Marist stuns No. 3 Curie

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Marist stuns No. 3 Curie

By Tim O'Brien
YourSeason.com
Marists Lexus Williams smiled and showed no signs of stopping.On this night, the junior guard had good reason.Williams three-pointer with two seconds left from the wing in Fridays 4A Marist Regional Final lifted the host RedHawks to the most improbable of comebacks in a 63-62 thriller over Curie.We just wanted to stay aggressive coming out of the half, Williams said. It worked out for us offensively and defensively. (Curie) double-teamed L.J. (McIntosh) who found Nic (Weishar), and he found me.Tyler Oden (20 points), McIntosh (15), Weishar (11) and Williams (10) paced Marist (25-5) who won its first regional title since 2007. The win was the teams ninth in a row. The RedHawks will play Bogan Wednesday at the Argo sectional.Having led 50-45 early in the fourth, Marist saw a furious Curie comeback turn the tide. The Condors went up five points at 62-57 with 50 seconds remaining when Malcom Hill-Bey split two free throws.McIntosh drilled a three-pointer from the wing to cut the deficit to two, and after Hill-Bey missed the front end of a one-and-one, the RedHawks had their chance.With the clock winding down, Weishar drove from the top of the key after receiving a pass from McIntosh. Weishar found Williams on the wing, the junior guard hitting a contested three that proved to be the game winner.Curies Devin Foster (17 points) missed a running 35-foot three-pointer at the buzzer after a timeout.For Marist, Oden drilled five three-pointers, including three in the second quarter as the RedHawks came back from an early deficit.We put in the hard work each day in practice, Oden said. When were down, we cant get down. We have to come together as a team. For me, Ill do whatever it takes to help the team.Cliff Alexander (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Hill-Bey (18 points, six assists) contributed for Curie (25-3). The loss was the first for the Condors against a team other than Simeon this season.Marist came up and hit shots, Curie coach Michael Oliver said. If we hit free throws, we probably win, but that wasnt the whole game. We ran into a buzzsaw.

White Sox announce Chris Sale will start Sunday's finale

White Sox announce Chris Sale will start Sunday's finale

Chris Sale will establish a new career high when he takes the mound in Sunday’s regular season finale.

The White Sox ace is set to start one more time this season and in doing so will make a career-best 32nd turn. One of the top contenders for the American League Cy Young Award, Sale has already established career highs for complete games (six) and innings pitched (221 2/3). White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Thursday that Sale, who pitched on Tuesday, would start against the Minnesota Twins.

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“At first you can look at it like he doesn’t necessarily have to throw,” Ventura said. “But I think he wants to throw and that’s a good sign. He’s motivated to throw and just to go do it. We’re not doing it for numbers or anything, but he wants to throw. I think that’s part of his commitment to being a teammate and all that stuff. So we’ll have a pretty good lineup out there.”

As for what to expect from Sale, Ventura said: “It won’t be four or five (innings), but it won’t be nine. Well, if he has a no-hitter, it’s a possibility. If there’s something special there and his pitch count and everything and he’s feeling good, he would go. But for the most part he’s not going to go nine.”

Red Stars enter NWSL semifinals with chip on shoulder

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Dan Bartel, ISI Photos

Red Stars enter NWSL semifinals with chip on shoulder

Just over a year ago the Chicago Red Stars hosted a National Women’s Soccer League semifinal and had high expectations for a playoff run.

However, it all came crashing down quickly in a 3-0 loss at Toyota Park in which visiting FC Kansas City scored all three goals in the first 25 minutes. Kansas City went on to win the league title and the Red Stars were left to wonder what the heck just happened.

Now, the Red Stars have a chance at redemption in a return to the NWSL semifinals. The Red Stars will visit the Washington Spirit on Friday.

“I’m personally really excited to play on Friday, to be back in the semifinals the year after kind of a hard loss last season against Kansas City,” Red Stars forward Christen Press said. “I think that the girls that were here last year we kind of have a chip on our shoulder about that match and how it went down. I think that’s helped motivate us to get back.”

After finishing third in the NWSL regular season the Red Stars have to go on the road in this year’s semifinal. The Spirit and Red Stars are the only two teams to return from the 2015 playoffs and both lost 3-0 in the semifinals so the redemption factor goes both ways.

The Red Stars are well aware of what happened last year, but coach Rory Dames doesn’t expect a repeat.

“I expect the game to not be over 20 minutes in,” Dames said. “Different team, different year.”

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This year’s Red Stars racked up plenty of individual accolades in getting back to the playoffs. Press is one of five finalists for league MVP, Julie Johnston and Arin Gilliland are Defender of the Year finalists and Alyssa Naeher is up for Goalkeeper of the Year.

A win would push the Red Stars into the club’s first NWSL final in the NWSL’s fourth season. Last year’s semifinal was the first playoff appearance for the Red Stars.

The Red Stars just beat the Spirit on Saturday 3-1 in the regular season finale at Toyota Park. Back on July 9 the Spirit won 2-0 at the Maryland SoccerPlex, host site of Friday’s semifinal.

“We played them at (their) home earlier in the season and it didn’t end the way we wanted,” said midfielder Courtney Raetzman, who graduated from Conant High School in Hoffman Estates. “But I think we showed that we can play with them and as our game just showed, we beat them and we probably didn’t even perform to our absolute best so I’m really excited going into this next game.”

Dames said playing back-to-back games against a playoff opponent “isn’t ideal” in terms of coaching but it’s also a confidence boost to have a win heading into the playoffs.

“I think it’s a good and a bad thing because we both have extra video on each other, on playing each other specifically,” midfielder Taylor Comeau said. “We have a couple things that we definitely want to clean up and we’ll rewatch the film and clean up just what we think we need to and hopefully have a better performance in the next game.”

The winner of Friday’s semifinal will play in the NWSL final in Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium on Oct. 9.