The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on November 15, 2007 · 37
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 37

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Boston, Massachusetts
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Thursday, November 15, 2007
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37
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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2007 The Boston Globe .D7 JONATHAN WIGGSGLOBE STAFF Avery John will be back on soccer's center stage again, this time in the MLS Cup. John gets down and (not) dirty By Frank Dell'Apa GLOBE STAFF FOXBOROUGH - Avery John performed in the MLS Cup for the Revolution and the World Cup for Trinidad and Tobago last year. Both experiences could be considered the epitome of a soccer player's career, but neither was completely fulfilling for John. The Revolution lost in the MLS Cup and Trinidad and Tobago players, despite delivering an inspiring performance, became involved in a pay dispute that has not yet been resolved. So, though John's international career could be over and the Soca Warriors' aspirations have likely been stifled, John is maintaining high standards with the Revolution. John will return to the MLS Cup for the third successive time when the Revolution meet the Houston Dynamo in Washington, D.C., Sunday, his hard-tackling style complementing central defender Michael Parkhurst's finesse. "He's solid as a rock," coach Steve Nicol said of John. "He gives nothing away, he gets it done with no frills, none of the fancy stuff. He is an old-fashioned tackier; when he goes in he takes the ball, and everything else. He is aggressive, but he is going for the ball. Coaches who complain about his challenges, if they had somebody on their team like that they would be quite happy with him." John said his style has not changed since he was a youngster growing up in Vance River, Trinidad. MLS referees, though, could be getting used to John. In his first year with the Revolution, John was issued nine cautions in 24 playoff and reg ular-season games. John has been yellow-carded 1 1 times in 54 games since. "I don't think I'm dirty or nasty, I don't come from behind you and I don't hit people off the M. ball," John said. "But if the ball is there to be won, I'll take it. If they don't want to go into a tackle they should jump, but I'm going to go for a good, fair tackle." John kicked up his intensity several notches for the World Cup and was ejected after a second caution early in the second half of Trinidad and Tobago's 0-0 tie with Sweden, one of the surprise results of the tournament. It was the Soca Warriors' first appearance in the World Cup, and they set up effective defend-and-counterattack tactics, holding opponents scoreless for 173 minutes before falling to England. That was good preparation for the MLS playoffs. The Revolution started the postseason in a defensive mode, earning a 0-0 tie in New York in Game 1 and extending a three-game shutout streak with a 1-0 win over Chicago last Thursday. "By the end of the regular season, we had been through a lot," John said. "In the US Open Cup, we played our best game a 3-2 win over FC Dallas. We've worked all year to get to this point and now we are in a position to complete it Everyone is fit and buzzing around in practice, and now we have to make sure we are 110 percent for the game. "We know we have to win it. Both teams have some pressure to win it, but I believe we want it more." This will be something of a homecoming for John, who played for two years and earned a business administration degree from American University in Washington. John played alongside Nicol, who was a player-coach, with the Boston Bulldogs in 1999, then went to Ireland and performed in the 2002 Champions League preliminaries with Bohemians. By 2004, John was ready to move on and Nicol brought him back. Last year, John played in only 10 regular-season games, partly because of international duty, but the Revolution had a 7-0-3 record with him in the starting lineup. This year, the Revolution had a 14-4-6 record in all games (cup, playoff, regular season) with John starting. John did not perform against Houston this season, the Revolution winning (1-0) in Houston and tying (3-3) at home. The last time John played against the Dynamo, he deflected a cross that Brian Ching finished for the tying goal in last year's MLS Cup. "Houston is a strong team and they have the best goals-against record in the league," John said. "But we are playing on the East Coast and we should have people supporting us, and that's to our advantage." The Revolution will provide free bus transportation to the final, departing Saturday from Gillette Stadium. Check-in is 9 a.m, and the bus leaves at 10 a.m. For more information call 1-877-GET-REVS or go online to www.revolution-soccer.net. The match will be shown at the Fidelity Investments Clubhouse at Gillette Sunday. Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at fdeUapagbbe.com. A title still heads Eagles' to-do list By Mark Blaudschun GLOBE STAFF For coach Jeff Jagodzinski's Boston College Eagles, preparation for Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference game at Clemson continued yesterday, with a new sense of urgency. "This is obviously championship week," said linebacker Mike McLaughlin. When the Eagles were winning their first eight games and climbing to No. 2 in the rankings, the talk was of the mission at hand, the next game. And despite losses the last two weeks, the Eagles will still make the ACC championship game in Jacksonville, Fla, Dec. 1 if they beat the Tigers. Lose, and they will not. It's that simple. "It should be a lot of fun," said quarterback Matt Ryan. "This is the great part of playing college football. I'm excited to be part of it." The Eagles' mood yesterday was up beat There is a little more sense of urgency," said McLaughlin, who filled in for the injured Jo-Lonn Dunbar in last Saturday's loss at Maryland. "This is what you work all summer, all winter for. This is the position you want to be in." Wide receiver Brandon Robinson said the losses are in the past. "We will bounce back," he said. "We still control our destiny. We know it's a game that is going to come down to the last quarter, the last play." It might come down to several plays, as was the case last Saturday, when the Eagles jousted with the Terrapins for a half, fell behind by three touchdowns, and came up short in a 42-35 loss. "We know we are capable," said Ryan. "We just have to go out and do it." Ryan said a sense of normalcy is still necessary for success. "We have to focus on the moment," said Ryan, who has thrown five touch down passes and five interceptions in the last two games. "We can't be concerned with what was going on in the past. "I definitely need to play better. I can't turn the ball over. I need to make better decisions, be smarter with the ball, trust what you see. But you can't lose your aggressiveness." Beating Clemson will be a challenge, but Ryan has done it twice two years ago at Clemson, S.C., in overtime, and last year at The Heights in double overtime. The Tigers have won their last four games, including a 44-10 rout of defending ACC champion Wake Forest last Saturday. "The confidence is there," said BC safety Jamie Silva. "The two teams that beat Clemson this season Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, we beat this season. We had better be ready? Dunbar and fellow linebacker Ty-ronne Pruitt, who missed the Maryland game with sprained ankles, returned to practice on a limited basis. "Probable," said Jagodzinski when asked their status for Saturday. Missing from practice was cornerback DeJuan Tribble,vho injured his right knee in a drill Tuesday. "He was jumping up for a ball and came down on it," said Jagodzinski, who said Tribble had an MRI yesterday afternoon. His status for Saturday is questionable. If Tribble is out, freshman De-Leon Gause is the likely starter . . ; Also questionable for Saturday is long snapper Jack Geiser (knee). McLaughlin long-snapped yesterday with mixed results . . . Kevin Challenger seems the likely candidate to replace Tribble on punt returns. Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschunglobe.com. Z 0&ffi 'y? v ' 1 ' L ft . I L -1 A An.-. -m- i, , iir -if I FRED BECKHAMASSOCtATED PRESS Mike McLeod is running toward a special goal Yale's first 1 0-0 season since 1909. A junior, he already owns most of the school's rushing records. Yale's McLeod still playing down records MCLEOD Continuedfrom PageDl Blue squad to go 10-0 since the 1909 varsity, which didn't allow a point, won the national championship, and had six men named All-American. Since they won at Princeton last Saturday, McLeod and his teammates have been regaled with tales of bygone days. "We hear the history pretty much every single day," he says. Yet even though McLeod lived just up the road in New Britain and came down occasionally, he didn't know much about Yale lore. "Things as simple as Walter Camp inventing football and being a New Britain native," he says. "That came as a huge surprise." Camp, of course, is foremost among Bulldog immortals. The gate dedicated to him next to the field house is only slightly less grand than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It was Camp who put Yale on the map in the 19th century. Now, after a couple of undulating decades, the llth-ranked Bulldogs are back on the growl. Last year, they shared the Ivy League title with Princeton. By beating Harvard, which Yale hasn't done here since 1999, they would win the crown outright for the first time since 1980. "It shows we're getting things done," says McLeod, whose mates have won 17 of their last 