U.S., Japan draw 1-1 in World Cup rematch
SENDAI, Japan — Alex Morgan scored in the 72nd minute to give the United States a 1-1 draw with Japan, the team it lost to in the final of the Women's World Cup last year.
Yukari Kinga beat goalkeeper Hope Solo from close in to give Japan a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute of the Kirin Cup match.
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The U.S. created opportunities on the right wing, but Japan's superior speed was dangerous on the counterattack.
The exhibition tournament features three of the top four teams in the world. The U.S. is ranked No. 1 just ahead of Germany, while Japan is No. 3. The other team competing for the title, Brazil, is No. 4.
"I told them to keep pushing until the end," Japan coach Norio Sasaki said. "We could have used more precision in our passes."
The U.S. women's squad went into the game with a big score to settle.
Until the World Cup, it had never lost to Japan — and the Americans haven't beaten Japan since. Japan won the last encounter 1-0 in Portugal last month.
"This was a very important game for us," U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. "I'm very happy we had the chance to play against one of the best teams in the world, Japan, to prepare for the Olympics."
The U.S. plays Brazil on Tuesday. The final game — Brazil versus Japan — is on Thursday.
Men's tennis ties school start record
The ninth-ranked University of Kentucky men's tennis team dominated Tennessee 7-0 to tie the best Southeastern Conference start in school history Sunday in Knoxville, Tenn.
The victory was Kentucky's (20-4, 8-0 SEC) 20th of the season, marking the third-consecutive season and the 18th time in school history UK has had 20 or more wins. Kentucky Coach Dennis Emery, who is in his 30th year as head coach, has now led UK to 13 20-plus win seasons. The Wildcats have posted three consecutive 20-plus win seasons four different times in school history with this recent stretch being the third time under Emery.
UK has now won eight consecutive matches to start league play, which ties the best start in school history. Kentucky's 1988 team, which was also coached by Emery, also started league play 8-0. UK's win continues its recent success in the SEC as the Wildcats have won 19 of their last 23 matches in league play dating back to last season.
After Kentucky's softball team (16-19, 3-6 SEC) had tied the score at two at the top of the seventh, Tennessee (27-8, 9-5 SEC) answered with a walk-off two-run homer as rain began to fall in the area to clinch the decisive third game of the series by a 4-2 margin. Shelby Burchell connected on a 1-2 offering to plate the winning scores.
Sophomores Lauren Cumbess and Emily Jolly both had a pair of hits to lead the Wildcats.
Kentucky's women's tennis team dropped its home match against Tennessee 6-1. The Wildcats' Cece Witten and Marni Venter grabbed the lone win in doubles play. The sophomores defeated Joanna Henderson and Jesse Grace 8-5.
Power surges to another IndyCar win
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Will Power wasted no time disproving his own theory.
Power started ninth, took the lead on a late caution and pulled back in front of Scott Dixon on the double-file restart with 16 laps left Sunday to the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for the second straight year.
So much for his stance two days earlier that it would be tough for anybody opening outside the top four to win on a course that typically features infrequent passing. Power showed it could be done by making up ground with the help of tire strategy and swift work on pit road.
He started on the faster alternate red-striped tires instead of the more durable black. It was the second straight win for Chevrolet and Team Penske, which also is 3 for 3 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Mississippi St. hires new head coach
Mississippi State has hired Clemson assistant Rick Ray to be its next men's basketball coach.
The university announced Ray's hiring on Sunday and scheduled a press conference for Monday morning.
The 40-year-old Ray has been the top assistant at Clemson for the past two seasons. The Tigers won 22 games and went to the NCAA tournament in 2011. He also spent four years as an assistant at Purdue under Matt Painter and seven seasons as an assistant at Indiana State.
Ray replaces Rick Stansbury, who announced his retirement in March after 14 seasons leading the program.
Ashford sire Grand Slam dies
Ashford Stud stallion Grand Slam died Saturday, reportedly of heart failure at 17. Ashford manager Dermot Ryan told The Blood-Horse: "Grand Slam was a pleasure to have here, and he was very popular with breeders as he sired nearly 800 winners and has progeny earnings of over $64 million. It's a sad day for the staff here who worked with him and for all the partners who were involved with the horse and who have always been fantastic to deal with."
Grand Slam has produced 73 stakes winners including Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Cajun Beat, Saratoga grade I winner Visionaire, Japanese group I winner Café Olympus, and this year's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contender Millionreasonswhy.
Grand Slam's other top runners included multiple graded stakes winners Limehouse, Strong Hope, Ball Four, and Fire Slam.
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, the 17-year-old son of Gone West raced for Robert and Christina Baker, William Mack, and David Cornstein. As a juvenile he won the Futurity Stakes (gr. I) and the Champagne Stakes (gr. I). At 3, he won the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) and placed in five graded stakes including the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
The last word
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic won his third Sony Ericsson Open title Sunday. Mulling how to celebrate his latest trophy, Djokovic said he might violate his gluten-free diet.
"I cannot guarantee anything, I think I deserve a fresh bagel."