The Merrill Volleyball team continues to prepare for their next match. Tomorrow the Jays clash with Chippewa Falls at Wausau West for a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal. Merrill defeated Marshfield on Saturday 21-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 to win their regional and advance to the sectionals. Merrill, seeded 5th, will face the No. 1 seeded Cardinals at 6 p.m. from Wausau West. The winner will advance to the sectional finals Saturday in Marshfield and face the winner of Eau Claire North and Wausau East.
Carlos Gomez has become the first Milwaukee Brewer in 31 years to win a Gold Glove Award. The awards were presented last night to the top fielders at each position in both the National and American leagues. Gomez beat out two other N-L finalists in center -- Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh and Denard Span of Washington. Reached in his native Dominican Republic, Gomez told the Journal Sentinel the award was a "dream come true." He said he worked his entire career to be among the best in the outfield. Gomez led all Major League center-fielders with 38 runs saved this year, with a career-high 12 assists. He pulled five potential home runs back into the park, one in a walk-off fashion that saved a Brewers' victory. Gomez missed nine games with injuries caused by his aggressive defense. He told the Journal Sentinel he had an arthroscopic procedure this month to remove loose material from his right elbow. He said he's now doing his rehab and will be back to 100-percent in a couple weeks. Former Brewers' shortstop J-J Hardy of Baltimore won his second Gold Glove last night. Former Wisconsin Timber Rattler Adam Jones of the Orioles received his third career gold glove as the top American League center-fielder.
Norichika Aoki will stay with the Brewers for at least one more year. The team has exercised a 2014 option to keep the former Japanese batting champion. Aoki was Milwaukee's lead-off hitter for most of this past season, batting .286 with eight homers and 37 R-B-I's. He had 171 total hits, the 10th highest in the National League. Aoki was also one of the toughest to strike out, as he fanned once in every 16-point-nine plate appearances. The 31-year-old Aoki has played two seasons in Milwaukee. He reached several financial incentives during that time, and will make one-point-nine million dollars next year.
The Milwaukee Bucks will open their 45th N-B-A season tonight against the Knicks in New York. Starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova practiced fully yesterday, and he could play tonight after being out since October 8th with a sprained right ankle. The Bucks are counting on a youth movement to help the team win games, while winning the public support necessary for a new arena -- the fate of which could determine the Bucks' future in Milwaukee. This summer, general manager John Hammond brought in a new coach in Larry Drew and 11 new players. Some are seasoned veterans who can help the young prospects grow. 21-year-old Brandon Knight is Milwaukee's starting point guard, already a two-year N-B-A veteran with Detroit. Center Larry Sanders, who had a break-out season a year ago, was rewarded with a four-year contract extension. 22-year-old John Henson shows promising signs at forward. 18-year-old Greek native Giannis Antetokounmpo -- the Bucks' first-round draft choice -- created a buzz at small forward during the pre-season. The veterans include Racine native and two-time All-Star Caron Butler, shooting guard O-J Mayo from Memphis, and former Bucks Carlos Delfino, Luke Ridnour, and Zaza Pachulia. Sanders and Ilyasova are among just four holdovers from last season.
Green Bay Packers' tight end Jermichael Finley wondered if God was punishing him during the first moments after his devastating neck injury 10 days ago. Finley gave an account of his ordeal in Sports Illustrated's "Monday Morning Quarterback." His neck was jarred by a shoulder from Cleveland defender Tashaun Gipson, as Finley fell to the Lambeau Field turf for six minutes before being removed a stretcher. He spent parts of five days in a hospital with a bruised spinal cord. The hit came while he was running after a catch. He said it unfolded very quickly. Finley said he saw Gipson from a corner of his eye, and he lowered his head and shoulders to protect his knees. He said he remained conscious but could not move. Finley said the scariest thing was seeing fear in the eyes of teammate Andrew Quarless as he stood nearby. That told him something was really wrong. As he was being hauled off, Finley wanted to show the fans he was okay by giving a thumbs-up - but his arm couldn't move after it went up halfway. Finley wants to play again, but he's not sure if it will happen this season. If he never plays again, he said he has a 10-million insurance policy that will help his family be financially-secure for life. The 5-and-2 Packers are getting ready to play Chicago on Monday night.
Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland sat out of yesterday's practice. Coach Gary Andersen says he plans to be careful this week in getting the senior Borland ready to return on Saturday at Iowa. Borland -- a candidate for three national awards -- strained his right hamstring 11 days ago in the Badgers' win at Illinois. Andersen said he expects Borland to play against the Hawkeyes. Marcus Trotter filled in with the Number-One defense at practice yesterday. Trotter played the final three quarters against the Illini after Borland got hurt, and had a fumble recovery and nine tackles.