Daily Archives: September 16, 2009

Bye-bye Bryant

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Peter Caty/ The Mirror

Peter Caty/ The Mirror

After a stretch of tough games to start the season, the women’s soccer team has won two straight games, including its home opener against Bryant, to improve to 3-3 overall.

The Stags beat Hartford, 4-0, in a Thursday night away game in which four different players scored and senior Casey Frobey had two assists.

Four days later, Fairfield defeated Bryant, 3-1, behind two goals from sophomore Spencer Allaway.

“I though we played really well. We made some mistakes, but overall I thought we played well,” said Allaway. “Coach talked to us about it; we have to stay focus for 90 minutes.”

The shutout win earned sophomore goalie Kelly Boudreau the MAAC Defensive Player of the Week award. She recorded two saves in her first shutout of the season.

Boudreau had to earn her win against Bryant as two consecutive times in the second half; Boudreau leapt up and punched the ball above the net, both times making an athletic play to barely prevent a goal.

But after the third corner, Boudreau was unable to make the save and the Bulldogs narrowed the deficit to 2-1.

“They shouldn’t have scored on a third goal kick because Boudreau made an amazing save twice,” said O’Brien. “And giving up goals on restarts is all about heart. I’m not questioning our girls, but we need to stay focused. That’s just being a young team.”

O’Brien gave credit to Bryant for keeping the game close, but he wasn’t pleased with some of the mental mistakes that his team committed.

“We were offsides 12 times,” he said. “Some of them were, I’ll be diplomatic and say debatable, but even if six were debatable, that’s six that we were off. We can’t do that.”

Junior Nicole Cavallaro had Byrant’s goalie one-on-one with a little over four minutes left. She made a move and scored, but the goal was waved off. No one seemed sure whether a foul or a offsides was called.

But sophomore Jasmin Corniel scored with five seconds left to add the insurance goal to give the Stags the 3-1 lead.

After losing three key seniors from last year, two of whom are now playing soccer professionally in Europe, the Stags are expected to have some growing pains. But Fairfield does return a lot of talent up front, most of whom are very fast, albeit young.

“We’re very fast up front and in our midfield,” said Frobey. “I think we can really put up some goals.”

The two straight wins bring Fairfield up to .500 for the season. The Stags opened the season with losses to No. 6 Boston College and Seton Hall. They then beat San Jose State and lost to San Francisco in the USF odwalla Nike Classic.

“In our out of conference games, we want to play against the best teams,” said Frobey. “It helps in the long run to play at the highest pace and play with higher pressure.”

O’Brien said that his team’s record was not indicative of its play. He said that he went into those games playing to win. If Fairfield had played defensively, the margins of defeat would have been smaller, but the Stags approached the games attempting to win.

“Our goal is to win the MAAC,” said O’Brien. “It’s my fifth year here and every year we’ve been to at least the conference semifinals. We expect to win our conference.

I challenge our team to play against teams that will test them. Maybe we beat them. On a very good day we might be able to. But I placed a challenge on them to gain experience. I’m preparing a young team,” O’Brien said.

Amid nine straight losses, volleyball sees the rise of key freshman contributors

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Senior Katie Mann and the Stags will contend for a MAAC title, but have fallen on tough times early this year.  Peter Caty/The Mirror

Senior Katie Mann and the Stags will contend for a MAAC title, but have fallen on tough times early this year. Peter Caty/The Mirror

There were flashes. There were times when execution was perfect, communication was crisp, and the Stags looked every bit the same as the team that came within minutes of an appearance in the NCAA Tournament last November.

Then, there were setbacks.

There were mental errors, there were slips and missed slides, and Fairfield looked every bit like a team searching for its identity in its 3-2 loss to Fordham, its eighth consecutive loss and its first loss at Alumni Hall since a 2007 loss to Hofstra.

“We just have to get mentally stronger,” head coach Alija Pittenger said. “If we don’t learn how to do that, we’re not going to get much better,” Pittenger added.

Despite the early-season growing pains and the piling losses, the Stags have grown considerably since the onset of the season. In particular, Pittenger has seen the rise of a good supporting cast around All-MAAC outside hitter Katie Mann, the only returning senior, and junior Lauren Hughes.

At the center of that progress is this year’s freshman class, which already boasts three players in the starting lineup.

“I think that the freshman have done a pretty good job of picking up what’s going on,” Pittenger said. “I mean it is a difficult situation, (to) come in and play right away, especially with the out-of-conference schedule.”

Of those freshman, Pittenger pointed to the development of freshman Kara Reis, who inherits the libero position vacated by Brandi Higa ’09, formerly one of team’s best defensive players who ranks sixth all-time in hits.

Despite the added pressure of replacing a standout senior and instant playing time, Reis has excelled thus far this season, totaling over 140 digs.

“I think Kara has done a phenomenal job,” Pittenger said of Reis, who totaled 21 digs in Tuesday’s match against Fordham. “She definitely picked it up tonight.”

Reis didn’t hesitate when asked of the reason for the smooth transition.

