Sherwood added: “I’m disappointed not to take all three points but there were some excellent performances out there from my players. “I’m pleased with how we played, we created chances from all areas of the field and should have had a penalty. “It was one-way traffic for long spells. The only thing missing is the fine margins, the finishing touch. We should have been out of sight.” Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat was happy with a point and sees some positives to build on when the league resumes next month following the international break. He said: “For the majority (of the match) Villa were the better team and a point from an away game is good. I am pleased with the performance. “We started well and scored but then gave an easy goal away, which gives the other team a lift. “We did okay again at the start of the second half but then Villa took over again and we had problems with their wingers. “We were better in the second half but we have to improve again. “It’s a shame some of the players are going away but it is something to pick up next time, in the next game.” A moment of frustration left Tim Sherwood with a hamstring injury – but the Aston Villa boss was delighted with his team’s performance despite having to settle for a draw against Sunderland. Sherwood refrained from kicking the bottles in the direction of the crowd, opting to backheel them instead. However, in doing so he caused himself a mischief. Sherwood explained: “I said in the week (after the Notts County game) that I pulled a hamstring just watching it, well I actually think I have this time. “I was going to give them a boot but they would have gone towards the crowd so I thought I’d backheel them instead. “(Feeling his hamstring) it’s a bit tight. I wish I hadn’t. I must have looked like a spoilt brat. I tell my kids off for behaving like that. “But when you don’t get what you feel you deserve, everyone sulks don’t they? Or is that just me?” The game itself was dominated by Villa for large parts but they could not find a winning goal their endeavour deserved. Yann M’Vila’s superb free-kick put Sunderland ahead early on but a Scott Sinclair double before half-time, the first from the penalty spot, turned the match on its head. However, Sunderland equalised at the start of the second half through Jeremain Lens, although they were indebted to goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon for a handful of saves, most notably to deny Ashley Westwood, as they escaped with a 2-2 draw. Sherwood went to kick a cluster of water bottles when Villa were denied a penalty late in the Barclays Premier League game. To add insult to injury, literally in Sherwood’s case, referee Robert Madley booked substitute Carles Gil for simulation. Press Association
GREG DIXON/Herald photoFollowing a pair of disappointing losses at home last weekend, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team hits the road for the first time in the Big Ten with matches Friday at Ohio State and Sunday at Penn State.UW (6-4-1, 0-2-0 Big Ten) started conference play last weekend with a 2-1 loss to Illinois and a 1-0 loss to Purdue. Despite the setbacks, the Badgers enter this weekend’s games positive and focused on the task ahead.“We just decided that we need to look forward to this weekend,” senior Taylor Walsh said. “We’ve had some really competitive practices this week, and that’s a good start just to get our momentum going into this weekend.”The Badgers struggled to get things going early in games last weekend, something they have had a problem with in each of their four losses. The team struggled to maintain control of the ball and let its opponents dictate the play in the first half, allowing them to get an early lead.“We worked a lot on defense and keeping possession,” freshman Leigh Williams said. “Hopefully, we’ll keep possession and make the other teams run around a little more this weekend and chase us.”Not only are the Badgers moving past last week’s games, they are focusing solely on their first game against the Buckeyes. While Sunday’s match with perennial Big Ten power Penn State is a big game for Wisconsin, head coach Paula Wilkins has her team focused on Friday’s matchup.“[We are] looking at one game at a time. I think that’s always what we do,” Wilkins said. “It starts here in training. I think if we get some confidence back here in training in the little things that we can do well, then we’re going to be good for the weekend.”Ohio State (4-4-2, 1-0) enters the weekend on a four-game winning streak after beating Indiana last Sunday on the road to open the Big Ten season. The Buckeyes are led offensively by senior Lisa Collison with four goals and two assists for a total of 10 points.As they travel to Columbus, the Badgers will face a tough test as they look to finally earn their first road win of the season. Furthermore, a win this weekend would be the first conference road win for Wisconsin since winning at Minnesota on Oct. 1, 2006.