Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, by consensus the most talented young position players in baseball, are facing off this week for the first time in their burgeoning careers. (Trout’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim got the best of Harper’s Washington Nationals on Monday night, 4-2.)Few youngsters arrived in the majors with as much buildup as Harper, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16. Luckily for the Nationals, he’s mostly been as good as advertised (and he’s still just 21 years old, a fact that’s often forgotten because he’s been so good). Meanwhile, all Trout did in his first full pair of major-league seasons was turn in two of the 150 or so best position-player seasons in the past 113 years of baseball, making two strong MVP bids in the process.So, yeah, these guys have been really good, really early in their careers.With all the (deserved) hype surrounding Trout and Harper, I was wondering how the duo compares to other concurrent 22-or-under pairs of position players in the history of baseball. To answer that question, I looked at the most productive two non-pitchers age 22 or below in a given season, based on the combined number of wins above replacement they’d generated in the previous two seasons. (We can’t compare Trout/Harper through age 22 because we don’t know what they’ll do in 2014.)By that standard, Trout and Harper are the most productive young duo in baseball history. Here were the seasons featuring the best pairs of budding superstars ever (taking only the best score for duplicate pairs):The majority of those 28.2 combined WAR belong to Trout, author of the aforementioned pair of historically dominant campaigns. Let’s be honest, though: Given Trout’s otherworldly production at such a young age, we could pair him with just about anybody and he’d still be near the top of this list (Trout by himself would rank fifth). But Harper’s numbers to date hardly make him a coattail-rider. As far as No. 2s go, Harper’s 8.6 WAR ranks below only Mel Ott and Eddie Mathews as the third-best second fiddle in the history of promising under-22 duos.If we’re looking to give extra weight to No. 2s, ensuring that both players in a pair have great stats (to safeguard against a situation such as what happened in 1918, when Rogers Hornsby had 97 percent of the WAR in his “duo” with Ross Youngs), perhaps a better way to rank these kinds of pairings is not to sum up all of the WAR generated by a pair, but rather to take the harmonic mean of the two individuals’ WAR totals. If we do that, the following list emerges:By either list, though, Trout-Harper is the best young duo in baseball history. So, savor their matchup this week — you may never again see a pair of position players so good face off at such a young age.
CaliforniaSouth4187186.54.00.7 IndianaEast5193818.104.22.168 BaylorWest5183785.56.01.0 DaytonMidwest7178822.214.171.124 Florida Gulf CoastEast16154471.4<0.1<0.1 North CarolinaEast1207593.943.615.0 VirginiaMidwest1205292.530.49.8 Note, however, that Elo is still just one of six computer rankings that we use for the men’s tournament. The other five are ESPN’s BPI, Jeff Sagarin’s “predictor” ratings, Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, Joel Sokol’s LRMC ratings, and Sonny Moore’s computer power ratings. In addition, we use two human-generated rating systems: the selection committee’s 68-team “S-Curve”, and a composite of preseason ratings from coaches and media polls. The eight systems — six computer-generated and two human-generated — are weighted equally in coming up with a team’s overall rating.We’ve calculated Elo ratings for men’s teams only. For women’s ratings, we rely on the same composite of ratings systems that we used last year. You can find more about the methodology for our women’s forecasts here.As has been the case previously, our ratings are also adjusted for travel distance and (for men’s teams only) player injuries. Our injury adjustment has been slightly improved to account for the higher or lower caliber of replacement players on different teams: Stony Brook, for example, won’t be able to replace a star player as easily as Kentucky can.As a final reminder, these forecasts are probabilistic — something especially important to consider in the men’s tournament this year when there’s about as much parity among teams as we’ve ever seen. In some sense, every team but the UConn women should be thought of as underdogs to win the tournament this year.