Category Archives: College

Starting Pitcher Tyler Holton Out For Season

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State starting pitcher Tyler Holton will miss the remainder of the season with a torn UCL. Holton will undergo Tommy John surgery this Thursday. The junior ace left the Seminoles’ opening game last Friday  in the 5th inning after manager Mike Martin had a trainer go check on him. After the game, Martin said that Holton felt the same type of pain back in high school, but nothing ever came of it.  Holton, who came into this season leading all returning pitchers in the nation with 144 strikeouts last year, was pitching a one-hit shutout when he was pulled.

“Tyler is a fine young man and we’re all disappointed at this setback in his career,” Martin said. “He’s doing the best thing right now. We’ll be there for him and help guide him through the rehab process, but as a team, we have to keep moving forward on our goals for this season.”

In an update after last Saturday’s game, before the diagnosis was made, Martin said he would consider having a look at freshman Austin Pollock to become the No. 4 starter if Holton had to miss extended time. Pollock allowed no runs in 4 innings last Saturday.

Seminoles Overcome Tough Start to Defeat Xavier

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – 

Florida State recovered from a slow start to notch a victory over Xavier Saturday afternoon, 7-2.

Cole Sands took the mound for the Seminoles (2-0) for his first start of the season. In 2017, he went 6-4 while throwing a 5.40 ERA in 83.1 innings. Today, he found himself in trouble from the very first batter when Xavier shortstop Ryan Attenberger doubled to right field. After Sands allowed a single on the next at-bat, right fielder Joe Gellenbeck hit a single to right field to give the Musketeers (0-2) their first runs of the game. Three batters in, manager Mike Martin and pitching coach Mike Bell went out to the mound for a quick meeting with Sands. The following at-bat, Sands allowed a sacrifice fly out to center field, bringing home Conor Grammes. Still with one out, two runs allowed already, and a runner still on base, Sands retired the next two batters on strikeouts.

“It was just kind of nerves,” said Sands. “I was a little on top of the zone. I had to get the ball back down, and get the ball back to the corner of the plate.”

Sands (5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB) would go on to retire 15 of the next 16 batters that he faced, picking up a career-high 9 strikeouts.

“What I wanted him to know was he was literally in a position to get out of the innings if he could get a popup or a strikeout,” Martin said of Sands’ first inning. “I think that is when Cole really showed his true colors. He bared down, and got us in the dugout.”

After being in a two-run hole early, the Seminoles answered quickly when freshman shortstop Mike Salvatore reached on a walk to lead off the inning, and scored on a Rhett Aplin double.

Two innings later, Salvatore scored again, this time off a Cal Raleigh sac fly. Salvatore would score three runs despite only having two official plate appearances.

The score sat at 2-2 going into the bottom of the 4th. Salvatore drove home J.C. Flowers (2-for-3, 2 R) on a sac fly to left field to break the tie. The Seminoles would keep this lead for the remainder of the game.

The Seminoles got some insurance in the 5th inning. With 2 outs already in the inning, Cal Raleigh laid down a bunt that hugged the third base line to beat the extreme defensive shit Xavier set against him. Following a Nick Derr walk, Flowers smacked a ball up the middle that careened off of pitcher Matt Kent’s leg. Shortstop Ryan Attenberger was able to field it, but not in time to catch Flowers at first. With the bases loaded, senior Rafael Bournigal doubled to right center field to clear the bases, giving FSU a 6-3 lead.

In the top of the 6th, Tallahassee native Austin Pollock came in relief of Sands to make his college debut. Pollock (4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K) cruised through his first two innings, but came close to surrenduring his first run of the game in the 8th inning when Conor Grammes hit a double to center field. With Ryan Attenberger racing home, J.C. Flowers relayed the ball to Salvatore, who was able to throw out Attenberger at the plate.

The Seminoles shut out the Musketeers in the last 8 innings.

With starting pitcher Tyler Holton out, Martin said he and his staff would consider giving Pollock a look at being in the top four of the pitching rotation.

