McKay relishing chance to impress

first_img Press Association But the absence of Kyle Lafferty, Martin Paterson and Jamie Ward on the current trip saw him make the starting XI for the first time in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Friday. He worked tirelessly without a sight of goal but has another chance to catch the eye in Chile on Wednesday night and it is one he is desperate to take. “It was good to get a start against top-class opposition. I ‘ve been in and around for 18 months or so now and I think the time was right for me to get a start,” he said. “Hopefully I’ve done okay and I’m in the thoughts of the manager now. “Every time I come away I want to impress as much as I can, whether it’s training or games. Hopefully I’ve done that this week and there’s another game to go so there’s another chance to go again. “If the manager picks me I’ll be ready to go. “I’m a striker, I want to go out and score goals and it would be nice to grab one in Chile.” McKay, a prolific scorer for Caley over the last two seasons, has been part of the Northern Ireland set-up for some time but has struggled for regular game time since making his debut in February 2013. His first five caps all came as a substitute and in Cyprus he was replaced just 17 minutes after coming off the bench following Gareth McAuley’s sending off. center_img Inverness striker Billy McKay is relishing the chance to impress Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill in South America.last_img read more

Syracuse relies on guard Cornelia Fondren to make up for depth issues in rotation

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Cornelia Fondren pursed her lips, scrunched her eyebrows and threw her hands down to her side.She started jogging back on defense after committing a charge and one possession after shooting an air ball.Fondren scored 11 points in the first half of Syracuse’s last game, but only scored five and committed two turnovers after the break as Wake Forest took the lead for good.“In the first half we kind of let Fondren go too much left,” WFU head coach Jen Hoover said after beating SU on March 5, “and so we talked about that a little bit at halftime, that we really had to force her to her right and take away that left side a little bit.”While the Orange’s loss in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament likely affected its seed in the NCAA tournament, it showed Fondren’s transformation. Wake Forest created a plan to stop the junior, and when it did, the Demon Deacons stopped the entire SU team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFondren is Syracuse’s (21-9, 11-5 ACC) most versatile player and her emergence throughout the year has provided head coach Quentin Hillsman with lineup flexibility. With depleted guard depth due to torn ACLs for Brittney Sykes and Diamond Henderson, Fondren’s role may be more important than ever.Eighth-seeded SU will face ninth-seeded Nebraska on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament and Hillsman said he expects Fondren to continue to be a player that SU counts on.“She’s playing good for us,” Hillsman said. “Obviously playing all those minutes and playing multiple roles and positions, that’s been big for us. I think she’s really been effective in whatever role we’ve put her in.”Last year, Fondren was a player that came off the bench and averaged three points and 12 minutes a game. This year, she is third on the team in minutes per game (28.7), second in assists per game (2.7), second in steals per game (2.1) and second in rebounds per game (5.5). In 18 of 30 games, Fondren has led SU in assists, steals or rebounds.Fondren’s combination of quickness, athleticism and aggressiveness has allowed the 5-foot-8 junior to play at every position on the floor this season except for center. But despite being so reliable, Fondren said she doesn’t feel any added responsibility. “I just have to do my job,” Fondren said. “Keep doing what Coach keeps asking of me.”Against Wake Forest and for much of the season, Syracuse was at its best when forcing turnovers in the full-court press. Backcourt-mate Alexis Peterson leads the ACC with 2.4 steals per game and the duo sparks the Orange in transition.As the two guards SU counts on the most, Hillsman looks for more of the same from Fondren and Peterson against Nebraska.“There are a lot of things we need to do to take care of our own business,” Hillsman said. “I think it does start with Cornelia and Alexis up front (in the press).”In 14 of the first 15 conference games Fondren failed to score double digits. Now though, in the past two games she’s scored 13 and 16 points, respectively.With limited depth and only do-or-die games left, Fondren’s contributions are needed.Said center Briana Day: “I think once she gets going, everyone will get going.” Comments Published on March 18, 2015 at 12:11 am Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img read more