Thursday, June 19, 2003

U.S. men face soccer challenge in France

Enquirer news services

The last U.S. men's soccer team that found itself in Lyon, France, was a bickering bunch that wound up losing 2-1 to Iran and heading home humiliated from the 1998 World Cup. Much has changed since then - starting with the head coach - and the team in France's culinary capital this week for the Confederations Cup is determined to have better results.

This U.S. team is coming off a quarterfinal run in the 2002 World Cup, the best finish by a U.S. team since 1930. This U.S. team is under the direction of coach Bruce Arena, whose approach is very different from his predecessor, Steve Sampson.

The Americans have a tough task this week, opening against World Cup semifinalist Turkey today and then facing World Cup champion Brazil on Saturday. The U.S. team will play Cameroon on June 23.

"I don't think they're going to be taking us for granted, but those are three teams with impressive credentials," Arena said. "I don't think they're worried about the U.S."

Only nine of the 23 players from the World Cup team are on the roster for this eight-team tournament, but Arena sees this as a perfect chance to evaluate talent.

College World Series

STANFORD SURVIVES: Carlos Quentin homered twice and drove in three runs as Stanford defeated Cal State Fullerton 5-3 at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday.

John Hudgins turned in a second straight strong pitching performance, allowing five hits but only one after the third inning in a complete game.

The victory - Stanford's first in five games this season against the Titans - forces a rematch today to determine which team will represent its side of the bracket in the best-of-three championship final that starts Saturday.

Quentin hit a two-run homer in the first inning to open the scoring for the Cardinal (49-16). He hit a solo homer with two outs in the eighth to give Stanford a two-run lead and also singled in the fourth, raising his four-game CWS batting average to .500 (7-for-14).

Pro hockey

BARRASSO RETIRES: Goaltender Tom Barrasso retired Wednesday after playing 19 NHL seasons with six teams, including 12 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 38-year-old Barrasso played 44 games the last two seasons after sitting out the 2000-01 season. He finished his career by going 1-4 with a 3.28 goals-against average in six games last season with St. Louis.

Auto racing

TESTING IN KENTUCKY: The Indy Racing League will conduct an open test session Friday at Kentucky Speedway. The "Test in the Bluegrass" is open to the public at a cost of $10 that includes garage access. Drivers expected to attend include Gil de Ferran, Helio Castroneves, Al Unser Jr. and Sarah Fisher. The event runs from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


NO ACC MOVE: Atlantic Coast Conference leaders met for three hours Wednesday about whether to add Miami, Syracuse and Boston College to the league but gave no timetable for another discussion.

The ACC presidents and chancellors, who have the final say on expansion, have met for eight hours without coming to a consensus.

CINCINNATI: For the second year in a row, the University of Cincinnati football team has been singled out by the American Football Coaches Association for its high graduation rate.

The Bearcats were one of 31 Division I-A schools to boast a graduation rate in excess of 70 percent for the class of freshman that entered UC for the 1997-98 academic year.


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