Sports Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2004

KPSC sends 10 teams to Fairbanks

The Kenai Peninsula Soccer Club sent 10 teams to Fairbanks for the Midnight Sun Soccer Tournament July 17 through July 20. Even though temperatures were in the 90s, the peninsula teams took home a championship and a pair of runner-up finishes.

The one team to come away with the championship was the Under-13 boys Spitfire team. The Spitfire ended the tournament with a 6-0 record, and won their preliminary round-robin games by a combined score of 15-2. The Spitfire defeated the Goldstrikers 6-3 in the semifinals before topping the Eclipse Phoenix to repeat as tournament champions.

A pair of peninsula teams took second place. The Under-13 girls Riverhawks finished with a 4-1 record. The Riverhawks took second even though they did not allow a goal in the run of play in the tournament. In the championship, the game was 0-0 at the end of regulation and two 10-minute overtimes. The Riverhawks then fell 3-0 in a penalty-kick shootout.

The Under-14 boys Riverhounds posted a 2-1-1 record to take second in the tournament. After placing second in their round-robin bracket, the Riverhounds faced the Renegades, who had won the Ina K tournament this year, in the semifinals. The Riverhounds edged the Renegades, but then lost to the Kamikazes 4-1 in the championship game.

A pair of teams from the peninsula also placed fourth at the tournament. The Under-12 boys Flaming Hot Dogs finished fourth with an 0-2-2 record, while the Under-15 boys Eagles finished fourth with a 1-2-1 record.

Also from the peninsula, the Under-16 boys Raptors had a 1-1-1 record, the Under-11 girls Comets had a 0-3 record, the Under-12 girls Crossfire had a 1-1-1 record, the Under-14 girls Conquest had a 1-1-1 record and the Under-15 girls Renegades had an 0-3 record.

Midnight Sun volleyball competes in Reno

The Peninsula Midnight Sun Volleyball Club under-16 team is competing at the Volleyball Festival in Reno, Nev. The festival annually features a week of play for 1,000 teams in seven age classes. It is the largest women's sports competition in the world.

The players representing the area are Christa Kennedy (Soldotna High School), Anna Bonebrake (Skyview High School), Katie Foley, Amber McGlasson and Jamie Peterson (Kenai Central High School) and Stacey Griffel, Amber Huhndorf, Georgie Heaverley and Hannah Thompson (Nikiski High School).

Sunday, the Midnight Sun club opened with a 2-2 record. In the first match of the day, Midnight Sun lost to Southeast Alaska 27-25, 19-25 and 15-11. Midnight Sun then lost to Sierra Nevada-Reno, the 13th-ranked team of 245 in the 16-and-under division, 25-17 and 25-11. Midnight Sun then came back with a 25-19, 25-21 victory over San Bernadino and a 25-19, 26-24 victory over Zona 16 of Tuscon, Ariz.

Monday, Midnight Sun started with a 25-19, 23-25, 15-11 loss to Northwest Juniors of Seattle. Midnight Sun then defeated Lakers club of Minnesota 25-19 and 25-18. In the third match of the day, the area club lost to Empire Volleyball Club of Santa Rosa, Calif., 14-25, 25-20 and 15-13. Midnight Sun then lost the pool tiebreaker to Lakers of Minnesota 31-29. After two days of competition, Midnight Sun is ranked 148 of the 245 teams competing.

Borgman moves closer to Olympic berth

Homer's Stacey Borgman moved closer to an Olympic berth Tuesday with a victory in the first day of finals at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for rowing on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J.

The Princeton Training Center/New York Athletic Club duo of Borgman and Lisa Schlenker, of Lake Oswego, Ore., won their first final in a time of 7 minutes, 1.61 seconds. This time defeated runner-up finishers Julia Nichols of Livermore, Calif., and Renee Hykel of Haverford, Pa., by about seven seconds.

The second finals will be held today. Borgman and Schlenker will need to win only one more race in the best two-out-of-three finals format to qualify for the 2004 Olympic team.

Young should forfeit gold, court rules

U.S. sprinter Jerome Young should be stripped of his Sydney Olympics relay gold for flunking a steroid test in 1999, the world's top sports court ruled Tuesday in a case that pitted U.S. track officials against their international counterparts.

Now, world sports officials must decide whether Young's relay teammates including Michael Johnson also should forfeit their medals.

Raptors hire Sam Mitchell as head coach

TORONTO Sam Mitchell understands there might be questions about his inexperience as a head coach going into his first season leading the Toronto Raptors. So he has a few answers.

Mitchell, hired Tuesday just two years after he retired as a player, will rely on his assistants to help him out.

Mitchell, who played in the NBA for 13 years, was an assistant coach for the expansion Charlotte Bobcats for the past month. After playing for Minnesota and Indiana, Mitchell spent two years as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks before leaving for Charlotte.

''I understand the concerns ... that's why we're going to have a great support staff around me,'' said Mitchell, who is expected to add longtime NBA assistant Jim Todd to his staff. ''We're going to have guys that have coached many years.''

The Raptors gave Mitchell a three-year contract worth nearly $5 million.

Mitchell was a candidate for the Raptors' job last season before it went to Kevin O'Neill, who was fired after a 33-49 season.

The Raptors fired general manager Glen Grunwald during the season and recently replaced him with Rob Babcock, Minnesota's former vice president of player personnel.

Mitchell and Babcock know each other well. The 40-year-old Mitchell spent 10 seasons with Minnesota, and served as a mentor to league MVP Kevin Garnett, who jumped to the NBA from high school. Mitchell is the club's leader in games played at 757, and was second in scoring with 7,161 points.

''Sam was more than a player, he was like a player/unofficial assistant coach,'' Babcock said. ''He was the type of guy who would stay after practice every day, not just to work on his game but also to talk the game with the coaches, with Kevin McHale, with myself.''

The Raptors chose Mitchell over Seattle SuperSonics assistant Dwane Casey and Detroit Pistons assistant Mike Woodson.

''Sam doesn't have a big ego. He knows he has some things to work on and learn,'' Babcock said. ''I guarantee with his work ethic and his desire to learn, he's going to be a much better coach in February than he is in November.''

Mitchell Toronto's third coach in the last three years takes over a team that's been decimated by injuries. Raptors star Vince Carter hasn't played a complete season in four years.

Mitchell missed just 40 games during his playing career due to injury or illness. Mitchell wants to meet with Carter.

''We have to get Vince's heart and passion back into it. We need his all, just being here is not enough,'' Mitchell said. ''We need Vince back motivated and ready to play.''

He said he'll implement an up-tempo offense.

Asked whether the Raptors are good enough to make the playoffs next season, Mitchell smiled and said: ''I sure hope so.''

Mitchell hopes to replicate the success of first-year Milwaukee coach Terry Porter, whose team surprised many by holding the fourth playoff position in the East until the final day of the regular season. Porter was an assistant for just one year before becoming a head coach.

''We had a goal to shock everybody in the NBA by making the playoffs. Whether that's going to happen here, I don't know, but we're going to work to be a playoff team,'' Mitchell said.

Staff and wire reports

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