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HOUSTON -- Stanford got off to a rough start this year, but rebounded in a season where everyone wanted to take the Cardinal down to make it back to the College Cup. Josh Donaldson Blue Jays Jersey .After winning the first national championship in program history last season, No. 5 Stanford continues its title defense in the second semifinal on Friday night against No. 9 North Carolinas. In the first semifinal, No. 2 Wake Forest faces undefeated No. 6 Denver.Stanford had with three ties and a loss in its first six games before winning 13 of its next 16 games to win a third straight Pac-12 championship and return to the College Cup.I think it was kind of a wakeup call seeing how hard we were going to get played and I think we adapted to that as the season progressed, said defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce, who was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last month.Stanford hopes to become the first team since Indiana in 2003-04 to win consecutive national championships. Coach Jeremy Gunns team is the first to return to the College Cup the season after winning the national championship since Wake Forest returned in 2008 after winning it all in 2007.Stanford lost some key players from last season, including MLS Rookie of the Year and the reigning Hermann Trophy winner Jordan Morris. But it returns six starters from last seasons team. Five of those players were named to the All-Pac-12 first team last month, and one was on the second team.We had some great players leave after last year and I think some people wanted to write us off this year, Gunn said.Stanford is led by Co-Pac-12 player of the year Foster Langsdorf. The junior forward has led the teams attack this season, scoring 15 goals, including one in each of Stanfords three tournament games. In their 10 Pac-12 games, Langsdorf scored 12 goals.North Carolina comes to Houston for its first College Cup appearance since winning a national championship in 2011. The Tar Heels also reached the national semifinals in 2009-10.Some things to know about the College Cup.H-TOWN CONNECTION: The Tar Heels come to Houston with many connections to the area. Three Houston Dynamo players, defenders Jalil Anibaba and Sheanon Williams and goalkeeper Tyler Deric, played at North Carolina, while head coach Carlos Somoano is from nearby Seabrook, Texas. The Tar Heels leading scorer, Tucker Hume, said players from the Dynamo have reached out to them and that theyll be at Fridays game.My formative soccer years and experiences were done right here in Houston, Somoano said. So for me its very special to be back here.YOUTH MOVEMENT: After losing key players from last season, including three who were selected in the top 12 of the MLS SuperDraft, North Carolina has had to rely on its youth in 2016. The Tar Heels have 12 players who have appeared in all 20 games this season, six of whom are either freshmen or sophomores. Sophomore forward Nils Bruening leads the team in goals with eight, while redshirt sophomore goalkeeper James Pyle has allowed just 10 goals this season.Theyve been a bit of a revelation for us, Somoano said. Its just fascinating to see how they evolve through the year. Theyre not the same players now than they were in August.FAMILIAR FACES: Denver head coach Jamie Franks and Wake Forests Bobby Muuss have plenty of history. Muuss was an assistant coach for the Demon Deacons during Franks freshman season in Winston-Salem and was the coach at Denver from 2007-14, with Franks serving as his assistant for three seasons. When Muuss took over at Wake Forest before the 2015 season, Franks took his place at Denver.I love Wake Forest . but at the end of the day, these are my boys, Franks said. These are my kids, and Wake Forest is standing in our way.WAKE EYES REDEMPTION: Last season, Wake Forest was the No. 1 team in the country with a 17-2-2 record before falling in the quarterfinals to the eventual national champions Stanford in overtime. This season, the Demon Deacons enter the College Cup with an 18-2-3 mark with a pair of shutouts in wins over Coastal Carolina and Virginia Tech.DOMINANCE REWARDED: Since Franks took over as the Denver head coach, the Pioneers have lost just one game, a defeat to SMU that ended the 2015 season. The team feels its 35-1-6 record under Franks it has not received enough credit, mostly because the Pioneers play in the Summit League. This is Denvers first appearance in the College Cup and the players are embracing their underdog role.Its more a historical thing than an actual thing because no one in our locker room is surprised to be here, we expected to be here, sophomore forward Andre Shinyashiki said. Russell Martin Blue Jays Jersey . "I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates," said Hejduk in a statement. Yellow Paul Molitor Jersey . Pierce was ejected in the third quarter of Indianas 103-86 win Monday. George Hill stole a bad pass and was going in for a layup, and Pierce hustled back and appeared to be trying to wrap him up. http:///...on-blue-jays-jersey/ . Laudrup revealed Thursday he was notified of his dismissal in "the briefest of letters which gave no reasons why such hasty and final action was deemed necessary. Englands Kal Yafai, who won a vacant junior bantamweight world title with a one-sided decision against Luis Concepcion on Saturday at Manchester Arena, in Manchester, England, could not quite believe what he had accomplished.Its unbelievable, Yafai said. Its going to take a while to sink in. I knew I was going to do it, it was just a matter of how. I just did what I needed to do, got through it. I still feel that I have a lot more in me and plenty more to give. This win will take me up to another level now.Yafai did what several fighters from Birmingham, England, have been unable to do, including middleweight Matthew Macklin and welterweight Frankie Gavin in recent years, which is to become his citys first world titleholder in the 109 years since Owen Moran won a 20-round decision against Al Delmont to win what many recognized as the bantamweight world title in 1907.Yafai (21-0, 14 KOs), 27, easily outpointed Concepcion (35-5, 24 KOs), 31, of Panama, on the Anthony Joshua-Eric Molina undercard to claim the vacant belt one day after an overweight Concepcion was stripped of the belt. He weighed in at 117? pounds, 2? over the division limit.Yafai went on to win easily as he knocked Concepcion on his rear end with a left hand in the 10th round and prevailed 120-108, 119-108 and 117-110 on the judges scorecards. I always knew I was capable of a win like that, Yafai said. I really didnt think he was that great in there. I felt from round one that I was winning the rounds comfortably, doing what I needed to do and making sure that I haad plenty in the tank in the championship rounds. Dalton Pompey Blue Jays Jersey. .He was tough and physical, but he wasnt as strong as I thought he would be on the inside, and he didnt punch as hard as I thought he would. He had decent power, but not the power that I thought he would.Yafai, who represented Great Britain in the 2008 Olympics, said the pro world title makes up for not winning a medal.Every Olympian and Olympic champion wants to become a world champion, he said. I missed out on the [medal at the] Olympics, but this is amazing. And Ive had a great payday, but this is more than any payday you could ever give me.I could have been moved quicker, really. Ive had injuries, and weve had to wait for the big fights. I think it has come at the right time, though, and the proof was in the win. Ive boxed a [former] world champion, and Ive won very comfortably. I feel that I won near enough every round. I did a lot of good things, but I did some bad things. But Ill correct them and get back in the gym after Christmas.Yafai came out of the fight with sore hands but said he looks forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when he can defend his 115-pound world title at home.I cant wait to headline in Birmingham as a world champion, he said. My hands are a bit sore, so I might be out for a little bit. But the second I can get in the gym I will be back working and getting ready to defend this belt for the first time. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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