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 March Madness Predictions. Michigan StateMidwest2207891.833.98.9 VillanovaSouth2204591.322.46.4 Weber StateEast15162373.3<0.1<0.1 North Carolina-AshevilleSouth15155374.2<0.1<0.1 ConnecticutSouth91872126.96.36.199 Middle TennesseeMidwest15163875.0<0.1<0.1 SouthernWest16139268.0<0.1<0.1 DukeWest4191087.312.11.7 XavierEast21973188.8.131.52 IowaSouth71904184.108.40.206 Arkansas-Little RockMidwest12173478.90.2<0.1 Stephen F. AustinEast14182481.00.4<0.1 KentuckyEast4201490.715.94.4 OregonWest1203388.022.62.6 KansasSouth1209794.545.1%19.1% TexasWest61788220.127.116.11 UtahMidwest3188718.104.22.168 Miami (FL)South3193322.214.171.124 Holy CrossWest16142066.9<0.1<0.1 Texas A&MWest3191586.812.42.4 VanderbiltSouth111846126.96.36.199 MarylandSouth51876188.8.131.52 Fresno StateMidwest14170876.6<0.1<0.1 West VirginiaEast3195689.316.23.4 2016 NCAA Tournament team ratings Wichita StateSouth111893184.108.40.206 Stony BrookEast13166377.10.1<0.1 CincinnatiWest91794220.127.116.11 WisconsinEast7189618.104.22.168 OklahomaWest2197290.032.06.8 HawaiiSouth13173778.0<0.1<0.1 PittsburghEast10178722.214.171.124 Saint Joseph’sWest81814126.96.36.199 ColoradoSouth8175681.50.4<0.1 Northern IowaWest11175180.20.8<0.1 Welcome to FiveThirtyEight’s forecasts of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments. We’ve been issuing probabilistic March Madness forecasts in some form since 2011, when FiveThirtyEight was just a couple of us writing for The New York Times. While the basics of the system remain the same, we unveil a couple of new wrinkles each year.Last season, we issued forecasts of the women’s tournament for the first time. Our big change for this year is that we won’t just be updating our forecasts at the end of each game — but also in real time. If a No. 2 seed is losing to a No. 15 seed, you’ll be able to see how that could affect the rest of the bracket, even before the game is over.Live win probabilitiesOur interactive graphic will include a dashboard that shows the score and time remaining in every game as it’s played, as well as the chance that each team will win that game. These probabilities are derived using logistic regression analysis, which lets us plug the current state of a game into a model to produce the probability that either team wins the game. Specifically, we used play-by-play data from the past five seasons of Division I NCAA basketball to fit a model that incorporates:Time remaining in the gameScore differencePre-game win probabilitiesWhich team has possession, with a special adjustment if the team is shooting free throws.These in-game win probabilities won’t account for everything. If a key player has fouled out of a game, for example, his or her team’s win probability is probably a bit lower than we’ve listed. There are also a few places where the model experiences momentary uncertainty: In the handful of seconds between the moment when a player is fouled and the free throws that follow, we use the team’s average free-throw percentage. Still, these probabilities ought to do a reasonably good job of showing which games are competitive and which are in the bag.We built a separate in-game probability model for the women’s tournament that works in exactly the same way but uses historical women’s data. Thus, we’ll be updating our forecasts live for both the men’s and women’s tournament.Excitement indexOur March Madness “excitement index” (loosely based on Brian Burke’s NFL work) is a measure of how much each team’s chances of winning changed over the course of the game and is a good reference for picking the best games to flip to.The calculation is simple: It’s the average change in win probability per basket scored, weighted by the amount of time remaining in the game. This means that a late-game basket has more influence on a game’s rating than a basket near the beginning of the game. We give additional weight to changes in win probability in overtime. Ratings range from 0 to 10, except in extreme cases where they can exceed 10.The index isn’t perfect — this year’s play-in game between Holy Cross and Southern was good, but perhaps not deserving of its 9.4 rating. But even if it doesn’t quite capture the difference between a closely contested slog and a Dunk City run to the Sweet 16, it does a nice job of quantifying how tight a game was and how many big shots were hit.Elo ratingsOtherwise, the methodology for our men’s forecasts is also largely the same as last year. But we’ve developed our own computer rating system — Elo — which we include along with the five computer