August 28, 2015

Opening Spike



Volleyball -- Friday, Panther Invite vs. North Florida, 7 p.m. (ADMISSION IS FREE TO ALL)

vs. Women's soccer -- Friday vs. UCF, 7 p.m.

Volleyball -- Saturday, Panther Invite vs. Alabama A&M  noon

Volleyball -- Saturday, Panther Invite vs. South Florida 6 .m.

FIU volleyball czarina Rita Buck-Crockett speaks in a stream of confidence. She'll compare an incoming freshman to FIU's greatest indoor volleyball player, four-time All-American Yarimar Rosa. She's got no problem telling you she picked the Panthers as No. 1 in Conference USA for the preseason coaches' poll because that's where she wants the Panthers want to finish. The rest of the conference so lightly regards FIU that even with Buck-Crockett's vote, FIU finished ninth.

Not that she does so without providing reason for her confidence. FIU, which opens the season Friday night against North Florida in the Panther Invite at 7 p.m., went 0-4 in five-set matches last year with a young team. Combine experience with results on close games evening out, that's likely an extra two or three wins right there.

"That comes down to experience, which we didn't have a lot of," Buck-Crockett laughed. "But, we fought. The team did not get blown out. I do believe that this year's team is better than last year's team, even though there are young players out on the court. They're more experienced young players. They kjnow the game. I think the culture is getting where I would like it to be.

"The team is better than it was last year. Wins, losses, we'll see."

FIU's last winning record, 20-10, 10-6 in the Sun Belt Conference, came months before Danijela Tomic left for Bowling Green University, unhappy with upper athletic administration. (Bowling Green, Ohio? That's a lot of unhappy.)

Buck-Crockett let former Tomic assistant Trevor Theroulde handle the 10-17, 7-8, 2012 season before he had to be dismissed (tip for you future job seekers in college sports: if you commit a minor NCAA violation that nobody but your Compliance head and a few NCAA geeks care about, bite the bullet. Don't commit the major life violation of lying about it.)

Seasons of 13-17, 6-8 in Conference USA; and 7-23, 4-12 followed.

"It's hard to see from the outside in but even though our team won (six) matches last year, I think the team grew as a whole," Buck-Crockett said. " We did have a lot of young kids. We're trying to jell a past generation with a new generation. That takes time. You have to change cultures. You have to find the motivation for the new culture. I think there are a lot of positive things that happened last year."

In addition to returning senior outside hitter Lucia Castro, senior middle blocker Gloria Levorin and conference All-Freshman team member Jennifer Ene, they signed 6-4 Katie Hogan out of Miami-DAde College.

"Her job is to kill. She's The Terminator. For me, she's our No. 1 hitter. She goes after it. We didn't have that last year," Buck-Crockett said. 

"We have a freshman setter from Canada, (5-11) Katie Friesen, who runs the team. She's a leader on the court. I think we missed that last year. We didn't have the quarterback we needed to run the team. This year, we have a year more experience with the one who played last year and then we have (5-11) Katie Friesen and (5-10) Dominique Dodd.

"They're freshmen, but they're gamers. Also, (5-11) L1na Bernier. She's a freshman, but this kid me, could be the next Yarimar. She's just a firecracker and she's a leader on the court." 

If any FIU fans want to give Bernier the first time once over, admission to FIU Arena for volleyball matches is free to all. That's right, all. Students, parents, students who are parents, their baby mamas and daddies, friends, enemies, freniemies, frenemies with benefits...


October 01, 2011

Football Gameday V & other balls, including ticket info on Wade, LeBron, Bosh game

The first part of this is a rerun from Friday afternoon's blog post. If you saw that, feel free to skip past this to the football, volleyball, futbol or whatever ball-type thing gets you groovin'.


The NBA put an All-Star Game in Miami in the second year of the Heat and Miami Arena, a building that was outdated about 15 minutes after it opened. Why the NBA hasn't brought it's winter showcase back to Miami, despite American Airlines Arena downtown on the bay and South Beach nearby (maybe that's the reason), is a mystery. Which makes it all the more ironic that the next time a near all-star game gets played in Miami, it's at a small college arena in the suburbs.

Tickets for that game, "LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh present the South Florida All-Star Classic" at FIU's U.S. Century Bank Arena, 7 p.m., Oct. 8 will go on sale Monday at noon at the University Credit Union Box Office on the first floor of the Fieldhouse adjacent to at FIU Stadium. No phone or online orders will be taken. Tickets will cost $50 for upper bowl general admission, $100 for lower bowl reserved. Fans can buy two tickets per person until 3 p.m., four tickets per person after that.

The game, which Wade billed on Twitter as DWade vs. King James, will include the Heat's Big Three, the Knicks Carmelo Anthony and A'mare Stoudemire, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, New Orleans' Chris Paul, and many other stars.

Proceeds will go to Mary's Court Foundation, a foundation established by FIU coach Isiah Thomas in honor of his strong-willed mother, the late Mary Thomas


This is going to look like a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book version of my usual pregame posts. I’m tired, have a stuffy nose, a Long Island waiting and a dissatisfaction with how much I’ve seen of Duke.

This is the kind of wacked team that drives fans and coaches crazy, makes prognosticators look stupid and keeps bettors away from like the team came Chernobyl-dipped. Losing to Richmond (what?), drilled by Stanford (expected), then punking Boston College (everybody’s doing it) in a comeback win, then blowing Tulane off the field.

Take that BC game. Duke allowed BC only three first downs on the ground, but trailed BC 19-7 in the third quarter. They came back to win 20-19 after a last second BC field goal attempt went awry.

