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  • MLAX : Syracuse looks to challenge for national title despite inexperienced roster

    first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Bobby Eilers didn’t hesitate. The senior midfielder was quick to say he and his teammates have noticed Syracuse’s place in the preseason media polls.They aren’t pleased with their No. 7 ranking in the 2012 Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook Preseason Top 20. After entering the previous season as the No. 1 team in the country, the Orange begins this year trying to earn respect as a national-championship contender. Syracuse opened its 2012 season and began that quest at the team’s media day on Thursday.Eilers points to the last time SU was ranked outside the top two during the preseason — in 2008 — as proof this unheralded group can challenge any team.‘We see those rankings, we’re not happy about them, but this is like the 2008 year,’ Eilers said. ‘They came in preseason ranked No. 11 and ended up winning a national championship. So they can rank us whatever they want, but all we have to do is climb that hill and we will be successful.’SU head coach John Desko acknowledged his players are hungry after being ranked lower than the program has been accustomed to in recent years. Orange defender Brian Megill said he doesn’t pay attention to the preseason rankings.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut he also said he believed the ranking was pretty low. Megill knows the ranking is based on Syracuse’s depleted starting lineup, which lost seven All-Americans.‘All the rankings are about is what we’ve lost,’ Megill said. ‘What we’ve done last year, what’s coming back this year, so those rankings are a little skewed, but a lot of teams are going to be surprised when it comes spring time.’The 2008 team that was ranked No. 11 by Inside Lacrosse in its preseason rankings received its ranking based on prior performance. SU won just five games in 2007 and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 25 years.But the Orange bounced back and went on to win the national title, as Eilers said. And just as that team did, he believes SU has the talent to move up the rankings and prove the doubters wrong.‘I think that we can only go up from here, and I know we’re going to go up,’ Eilers said. ‘We’re Syracuse lacrosse. We always play well.’Orange enters preseason with plenty of competitionTommy Palasek recognizes the numerous holes in SU’s starting lineup after the departure of the winningest class in school history. But he’s still confident about what this year’s team can achieve with the current pieces in place.‘With such a strong senior class last year it seems like there’s a lot of holes to fill, but I feel like we’re just reloading,’ the senior attack said. ‘We’ve got speed, we’ve got size, we’ve got the talent, and it’s going to be hopefully another good Syracuse team that we produce every year.’Desko is faced with an unfamiliar situation entering the season. With just four returning players seeing extensive action in the starting lineup last year, the Syracuse head coach has an open competition at every position on the field.He admitted that the number of available starting roles on the team this season has created a unique practice environment. He said the competition gives him the ability to evaluate players for how they would fit into the lineup, regardless of their natural position.It’s a process he hasn’t been able to implement in recent years, and he’s glad to finally have the opportunity to do so.‘The fall has been a lot of fun,’ Desko said. ‘A little more hop in our step the first two weeks of fall ball with guys running around out there seeing there is a lot of starting sports and second midfield sports wide open.’But the absence of those highly regarded seniors has led to tempered expectations for the first time in recent memory. Although there are numerous unsettled position battles heading into the preseason, this year’s team is focused on forging its own identity.The goal remains the same as any other year despite the circumstances: win a national championship.‘To the outside public, yes, you would think that we would be the underdog this year, and I’m more than willing to accept that,’ Palasek said, ‘only because I know we have the capabilities to beat anyone.’Bratek not on SU rosterMidfielder Jake Bratek is not currently with the Orange, Desko said Thursday. The SU head coach said it seems doubtful that Bratek will be with Syracuse for the 2012 season.‘Right now, Jake Bratek is not with us,’ Desko said. ‘We’re under the assumption he’s probably going to move on here with us. We wish him all the best if that’s the case. I haven’t had any conversation with Jake yet.’Bratek played in six games as a freshman last season. He attempted seven shots and did not register a single point. He played lacrosse at Jamesville-DeWitt High School and was rated the No. 7 midfielder and 19th overall prospect in the Class of 2010 by Inside [email protected]@syr.edu Published on January 12, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Commentslast_img read more

