In their first three seasons, two-meter Matt Burton, goalie Joel Dennerley and driver Peter Kurzeka, all part of USC coach Jovan Vavic’s historic 2008 men’s water polo recruiting class, formed a “Big Three,” playing integral roles on three championship teams. With the unit intact and complemented by an array of talent entering in 2011, the trio hoped to cap the greatest achievement imaginable in any collegiate sport: claiming a championship in all four seasons of eligibility.USC won its unprecedented fourth consecutive NCAA title, but did so without its captain and All-American defensive stalwart, Burton.Still got it · Redshirt senior two-meter Matt Burton was third among USC scorers in 2010 with 33 goals, finding the back of the net in 21 games. – Daily Trojan file photoIn the second game of the season, a 14-3 win over Cal Baptist, Burton hyper-extended his elbow, tearing a ligament and, in the process, unceremoniously ending his bid for the fourth consecutive title with his fellow All-American captains.“You watch all of your best friends go through a whole season,” Burton said. “I was a captain of the team, yet I was always on the sidelines and sort of cheering from the stands, which was really tough, but extremely motivating.”Now a redshirt senior, Burton, who initially faced the possibility of undergoing Tommy John surgery, a common procedure for baseball pitchers that requires a year of recovery, admits that at first he doubted his will to rehabilitate his injury and return for another season.“Coming back from an injury is probably the hardest thing I’ve done in water polo,” Burton said. “It’s extremely frustrating, and you’re kind of out on an island by yourself.”As a 2008 recipient of the Elite 88 Award, given to the player with the highest GPA among all NCAA men’s water polo tournament players, Burton’s intellect provided him with options outside of water polo post-USC.Yet, the allure of winning a fifth title and trumping his former recruiting classmates proved too enticing. Burton subsequently earned admission to USC’s progressive master’s degree program in communication management, cementing his decision.“Last year, it was devastating for him,” Vavic said. “He really wanted to play. It was good, though, because he matured from it and learned how important water polo is for him.”After processing and negotiating the initial disappointment of the injury, Burton used his first stint as a sideline spectator since starting college to improve his understanding of the game.“I had a chance to sit out of the pool and get to watch from the stands and see how the game is played,” Burton said. “It helped with my water polo IQ, and now that I’m playing, I’m seeing things more and becoming a better passer.”There is no question in Vavic’s mind that Burton will reassume his customary leadership role quickly.“Having him back is huge for us,” Vavic said. “He’s one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had. He’s committed to winning, committed to being a champion.”And it’s not as if Burton is the lone remaining member of the 2008 squad. Drivers Andrew Reego and Michael Rosenthal and two-meter Brian Boswell, who all had a year of eligibility remaining after redshirting their freshmen years, will similarly return for their fifth seasons in the program.“Boswell and Rosenthal have each been around for five years, and each of them brings something different to the table,” Burton said. “I’m more of the guy that’s on people’s cases urging them to work harder. They’re the nice guys who are always cracking jokes. Losing [Dennerley] and [Kurzeka] is huge, but we’re extremely fortunate. If it happened to any other team, it would be devastating.”As a lockdown defensive specialist who also ranked as the 2010 team’s third leading scorer with 33 goals, Burton still acknowledges that USC’s young talent will vie for his and his redshirt senior classmates’ playing time.“I’ve started and I haven’t started,” Burton said. “I’m not too concerned about starting, because I’m pretty sure I’ll get the same amount of minutes that I’ve always gotten. [Junior utility] Mace Rapsey is a great defender, and he’s earned his playing time. If he starts over me or if I’m starting over him it doesn’t matter, because we both complement each other well.”As for his water polo aspirations after USC, Burton plans to play professionally in Australia, with the hope of earning an Olympic nod in the future. That said, he is uncertain whether a selection to the U.S. Olympic team is his ultimate objective.“I’ve played on international teams, but the injury has changed my mindset a bit,” Burton said. “To work for four years toward an Olympic sporting event to only possibly get injured before it would be devastating. I know a couple of guys that has happened to, and I don’t know if I’m ready to make that commitment yet.”Burton still has time to mull his future plans. For now, he is intent on reminding his teammates that the veteran can still play.“[Staying] kind of works in my favor,” Burton said. “I have the chance to get five rings, and a lot of my friends decided to stick around with me. And I get the John McKay Center. I guess getting injured was pretty lucky.”
