiro Suzuki. Kendrick only gave up two hits during his appearance, with three strikeouts.

Manager Charlie Manuel was encouraged by Kendrick’s performance today, saying “[Kendrick] was aggressive. He looked like he wanted to pitch.” The 28-year-old should open the season in the back-end of the club’s rotation. 

t off interest for Michail Antonio.The Sun says th

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rotation candidate managed three innings on Saturday in a Grapefruit League start against the Pirates. De Vries walked two during the outing and gave up one run on two hits with a strikeout. The run De Vries allowed Saturday was the first earned run he’s given up all spring over 10 innings. He now has six strikeouts in the Grapefruit League to go with an ERA of 0.90.a big say in his move to Atletico Madrid.The former Real Madrid pair are now teammates again with Atletico.Llorente told Marca: “Yes, I exchanged a message with him. He encouraged me to come, he told me that I would be very happy here.”He continued: The 28-year-old went 5-5 last year for Minnesota with a 4.11 opp was refirmed he had tried to make the tie a test of physique rather than football in an effort to dilute the opposition’s Premier League quality.But Rowett, whose side are eighth in the Championship, said: “We had to try and make the game a bit of a scraluctant to heap too much praise on Virgil van Dijk after victory over Brighton.The Dutchman handed the Reds a two-goal lead in the first half of Saturday’s Premier League meeting at Anfield after twice heading in from Trent Alexander-ArnoldERA over 17 games and 16 starts. De Vries is battling with Kyle Gibson, Brian Duensing and Mike Pelfrey for the final rotation spot for manager Ron Gardenhire.

Dodgers camp report: Likes, dislikes

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — What I like, and don’t like, about the :

More on spring trainingRelmes Rodriguez is to leave Bayern Munich when his loan finishes, after asking the German club not to take up their option to buy him.Colombia international Rodriguez, 27, has spent two seasons at Bayern, scoring 15 goals in 67 games.”The Colombia inteated links | More on Los Angeles Dodgers  | | | | More coverage | | |

• The names are exciting. Take the best years from , , , , , and , and you’d think there’s no way this team won’t win.

• Don Mattingly’s calming influence helped the Dodgers get through many tough days in the last years of the McCourt ownership debacle. Now it should help them (the players, anyway) avoid panicking if the sky-high expectations aren’t immediately met.

• Along with all the big names, the Dodgers also have some “glue” guys who can help hold the clubhouse together. Second baseman may be as important as any of them.

• For years, Dodger Stadium never seemed to show its age. Then it did, to the point where it needed plenty of work. Fortunately, along with aobotka has completed his Napoli medical and is set to leave Celta for €20m plus bonuses.The Slovakia international midfielder flew in and had his tests on Saturday morning at the Villa StuarDyche is ready to help the club recruit the players they need to stay in the Premier League.Unlike other clubs in the division, Burnley do not have a benefactor or a huge transfer budget.It means that manager Dyche must be frugal in the market, wheelt sports science clinic in Rome.He was driven away in the ll the money spent on the roster, the new ownership is spending plenty on renovating the ballpark, too.

• Isn’t there something comforting about just hearing Vin Scully’s voice? There sure is for me (yes, I grew up in Southern California). But I’ll bet there is for a whole bunch of other people too.

• When the new ownership came in and the Dodgers suddenly had money to spend, the first two players they targeted were Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez. They badly needed a first baseman and a shortstop, so that made sense. But are they the right guys? Plenty of people who have been around Ramirez (and a few who know Gonzalez) might question whether they are.

• There’s nothing wrong with high expectations. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging them. But you sure get the sense around the Dodgers that at some point, high expectations could become high pressure.

• For all the money spent, this team has big questions. Do the Dodgers really have a leadoff hitter? Is the bullpen good enough, and should they really have spent all that money on ? Is really healthy? Why can’t hit left-handers anymore? Whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy, can Ramirez still handle playing shortstop? Even if he is healthy, can Crawford ever again be the player he was with the Rays?

r United goalscorer Bruno Fernandes says they shou

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Astros starting pitcher did a fine job in his second start of the spring Tuesday against the Nationals. Han Schar has jumped to support Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka.Xhaka cupped his ear and told fans to ‘f*** off’ when he was hauled off in the draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday.Newcastle defender Schar was shocked by the incident and fears for his compae tossed four shutout innings in the game, striking out for six weeks for breaking Football Association betting rules, a punishment his club has called “disproportionate”.The midfielder, 19, admitted a charge of placing 59 bets last season, five on matches involving the Whites.Stevens will be suspended unfour batters and walking just one. He allowed one run on three hits, all of which went for singles. Harrell lowered his spring ERA to 3.00, despite a .303 batting averaging against. Harrell told .com after the game that he is working on adding a curveball to his repertoire as a fourth pitch. “I felt like it was pretty good early, and we threw it a few times to lefties, a few times to righties,” Harrell said. “It was my first time throwing it in a game. I really worked on it the last couple of days, really worked on it a lot this offseason trying ho admits he wants to sign permanently with Bayern Munich.The Brazilian struggled during his time at the Camp Nou and was finally moved on last summer and now he’s hoping to stay in Bavaria.”I’m very comfortable,” he said.”I plan to stay here for theto get it better.”

Justin Verlander ‘wouldn’t mind’ openly gay teammate

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ace/2011 AL MVP and would “absolutely” accept that teammate in the clubhouse. Verlander went on to say that he’s “sure there are” gay players currently in .

Here’s more on the subject from the decorated right-hander:

“I don’t think one of our players would be scared to come out. We got 25 guys, it’s a family, and our goal is to win a World Series. What your sexual orientation is, I don’t see how that affects the ultimate goal of our family.”

In making those comments, Verlander as one of the most prominent current or former major leaguers to come down on the side of acceptance with regard to this isg teammate Luka Jovic can handle a move to Real Madrid.It was announced yesterday that Jovic will move to Real Madrid for €70m.And Torro, a former Real player, told El Larguero: “He is a very talented player, young, with an eye for goal, strong, hesue. Verlander’s comments also stand in contrasGenk midfielder Sander Berge.The Genk-midfielder-West-Ham-target-Sander-Berge.html” target=”_blank”>Daily Mail says Sheffield United have been rebuffed in a bid to sign Berge from Genk.The Norwegian midfielder is also one of several targets for West t to those of new Tiger , who, in December .”

For more baseball news, rumons.United are “in discussions” over a third January window signing, according to manager Chris Wilder.Wilder has already brought both Jack Rodwell and Jack Robinson to Bramall Lane this month, the latter moving from Nottingham Forest earlier this weers and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: , and .