When a line finally came up for this game after FIU coach Mario Cristobal said quarterback Wesley Carroll would play, it was FIU by 3. That’s moved to 3.5 to 4, depending on where you look. Translation: some money on FIU, probably not much, and even less on Duke. Bettors are staying away from this one.

Duke lost defensive end Kenny Anuike, their best pass rusher, to injury early against Tulane. FIU will be without free safety Chuck Grace (right knee) and wide receiver Glenn Coleman (shoulder).

Duke undoubtedly saw the trouble Louisiana-Lafayette caused FIU with the quick wide receiver screen. FIU’s defensive backs couldn’t get off the Lou-La wide receivers’ blocks, thus allowing at least 5 to 7 yards before ball carrier contact. Eventually, they’ll draw FIU up, fake a hitch and throw the go. Until you prove you're not a fool, you'll get played for one.

FIU failed in both ends of its pass defense last week, but the pass rush gets the bigger they pass/you fail grade because that grew into a given after three weeks. When it didn’t get there last week, even by blitz, the secondary couldn’t maintain coverage. FIU coach Mario Cristobal uses “big” to describe every offensive line the Panthers face. But for Duke’s, he also used “long.” Long arms…that’s what scouts look for when searching for linemen that’ll keep the quarterback from being treated like a piñata at Westchester triplets birthday party. Cristobal’s worried about the pass rush getting erased for a second consecutive week.

One thing Lou-La did to loosen up FIU that the Dukies will do just because it’s their wont is throw on first down.

Duke allowed only eight rushing first downs against Tulane and BC. Take away the sacks and they allowed a combined 161 rushing yards on 43 carries, 3.7 per carry. Not overly permissive, but not The Great Wall of Durham, either. Richmond ran for 95 on 31 carries (no sacks). Duke coach David Cutliffe felt Tulane and BC were more straight ahead, physical teams. Cristobal called defensive tackle Charlie Hatcher “as good as we’ve faced” and, remember, Duke lost defensive end Anuike.

Add it up and I see another game where the shifty Kedrick Rhodes gets the bulk of the carries for FIU.  

Wesley Carroll’s back at quarterback for FIU. Despite an ankle that might still be bothering him, he needs to be a better passer than the Wesley Carroll who played against Central Florida and Louisiana-Lafayette. Against UCF, he was just a bit scattershot. Though the play calling got stale against Louisiana-Lafayette after the opening drive, Carroll’s decision-making wasn’t exactly Manning-esque before his injury. Carroll takes too many Ken O’Brien sacks/hits, where he holds onto the ball too long. By contrast, one play last week, he threw a panicky pass with the nearest upright Lou-La player pondering Kierkegaard on the sideline.

As well as Jake Medlock – the name just sounds like it should be followed by “A Quinn Martin production” – played against Lou-La, there were moments when Carroll would’ve made better reads. Against Duke, FIU needs to put more of the game in Carroll’s hands and he needs to be the senior leader in performance he can be. The plays -- small, medium, large and T.Y. Hilton – were there against Louisville and should be there against Duke.

Richmond’s Tre Grey got Duke for eight catches and 129 yards. That’s a secondary that should fear Hilton, even at 80 percent Hilton, or Wayne Times.

Let’s say both teams move the ball well. There’s been a defensive score in every FIU game so far, so figure on one here by FIU – a jumped route, a post-reception fumble, something along those lines. That score could wind up being the difference in a game where the punters should be able to spend the game arguing with the cheerleaders over who's the better athlete.

FIU 38, Duke 35.

But that’s just one black man’s opinion. I could be wrong (and have been the last two weeks).


In less time than it took my daughter to finish two bowls of matzoh ball soup, Western Kentucky swept FIU out of U.S. Century Bank Arena 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-19). Jovana Bjelica had 13 kills and Chanel Araujo had 14 digs as Western left the former Sunblazer Arena with a win for the second consecutive season.

Defending Sun Belt champion Middle Tennessee State visits Sunday at noon.


Since the humiliation by Oregon State two weeks ago, the women footballers have run off four in a row, the latest a 3-0 spanking of Troy Friday that gets them to 3-0 in the conference. They’re also 6-5 overall, their first time above .500 this season.

Chelsea Leiva and April Perry, striking early and late, each got her second goal of the season. In the middle, sub Deana Rossi sent FIU into halftime with a 2-0 lead off an assist from Kelly Ann Hutchinson. Hutchinson and Nicole DiPerna, who set up Leiva’s goal, are tied for the team lead with three assists.

South Alabama’s up next, at 2 p.m., Sunday.

June 18, 2010

FIU At The Movies -- Episode IV

Crawl Four years ago in a blog not that far, far away from began as a simple way of recapping the FIU sports year. After smashing box office records, a sequel was called for in 2008. Then, although the GPP did not sign for a three picture deal, there were no issues in making the trilogy last summer.

And now....FIU At The Movies, Episode IV.

A look at the FIU sports year by referring to motion pictures released during the Panthers athletic season (AugustMovie 2009 to June 2010). Cell phones off please. And now your feature presentation.....

The Goods -- FIU softball has the goods as it gets its 1st NCAA Tournament win and features the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year (Kasey Barrett), Sun Belt Player of the Year (Ashley McClain), Sun Belt Freshman of the Year (Brie Rojas) and Sun Belt Coach of the Year (Beth McClendon).

Four Final Destination 4 -- No. 4's final destination is the end zone. Just ask Kansas (2008) and Alabama (2009) as the first time Goodbye touches the ball in each of his first 2 seasons, he takes it back for 6.