The Seminoles close out their opening series on Sunday against Xavier at 1:00 p.m.

Seminoles Get Off to Early Lead, Win First Game of Season

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State Seminoles baseball team started the season on the right foot with a 9-1 victory over the Xavier Musketeers, behind a great pitching performance from Tyler Holton, and a quick start on offense.

Manager Mike Martin, whose team started in a 0-1 hole to start the season last year, was happy with the early production from both sides of the ball tonight.

Tonight’s ballgame was a good start, a little bit better than last year…It wasn’t a great beginning last year,” Martin said. Martin is entering his 39th year as the skipper for FSU. “ I was very proud of the way the young men approached the game. Had some key hits, but let’s face it, we had some outstanding pitching.”

Holton, who leads all returning players nationally with 144 strikeouts last season, was dominant throughout the game. After allowing the first batter of the game to reach on an error at third base, Holton proceeded to retire the next 12 batters he faced. In the fifth inning, Xavier second baseman Sam Flamini doubled off Holton to give the Musketeers their first hit of the game. Holton struck out the next two batters but then walked catcher Nate Soria. That’s when Mike Martin and a team trainer came out to look at him and pulled him from the game.

Alex Krutchik | Franchise Sports Tallahassee
FSU got an early season victory behind dominant pitching

Martin said it was tenderness in his throwing arm, and it’s a problem he had back in high school as well.

“He acted like that’s exactly the way it felt (when it happened in high school). So, therefore, he’s gonna have to take some time off,” Martin said. “Once we get the diagnosis, we’ll know what to do.”

Holton finished with 4.2 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts.

The Seminole offense was off to a hot start, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings. Much like last year, the Noles found ways to get on base without getting many hits. They were walked a total of 10 times. Of the 28 baserunners FSU had, 13 of them reached via walks or hit-by-pitch.

Junior college transfer Mike Salvatore reached base first for the Seminoles after getting walked. Junior left fielder Jackson Lueck was walked immediately after. Rhett Aplin got the Noles’ first hit of the season on a single to center, but the Seminoles would have to wait for their first run of the year, as Salvatore was thrown out at the plate. Xavier pitcher Trevor Olson hit Drew Mendoza to load the bases and walked Cal Raleigh to bring Jackson Lueck home for the first run of the season.

The Seminoles continued their offensive output in the third when designated hitter Nick Derr hit a solo home run for FSU’s first of the year. He went 2-for-3 with two runs.

Another offensive explosion came in the sixth inning. With two outs, Mendoza reached on a single, followed by walks for Raleigh and Derr. With the bases loaded, J.C. Flowers hit a line drive off shortstop Chris Givin’s glove, driving home Mendoza and Raleigh. Then, freshman Reese Albert came in as a pinch-hitter, and delivered a single to center, driving home two more runs. Four new Seminoles got hits in their debuts. Aside from Albert, Rafael Bournigal, Cooper Swanson, and Jared Herron all collected hits today.

It’s great for our little camaraderie for our ballclub. A couple of guys got their first taste of D1 baseball, and started off their career with a base hit,” Martin said. “That part of it is always fun for the coaches.”

Junior pitcher Cobi Johnson entered the game for the Seminoles in the eighth and retired six of the seven batters that he faced. Of those six batters, he struck out four. This was the first time Johnson has pitched since injuring his arm in April 2016. Johnson was happy with his season debut.

“I’m just so happy to be able to compete again and be pain-free up there on the mound. I’m just so happy I could cry,” Johnson said.

The Seminoles take on the Musketeers again Saturday at 1 p.m. Cole Sands will take the mound for FSU.

Florida State upsets No.11 Clemson in Overtime Thriller

Alec Chessari, Correspondent (@AlecChessariFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) The Florida State Seminoles men’s basketball team (18-8, 7-7) kept it sweet on Valentines Day by overcoming an 18-point deficit against the No.11 Clemson Tigers (20-5, 9-4) in overtime to win 81-79.

