SaberCats add 2010 defender of the year, 5 others

SaberCats add 2010 defender of the year, 5 others

SAN JOSE The San JoseSaberCats today announced the additions of 2010 AFL Defensive Player of theYear DL Gabe Nyenhuis, WR Burl Toler, DL Adam Huebner, FBLB Chad Cook, WRChidozie Nwokocha and OLDL Jason Jones, by the league office. Per team policy,terms were not disclosed.DL GABE NYENHUISNyenhuis(6-3, 265) enters his fourth year in the AFL and first with the SaberCats. Forhis career, he has totaled 88 tackles, 29.5 for loss, 28 sacks, 16 forcedfumbles and seven passes defensed in 41 games. In 2010, Nyenhuis led the leaguein sacks (15.5), tackles for loss (13.0) and forced fumbles (9) en route toearning the AFLs highest defensive honor for the Tulsa Talons.Bringingin a player of Gabes caliber is tremendous for us, Head Coach Darren Arbetsaid. He is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and will provide us adominant force on the defensive line that offenses will have to account for. Atwo-time All-Arena selection as a defensive lineman, Nyenhuis spent two seasonswith the Philadelphia Soul (2007-08), helping them to an ArenaBowl championshipin 2008 against the SaberCats. During their championship run, Nyenhuis led theteam in sacks (9.5), tackles for loss (12.5) and forced fumbles (5). He alsoled the team with two sacks while forcing a fumble in the 2008 postseason. WR BURL TOLERAformer California Golden Bear, Toler (6-2, 200) spent the 2008 offseason withthe Washington Redskins after signing with San Jose in 2008. Prior to signing with theSaberCats, Toler served his first stint with the Redskins in 2007 after spendingtime with the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe. He originally signed with theSaberCats in 2007 before joining the Centurions. Undrafted out of California, Toler wasoriginally signed by the Oakland Raiders in 2006.Weveliked what weve seen from Burl in the past and so have many coaches in the NFLranks, Arbet said. He is a diligent worker and a great athlete who will addexperience to our young receiving corps moving forward.Awalk-on at California,Toler finished with 69 receptions for 873 yards and four touchdowns. His bestseason came in 2003 when he caught 48 passes for 609 yards and threetouchdowns. A native of Berkeley, CA, Toler attended Bishop ODowdHigh School (CA) helping his team to two league titles and a North CoastSection championship, earning first team all-league on offense and defense hissenior year. Toler also lettered four years in track, attending the League ofChampions meet his final three years.DL ADAM HUEBNERHuebner(6-4, 300) spent his rookie season alongside fellow SaberCat DL Gabe Nyenhuisin 2010 with Tulsa.In his lone season with the Talons, Huebner finished with 14 tackles, twosacks, three tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.Adamwas a part of the best defensive line in the AFL last season, playing with thebest pass rusher in the league in Gabe Nyenhuis, Arbet said. Hell bringpressure on opposing quarterbacks this coming season after enjoying a solid yearwith the Talons in 2010.Priorto transferring to Purdue as a sophomore, Huebner played in 11 games as aredshirt freshman at Indiana State in 2003 where hehad 23 tackles and two sacks.FBLB CHAD COOKCook(6-1, 265) started his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Storm before beingsigned by the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz. For Oklahoma, he ran the ball 45 times for 140yards and eight touchdowns, adding 14 receptions for 105 yards and onetouchdown. On defense, he had eight tackles combined between the two teams.Chad is a hard-nosedrunner who can play on both sides of the ball, Arbet said. Hes a load at hissize who will be able to punish defenses up the middle.Duringhis four year career at Murray State, Cook totaled 2,095rushing yards on 457 attempts for 24 touchdowns, leading the team in rushing asa sophomore (834) and a junior (692) for the Racers. He also caught 24 passesfor 185 yards.WR CHIDOZIE NWOKOCHAPriorto joining the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League in 2010,Nwokocha (6-0, 200) played two seasons at Ohio (2006-07). In 26 games for the Bobcats,he totaled 45 catches for 562 yards and one touchdown. Nwokocha transferred to Ohio after spending two seasons at Sacramento City College where he was anAll-Nor Cal Conference pick both seasons, totaling 119 catches for 1,665 yardsand 14 touchdowns in his junior college career.Chidozieis a great addition to our team who brings more athleticism to our squad,Arbet said. Along with our current wideouts we have the makings of a talentedreceiving corps as we make our way towards the 2011 season. Anative of Elk Grove, CA, Nwokocha attended Laguna Creek HighSchool (CA), earning honorable mention all-city selection honors while helpingthe Cardinals to a Delta League Championship and the state playoffs.OLDL JASON JONES
Jones(6-4, 345) played his first season in the AFL with the Cleveland Gladiators in2010. He totaled three tackles in three games for the Gladiators despite beinglimited by injuries during the 2010 season.Jasoncan play both ways and is very athletic for his size. He will be a solidcontributor for us in the trenches in 2011. Arbet said.Aftertransferring from Pasadena Community College in 1999 to IllinoisState, Jones then transferred to Idaho where he playedtwo seasons for the Vandals.

