Wisconsin ready to pursue 2nd consecutive title

first_imgWisconsin women’s hockey head coach Mark Johnson doesn’t like distractions.But regardless of that disdain, Friday night’s season opener is full of them.Between getting a new season under way, unveiling its 2011 national championship banner and missing a portion of its team, Wisconsin knows it has to stay focused.“I think the biggest thing is just refocusing everybody,” senior captain Hilary Knight said. “We worked really hard this summer, and now we just have to put that into play during the game.”Ranked No. 1 in the country, the Badgers face against the Lindenwood Lady Lions – a team they’ve seen play before – with a depleted roster.Defensemen Brittany Haverstock, Stef Mckeough, Saige Pacholock and forward Carolyne Prevost will miss the season opener due to a fall evaluation camp with Team Canada.“It’s the nature of the women’s game,” Johnson said. “That’s part of the recruiting process when you talk to these kids. One of the questions that they ask you is, ‘If Canada calls me up and I need to go to camp, will you let me go?’ Some games and some parts of the season you’re missing kids, but they’re still doing the things that we’re probably doing right here whether they’re on the ice, training or playing with elite players. … They’re in a good environment. It’s just too bad that they’re going to miss Friday night.”With the absence of three blue-liners and a forward, the newest Badgers will get a chance to show what they can do.This season, UW is joined by four freshman forwards, as well as a transfer defenseman and a transfer goaltender.“They look great so far,” senior forward Brooke Ammerman said. “They don’t look shy; they don’t look nervous. They really mesh well with our team.”Not only did Wisconsin win yet another national title last year, but it was also honored with another Patty Kazmaier Award, as then-senior Meghan Duggan was named women’s hockey’s player of the year.Duggan led UW last season with 87 points off 39 goals and 48 assists. In a close second, Knight posted 81 points off 47 goals and 34 assists. “Losing players like Meghan Duggan is obviously huge, but I think with our work ethic and working hard – we’ve looked great so far – I think everybody has to step up whether it be us as leaders on the team or just the freshman to the sophomore step,” Ammerman said. “I think our sophomores came back in great shape, our juniors also. I think the expectation is to grow as a player each year you’re here and bring your best effort.”Last season, much like the men’s hockey team, Johnson switched sophomore Alex Rigsby and junior Becca Ruegsegger in goal. But as soon as postseason play started, it was all Rigsby. Through seven postseason games, Rigbsy allowed 12 goals, but the offense more than made up for its scoring 31 goals en route to its fourth national championship.Despite the success of last season, a new one calls for a whole new challenge.“You basically have to start over,” Rigsby said. “Last year, it didn’t come easy to win that national championship. We have to forget about it and start from scratch and keep working towards possibly and hopefully another one.”And it all starts with Lindenwood.The Lady Lions are entering their first season as a D-I program and have the opportunity to face the sport’s perennial powerhouse.Lindenwood fields only one senior and 14 freshmen, but Wisconsin knows not to take anything for granted.“I’m excited they’re coming here,” Knight said. “It’s awesome to have a home game against them. I’ve never seen them play, so I don’t really know what to expect but that’s the scariest thing. Expect the unexpected.”The Badgers aren’t trying to presume anything – instead they’re just going to enjoy this season’s journey and see where it takes them.“Every season here in the WCHA is extremely long and we play great teams so I think first we have to focus on the journey and really getting our focus back and enjoying the ride,” Knight said. “That’s all it’s about. I can look back on both years that we’ve won the National Championship and the ride there was awesome and those are the memories you take with you.”last_img read more

Bong Residents Embark on US$100K Clinic Construction

first_imgAs access to primary healthcare is already a challenge, especially in most rural parts of the country, residents of Degai Zulu Clan, in Faumah District, Lower Bong County, are doing everything possible to rescue their people who are dying from preventable diseases.The district has a population of nearly 30,000 due to lucrative mining businesses.Two sons of the area, Mustapha Shannon and Mohammed Massaley, who are not medical practitioners, have started constructing a seven-room clinic valued at US$100,000 for the district.Shannon told the Daily Observer that US$17,000 had already been spent on the project and he wants the government to help them fund the completion of the clinic.According to him, they were moved to undertake the project because of the way sick people were dying in the area due to the lack of a healthcare facility.  “Because of that we have to take our sick relatives to Bopolu City, in Gbarpolu County for treatment. Sometimes the sick person dies on the way to seek treatment,” he said. “Taking sick people to Bopolu is very expensive, especially due to the bad road conditions, so we have to pay motorbike riders L$800.”  He named children and pregnant women as the most vulnerable. “Most of our children and pregnant women have died because they were unable to get medical treatment,” he lamented.One of the most important things that Shannon stressed was the absence of medical practitioners to take care of the clinic once it is completed. “You can see we are not medical people, but because of the way our people usually die here from preventable diseases, we are putting up this project to help.”He continued, “We are going to appeal to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MHSW) to assign doctors to take care of the clinic, when it is completed.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more