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IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds: Team USA falls to Canada in gold medal game


Canada edged the United States 3-2 to clinch the title Monday night at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships.

With the victory, Canada claimed its sixth title and stopped its rival from defending its 2019 title. Canadian goaltender Mari Pietersen stopped 29 shots – including 10 in the final period – to clinch the win.

The game presented a stark turnaround from the meeting between the teams in group play, which Team USA won 7-0.

Ava Murphy and Alexia Aubin each had a goal and an assist while Jocelyn Amos added one more goal for Canada.

The Canadian national teams have had a good run of late, with the senior national team beating the U.S. 3-2 to win gold at the Beijing Olympics in February. The national team beat the U.S. by the same score at the world championships last August.

After the Canadian junior team went up 3-0 on Monday, Team USA rallied with goals by Finley McCarthy and Claire Enright in the second period. But it wasn’t enough, as the tournament leaders in goals scored (21) managed just two goals on 31 shots in the loss.

Earlier, Finland beat Sweden 3-0 to claim its third bronze medal. Sanni Vanhanen had all three goals to secure the hat trick while Emilia Kyrkko stopped 35 shots on goal.

The most recent iteration of the tournament before this took place more than two years ago, in January 2020. The 2022 tournament certainly delivered, even six months after its originally scheduled starting date.

The competition was set to take place in Sweden in January, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. After an outcry, in which many pointed out the IIHF men’s tournaments were still on the schedule for later in the year, the organization changed gears, shifting the tournament to Wisconsin in June.

Full IIHF U18 Schedule

Monday, June 6

  • Group A:
    • United States 6, Sweden 1: Cassandra Hall scored back-to-back goals and four other players got on the board for the U.S. Ebba Hedqvist scored the lone goal for Sweden.
    • Finland 2, Canada 0: Finland scored its first-ever win against Canada with goals from Ada Eronen and Oona Havana.
  • Group B:
    • Czech Republic 4, Slovakia 0: The Czech Republic got the tournament started with a bang. Adela Sapovalivova scored twice while Andrea Trnkova and Eliska Hotova also got on the board.
    • Germany 1, Switzerland 0: Lola Liang was the lone scorer.

Tuesday, June 7

  • Group A:
    • United States 5, Finland 0: Laila Edwards and Tessa Janecke each scored twice for Team USA as they blanked Finland. With the win, the U.S. sits atop Group A with one final matchup against Canada set for Thursday.
    • Canada 3, Sweden 1: Canada got one back thanks to a two-goal performance from Rhea Hicks plus a goal from Reichen Kirchmair. Canada and Finland are now tied for second in Group A.
  • Group B:
    • Czech Republic 6, Germany 2: The Czech Republic had a strong showing over Germany, with Tereza Plosova notching the hat trick. Lucie Gruntova also scored twice, back-to-back goals in the second period. With one game left to play in group play, the Czech Republic leads Group B while Germany and Switzerland are tied for second.
    • Switzerland 3, Slovakia 1: After going down 1-0 to Slovakia, Switzerland responded by scoring three unanswered goals. Nina Harju, Elena Gaberell and Jade Surdez all found the back of the net.

Thursday, Jun 9

  • Group A: 
    • United States 7, Canada 0: This one was a doozy as seven different Americans found the back of the net for Team USA. Canada had no answer, and U.S. goalkeeper Annelies Bergmann stopped all 25 shots she faced.
    • Sweden 4, Finland 3: After going up 2-1, Sweden found itself in a 3-2 hole. Goals from Emma Pfeffer and Jenna Raunio helped the Swedes secure the comeback win against Finland. They managed to salvage three points with the win.
  • Group B:
    • Czech Republic 2, Switzerland 0: The Czech Republic took care of business against Switzerland. Anna Vanickova got things started in the second period before Dominika Malicka buried the finisher. Czech goalie Michaela Hesova stopped all 21 shots she faced.
    • Slovakia 6, Germany 2: Barbora Kapicakova and Hana Fancovicova each found the back of the net twice as Slovakia easily handled Germany. Lola Liang got the scoring started as Germany went up 1-0 but couldn’t find a response for Slovakia’s offense.

