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Sports briefs for Aug. 23

By BDN and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

UMaine field hockey ranked 24th in national poll

The University of Maine field hockey team earned the No. 24 ranking in the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I Preseason Poll announced on Tuesday morning. The team earned 124 points in the poll.

Maine is one four America East Conference teams ranked in the poll, with Stanford checking in at No. 13, UAlbany at No. 18, and Pacific at No. 25.

North Carolina was picked first in the poll.

The Black Bears return all-conference selections in juniors Casey Crowley and Samantha Waggalong with sophomores Riley Field and Brianna Ricker, who landed on the all-rookie team last season. Crowley and Wagg also garnered all-region honors last season.

The 2016 squad finished with a 13-7 record (6-3 America East), including a 7-3 record in Orono. Maine opens the season against the Providence Friars this Friday at 1 p.m. in Rhode Island.

NC State dismisses two players, suspends three

North Carolina State dismissed two football players and suspended three others after an investigation into an on-campus party last month.

Freshmen Antoine Thompson and Kevince Brown were booted off the squad, while freshmen Isaiah Moore, Erin Collins and Xavier Lyas were suspended for violation of football rules in addition to the school’s student-athlete code of conduct.

The investigation began after a sexual assault charge was reported on July 22, one day following the party. The school said Tuesday’s penalties were related to alcohol and marijuana being present at the party and were not associated with the sexual assault.

“These actions are not regarding allegations of sexual assault,” athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement. “We reserve the right to impose additional sanctions if new violations are discovered.

“Should any student-athlete be charged with sexual misconduct by legal authorities, he will immediately be suspended from the team. That said, it is extremely important to respect due process for the student-athletes.”

Three different sexual assaults were reported in the days following the party.

The school said that university police are close to concluding their investigation and have turned over evidence to the Wake County District Attorney’s Office.

Red Sox place pitcher Barnes on DL

The Boston Red Sox placed right-hander Matt Barnes on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain, the team announced Tuesday.

Fellow right-hander Hector Velazquez was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace Barnes, who owns a 6-3 mark with a 3.60 ERA this season.

Barnes has limited the opposition to a .210 batting average with 66 strikeouts against 27 walks in 59 appearances in 2017.

The 27-year-old has posted a 13-10 record with a 4.23 ERA in 158 career appearances, all with the Red Sox.

Velazquez owns a 2-1 mark with a 4.08 ERA in four appearances with Boston this season. The 28-year-old has a 7-4 record with a 2.39 ERA in 17 starts with Pawtucket.

Patriots activate LB Hightower from PUP list

The New England Patriots activated linebacker Dont’a Hightower from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday.

A defensive captain, Hightower had been nursing an undisclosed physical ailment that kept him off the field in voluntary spring practices. He had been wearing a brace over his right knee during the start of training camp.

Hightower signed a four-year contract extension this offseason with a base value of $35.5 million and more than $17 million in guaranteed money.

The 27-year-old Hightower’s fourth-quarter strip sack of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was one of the key plays in Super Bowl LI, helping the Patriots complete their rally from a 25-point deficit to win the contest.

Hightower had 65 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season. He has 372 tackles and 17 sacks in his career since being selected by New England with the 25th overall pick of the 2012 draft.

Darnold, Barkley head preseason All-American list

USC quarterback Sam Darnold and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley highlight the first preseason All-America team in the history of The Associated Press.

The two gave college football fans a thrill at the Rose Bowl last season, with Darnold passing for 453 yards and five touchdowns in the Trojans’ 52-49 victory over the Nittany Lions. Barkley rushed for 194 and had three scores in the contest.

Darnold was voted to the first team by a panel of 51 voters. He slipped past Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville, who is the second-team quarterback on the teams released Tuesday.

LSU’s Derrius Guice joins Darnold and Barkley in the backfield on the first team. Washington State guard Cody O’Connell and Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky were selected to the first team after being All-Americans last year.

The first-team defense is led by two players who were postseason All-Americans in 2016 in Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Florida State’s secondary was well represented with cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and safety Derwin James, who missed most of last year with a knee injury.


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