16 Sep
2020

Mani rises from reserve to captain

first_imgEvery successful team needs players whose work ethic, determination and leadership make the difference in the team’s ability to grind out results, especially in a conference as competitive as the Big Ten. And for the UW men’s soccer team, that player is Colin Mani.Mani, a senior for the Badgers this year, provides far more for this team than his stats may show. In starting 12 games as a defender this season, he has played a major role in helping the Badgers earn four shutout victories thus far, a number that already brings them to one more shutout victory than they had all of last season.Still, Mani’s true worth to the team comes in his ability to lead his teammates by example.“Coming into the season, we knew that with Colin we would get determination and true bravery on the field that not all guys [have],” head coach John Trask said. “That is what you hope to get out of your seniors. … If you’re not committed into attack or winning a loose ball, heck, you’re not going to get the freshmen to do it.”Despite having not been a starter up until this year for the Badgers, Mani was a natural choice to be one of the three captains this year, along with fellow seniors Josh Thiermann and Arnel Zahirovic, due to the unrelenting effort he puts forth in every aspect of the game.“All the players, when I talked to them about naming captains for this year, had Colin Mani as an immediate name off the list,” Trask said. “Out of everybody, they respect him as an athlete; they respect the amount of work he puts in to get ready for the season, and they respect him as a person.”As a result, Mani has been vital in helping transition a young defense to the intense, competitive atmosphere that is the Big Ten conference. Out of six players that have regularly played for the defense this year, only Mani and junior Kyle McCrudden had more than one year of experience coming into the season.The younger defenders look to Mani as an example of the right way to play defense and as a model to follow as they finish their own college careers. Freshman defender AJ Cochran had nothing but praise for his senior teammate’s attitude and mindset towards every game.“He is just a straight up leader; he brings leadership to our backline, having been here for four years now,” Cochran said. “Every single game … he makes sure the rest of our backline is ready to come out to play. He brings a whole different energy level at every game, and it’s awesome to play next to him.”Mani’s ability to help guide his younger teammates through the college game has been an influential factor in the Badger’s significant improvement on the team’s 4-13-3 performance a year ago to a record of 7-5-2 overall this year.On the field, Mani brings a fairly unique background to the defense. Throughout high school, Mani played as a midfielder before switching to defense in college, and he even scored 12 goals his senior season at Edgewood, just across town in Madison.As the old sports adage goes: Sometimes offense is the best defense. This has certainly held true for the Badgers this year, as the longer they possess the ball in attack, the less chances their opponent has to score goals. Mani believes that his knowledge of the offensive side of the game has helped him to set up the forwards and midfielders with better passes this year, passes that then set the offense up for more productive possessions and ultimately more goals.“I think having those experiences as a midfielder have really helped me,” Mani said. “As a result, I am able to make the passes to my teammates that I would want if I was in their position.”Looking ahead to the final few weeks of the season, the Badgers currently hold sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings at 3-0 with three Big Ten games left to play, and with Mani anchoring the defense, the team looks poised to make a run at the Big Ten title, a title that could prove to be the perfect parting gift for the graduating senior.last_img read more

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13 Aug
2020

LeBron James, Dale Earnhardt Jr. react to ‘sickening’ report of noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage

first_imgBubba Wallace has the support of two big-time sports figures after NASCAR announced late Sunday that a noose was found in the driver’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway.LeBron James and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were among those to react to the news on social media. Wallace is NASCAR’s lone Black driver in the Cup Series. Earnhardt will be pulling for Wallace in the rain-delayed GEICO 500 on Monday afternoon.Hope Bubba wins it tomorrow.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) June 22, 2020MORE: Dale Jr.’s perspective on race is changing through Bubba Wallace James reacted with outrage and encouragement:Sickening! @BubbaWallace my brother! Know you don’t stand alone! I’m right here with you as well as every other athlete. I just want to continue to say how proud I am of you for continuing to take a stand for change here in America and sports! @NASCAR I salute you as well! 🙏🏾✊🏾👑 https://t.co/1TwkjVHai5— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 22, 2020Other reactions within the NASCAR community:God help us. The level of evil it takes to do something like this is disgusting. This is enraging and heartbreaking all at the same time. pic.twitter.com/FovpeTwINu— Michael McDowell (@Mc_Driver) June 22, 2020I’ve been working in my race shop all night.. Around 11:30 at night i washed my hands and got on twitter to see what’s up.. UGH😔.. I am So Sorry my brother @BubbaWallace has to go through this HORRIBLE situation.. I love you, Bubba. #IStandWithBubba— Kenny Wallace (@Kenny_Wallace) June 22, 2020I can’t begin to fathom the pain this action has caused. I stand with you @BubbaWallace. https://t.co/lV8v46ktWN— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) June 22, 2020I’m competing against @BubbaWallace on the racetrack today, but #IStandWithBubba every day. You come at him with ugliness, you’re coming at all of us.— Erik Jones (@Erik_Jones) June 22, 2020I’m irate after learning about the horrible, racist act committed yesterday at Talladega. Angry. Outraged. Disappointed. Those words don’t fully describe how I feel. #IStandWithBubba and I’ll damn sure stand up to anyone who engages in this kind of behavior. I’m beyond over it.— Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) June 22, 2020The act of hate caught the eye of Alabama senator Doug Jones:We’re with you Bubba. The journey to racial justice has taken far too long. Keep your eyes on @bubbawallace at Talladega, keep that racist’s noose in your thoughts and ask: when will this end? Maybe Bubba can get us to that checkered flag 🏁 a bit sooner. It’s time America. https://t.co/dK51FgnjoR— Doug Jones (@DougJones) June 22, 2020last_img read more

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