19. "We've brought back the tradition of Yale as a football school." . The central figure McLeod has been a huge factor in the turnaround. He's also the reason Yale has evolved into a running team. "Mike has clearly changed our offense," says coach Jack Siedlecki. "Before he got here, we were throwing the football all over the place." This year, the Bulldogs have had their fewest passing attempts in 16 years, and quarterback Matt Polhemus has tucked and run so often he ranks eighth in the league in rushing. "The offense is going to control the ball, march it down, and limit the opportunity of the other team to make plays," says McLeod. "If they don't have the ball, they can't do anything." McLeod, who leads the nation in rushing yardage (174.3 per game), does most of the marching, averaging 34 carries a game, and he's rushed for more yards and touchdowns than every other team in the league. And since the Pennsylvania game four weekends ago, McLeod has been doing it with a broken big right toe, which has slowed him only modestly. "Our trainer told me that I couldn't hurt it any more than I already had," he says. "Once I heard that, I ran on it as hard as I ever would. Our offense isn't going to change, and I can take it." The twinges McLeod gets from the toe are nothing like the pounding he's been taking week after week. Now that opponents know Yale no longer puts on an aerial circus, they've painted an enormous bull's-eye on the tailback's chest. "Not until this year did I know they would stack the box," he says. Not that it has deterred McLeod from busting into and through it. Every week, he's gained more than 100 yards, four times going over 150 and twice over 250. Every week, he's scored a touchdown (a league-record 18 straight games), managing at least three on five Saturdays, including five against Holy Cross. "He's an incredible back," says Harvard coach Tim Murphy, who has watched McLeod gain 178 yards and score four touchdowns in two games against his defense. "I don't think I've ever seen him take negative yardage. Whenever he's hit, it's plus-3 from there." Especially if it's third and 2. Yale doesn't lead the nation in possession time (35 minutes 3 seconds per game) by accident. "He's a determined back and he does not want to lose," testifies Polhemus. "You'll see him run over guys when we need a first down. In the huddle, you can see it in his eyes. He wants the ball." McLeod was used to getting it at New Britain High, where he scored 39 touchdowns as a senior (including eight against Manchester), led his teammates to the state title, and was named Connecticut player of the year. That drew interest from the likes of Notre Dame, Perm State, and UConn, but he and his parents decided Camp's alma mater was the best option. A strong statement McLeod figured he'd still have to put in an apprenticeship at Yale, and that was fine with him. "I knew I wasn't going to get the ball too much freshman year," he says. "But it was good to ease into the system without having it all on your back" In his debut at San Diego, McLeod picked up 102 yards on only eight carries. Then reality hit against Cornell. "I had 66 on 22 carries," McLeod recalls. "That was a shock to me. Those guys were just flying around. That's when I knew what college football was about." McLeod also knew he had to get bigger and stronger to hold up under weekly pum-melings, and his upper body, including Pop-eye-like biceps, now is built for battering. And as his workload has grown (only once in two years has he had fewer than 25 carries), McLeod's numbers have soared, as has his rep. Another year like this one and he could end up in the NFL, as former Yale running backs Calvin Hill, Rich Diana, Dick Jauron, Chuck Mercein, and a few others did. "If it comes one day, I'd love to play in the NFL, but you never know with football," McLeod says. "But it's comforting to know that if I want to play at the next level, there are people from my school who have done it." Come Saturday, he'll get a chance to do something none of them did - beat Harvard to close out a perfect season. There are some accomplishments around this place that aren't listed in the record book. entley's Calvi at head of class John Powers can be reached at jpowersglobe.com. Freshman goalie is well-schooled By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell GLOBE STAFF When Joe Calvl arrived at Bentley College, hockey coach Ryan Soderquist COLLEGE wasn't sure what to notebook expect from the 21-: year-old freshman. He knew the goaltender had terrific skills, but like most freshmen who come to college after playing junior hockey following high school, Soderquist figured there would be a transition period for Calvi. It turned out to be far shorter than anyone thought. Calvi has stepped in as a major contributor. He has played in nine games and has a 4-4-1 record, a 1.75 