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With one putt, Arizona sends No. 1 Stanford home in eventful round of NCAA Golf


The quarterfinals of NCAA golf match play weren’t without drama Tuesday. Here’s how the action unfolded.

Arizona vs. Stanford

While Arizona snuck into match play Monday night and earned the No. 8 seed, the Wildcats took full advantage of the opportunity Tuesday. With four of the matches split down the middle, it came down to sophomores Angelina Ye of No. 1 Stanford and Gile Bite Starkute of Arizona, who were even for most of the day.

The competition peaked on the 18th hole. Starkute — who hadn’t trailed all day — had to take an unplayable, giving Ye a clear advantage. But Ye missed the two putt that would have sent her team to the semifinals, enabling Starkute to take the bogey and extend the match.

The two headed to the 10th for extras. Ye holed a critical putt, but Starkute, from the edge of the green, made a monster birdie to lead Arizona to the semifinals and bring an end to Stanford’s postseason dominance.

Arizona could be on its way to another Cinderella run, three years after the Wildcats won the team title as the eight seed.

Ole Miss vs. Texas

Despite Texas holding firm all day, the Longhorns were unable to deliver the knockout punch, allowing Ole Miss to make things interesting late. Fifth-year senior Kennedy Swann finished strong in her match and earned a point for the Rebels, while Julia Johnson’s birdie miss enabled Sara Kouskova to capitalize on the 18th and give Texas the much-needed point.

While Agathe Laisne had as much as a three-stroke lead through 13, Chiara Tamburlini found her way back to tie the match, forcing extras. It wouldn’t take long to decide the winner, as Agathe Laisne birdied the 8th to earn the point for the Longhorns. 

It was the matches between Andrea Lignell and Kaitlyn Papp and freshmen Smila Sonderby and Ashley Park that held all of the drama. Ole Miss needed to win both matches in order to advance to the semifinals. And win they did. 

Lignell spun one in against Papp to extend the match, and Ole Miss’ semifinal chances, even further. She then made par, before a routine tap-in by Papp extended the match.

Papp then had a big shot on the next hole that set her up for the birdie putt to send Texas through. Papp’s putt missed by centimeters, leaving the door open for Lignell. The two would remain tied through the 22nd hole of competition, where Lignell would sink the birdie and put a point on the board for Ole Miss — and the pressure on the freshman Sonderby.

Sonderby had been substituted in for Ellen Hume of Ole Miss on Monday after Hume had to bow out with a nerve injury. The true freshman proved to be up for the task.

On the 18th, Park missed the birdie, leaving the door open for Sonderby to walk through and take advantage. She birdied the hole to tie the match and extend Ole Miss’ run.

The two would duke it out all the way to the 21st, where Park missed the bogey putt, setting up Sonderby to complete Ole Miss’ comeback and send Texas home.

Duke vs. Arizona State

Defending national champion Duke took care of business easily against Arizona State, winning 3-1-1. Anne Chen led Alessandra Fanali all day, taking care of business for the Blue Devils and earning the point.

Gina Kim sunk her own putt to put a second point on the board for the Blue Devils and take the win over Olivia Mehaffey.

Phoebe Brinker then took care of business and advanced the Blue Devils into the semifinals to face off against Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State vs. Auburn

Compared to the rest of the field, Oklahoma State vs. Auburn was about as routine as it gets. 

OSU dominated this one as world amateur No. 7 Maja Stark took care of business for the Cowgirls. Teammates Lianna Baile and Rina Tatematsu also held their own and took wins in their matches. Isabella Fierro and Megan Schofill took 19 holes to decide their match, but eventually Fierro sunk one to take the win.

Elena Hualde had the only win of the day for Auburn.

Next up: The semifinals, with Duke taking on Oklahoma State and Arizona facing off against Ole Miss.

New Washington Spirit Head Coach Jonatan Giráldez Arrivin DC

head coach Jonatan Giráldez
Jonatan Giráldez joins the NWSL from FC Barcelona Femení. (Ramsey Cardy/UEFA via Getty Images)

Five months after announcing that the Washington Spirit had hired Barcelona Femení coach Jonatan Giráldez as the team's new head coach, Giráldez has joined the club in Washington, DC.

Giráldez is coming off of a successful season with the Spanish side, having won UEFA Women's Champions League, Copa de la Reina, Supercopa, and Liga F in his final season to complete a lauded Quadruple.

While Giráldez was finishing out his tenure in Europe, Adrián González filled in as Spirit interim head coach. González has also seen success, leading the team to its third-place standing with a 9-3-1 record through 13 games.

“I’m thrilled to join the Spirit and begin this next chapter with the club,” Giráldez said in an official team statement. “To be part of the vision Michele Kang has for the Spirit and women’s soccer globally is an exciting opportunity.”

Giráldez has worked at Barcelona since 2019, initially coming on as an assistant coach before moving up to head coach in 2021. The team went 30-0-0 on the season under Giráldez during his first year as manager.

He brings along with him Andrés González and Toni Gordo, who will serve as the Spirit's Fitness Coach and Club Analyst, respectively.