The Open Road -- FIU hoops late November/December schedule where the Panthers spent 24 days on the road.

All About Steve -- Sun Belt voters got it wrong when they picked some dude from North Texas as the winner of the SBC Basketball Tournament halftime dance-off. How could youVanessa not vote for Vanessa (right)?

Play The Game -- Why won't the Coral Gables school play FIU? Nah, never mind, I won't bother anymore.

Gamer -- Scott "El Oso" Bryant (left) breaks the all-time FIU tackles record held by Gamer Oso Keyonvis Bouie.

Whiteout -- What Scott Rembisz's pitching did to opposing Sun Belt bats at the conference tournament.

The Other Man -- The Hooters were looking at Carlos Munera to punt, but fullback John Ellis had the ball on the fake punt and rumbled 25 yards to set up the tying TD.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs -- The SBC Baseball tourney started cloudy, but once FIU brokeDogpile that "pressure barrier" as TT calls it, the Panthers (right) were hitting meatballs the rest of the way en route to the Sun Belt title.

Bright Star -- Marlon Bright wins the Sun Belt's Behavior Award among his many accomplishments during his FIU career.

Free Style -- Actually, 3 Style for FIU women's hoopster Monika Bosilj, Power who broke the program's all-time record for 3 pointers with 188.

Adventures Of Power -- Jabari Henry (Freshman All-American, SBC Frosh of the Year) leads FIU with 12 HR. Jabari homers in 1st college at-bat (3-run bomba vs. Maryland) and to finish his first season at FIU, Jabari homers off MLB's No. 6 overall pick Barret Loux of Texas A&M.

One Good Man -- Long time FIU media relations guru Rich Kelch retires last December. Don't know much about Rich, then click HERE

Gw Good Hair -- Garrett Wittels' "bird's nest" (left) does not get cut during his 56-game hitting streak. It must be good hair.

AstroBoy -- FIU QB Paul McCall graduates and heads off to Mars training in the desert.Hubble

Hubble 3D -- How Sun Belt Tournament MVP Jeremy Patton's eyes saw the baseball in Murfreesboro.

Saw VI -- Only the Dade County Youth Fair stopped Jeremiah Harden when he turned the corner and saw 6 in the spring game. He'll see more 6s this fall.

As Seen Through These Eyes -- GW and Robin Ventura talk about what only their 56+ hit streak eyes have Yr experienced.

4th The Fourth Kind -- Yarimar Rosa (left), with another out-of-this-world season, is honored with a 4th All-American nod. The first 4-time All-American at FIU and probably the greatest volleyball player ever at FIU.

Storm -- On a scorching Halloween day, FIU storms back in the final minute and wins in OT against Louisiana. PMC hits Greg Ellingson for 6 in the back of the end zone with 10 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Dustin Rivest kicks the winning FG. Tyler Clawson dominates on D in OT and Tourek Williams blocks the tying field goal attempt to seal the victory.Dazzzz

The Other Side Of Paradise -- My day as Dazzlers audition judge (right). I'm ready for 2011.

Legion -- Alex Legion transfers to FIU and the legion of top recruits for the 2010-11 hoops season headed to FIU.

Mammoth -- Mike Martinez's moonshot HR at the SBC tourney. Ball landed inside the Middle Tennessee football stadium which has 2 decks so the ball had to clear the 2nd Green deck. Although, there is a rumor that the ball is still travelling somewhere along the interstate pass Murfreesboro and heading to Churchill's in downtown Nashville.

Green Zone -- They may be green by class designation -- freshmen -- but these Sun Belt Freshmen of the Year are not green on the field or court. FIU's Jabari Henry (baseball), Brie Rojas (softball) and Jovana Bjelica (volleyball) all won the conference's Freshman of the Year Award in their respective sports.

Kick Ass -- Once again the FIU volleyball team (right) is at the top of the Sun Belt andVolley coach Danijela Tomic wins another Sun Belt Coach of the Year Award.

Hey Watch This -- GW decides to hit in 56 straight games and captures the nation's attention.

The Good Heart -- FIU DB and Rudy Finalist O'Darris D'Haiti (left)and Od what he does each day for his family.

Touching Home -- What the FIU baseball lineup did a lot of this season with their XBox .337 team batting average.

Oceans -- Actually, it's pools for FIU diver Namiko Shibata, who was named the SunEndgame Belt's Most Outstanding Diver this past season.

Endgame -- The closing abilities of FIU receivers coach Frank Ponce, who was named the Sun Belt's Top Recruiter this past season.

Whiz Kids -- FIU's APR improvements by its teams. Especially, the baseball team that scored an FIU baseball-best 975 and who broke even in practice hours -- yeah, they lost Sleep 2 hours a week, but also gained 2 hours back due to their solid 975 score. No scholarship losses and no postseason ban.

Waking Sleeping Beauty -- Yes, the sleeping giant has been dozing for a while, but in the past year the sleeping giant garned a Sun Belt baseball title and NCAA Tournament appearances by the baseball, softball and volleyball teams. Women's soccer and tennis teams became 2009-10 regular season Sun Belt champions and top recruits arriving in all sports at FIU.


June 06, 2010

Canadian Spoon

Former FIU safety Jeremiah Weatherspoon signed with the Calgary Stampeders. Been told theSpoon Stampeders like Spoon as a starter. He is currently in rookie mini-camp north of the border.

Aaapaw Will have a wrapup post on the 2010 FIU baseball season in the next few days

Once again, congratulations to Garrett Wittels (below, right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) on his active 56-game hitting streak. The greatest season by an FIU athlete that I can recall. Although, T.Y. Hilton's freshman season and Yarimar Rosa's All-American seasons are both a close second.