“I think our coach picked those tough (preseason) tournaments to make us stronger and make us as mentally tougher team,” Reis said. “I think that it helped.

“We were a little scared of them at first, but then it makes you tougher. Even if you lose, it is one of those tough losses that you deal with, you take it, and you work on improving and just try to improve,” she added.

Aside from Reis, freshmen Stephanie Cruz, the Stags’ first player from the tri-state area since Casey Machon ’05, and Briana Dixion have seen meaningful minutes of late. In fact, Dixion, one of the team’s outside hitters, leads the team in kills with 3.55 per game, which ranks fifth among league leaders in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

“Briana was pretty solid for us in the beginning of the year so we’re hoping that that continue,” Pittenger said.

Still, Pittenger left no doubt that the team’s success all leads to one player.

“Katie (Mann) is Katie; she’s always been great for us,” Pittenger said of her senior captain, who led the team in kills (12) against Fordham. “She definitely has this vibe on the court where she has a lot of confidence and she helps everyone else out.

“This year, with Katie being the only senior this year, I personally want her to win the MAAC Championships because I think it’d really be a fun way to go out,” Reis said.

If all goes according to plan, Reis, Dixion, and company may help Mann get there after all.

Patrick Swayze dies at 57 after long battle with cancer

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After battling pancreatic cancer for 20 months, actor Patrick Swayze died on Monday, according to the New York Times.

Swayze became a household name after 1987′s “Dirty Dancing,” where he starred alongside actress Jennifer Gray. In it, Swayze played a suave, bad-boy dancer who fell in love with the daughter of a rich doctor. It was Swayze’s character who popularized the now famous line: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Shortly following “Dirty Dancing,” Swayze starred in the movie “Ghost,” with Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, another huge hit that guaranteed his spot at the top.

In his career, Swayze made classic films like “Roadhouse,” guest-starred on “Saturday Night Live,” and even performed in the London musical “Guys and Dolls” in 2006.

Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2008, but shocked everyone when he planned to continue filming the series “The Beast” on A&E. He managed to film one season while undergoing treatment before he succumbed to the cancer on Monday.

On Tuesday, the women of “The View” discussed Swayze’s passing. This was significant not only because Swayze worked directly and had a strong relationship with Whoopi Goldberg, a host, but also because Barbara Walters was the last to interview Swayze, a year and half ago.

Many students feel saddened about Patrick Swayze’s passing, and the Facebook statuses that littered everyone’s news feed last night are a testament to this fact.

“It’s a tragedy that he passed away at such a young age,” said Rachel Feyre ’10. “He’ll be missed.”

Chris Staysniak ’10 echoed Feyre’s sentiments. “It was so sad. He’s just … he’s just a beautiful man and his passing was tragic.”

Swayze will be remembered for his brilliant dance-acting and his strength as he battled through his last year.

Hip-hop legend misses the mark on ‘Blueprint 3′

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Well, here we are in 2009 and with so many changes in hip-hop we have to pose the question of whether Jay-Z is still relevant. During an era in which tight jeans and Twitter have replaced the old school street followings, can the 39-year-old rap legend keep up? In the past decade, Jay-Z has released a handful of hit-and-miss records. This is how “The Blueprint 3″ should be treated in terms of Jay-Z’s performance as he shines in certain songs and proves to be disappointing in others.

In the first two tracks “What We Talkin About” and “Thank You,” Jay-Z lyrically explains what the main message of the album is, being a grown successful man in the rap game and not caring what others think.

The two following songs are the radio hits, “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” and “Run This Town.” D.O.A.  is produced by No I.D., who blesses Jay-Z with a creative, well-made beat which Jigga uses to dismantle every modern hip hop trend. “Run This Town” features Rihanna and Kanye West on another catchy beat. Kanye lyrically outshines Jay-Z on the track and his motivation is showcased when working with the man who made him famous on the first “Blueprint.”

The next song, “Empire State of Mind,” is a New York dedication in which guest Alicia Keys provides outstanding vocals, making New York seem like the most glamorous city in the world.

The next several tracks feature the likes of Young Jeezy and Swizz Beatz who don’t live up to the performances of the other guests. This is where Jay-Z loses his focus — he continues to rap about the same topics over and over. Another misstep is on “Off That,” where the popular Drake is featured on the hook, but not given an opportunity to have his own verse.

However, on “A Star is Born,” another newcomer named J. Cole gets his shot and shows that he will be a force to be reckoned with during the next couple of years, while Jay-Z gives props to his peers in hip-hop. Timbaland, a famous producer who has worked with Jay-Z over the years, provides a strangely addictive beat on “Venus vs. Mars,” where Jay-Z continues with his punchlines and metaphors.

The next track is called “Already Home,” and Kanye West shows that he was originally meant only to be a producer; he brings soulful production while Kid Cudi does the chorus justice. Jay-Z brings in Pharell of the Neptunes on “So Ambitious,” and their chemistry over the years still exists here.

