One of the best: Decker honored with 2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award

first_imgDULUTH, Minn. – Wisconsin junior forward Brianna Decker emotionally embraced her family and made her way to the podium Saturday afternoon as she became the 15th recipient of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.The award recognizes the best player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey each season – much like football’s Heisman Trophy. Decker was one of three finalists for the award, including Jocelyne Lamoureux of North Dakota and Florence Schelling of Northeastern.“It is quite an accomplishment,” Decker said. “I think it shows a lot about the depth of our program and the type of players that get recruited to Wisconsin. I think we have all-around staff and resources that are phenomenal.”Decker anchors one of the best offensive lines in hockey, playing alongside senior forwards Brooke Ammerman and Carolyne Pr?vost in a unit that combined for 77 season goals. Decker led the nation this season with 37 goals, and her 82 overall points tied for the nation’s best.Decker attempted six shots in the national championship against Minnesota Sunday but did not find the back of the net in the 4-2 loss.She became the fourth player in Wisconsin history to win the award, joining Sara Bauer (2006), Jessie Vetter (2009) and Meghan Duggan (2011). Four Wisconsin Patty Kazmaier winners in the past six years is quite an impressive feat for head coach Mark Johnson as well as the program.“We’ve had a couple of kids go though this arena before,” Johnson said. “Each one, if you look at all four, earned it. Brianna isn’t different than the other three; she went out and continues to grow as a player and continues to develop as a leader off the ice.”Although the Patty Kazmaier celebrates the nation’s best hockey player, Decker said the honor reflects the success of the team more than her individual play. The Greysolon Ballroom in Duluth, Minn. – host of this year’s ceremony – erupted with cheers from Decker’s teammates, a testament to the tight knit camaraderie within this Wisconsin squad.“I honestly don’t think this is an individual award,” Decker said. “Obviously it is given to one person, but it comes from the team and the team makes each player who they really are. I think that is exactly what my team did for me this year.”Johnson said the team held a dance contest after practice last Thursday, calling them an energetic group. That contagious attitude translated to Wisconsin’s play on the ice the season, uniting Decker and the entire Badger team.“If you are going to be successful in this game you have to play as a unit, and certainly players can make a difference, but it takes a group of players,” Johnson said.The success of Wisconsin’s program in recent years, including multiple national championships and Patty Kazmaier award winners also projects a good image to young hockey players.“I think it gives some young girls in Wisconsin some hope either to want to be a Badger one day or play hockey and be able to be successful, like Jessie (Vetter) and myself,” Decker said. “I hope the young girls take a lot out of it and come support our games.”As a sophomore last year, Decker cheered on Duggan – the 2011 Patty Kazmaier winner – never believing she would follow up her friend’s performance just a year later.Johnson believes playing alongside past UW leaders like Duggan helped develop Decker into the player she is today.“With the season last year, and the help of Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight, she understood what she needed to do to make the choice to go to the next level and the type of player she wanted to become,” Johnson said.Decker’s work ethic and will to win can’t be undermined, but she said her award-winning season relied upon support of those around her. “I can’t do any of this without my team, and I give so much credit to them and the coaches because they made me the player I am right now.”last_img read more

Women’s quarter finals day at Wimbledon

first_imgThe pair were involved in an enthralling last-16 contest last night that had to be suspended due to bad light.Djokovic had fought back from two sets to love behind to level the match on two sets apiece when the two players were called off the court.It’s also Women’s quarter-final day at Wimbledon with top seed Serena Williams up against Victoria Azarenka. Maria Sharapova aims to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon for the first time since 2011.The 2004 champion faces American Coco Vandeweghe who’s already knocked three seeds out of the tournament.last_img read more