Mark your calendars, GW's historic run continues February 18, 2011 when FIU opens the season against UMass in a 3-game series at FIU Baseball Stadium.

Been assigned to MLB Draft duty the next 3 days so I will keep you updated on which current Panthers and which future Panthers get picked and when they are selected.

Of course, the first FIU player drafted Monday -- well what could have been an FIU player -- will be Brito shortstop Manny Machado, who is projected to be taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates as the No. 2 overall pick.


Aaapaw Pack your lunches, we're going on a field trip later this week.

TheChampionUnderdog: Hey pete, is Garrett going to continue letting his hair grow out until next season?Gw

PP: If he goes hitless in one game during summer ball, he might cut it. If he puts together a hitting streak during summer ball, then you might see hair coming out of No. 10's batting helmet next February.

I'll give you my thoughts on the 2010 FIU baseball season later this week. For now let's get your thoughts and your vote....

January 23, 2009

Not Half Bad

Ultimate FIU Fan, don't call Linda Blair just yet. FIU hoops got one very key player back on Thursday, but lost another very key player, but should have another very key player back on Saturday. So hold off on the injury exorcism.

Point guard Josue Soto (right, thanks to Alex J. Hernandez for photo) made his FIU debut and looked pretty smooth with the ball in his hands. To answer FIUPantherFan's question: center Soto Freddy Asprilla (left) missed the game with back spasms and will miss Saturday's game at Louisiana-Monroe.

Freddy FA did not make the trip to Monroe, but could be back for next Thursday's game at New Orleans. Russell Hicks (below, left, AJH photo) has been cleared for Saturday's game and did make the trip to Monroe. Not sure how much RH will play, because he has not practiced all week, but his 7-foot presence should be in there on Saturday.

We saw 2 sides of the FIU hoops team in Thursday's loss to North Texas.

During a 14-0 FIU run in the first half that gave the Panthers a 23-13 lead, FIU was in sync with Tremayne Russell and Alex Galindo knocking down shots. FIU also played some pretty good D with Galindo getting Hicks a block, and Nick Taylor and Russell getting steals.

Although Soto did not get in on the run, we got a good look at what the sophomore can do such as put some pretty good ball fakes on the Mean Green and go aggressively to the hoop and draw fouls. And JS can make free throws too going 4 for 4.

However, if FIU could, it would hit the reset button on that 2nd half getting outscored 24-8 in the paint and 40-24 overall in the paint.

Yes, missing 6-10 FA and 7-0 RH did not help, but North Texas didn't have anyone taller than 6-7 in the game. It was just a case of the Mean Green outhustling the Panthers to the rebounds and getting second-chance points. North Texas forward Eric Tramiel, a JUCO All-American transfer, had career-highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds. ET had only 5 points and 4 rebounds at halftime. 

Still, we're starting to see some signs with the Panthers hoopsters that once all are healthy (hand hit wood here) they might have a run in them come Sun Belt tourney time.


Gppaw Congratulations to FIU's 3-time All-American Yarimar Rosa, (right, AJH photo) who received a plaqueRosa from the NCAA commemorating her leading the nation in kills per set and total kills this season.


Don't normally bring up other teams on here, but how about the Mike Jarvis show last night in Boca Raton. The Florida Atlantic coach gets hit with 4 straight technical fouls and causes his team go down by 7 after ULM makes 7 of 8 technical foul shots. After the 4th technical, the refs ask for the police to escort Jarvis off the court. MJ, just kick a sign next time. FAU suspended Jarvis for 1 Att game today and the Owls are still winless in Sun Belt play at 0-8.


Finished the Turtle preseason interview yesterday, after I go through the nearly 30 minutes of tape of TT, I will post his thoughts on here.


fiu4ever: Hey Pete(or anyone in general), Will there be any open practices to the public when they start the offseason? Do you see the FIU soccer teams playing in the stadium eventually?

PP: I'm sure there will be some spring practices open. Once I know which ones, I'll post them on here. Might be tough to see FIU soccer play in the stadium, because of the football regular season schedule and football practices.

JM: hey pete, do you know if the sun belt distributes all their bowl revenues evenly between teams? or if the teams that make the bowl games get to keep all the money?

PP: Teams that make bowl games keep all their cash.


Not much football recruiting news to pass along today, but here's a question to answer as we are 12 days from National Signing Day:

December 24, 2008

12 Days of FIU Christmas

Twelve_2 Last December, we gave you 'Twas the Night Before Christmas at FIU. Well, here's another Christmas ballad that you can gather around the fireplace and sing at home to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas....

The 12 Days of FIU ChristmasHh_2

On the 1st Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

Rf Sab On the 2nd Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 2 FIU Olympians (Ronald Forbes & Sheri-Ann Brooks) and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 3 Yari Rosa All-American Honors, 2 FIU Olympians and A Yrr_2 Yrr_3 Yrr_4 Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 4th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 4 Missing Hoops Starters Back in January, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 5th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

Fiustadium_3 On the 6th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 6 Home Football Games in Future Skeds (sometimes 7), 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 7th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 7 All-Sun Belt Football Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 8th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Logo Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 9th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 9 Innings to Win & Close Out UM Series, 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 10th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 10 Miami MLS Players Plus a Goalie, 9 Innings to Win & Close Out UM Series, 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Ty Campus Stadium.