The Seminoles started off sluggish turning the ball over on their first three possessions. The Tigers made sure to take advantage by turning those turnovers into points and gaining an early 10-3 lead with 15:25 remaining in the first half.

“Several of our turnovers were them (Clemson) playing good defense, but about six or seven of those turnovers were just poor decisions we had made” Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton said.

Turnovers looked to plague the Seminoles early in the first half with the Tigers scoring 16 points off the Seminoles turnovers.

The Tigers led at half 41-29 behind there 48 percent shooting (13-27) and 44 percent shooting behind the arc (7-16).  Tigers guard Marcquise Reed led all scorers with 14 points in the first half.

Jordan Pandy | Franchise Sports Tallahassee

 

In the second half, the Seminoles came out with a bang led by Phil Cofer’s 17 points.  Cofer was held to only two shots in 15-minutes in the first half and didn’t manage to score.  In the second half, he shot 8-11.

“Trent is an extremely talented player with a high basketball IQ and is extremely competitive as well,” Hamilton said.

Trent Forrest played 31 hard fought minutes off the bench for the Seminoles, shooting 7-11 from the field, nailing two big free throws late in the game and coming up with a block in overtime to secure the win.

“If you all had not said anything I wouldn’t have even known, we are in the middle of an unbelievable conference race right now,” Hamilton said.

While Hamilton is happy to win the overtime thriller against the Tigers, he managed to pick up his 500th win and 300th win at Florida State.  Hamilton is more focused on his team playing better defensively and executing more efficiently.

The Seminoles currently hold the ninth spot in the ACC and look to stay above .500 in conference play when they take on the Pittsburgh Panthers at home on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m.

 

 

 

FSU Men’s Tennis Impresses vs FAMU

Devin Craig, Correspondent (@DevinCraigFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The No. 13 Florida State men’s tennis squad faced Florida A&M in what was the first of two matches on the day.

FSU headed into the match-up fresh off the heels of a hard-earned victory against a top-10 University of Florida squad. Many suspected that fatigue would play a part in the matches, but the Seminoles seemed as energized as ever as they swept doubles and won 3 straight singles.

“Our team has been very consistent this year,” Noles head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “We give good effort all the way through the match.”

All three doubles teams dominated their FAMU counterparts.

The Whitehurst twins set the pace with a dominating 4-2 victory over Jermaine Le Grand and Labelo Alex Mosehle. With that performance, they bring their overall record to 12-4.

Alex Knaff and Guy Iradukunda struggled a bit more against Adam Nourelidin and Nani Federico, yet still pulled out a 6-3 victory. Sebastian Arcila and Chase Wood rounded out the victories with a 6-2 win over Rodney Sturgis and Hasona Samer.

A couple of fresh faces got a chance to get some experience today.

“We use opportunities like this to build,” Hultquist said. “Today we had an opportunity to play some guys who don’t get in much and let them get some experience.”

One of those individuals was Arcila, who coming into today, only had one singles win under his belt. He won 6-3 and 6-0 over Moshele. Terrence Whitehurst also played in his eighth and ninth singles matches of the year, bringing his overall to 4-4. He won both matches 6-1.

Other singles matches victories included:

Iradukunda vs. Nourelidin (6-4, 4-2), Knaff vs. Federico (4-6 2-1), Rana Roop vs. Bhullar Hasona Samer Hema (6-1 6-14) and Terrell Whitehurst vs. Espinoza Luis Barres (6-1, 4-1).

Next week, the Seminoles plan on keeping their winning streak alive in the National indoors tournament on Feb. 16. The Rattlers plan to bounce back against Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday in Fort Meyers, Florida.

 

 

Rattlers Get Much Needed Home Victory

Jason Merry, Correspondent (@JasonMerryFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Saturday night at the Al Lawson Center the Florida A&M Rattlers men’s basketball team took on the North Carolina Central Eagles in a late-season Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup. Scoring outburst from Desmond Williams and Marcus Barham in the second half helped lead the Rattlers to a 65-56 win over the Eagles. 

