ALEXIS URBANSKI
ALEXIS URBANSKI
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Help Us Yoenis Cespedes, You're the Mets Only Hope!
by John Jastremski
Aug 24, 2016 | 42 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Before Saturday’s afternoon affair with the San Francisco Giants, I was fully preparing to write the Mets obituary for the 2016 season. The Mets had lost four of the first five games on their west coast trip, they were 1-5 against a team that was 20-plus games under .500 and just looked like a dead baseball team. However, before the start of Saturday’s game, something at least for the time being changed for this underachieving Mets group. Their swagger, demeanor and lineup presence at least for Saturday and Sunday’s games in San Francisco changed just by welcoming back the most dynamic hitter that their team has to offer. Yoenis Cespedes put the Superman cape on, hit three home runs in two days and essentially carried the Mets to two much-needed wins against the Giants, pushing them back to the .500 mark and setting the stage for a make-or-break series this week against the St. Louis Cardinals. There’s no denying the fact that this Mets season has been a bitter disappointment thus far for a variety of reasons. However, despite all the injuries and under performance the team still has a pulse, being only 4.5 games out of a playoff spot with a little over a month to play. This team has no chance to make the playoffs unless they are going to receive the same sort of shot in the arm Cespedes provided over the weekend. The good news for any Mets fans dreaming of a return to the month of October is that Cespedes provided a blueprint for such heroics only a season ago. If you recall before last year’s trade deadline, the Mets featured one of the most horrific lineups you will ever see. It was anemic, it was unable to deliver runs on a consistent basis, and there was not one guy in the lineup that scared you. After the Mets traded for Cespedes, his production was off the charts. He was able to put the team on his back and helped carry the Mets to their first division title in nine seasons. Not only can Cespedes carry a team, but also his presence alone makes everyone else in the lineup better. Mets fans can only hope that the return will help spark struggling Jay Bruce, who was brought in to provide the same sort of spark that Cespedes did last year, but instead has only resembled a “JB” that lives in Mets infamy: Jason Bay. The Mets will need to pitch better and they’ll need to do a better job hitting with runners in scoring position, but Cespedes’ ability to carry the team might just mask some of these season-long deficiencies. Will we look back on this weekend as the moment when Yoenis Cespedes brought the Mets back to life in 2016? Or will it just be prolonging their stay of execution? The next six weeks will give Cespedes the chance to see if he can save the Mets once again. You can listen to me Friday and Monday from 2 to 6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM. You can also hear me this Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 6 a.m. and Saturday from 6 to 10 a.m. on CBS Sports Radio. I’ll also be a panelist on Geico Sports Night this Thursday and Friday after Mets postgame on SNY.
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Spence cements status as boxing’s top prospect
by Bryan Fonseca
Aug 24, 2016 | 72 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As Errol Spence backed an unsteady Leonard Bundu into the ropes, the thousands of fans packed into Coney Island’s Ford Amphitheater could sense the end was near. The cheers grew louder, the clapping more thunderous, and the expectation that something major was destined to transpire could not be more evident. And then, it happened. As Bundu began to desperately weave along the ropes, hoping for Spence to leave himself open for a counter-punch, Spence relentlessly threw bombs with each hand. Bundu dipped his head and – boom! - he was met with a right hook from hell delivered by the young phenom Spence, who recorded his eighth consecutive knockout victory. Bundu (33-2-2, 13 KO’s) suffered his lone previous defeat to current WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman, who Spence’s name has been linked to for close to a year now, by a unanimous decision for Thurman’s then Interim WBA strap in December, 2014. Thurman (27-0-0, 22 KO’s) knocked Bundu down in round one, but Bundu was able to last the full twelve rounds of punishment from the hard-hitting Thurman. Spence on the other hand, had a similar performance to his dominant display from earlier this year, a five-round TKO throbbing over former champion and Manny Pacquiao-decision victim, Chris Algieri. Spence, for the second consecutive time, knocked out a “name” opponent who had never been knocked out previously, by perhaps the class of the division. “Errol was more precise than Keith Thurman,” Bundu matter-of-factly said after the fight. “I really tried to get up and I couldn’t. He certainly lives up to the hype.” While praising Bundu’s awkward style and grit in the post-fight conference, Spence recognizes his skill level, and continues to exude confidence with each passing knockout. He’ll now stand as the top contender for Kell Brook’s IBF welterweight title. “I thought my performance was great. I was shaky in the first and second rounds, but was able to get into a rhythm the rest of the fight,” Spence said. “Once I was able to catch his rhythm and break him down, I knew I had him. I am one of the top fighters at 147 pounds. With this performance, I proved that again today.” With