The USC beach volleyball team won the NCAA National Championship on Sunday, beating Pepperdine 3-2 to clinch the program’s third consecutive national title.The No. 1 ranked Trojans had been dominant all year, finishing with a 38-1 record, so perhaps it was no surprise they found themselves in Gulf Shores, Ala. last weekend, looking to defend their back-to-back national championships. USC carried its regular-season momentum into the National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship, running rampant through the competition. Facing the top programs in the nation, the Trojans were flawless, and they swept South Carolina, Hawaii and Pepperdine to earn a spot in the final.But for the first time since their sole loss of the season against UCLA in the Pac- 12 Championship, the Trojans faced major adversity in their rematch against Pepperdine. The first dual of the final matchup went in favor of Pepperdine’s Deahna Kraft and Anika Wilson, who downed the young pair of sophomore Abril Bustamante and freshman Joy Dennis. The Trojans responded quickly, as juniors Jenna Belton and and Jo Kremer dispensed of their competition 21-18, 21-15.With the two teams tied at 1-1, Pepperdine’s Brittany Howard and Corinne Quiggle regained the Waves’ advantage with a tough three-set victory over seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler. The seesawing affair continued with the Trojans’ decorated senior pair of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes winning another tightly contested three-set dual, evening the match at two wins apiece.Both teams were set for a deciding final matchup with the National Championship on the line. It was up to junior Terese Cannon and senior Nicolette Martin to notch a win over Pepperdine’s Skylar Caputo and Heidi Dyer and bring home another national title. After capturing the first set 21-19, the Trojan pair dropped the second 18-21, setting up a dramatic final frame in an already razor-thin final.But the Trojans were able to seize the moment, as Cannon and Martin won the title-clinching set 15-13, giving USC 104 all-time NCAA team championships. For seniors Kelly Claes, Sophie Bukovec, Allie Wheeler, Sara Hughes and Nicolette Martin — who made up head coach Anna Collier’s first recruiting class — the win over Pepperdine marked their third national championship in four years at USC.“They came in and pretty much set the tone from the beginning,” Collier said. “From the moment they were sophomores, they took control of the situation and started building a team culture. They improved so much in volleyball, but more than that, they became a unit.”Collier refers to the group as the “Fab Five,” and on Sunday, the senior class solidified its legacy in USC lore, giving the school its 20th NCAA championship in women’s sports. “It came down to those last two points,” Claes said. “It was just an unreal feeling — I’m on cloud nine right now. I’m just so proud of all these girls and the fight that all of us had.”To wrap up a season full of silverware, the Trojans had three pairs selected to the all-tournament team, including Claes and Hughes, who were named the top overall pair. Cannon and Martin were honored as the No. 3 pair, with Bustamante and Dennis following just behind in No. 4.
Vice President Mike Pence was recently named the head of the Trump Administration’s coronavirus response.On Friday, Pence visited Palm Beach County to talk about the coronavirus at a news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.The vice president said that according to our health experts, the threat of the coronavirus spreading in the United States remains low.WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE: There have been 61 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S.Gov. DeSantis said there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Florida, but the state is ready to respond.
It’s almost like a playoff series in October for the Nelson Leafs and the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.The two Murdoch rivals will face off for the fourth time this Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season Friday night in Fruitvale with Nelson holding a 2-1 advantage in the season series thanks to a 3-2 double overtime win last week in the Heritage City.“It certainly provides us a view of what we can expect to compete against to get out of our division,” said Leaf coach Mario DiBella when asked about the early season quirk in the schedule.“I don’t think the team is getting tired of playing BV,” DiBella added.“I think they’re enthusiastic about playing teams they have to beat come playoffs to get out of the Murdoch Division.”Nelson returns home Saturday to face the Castlegar Rebels at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.The Rebels have defeated Nelson twice this season — 3-2 and 5-4 in overtime.Sandhu remains on Injury ListLeaf netminder Jason Sandhu remains on the injury list after suffering a lower body injury four games into the season.The 20-year-old Chilliwack native began to skate again but is not spending much time between the pipes until the body heals.Nelson was able to grab another goalie after then coaching staff acquired Devin Allen from the Melfort Mustangs of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Allen was instrumental in the Leafs being able to rally from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Beaver Valley in double overtime last week.Thompson on loan to Langley RivermenIn keeping with team philosophy, the Leafs have loaned defenceman Dash Thompson to Langley of the BC Hockey League.“Part of our philosophy is to make sure we’re helping with the development of these players so we wouldn’t hold a player back if we can accommodate the player playing at higher level in an AP position,” DiBella explained.The Rivermen travels to Coquitlam Friday before hosting the Express in a return game Saturday and Trail Smoke Eaters Sunday.Former Leaf Hulston off to SaskatchewanLeafs experienced a brief visit from former center Levi Hulston.DiBella said Hulston, after being released by Langley following a two-game stint, has decided to pursue his Junior A career with Humbolt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.“Humbolt pursued Levi all summer so once he was let go by Langley they made their pitch,” DiBella said.“Levi did come to Nelson to practice with us but as a 19-year-old he felt this was his opportunity and I can appreciate that and wish him well.”New players expected soonDiBella said the Leafs are still tweaking the roster as the club enters October.He said the team is expecting a forward and a defenceman into camp as soon as the weekend.”The forwad is very fast with good hands has ability to put puck in the net while the D-man is 6’3″ and gives us the grit I feel we need to help the back end,” DiBella said.