rankings and two human rankings we used previously.If you’ve followed FiveThirtyEight, you’ll know that we’re big fans of Elo ratings, which we’ve introduced for the NBA, the NFL and other sports. We’ve now applied them for men’s college basketball teams dating back to the 1950s, using game data from ESPN, Sports-Reference.com and other sources.Our methodology for calculating these Elo ratings is highly similar to the one we use for NBA. They rely on relatively simple information — specifically, the final score, home-court advantage, and the location of each game. (College basketball teams perform significantly worse when they travel a long distance to play a game.) They also account for a team’s conference — at the beginning of each season, a team’s Elo rating is regressed toward the mean of other schools in its conference — and whether the game was an NCAA Tournament game. We’ve found that historically, there are actually fewer upsets in the NCAA Tournament than you’d expect from the difference in teams’ Elo ratings, perhaps because the games are played under better and fairer conditions in the tournament than in the regular season. Our Elo ratings account for this and also weight tournament games slightly higher than regular season ones.Elo ratings for the 68 teams to qualify for the men’s tournament follow below. North Carolina-WilmingtonWest13172277.70.2<0.1 YaleWest12179280.21.0<0.1 Cal State BakersfieldWest15163575.00.1<0.1 GonzagaMidwest11191686.03.20.5 TEAMREGIONSEEDELOCOMPOSITEFINAL 4CHAMPS Southern CaliforniaEast8173381.40.2<0.1 IonaMidwest13175978.20.1<0.1 Texas TechMidwest8177781.30.4<0.1 TempleSouth10173078.50.2<0.1 ArizonaSouth6195389.06.01.8 Oregon StateWest7174077.60.2<0.1 Seton HallMidwest61914188.8.131.52 Virginia CommonwealthWest101798184.108.40.206 Fairleigh DickinsonEast16141766.7<0.1<0.1 ChattanoogaEast12161076.6<0.1<0.1 South Dakota StateSouth12173578.60.2<0.1 ButlerMidwest91815220.127.116.11 MichiganEast11176879.60.3<0.1 BuffaloSouth14161375.7<0.1<0.1 PurdueMidwest5193888.713.02.7 Iowa StateMidwest4186718.104.22.168 Austin PeaySouth16147768.8<0.1<0.1 RATINGSPROBABILITY OF… HamptonMidwest16148868.6<0.1<0.1 SyracuseMidwest10177222.214.171.124 ProvidenceEast91824126.96.36.199 TulsaEast11169079.90.2<0.1 Notre DameEast61832188.8.131.52 Green BayWest14166776.20.1<0.1 UPDATE (6:30 p.m. March 18): We’ve updated this post to add information about the excitement index.
LONDON (AP) — One final time, Usain Bolt peered down the last 50 meters of his lane and saw sprinter upon sprinter running footsteps ahead of him.One final time, the World’s Fastest Man furiously pumped the arms and legs on his gangly 6-foot-5 frame, desperately trying to reel in all those would-be winners as the finish line fast approached.This time, the afterburners kicked in but not hard enough. Not one, but two overlooked and underappreciated Americans — Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman — withstood what was once Bolt’s undeniable late charge.This time, Bolt finished third in the 100-meter dash at world championships. That’s right: A bronze-medal finish Saturday night in the going-away party for one of the planet’s most entertaining icons and track and field’s lone shining star.“No regrets,” Bolt insisted, long after a result that stunned a pumped-up crowd into near silence. “It was always going to end, no matter what happened — win, lose or draw. It doesn’t change anything in my career.”Gatlin, who actually trailed Bolt at the halfway point, heard boos cascade loudly across the stadium when his winning time, 9.92 seconds, popped up on the scoreboard. The 35-year-old, who has served two doping bans and been widely cast as a villain to Bolt’s hero, went sprawling to the ground with a huge smile. Later, he bowed down to the man he finally defeated.“I wanted to pay homage to him,” Gatlin said. “This night is still a magical night for track and field and Usain Bolt. I’m just happy to be one of his biggest competitors.”Coleman, a 21-year-old in the first major race of his life, was in shock, too: “To beat someone I looked up to when I was growing up. I was just happy to be on the line with him,” he conceded.Bolt, who finished third in a time of 9.95, accepted with class both the result and the fact that, at 30, he probably is picking the perfect time to retire.