Sports

Sports briefs: Mercy rallies for state volleyball title

No. 3 Mercy defeated No. 2 Notre Dame in five sets to win the volleyball state championship in Louisville. The teams alternated sets before Mercy won the fifth 15-8.

Alexandra Hamrick, who was named the tournament's MVP, led Mercy with 24 kills; Meridith Jewell had 17. Nikki Koval had 16 digs.

Abby Thelen and Morgan Hentz had 22 and 19 kills, respectively, for Notre Dame. Hentz also had 14 digs.

Horse racing

Itsmyluckyday, winner of this summer's Woodward Stakes, is probable to start in the $500,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in New York on Nov. 29. Trained by Eddie Plesa, Itsmyluckyday finished third in his last start in the 1-mile Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park on Sept. 27.

The 4-year-old colt, co-owned by Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa, will stand at stud at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington in 2015.

"He's an unbelievable horse as far as I'm concerned," Eddie Plesa said. "We're looking forward to seeing what he can do at stud. He's certainly brought my family, my partners and myself and the people who work with him an unbelievable amount of excitement. We're really, really going to miss him."

Itsmyluckyday posted his biggest victory in the Woodward at Saratoga in New York on Aug. 30. It was his fourth victory of the season to go along with wins in the Best of the Rest Stakes, Majestic Light and Salvator Mile Stakes. He was second to Moreno in the Whitney four weeks before the Woodward.

"I've been doing this a long time, and I can't think of a horse race that's been more gratifying to me for all the reasons you can imagine," Plesa said about the Woodward victory.

Women's College soccer

Graves' two goals send Centre to SAA title

Powered by two goals from former Tates Creek standout Destinie Graves, the Centre women's soccer team claimed its third straight Southern Athletic Association Tournament championship with a 2-1 victory over Rhodes on Sunday in Danville.

With the victory, Centre secured a bid in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the fourth consecutive season, and over the three seasons since the conference began competition in 2012, the Colonels are 9-0 in SAA Tournament games.

Following the win, Centre Coach Jay Hoffman gave credit to the team's seven seniors, who will depart as the winningest class in school history with a current record of 65-17-6.

"The amount of pressure this senior class had this whole year, it's always in the back of their minds 'Can we do this?' and the answer is yes," Hoffman said. "Four years in a row this team has gone to the NCAA Tournament, and there aren't many teams that can say that. I couldn't be more honored to be the coach of this Centre College team and these seven seniors. What they've done is amazing."

Graves' header off a cross from Katie Upton (Boyle County) in the 26th minute was her first goal. Her second, in the 50th minute, came off an assist from Tori Dillard (Bowling Green)

Dillard was named the tournament's most valuable player, with Graves joining her on the all-tournament team.

UK sports

Volleyball sweeps past Missouri

A balanced offensive attack and a strong finish to each set led the 17th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-22) win over Missouri on Sunday in Memorial Coliseum.

Four players recorded at least seven kills as the Cats (22-4, 11-2 Southeastern Conference) won their fourth consecutive match. Missouri (15-13, 6-7 SEC) had 35 unforced errors, including 14 in the final set.

"I was really proud of our effort and toughness at the end of all three sets," UK Coach Craig Skinner said. "Missouri brought an offensive juggernaut at us today and I think only gave us 21 points with serving errors and hitting errors. So that means you have to earn a lot of them and I felt like we did a good job of that."

Golf

Watson's late eagle leads to surprise victory

Bubba Watson won his first World Golf Championship with a stunning turnaround Sunday when he holed a bunker shot for eagle on the 18th hole to get into a playoff, and made a 20-foot birdie putt to beat Tim Clark in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

"You always joke about holing it," Watson said. "And then it actually went in. I didn't know how to react and so I just kind of screamed, and I lost my voice a little bit. It was one of those shots, a one-in-a-lifetime kind of shot. And so it was pretty neat."

Watson had a two-shot lead with three holes to play until he appeared to throw it all away. He missed the 16th green with a lob wedge and made bogey, and then took two shots to get out of a bunker on the par-3 17th and made double bogey to fall one shot behind a five-way tie for the lead.

Nick Taylor overcame a four-shot deficit to win the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss., shooting a 6-under 66 for a two-shot victory over Boo Weekley and Jason Bohn.

Etc.

Landon Donovan scored three goals and set up Robbie Keane's goal, propelling the LA Galaxy into Major League Soccer's Western Conference finals with a 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Sunday night. Donovan extended his career for at least three more weeks with a hat trick and a brilliant effort for the four-time MLS Cup champion Galaxy, which hasn't lost at home in 17 games since March 8.

Donovan has announced he will retire after the season, but the most accomplished player in U.S. history is far from finished. He extended his own MLS record to 25 career playoff goals.

The last word

Golfer Bubba Watson's up-and-down round that ended with a victory in the HSBC Champions is part of the reason why fans find him so intriguing. Watson acknowledged:

"They never know what they're going to get."

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