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. The New Lenox, 111., native said he didn't expect to embrace the job as quickly as he did. "It's going really well," said Calvi. "The team really backed me up quick, which is hard to do as a freshman, to get the team to support you and have confidence in you. But they did and they're playing well for me and making it easier for me to go out there and do my job." One of the biggest challenges has been going back to the classroom. Calvi said many players take classes while playing junior hockey, which makes their workload easier in college. He now he wishes he had. "It is really hard," he said. "I took three years off and I made a mistake in not taking classes. I'm kind of kicking myself, but they have a lot of tutors here and there are lot of people willing to help you, and they really do a good job." Calvi said the hardest part is finding the time to do the class-work because of the demands of the season. "It's just the workload," he said. "I had to learn in a hurry. We have three hours less per day of study time, which over the week really adds up. It's just a matter of managing your time well. If you do that, then it's really not that tough." Soderquist said he's impressed by Calvi's commitment "As a freshman, he's come in and taken the No. 1 role over pretty quick," said Soderquist. "We had hoped he'd develop into it. I thought maybe by January or February he might be getting more starts than not. But it's turned out quickly that he's done very well. We're really excited about having him for four years. He plays pretty simple, he makes all the first saves and doesn't leave a lot of rebounds out there. He has a great work ethic and the guys love to play for him. "A lot of the times with incoming freshmen at any position, the day-to-day grind of coming out of junior hockey and now having to go to class every day, practice every day, and lift weights a couple times a week, usually after the first month you see guys get a little bit worn and you can't play them every night. He seems to keep his life in great order and is able to take everything on. He's really focused." The Falcons have rebounded from a slow start and have just one loss in the last five games (3-1-1). They lead Atlantic Hockey at 4-2-1 (4-6-1 overall). "We're right on course," said I : RYAN SODERQUIST -Bentley coach sees net gam Calvi. "We're still not at our peak, I don't think A lot of the media and people are saying this is fluky for us and people don't believe it, but when you watch our practices you see the talent that our guys have. And just the attitude the coaching staff has toward winning and putting together a championship team, we're still getting better and it's exciting to think about how the rest of the season is going t J turn out." Calvi said it's difficult bethg in the same region as higher-profile programs such as Boston College, Boston University, and University of New Hampshire, but he hopes if the team succeeds it will receive the attention it deserves. t. "It's tough, just being a srjjaller school," he said. "You don't get all the glory that Boston College has, but it's exciting in that in the whole league around, we're the guys who develop this league and make it just as good as Hdckey East and get some NCAA bids for the league. It'll be exciting even when we're older and not plaving, we can look back at the Atlantic and it will really be a distinguished league." a Richter scale Harvard's Kyle Richter was named ECAC goaltender of the week and Inside College Hockey national player of the week Ilich-ter is ranked first in save pefcent-age (.975) in the conference The Crimson (3-1) are off to their best start since the 2002-03 season. The team leads the nation u defense, allowing just 0.75 goat per game. The Crimson are secojld in penalty killing (95.8 percent and scoring margin (plus-2.75).'Har-vard hosts Cornell tomorrowtiight and Colgate Saturday . . . Suftolk is off to its best start in five years. The Rams (3-1, 1-0 ECAC Ifrth-east) ended a 10-game wipless streak (0-9-1) against Wentworth with Tuesday's 5-3 victory. It was the Rams' first win over the Leopards since Nov. 23, 1996. Junior forward Kyle Cook has six goals and six assists in four gamesj Suffolk is at Johnson & Wales tomorrow night . . . The UNH women's team is running away with Hockey East. The Wildcats are 7-0 in the conference and 9-2 overall heading into this weekend's two-game series with nonconference opponent Wisconsin. Coach Brian Mc-Closkey's squad is led by junior forward Sam Faber, who has 17 points in 11 games, and sopho-' more forward Kelly Paton, Who has 14 points. The team has scored 33 goals in league play and has allowed six. Overall, UNH has scored 39 goals and allowed 13. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell cQn be reached at marrapeseglobe.com.

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