Husson women’s soccer team advances to NAC final

Posted Nov. 01, 2011, at 9:57 p.m.

MERIDEN — The Husson University Eagles scored the game-winning goal late in the second half

in a 1-0 women’s soccer victory over Colby-Sawyer in an NAC semifinal Tuesday.

Husson advanced to its sixth straight appearence in an NAC final.

Senior Brittany Belden netted the game-winner for Husson in the 72nd minute as senior Alexandra Laniewski played the ball into the box where Belden placed the ball in the net, Laniweski earned the assist.

Both teams played a majority of the game in midfield and Husson’s 1-0 lead held in the end.

Jessica Poulin made four saves on nine shots for Husson and Shalyn Spencer made five saves on seven shots for Colby-Sawyer.

Women’s basketball

Griner unanimous pick

Brittney Griner has already left a mark on women’s basketball and she’s only beginning her junior season.

The 6-foot-8 Baylor phenom became the eighth player to be a unanimous choice on The Associated Press’ women’s basketball preseason All-America team, receiving all 40 votes from a national media panel Tuesday.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma spent two weeks with Griner on the U.S. national team’s European training tour in late September. She was the only college player in the group, and Auriemma sensed a masterpiece in the making.

“Who carved out the statue of ‘David’, Michaelangelo?” he said. “She’s got a chance to be that down the road. Right now there’s a lot of uncarved away stuff because she’s so young. There’s things she does that no one else can do. I’ve never seen anyone do things she can do. All the things she can’t do it’s because she hasn’t had the experience to do them yet. The more she’s put in that situation I think her growth is going to be exponential. She’s going to take off.”

Griner was joined on the preseason team by Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins (37 votes), Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike (37), Miami’s Shenise Johnson (25) and Tennessee’s Shekinna Stricklen (21).

Football

Kentucky QB job re-opens

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky’s starting quarterback job re-opened for competition this week.

Starter Morgan Newton has struggled through what has been a disappointing season for the Wildcats. But the junior is not the only signal caller unable to get it done. Newton’s backup, freshman Maxwell Smith, hadn’t done much better.

But when Newton left Saturday’s game against Mississippi State with an ankle injury in the first quarter, Smith passed for an efficient and relatively mistake-free 174 yards.

Newton is listed day-to-day with a high ankle sprain.

Head coach Joker Phillips says Newton will not play Saturday against Mississippi if he can’t protect himself, something the coach says Newton could not do at Tuesday’s practice Tuesday.

Before the injury, Newton was 82 of 172 with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.

That, combined with Smith’s performance Saturday, forced head coach Joker Phillips to re-evaluate the position which he had said was off-limits before in the weeks before playing Mississippi State.

Neither Newton nor Smith will be made available to media this week, Kentucky spokesman Tony Neely said.

“We’ll compete with those two guys this week because we have to see which guy gives us the best chance to win this game,” Phillips said. “Both will get reps with the ones and the twos, and we’ll find out which one and decide.”

The Wildcats (3-5, 0-4 Southeastern Conference) have struggled on offense with Newton under center; they currently rank 118th out of 120 FBS teams in total offense with 265.8 yards per game, and the passing game ranks 115th in the country with 126 yards per game.

Smith’s emergence Saturday was surprising considering his season to that point: He had played in four games before that, either as a late-game replacement with the game out of reach or as a last-resort move with Newton struggling. Before Saturday, he was 7-of-19 for 50 yards and two interceptions.

Once he warmed up against Mississippi State, Smith led two impressive drives in the second half. On one, he completed all six of his pass attempts for 68 on a drive that ended in Kentucky’s only touchdown of the game; on the other, he was 9 of11 with 56 yards, including three third-down conversions, but his 4th-and-7 pass in the red zone sailed over wide receiver La’Rod King’s head.

“I thought for the circumstances he did pretty well,” offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said. “He had some mistakes early and we had a nice little discussion on the sideline and I thought he responded well. His challenge is he still wastes a few plays by not calling the play right and when you do that in a game like this it makes it really tough.

“The guy competed really hard and threw the ball well and seemed like he was seeing things well. There is still a learning process he needs to go through and a lot of things in protection he has to see and manage better, but he competed.”

Even though the Wildcats’ hopes of a sixth-straight bowl-eligible season are growing slimmer each week, Phillips said he will choose the quarterback that gives his team the best chance to win each week without looking forward to next season.

“We have to make some type of decision,” Phillips said. “(Smith) played well enough that we have to make a decision on that.”

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