US Track & Field Olympic Trials Touch Down in Oregon

Sha’Carri Richardson competes in the women’s 200-meter preliminary round during the USATF Outdoor Championships
Sha’Carri Richardson will have some competition this week as athletes vie for an Olympic berth. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The US Olympic Track & Field Trials begin on June 21st, kicking off a 10-day quest to determine who will represent the US in Paris this summer.

The crucial meet will take place in Eugene, Oregon, where the top three finishers in each event will punch their ticket to the 2024 Olympics. As with this past week's US Swimming Trials, even the most decorated athletes must work to earn their spot — and one bad performance could undermine four years of preparation.

Reigning 100-meter World Champion Sha'Carri Richardson headlines this year's field, as the 24-year-old looks to qualify for her second Olympic Games and compete in her first. Richardson is a world champion in both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprint, but missed the Tokyo Olympics due to testing positive for THC shortly after the last US Olympic Trials.

Other standouts include 400-meter Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who's currently the most decorated athlete in the active women's US Track & Field pool. McLaughlin-Levrone qualified to run in the 200-meter and 400-meter flat races alongside the 400-meter hurdles at the Olympic Trials, but opted to focus solely on her signature event.

800-meter specialist Athing Mu will also be a huge draw this week, as the Olympic gold medalist looks to shake off a lingering hamstring injury while pursuing her second Summer Games. Gold medal-winning pole vaulter Katie Moon will also attempt to qualify for her second-straight Olympic Games.

Ole Miss star McKenzie Long could be Richardson's greatest competition in the 100-meter and 200-meter events, as well as Richardson's Worlds teammate Gabby Thomas in the 200-meter. In field events, watch for Oregon senior Jaida Ross going head-to-head with reigning world champion Chase Jackson in the shot put, as both push for their first Olympic team berth.

Regardless of why you tune in, the US Olympic Trials are a perpetually thrilling and sometimes brutal qualification process. If you're able to make your way to the head of the pack, a shot at Olympic glory might just be waiting at the finish line.

Fans can catch live coverage throughout the Trials via NBC, USA, and Peacock.

Top Teams Square Off in NWSL Weekend Slate

NWSL Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda
Orlando Pride, led by forward Barbra Banda, will take on Utah in this weekend's NWSL action. (Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As the NWSL season continues, a few top-performing clubs will have a chance to boost their standings this weekend.

First-place Kansas City will travel to Providence Park to take on fifth-place Portland, as the Current look to keep their unbeaten streak intact. And in New Jersey, third-place Washington will take on fourth-place Gotham FC, with both teams attempting to extend multi-game unbeaten streaks.

A six-point gap has opened between the fifth and sixth spot on the NWSL table — with just six points also separating the league's top five. Kansas City, Orlando, Washington, Gotham, and Portland have recently proven themselves to be a cut above the rest of the competition. With eight postseason spots up for grabs and half the season behind us, a pattern is forming that indicates the playoff race could come down to spots six through eight on the NWSL table.

Of those top five teams, only Orlando faces an opponent in the bottom half of the league this weekend: The Pride will take on 14th-place Utah, who nonetheless are coming off a win — just their second of the season — over Bay FC last weekend.

But despite Kansas City and Orlando having yet to lose a game, Gotham might be the squad coming into the weekend with the most momentum.

Clutch goals from Rose Lavelle and rookie Maycee Bell gave the Bats a 2-0 midweek win over San Diego on Wednesday, in a rematch of the 2024 Challenge Cup. Gotham's unbeaten streak dates all the way back to April, as rising availability and sharpened form have honed this year's superteam into a contender.

Bottom line? As the NWSL season passes the halfway mark, some matches might begin to feel more like playoff previews than mere regular season battles.

Chelsea Gray Returns From Injury in Aces Win Over Seattle

las vegas aces chelsea gray and kelsey plum celebrate a win over the seattle storm
Gray has been sidelined with a foot injury since the 2023 WNBA Finals. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Chelsea Gray made her return to the basketball court on Wednesday, helping the Aces to a 94-83 win over the Seattle Storm. 

The lauded point guard missed the first 12 games of the season, having been injured in last year’s WNBA Finals. The left foot injury caused her to miss Game 4 of the championship series, and she’s continued to rehab it through the beginning of the 2024 season. 

Her return on Wednesday was capitalized by the fact that she needed just 20 seconds to make an impact and record her first assist. While she finished with just one point, she had seven assists, four rebounds, and two blocks to go alongside it in 15:30 minutes. Gray's contributions on the night brought her career assist record up to 1,500.

"I probably went through every emotion leading up to today," Gray said after the game. "I was a little anxious all day. It's been a long time since I've been out on that court. But the fans were amazing from the time I came out to warm up to the time I checked in the game. It was a rush and a feeling I missed a lot."

It’s been a roller coaster of a season so far for Las Vegas, who have lost five of their last seven games. Gray, who averaged 15.3 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.0 rebounds in 2023, has proven herself a much-needed addition to the team’s lineup.

"Felt like my heart," Aces coach Becky Hammon said when asked how she felt hearing the crowd erupt for Gray's return. "She's the leader of our team. I thought she did a wonderful job too."

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