RALIS: A winner of Saratoga’s Grade I, seven furlong Hopeful Stakes on Sept. 7, Reddam Racing’s homebred colt by Square Eddie, out of the Ten Most Wanted mare Silar Rules, has been winless in five subsequent graded stakes assignments and is taking a massive drop in class in the Snow Chief–his first-ever try on turf. Far back early in the Grade III Pat Day Mile (one turn) at Churchill Downs May 7, Ralis ran his best race since the Hopeful two starts back, as he finished fifth, beaten three quarters of a length, in the Grade III, 1 1/8 miles Spiral Stakes on synthetic Polytrack April 2 at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Ralis is the leading money earner in the Snow Chief field, as he has earnings of $290,923 from an overall mark of 10-2-1-0. SNOW CHIEF IS ONE OF FIVE STATE-BRED OR SIRED STAKES ON CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH DAY GOLD RUSH DANCER: Second, beaten 4 ½ lengths by Tough It Out in the 6 ½ furlong Echo Eddie Stakes here April 9, Gold Rush Dancer turned the tables in the one mile turf Silky Sullivan at Golden Gate Fields May 1, winning by 1 ¼ lengths under Flavien Prat, who will ride back on Saturday. By Private Gold and out of the In Excess mare Dances On Water, Gold Rush Dancer is owned by his breeder, John Parker and is conditioned by Vann Belvoir. Originally stabled at Emerald Downs near Seattle, Gold Rush Dancer is well-seasoned and has an overall mark of 10-3-3-2, with earnings of $184,423. An easy minor stakes winner going 1 1/16 miles at Emerald in his fifth start on Sept. 27, Gold Rush Dancer has the credentials to be a solid contender here in the Snow Chief. Ralis–Mario Gutierrez–124The Big Train–Santiago Gonzalez–120Glory Bound–Edwin Maldonado–120Midnight Ming–Rafael Bejarano–120Tough It Out–Joe Talamo–124Gold Rush Dancer–Flavien Prat–124First post time on Saturday is at 2 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. For scratches, late changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com THE $250,000 SNOW CHIEF STAKES IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS Race 5 (of 11) Approximate post time 4 p.m. PDT MIDNIGHT MING: A bay colt by Midnight Lute, he’s owned by his breeders, Jack and Barbara Owens. Third, beaten 2 ½ lengths by Gold Rush Dancer in the aforementioned Silky Sullivan at Golden Gate Fields May 1, Midnight Ming, who had three consecutive second place finishes in Golden Gate allowance sprints coming into the Silky Sullivan, has been winless in six starts since breaking his maiden going six furlongs in his debut at Golden Gate on Nov. 22. Out of the Slewdledo mare, Candi Capri, Midnight Ming is trained by William Morey and will be ridden for the first time by Rafael Bejarano. TOUGH IT OUT: This Nick Alexander homebred gelding by Grazen appeared a bit erratic in running second as the 4-5 favorite in the one mile turf Silky Sullivan Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 1. Beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Gold Rush Dancer, Tough It Out, who is out of Alexander’s Marquetry mare, Mark Set Go, appeared to be running in spots the final sixteenth of a mile. A rousing 4 ½ length winner over a sloppy main track of Santa Anita’s 6 ½ furlong Echo Eddie Stakes on April 9, Tough It Out’s only other win came at one mile on turf at Del Mar on Nov. 12. Trained by Phil D’Amato, his overall mark stands at 9-2-2-2, with earnings of $231,790. ARCADIA, Calif. (May 25, 2016)–Grade I winner Ralis, Tough It Out and Midnight Ming all loom prominent among a field of six sophomores in the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes at a mile and one eighth on turf Saturday at Santa Anita.Named for the winner of the 1986 Santa Anita Derby, the Snow Chief was first run in 1994 at Hollywood Park and will be contested for the third consecutive year at Santa Anita on Saturday.