On the 11th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 11 TY Goodbye Touchdowns, 10 Miami MLS Players, 9 Innings to Win & Close Out UM Series, 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

On the 12th Day of Christmas, FIU sent to you: 12 Months of Golden Dazzlers, 11 TY Goodbye Dazz Touchdowns, 10 Miami MLS Players, 9 Innings to Win & Close Out UM Series, 8 Logos Into One, 7 All-Sun Belt Players, 6 Home Football Games, 5---Foot---ball---Wins, 4 Missing Hoops Starters, 3 Yari All-Americans, 2 FIU Olympians and A Hilton Heave in a New On-Campus Stadium.

Merry Christmas to All the GPPers!

(Thanks to Sam Lewis & FIU for the pics)

December 18, 2008

Number 3 For Number 3

Three seasons at FIU, 3 All-American honors for Yarimar Rosa. Yr

Rosa, who led FIU to a Sun Belt championship and a program record  28 wins this past season, was named an All-American for the third time in her career on Thursday.

The nation's kills leader and kills per set leader also won the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week award 5 times this season and has a conference-record 10 such awards in her career.

Earlier this season, YR broke the FIU kills match record (26) and career kills record (1,723).

November 19, 2008

FIU Volleyball Sweeps

No, not just yet in the Sun Belt Tournament, which begins at noon on Thursday against South Alabama, but the Golden Panthers did sweep the highest honors of the Sun Belt Conference on Wednesday.Yrs

FIU took home the Sun Belt Player of the Year, Sun Belt Coach of the Year and Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year awards.

Two-time and soon to be 3-time All-American Yarimar Rosa won the SBC Player of the Year to go along with the 4 billion other awards she has already won this year. YR also made 1st team All-Sun Belt.

You can check out a story on YR in the Miami Herald on Thursday.

FIU coach Danijela Tomic earned the SBC Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Panthers to a 26-5 record and the Sun Belt championship. That's DT's 2nd Coach of the Year award in the last 3 years.

Isadora Rangel won the Sun Belt's Newcomer of the Year Award and made 2nd team along with Natalia Valentin.


Gppaw We'll get back to the gridiron on the next post. T.Y. Hilton will be featured in a Channel 10 story that will air either this Saturday at 7 p.m. or Sunday at 11:30 p.m. The Ch. 10 crew was at FIU on Wednesday interviewing Goodbye, MC and Paul McCall for the story and the Ch. 10 sports guy is supposed to e-mail me when the piece will air.

Gppaw_2 FIU hoops is off to a nice 2-0 start before they play at Washington on Thursday night. On Wednesday, center Russell Hicks was named a preseason All-American by

Gppaw_4 We could be looking at a trap game for your Golden Panthers this Saturday against ULM. It's the last game of the season for the Warhawks. Their coach is on the burning seat -- not hot seat -- and they have nothing to lose since they are 3-8 on the season and going nowhere. So what are your thoughts going into Saturday's crucial game:

November 07, 2008

Sun Belt Volleyball Regular Season Champs

Vbs Your Golden Panthers volleyball team -- No. 1 in the Sun Belt -- just knocked off the Sun Belt's No. 2 team in Middle Tennessee in 5 sets to clinch at least a share of the regular season Sun Belt championship. Was not there, but got a text with the info.

FIU secures the No. 1 seed in the Sun Belt Volleyball tournament at FIU Arena beginning Nov. 20.

It was FIU's 12th straight win and improved the Golden Panthers record to 24-4 and 14-1 in the Sun Belt.Fiuvb_2

Yarimar Rosa (right, arms raised with No. 10 Mariana Drumeva and No. 12 Sabrina Gonzalez) led FIU with 25 kills and 11 digs.

Natalia Valentin (9 below, left) had 58 assists and 14 digs. You can get more details on the match at Valentin

October 13, 2008

Better Times On SW 8 St....But Still Got Work To Do

Panth Your Golden Panthers are growing up right before your eyes and rather quickly, too. 3-3, 2-0 tied for 1st place in the Sun Belt and a huge test against the perennial class of the SBC at Troy this Saturday.

Impressive win against Middle Tennessee and the Sun Belt's top passer, Joe Craddock, on Saturday. FIU held Craddock, who averages 268 yards per game to just 25 yards and got JC an early trip to the showers for his ineffectiveness.

Another stellar performance from the FIU D swarming the MT backfield with tackles for loss, playing tight pass D -- Anthony Gaitor (right) 2 INTs & SBC Defensive Player of the Week -- and containing backup QB Gaitor_2 Dwight Dasher, who killed them last year.

This is a well-coached unit by D-coordinator Phil Galiano. Like AG said in the postgame interview, he was sitting on the 2nd INT that went for a TD, because they had seen that formation all week on film and when MT lined up in it, Galiano yelled it out and AG went pick 6.

What was clearly evident vs. MT, was the Florida speed FIU has and the Blue Raiders did not have. FIU was much faster on both sides of the ball. These young Golden Panthers now just need to add some size in the weight room and there will be a complete Division I football team playing on SW 8 Street.

Although the stats do not completely reflect it, Paul McCall (left) may have had his best game making decisions. PM knew exactly when to tuck the ball and run and when to throw it. PM also showed some Pm nimble feet ducking a couple of sacks and leading the team with 53 yards rushing. Nice aggresive running, especially with the somersault in PM's 9-yd TD run.

Good to see Junior Mertile (below, right) make an impact. While T.Y. Goodbye has definitely been the most productive freshman thus far, you may not know this, but shhhh! quietly JM leads the team with 14 receptions.