“It would be nice to get our first road win,” Wilkins said. “It’s going to be one of our focuses, but to be honest, we just want to do our details right, and whether it’s home or away, get better as a team.”Wisconsin will end its trip against No. 25 Penn State (6-5, 1-0-0), a team Wilkins is very familiar with. Prior to coaching the Badgers, Wilkins spent six seasons as head coach of the Nittany Lions and seven as an assistant coach.Much like last season when Penn State traveled to Wisconsin, Wilkins’ team is motivated to try to get a win for her as she faces her old team for the first time back at Jeffrey Field.“Everyone is really fired up for that game,” Walsh said. “Last year, we played really well against Penn State and with our squad this year I think we’ll be even more pumped up. There will be a lot of people there, and it’s going to be a really good atmosphere to play in.”Penn State enters the weekend having lost three of its last four games, with the sole win coming in its Big Ten opener Friday against Indiana. Two of the Lions’ losses, however, came against teams ranked in the top five, as they suffered a 3-1 loss to top-ranked Notre Dame and a 4-1 defeat against previously No. 4 Portland.When looking at Penn State, Wilkins believes they are a better team than their recent losses indicate.“From what I’ve seen on video they’re very dangerous up front, and they have a history of being a quality team,” Wilkins said. “I think they’re much better than their record shows, and playing those good teams has helped them to get even better.”
Balancing act · Senior outside hitter Lucas Yoder and the Trojans are on a five-game winning run but remain grounded with UCLA set to visit. Katie Chin | Daily TrojanRiding a five-game winning streak, the men’s volleyball team looks to keep its momentum going against crosstown rival UCLA on Wednesday. After the No. 6 Bruins defeated the Trojans in Westwood during the two teams’ last meeting in January, the No. 12 Trojans look to defend their home court and use the energy of the rivalry to their advantage.“It is not a question of not being emotive … because they are getting inundated with the feedback of the rivalry, which takes on a life of its own,” head coach Jeff Nygaard said. “It is a question of what you do with that emotion. You never know what it is going to be until you play, but I like to believe that we are playing good volleyball and that it’s not an accident. These guys are really focused on what we need to be doing.”In USC’s last match against Concordia, sophomore outside hitter Gianluca Grasso led the Trojans to a victory in three sets with 20 kills. In the third set alone, USC was hitting .379 to Concordia’s .087. Despite the Trojans finishing the game with more hitting errors, they did so getting more touches on the ball and more chances to make a play.In that same sense, the Trojans will continue to focus on how they are performing first, and hope to let UCLA make mistakes.“How do we handle our side of the net?” Nygaard said. “Stay in a moment, stay focused [and] keep our composure, yet be competitive and handle whatever they dish out with serves.”The team is not just looking for a rivalry victory, though. USC is looking to clinch a spot in the postseason, and winning the final four matches of the regular season would put the Trojans at 9-9 in conference play. This would give them a solid chance at making the MPSF Tournament. This game is just the first of the many steps for the team to achieve its postseason aspirations, but it is one that will be lively, as Trojan fans will look to drown out the traveling UCLA contingent at the Galen Center. “It is undeniable that there is going to be a great environment, but that is what the playoffs and this time of the season is anyway,” Nygaard said. “I am excited for [the match], but do I look at that as the end-all, be-all? No. I love the rivalry, but that’s not the hallmark of what we are trying to do.”While USC’s goal over these next four games is to put itself in playoff position, the Trojans will face a stiff challenge to extend their five-game winning streak, as the Bruins enter Wednesday with a five-game winning streak of their own. But Nygaard dismissed the role of momentum, especially in a heated rivalry matchup.“I love five-game winning streaks, but you know what I like more? Six-game winning streaks,” Nygaard said. “Do I think that’s the major factor in this? Not really. I think these are two teams who know that they’ve been successful. That’s just what makes this a special night.”First serve between the Trojans and Bruins on Wednesday is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Galen Center.