“I did it for the fans,” he said after collecting a bronze to go with his three world golds at 100 meters. “They wanted me to go for one more season. I came out and did the best I could.”In the past, the scene after a Bolt race was really just an after-party masquerading as ceremony, filled with Bob Marley tunes, Jamaican flags and dancing. On Saturday, it felt surreal to anyone who’s been at one of these Bolt victories before.With house music playing softly throughout the stadium where Bolt won the middle three of his nine Olympic finals, Gatlin and Coleman passed through the exit tunnel while the former champion took a 10-minute trip around the track, then detoured into the stands for selfies with the Jamaican fans who came across the ocean to see him one last time.A few minutes after that, he stepped onto the track, kneeled down and kissed the finish line that he crossed in Lane 4.Then, he gave the fans what they’ve come to expect: The famous “To The World” pose, which used to be the cherry on top of a raucous, fun-filled night. But where in the past the stadium would have still been brimming, this time, it was about one-eighth full and emptying quickly.Bolt still has the 4×100 relay next weekend. He was asked if he wished he could run what is widely considered his best race — the 200, one of three events (100 and 4×100 are the others) where he holds the world record.“It probably would’ve been even worse,” Bolt said. “I’m not in shape to run 200 meters right now.”Should we have seen this coming? Maybe so.Bolt raced very lightly this year, and his best time coming into the meet was the same 9.95 seconds he ran in his finale.His first heat, on Friday night, was ugly. Though he won, he lumbered out of the start and later complained about the feel of the starting blocks.In the semifinals, he actually lost by .01 to Coleman — a rare defeat in any sort of race, but one that could still be chalked up to it being a tune-up, with the real race more than two hours away.But in the back of his mind, reality was setting in: “After the semifinal, I knew if I didn’t get my start, I was going to be in trouble,” he said. “I knew it. And when I left the blocks, I was like ‘Aaaah.’”He was the second-slowest starter in the eight-man field. Nothing new there, though his less-than-ideal racing shape, to say nothing of the fitness of the guys he was chasing, turned the usual comeback into something nobody’s seen before on this big a stage.Through most of the race, it looked as if Bolt would be trying to reel in Coleman, the NCAA champion who was in Lane 5 and got out faster than anyone in the field.While that chase was unfolding, Gatlin, out in Lane 8, was coming from behind.Two years ago at the world championships, Gatlin had Bolt all but beaten in the 100 finals, but he leaned too early before the line and let the champion pass him for a .01-second victory.This time, it was Gatlin doing the passing, and now he is a world champion in addition to a trivia question: Who was the last sprinter to win Olympic gold in the 100 before Bolt? It was Gatlin in 2004.“You guys call it losses, losses, losses,” Gatlin said. “I’ll call it lessons, lessons, lessons.”The new champion spent much of his post-race news conference insisting he’d learned to tune out the booing that has followed him the past few years and explaining that he’s not that bad a guy.“I know you have to have the black hat and the white hat, but guys, c’mon,” he said.Bolt, meanwhile, was insistent that neither Gatlin’s win nor his own loss were disasters for track. He called the evening and the crowd “beautiful” — even if that medal he earned might not seem as pretty as the rest.“It doesn’t change anything,” Bolt said. “I lost the race to a great competitor. I came out here and did my best. I’ve done all I can do for my sport and for myself.”
Former NFL linebacker Khaseem Greene/WikipediaELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A former NFL linebacker says in a lawsuit that police and prosecutors in New Jersey knew a shooter had lied about getting a weapon from the player but charged him anyway.A gun charge against Khaseem Greene was dropped in July after an audio recording surfaced of the other man telling detectives he lied about Greene’s involvement in a shooting outside a nightclub in Elizabeth in December 2016.The Kansas City Chiefs released Greene the day charges against him were reported.The other man’s admission came the day he told detectives Greene was involved. But it wasn’t included in a criminal complaint that alleged Greene was seen on camera handing him a gun.The suit, filed Tuesday, names the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Prosecutors Office. Messages seeking comment left with the agencies weren’t immediately returned.
