After a two-game trip to California over Labor Day Weekend, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team will be adding to their frequent flier miles this weekend as they travel to Florida for another pair of matches. Their first game will be against Florida International Friday, followed by Florida Atlantic Sunday.Coming off a long stretch of games and travel, the Badgers’ main focus in practice this week has been recovery. The extra rest has been especially important given the fact they have a freshmen-laden roster, which has never experienced the rigor of a collegiate schedule before.“It’s been tough since we’re on this little two-week span here of just games and traveling,” goalie Ryan Vint said. “But we’re coming off of this last week and we’re feeling pretty good about how our team is coming together, how freshmen are getting along with the upperclassmen and fitting into our system.”Wisconsin’s roster is comprised of 13 freshmen, seven of which have already seen action this season. The most notable freshman has been forward Chris Prince, who was named to the all-tournament team in California.“I think Chris Prince did a good job,” defender Aaron Nichols said. “He stayed pretty confident throughout both games. He was constantly staying involved. He has good fitness and you know he fits right in. He’s there physically and you could tell that he’s a very mature freshman.”It would be hard for any team to go from opposite ends of the country with only four days rest and perform at a high level. However, if any team can do it, it’s the Badgers. This is a team that is accustomed to change. They have gone through three coaches in as many years. This season, the team is going through change in the form of players. Along with the freshmen, the Badgers have a slew of new players looking to contribute this year, including junior transfer Arnel Zahirovic and redshirt freshman Derek Pitts. Both saw their first playing time as Badgers in last weekend’s matches. Because of the recent contributions of the aforementioned players, there has been a lot of shuffling around of the Badgers’ line-up lately. This has made for a more competitive practice environment.“We’re still trying to find the right pieces to the puzzle,” Vint said. “We’re getting close, but it’s a process. Different people step up at different times and that’s what a whole season is about. It’s not always that you have your set job. People come out and practice and perform better and that’s how it keeps changing. It keeps you on your toes.”If there is one thing that is constant for this Badger team, it is the leadership from their senior captains: Defender Aaron Nichols, goalie Vint and midfielder Jon Rzepka. Heading into this weekend’s games against Florida International and Florida Atlantic, it will be vital for them to continue to coach the younger guys on the team and push them in practice. With the first couple of games under their belt, Nichols is confident the team will only be getting better from this point forward.“I think it’s going to be a little bit easier,” Nichols said. “You get that first one out of the way. There’s a lot of nerves. You definitely could tell, especially in the game against UC-Irvine, because there’s a lot of young players and they’re not used to playing in bigger games. I think if anything we got better from it and I think we’ll be good going forward.”Vint added to this notion, saying, “we’re just going to keep building. We’re going to keep building off of our success on Friday against Santa Clara and keep going with it. Hopefully it’ll translate into something bigger and better this weekend.”
LOS ANGELES — Andre Ethier has appeared in more postseason games than anyone in Dodgers history. Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday was his 51st.Ethier, 35, might never play another game in a Dodgers uniform. The team will almost certainly decline his $17.5 million contract option for 2018. That doesn’t mean Ethier won’t be back. Even if he is paid a $2.5 million buyout, the Dodgers can always negotiate a new deal to keep him in Los Angeles for a 13th season.If Ethier does not return, his Dodgers career ended with a lasting memory. As a pinch hitter in the sixth inning of a 5-0 game, Ethier singled through the right side of the Astros’ infield to drive in the Dodgers’ only run. It was his first World Series hit at home.Related Articles Photos: Dodgers vs. Astros, World Series Game 7 Astros’ George Springer slugs his way to World Series MVP Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Yu Darvish’s World Series Game 7 start is a disaster for Dodgers Reaction to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Game 7 loss in the World Series against the Houston Astros Considering how the last two years have played out for Ethier, the ending was a fitting reward for his perseverance. Astros pounce early, top Dodgers for World Series title But in spring training the following year, Ethier fouled a ball off his leg, fracturing his tibia. He didn’t return to the field until Sept. 2016. By then he was relegated to pinch-hitting duties. Healthy again to begin the 2017 season, Ethier had a fresh opportunity to earn regular at-bats as the Dodgers’ primary left fielder. But another injury cropped up in spring training – this time a herniated disk in his back – and another season was thwarted. He did not recover until September.Video: What went wrong for the Dodgers?Ethier still found his way onto the Dodgers’ 25-man roster for all three postseason rounds. He started only two games but managed to collect four hits in 13 at-bats, including a home run in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.Now, he could enter the offseason among the key free agents the Dodgers’ front office must address.Reliever Brandon Morrow seems like the most likely to return. The right-hander forged a role as the primary set-up man to Kenley Jansen in a stalwart bullpen. Despite appearing in all seven World Series games, he was still touching 99 mph in Game 7.