Ghana’s senior cricket team, has secured a place in Saturday’s final of the ICC Division 8 tournament in Samoa. Ghana beat Japan by 62 runs with all-rounder Samuel Aboagye named the man of the match.By this result Ghana has set a grand final date with Vanuatu who beat Belgium by 83 runs in the other semi final. Ghana made 198 runs for 10 wickets in 48 overs while Japan only managed to make 136 runs in 46 overs for 10 wickets.Dr William Ampofo who Chairs Cricket Association told Joy Sports in an interview that his outfit was excited about the feat describing it as a historic one. Team Ghana will qualify for the next stage if she beats Vanuatu in the final“Ghana is now part of the international scene for cricket and we are very proud of team Ghana. This is one day cricket and just after this tournament we will play the T20 which has become popular on television,” Dr Ampofo told Joy Sports.According to him, the boys are doing well because they are combining the one day format with the shorter form which is the T20 format. “This achievement is a big boost for our schools development programme so we are really glad that team Ghana is putting cricket on the map,” he said.The last time Ghana won major silverware was when the current team won the ICC Africa World League Series Division Three tournament in Benoni City South Africa in 2008.
ROSEMEAD – If a judge for the California Public Utilities Commission gets his way, Southern California Edison will pay $200 million in fines and ratepayer refunds for rigging customer satisfaction surveys – a move that allowed the utility and its employees to collect larger bonus payments. Administrative Law Judge Robert Barnett outlined his proposed penalty during a public hearing Thursday held by the California Public Utilities Commission. Barnett said Edison, California’s second-largest utility, should return $160 million in financial incentives, paid by its customers through their electricity rates as a result of the falsified surveys. Edison should also pay a $40 million fine, Barnett said. The utility – a unit of Rosemead-based Edison International – disclosed in 2004 that an in-house investigation found some employees had rigged the surveys. At the time, Edison told the commission that knowledge of the survey-rigging scheme did not appear to go higher than middle management, one of four groups eligible for the performance bonuses. The company has argued penalties against it should be limited to the nearly $50 million in bonuses and a $2.5-million fine. Barnett, one of two officials who presided over the probe into Edison’s actions, has yet to formally issue his judgment against the company. Once he does, it becomes final after 30 days, unless there is an appeal or a member of the commission seeks further review of the case. Barnett also suggested the commission should consider compensating Edison employees who blew the whistle on the scheme. SCE addresed the problem in a variety of ways prior to the CPUC investigation. Actions taken include: An internal investigation of information SCE received of employee misconduct The decision to broaden the investigation to ensure the reliability of other reporting systems Self disclosure to regulators and the public Disciplinary actions where appropriate Organizational changes made to ensure the problems would not reoccur Employee training initiatives The commitment to return to customers $49.5 million in financial awards The Utility Reform Network, a watchdog group that “stands up for consumer rights, affordable rates and a more livable California,” says the judge’s proposed penalty is just. “The judge is the one who heard all the evidence, read all the filings and analyzed all of the arguments,” TURN spokeswoman Mindy Spatt said. “We believe he’s come to a very good decision.” Staff writer Kevin Smith contributed to this report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! On Friday, Edison spokesman Gil Alexander said the utility preferred to reserve comment until the commission issues a written decision. The company has argued penalties against it should be limited to the nearly $50 million in bonuses and a $2.5-million fine. Under the CPUC’s performance-based rate-making mechanism, the results of customer satisfaction surveys are used, in part, to determine whether SCE receives an incentive reward or penalty. To bolster the outcome of Maritz Corp.’s independently conducted customer satisfaction surveys, SCE workers falsified client telephone numbers – and in some cases inserted their own phone numbers – so they could pose as clients and give SCE glowing reviews, Stephen Pickett, SCE’s senior vice president and general counsel, said in a June 2004 interview with this newspaper. Some SCE field workers also failed to record negative encounters with customers, he said, which should also have figured into the survey results.