Greg Ellingson and Jeremy Dickens had some nice grabs Saturday and provided some timely downfield  Jr_2 blocks. For the 3rd straight game FIU showed it hasShh the ability to score plenty of points in Bill Legg's O. BTW, pretty sharp play-calling from the La Pierna. BL had MT off-balance. MT was looking for the short stuff all through the 3rd and early 4th quarter before PM hit T.Y. with that 63-yard TD. The FIU O-line did a fine job for the 4th consecutive game.

What has been a little troubling about the O has been the slow starts. As the Sun Belt sked toughens up, especially with the next 3 games against the other 3 teams tied with FIU for 1st, the Golden Panthers O needs to get into games faster and not wait until the second quarter. Also, can't have PM leading the team in rushing. FIU needs more of the RBs performance vs. Toledo.

The D has been lights out for most of the season, still, more sacks would not hurt. There have been several times when the opposing QB is sitting back there going through his reads. With bigger and better O-lines in Troy, ULL and Ark. State awaiting FIU, the pass rush has to finish and not just put pressure here and there. 

Fiuinaug Overall, the Golden Panthers were pretty much on point against the Blue Raiders. All 3 facets of the team produced and the result a 3rd straight win equaling the program record and equaling the best start in FIU history (2002 team, which featured FIU football pioneers like S John Haritan, left, started 3-3).

The FIU fans also helped out the Golden Panthers. Good to meet, Quijote and gpantera, who dropped by the front row of the open-air press box to talk FIU football. At the start of the game, it looked like it would be an average turnout in the student section, but when I looked over there midway through the 1st quarter, the area was just about full and good thing for those metal stands, because when they get stomped FIU Stadium gets loud.


Gppaw_2 Saturday's game vs. Troy is on ESPN regional, but you can also catch it at FIU Arena where the university is hosting a watch party at 7 p.m.

OR you can join me in Troy on the GPP with our LIVE blog from Movie Gallery Stadium in Troy, Alabama. I will be on-line around 6:45 p.m. Miami time on Saturday.

Gppaw_3 This just does not get old.....Congrats, once again to Yarimar Rosa for her 4th SBC Volleyball Player of the Week Award. It's the 9th in her career (a Sun Belt record) and YR is looking later this Yr_2 season to earn her 3rd All-American honor in 3 years at FIU.

Gppaw_4 Got a chance to finally see the Panther intro video (was busy during USF game to notice) that is played on the Jumbotron before the Golden Panthers take the field and must say that is one impressive intro piece with AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" playing in the background and the live-looking Panther jumping from building to building and stomping through the opponents helmet on the FIU Stadium field. Kudos to Ed Filomia, who put the video together.

Gppaw_5 Reminder the GPP Q & A's are now in the comments section.

WIN A GPP BLOG Leaderboard (through 6 games; scores for FIU/Troy must be in by 6:59 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday)

6-0 (points differential)

FIUChris (111); CJ (118); Baltimorepanther(125); Ultimate FIU Fan (134).


FIUVoice (105); Clawing Cancer (108); FIUJM (113); FIUBlue82 (116); NYCFIUFan (117); Puma (120); Gazi (121); FIU Love (122); esteban688 (124); FIU0406 (126), The OC Panther (126); Gold (127); FIUPantherFan (128), TheChampionUnderdog (128); FIUBlueandGold (135); TNGoldenPanther (136); alt7787 (141).


outofthecage88 (110); Fomenter (129); FIU Fanatic (143); gpantera (148); Max (150); FIUfantastic (163).


FIUrulez (143); fiufan751 (153); Quijote (156); U24/7 (161); SouthPaw (166); MIA/NY Josh (174); CrazyCane (209).

GPP 5-1 (143).

Gppaw_6 The GPP doesn't hand out mid-season awards, but will have a mid-season review + 1 game of the Golden Panthers next week during FIU's bye week. For now, this question will tie you over:

October 08, 2008

Off The Court With: Yarimar Rosa

The FIU volleyball team (13-4) is off to the best start in school history and one reason has been the play Yrosa of two-time All-American Yarimar Rosa, who with 2 Sun Belt Player of the Week Awards this season now holds the Sun Belt's all-time record for Player of the Week awards with 8. The Golden Panthers try to improve their 13-4 record this weekend with home SBC matches against Denver (Fri. 7 p.m.) and North Texas (Sun., 1 p.m.).

During a recent FIU volleyball practice that YR sat out of because of shin splints, the GPP learned in a Spanish interview with the Puerto Rico native about the Treasure of the Sea, that there is a form of trash-talking in volleyball and what Rosa's favorite rosa is. . . .

GPP: You are the 1st two-time All-American at FIU what does that mean to you?

YR: I was surprised to have won it two years in a row. I was surprised to have won it the second time, because it is a difficult honor to achieve. When you’re a freshman you don’t really expect it. But to win it as a sophomore was tougher, because I had to maintain my level of play. I’m proud of my teammates, because they helped me achieved this. It’s something I’m very proud of and I’m proud to have accomplished this at FIU and to represent Puerto Rico here in the United States.Yr_4


GPP: What is something the casual sports fan does not realize about volleyball?


YR: I think people don’t realize how many times a player intends to hit the ball. For example, the difference in the amount of points I get and another player gets. Since I’m in a position to receive most of the kill opportunities, I have more of an opportunity to get more kills than another player. Some times people say “Yari, you got a lot of kills and another player did not”. But what people fail to realize is that maybe I got 50 chances and the other girl got 20 chances so I had more chances to get more points.


GPP: Where does your name Yarimar come from?


TcCoral_2 YR: Yarimar means “treasure of the sea”. My mother loves everything about the sea. My sister is called Coral Del Mar. I’m the younger one. So I’m the treasure and my sister is the coral reef.


