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The Bradsher Beat
Friday, January 26, 2007

By Bethany Bradsher

Winter can't dampen the spirit of sport

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

H.L. Mencken, the famous writer and social critic, once said, “I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense.”

In spite of that scathing indictment, it’s time for another Pirate grab bag, with reports — and assorted quotes — from the various sports that make an appearance in the dead of Eastern North Carolina winter.

“Tennis is a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility.” — Billie Jean King

The spring season for East Carolina's men’s tennis team opened with a fanfare last weekend when the Pirates defeated two out of their three opponents at the Virginia Commonwealth Invitational.

The ECU netters triumphed in six out of eight singles matches to claim victories against James Madison and Georgetown before falling to the nationally ranked East Tennessee State in a 5-0 sweep.

At the top of the Pirates’ ladder, the international duo of Aleksey Kochetov, from Russia, and Henrique Viana, from Brazil, paced the Pirates to a 4-0 singles sweep of Georgetown, and freshmen Bryan Oakley and Sam McSpadden each took two singles matches, against Georgetown and JMU.

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.” — Woodrow Wilson

The ECU swim team found itself swimming against a stream of sorts on Saturday, when the Pirates were edged out by the team from Maryland-Baltimore County.

The defeat of the women’s team was a heartbreaker, as the UMBC swimmers pulled past the ECU swimmers in the final event of the meet, the 400-yard freestyle relay, to claim a 119-118 victory. The men’s team lost 134-103.

Continuing her success at the UMBC meet was junior diver Christie Icenhower, who claimed first place in the one-meter event. Icenhower has twice been named Conference USA Diver of the Week this season, once last week and once in October.

The result dropped the Pirate women to 9-3 this season and the men to 7-4.

The H2O Pirates conclude their season this Saturday at Duke, and the teams will travel to the Conference USA Invitational from Feb. 14-17 in Houston.

Basketball, a game which won't be fit for people until they set the basket umbilicus-high and return the giraffes to the zoo. — Ogden Nash

The Pirate men couldn’t get past Memphis on the court over the weekend, but the Lady Pirates fared better, defeating the Tigers 69-57 on the road to improve to 9-11 and 4-3 in C-USA.

The women’s team was paced by Cherie Mills, who scored a season-high 26 points and added 10 rebounds for the 12th double-double of her career. The Lady Pirates’ dominant first half was key to their victory, as they shot 44.4 percent and held the Lady Tigers to just 17.6 percent. Memphis also committed nine turnovers in the half, miscues that led to 12 ECU points.

The Lady Pirates have a week off before they travel to Huntington, WV, to take on Marshall Sunday afternoon.

Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical. — Yogi Berra

Anyone who has been looking for the true winter weather in recent months needed only to wait for the Diamond Bucs to take the practice field; almost as soon as they suited up for preseason practice, the temperatures plummeted.

With a host of new players challenged to make up for the loss of standouts like Jake Smith and Adam Witter, this year’s version of the ECU baseball team will certainly be looking for Yogi’s mental edge when the season opens on Feb. 9 against Liberty.

Fans who can’t wait that long, though, can have a sneak preview on Saturday at the seventh annual “Meet the Pirates” luncheon. Fans who come to the event, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Murphy Center, can get autographs and photos with the baseball players and eat a catered lunch with the team.

Send an e-mail message to Bethany Bradsher.

Click here to dig into Bethany Bradsher's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:14:33 AM

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