Sports are often marginalized into just-a-game diatribes or wins-versus-losses arguments. But sports are so much more than that. They can spawn any sort of emotion imaginable. One day they might elicit 1,000-watt smiles. Other days they generate self-induced purgatory. Here’s a timeline of some sentiments I’ve experienced because of sports in my hometown of Cincinnati, just in the past year. Last season, the Bengals underwent a season of incredible triumph and indescribable tragedy. When defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer came home Oct. 9, 2009, he found his wife dead. Vikki Zimmer had died of natural causes. Just three days later, Zimmer watched from the sidelines as his defense held Baltimore scoreless for three-and-a-half quarters and the Bengals pulled out a narrow victory against the Ravens. If your eyes didn’t well up when the players handed Zimmer the ball in the locker room after the game or when he told the team, “She’s up there now in heaven smiling at you,” you might want to check your pulse. Not too long after that, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco made me cry on two separate occasions. How did perhaps the most outlandish and self-serving wide receiver in the game today kick-start my tear ducts? On Dec. 16, 2009, word began rolling into Cincinnati that Chad’s teammate and good friend Chris Henry had fallen out of a moving pickup truck driven by his fiancée. Henry died the next day. Reporters interviewed Ochocinco at his locker shortly after the news of Henry’s death reached the team. He talked about how Henry, one of the prime violators of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, had done a 180 with his life. How he had turned the corner. How he was focused on his family. Then with tears slowly consuming his eyes, Ochocinco questioned the “man upstairs” about why he had to take Henry. As a man with uncertain faith because of deaths in my own family, Ochocinco struck a chord with me. As I sat and watched Ochocinco talk about his friend, our two faces soon became one as I, too, mourned Henry. Tears streamed down my face like raindrops running down a windowsill. A few days later, the Bengals visited San Diego. In the second quarter, Ochocinco beat Charger cornerback Antonio Cromartie on a double move for a long touchdown reception. It was a streak down the sideline that Bengals fans saw from Henry on occasion. When he reached the end zone, Ochocinco gingerly dropped to one knee and gazed at the sky. He got up and walked back to the sideline, the “king of end-zone celebrations,” dethroned by the aching in his soul. When the cameras zoomed in on his face, Ochocinco’s expression was clear. So was mine. I sat in front of my television and, like Ochocinco, I wept for Chris Henry, a man I’d never met before in my life. When I attended the Bengals’ playoff game last season, I could feel the (cue sports-writing clichés) electricity in the city walking to Paul Brown Stadium. When “Welcome to the Jungle” blared through the stadium speakers as the team sprinted out through the tunnel, goose bumps covered my body. I felt as if I was in a sports twilight zone, immersed in a crowd of buoyant pandemonium. The great thing about growing up in Cincinnati is that we not only have the Bengals, but we also have the Cincinnati Reds. This summer a Cuban missile landed in my fair city. Aroldis Chapman, the 22-year-old with the 100-plus fastball and $30-million arm, made his long-awaited Cincinnati Reds debut Aug. 31. I was as giddy as kid on Christmas morning. I wasn’t even in the ballpark, yet I could close my eyes and hear the roar of the masses as the long-legged phenom strode to the mound. Nervous anticipation filled my body as he warmed up, like I was in a hospital waiting room awaiting the birth of my first child. Then he came, he saw and he conquered. Milwaukee Brewers hitters were helpless against him. He made professional hitters look ordinary, like little leaguers flailing at their first curveball. If they blinked, they would miss his 103-mph fastball entirely, only hearing the hiss of the ball crossing the corner of the plate and into the catcher’s mitt. I sat on my couch and was flabbergasted. It wasn’t a “wow” moment. It wasn’t even a “holy s—” moment. It was a leap-off-the-couch, jump-around-like-a-5-year-old, call-your-buddy-and-yell, “Did you see that slider start on the outside corner of the strike zone and almost hit the batter in the foot?” type of moment. That’s what sports can deliver. In less than a year. To one city.