“The Blueprint 3″ is full of guest appearances who give Jay-Z quality contributions, but Jay-Z himself provides nothing groundbreaking, which is what should be expected of this rap legend. The album should not be called a failure, but Jay-Z could have made it more meaningful than it is.

‘Love Drunk’ is something to love

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“Love Drunk” may be an unusual phrase, an unexpected combination of two very different concepts. Yet the new Boys Like Girls album, released this past Wednesday, manages to flawlessly meld the two ideas together into a brilliant new album.

In a style different from their self-titled debut album, Boys Like Girls recorded “Love Drunk” in two parts. While half was written, rehearsed, and recorded in Vancouver, the other half was worked on and finished in New York City. After a summer spent touring the country and growing closer as a group, this change of dynamics and environment allowed them to explore themselves and become even better at their craft.

Finally, after a three-year wait, their newest album has arrived with just as many, if not more, power pop chords, sing-along melodies, and heartfelt lyrics as their first album. Their single, Love Drunk, has been on radio waves and stuck in everyone’s head for weeks now, but their album is more than just a single catchy number. “Two Is Better Than One,” their duet with Taylor Swift, is a genuine love song (and with Swift’s current popularity, it’s sure to become a hit soon). Their other serenade, “Go,” is the longest track; with a two minute instrumental section, it is unlike any other song on the album and definitely stands out, but is worth listening to. Their harder rock song, “Shot Heard ‘Round The World,” sounds like a pessimistic rant set to a beat, and is easily outshone by the other pop/rock tracks on the album. Finally, in an apparent ’80s tribute, Boys Like Girls included “Real Thing;” though it may not be an intentional sound, it definitely connotes flashback memories of ’80s rock tunes. The other tracks, all equally enjoyable rock/pop melodies, fit together with the feeling of the album.

Their sound has grown, their lyrics have improved, and the overall feel of the album is even better than the original. With a more mature sound than their first album, “Love Drunk” is anything but a sophomore slump for the Boston band.

For all the devoted Boys Like Girls fans (and the new ones too), the months following the album’s release should be good ones — the band plans to tour this fall with four other bands, including Cobra Starship.

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1. Two Is Better Than One (ft. Taylor Swift)

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3. Heart Heart Heartbreak

Project Runway fierce as ever on Lifetime

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Make it work! While “Project Runway’s” network has changed from Bravo to Lifetime, the famous tagline of mentor Tim Gunn has not, along with the majority of the show. “Project Runway” is a show that starts the season off with sixteen designers, three of which (by the end of the show) will showcase their designs at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City. The prizes for the show include a trip to France, a fashion spread in Marie Claire Magazine, and $100,000 to start their own fashion line.

Despite the network change, the judges are the same. The knowledgeable judges returning this season are Nina Garcia, Marie Claire’s fashion director, supermodel Heidi Klum and American designer Michael Kors. The reason for the fashion spread being in Marie Claire as opposed to Elle as in past seasons is due to Nina Garcia’s dramatic exit from Elle to Marie Claire. In addition to these three veteran judges, each week a guest judge will be joining the panel to help critique the designs. So far this season, the guest judges have been a mix of celebrities and designers including Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Rebecca Romijin, as well as designers Max Azria and Mark Bouwer. The best judges are still Heidi Klum, whose brutal honesty is much needed in panel, and Michael Kors, whose experience in the world of fashion is invaluable.

Lifetime Network decided to change coasts this season as well. The aspiring designers will be working in a studio at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in California. Last season they worked at Parsons in New York City. The designers this season have the typical diverse mix of personalities and tastes that are always interesting to see play out on the runway. So far there have been no attempts at making a trademark line like last season’s winner, Christian Siriano’s choice word, “fierce.” The designer bringing the most drama so far is Ra’mon who, when working in a team in the surf wear challenge, likened his pairing with a weaker designer, Mitchell, as “having a gigantic bulls eye painted in the center of my face.”

Epperson also brings plenty of the drama to the show as a father being away from his family. In the most recent challenge, “What a Woman Wants,” where designers had to create an outfit for their models to wear to an industry event, Epperson was sewing his dress as tears streamed down his face. The emotional moment proved that in fashion, you have to give blood, sweat and tears.

Drama is always captured among the designers, like in the process of choosing teams for challenges. Bringing it back to middle school dodgeball, team leaders must select from the rest of the designers those that they would like to work with. The most notable difference between “Project Runway” on Lifetime and Bravo is the new after show, “Models of the Runway” that, appropriately titled, stars the models of the runway that walk for each designer. The models are filmed behind the scenes biting their nails during the elimination process and in their shared apartment discussing their dreams in the world of fashion.

However, as far as reality shows about models go, “Models of the Runway” is pretty low on the totem pole compared to the popular “America’s Next Top Model.”

The network change has brought us across the country to California and spawned a new reality show to satisfy Project Runway viewers.

Despite these attempts to reinvent the show, it is still essentially the same. This is fine because the show did not need to change and clearly Lifetime is doing something right; the premiere episode of season six attracted 32 percent more viewers than the premiere of season five on Bravo.

The show airs on Lifetime at 10 p.m. EST every Thursday.