|Posted November 26th, 2013 at 11:45 PM by ldh2013
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers fired special teams co-ordinator Al Everest on Thursday and replaced him with former assistant special teams coach Amos Jones. Everest, who held his position since 2010, presided over units that ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in kick return, punt return and net punting average yardage last season. Everest was about to enter his 16th season as an NFL special teams coach. "We are continually evaluating our coaching staff and support staff, and we have decided to go in a different direction with respect to the coaching of our special teams," head coach Mike Tomlin said. "I want to thank Al for his contributions and efforts, and I wish him well in the future." Jones was on Tomlins original staff in 2007, first as an assistant to special teams co-ordinator Bob Ligashesky before staying on to work under Everest for the Steelers (No. 7 in AP Pro32). 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MOSCOW -- Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina won the decisive doubles match Sunday as Russia completed a 3-2 comeback victory over Slovakia to reach the Fed Cup final. Slovakia won the first two singles on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead but Maria Kirilenko and Makarova won the reverse matches to level the series before the Russians rallied to beat Dominika Cibulkova and Daniela Hantuchova 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on indoor clay at Krylatskoye Ice Stadium. Kirilenko beat Cibulkova 7-5, 6-1 in the first reverse singles before Makarova downed Hantuchova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Four-time champion Russia will travel to face either the two-time defending champion Czech Republic or former champion Italy in the final on Nov. 2-3. The Slovak doubles pair saved three break points before breaking the Russians in the 10th game to win the first set. But the experienced Russian duo, ranked third by the WTA, broke them twice in the second set and completely dominated the decider, clinching the win on their second match point. "I think we did very well. In the first set we played great and we were very close," Hantuchova said. "Sometimes in sports you can do your best and you can try whatever but it doesnt work your way. We did give our best." Earlier, Makarova broke Hantuchova twice in the first set and went on to dominate early in the second. But the Slovak veteran seized the initiative by saving a break point in the eighth game before holding. Makarova double-faulteed 15-40 in the next game and Hantuchova served out the set to stay in the match.dddddddddddd A break up in the third, Hantuchova was broken to love in the ninth game when she double-faulted. Makarova held to go 5-4 up, and Hantukova saved three match points in the next game before the Russian clinched the victory with a forehand down the line. "It was a very tough match, very emotional one," Makarova said. "I do not remember ever screaming come on in any of my matches or even in my life." In the first mathc of the day, Kirilenko broke in the 12th game to take the first set. Cibulkova opened the second with a break, but the Russian broke back immediately and won the rest of the games, serving the match out at love. Kirilenko said that she moved and played much better than she did on Saturday and a phone call from her husband-to be, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, helped her a lot. "Those were the words of a real champion and I told myself -- Im no worse," Kirilenko said. Cibulkova said she hadnt recovered from Saturdays three-set match against Pavlyuchenkova. "In the second set I felt like my energy was gone," Cibulkova said. "And Maria took advantage of it 100 per cent. The match was not going my way today and it was really tough on the court." Russia reached the semifinals for the seventh consecutive year, while Slovakia played in its first since winning the title in 2002. ' ' '