Ninety minutes wasn’t enough time to for either team to find the back of the net, but it was Paige Maxwell’s overtime goal in the 96th minute that gave the Ohio State women’s soccer team (8-2-1, 2-0-0) a win over rival Penn State (3-7-1, 1-1-0). “Any win you pick up at home is fantastic,” coach Lori Walker said. “Penn State gave us quite a few problems and we pushed through. Our soccer was definitely quality enough to result in a win.” The game-winning goal is Maxwell’s second in as many games, after scoring the difference-maker in last week’s win over Michigan. This week’s goal came after Maxwell intercepted an errant pass from Penn State goalkeeper Krissy Tribbett and then dribbled in and floated a kick over the diving goalie. “My first thought right after the goalie passed it to me was ‘Holy moly, I’m all by myself,” Maxwell said. “It’s my job to just score like a forward is supposed to do.” Maxwell appeared to have an opportunity to score in regulation, but her shot attempt sailed over the goal and out of bounds. “I kind of lost my concentration,” Maxwell said. “I did a whoopsie-doo right over the goalie and right over the goal, too.” Walker said that she was happy to see Maxwell make amends for her previous missed opportunity. “She felt a bit of responsibility ‘cause there was one in the first half that she felt she should have buried,” Walker said. “Good for her to get that back and kind of get the monkey off her back.” As the Buckeyes’ offense struggled to put the ball in the net throughout regulation, it was their tenacious defense that helped carry the scoreless game into overtime, as they limited the Nittany Lions to just two shots on goal, with goalkeeper Rachel Middleman making both saves. “Our defense is pretty much unstoppable and they’re just working so hard,” Maxwell said. “This is our year, we really just want to shine, and we’re putting everything we can toward it.” The Buckeyes will now look forward to a two-game road trip this weekend for a pair of Big Ten games against Iowa and Northwestern, before returning home for a three-game home stand.
OSU men’s basketball coach Thad Matta speaks to the team before practice Friday at the Schottenstein Center. OSU is set to begin its season Saturday against Morgan State. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe Ohio State men’s basketball team welcomes Morgan State to the Schottenstein Center Saturday as it begins the pursuit of yet another deep NCAA Tournament run.OSU coach Thad Matta welcomes back eight players from last season’s team that lost to Wichita State, 70-66, in the Elite Eight. Notable returners are senior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., junior forwards LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson and junior guard Shannon Scott. With that many players holding extensive game experience, Scott said “the sky’s the limit” for OSU this season.“I believe the sky’s the limit for us really,” Scott said. “We believe we can be a national champion, a Big Ten champion but we know we have other things we have to work on. We can’t come in on days and not play our best. We gotta be ready with our ‘A’ game or we’re going to lose.”Thompson agreed with Scott, adding that the team is looking to build off the success from last year.“We have a veteran basketball team, a team that’s been here, a team that knows how to win and a team that’s won,” Thompson said. “We’re just excited to get after it against real opponents now in the games that count and really look to build on what we started last year.”Matta said the team is much farther ahead than it usually is at this point in the season — especially on defense.“I think that we got our core principles down sooner maybe than we have in the past,” Matta said Friday. “I think it’s allowed us to be hopefully a little more defensively. I want us to be as aggressive as we possibly can.”The Buckeyes finished 27th in the nation in scoring defense last year, only giving up 59.4 points per game. That comes from a cohesiveness on the defensive side of the ball, Matta said, which starts on the perimeter.“I think we’ve got four of what I consider the best defenders in the country with Aaron (Craft), Shannon (Scott), Lenzelle (Smith) and Sam Thompson,” Matta said. “Those guys, you see them taking more chances, being just a little bit more aggressive. Which I love to see.”Matta said the starting lineup “could change periodically” this season.“So much of it is just the role definition of what we need guys to do and what they’re capable of doing,” Matta said. “I think we’ve got great depth.”Regardless of who starts, the goal always remains the same.“Nobody in that locker room cares about who gets called out for starting lineups,” Thompson said. “At the end of the day we all want to win, and we all want to do what’s best for the program. Whoever gets called to start the game, gets called to start the game.”Morgan State returns a lot of veteran players from a team that went 17-15 last season, and 10-6 in the MEAC. The Bears have four seniors and two juniors, all who played significant time last season.“They have a lot of size and go rebound the ball well,” Thompson said. “We know that they’re a good basketball team coming in, and we have our work cut out for us.”It’s not a secret that the team is ready to get the season started in pursuit of Matta’s sixth Big Ten title in what will be his 10th season at the helm.“I like the energy, I like the fire we’ve had,” Matta said. “We’ve been competing and we’ll continue to compete … but all the work they’ve done up to this point, now it’s time to go and go against somebody for real.”Tip off against the Bears is scheduled for noon Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.
Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe (10) and junior outside hitter Katie Mitchell (17) go for a block during a match against FGCU on Sept. 5 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-1.Credit: Emily YarcuskoThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team took two of three matches at the Millennium Hotel Invitational to improve to 6-3 on the season.OSU first beat Syracuse University (5-4) on Friday, before losing to Ohio University (6-3) and then bounced back to defeat Xavier University (6-3) in its final tournament game.In the third game of the invitational against host Xavier, the Buckeyes had to fight their way to victory as they defeated Musketeers in five sets (17-25, 25-21, 25-19, 24-26, 15-11).Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe led all players in kills with 18. Senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger contributed 16 kills and junior outside hitter Katie Mitchell had 12. Sophomore libero Valeria León led all players with 20 digs and freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer added 10 of her own.In their second match of the weekend and first on Saturday, against coach Geoff Carlston’s former team, the Buckeyes lost to the Bobcats in four sets (26-28, 22-25, 26-24, 21-25).Sekinger led the Buckeyes in total kills with 16 and added two digs. Sandbothe had 14 kills with five digs and four blocks, while Mitchell added 11 kills, two digs and a block. León and Schirmer each had 18 digs, while senior setter Taylor Sherwin added 40 assists.In their first game of the invitational against Syracuse, the Buckeyes were tested, but came out winners in a five-set victory against the Orange (25-22, 20-25, 25-13, 23-25, 15-8).Five Buckeyes recorded double-digit kills as Sandbothe led all players with 20. Junior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell followed with 16 kills, five digs and two blocks. Sekinger had 13 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Kylie Randall had 12 and Schirmer had 11. León led all players in digs with 23, while Sherwin had 18 and Schirmer had 17.Sandbothe and Sekinger were both named to the Millennium Hotel Invitational all-tournament team. Sandbothe has been named to all-tournament team in each of the three tournaments the Buckeyes have competed in this season.The Buckeyes are scheduled to head to Oxford, Ohio, next weekend as they are set to compete in the Miami University Invitational. OSU is scheduled to play the University of Alabama at Birmingham (3-7) on Friday at 4 p.m., followed by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (4-7) on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Miami (Ohio) (5-4) at 7 p.m.The Buckeyes are set to open Big Ten play on Sept. 24 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. The match is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.
OSU senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger (12) enters the court to take on Michigan State on Oct. 24 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-2. Credit: Taylor Cameron / Lantern photographerAfter defeating Michigan and Michigan State over the weekend, members of the No. 20 Ohio State women’s volleyball team had a brighter outlook than earlier in the season.“We’re starting to believe in ourselves,” senior outside hitter Erin Sekinger said. “We are stepping on the court believing we can take any team and hang with any team.”Against the Wolverines (10-10, 5-5) on Saturday, the Buckeyes (16-6, 7-3) completed a clean sweep (25-21, 25-21, 25-19), a first against a Big Ten opponent at home this season.The Buckeyes were led in kills by Sekinger and freshman outside hitter Luisa Schirmer who each had 12. Senior setter Taylor Sherwin led all players with 37 assists and added nine digs. Sophomore libero Valeria León led the team in digs with 11.Wolverine freshman defensive specialist Caroline Knop led all players in kills with 13 and junior defensive specialist Lindsey Lerg led all players in digs with 13. Senior setter Lexi Dannemiller, a native of West Chester, Ohio, led the Wolverines in assists with 35.OSU junior middle blocker Andrea Kacsits got her first start of the season since she injured a finger on her right hand before the first match of the season against Oregon. She had two kills, a dig and a service ace.With the win against the Wolverines, the Buckeyes topped their six Big Ten wins from a season ago and have their best record after 10 conference games since the 2005-06 season when the Buckeyes also started Big Ten play at 7-3 through 10 conference games.Against the Spartans (12-9, 5-5) on Friday, the Buckeyes were challenged as they played in their eighth five-set match of the season, but prevailed to stay undefeated at home (25-20, 14-25, 25-20, 14-25, 15-6).Junior Elizabeth Campbell led all players in kills with 16 and added 11 digs, followed by Schirmer who had 14 kills. León led all players in digs with 23 and Sherwin led all players in assists with 40.Spartan freshman setter and Big Ten Freshman of the Week Rachel Minarick almost had a triple-double as she provided the Spartans with 34 assists, 10 digs and nine kills. Senior libero Kori Moster, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, led her team in digs with 22.The Buckeyes’ win against Michigan State is their first since Oct. 20, 2012, when they defeated the Spartans, 3-1, in East Lansing, Mich.Coach Geoff Carlston said he was glad he saw the number of error’s go down against the Wolverines, as the Buckeyes had 33 attacking error’s against the Spartans, causing them to have a .077 attacking percentage for the game.“We took the win (against Michigan State) and we ran,” Carlston said. “They’re very different teams and very different situations…we played a lot better. We played a lot cleaner (against Michigan) than we did last night.”The Buckeyes’ next opponent is No. 7 Penn State (20-3, 8-2), whom they’re scheduled to play twice this week.The Buckeyes are scheduled to play the Nittany Lions in State College, Pa., on Tuesday at 7 p.m., before returning to St. John Arena on Friday for another 7 p.m. match start.
