Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2002

Kenai netters top Nikiski

The visiting Kenai volleyball team scored a four-game victory over Nikiski Tuesday in nonconference action.

Rally scoring was used in the match. The scores were 23-25, 25-22, 28-26 and 25-12.

Steelers bench Stewart, will start Maddox

PITTSBURGH -- Many NFL quarterbacks would feel uncomfortable going a few weeks without starting. Tommy Maddox is about to learn what it's like to play after 10 years without a start.

Maddox, a former Broncos first-round flop who revived his career in the Arena League and earned another NFL shot by starring in the XFL, will be the Pittsburgh Steelers' starter Sunday in New Orleans.

Coach Bill Cowher's surprising decision, announced Wednesday at a team meeting, sends 2001 team MVP Kordell Stewart to the bench for the third time in four seasons. It also signals that Cowher is running out of patience with an underachieving team that was favored to win the AFC title but is only 1-2.

''He came up in his little crystal ball that he wanted to start Tommy,'' said Stewart, clearly upset by the decision. ''It's not the end of the world for me, and I'm going to have an opportunity to start again. I just don't know when.''

U.S. women's soccer tops Australia

CARY, N.C. -- Cindy Parlow had two goals and Shannon MacMillan scored directly on a corner kick Wednesday night, leading the U.S. national team to a 4-0 victory over Australia in the U.S. Women's Cup.

MacMillan's rare goal came in the 74th minute, sailing a corner kick through the hands of Australian goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

Brandi Chastain picked up her second goal of the tournament with a penalty kick in the 23rd minute that made it 1-0. Parlow had been tripped inside the penalty area by Diane Alagich.

''You saw some dynamic, attacking, creative soccer,'' U.S. coach April Heinrichs said. ''We created enough chances to win and scored some nice goals.''

Baseball gets drug intervention program

NEW YORK -- Players convicted of drug possession face automatic suspensions under baseball's new labor contract.

The drug prevention program, the first one agreed to by players and owners since 1985, was included in the ''memorandum of understanding'' signed Tuesday by the sides. Copies were released Wednesday.

It calls for suspensions of 15-to-30 days for a first offense, 30-to-90 days for a second conviction, an automatic one-year penalty for a third and a two-year suspension for a fourth.

For players convicted five or more times, the commissioner would determine the level of discipline. If the commissioner didn't want to suspend players, he has the option to fine them without pay, with the maximum amount increasing with each offense.

Players convicted of the sale or distribution of prohibited substances face suspensions of 60-to-90 days and $100,000 fines for a first offense and two years for a second offense.

A player who has not been in the drug program who voluntarily admits to a probem is put into treatment without penalty.

Game 1 rating highest since '99

NEW YORK -- The television rating for the playoff opener between the Anaheim Angels and New York Yankees was 12 percent higher than Fox's first prime-time telecast in last year's playoffs.

Tuesday night's game, won by the Yankees 8-5, drew a 6.6 rating, compared with a 5.9 for the opener of the Yankees-Athletics series last year, played on a Wednesday night.

Fox did not broadcast a game in prime time of the first Tuesday of the playoffs last year. Game 1 of the Cleveland-Seattle series, shown at 4 p.m. EDT, got a 3.2 rating.

The rating is the highest baseball has received in the division series, except for deciding Game 5s, since 1999 when Game 2 of the Texas-New York series earned a 7.5 rating on Fox.

Los Angeles was the top metered market with a 15.9 rating, slightly ahead of New York (15.8).

The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use.

The games on the ABC Family cable network had mixed results. ABC Family acquired the rights to the games when Disney bought the Fox Family network, which aired the games last year.

Disney chose to air the games on ABC Family instead of ESPN, which is also owned by Disney.

The Minnesota-Oakland game, played at 4 p.m., received a 1.8 rating and the St. Louis-Arizona game, which started at 11 p.m., got a 1.6.

There are no comparable games to compare to from last year because Fox Family aired its two games on Tuesday at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Fox Family got a 1.4 rating for last year's afternoon game between Houston and Atlanta and a 3.8 rating for a prime-time telecast of St. Louis against Arizona.

A ratings point for ABC Family equals about 850,000 households, or 1 percent of homes that receive the network.

The games were also shown on Fox in the local markets. The ABC Family ratings don't include viewers who watched Fox.

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