Source / photo: Daily Mail In a week in Pula, a tourist will spend around 6.980 kuna, which is approximately 423 kuna less than the amount they would spend in Dubai, otherwise often synonymous with an expensive vacation. Summer vacation prices in 10 popular destinations Pula is the only European destination that has not become cheaper, but has risen in price by 0,7 percent compared to 2018. It ranks fourth in a select group of the most expensive destinations that still make up Dubai, Orlando and Toronto. The research showed that the Bulgarian Sunny Beach is the cheapest option for families for the fourth year in a row. A week’s vacation at this destination costs around 5.400 kuna per person, which is 17 percent less than last year. The price calculation includes a stay of seven nights, flights, dinners, spending money and one activity. The British daily Daily Mail published an article analyzing price movements in popular holiday destinations frequented by British tourists. Sunny Beach and the Algarve are followed by Antalya, Zakynthos, Dordogne and Lanzarote on the list of cheapest destinations to explore. The Portuguese Algarve recorded the largest drop in prices (-20,2%) compared to last year. Thus, tourists visiting the southernmost Portuguese province will spend around 6.170 kuna this year. “Croatia recently saw an increase in popularity, which could be the reason for the 0,7 percent increase in prices compared to last year”, They concluded from the Daily Mail, one of the most widely read British daily newspapers. Destinations covered by the M&S Bank survey are Sunny Beach (Bulgaria), Algarve (Portugal), Antalya (Turkey), Zakynthos (Greece), Dordogne (France), Lanzarote (Spain), Dubai (UAE), Orlando (USA), Toronto (Canada), and Pula is also on the list.
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Decker has already recorded eight more goals and 18 more assists than she did in her first year.[/media-credit]Going outside for recess, taking field trips, watching cartoons and drinking chocolate milk; these are some of the things the average fourth grader desires. But when Brianna Decker’s fourth grade teacher asked her what she wanted, Decker detailed a much loftier dream: to play hockey for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.Fast-forward through a decade full of pond hockey with her older brothers, time with boys’ teams in middle school and various club and prep teams and Decker, the Badgers’ star sophomore goal scorer, has realized that dream.In her second year of service, Decker has accumulated 23 goals and 30 assists (1.77 points per game), good enough for third in the WCHA conference. According to head coach Mark Johnson, it’s not only her natural scoring ability, but also her effort on the ice that makes her the player she has become.“She can score,” Johnson said. “She’s strong, and she protects the puck really well. If she goes into a corner and has the puck, she’s tenacious, that’s tough to play against.”Decker’s numbers from this season have already eclipsed last year’s totals (15 goals, 12 assists). In fact, she only trails teammates Hilary Knight and Meghan Duggan for the overall point lead in the entire WCHA conference.Decker has described her head coach as the best coach she’s ever had, but Johnson hesitates to take any credit for her success.“I think over the course of the summer she conditioned herself, strengthened herself, played in the August camp for the national team and came into camp ready to go. So give her credit for getting herself prepared for the season,” Johnson said.Decker’s production on the ice has earned her much more than one of the top spots on the scoring charts. Though only a sophomore, her stellar play has vaulted her into one of the leadership roles on the best team in the country.According to team captain Meghan Duggan, Decker doesn’t need to assert herself vocally in order to demonstrate that leadership.“I think she leads by example on the ice,” Duggan said. “She’s one of those players that, whether you’re younger than her or older than her, you can look up to her on the ice. She does all the little things that we need a stand out player to do, and she has been outstanding for us this year.”The Badgers have the luxury of two players in Duggan and Knight, who both played in the Olympics last year, who can take on much of the leadership responsibility for the team.But once the two Olympians graduate and move on from the program, Decker will likely take over the majority of those duties.“Pass the torch to the next one, that’s the path that you go down. She becomes a junior and a senior, and you expect more off the ice than you would with a freshman or a sophomore,” Johnson said.Decker has a head start on the off-the-ice leadership role that one day she must embody.According to her teammates, the sophomore is a great cook and has cooked for many players on the team.“I like to cook salmon. My dad’s Alaskan salmon, he brought it back last summer, I can prepare it any way, like for teriyaki I use soy sauce and lemon,” Decker said.If Decker isn’t recognized for her fish recipes, she can take solace in the fact that she was recently acknowledged by the U.S. National Team as worthy of a roster spot on the squad.The team, which will play in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women’s Championship, also once again calls upon the services of Duggan and Knight. But for Decker the honor isn’t only rewarding, but validating, as well.“I’ve been working hard. I worked out hard all summer, and it’s kind of nice to get my name up on that roster for the world’s team. I feel like my work is starting to pay off now,” Decker said.Decker will have the rest of the season to continue solidifying parts of her game. Johnson believes she can still improve in the face-off circle and killing penalties before her time with the national team.With those improvements to go along with overflowing confidence, one of the best players in the country could reach a whole new level.“I think a lot of it has to do with confidence,” Duggan said. “She gained confidence early and she’s just been on a tare. She’s going to be one of the best players in the world in the next couple of years, if she’s not already.”
