May 23, 2018
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Sports briefs, Nov. 1

Maine, St. Joe’s stars to compete in field hockey all-star games

Three Maine college field hockey players have been selected to participate in National Field Hockey Coaches Association all-star games on Nov. 19.

University of Maine senior co-captains Stephanie Gardiner and Kelly Newton will play in the NFHCA Division I Senior Game to be held at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.

Newton has 13 goals and 25 assists this season, giving her career totals of 57 goals and 49 assists for 163 points, all school records. She is a three-time All-America East first-team selection.

Gardiner has 12 goals and seven assists this season from her midfield position. She is a two-time All-America East honoree.

Meaghan Johnson, a goalie from Saint Joseph’s College of Standish, will play in NFHCA Division III Senior Game to be held at Nichols College in Dudley. Mass. A 2010 North Atlantic Conference first-team all-star, she sports an .874 save percentage and a 1.03 goals against average to rank among the national leaders in both categories. A four-year starter, she holds school records for games played, minutes, wins, shutouts and goals-against average.

Oilers’ Sutton suspended 5 games

NEW YORK — Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton was suspended five games by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan on Tuesday.

Sutton delivered an elbow to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog early in the third period of Edmonton’s 3-1 victory Friday.

The Oilers’ defenseman was assessed a minor penalty for elbowing on the play.

“At the moment of impact, it’s clear that the head is the principal point of contact and has been recklessly targeted,” Shanahan said in a video on that explains the suspension. “Landeskog is looking back for the pass and rotates his head, but the position of his head does not dramatically change.”

Shanahan and the department of player safety examined Sutton’s disciplinary history while making its decision.

“We’ve also taken into consideration that although Sutton has played a physical game over his 14 years, he’s been fined and suspended for various illegal checks,” Shanahan said.

Sutton sat out Sunday’s 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues while the NHL made its decision.

“I have been informed of and understand the league’s decision, however, I had no intention of delivering an illegal check,” Sutton said. “For 14 years, I’ve always played the game with respect and integrity and I will continue to do so when I return.”

Sutton will forfeit more than $57,000 in salary.

Grizzlies’ Gay to hold charity game near Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rudy Gay has played in some of the charity games his fellow NBA players have arranged during the lockout. Now the Memphis Grizzlies forward has decided to hold his own game.

Gay announced on Twitter that he has organized an exhibition for Nov. 8.

The game will be played at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Miss., just outside of Memphis, and proceeds will benefit Flight 22 Foundation, Gay’s nonprofit group raising money for childhood education in Memphis and his hometown of Baltimore.

Among those committed are Kevin Durant, John Wall, Grizzlies teammates Zach Randolph and O.J. Mayo. Former NBA player Penny Hardaway also will play. Gay is expected to announce other players in the coming days.

Gay was cleared to play recently after hurting his left shoulder in February.

Worley’s potential earns him 2nd start as Vols QB

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee coaches could sense quarterback Justin Worley’s confidence growing after he completed a 25-yard pass. So on third-and-1 at midfield, they had the freshman launch the ball nearly twice as far to the Volunteers’ top receiver, Da’Rick Rogers.

The pass sailed beautifully for about 40 yards right into the hands of Rogers, who then flat-out dropped it just a few steps in front of the end zone.

“I’ve got to make that play for Worley and Worley’s confidence. That’s why I came to him right after the play, ‘I owe you. I owe you a bunch of stuff,'” Rogers said Tuesday.

It’s that kind of long-pass potential that prompted coach Derek Dooley to start Worley over senior Matt Simms against South Carolina. The potential didn’t turn into a win thanks to some poor decisions and interceptions by Worley, too many dropped balls by the receivers and other problems on offense, but Dooley is sticking with Worley as the team prepares for Middle Tennessee State this week.

“I’m planning on doing whatever we’ve got to do to win the football game,” Dooley said. “Justin’s going to start, and I hope he plays well, and we expect him to play well. If we’re not getting anything done and the situation dictates we’ve got to make a change, it’s no different than any quarterback. Got to do what we can to win the game. That’s what matters.”

Worley was 10-of-26 passing — 38.5 percent — for 105 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns in the 14-3 loss to the Gamecocks. The would-be touchdown pass to Rogers would have given Tennessee a 3-point lead and undoubtedly the momentum in a game that both teams were struggling to find some offensive rhythm.

Simms’ output wasn’t any better in losses to No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama with a 37.8 percent completion rate for 186 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. And though the senior is better than Worley at getting the offense set up for running plays, he doesn’t bring the same kind of deep-ball threat that the younger quarterback does.

The two are trying to tide over the Vols (3-5) until the return of Tyler Bray, who broke his right thumb Oct. 8 against Georgia after throwing 14 touchdowns in five starts. Bray may return in time for Tennessee’s final two games of the regular season but could miss the entire month.

“We feel like in practice that (Worley) has delivered the ball very well, more consistently and more accurately,” Dooley said. “I don’t want to get into comparing the two. Matt does some things better than Justin and really a lot of it is unknown what (Worley) does better. We just made the decision to go with Justin based on how we have performed as a unit when Matt has been in there.”

Worley forced two passes into coverage near the South Carolina end zone which were intercepted — both which came on the heels of turnovers by the Gamecocks. The second interception prompted Dooley to pull Worley in favor of Simms, who drove the Vols to the South Carolina 27 before they turned the ball over on downs on their final drive of the game.

USC’s Kiffin, McDonald apologize — to a point

LOS ANGELES — Turns out Lane Kiffin didn’t leave his sharp tongue and hot temper in Knoxville after all. He just waited a while before unpacking all that baggage on the West Coast.

