Mason: Monday Night game begins new era for Pack, Vikes

first_imgTonight’s the night. When the Vikings and Packers clash thisevening at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football, it will be the firstregular-season game in the post-Favre era for Green Bay.And that’s something both sides can rejoice about.Over the summer, Favre tugged at the heartstrings ofCheeseheads from Eau Claire to Oconomowoc when he mulled a comeback. Opinionswere split on No. 4 as to whether he should come back or stay retired.Many Packer fans couldn’t bear to see their idol in anotheruniform, while others recognized his passion for the game and understood hestill wanted to play — whether that was in Green Bay or elsewhere. So when hewas finally traded to the Jets after an ugly falling-out with the Packer organization,some fans turned on him, refusing to watch any New York games. Others rushedout and bought new Favre Jets jerseys.Across the border, Minnesota fans jumped for joy when Brettjetted for New York. While there were early talks that Favre wanted to be aViking, the Packer organization smartly nixed any potential trade to theirin-division foe. So even though he didn’t end up in purple and gold, he wasn’tin green and gold either.Now here we are, with a matchup that may look less thanideal on paper. The Aaron Rodgers-led Packers against the Tarvaris Jackson-ledVikings? Not exactly a pair of future Hall of Famers going at it.Nevertheless, tonight will usher in a new era for bothfranchises.With Favre under center, it was never out of the question forthe Packers to make a run at the division title. Over the past several years,the three other teams — the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Vikings — haveall been faced with inconsistencies at the one position that remained constantin Green Bay for 16 years: quarterback.The other three disposed of quarterbacks as if they weregoing out of style. Rex Grossman, Joey Harrington and Brad Johnson, to name afew, all failed to last more than a few seasons in the division.But now the Packers have a big question mark at the positionthat used to hold the team together. Although Rodgers didn’t look bad in thepreseason, tonight will be his first career start in the NFL.At any rate, this is his chance to prove he belongs. It maytake a while for him to capture the hearts of Green Bay fans — and let’s faceit, he’ll never make them forget about Favre — but the show is his to steal.The Vikings, on the other hand, are convinced that the badtimes are behind them. They’ve made the playoffs just once in the past sevenseasons. But with the emergence of Adrian Peterson and the addition of a fewveterans on defense, things seem to be finally falling into place for them.And is it any coincidence that this season is the 10-yearanniversary of Gary Anderson’s fateful missed field goal in the NFCChampionship that cost the Vikes a shot at the Super Bowl?The Packers organization originally intended to retireFavre’s No. 4 jersey at tonight’s game, a tribute to one of the biggest legendsthe franchise has even seen or likely ever will. Now that he’s still in theleague, though, they’ll put off the ceremony until he’s retired. For good.Fans can only picture the irony that could have been: Favre,running out of the tunnel and out onto the field as he has done so many times before.As they retire his number — just the sixth in Packer history — Favre,understandably emotional, stands on the sidelines.The visitor’s sidelines.Oh, how sweet it would have been.Tyler is a senior majoring in journalism.He attended the 1998 NFC Championship game and will never forgive GaryAnderson. If you want to share your worst sports memory with him, he can bereached at [email protected]last_img read more

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Lack of goals off corner kicks has hurt Syracuse women’s soccer

first_img Published on October 26, 2016 at 6:48 am Contact Byron: [email protected] Syracuse and Notre Dame were deadlocked in the 109th minute. Eva Gordon raced down the sideline before a Fighting Irish defender knocked the ball out. Syracuse had a corner kick opportunity to try and give the Orange its first ACC win.Defender Jessica Vigna stepped up to take the corner kick for SU. She crossed the ball into the box, but no SU players were there. SU’s targets in the box positioned themselves about 15 yards from the net, and the ball sailed in front of them and rolled out of bounds. Vigna threw her hands up in disgust and hustled back to her position as the Orange went on to tie, 1-1, on Sept. 18.Out of the 72 corners SU (8-7-3, 1-6-2 Atlantic Coast) has taken in the 2016 season, just three have resulted in goals. Syracuse has struggled to finish set pieces throughout the year. The Orange lost three straight ACC matches from Sep. 22 to Oct. 2 without a single goal — vital losses in SU’s now defunct playoff chase. Syracuse could have edged itself closer to playoff contention by executing more on its corners.“Set pieces are fantastic scoring opportunities,” Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon said. “It’s clear we need to be a lot more dangerous on those.”On most corner kicks, Syracuse’s targets positioned themselves just inside the 18-yard box. When the ball was crossed, the targets would crash toward the net, hoping to gain momentum on a header.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDespite SU generally placing its crosses on target, it hasn’t worked. Wheddon said that in the ACC, which he calls the “most physical conference in the country,” Syracuse’s strategy is less effective.“Our service in the box this year has been much better than in the past,” Wheddon said. “But teams scout us, they know who our targets are and they put their best defenders on those targets.”Senior Maddie Iozzi and juniors Vigna and Alana O’Neill are the Orange’s designated corner kick takers. Iozzi noted defenders typically clear the ball once it gets into the box.“Our best chance of scoring has been off of scrappy goals,” Iozzi said. “Our headers have been off frame and we need to get on the end of it.”The trend is consistent throughout the ACC. No. 6 Duke hasn’t scored off a corner kick despite 80 attempts this season. Virginia Tech has compiled 103 corners and hasn’t scored. No. 7 Virginia has scored five on 115 corners. Clemson has had 82 corner kicks with just one goal.Facing Pittsburgh on Oct. 16, SU hadn’t scored off a corner kick in nearly a month. Wheddon decided to change things up. His targets in the box lined up significantly closer to the goal, inside the 6-yard box. The target players were expected to win balls in the air without a running start.“It’s just trying to give the opponent something they haven’t seen,” Wheddon said. “We’re always trying to manipulate things to have different runs in the box. We tried to change things up.”Syracuse took five corner kicks against Pittsburgh and failed to score off any. But unlike previous games, Syracuse’s targets stayed in position and bodied the Panther’s defenders off. As a result, they were getting their heads on the ball. The next game, against Wake Forest, a Demon Deacon defender cleared the ball out of bounds. Iozzi stepped up to take the corner kick for the Orange.Stephanie Skilton, Alex Lamontagne and Sydney Brackett positioned themselves close to the net. As Iozzi’s cross came in perfectly, Skilton muscled off her defender, leaped into the air, and headed the ball into the top right corner of the net. SU took a 1-0 lead.“Set pieces decide games,” Wheddon said.But the goal came too late because the only game left for Syracuse is one without playoff implications. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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