Making new friends is always a great thing.New relationships are formed that could last forever – if the person is really that awesome.But trying to be friends with one of those people you just can’t stand – you know, that person that somehow has found a way to embody every single one of your pet peeves and clearly just doesn’t know when to stop talking – can be pretty difficult.Here, we’re all for starting fresh and giving people a second chance.As much as Herald Sports and the UW softball team have had their differences in the past, I’m here to tell you now, softball means business.Up until this season, softball has largely been unimpressive. The athletes are, of course, student athletes juggling sports and school (no simple feat), but the softball team wasn’t exactly putting up the best results.In 2010, the Badgers went 20-31 overall, 5-13 in the Big Ten. With only nine wins on the road, UW just couldn’t seem to find a way to win away from Goodman Diamond – not that it had a huge amount of success there, either.In 2008 and 2009, Wisconsin scooped up only a handful of wins by going 15-40, 3-17 Big Ten in both seasons. In 2008, the Badgers won 10 of their games at neutral sites, winning only five at home, and were shut out completely in true away games.And surprise, surprise, former head coach Chandelle Schulte’s contract wasn’t renewed last summer. Athletic Director Barry Alvarez had to try and find someone else to resuscitate the program Schulte had run so far into the ground she almost hit oil.Two hires later and Yvette Healey was named head coach.And hold on to your pants, Badger fans. For the first time in four years, the Wisconsin softball team boasts a winning record. At 22-15, 2-4 in the Big Ten, the squad finally seems to be coming together – and it still has 16 games left of the season. All but two are Big Ten matchups. Instead of being a, for lack of a better word, joke on campus, the softball team is shaping into a team worthy of the Wisconsin name, a name which many fans hold in very high regard.With a new face leading the squad, Healey has not only started rebuilding the softball program, but is turning heads at how quickly she is doing so.So far this season, the Badgers have already broken a few school records and are within reach of others.In its most recent matchup against South Dakota State, Wisconsin matched a school record with seven stolen bases in a single game while also setting a single-season stolen base record with 74.Individually, senior standout Jennifer Kruger has set a personal record of 32 stolen bases so far this season, improving from her 2010 mark of 29. Kruger is also leading the Badgers with a .387 batting average through 119 at bats. While Kruger leads the pack with 46 hits and 27 runs, the rest of the team has put up uncharacteristically adequate stats, as well.With Kruger leading, Wisconsin has shared the load so far this season with individuals stepping in at the right time, making big plays when needed.Through the last game, sophomore pitcher Meghan McIntosh has gone 17.1 innings without giving up a run. In those 17.1 innings, she had 21 strikeouts and walked only three batters.From individual success helping the team as a whole, the Badgers have notched back-to-back shutouts twice this season.I’m sure a new coach helps bring new perspective to a team, but there seems to be something else propelling the Badgers.Despite its recent success – and the fact that it looks like a completely different squad than those of years past – Wisconsin isn’t drawing the people out in masses to Goodman Diamond.In 2008, with only five wins at home, the Badgers averaged a home attendance of 296 per game. This number has steadily fallen each year since, averaging only 216 fans last season.So in their most successful season in the past four years, UW has averaged a measly 177 fans per game through nine home games. In a 2-0 loss to Northwestern a few weeks ago, a surprising 361 fans went to show their support. This is rare.Could that something extra that is fueling the Badgers this season be their lack of fans?Sometimes, when teams feel like they have nothing left to lose, they play at their best because they’re just having fun.Sure, the Badgers have finally found a home on campus in the sense that they are no longer the butt of all Wisconsin sports-related jokes or complaints, but with a spare few actually demonstrating support for the squad, they may feel like they just have each other to play for.This isn’t meant to sound heartwarming or cute – it’s just a possibility. Sure, bringing Big Ten baseball to Wisconsin would be exciting and fill the hopes of many a Title-IX hater.Softball has been reformed into a team Wisconsin can be more proud of, a team truly worthy of the coveted Badger name.So let’s bury the hatchet and treat them like Badgers.Kelly is a sophomore intending to major in journalism. Are you surprised by softball’s recent success? Let her know at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @kellyerickson4
Fifa says it will not pay compensation to clubs and leagues unhappy about plans to play the 2022 Qatar World Cup in November and December.It also said no apology was necessary for the scheduling of the tournament, which will disrupt a number of leagues.A Fifa taskforce has recommended the 2022 World Cup take place in winter to avoid Qatar’s hot summer temperatures.”There will be no compensation,” said Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke. “There are seven years to reorganise.”Fifa’s executive committee will meet in Zurich next month to ratify the taskforce’s recommendation.Valcke also suggested that a 2022 World Cup final on 23 December was looking increasingly likely. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore says a final that close to Christmas will cause havoc with the traditional festive club programme, while Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce wants it played a week earlier.But Valcke says European governing body Uefa and other confederations are keen on Friday, 23 December, although 18 December is also a possibility.Valcke also confirmed the 2022 World Cup will be four days shorter as a “concession” to leagues and clubs – 28 days instead of the usual 31 or 32 – and that the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will move to June from January.