GPP: So is your mother’s name? Boat Del Mar?


YR: (Laughs) No, no. It’s Ivonne.


GPP: In a lot of the men’s sports there's trash-talking going on. Is there trash-talking in volleyball?


YR: It’s not so much as talking trash, because the officials will stop that. But there are definitely trash looks and trash attitudes. And you easily recognize it and that gets you fired up and raises the level of intensity in each game. Because when you get one of those looks, you say “No, don’t bring that here”. I like it when the opponents do that, because I see it as a challenge.


GPP: In other sports, a lot of the opposing fans get into it with the visiting team's players. Do volleyballGator  fans heckle opposing players? What’s the weirdest thing an opposing fan has said to you?


YR: We were in Fairmont a few weeks ago. All the fans were screaming at us and one fan was saying “Yarimar, how do you say Gatorade in Puerto Rico?” Or when I made an error on the court the fans will say “Yarimar, what happened? We know you’re perfect?” And since it’s a small court you can hear everything. But you have to laugh at it and keep playing.


GPP: If they make a movie about your life, who would play the lead role of Yarimar Rosa?


Cd_3 YR: I enjoy Cameron Diaz’s work. I would like for her to play the role of me in a movie.


GPP: Puerto Rico has had many great athletes, but who is the best athlete ever to come out of the island?


YR: I would say Pecky Soto, who is a male volleyball player. He holds the national record in kills per game in Puerto Rico. He’s a great player and the most important thing is he’s very humble. That’s admirable, because a lot of people when they attain success they forget where they came from and that’s important.


GPP: You’ve been in Miami now for 3 years. What was the first thing you noticed about Miami that let you know you’re no longer in Puerto Rico?


YR: Puerto Rico is a lot smaller and everyone knows everyone else. Wherever you go you get to meet Pr new people and that’s something you miss about Puerto Rico. Here Miami is so big that you can go somewhere and not meet anyone. You don’t have the familiarity in Miami that you have in Puerto Rico. That familiarity that you have in Puerto Rico is unique.


GPP: You’re a business major. If money was not an issue and what business would you start?


YR: I would start a foundation that would go around the world and help people that have suffered such as the people who were hit by the tsunami. It would be a beautiful opportunity to help out those people Rose if I had the resources.


GPP: Your last name translates to rose in English. What’s your favorite rose?


YR: I would say white, because it’s elegant and it’s different.




Thought we could use a little break from the "my school's cafeteria is bigger than your school's cafeteria".


The FIU volleyball team has been probably the most successful program at FIU in the last 4 years and YR is probably headed for a 3rd straight All-American honor.


A little soccer news today: MLS to FIU


Panther Pass is up and running and will broadcast Saturday's game vs. Middle Tennessee for you out-of-towners. We will also have a LIVE GPP Blog on Saturday night.


Will be back on here with football Thursday, busy day today. Check out the MH on Thursday to find out why.


A different kind of futbol poll question:

September 01, 2008

Better But Need More Water

Plenty of you GPP readers might have a future in Las Vegas, judging from your predicted scores in Week Lv 1 of the 2nd Annual Win A GPP Blog contest. The standings are posted at the end of this blog and Iowa scores are due before 12:00 p.m. GPP Time on Saturday.

As for last Saturday, in the season opener against No. 13 Kansas, we saw an improved, quicker, more physical FIU team, but a team that still needs work, especially on offense.

Glass Being a glass-is-half-full blog, we'll start with the positive. The Golden Panthers defense had KU flustered in the first few drives. Whenever, FIU blitzed KU QB Todd Reesing had no answer. On some plays, he looked surprised that he had Golden Panthers in his face. But then KU got the short passing game going to negate the FIU rush.

Despite, not having much time to throw and no running game to speak of Paul McCall (below, right) looked in control. When he did get some time to throw late in the 2nd quarter and in the 3rd quarter, you saw that he was comfortable running the new O. Heck, PM even ran the ball well -- the question mark in his game. PM had two scrambles for 24 yards and eluded tacklers in the runs. If not for 3 sacks, PM is FIU's leading rusher on Saturday. But that's not what you want from your QB.Pm

The other bits of FIU sunshine on Saturday were: Freshman T.Y. Hilton (left), who last signing day told MC that he would take back his first punt for a TD. Sure enough, T.Y. got 6 on his first college return. We had mentioned here throughout camp, that if T.Y. got an opening, nobody would catch him. KU saw the back of No. 4's Ty jersey.

The kicking game came through Saturday. Dustin Rivest nailed a career-long 43-yd FG. Punter Carlos Munera showed a strong leg.

As for that missing water in our glass, FIU is not going to win too manyWat_2  games, if it's O starts with four 3-and-outs in its first 5 possessions. The O needs to do a better job of sustaining drives and give the defense a breather. KU lead the time of possession 37:49 to 22:11. FIU was only 2 of 14 on 3rd down conversions. Yes, FIU's conditioning is much better thanks to Rod  Moore, but no matter how much you condition, you're not going to last playing on D for almost 40 minutes a game.

Several of you have been quick to point to the O-line and yes, they do need work, but it was the entire O that faltered vs. KU. The RBs didn't always hit the right holes. PM sometimes didn't make the right reads and other times when PM did find open receivers, the WRs dropped passes that would have been long gains and on one pass a TD early in the game to possibly take a 7-0 lead.