With two days of tirades against several officiating decisions in No. 21 Southern California’s triple-overtime loss to Stanford, the Trojans coach lived up to the headline-grabbing reputation he built during short stints at Tennessee and with the Oakland Raiders. Kiffin was fined $10,000 and reprimanded by the Pac-12 on Monday night for a screed following the Trojans’ 56-48 loss, amplified by similar comments a day later.

After Tuesday’s practice for the Trojans’ (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) visit to Colorado on Friday, Kiffin said he’s been reminded by Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott that he isn’t allowed to talk about any aspect of officiating. Kirk Reynolds, the conference’s vice president for public affairs, said Kiffin is the first coach ever fined by Scott, and apparently the first fined by the Pac-12 or Pac-10 for violating rules on standards of conduct.

“After a lot of conversations, we agree to disagree,” Kiffin said. “I am sorry that all this happened. I have learned from this. I’ve learned that regardless of questions, I can’t answer anything that has to do with a call during the game or any conversation that an official has with me. So from here on out, I won’t be able to respond to anything.”

But he acknowledges that silence will be awfully tough. He practically drew blood from biting his tongue when asked if he had written a check to the Pac-12 yet.

“God, it’s so tempting,” Kiffin said with a grin. “No, I haven’t.”

Kiffin hasn’t really been the headstrong 30-something coach that fans love to hate since returning to USC. He largely shrugged off the reputation that started during his messy 20-game tenure running the Raiders, which ended with late owner Al Davis calling him “a flat-out liar” who brought “disgrace” on Oakland after numerous disagreements, including his criticism of No. 1 draft pick JaMarcus Russell.

At Tennessee, Kiffin made a series of deliberately bold public pronouncements to drum up interest in the Volunteers, but some were followed by apologies — most prominently after he falsely accused Florida coach Urban Meyer of cheating in recruiting. His abrupt departure for USC after just 14 months cemented his sleazy reputation in the minds of many football fans.

Kiffin had largely toed a line drawn by new athletic director Pat Haden, who has been determined to drain the USC program of the perceived arrogance that probably contributed to the massive NCAA sanctions leveled against the school shortly after Kiffin arrived. Kiffin and his staff also have kept the Trojans competitive despite a two-year bowl ban, probation and the specter of scholarship restrictions starting next year, even re-emerging as a Top-25 team last month.

Yet the Trojans have been on a recent run of impertinent statements that recalls their headline-making years under coach Pete Carroll, when they backed up their talk with seven straight Pac-10 titles and two national championships.

Quarterback Matt Barkley refused to take back his words after he was reprimanded by the Pac-12 last month for referring to Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict as a dirty player. A week ago, linebacker Chris Galippo and Barkley both said Notre Dame quit in the final minutes of its loss to the Trojans when the Irish declined to call timeouts during USC’s final drive with a 14-point lead. Galippo apologized for those postgame comments.

Kiffin wasn’t the only Trojan making qualified apologies on Tuesday. USC safety T.J. McDonald also expressed regret for a hit on Stanford receiver Chris Owusu that resulted in a half-game suspension at Colorado, although McDonald said he still didn’t know how he could have made the play another way.

“I apologized to my teammates for not being there for them in the first half on Friday,” McDonald said. “It’s going to drive me crazy.”

Greene, Devers head 2011 National Track Hall class

INDIANAPOLIS — Gail Devers’ sprinting career was interrupted early because of Graves’ disease, an immune system disorder that caused her feet to swell to the point that she worried about amputation.

“I was told,” she recalled Tuesday, “that there was a possibility that I might not walk or run again.”

With the help of medicine, she did run again — and well enough to win three Olympic titles, 13 indoor and outdoor world championship medals and a place in the National Track & Field Hall of Fame. Devers and fellow Olympic gold medalist Maurice Greene head the 2011 class announced Tuesday by USA Track & Field.

“There were days that I was in the house — I couldn’t come outside because of the sun, because of all the things I was going through. I was crawling around,” Devers said on a conference call with reporters.

“I remember laying in the bed, saying, ‘If I lose my feet, I’m still going to the Olympics. They may be Special Olympics, but I’m still going,'” she added.

Other inductees include Olympic champion Vince Matthews, coach Bob Timmons, and seven-time Boston Marathon winner Clarence Demar, who died in 1958.

They will be inducted — along with 2010 selection Craig Virgin — in a ceremony in St. Louis on Dec. 3.

Greene broke the world record for the 100 meters in 1999, when he ran 9.79 seconds. He wound up with four Summer Games medals, including two golds.

Devers won the women’s 100 at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, and also helped the U.S. win the 400 relay in ’96. She also was superb at the 100 hurdles, including outdoor world championships in 1993, 1995 and 1999, but she hit the last obstacle while leading the 1992 Olympic final and crawled across the finish line in fifth place. At the 1996 Atlanta Games, she missed a medal by a hundredth of a second.

Devers — known for her long, flashy fingernails — competed past her 40th birthday.

She called her election to the Hall of Fame “a great honor.”

“When I initially heard, I said, ‘Oh, my goodness. I wonder if that means I can’t compete anymore since I’ve never officially retired?” Devers said with a laugh.

Matthews was a member of the 1,600 relay team that won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in a world-record time of 2 minutes, 56.16 seconds — a mark that stood for 24 years. He also won the 400 at the 1972 Olympics.

“To tell the truth, I wanted it, but I had kind of given up on the thought that it was going to come my way,” Matthews said about entering the Hall of Fame. “So when it did come my way, it came as a surprise — and a good one.”

Timmons coached seven Olympians and 16 world-record holders. Among his athletes: Jim Ryun and Al Oerter.

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