The Rattlers led at the end of the first half 28-25 despite being out-rebounded by 11, finishing with 14 compared to the Eagles’ 25.  Senior small forward Desmond Williams led the Rattlers in the first half grabbing six. The Eagles’ top rebounder in the first half was 7-foot junior center Raasean Davis, with 10 rebounds, three of which came on the offensive glass.

Jason Merry | Franchise Sports Tallahassee

 

The second half was more of the same as the final total of rebounds for the Rattlers was 31.  The Eagles out-rebounded the Rattlers by 16 grabbing 41 boards, 21 on the offensive glass.

“We took good care of the basketball.  We turned it over only eight times and they had 15 turnovers,” FAMU head coach Robert McCullum said. “Their 15 turnovers sort of negated their big advantage that they had on the boards.” 

Williams, the Rattler’s leading scorer, struggled in the first half shooting 2-7 with only five points. He also committed three turnovers and was given a technical foul for hanging on the rim.  During the second half, Williams had 16 points on 6-10 shooting and shot 4-4 from the free throw line.  He also cut his turnovers down from three in the first half to only one in the second. Barham added 20 points in the game.

“At halftime, I always reset. It’s a new game when the second half starts,”  Williams said. “I’ve had a bad game and my coaches still call plays for me after my bad first half. It helps my confidence and it shows that if I’m down on myself, my teammates and coaching staff still believe in me.” 

This win improves the Rattlers’ overall record to 5-22 and their conference record to 4-7.  The Eagles’ overall record sits at 12-12 and 6-4 in conference play.

Shooting percentage in the first half told the story as the Rattlers shot 41.7 percent, 44.4 percent from three. The Eagles shot 32.4 percent from the field on 11-34 shooting, and 18.2 percent from three on 2-11 from behind the arc.

Of the 11 field goals made in the first half by the Eagles, five were made by Davis as he shot 5-10 from the floor giving him a double-double with 10 points.

The second half was more of the same as the Rattlers shot 42.9 percent from the floor and the Eagles shot 35.3 percent.

Williams was playing on an ankle that he hurt against Norfolk State. He could be seen wincing and limping throughout the game. Every time he went to the bench trainers would stretch the ankle 

“It makes us all work harder. It makes us pull a little more extra weight because we know he was hurt,” Barham said.

Lady Rattlers Win 84-81 In Overtime Against NCCU

Dimetry Dixon, Correspondent (@DimetryDixonFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers women’s basketball team defeated North Carolina Central Lady Eagles 84-81 in overtime Saturday in the Al Lawson Center.

The Rattlers trailed 36-25 at the half. Their shooting percentage caused them to be behind. NCCU shot 48 percent from the floor in the first half compared to 25 percent by the Rattlers.

Eagles’ guard Kieche White led all scorers in the first half with 14 points. She closed the game with 24 points. FAMU guard Florence Ouattara  ended the first half with eight points, to pace the Rattlers. She also led the team in scoring with 20 points.

Royal A. Shepherd | Franchise Sports Tallahassee

FAMU head coach Ledawn Gibson said the team made some adjustments in the second half. She also talked about all of the injured players on her team

”They came back in the second half with a winning altitude. They went with the gameplan, worked hard, played hard and did what they needed to do to win,” Gibson said. “Even though we lost some key players we still have a lot of talent. We’re nine strong right now and we are going to continue playing with what we got.”

Ecenur Yurdakul  talked about her performance in the closing period and overtime. She scored nine of 17 points in the second half, including a three to tie the game at 71 and another to give FAMU a 74-73 lead.

“I just could not give up on my team, I trust everybody on my team and I just had to make some shots to get this win,” Yurdakul said. “The key to our team getting back in rhythm was our offense.”

Shakeyrra Morrison talked about her physical gameplan and her rebounding during the periods of the game. Morrison led the game with 12 rebounds. She scored five points in the third quarter, after only scoring four in the first half. She ended the game with 17 points.

“My type of game is getting the rebounds and putting it back up and getting some stops on defense and scoring on offense,” Morris said.

