Morehead wins OVC title, claims first NCAA berth
The Morehead State volleyball program is finally headed to the NCAA Tournament. Top-seeded MSU defeated Tennessee-Martin 25-15, 25-23, 26-24 Saturday night in the finals of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at Morehead.
The win gives the Eagles their third OVC Tournament crown and first NCAA Tournament berth. They won conference tournament championships in 1987 and 1993 prior to the OVC's automatic berth. MSU improved to 26-6 overall, while UTM ended its campaign at 19-14.
"Any time you have a true competition, it's not always the best team that wins, but I think tonight it was the best team that did win," Coach Jaime Gordon said.
Sophomore libero Leslie Schellhaas led a defensive effort that out-dug the Skyhawks 50-34. She totaled 19 digs and now owns the MSU single-season record with 614. Junior Ellie Roberson led the team with 14 kills, and redshirt sophomore Aryn Bohannon notched 13 winners.
Rifle stays perfect with win over Air Force
Highlighted by a standout performance from sophomore Emily Holsopple, the Kentucky rifle team posted a 4,684-4,608 win over the United States Air Force Academy on Saturday in Fairbanks, Alaska. Kentucky (6-0) was led by Holsopple, who fired team-leading scores in smallbore (588) and air rifle (595).
Rondo hosts charity game at Harvard
Celtics guard and former Kentucky star Rajon Rondo led a group of NBA players in the Boston Charity Classic at Harvard on Saturday night in a game that pitted Rondo's green team against a white team led by Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch.
Rondo, Celtics teammate Paul Pierce, and former teammates Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe were among the 11 NBA players in the game that will benefit three local charities. Jajuan Johnson, Boston's first-round draft pick out of Purdue last spring, also was also on hand, as were Rudy Gay, Josh Smith and Jeff Green.
The players were introduced by their former colleges, or in Perkins' case high school. As has been the case in the games staged by players during the NBA lockout, most of the action featured alley-oop dunks, trick passes that led to slams and long-range threes. The players tossed T-shirts to fans at the end of each quarter.
The most recent round of labor talks broke down Monday, and Tuesday was the first day players missed a twice-a-month paycheck.
International team stages comeback
Ryo Ishikawa and the rest of the International team built leads in five of the opening seven matches Sunday to keep alive slim hopes of a record-tying comeback in the Presidents Cup. It didn't take long for Jim Furyk, David Tom, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker to shore up the back end of the lineup. The Americans had a 13-9 lead going into the 12 singles matches Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, and needed to win five matches — there are no halves until the cup is decided — to win the cup for the fourth straight time.
Ishikawa was the only International player among the first three matches who trailed, and it wasn't for long. He won the par-3 third hole with a bogey when Bubba Watson, needing two putts to win from the back of the green, putted it onto the fairway and made double bogey. Ishikawa was on his way to an easy win.
Adam Scott also was having as easy time, in large part because of his opponent. Phil Mickelson, undefeated in three matches this week, conceded the first three holes — Scott had 15-foot birdies on each of them — and conceded yet another hole on No. 8 to fall 4 down.
■ Hee Young Park birdied three of the final four holes for a 3-under 69 and a share of the third-round lead with Sandra Gal on Saturday in the LPGA Tour's season-ending Titleholders in Orlando, Fla. Gal, the German player who won the Kia Classic in March for her first LPGA Tour title, shot a 71 in tricky wind conditions to match Park at 7 under at Grand Cypress Resort.
New labor deal to include HGH testing
Baseball's new labor contract will include blood testing for human growth hormone, a rise in the minimum salary to $480,000 and luxury taxes on amateur-draft signings and international free agents coming to the major leagues. Lawyers for players and owners are working to complete a memorandum of understanding on changes to the sport's collective bargaining agreement and hope to sign the deal by Tuesday. A person familiar with the negotiations disclosed some of the agreed-upon provisions to The Associated Press on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been announced.
Blood testing for human growth hormone will start when players report to spring training in February, putting MLB ahead of the NFL. The NFL wanted to start HGH testing this season, following that sport's new labor contract, but the NFL Players Association has not agreed, causing some congressmen to pressure the union.
There also will be a slight increase in the total of players eligible for salary arbitration after the 2012 season, when there also will be a new method to determine compensation for clubs losing top major-league free agents. There also will be modifications to the luxury tax on high-payroll teams, but the threshold will remain at $178 million next year.
Weather not to blame for fatal crash
Federal investigators said Saturday that weather probably wasn't a factor in the plane crash that killed two Oklahoma State women's basketball coaches this week in Arkansas. National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jason Aguilar said the weather was calm Thursday when the small plane carrying head coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna crashed into a wooded hillside. Aguilar said NTSB investigators were at the crash site for most of the day Saturday.
"About the only thing we can say right now is that it was not the weather. The skies were clear; the winds were calm," he said, noting that determining what caused the accident could take a year. "Right now, it's a big question mark to us as to what happened."
Aguilar said NTSB investigators are focusing on airframe and the pilot, including his medical background and qualifications, along with possibly a lack of control of the plane. But he said there was no evidence that would question the pilot's qualifications to fly the plane.
Sports in the courts
U-Haul truck kills woman at Yale game
Police said Saturday someone driving a U-Haul truck into a tailgating area at the Yale-Harvard game accelerated into three women, killing one and injuring the other two. Police spokesman David Hartman said the truck entered a parking lot designated for pre-game tailgating, sped up for unknown reasons and hit the women. The truck then crashed into other U-Haul vans in the lot. He said a 30-year-old woman was taken to Yale-New Haven hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Another woman was seriously hurt but was in stable condition. The third woman suffered minor injuries.
The last word
So what's with closer Jonathan Papelbon's new jersey number — 58 — and the extra $58 at the end of his $50,000,058 free-agent deal with the Phillies? Said Papelbon:
"You'll have to ask Cinco Ocho that question. I can give you his phone number if you need it."