Stanford rallies to beat Notre Dame, punches ticket to Final Four


Stanford rallies to beat Notre Dame, punches ticket to Final Four


LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Alanna Smith's jumper with 23 seconds left capped Stanford's rally from a 16-point deficit in the second half, Erica McCall blocked a last-second shot and the Cardinal edged top-seeded Notre Dame 76-75 Sunday to reach its first Final Four since 2014.

Brittany McPhee scored 27 as the second-seeded Cardinal (32-5) won its eighth in a row overall. This was the third straight year Stanford and Notre Dame have met in the NCAA Tournament, with the Cardinal winning twice.

Down 47-31 in the third quarter, Stanford surged to end Notre Dame's 17-game winning streak. The Irish (33-4) had a final shot, but McCall blocked Arike Ogunbowale's drive near the basket.

The win in the Lexington Regional gives Stanford a chance to pursue its third national championship under coach Tara VanDerveer.

Among those in the crowd at Rupp Arena was Jon Samuelson, whose daughter, Karlie, scored 15 for Stanford. A day earlier, he was at the Bridgeport Regional to see another daughter, UConn star Katie Lou Samuelson, help the Huskies win their 110th straight game.

Smith finished with 15 points.

Ogunbowale had 25 and Marina Mabrey 20 for Notre Dame, which had sought its sixth Final Four in seven seasons.

After driving for a basket with 51 seconds left, Smith added her biggest shot for the go-ahead score. Stanford then denied Notre Dame's Lindsay Allen and Ogunbowale on successive attempts in the final 15 seconds to spark a wild celebration.

Stanford once again proved no deficit was too big to overcome. The Cardinal shot 12 of 26 on 3-pointers, Samuelson and McPhee each making five. Not bad, considering Stanford shot 2 of 15 overall in the second quarter while getting outscored 23-7. ... McCall had 15 rebounds.

Notre Dame seemed to do everything right for most of the game but couldn't stop Stanford's perimeter game in the second half. The Irish also made just 11 of 31 shots after halftime and were topped 33-32 on the boards.

Stanford faces the South Carolina-Florida State winner in the Final Four in Dallas next weekend.

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

NASHVILLE – The Sharks are returning to San Jose on Sunday in a crisis. Nothing good came from Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Nashville, their sixth straight in regulation. Let’s get to the painful three takeaways…

1 – No answers

Neither Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns nor Patrick Marleau – the three players made available to the media after Saturday’s game – offered any kind of in-depth analysis of what’s going wrong. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone really knows. It’s hard to believe that this is the same club that had lost just two games in regulation in its previous 14 before the losing streak began.

“If you’re putting a consistent effort in, battling, competing – it’s tough to lose six in a row,” Pavelski said. “You look at six in a row, and it just seems daunting. Like, how do you get there? So, I think we’ve just got to take a deep breath, really kind of refocus.”

Believe it or not, coach Pete DeBoer thought Saturday’s loss was “a step in the right direction” when asked why Friday night’s 6-1 beat down in Dallas wasn’t enough of a wake-up call. How often do you hear that after a five-goal defeat?

“I liked our game tonight better than I liked [Friday’s game] regardless of the score,” DeBoer said. “I don’t just look at the score. If you want to just judge it on the score than you might not say it’s a wake-up call, but I thought we were much more competitive tonight. 

“It was a step in the right direction. Every team goes through tough parts of the season, and this is ours. We’ve got a lot of character in the room. We’ll get through it.”

2 – Couture injury would spell doom, as Hertl still MIA

Let’s face it – if Logan Couture is out for any extended period of time, this team is DOA once the playoffs begin. Couture has been the Sharks’ best player since the All-Star break, and they don’t have anyone on the current roster or in the system that could replace him. As of Sunday morning, there was still no word as to the severity of his injury after taking a puck to the mouth and going to a local Nashville hospital.

If Couture were to miss time, Tomas Hertl would likely become the team’s second line center. At this point, though, Hertl doesn’t even resemble an effective third line center. He was victimized on Nashville’s first goal, which was similar to one of the Wild goals on Tuesday, when he was just too slow and not strong enough on his skates in getting outworked for a loose puck.

3 – Haley shows some emotion that others lack

It’s understandable that Micheal Haley didn’t like getting hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok in the third period. But, you can’t just make a beeline for a guy and punch him in the face. Haley will almost certainly get suspended for the play.

At least, though, Haley showed a little bit of fire, including his first period fight with Cody McLeod. Perhaps guys like Hertl, Joonas Donskoi and Mikkel Boedker could take a lesson from the fiery Haley. Those three, in particular, have been virtually useless during this six-game stretch. 

If I’m DeBoer, I’d get on the phone with Doug Wilson and Roy Sommer and ask for a few guys from the Barracuda so I could – depending on the team’s health situation – scratch all three of them for Tuesday against the Rangers. Drastic times call for drastic measures, do they not?