I feel no pressure Benítez insists as doubts grow

first_imgThis article is more than 10 years old Andy Hunter Share on Twitter Premier League Shares00 Topics Fri 30 Jan 2009 21.21 EST I feel no pressure, Benítez insists as doubts grow Share on Facebook • Manager: win over Chelsea will revive title bid• Owners to visit Anfield for talks Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Rafael Benítez said the pressure he felt at Liverpool was no greater than that he faced at Valencia. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Reuse this content Chelseacenter_img Liverpool Share on WhatsApp This article is more than 10 years old First published on Fri 30 Jan 2009 21.21 EST Share via Email Rafael Benítez Share on Facebook news Liverpool Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Share via Email A title challenge and a manager’s future will both be under scrutiny at Anfield tomorrow, but Rafael Benítez has denied feeling the strain of Liverpool’s faltering pursuit of the Premier League. “Everything will change if we beat Chelsea,” insisted the Liverpool manager last night as he prepared for a critical encounter with Luiz Felipe Scolari, Tom Hicks, George ­Gillett and an increasingly alarmed Anfield support.Hicks and Gillett, Liverpool’s divided owners, will pay a rare visit to Anfield tomorrow with their separate attempts to bring new investors into the club overshadowed by events on the pitch and the manager’s erratic behaviour off it. Seven draws in 10 league games have seen ­Liverpool hand the initiative in the title race to Manchester United this winter, with Benítez’s team without a win in the four matches since his uncharacteristic outburst against Sir Alex Ferguson on 9 January. The champions have won six successive league games.Benítez has since followed the attack on the United manager by publicly rejecting a new contract offer from Liverpool’s American owners – with Hicks pledging to resolve that stand-off in a face-to-face meeting with the Spaniard, exposing his fragile relationship with Rick Parry, the chief executive – and staging a bizarre, cryptic press conference following Wednesday’s draw at Wigan Athletic.But the Liverpool manager, whose side are still only two points adrift of United having played a game more, rejected suggestions that the pressure of delivering the club’s first league title for 19 years is taking a toll and insisted his team will be back in contention with victory tomorrow.”You are under pressure when you play to avoid relegation,” said Benítez, who yesterday explained his “crazy” comments at Wigan were directed at his team as much as the match officials. “But when you play to win the Premier League, or to progress in the Champions League or the FA Cup, then I have to be pleased to be in this position. It is always the same at a club like Liverpool. I don’t feel under any more pressure than when I was at ­Valencia and trying to take on Real Madrid and Barcelona.”This year we have a very good problem. Expectation has gone high. Now we need to manage the situation. Clearly the draws have been disappointing, but ­everything will change if we beat Chelsea. If we win everyone will be talking about us being back in the title race and saying that we are fantastic, that we have an opportunity again. That’s football.”Nevertheless, Benítez’s previously solid rapport with Liverpool fans has suffered in recent weeks and his decision to withdraw Steven Gerrard following Wigan’s equaliser at the JJB Stadium prompted widespread derision. The Spaniard, however, also denied being a safety-first coach whose innate caution could cost Liverpool a glorious chance to win their 19th league crown.”We scored 119 goals last season – more than any team in England,” he replied. “Last season 119 goals, another season 82 points – a record in the history of this club, four trophies, seven finals, 14 trophies in total; you cannot be cautious and have all this. The problem is that we are very well-organised as a team and when a team is like this it is seen as being less offensive. We have a very good balance.”Hicks and Gillett will arrive separately on Merseyside before tomorrow’s game and are expected to discuss Benítez’s contractual position afterwards. The Liverpool manager is refusing to sign a lucrative extension until 2013 until he receives greater control over the club’s transfer budget and policy, although his demand is yet to receive approval from either owner.”It will be a private conversation,” Benítez said. “I don’t know the agenda, it could be about everything. I am preparing properly for Chelsea, which is the priority. After I can see Tom Hicks and George Gillett together and we can talk about the weather, the club, everything. It is not a problem.” The striker Fernando Torres says it would be “a mistake and a great pity” if Liverpool allowed Benítez to go.Benítez revealed that Parry has sent a formal letter of complaint to Tottenham Hotspur over what the Anfield club perceive as an illegal approach to the out-of-favour striker Robbie Keane. Liverpool were accused by Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, of underhand tactics in the £20.3m transfer of Keane to Anfield last summer and were dismayed to hear Harry Redknapp discuss his ­liking for the ­player this week.The Liverpool manager responded: “Rick Parry spoke to Daniel Levy about Keane and they complained to the ­Premier League about us. Now they are talking about Keane to the press and not us. There is a massive difference. They are doing much worse than us and we are not happy with their behaviour. Rick Parry has sent a letter to them and we will see what happens.”Benítez also confirmed he will again omit Sami Hyypia from Liverpool’s Champions League squad list when it is submitted to Uefa tomorrow. The defender’s place will be taken by Philipp Degen.last_img read more