For the first time since joining the Pac-12, the Utah Utes will come into a game against USC that both teams would consider critical. Granted, this is only the third time the Trojans and the Utes will have met as conference foes, but I certainly didn’t think three years ago that the Utes would ever be on the same level as USC.The Trojans won each of the last two matchups with a less-than-dominating performance. The Trojans won the 2011 meeting 23-14 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and then won last year 38-28 in Salt Lake City. USC is currently a seven-point favorite for Saturday’s tilt, but there’s really no way to predict how either of these two teams will play.At times, USC has looked dominant. Sure, the team’s top form has been limited to four quarters against a bad Boston College team and three quarters against a decent Arizona team, but the potential is there for USC to play better on both sides of the ball.Utah comes in as a much better team than its 1-3 conference record shows. Two of those losses came against ranked teams, with the Utes losing to Oregon State 51-48 in overtime and then to UCLA 34-27. Even more impressive was the team’s 27-21 upset win over Stanford two weeks ago, back when the Cardinal were still unbeaten and in the top five of the AP poll. The Utes, however, came out flat against Arizona last week, the mere Trojan victory in conference play this year, in a 35-24 loss.So in a nutshell, pretty much anything can happen in the Pac-12 this season, and there’s really no good way for me to predict how things will go Saturday.But there is an important thing to take away from that: USC could still win the Pac-12 South this year and play the North champion for a spot in the Rose Bowl.Yes, a team that lost its first two conference games of the season to equal or weaker opponents and hasn’t even faced one of the top conference foes could still legitimately win the conference.Let’s say the Trojans take care of business against Utah. That leaves Colorado and Cal on the schedule, two teams that USC should beat, as well as Oregon State, UCLA and Stanford, who are all presently ranked. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Trojans could catch fire down the stretch, pull everything together and finish the year 7-2 in conference play.If UCLA wins all of its games heading into the Coliseum, and Arizona State’s lone loss from this point on is against UCLA, all three teams would be tied at 7-2 atop the Pac-12 South, and BCS ranking would likely determine the tiebreaker. Or, if USC runs the table, UCLA loses to Oregon tomorrow (a likely outcome) and to the Trojans and Arizona State loses to UCLA and Oregon State (also likely), USC wouldn’t even need the tiebreaker.If UCLA and Arizona State both finish 6-3, then the Trojans can afford losing to Stanford and just need big wins over Oregon State and UCLA, which doesn’t seem as out of reach as beating Stanford, then keep their fingers crossed for the tiebreaker.Now here’s one last hypothetical. Let’s say USC beats Cal and Colorado, but doesn’t pull through against Utah, doesn’t upset Oregon State in Corvallis, doesn’t upset Stanford on Homecoming and has another heartbreaker to UCLA on the last game of the season.In that scenario, USC finishes the season at 6-7— emphasis on the word finishes— because 6-7 probably means no bowl game for the Trojans.So with so much of the season left to play and so many possibilities still on the table for USC, this Saturday is a crucial fork in the road for the Trojans’ season. Not only will the game have an impact on this season’s final record, but how the Trojans finish will also have an enormous impact on this year’s recruiting class, which currently ranks outside the ESPN Top 25, as well as Athletic Director Pat Haden’s coaching search. The better the team finishes, the more attractive the USC job appears to potential candidates.But enough with looking so far ahead. Utah might be a very solid team, but it is also a very beatable team, just like every team left on the Trojans’ schedule. The path to Pasadena sounds crazy right now, and it still would be pretty crazy even if the Trojans beat the Utes. But there is absolutely still a chance, which is about all you can ask for at a time like this. “Holthouse Party” runs every other Friday. To comment on this story, email Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit dailytrojan.com.