Annie Toczynski looks to improve hitting as SU’s new starting left fielder

first_img Published on March 30, 2015 at 11:10 am Annie Toczynski was only a high school sophomore in California when she committed to play softball for Syracuse.“She always finds a way to put the ball in play,” head coach Leigh Ross said of Toczynski in high school. “I think that was always the connection; we need a kid that’s just going to put the ball in play.”Since she entered the starting lineup on March 7, Ross said Toczynski has done just that, despite striking out in 11 of her 34 at-bats on the season. Now, the left fielder has started 12 of SU’s (12-17, 0-6 Atlantic Coast) last 14 games after making vital adjustments to her swing. Toczynski is more confident at the plate, but is batting just .147.Ross said Toczynski was injured in the fall, stunting her growth as a freshman. When she started playing, she was leaning over too much at the plate, putting too much weight on her back foot and letting go of the bat with her left hand during her follow-through.“When I overthink, that’s when I mess up because I try to hit home runs,” Toczynski said. “But I have to realize now that I’m not a home run hitter, I’m a scrappy hitter and that’s my role here.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSince Toczynski is right-hand dominant but bats left-handed, she has a tendency to pull her weaker hand off the bat. Ross struck a chord in Toczysnki’s mind when she told her to “punch the pitcher” in her follow-through.“Focus on your left hand, drive it back up the middle, that’s going to be your extension,” Ross said.Additionally, the head coach videotaped Toczynski’s batting stance to show her how far she was leaning over the plate. Until she saw it, Toczynski couldn’t fix the problem.Toczynski went to hitting coach Matt Nandin’s optional hour-long hitting sessions before practice to work on her new swing.“I was more on my back foot, leaning back. It was really ugly,” Toczynski said. “Now I’m more centered and stepping toward the pitch instead of stepping (straight up and down).”As she worked to fix her swing, Toczynski just needed a chance to show what she could do.Before the season, left field was slated for Riley Johnson, who was injured in the first weekend of games. For the next month, the position was largely a revolving door.Against Virginia Tech on March 7, Toczynski made the second start of her career, going 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout. Ross was impressed with her feistiness at the plate.“It’s the courage to actually swing the bat and put the ball in play that we’re looking for,” Ross said.Toczynski said she had to dial back her aggressiveness at the plate to stop pressing for hits. Now, she takes what the pitcher gives her.Though her stats don’t show it, Toczynski always finds a way to make contact with the ball at the plate, Ross said, and she regularly records quality at-bats.“Don’t look at the points, don’t look at your batting average,” Ross said. “As long as you’re having good at-bats and you’re seeing the ball well, those balls are going to fall.”But this weekend’s games may have proven the merits of a different freshman.After starting the first of a three-game set with Louisville, Toczynski sat while fellow freshman Rachel Burkhardt manned left field. In the series finale, Burkhardt connected on a three-run home run, the first of her career.The future lineup card is yet to be announced, but Toczynski seems to have earned her team’s respect, no matter her position.“She showed up in practice, the coaches saw that, they figured they’d give her a shot in the game,” outfielder Mary Dombrowski said. “She’s enthusiastic, she’s always calling out the plays … and she’s always eager to get the ball, which is good to see.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