NCCU’s Rodneysha Martin  and Paulina Afriye both closed the game with 12 points. Caira Benton also added 11 points.

Rattler sophomore forward Dy’manee Royal added eight points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Guard De’Ayra  Davis added 10 points and three blocks including one as the clock expired.

The Lady Rattlers next play on Monday against the Morgan State Lady Bears at 8 p.m. in the Al Lawson Center.

FAMU vs NC Central Preview

Jason Merry, Correspondent (@JasonMerryFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – On Saturday at 6 p.m., the Florida A&M University Rattlers men’s basketball team will take on the North Carolina Central Eagles at the Al Lawson Center.  FAMU comes into Saturday’s contest 4-22 overall and 3-7 in their conference and NC Central has a 12-11 overall record and a 6-3 conference record.

This will be the teams first meeting this season and FAMU comes in as the clear underdogs.  Leading the way in scoring for the Rattlers so far this season is senior small forward Desmond Williams with 17.8 points per game. Not far behind is senior guard Marcus Barham who is averaging 16.3 points per game.  NC Central is led by junior center Raasean Davis who is averaging 15.4 points per game. For FAMU, the 7-foot junior center, Isaiah Martin leads the way in rebounds and block averaging 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.

The Rattlers are on a four-game losing streak and look primed to break that as 3 of their 4 wins are at home.  NC Central lost their last game also against the Hampton Pirates who FAMU beat earlier on in the season.

 

Preview: Florida A&M Vs. North Carolina Central women’s basketball

Dimetry Dixon, Correspondent (@DimetryDixonFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida A&M women’s basketball team (4-18, 2-8 MEAC) will take on North Carolina Central (6-16, 4-5 MEAC) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Al Lawson Center.

Both teams are coming off of gloomy losses. FAMU took on Maryland-Eastern Shore (7-16 , 4-6 MEAC) on Monday and lost 87-70. In that game, senior guard Florence Quattara led the Lady Rattlers with a game-high 26 points. Senior Ecenur Yurdakul contributed with 10 points and seven assists.

North Carolina Central took on Hampton (11-11 , 7-2 MEAC) on Monday and came up short with a score of 62-53. Sophomore forward Paulina Afriye scored her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Lady Rattlers average 59 points per game and shoot 36 percent from the field as a team. FAMU also averages 40 rebounds per game.  North Carolina Central averages 60 points per game and on 34 percent shooting.

 

PREVIEW: The Florida State Seminoles host The No.16 Clemson Tigers

Alec Chessari, Correspondent (@AlecChessariFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –The Florida State Seminoles men’s basketball team (17-7, 6-7) have a home conference game against the No.16 Clemson Tigers (20-4, 9-3) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.  While the Seminoles are looking to get back to five hundred in ACC play, the Tigers are looking to stay in second place behind the one loss Virginia Cavaliers in the ACC.

Max Fay | Franchise Sports Tallahassee

The Seminoles faced the Cavaliers last Wednesday and jumped out in front early with multiple defensive stops and nailing the three early on.  The Seminoles managed to gain a fourteen-point lead until the Cavaliers battled back in the second half.  The Cavaliers second half adjustments were just enough to keep the Seminoles scoreless from the floor for a span of eight minutes.  The Seminoles fell to the Cavaliers 59-55.

The Tigers are coming off of a blowout conference win against the Pittsburg Panthers, 72-48.  The Tigers will look to keep their senior guard Gabe Devoe hot from behind the arc, where he shot 7 for 11 against the Panthers and is shooting 22 of 34 (65 percent) during their four-game win streak. Devoe will be a key factor for the Tigers if they can pull off the road win against the Seminoles at home.

Another player to watch for the Tigers is Elijah Thomas, a big junior forward looking for rebounds and blocks.  Thomas finished his last game against the Panthers with double-double combing for ten points, eleven rebounds, and three blocks.