Friday, June 10

  • Quarterfinals
    • Canada 7, Slovakia 0: Canada cruised past Slovakia, securing their place in Sunday’s semifinal against Finland. Seven different players got on the board for Canada, with Sarah MacEachern notching three assists. Madison Chantler kicked off the offensive onslaught, scoring 52 seconds into the matchup, opening the floodgates for Canada, who outshot their opponents 65-5.
    • Sweden 2, Czech Republic 1: Sweden battled to a narrow 2-1 win to clinch a matchup against the U.S. in Sunday’s semifinal. Jenna Raunio logged the go-ahead goal for Sweden, sealing a hard-fought victory for her side.

Sunday, June 11

  • Semifinals
    • Canada 2, Finland 1: After Jade Iginla broke open the scoring for Canada, Finland’s Tilli Keranen evened up the score to make it 1-1. It would stay that way until Madison Chantler notched the game-winning goal in the third.
    • United States 3, Sweden 2: After going up 1-0 on a goal from Sydney Morrow, the U.S. found themselves down 2-1 after two unanswered goals from Mira Jungaker and Stella Lindell. But Team USA didn’t show any panic. Margaret Scannell and Grace Dwyer ended up providing the tie-maker and the tie-breaker, respectively, in the third period to secure the win. The U.S. advances to play Canada in the gold medal game while Sweden will play Finland for bronze.

Monday, June 13

  • Bronze medal game: Finland 3, Sweden 0
  • Gold medal game: Canada 3, United States 2

Star slugger Jocelyn Alo joins Athletes Unlimited AUX league

softball star jocelyn alo rounds the bases at an oklahoma sooners game
Former Oklahoma star Jocelyn Alo has signed with Athletes Unlimited. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Former Oklahoma slugger Jocelyn Alo has signed on with Athletes Unlimited and will compete in the AU Pro Softball AUX this June.

The NCAA record holder in career home runs (122), total bases (761), and slugging percentage (.987), Alo was originally drafted by the league in 2022 but opted instead to join the newly debuted Women’s Professional Fastpitch

Alo currently plays for independent pro softball team Oklahoma City Spark, with team owner Tina Floyd reportedly on board with her recent AUX signing. AUX games are scheduled for June 10-25, while the Spark's season will kick off June 19th. Alo will play for both. 

Among those joining Alo on the AUX roster are former James Madison ace pitcher Odicci Alexander and former Wichita State standout middle infielder Sydney McKinney.

According to Alo, the decision to play in the Athletes Unlimited league was fueled by her desire to propel women's sports forward as well as provide more exposure to a sport that's given her "so many opportunities."

"Not only to challenge myself more, but just for the growth of the game," Alo said, explaining her reasoning to The Oklahoman. "I genuinely believe that professional softball can be a career for girls."

Joining AUX is also one more step in her plan toward representing Team USA at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

"I’m constantly thinking about how can I do these little things right in these four years to prepare me for the biggest stage of softball," she told The Oklahoman. "I definitely want to play in the Olympics, for sure."

Alo further expressed enthusiasm in the hope that the rise of other women’s sports, like women’s basketball and the NWSL, will push softball’s professional viability even higher.

"We’re seeing the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) get their stuff going, I see the WNBA starting to get hot," she continued. "I feel like the softball community is like, 'All right, it’s our turn and it’s our turn to just demand more.'"

Reporter’s awkward exchange mars Caitlin Clark’s Fever intro

caitlin clark at indiana fever press conference on april 17
An uneasy interaction between Fever recruit Caitlin Clark and a local reporter has gone viral. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

An Indianapolis Star columnist is apologizing for an uneasy exchange with freshly minted Indiana Fever player Caitlin Clark on Wednesday.

At Clark's introductory press conference with the Fever, reporter Gregg Doyel introduced himself then abruptly formed a heart with his hands. Throughout her career with Iowa, Clark has often flashed heart hands at her family in the stands after finishing a game. The gesture has since become linked to the standout player.

But what ensued between Clark and Doyel was an incredibly awkward interaction, to say the least.

"Real quick, let me do this," Doyel said before making the heart sign at Clark. A composed Clark responded, "You like that?" After Doyel quipped, "I like that you're here," Clark dropped her eyes to the desk and said, "Yeah, I do that at my family after every game."