=== Quarterfinals last nightUnion County (New Jersey) 86, Illinois Central 80 (OT)Lackawanna (PA) 78, Sinclair (Ohio) 68=== Semifinals tonight6:00 — Cape Fear (NC) vs. Kansas City Kansas8:00 — Union County vs. Lackawanna TULSA — Iowa State coach Steve Prohm says defense will be a key when the Cyclones take on Ohio State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Tulsa later tonight. It begins with slowing down Buckeye center Caleb Wesson.The Cyclones are coming off a championship run at the Big 12 Tournament. Senior guard Marial Shayok.ISU guard Lindell Wigginton says they have to continue the momentum built at the conference tournament.Tipoff tonight in Tulsa is scheduled for about 8:50 PM. == SUNDAYAM-1300 KGLO — NCAA Second Round coverage from Westwood One — 10:00 AMAM-1300 KGLO — NCAA Second Round coverage of Iowa men or Iowa women if playing — TBA THIS WEEKEND:== FRIDAYAM-1300 KGLO — NCAA First Round — Iowa men vs. Cincinnati — pre-game 10:00, tipoff 11:15AM-1300 KGLO — NCAA First Round coverage from Westwood One — joined after Iowa-Cincinnati == SATURDAYAM-1300 KGLO — NCAA Second Round coverage from Westwood One — 10:00 AM HARRISON, ARKANSAS — The NIACC women’s basketball team bowed out of the Division II national tournament on Thursday, falling to Pima Community College of Arizona 110-90 in the 5th Place Bracket semifinal, as you heard on AM-1300 KGLO and kgloam.com. NIACC coach Todd Ciochetto says he’s proud of how his team progressed through the season but was disappointed at how they played in the national tournament.Ciochetto says the team wasn’t focused enough heading into the national tournament.Ciochetto says he’s looking forward to next year with all but one player possibly returning.NIACC was led by Autam Mendez with 25 points, Jada Buford with 22 and Mandy Willems with 16. The Lady Trojans finish the season with a 28-7 record. COLUMBUS, OHIO — A two-year absence from the NCAA Tournament ends for the Iowa Hawkeyes later this morning when they play Cincinnati in Columbus. The Hawkeyes are 22-11 after a sixth place finish in the Big Ten. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery.For junior forward Tyler Cook it is his first appearance in the tournament.Junior guard Jordan Bohannon feels the Hawkeyes’ schedule has prepared them.Tipoff is scheduled for 11:15 AM. Our coverage from the Hawkeye Radio Network starts at 10:00 AM on AM-1300 KGLO PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – Seven University of Iowa wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2019 NCAA Championships following second-round wins Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Spencer Lee, Kaleb Young, and Alex Marinelli all moved on with major decisions. Austin DeSanto, Max Murin, Pat Lugo, and Sam Stoll each won by decision. The Hawkeyes’ seven quarterfinalists are more than any other team. Iowa is in third place with 24 points, 8.5 points behind Penn State.For Iowa State, eighth-seeded Jarrett Degen and 10th-seeded Sam Colbray both went 2-0 on day one and have advanced to the quarterfinals at 149 and 184 pounds, respectively. The Cyclones brought nine wrestlers to Pittsburgh and all have advanced to day two of the NCAA Championships.All six Panthers from UNI wrestling stayed alive, while three wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals. The Panthers rattled off four wins that included two sets of bonus points and three top-15 wins to end the first day at the national tournament. The three quarterfinalists is the most for the Panther team since the 2014 national championships. Advancing to the quarterfinals are Bryce Steiert at 165, Taylor Lujan at 174 and Drew Foster at 184. IOWA CITY — The Iowa women face Mercer in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this afternoon. Iowa is the second seed in their region and will face a Mercer squad that is the 15th seed and have a 25-7 record. The Hawkeyes, rewarded with a No. 2 seed for the first time since 1996 and the freshly-minted Big Ten Tournament champion, faces a Mercer team that has won 17 consecutive games and the Southern Conference championship. No. 10 Drake (27-6) meets No. 7 Missouri (23-10) in the second game, at 3 p.m. The winners meet Sunday. MASON CITY — 100 years of NIACC athletics will be celebrated Saturday night with the “Trojans Forever” program on the campus. NIACC athletic director Dan Mason says he and his staff have looked at a lot of material in preparation for the event.Mason says 100 years of memories will be shared during the program.The “Trojans Forever” program is free and open to the public. It starts at 7 o’clock in the North Iowa Community Auditorium. You can hear more of our interview with Dan Mason about the event by clicking on the audio player below