High five for Anscombe

first_img Ulster fell short of securing their own try bonus, which would have automatically brought them into the last eight ahead of next Saturday’s game at Welford Road, and now need to beat the Tigers, who are expected to see off Treviso, to finish top of the group. “No matter what happened here it was always going to come down to Welford Road and nothing’s changed,” Anscombe said after tries from Robbie Diack, Ruan Pienaar and John Afoa along with 12 points from the boot of Pienaar secured what was a hard-fought win. “We know that next week they (the Tigers) will be more than happy to take these so we have to make sure our discipline is sharper and we play with confidence,” the coach said. “I said to the guys after the game it’s very easy to beat yourself up over a performance and not be totally but you’ve still got to remember you’re playing quality sides.” Ulster out-half Paddy Jackson – whose cross-kick created Ulster’s opener for Diack – admitted that it was a difficult enough night for his side. “At times it was a bit frustrating and we were playing off the back foot quite a lot which made it difficult,” said the Ireland international. “A couple of our tries came from kicks and they were out to spoil our party. “We knew it was always going to be difficult and their defence hit us hard and they had a blitz defence so it’s something we have to deal with in the future.” “We’re five from five and we’re proud of that and no one else is. It wasn’t ideal work but it’s a win. “We created a few chances but didn’t quite do it as I said before the game if we got four points. If you have six fours you qualify and we’re on track. “At the end of the day a lot of people started expecting the bonus point but that wasn’t showing enough respect for Montpellier. “They came here to play some rugby and they did that and the more the game was unstructured it suited them and we didn’t help our cause there. “We had moments to put it to bed but we didn’t quite do that and that’s something to work on and improve and fix during the week.” Ulster only led 17-13 at half-time before pushing on to secure the four points and they then chased but failed to grab the maximum return from a bonus point try. “They wanted to unsettle us and thought we didn’t start too badly we didn’t look after the ball and gave away a few penalties and our discipline turned us a bit,” Anscombe added. “Lazy penalties will allow teams to put us in the corner and accumulate some points and they had a class goal-kicker,” he added about Eric Escande, who kicked 11 points to keep Montpellier, who had nothing to play for, in the chase. Ulster coach Mark Anscombe welcomed the Heineken Cup Pool Five leaders’ fifth win from five games after overseeing a 27-16 win over Montpellier but has already accepted the fact that next Saturday’s meeting with Leicester will be the game that decides who bags a home quarter-final. Press Associationlast_img read more

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