Monk keeps his feet on the ground

first_img “It’s a fantastic start and great to have six points, I’m not going to lie about that,” Monk said after the game. “The way I am, the players know we have a (Capital One Cup) game on Tuesday and that is what we focus on. “It’s the best start we could have had, but we know we are only two games from being on your back and getting dragged down. “We have to build on what we’ve done and improve on mistakes.” Monk was delighted with how Swansea withstood Burnley’s second-half assault, with goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski only really stretched once when David Jones burst onto Danny Ings’ pass and forced a fine save from the Polish international. “It was very hard. The first half we controlled the game and if we could have got a second that would have made it easier,” Monk said. “We spoke at half-time that they would throw everything at us and we weren’t at our fluent best, but we dug in and defended well. “Burnley were in a no-lose situation but we limited them to one shot on target and defended very well the whole game. Press Association Swansea boss Garry Monk insists he is not getting carried away with the club’s 100 per cent start to the Barclays Premier League season. Monk’s men followed up their shock opening-day win at Manchester United by beating battling Burnley at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea withstanding pressure for most of the second half after Nathan Dyer had given them a 23rd-minute lead. But Monk is fully aware of the pitfalls of management, even though he has only been in the Swansea hot-seat for eight months. “We know we have to show the other side of the game and there are times when you have to dig in. “The boys were magnificent in that respect and that comes from the work we have done in pre-season. “We would have liked it to be more comfortable but six points in two games is all you can ask for.” Burnley boss Sean Dyche admits his newly-promoted Clarets are on a fast learning curve after losing their opening two games to Chelsea and Swansea, but he remains positive with what he sees as signs of progress. “We showed them too much respect in the first half and that can happen for a team that’s just been promoted,” said Dyche. “The early part of the season it’s about believing that they belong and the first half we didn’t do that and they were the better side. “The second half we played with that freedom and I thought we were terrific – the quality and energy of play and the framework of the team to make sure we didn’t give chances away. “I’m not naive enough to think the growth period doesn’t have to be quick because it does. “But there were good signs against Chelsea because they’re a different animal at the moment. “Swansea are not Chelsea yet and, though they’ve done fantastic and they’re a very good side, this was probably a more realistic challenge which we applied ourselves to.” And Dyche insists that Burnley will be able to compete in the Premier League as the season unfolds. “I want them to play with freedom, quality and energy and I thought we did that in the second half,” he added. “That’s the challenge you’ve got and there’s times you’ll take an ugly 1-0 as any manager would, but the belief is there that we can compete at this level. “I want us to be brave, but not in a naive way, We want to play on the front foot, create chances and win games. “There were times when we might have to change slightly but I didn’t feel that was necessary today, even against a very good team like Swansea.” last_img read more

Neli Casares-Maher’s quiet leadership and return from injury boosts Syracuse’s lineup

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ In the top of the eighth inning against Louisville on March 17, Head Coach Shannon Doepking challenged her shortstop, Neli Casares-Maher.“Do you want this at-bat?” Doepking asked after walking up to her.Casares-Maher accepted: “I want it.”Before that interaction, Doepking said she would sub the shortstop out in extra innings with the Cardinals and Orange tied at two. At the time, Casares-Maher was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. But Doepking listened to the sophomore, who stepped into the box and hit the fourth pitch off the left field wall for a leadoff double. Hannah Dossett doubled in Caseras-Maher later in the inning and the Orange won 4-2.Casares-Maher is one of the quieter players in the Syracuse locker room, multiple players said, but those three words — “I want it” — represent her “lead by example” attitude toward softball.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe shortshop has missed 14 games in 2019, and Syracuse has scrambled its defense and lineup to replace her. Within a week of her return to the middle of SU’s lineup on April 19, Casares-Maher hit two home runs in a win over Binghamton last Tuesday. The Orange’s offense scored just nine runs in the four games prior to her return, but has rebounded to average more than six runs per game with the shortstop.Amy Nakamura | Senior Design Editor“She doesn’t say much,” Doepking said on March 20. “It’s hard to get her kind of get a read on where she’s at. Somebody with her caliber of athleticism, she’s super competitive … she’s uber-talented.”At a national softball tournament two weeks before coming to Syracuse, Casares-Maher collided with three other players in the infield and broke her foot.It was the first of multiple injuries that would set Casares-Maher back. In her freshman year at SU, she missed 19 games from a strained quad. Entering 2019, Casares-Maher played the first 26 games of the season before straining her calf against Boston College on March 23.Growing up in Orange, California, no one in her family played softball. Her closest older sibling, 28-year-old Tiffany, played soccer. Casares-Maher tried to join in, but soccer wasn’t for her — Casares-Maher preferred softball. Her parents didn’t know much about softball, but they signed her up for a co-ed league, and Casares-Maher started when she was five years old.“This little quiet girl who idolized her older siblings wanted to have her own identity,” her mother Sharon said.Unlike central New York, where former SU head coach Mike Bosch once said there are about “three good months” of softball, California regards softball as a year-round sport. Her tee ball team practiced once a week, but Casares-Maher constantly asked her parents to go to the field and practice. Her parents would spend time in the outfield, shagging balls as Casares-Maher hit them.Casares-Maher attended Mater Dei High School in California, a few miles from her home. As a freshman, Sharon said that Casares-Maher was under five feet tall. She was “skinny, tiny, little,” yet she finished high school with a .460 batting average.When the time came to find a college, Casares-Maher looked at schools exclusively on the east coast.“I wanted a new experience,” Casares-Maher said. “Coming here to this program brought something completely new, but there aren’t that many big adjustments.”Before coming to Syracuse, Casares-Maher and her mother, father, step-father and sister rented an RV to drive across the country. After dropping Casares-Maher off at SU, they planned to spend multiple weeks touring the country. Instead, they went straight home and Sharon cried the entire trip home.When Casares-Maher joined Syracuse alongside second baseman Gabby Teran, Syracuse started two freshman infielders. With Sammy Fernandez at shortstop, Casares-Maher spent most of her healthy time last season at third base. In 31 games last season, she hit .241 and had just six extra-base hits.Now under Doepking, in Casares-Maher’s second season, Casares-Maher has started 34 games, with a .284 average and a .930 OPS, second-highest of regular players. Only Alexis Kaiser has more home runs (6) than Casares-Maher’s five.“I’m not sure we’ve done anything,” Doepking said of how SU improved Casares-Maher. “You’ve just been able to see what she is capable of doing when she’s healthy.”When Casares-Maher missed 19 games this season, senior Alicia Hansen slotted in at shortstop. Now that Casares-Maher is healthy, she’s reclaimed her spot in the middle of the infield.Said Hansen: “Neli is hands down the best infielder I have ever seen in my life.” Comments Published on April 29, 2019 at 9:55 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected]last_img read more