this KO victory, Spence (21-0-0, 18 KO’s) is due for a title shot this fall or early 2017. With Brook moving up two weight classes to fight opposite middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin on September 10, it looks as if Brook may be done at the welterweight division. Whether he remains at middleweight or drops to junior middleweight after losing to Golovkin (spoiler alert!) next month remains to be seen, but Spence is now in the driver seat and will be ready for whatever stands in the way of him and a world championship. “I want to fight for a title next,” Spence said. “I would want to fight Kell Brook, but if he doesn’t go down in weight, he vacates or is stripped. I don’t care, I just want to fight for the belt.” For the man who once reportedly gave Floyd Mayweather a black-eye during a sparring session, it seems as if championship status is simply destined. It shouldn’t be too long before we find out ourselves. Show stealers? Heather Hardy (18-0-0, 4 KO’s) and Shelly Vincent (18-1-0, 1 KO), who fought for the WBC International featherweight title, easily took home fight of the night, capitalizing on a rare televised opportunity for female boxers. The only negative aspect of the fight, aside from the result if you’re a “Shelito’s Way” supporter, was the lopsided (and straight-up wrong) 99-91 scorecard of judge Bernard Bruni. Bruni was seemingly the only individual in the arena who didn’t actually watch the fight, and being a judge, that kind of goes against his job. But for two women to put on the fight of the night is no small feat, especially since women have already become a fixture in UFC, where in boxing, we may never see them fight unless it’s through Youtube. Hardy and Vincent went blow-for-blow with heavy exchanges, heart-filled efforts, and a display of championship-level boxing that the crowd was very appreciative of, giving the ladies a standing ovation after the final bell. Each side brought a legion of fans, especially the Brooklyn girl Hardy, and fans sparred with chants of “Hardy” and “Shelly” all fight long. In the end, Hardy was just slightly better, and with WBO featherweight champion Amanda Serrano (29-1-0, 22 KO’s) in attendance, one has to wonder if the two Brooklyn natives will clash sometime soon. If or when they do, it’ll hopefully be a televised encounter, because they’re certainly deserving of the spotlight. Follow Bryan Fonseca on Twitter at @BryanFonsecaNY.
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St. John’s women get off to quick 2-0 start in 2016
Aug 24, 2016 | 68 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ALEXIS URBANSKI
ALEXIS URBANSKI
slideshow
St. John’s jumped out to an early lead on Sunday night to cruise past Albany, 3-0, at Belson Stadium on a rainy evening in Queens. Two Johnnies scored their first collegiate goals on Sunday, as sophomores Anna Maria Baldursdottir and Samie Scaffidi found the back of the net for the first time. Classmate Christina Bellero, the team’s second-leading scorer last season, added another goal for the Red Storm (2-0-0). Diana Poulin, the Red Storm’s all-time wins leader, notched the 34th victory of her St. John’s career and her second-consecutive shutout, needing only one save to register the clean sheet. “Albany is a very good team and I give them a lot of credit,” said Coach Ian Stone. “They played hard and you can see why they were conference champions last year. “We created a lot of chances in the first few games, but didn’t always capitalize on them, whereas tonight we finished really well and created even more chances,” he added. The Red Storm started the scoring in the 24th minute off an Alexis Urbanski corner kick. Urbanski, who registered the game winner on Friday in overtime, sent a ball into the box toward Baldursdottir who, standing on the six-yard line, made a nifty play to deflect the ball with the back of her foot and send it past the keeper. The Red Storm wasted no time getting on the score sheet in the second half, as Scaffidi found the back of the net in the 47th minute. Just over 30 minutes later, Bellero sealed the contest with her first goal of the season.nes. For the game, the Red Storm outshot Albany, 17-3, and earned six corners to the Great Danes’ four. St. John’s will next be in action on Friday, traveling to Towson to take on the Tigers at 4 p.m. Urbanski honored After leading the Red Storm to a flawless opening weekend with a pair of back-to-back shutout wins, Urbanski took home Big Esat Defensive Player of the Week honors. Urbanski earns her first career weekly honor following a stellar weekend that saw her register a goal and an assist for the Red Storm. In addition to her offensive prowess, she did her fair share to keep opponents scoreless, playing 77 minutes against the Blue Devils and 80 minutes against Albany in a pair of back-to-back shutouts. Men ready for 2016 The St. John’s Men’s Soccer team wrapped up an undefeated exhibition slate against Northwestern on Friday night, as Harry Cooksley scored in the 46th minute to help the Red Storm earn a 1-1 draw with the Wildcats at G. Larry James Stadium. “It was a intense game over two 45-minute halves that led to a 1-1 result,” said Coach Dave Masur. “I thought we held the ball for a good portion of the game, we were on the attack, but we have to be better in the attacking third. We had a lot of contributions from a lot of different guys and hopefully it got us ready for our opener.” The Red Storm will open the 2016 season on Friday, August 26, when the Johnnies play host to Drexel at 8 p.m. at Belson Stadium.
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