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Sports briefs for Aug. 15, 2013

UMaine women’s soccer team picked third

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The University of Maine women’s soccer team has been selected third in the 2013 America East Preseason Poll released on Thursday. The Black Bears received 49 points in the poll. Maine finished third in the 2012 regular season standings, but received the second seed in the America East Tournament.

Hartford was selected by the league coaches to win the 2013 title, as the Hawks received five first-place votes and 61 points overall. Stony Brook followed with four first-place votes and 59 points overall. Following Maine was Vermont, which received 38 points. New Hampshire was fifth with 35 points, followed by Albany (29), Binghamton (28), and UMBC (15). America East newcomer UMass Lowell was selected ninth as it received eight points.

Captains Maggie Malone and Lisa Bijman lead a team that lost just two letterwinners from a year ago. The Black Bears return 16 letterswinners, including eight of the top nine scorers from a year ago.

Maine kicks off the season on Friday, Aug. 23 when it plays Holy Cross at 4 p.m. in Portland at Deering High School. The Black Bears host Central Connecticut on Tuesday, Aug. 27 in their home opener at Alumni Field in Orono.

UMaine women’s basketball golf tourney Sept. 23

ORONO, Maine — The Friends of Maine Women’s Basketball are inviting all Black Bear fans to join them for their 19th annual Golf Classic on Monday, Sept. 23 at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club.

The tourney was originally scheduled for Sept. 8.

Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. with a shotgun start kicking off the four-person scramble format at noon. A barbecue will take place during the tournament.

This year’s tournament includes special hole features and prizes, open and women’s division with an Oldsmobile Handicap System.

The cost is $150 per golfer. Registration forms are available at

For more information, contact Samantha Wheeler by email at or by phone at 207-581-1075.

Avs secure Landeskog with extension

The Colorado Avalanche signed young left winger Gabriel Landeskog to a seven-year contract extension on Thursday.

Financial terms were not disclosed by the team, but Sportsnet reported the total package to be worth $39 million. The deal runs through the 2020-21 season.

Landeskog had nine goals and eight assists in 36 games last season but missed time because of a concussion. He was named the team captain at age 19, becoming the youngest player to hold that title in NHL history.

Landeskog was the second player picked in the 2011 NHL Draft and won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2012 that goes to the league’s top rookie.

“I love Colorado and I love being a part of this wonderful community,” Landeskog said. “There is no other place I’d rather be than in Denver wearing the Avalanche logo. I am looking forward to training camp and the upcoming season.”

KISS part of new LA Arena franchise

Football is back in black and silver in Los Angeles. Not the Raiders, but an expansion franchise awarded to the iconic band KISS on Thursday by the Arena Football League.

The heavy-metal rockers, famous for wearing black, white and silver on stage during a 40-year career, will own a stake in a team that begins playing in March 2014 in the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Season tickets went on sale Thursday and the package includes a KISS concert thrown in at no extra charge.

“We know (there) will be some of the most action-packed games ever played at the Honda Center,” band member Paul Stanley said. “Arena Football is played at a fast and furious pace and making season tickets available now for the budget-friendly price of $99 gives a whole new meaning to bang for the buck.”

The team logo will be the same as the band’s, but no other details, including team colors, were announced.

The AFL will begin its 27th season next March. The season runs through the ArenaBowl in August.

UNC AD: Hairston will play this season

North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham said at a faculty retreat Thursday that suspended guard P.J. Hairston will play this season.

Cunningham took questions from the audience and was asked about the playing status of Tar Heels’ leading scorer Hairston.

“Yes, but not all the games,” he said.

Coach Roy Williams suspended Hairston last month after he was ticketed for speeding, and careless and reckless driving. It was his third off-the-court incident involving police this offseason.

Separate criminal charges against Hairston stemming from his June 5 arrest were dismissed on July 22. He had been charged with marijuana possession and driving without a license in connection with the June arrest, which followed a May speeding citation.

In both the May and June incidents, Hairston was alleged to have been driving cars connected to Hayden “Fats” Thomas, a convicted felon.

Cardinals prospect Taveras out for season

St. Louis Cardinals minor league outfielder and top prospect Oscar Taveras is having season-ending right ankle surgery next week, according to

He is expected to be fully healthy for the start of spring training when he tries for a spot on the big-league roster.

The 21-year-old was limited to 47 games this season because of the injury. He was hurt in May and tried to play through it. He has played just one game since June 23.

Taveras batted .310 with a .348 on-base percentage, five home runs and five stolen bases for Class AAA Memphis this season.

He was ranked the No. 3 prospect by Baseball America before the season and was No. 2 last month.

Grizzlies acquire Melo from Celtics

The Memphis Grizzlies acquired center Fab Melo from the Boston Celtics for forward Donte Greene on Thursday.

Melo, a 7-footer, averaged 1.2 points in six games last season. In 33 NBA D-League games, he averaged 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and a league-high 3.1 blocks in 26.2 minutes per game for the Maine Red Claws.

He was drafted No. 22 overall by the Celtics in 2012 out of Syracuse.

Greene signed with Memphis in April. He missed most of last season while recovering from a fractured ankle. He spent his first four seasons with the Sacramento Kings, averaging 6.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 16.8 minutes over 253 career games.

Cardinals activate C Molina from DL

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was activated from the 15-day disabled list Thursday.

The All-Star has been out with a sore right knee since July 30.

Molina is batting .330 with a .374 on-base percentage, 30 doubles, eight home runs and 54 RBI in 98 games this season.

Molina is in the Cardinals’ lineup Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates batting fifth and catching.

St. Louis heads into the game trailing Pittsburgh by three games in the National League Central division.

Catcher Tony Cruz was placed on the 15-day DL.

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