Terance Mann, who is averaging 14.9 points a game shooting 58 percent from the floor and grabbing 5.8 rebounds a game, could be a key factor for the Seminoles.  Braian Angola is a threat beyond the arc, shooting 40 percent from three and averaging 14 points and four rebounds.  Phil Cofer, who plays with a lot of energy, is averaging 13.3 points and five rebounds while shooting 50 percent.

FSU Men’s Tennis Update

Sean Bin, Correspondent (@SeanBinFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – With Florida State men’s basketball taking all the spotlight in Tallahassee, few students are aware of other sports taking place on campus.

FSU men’s tennis has been slowly being recognized by the public and it is clear why. Improving from being ranked 22 last week to 17 this week in the Division-1 ITA rankings. Their record stands at 10-1 and they are undefeated at home. Past wins to note include teams such as Texas Tech (ranked 24) and Florida (ranked 8).

The Seminoles are preparing to face against Florida A&M Rattlers and The Citadel Bulldogs on Saturday at home. It will be the third double-header the Seminoles have hosted this season with the Seminoles winning all four games in the past two.

When someone takes a look at the roster, they’ll clearly see that this team is very diverse, with players from Norway, Tunisia, France, and more.

The Seminoles are 33-14 all-time with the seniors and the Whitehurst brothers. It will be interesting to see how the brothers will perform Saturday against FAMU and the Citadel. The Whitehurst brothers also compete in the singles but the stats show their win percentage is significantly higher.

In the Singles, three players stand out based on their win/loss records. Aziz Dougaz, a junior from Tunisia, has nine wins and only one loss so far in this season. Guy Iradukunda, a senior from Burundi, leads the team in wins in singles with 17 victories. Iradukunda is undefeated in the dual division with 10 victories. Lucas Poullain, a redshirt senior from France, is 13-4 but against nationally-ranked players, he is 3-1, the highest win/loss ratio in the team.

FSU Set To Face FAMU In Men’s Tennis Match-up

Devin Craig, Correspondent (@DevinCraigFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State men’s tennis team will square off against cross-town rival Florida A&M on Saturday. Matches kickoff at 10 a.m. at the Scott Speicher Tennis center located on FSU’s campus.

The Seminoles are led by head coach Dwayne Hultquist and the Rattlers are led by director of tennis Rochelle Goldthreate.

FAMU limps into Saturday’s match-up hoping to bounce back from their 5-2 loss to College of Charleston last week.

The duo of Hema Hasona and Illya Skoromnyy beat Alec Angradi and Easton Thomas to secure FAMU’s lone victory in doubles 6-3. Noyreldin Adam also defeated Benedikt Henning (CoC) 3-6, 7-5 and 6-3 .  Lebelo Alex Mosehle out lasted Youssef Dabbabi (CoC) for victories of 6-3 and 6-4.

FAMU’s key players Adam, Mosehle and the doubles squad of Hasona and Skoromnyy are given the rigorous task of keeping up with the Noles, who are one of the better tennis teams in the country.

FSU boasts numerous shutout victories and two wins over nationally ranked opponents the University of South Carolina (24) and the University of Florida (8). FSU is fresh off a 4-3 upset victory over the Gators.

Guy Iradukunda, Lucas Poullain and Alex Knaff each provided a singles victory for the Seminoles.
 
Knaff defeated Andy Andrade (UF) 1-6, 6-4, 6-2. Poullain defeated Oliver Crawford (UF) 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) and Iradukunda defeated Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 7-6 (12-10), 6-3.
 
The combinations of Iradukunda/Knaff and Terrance Whitehurst/Terrell Whitehurst won all of FSU’s doubles by a score of 6-4 and 7-6, (7-3) respectively.
 
The No. 22 ranked Noles hold a record of 10-1. They are 5-0 at home, 2-1 away and 3-0 at neutral sites.
 
A few key players to look out for the Seminoles are senior twin brothers and hometown heroes Terrence and Terrell Whitehurst. Iradukunda, a senior from Gitega, Burundi is expected to play well and Sophomore Knaff is also a player to keep an eye on.