COACH’S VISION: Sarah Cooper’s lacrosse IQ makes her a top defensive asset

first_imgAlong the sideline at the Lax for the Cure Tournament, Butch Marino and Sarah Cooper couldn’t decipher the offense on the field. It was the summer of 2015 in New Egypt, New Jersey, and college coaches packed the stands scouting the country’s best club teams.Marino’s TLC Red team had already won its semifinal earlier in the day and was looking to scout potential championship opponents. The Long Island Yellow Jackets, running a similar backer zone that Marino’s team deployed, neared an upset by the Hero’s Tournament Lacrosse Club.Marino, a member of the 1994 gold-medal U.S. men’s lacrosse team, couldn’t figure out how Hero’s was beating the Yellow Jacket zone. Yet Cooper, his zone backer, saw what her head coach couldn’t.“(Cooper) said, ‘Hey, Coach Butch, do you see Hero’s? Every time they’re on offense, every single time, they’re skipping the second pass,’” Marino remembered. “Which is smart: ball movement is the key to beating a backer zone.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRather than make the simple pass to the closest teammate, Hero’s would use that attack as a dummy — launching the ball over the decoy to another attack — and make it an almost-impossible amount of ground for the backer to cover. In TLC’s championship victory that same day, Cooper led a defense that Marino said “rocked” Hero’s, holding them to just one goal.“All you,” Marino said to her after the game. “That was all you.”It’s Cooper’s mental ability to read the game and make changes “on the fly” that made her the top defensive recruit in her class, head coach Gary Gait said. She caused a team-high 33 turnovers despite being the only first-year starter on defense and enters 2020 as the reigning ACC freshman of the year. But if Cooper and the Orange want to achieve their national championship goal, she knows she’ll have to take her game to another level. Still, it wouldn’t be Cooper’s first time making a sophomore surge.,Six years ago, Cooper emerged from the shower in her Lutherville, Maryland home and saw the email she had been waiting for. It was from her high school — the Catholic, all-girls Notre Dame Preparatory School — announcing who had made the varsity and junior varsity rosters.Then-freshman Cooper quickly scrolled through the varsity roster, scanning for her name. It wasn’t there. When she found her name on the JV list, she wasn’t upset for long.“I never try to be super hard on myself,” Cooper said, “because that’s when I get too nervous and make a mistake or not play how I want to play because I’m putting too much stress on myself.”ND Prep head coach Mac Ford admitted it was a mistake to omit Cooper from the varsity team that year, but he and Cooper agree that a year on JV aided her development. While several of Cooper’s freshman friends languished on the 46-girl varsity team without much playing time, Cooper excelled.Her calm approach is somewhat famous in the Syracuse locker room, and she admits teammates have caught her dozing off before games. Cooper dislikes music with beats that pump up other players, instead opting for slower songs that clear her mind.It’s a balancing act for Cooper, who admits her humble and “unassuming” demeanor, as Ford puts it, has sometimes led her to be overly tentative on the field. In her sophomore year at Notre Dame, Ford rectified his error from the prior year, making Cooper an immediate varsity starter.She would always make the right call. She was like our coach on the field.-ND Prep coach Mac FordAt first, Cooper was nervous. She ran away when she thought someone was about to throw her a pass. Even though she displayed superb skills in practice, Cooper preferred to fade out of the spotlight and into the background during games. One day, Ford had seen enough and pulled her aside.“Hey, you have as good of stickwork as anybody. You should be handling the ball and clearing the ball by yourself,” Ford said to her.“And all of a sudden, everything clicked for her,” he said.Cooper, whom Ford tabbed the “consummate teammate,” said she realized her hesitancy was harming her team, which was the last thing she wanted. From then on, Cooper played with the poise of a veteran, making suggestions to the Notre Dame coaching staff just like she had with Marino at the Lax for the Cure tournament.During Cooper’s junior year, Notre Dame was down big to Bishop Ireton (Virginia) High School and Lexi LeDoyen, now one of Cooper’s roommates at SU. When Cooper subbed out, she told Ford and the coaching staff they needed to switch from zone to man-to-man. Cooper said she had just gotten a feeling it would work, and as Ford recalls, she took LeDoyen in man and shut her down.“She would always make the right call,” Ford said. “She was like our coach on the field.”Part of Cooper’s advanced mental abilities comes from her relentless approach. Marino recalled taking his daughter Alex — Cooper’s current teammate and roommate — to St. Paul’s Prep School in Brooklandville, Maryland on days TLC didn’t have practice. Often when they arrived, Cooper was already there, working on her game alone with the goals that were up year-round. Before she had her driver’s license, Cooper begged her parents to take her to practice an hour early.Cooper said there were times this past fall when she’d forget they had off days. She’d follow her normal routine, waking up early to be at the facility an hour before non-existent 8 a.m. practices.“I’d be looking around like, I have the first (parking) spot at Manley, this is awesome,” Cooper said. “And then I’d be like, ‘Oh, we don’t have practice today.’”Even when she remembers it’s an off day, Cooper can’t stay away from lacrosse completely. Sometimes, she’ll ask a teammate to go and work out or play wall ball. Last fall, when each player was sent their login to SU’s new film system, Cooper immediately signed in and began scouting the upcoming season’s opponents. She sifted through the different offenses, the attack players. The games were still months away, but that didn’t mean Cooper couldn’t start.Cover photo by Molly Gibbs | Senior Staff Photographer Comments Published on February 6, 2020 at 1:28 am Contact Alex: athamer@syr.edu | @alexhamer8,Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.last_img read more

Teng says he’s still adjusting despite another impressive showing in Aces win over Picanto

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson LATEST STORIES #KicksStalker: Westbrook’s signature shoe hits Philippine shelves Teng finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, and two assists in the game as he led Alaska to its second straight win in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup.The former La Salle star, however, said that the triumph wasn’t just due to his effort alone as the whole Aces squad “picked things up in the second half.”“We all knew we had to step up in the second half to get this win and we needed this win for our next games,” said Teng as he now braces for a showdown with Ginebra next Sunday.“I think were ready for the challenge and we’re up to it. We’re practicing really hard and I think we’ll be ready by that game,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours MOST READ Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netFour games in and Jeron Teng wouldn’t deny that he still has struggles adapting to coach Alex Compton’s system in Alaska.“I’m still feeling my way. It takes time to be 100 percent familiarized with the system, but I’ll get there with the help of the coaches who are teaching me a lot of things, and my teammates who are helping me out,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Compton, however, begs to disagree as he sees the fifth overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft thriving.With the Aces struggling to find their rhythm in the first half, it was Teng, who triggered the pullaway in the third quarter, where Alaska turned a 39-34 halftime lead to a decisive 75-39 advantage at the end of the third frame.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk“He’s just always had a knack for dominating,” said Compton of Teng after the Aces blew out the Kia Picanto, 102-65, on Sunday.“He has Alvin (Teng)’s body so he doesn’t have a rookie body. You know how rookies come in and they have to learn how to bang with the big boys? It seems like Jeron’s whole career, even when he went to the next level, he was immediately still one of the big boys. His physicality, he’s inserted that and he helps us in rebounding and getting to the basket. He draws a lot of contact, and the kid’s got a knack for scoring and attacking the basket. We were very happy with the pick we had.” Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals View comments Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player awardlast_img read more

Picture special: All the faces and smiles from 22nd North West 10k

first_imgA huge crowd took part in the 22nd North West 10k on Sunday.The fundraising 10k, held in Letterkenny, has become a huge hit in the calendar.A total of 1,204 runners finished on Sunday. Jimmy Harte officially got the participants on their way, while Diabetes Ireland and the Breastcare Northwest were the two chosen charities this year. Picture special: All the faces and smiles from 22nd North West 10k was last modified: May 5th, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more