Hic Maybe, it was just the typical hiccups associated with running a new O for the first time in a real game. Regardless, from being there and judging by the reactions of the largest crowd ever at a KU football game in the 119-year history of KU, it sure didn't feel like a 30-point game. The FIU D held the second highest scoring O in the nation last year to 10 points in the second half and those 10 were the result of turnovers that pinned the D deep in their territory.

Penn State hung 59 on FIU in last year's opener and Kansas hung 55 on FIU last year with 615 yards of offense. In Saturday's game, KU had less than 300 yards before the final drive of the game. Yes, some are going to just read the score and say same old FIU, but if you saw this game, then you saw some improvement. An improvement that for FIU's sake continues throughout this season.


Here are your Week 1 standings in our Win a GPP Blog

Your point differential is in parenthesis:

1-0: outofthecage88 (2); FIULOVE (3), FIUrulez (3), inspubadj (3); FIU Fanatic (4); esteban688 (5), fiufan751 (5), FIUPantherFan (5), ThaChampionUnderdog (5); nycfiufan (6); FIU 0406 (7), Hay (7), ridgepanther (7), U24/7 (7); FIUBlue82 (8), fomenter (8), Gazi (8), Puma (8), The OCPanther (8); BaltimorePanther (9), Clawing Cancer (9), Gold (9), mia/ny josh (9); FIUChris (12), panther viscosity (12), Quijote (12), TN Golden Panther (12); CJ (13), FIUJM (13); FIU Voice (14); lol62 (15), Pantera Dorada (15); alt7787 (16), Max (16); fiu ex dad (18), Ultimate FIU Fan (18); Crazycane (19); FIUBlueandGold (20); Devastator (23), greenlizard69 (23); sammy da bull (47).

0-1: 2006PA (31); gpantera (33), SouthPaw (33); FIUfantastic (37), ScUMsanitizer (37); E-Man (38).

GPP 1-0 (8).

**Congratulations to the FIU volleyball ladies, who knocked off No. 19 Clemson on Saturday and captured the Clemson Big Orange Bash Tournament by sweeping the Tigers, Syracuse and Charleston Southern. Two-time All-American Yarimar Rosa (right) was named tournament MVP.Yr

On to the questions....

FIU 0406:  I was watching ESPN today and I noted two things, they were still referring to us as Florida International and they were still showing the old logo. Also, this is something I mentioned some time ago, but its worth mentioning again. On the herald link for FIU: 

it also shows our old logo. Pete, could you look into this.

GPP: ESPN and all the other national media outlets got a letter and media guides from FIU regarding the new reference to the school. It might take a big win against a BCS team for those people to take notice. Before writing this blog, I e-mailed the MH's on-line person about the old FIU logo on the MH's FIU page so let's see what happens this week.

FIUfantastic: Please fix the Photo Gallery from the Kansas shows a picture of Paul McCall and says: Florida International quarterback Troy Dannehower throws the ball

GPP: E-mailed on-line about that too.

Radio gpantera: I wish the freakin' radio guys would refer to us as FIU only as instructed by our athletic department.

GPP: The "freakin' radio guys" read this blog, so tune in next Saturday for the Iowa game to see if they go by FIU and not Florida International when referring to the Golden Panthers.

SouthPaw: Can you update us on why Cedric Mack didn't play? Some of the names that I'm expecting to see make big contributions this year that I would have thought would have been on the two-deep are:
Cedrick Mack (biggest loss of the game for FIU), Mario Caraballo, Javon Hill, Travis Felder, Devin Parrish, Kambriel Willis, Reggie Jones. And others who I think should be seeing significant playing time this year that look like they didn't play are: Mannie Wellington, Matt Garris, Winston Fraser, Aaron Davis, Daunte Owens, Alfonso Bryant, Derrick Clark, Marcelus Manear, Jason Frierson. Some of the guys that started and saw extended action were not guys who have contributed a whole lot in the past (Tyler Clawson, Quentin Newman, Artis Warthen, Dan Chacreton). I was glad to see the coaches put McCall back in there after sitting him down for a series.

GPP: Both Mack and Willis were having certification issues they were taking care of last week. Jackson Def played and beat KU linemen a couple of times, but KU QB had already gotten the pass off. James Jones (67, right chasing Reesing) was impressive in his first game. Caraballo, Wellington, Garris and Fraser are all hurt. Hill hasn't practiced all summer and looks like he's done. Felder (academics). Parrish, R. Jones, A. Davis, Owens, A. Bryant, D. Clark, Manear and Frierson all did not play vs. KU.

Clawson, Newman, Warthen and Chacreton all had good camps and earned their playing time according to coaches.

As far as PM being removed. It was NOT because of his play. The plan was for WY to play 2 series in the second quarter, regardless of what the game situation was at the time. PM never got benched.

FIUChris: How serious is Ash's injury? He's one of our best playmakers in the defensive backfield.

GPP: X-rays were negative, but won't know more until practice on Tuesday.

****Picked up a few more readers around the world in our last blog. Thanks to the handy-dandy map tracker of GPP readers: Portland, Oregon and Managua, Nicaragua (love the gallo pinto) -- where Gallo_2 someone down there thinks FIU will be 6-6 or better this season -- have joined the GPP expanding our worldwide readership:

Our GPP Worldwide Readership scorecard reads: 32 STATES the GPP is read in: ALA, ARI, CA, COL, FLA, GA, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MO, NEB, NC, NJ, NY, OH, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, VA, VER, WIS.

12 COUNTRIES: Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, U.S.A.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

Thanks to all for participating in our last couple of polls where the majority of you liked the closeness of the seats to the new FIU Stadium field the best, and where most of you are thinking 5-7 or 4-8 for FIU this season. Here's the latest question....



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