“I would love an opportunity to come back,” Morrow said after the game.Pitcher Tony Watson said he enjoyed his three months in Los Angeles after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline. He was one of two impact left-handers out of the bullpen in the World Series along with Tony Cingrani. He made $5.6 million in 2017.Chase Utley’s veteran presence was often cited by teammates as instrumental among the Dodgers’ core leadership group. At 38, Utley was still useful as part of a lefty/righty platoon at second base with Logan Forsythe, who can also become a free agent if the Dodgers decline his 2018 contract option.Yu Darvish could become the most coveted pitcher in a potentially weak free agent class for starting pitchers. But the right-hander didn’t help his cause by throwing only 1⅔ innings in each of his World Series starts. He was the losing pitcher in the decisive Game 7.Curtis Granderson is even more certain to hit the free agent market. The 36-year-old outfielder looked like a shell of his former self after the Dodgers acquired him in an August trade with the New York Mets. He batted .161 in 36 regular-season games as a Dodger, and was left off the World Series roster.For Ethier, returning to the Dodgers would represent more than a sentimental victory lap at the end of a long career. It would be a just reward for his perseverance, and for a key contribution in the Dodgers’ most important game of the season.“Personally, he was great to me,” rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger said. “He helped me progress this year throughout the ups and downs. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. That was awesome.” Dodgers fan: ‘L.A. is heartbroken’ Whicker: Astros leave Dodgers offense stranded in space Miller: An appreciation for a Dodgers team that delivered everything but what mattered most ‘Houston Strong’ prevails in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Dodgers’ strongest efforts Ethier did not speak to reporters after Wednesday’s game.“He’s been here for 12 years with the same team,” Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson said. “That’s extremely hard to do. Obviously he’s doing a lot of things right and has a great mentality and outlook on how to handle baseball and adversity and everything.”Ethier looked rejuvenated in 2015, when he batted .294 with 14 home runs and 53 runs batted in. His 137 OPS-plus set a career high at age 33.
Through all the question marks about Kobe Bryant’s durability and his younger teammates’ development, a tight rope emerged for the Lakers to navigate.To what degree will the Lakers rely on Bryant’s skill and 20 years of NBA experience in possibly his last season? To what degree will the Lakers lean on rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell, second-year forward Julius Randle and second-year guard Jordan Clarkson to lay the groundwork of a potentially long-term future?As the Lakers demonstrated in their 102-91 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday at Staples Center, rarely are there concrete answers.Randle showcased his playmaking (18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 12 rebounds). Russell emerged with efficiency (a season-high 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting, five rebounds, two assists). Clarkson maintained his consistency (13 points on 6-of-13 shooting, four rebounds, three assists). That coincided with Bryant posting 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting, though he made up for it with five assists and four rebounds. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error But the Lakers (2-10) did not rely on Randle, Russell and Clarkson to open the fourth quarter, a development that contributed to Toronto going on a 15-5 run for a 91-75 lead with 7:58 left. Meanwhile, Bryant played 37 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter, once again exceeding Byron Scott’s self-imposed minute restriction. This happened merely five days after Bryant logged 37 minutes in Sunday’s win against Detroit before sitting in Monday’s loss to Phoenix to rest. The Lakers still remained within striking distance despite the aforementioned developments. Bryant hit a 7-foot jumper and Metta World Peace nailed a 3-pointer to cut the Raptors’ lead to 93-87 with 3:43 remaining. Bryant then swished a pull-up 3-pointer to slice the Lakers’ deficit to 97-91 with 1:48 left. But the Lakers ran out of time. Still, the Lakers made progress with reducing Bryant’s offensive load in favor of his younger teammates. “He’s a great facilitator,” Scott said of Bryant. “The one thing when he catches the ball is he draws a lot of attention.”So, as he held the ball at the top of the key, Bryant set Russell up for an open 3-pointer. Later on, Bryant threw Russell a behind-the-back pass that set up an open jumper. The Lakers rarely mastered such an approach in earlier games, something Scott placed less on Bryant and more on everyone else.“They still have to be patient,” Scott said. “They have to keep their spacing. At times we get too bunched up. Our guys are running toward the ball instead of staying where they need to be. He’s one of those guys who can get them the ball right when they need it.”Scott then focused on Russell, whose limited fourth-quarter opportunities coincided with a learning curve with his playmaking, defense and shared ball-handling duties with Bryant.“Sometimes he stands around. These guys are so used to having the ball in their hands. When they don’t, they don’t know what to do,” Scott said. “It’s not the fact they’re selfish or anything. It’s just what they’re used to. I just have to break that habit.”But as the Lakers learned on Friday, those broken habits will not guarantee wins.