  • Alumna creates video game to help dementia patients

    first_imgAlumna Gabriela Gomes created the game to help patients suffering from diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. The game has been tested at 10 retirement communities so far. (Photo courtesy of Gabriela Gomes)When the time came to write her MFA thesis in USC’s Interactive Media program, alumna Gabriela Gomes had no idea where she wanted her career to go. She sat down and wrote a list of things that were important to her. One in particular stood out: family.“I found myself thinking about how we care for our elders and loved ones who might be going through a healing process,” Gomes said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “I thought about my own grandparents, and in particular, one of my grandmothers who had a form of dementia in the latest years of her life. She has lost the ability to connect with the world around her, to her family and friends and so my goal was to design a tool I wish I had access to while she was still alive.”With this in mind, Gomes created “Healing Spaces,” a multi-sensory experience meant to help people suffering from neurodegenerative illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. The goal of the project was to create an immersive experience that would improve caregiving for patients.“I started doing a lot of research on existing literature and interventions, trying to identify challenges I could potentially try to solve with the skills I had developed during my MFA,” Gomes wrote. “This is when I came across the research on multi-sensory environments, which was really the starting point for Healing Spaces.”The game requires only four components: a television screen, speakers, hue lights and an iPad. “Ultimately, ‘Healing Spaces’ is really about creating restorative environments where one is given the opportunity to set aside their anxieties, and find the time to reconnect with themselves, their surroundings or their loved ones, wherever it might be,” Gomes said. The app allows patients to transcend their typical medical setting and be transported to one of two different scenes: a beach or forest. According to USC News, Gomes added a sensory box, which includes items like sand, along with an aromatherapy element. Gomes hopes that with these items, players will find it easier to relax and communicate with their caregivers.“Caregiving is very challenging, especially when it comes to finding a balance between self-care and caring for a loved one,” Gomes wrote. “Although we obviously had therapeutic goals in mind for those being cared for, ‘Healing Spaces’ was also designed to help caregivers find a moment of respite in their busy and often stressful lives, and to help foster meaningful moments of connection through play.”But Gomes’ project is not only making waves in the healthcare industry — the game is also changing the role of video games as a whole. Gomes presented her creation at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo.“I think that when people come to these sort of events, they have certain expectations,” Gomes said. “They want to play a polished demo, they want to know how you’re monetizing and distributing your work. And I just had a proof-of-concept, fresh out of university.”While the demo was out of the ordinary for an event like E3, Gomes said she enjoyed presenting an alternative to the typical E3 demography. Prior to joining USC’s MFA in Interactive Media program in 2015, Gomes was interested in exploring the intersection of art, science and technology. For her, the School of Cinematic Arts was the ideal environment to grow and to be inspired for collaborative and multidisciplinary design approaches. Now, “Healing Spaces” has had trial runs in one retirement community. Gomes is motivated to start a second pilot to better understand to what extent the game is successful in helping reduce agitation and increasing engagement among older adults living with advanced dementia. “I have a lot of ideas of where the project could go, but for now, I’m focusing more on refining the experiences we currently have,” Gomes said. “There’s still a lot more to explore when it comes to different interaction and play patterns before we think about expansion.”last_img read more

  • Lionel Messi of Barcelona sets new goal-scoring record

    first_imgBarcelona’s Lionel Messi has set the record for most goals in a calendar year by scoring his 86th goal of 2012.The 25-year-old Argentine overhauled Gerd Mueller’s tally of 85 – set in 1972 – to create a new benchmark which includes goals for club and country. Messi broke the record with two goals in a 2-1 win over Real Betis on Sunday.He fired in an angled shot after 16 minutes to equal the record before adding a second with a low drive in the 25th minute to reach the new mark.Three-time World Player of the Year Messi’s attempt to break German Mueller’s record looked set to falter after he was carried off on a stretcher during Barcelona’s Champions League group game draw with Benfica on Wednesday.The forward feared he had seen the “last ball I’d touch for a long time because of the pain” but the injury to his left knee was not as bad as he thought and he started against Betis. Messi’s path to the record has included 74 goals for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina in 66 games.He still has two league matches and one King’s Cup tie to add to his tally before the end of the year.“I always say the same, it’s nice for what it means but the victory is more important as it maintains our lead over the other teams,” the modest Messi told Spanish TV station Canal Plus afterwards.“My goal when the year began was to try to achieve everything again, with the team, in the league, the (King’s) Cup, the Champions League. I always start with that idea in mind.”Mueller scored 72 for Bayern Munich and 13 for West Germany when he set the previous benchmark in 1972 and was 27 at the time. Messi is now favourite to claim a fourth Fifa World Player of the Year award after making the three-man shortlist which also includes Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.“Messi will be the player to win the most Ballons d’Or in history,” said former Barcelona player and manager Johan Cruyff.“He will win five, six, seven. He is incomparable. He’s in a different league.”Messi is already Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer but was equal with Cesar Rodriguez on 192 at the top of the club’s leading league scoring list before his goals against Betis moved him clear at the top of that as well.last_img read more

  • USS Cole families argue in court that Sudan aided deadly attack

    first_imgNORFOLK, Va. – A father’s emotional testimony over the loss of his son aboard the USS Cole opened a civil trial Tuesday in which relatives of the 17 victims of the terrorist attack are trying to prove it couldn’t have happened without Sudan’s support. The sailors’ families are suing the African nation in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, where the now-repaired Navy destroyer is based. The 2000 blast had ripped a hole in the side of the destroyer, nearly sinking it. “Sudan’s material support … including continuous flow of funding, money, weapons, logistical support, diplomatic passports and religious blessing, was crucial in enabling the attack on the USS Cole,” lawyers for the families said in court papers outlining their case. Sudan sought unsuccessfully to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that too much time had passed between the bombing and the filing of the lawsuit in 2004. Lawyers representing the Sudanese government did not offer opening statements Tuesday or question Seaman Cherone Louis Gunn’s father. “These 17 sailors were murdered,” said Louge Gunn, who testified about how he had contemplated killing himself after his 22-year-old son’s death. Gunn, a grief counselor, said he was in a session with a couple who had lost their son when he first heard the Cole had been bombed. Later that day, one of his other sons called and screamed into the phone that Cherone had been killed. “I dropped the phone. I went into a panic,” Gunn testified. “I fell to the floor on my knees. It was the most devastating thing that had ever happened to me. I felt like somebody had put their hand in the inside of my body and pulled my skin out.” The families’ lawyers intend to prove that Sudan has given safe haven to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network since 1991 – long before Yemeni operatives blasted a 40-foot hole in the side of the Cole in Yemen’s port of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000. The plaintiffs contend Sudan’s embassy in New York gave logistical assistance to the bombers of the World Trade Center in 1993, but court documents included no details of the allegation. The United States has listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more