“OK, well start doing that to me and we’ll get along just fine,” Doyel said in response, to which Clark raised her eyebrows at the reporter, looking visibly uncomfortable. It wasn't the only unsettling comment Doyel made that day, as he later referred to Clark as "that" and "it" when directing a question to Fever coach Christie Sides. Sides appeared similarly thrown off by his choice of words.

As the clip made its way around social media, Doyel faced backlash from both sports fans and fellow members of the media. Much of the criticism centered around whether or not Doyel or another press representative would address an NBA player in the same manner. 

Doyel later apologized via a column entitled "Doyel: Caitlin Clark, I'm so sorry. On Wednesday I was part of the problem." published on the Indianapolis Star's website late Wednesday evening. Referring to his behavior at the earlier press conference, he called his comments "clumsy and awkward."

"Please know my heart (literally and figuratively) was well-intentioned. I will do better," he wrote, noting that he was "devastated to realize I’m part of the problem."

Rose Lavelle hoping to return to play ‘in the next couple of weeks’

uswnt midfielder rose lavalle trains on a soccer field in florida
When healthy, Rose Lavelle is a trusted asset in the USWNT's midfield. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Rose Lavelle is hoping to return to the field soon. 

The 28-year-old midfielder has been sidelined with a lower leg injury since the Gold Cup in early march. Since then, she has yet to play for new club Gotham FC in the NWSL. She also missed a potential USWNT appearance at the SheBelieves Cup in April, where senior team newcomer Jaedyn Shaw saw success assuming Lavelle's role in the attacking midfield. 

At the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee media showcase on Monday, Lavelle told reporters that she’s doing well and hopes to be back soon.

"I’m doing good — I’m hoping I’ll be back in the next couple weeks," Lavelle said. "It’s frustrating to start the year off with an injury, just because I feel like you come off preseason and you’re revving to go, so it’s so annoying."

Lavelle is still looking to compete for one of just 18 Olympic roster spots. When healthy, she ranks as one of the national team’s most trusted assets, but considering this most recent injury, her health is an obvious concern. Faced with an onslaught of experienced competitors and young talent, incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes will have some big decisions to make when selecting the Paris-bound squad — a reality Lavelle seems to be taking in stride as she works to regain full fitness.

"We have so many special players, we have so much depth, and so many different weapons to utilize on and off the bench," Lavelle said. "Unfortunately that means really good players are going to get left off, too. And I think for all of us, it’s just about being ready for whatever role is given to us, embracing that, and looking to put it into a collective picture so that we can go into the Olympics ready to go."

Kate Paye tapped to take VanDerveer’s place at Stanford

new stanford head coach kate paye spins a basketball on the court
Stanford associate head coach Kate Paye has officially been promoted to head women's basketball coach. (Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)

Stanford has found its replacement for legendary head women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer in associate head coach Kate Paye.

The Cardinal confirmed the hiring on Tuesday via a press release. Paye was largely expected to replace the longtime head coach, as the college mentioned they were still negotiating Paye's contract when they announced VanDerveer's retirement.

In Tuesday's statement, Paye reported that she was "humbled" to have been tapped to lead the women’s program.

"Stanford University has been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember and I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead its women’s basketball program," Paye said. "I’d first like to thank Tara, who has played such a pivotal role in my career for her friendship and guidance. It’s not what she’s done, but how she’s done it, that has had such a profound impact upon me."

A Woodside, California native, Paye played under VanDerveer from 1992 to 1995, taking home a national title her freshman year. After graduation, Paye briefly joined San Diego State as an assistant coach before making her professional debut with the ABL's Seattle Reign in 1996. After finishing her playing career with the WNBA's Seattle Storm, she joined the team’s coaching staff in 2007 and has been with the organization ever since, picking up another national title win — this time as associate head coach — in 2021. Paye's brother John played quarterback for Stanford from 1983 to 1986, while also serving as a point guard on the basketball team.

In her own response, VanDerveer said that she was "grateful" that Stanford picked Paye to follow in her stead. Last week, the decorated coach stated that this year would be her last after 38 seasons at the helm and three national titles under her belt.

"She has long been ready for this opportunity and is the perfect leader for Stanford at this time of immense change in college athletics," VanDerveer noted. "Kate was the choice for this job and I am confident she will achieve great success as head coach."

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