However, critics have described the “Military Makeup” initiative as a “huge gender stereotyping blunder” which betrays the Army’s out-of-date approach to women in the military.Adrian Trett, a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, wrote on Twitter: “Awful gender stereotyping by Army advert.”Baroness Burt, the Liberal Democrat equalities spokesman, added: “If the Army thinks that some green make-up is the way to recruit women, they are very seriously out of touch with modern women.“This kind of patronising gender stereotyping will do nothing to enhance the image of the army – to men or women.”Lawyers who deal with cases of gender discrimination in the military, say the initiative is an example of discrimination right at the start of the recruitment process and gives the impression women are unlikely to be treated equally, either on the frontline orin the barracks.Ahmed Al-Nahhas, a partner in the military team at London-based legal firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, said: “There is a great deal of concern about sexual culture and harassment in the military. Service men and women are protected against discrimination by law and the Ministry of Defense has detailed guidance about the rights of service personnel in the workplace.“This is yet another example of the law and regulations being disregarded. Even where such behavior might be unintentionally offensive, or at worst patronising, it can create a harmful atmosphere and encourage the wrong attitudes. Our service men and women are equally deserving of respect and their rights should be protected.” The Army described the initiative as “light-hearted”, but apologised for any offence it might have caused. A spokesman said: “We’re proud that the Times placed us in its top 50 Employers for Women this year because we’re firmly committed to promoting equality. We regret any offence caused by this light-hearted appeal for visitors at a make-up fair to trial military camouflage.” The row comes just days after the Football Association was criticised after it suggested girl players should be given pink whistles and colourful bibs which “smell nice” and that music should be played during matches to increase female participation in football.The document, hosted on the Sussex FA website, suggests coaches should “incorporate a Twitter break” and “should allow girls time to check their phones within a session”.The FA guidance also states that girls should be offered incentives such as pocket mirrors, cinema vouchers and pink knitted gloves.Girls at one school in Durham have written to Martin Glenn, the FA chief executive, saying: “We aren’t brainless Barbie dolls, we don’t all like the same colour pink.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The British Army has long pronounced itself in favour of greater diversity by encouraging more women and ethnic minority recruits to join its ranks.But it now faces criticism after trying to attract more women by staging “Military Makeup” sessions.The official Army recruitment channel has been deploying targeted advertising on social media to encourage more women to attend its events, with the promise of “girly” make-up practice.An army recruitment Facebook page targeted women in Scotland, encouraging them to attend its stand at the Girls’ Day Out fashion and beauty show, at Glasgow’s Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.A notice on its Army Jobs thread stated: “Ladies, have you been to our ‘Military Makeup’ stand at SECC #Glasgow yet? We’re here all weekend, so come and try out some Cam cream and take some selfies with Our Girls. Make sure you pop along to see us and ask your #ArmyJobs questions and to take some #selfies with the team. #ABetterYou #ItsanArmyGirlThing.”The 154 Scottish Regiment RLC then posted several photographs of women soldiers, including some applying camouflage make up.It stated: “The @GirlsDayOutShow has an all female recruiting @ArmyScotlandteam. Come and chat to our team. We want to know the girls behind the make up! We are searching for real beauty #SheWhoDaresWins.”The posts were taken down after attracting criticism on social media.Those behind the initiative say it was intended to broaden the appeal of the Army to young women who might not otherwise consider joining by promoting the recruitment message in an innovative way. Social media message promoting the British Army women’s recruitment campaign