All Scores

Sierra Canyon volleyball reaches new heights in national rankings

Sade Ilawole and the Sierra Canyon volleyball team defeated Mira Costa 3-0 on Saturday. (Photo by Jose Montanez)

Sierra Canyon athletics may be most known for its basketball program, but the Trailblazers’ star power extends to the volleyball court. With No. 2 basketball recruit Juju Watkins and the rest of the Sierra Canyon basketball team looking on, the Trailblazers volleyball team swept No. 10 Mira Costa to win the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division I championship on Saturday.

Pitt commit Olivia Babcock had 22 kills on a .486 hitting percentage, junior Sade Ilawole racked up 50 assists and Lauren Lynch had 17 digs, as the Trailblazers staked their claim as one of the top teams in Southern California and the nation with the win.

It didn’t get any easier for Sierra Canyon, though. Awarded the second seed in the CIF Southern California Open Division, the Trailblazers faced reigning state champion Marymount in the first round Wednesday.

It was the fourth meeting between the teams, and it was as tightly contested as the previous three. The Trailblazers showcased their championship mettle and managed a five-set victory for their third win of the season over the Sailors.

The Trailblazers’ next opponent is another familiar nemesis: Mira Costa. But for a program ascending to new heights, the limelight hasn’t bothered them yet.

Behind those two quality postseason victories, Sierra Canyon cracks the top 10 in this week’s Just Women’s Sports team volleyball rankings, rising seven spots to No. 8.

Check out the complete rankings below, and click here to see last week’s rankings.

1. Cathedral Catholic (Calif.), 39-0

The Dons won the CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship last week and still haven’t dropped a set. Now, they must navigate a crowded Southern California Open Division to compete for the state title.

2. Cornerstone Christian (Texas), 55-2

The Warriors’ season is over. Due to their national schedule, they won’t compete for a state crown.

3. Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.), 34-1

Duquesne commit Avery Hobson was everywhere with 17 kills, 19 digs and 12 assists as the Royals defeated No. 19 Yorktown in three sets to win the Class 4A state title. After opening the season with a loss to No. 22 McCutcheon, Hamilton Southeastern did not lose again, beating McCutcheon in the regional championship.

4. Washburn Rural (Kan.), 43-1

Star outside hitter Brooklyn DeLeye, the No. 6 overall recruit in the Class of 2023, has officially signed a National Letter of Intent with Kentucky, where she will team up with Bloomfield Hills Marian setter Ava Sarafa.

5. Westminster Christian (Fla.), 27-0

After sweeping Lake Highland Prep in the semifinals, the Warriors must beat 20-win Clearwater Central Catholic to claim their first state title since 2016 and overcome three consecutive state championship defeats.

6. Fayetteville (Ark.), 36-2

The Bulldogs, who won a state title in late October, did not lose to an Arkansas team all season.

7. Bloomfield Hills Marian (Mich.), 45-1

The Mustangs cruised to a district championship and then opened the Division I state playoffs with another sweep.

8. Sierra Canyon (Calif.), 34-4

If the Trailblazers defeat Mira Costa in the regional semifinal, a potential matchup against No. 1 Cathedral Catholic looms in the regional final.

9. Prestonwood Christian (Texas), 38-1

The Lions bring a 26-match winning streak into Friday’s Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Class 6A state semifinals.

10. Mira Costa (Calif.), 37-4

The Mustangs were handed their first loss since Oct. 1, falling to Sierra Canyon in the CIF Southern Section Division I final, but they bounced back with an opening-round win in the Southern California Open Division.

11. Tompkins (Texas), 39-4

Rice commit Cindy Tchouangwa notched 21 kills, Erica Dellesky had 23 assists and Tendai Titley contributed 21 digs, as the Falcons swept Ridge Point to advance to the regional tournament for the first time in school history.

12. Mother McAuley (Ill.), 37-3

Michigan commit Ellie White had 10 kills, Northwestern recruit Gigi Navarrete compiled 16 digs and Tess Hayes played provider with 18 assists, as the Mighty Macs advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals.

13. St. Thomas Aquinas (Kan.), 40-3

The Saints are still savoring their Class 5A state championship.

14. Buford (Ga.), 38-5

The Wolves completed the three-peat, beating Lambert in a five-set thriller to win the Class 7A state championship. Mississippi State commit Ashley Sturzoiu led the way with 22 kills and 11 digs, while Polly Cummings had an astounding 48 assists, surpassing 1,000 career assists during the match.

15. Saint Francis (Calif.), 32-0

Taylor Williams racked up 29 kills and Havannah Hoeft had 42 assists as the Lancers beat Archbishop Mitty for the fifth time this season to win the Central Coast Section Open Division. Saint Francis picked up another win in the state playoff opener Wednesday.

16. Notre Dame Academy (Ky.), 34-5

The Pandas beat national power Assumption for the third time this season in the state semifinals and followed it up with a sweep in the state championship, as UNC commit Sydney Nolan recorded 18 kills. Louisville recruit Kamden Schrand added 22 digs, and Lauren Ott and Lizzy Larkins each had 20-plus assists.

17. Pope (Ga.), 45-5

The Greyhounds, who handed No. 20 Pace Academy their only loss this season, came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Sequoyah in a five-set thriller and capture their first state title since 2018.

18. ‘Iolani (Hawaii), 25-5

The Raiders already wrapped up the season as state champions.

19. Yorktown (Ind.), 34-3

The Tigers fell to Hamilton Southeastern for the second time this season, losing 3-1 in the state championship despite stellar performances from sophomores Charlotte Vinson (15 kills) and Addi Applegate (26 digs).

20. Pace Academy (Ga.), 42-1

The Knights won their sixth consecutive state title — in their third different classification — this past weekend when they swept Lovett in the 4A state championship. They appear primed for another state title run next season as well, with juniors leading the team in all major categories.

21. Papillion-LaVista South (Neb.), 34-5

The Titans started out the year in the top 25, and that’s where they’ll end it after winning the Class A state championship behind 25 kills from South Dakota commit Lauren Medeck and 21 kills from Hawaii recruit Stella Adeyemi.

22. McCutcheon (Ind.), 33-2

The team’s season ended with a loss to Hamilton Southeastern earlier in the playoffs.

23. Benet Academy (Ill.), 36-4

If the Redwings get past 39-1 Barrington in the state semifinals, a potential matchup against Mother McAuley looms in the 4A state championship.

24. Highland Park (Texas), 42-3

The Scots’ season ended with a four-set loss to Guyer in the 6A regional quarterfinals.

25. Immaculate Heart Academy (N.J.), 28-1

The Blue Eagles bring a 25-match winning streak into the state championship and have dropped just four sets all season.

Phillip Suitts is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. He has worked at a variety of outlets, including The Palm Beach Post and Southeast Missourian, and done a little bit of everything from reporting to editing to running social media accounts. He was born in Atlanta but currently lives in wintry Philadelphia. Follow Phillip on Twitter @PhillipSuitts.

Sofia Huerta signs contract extension with Seattle through 2027

(Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Oregon soccer players detail instances of verbal abuse from former USWNT assistant

(Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via Imagn Content Services)

Members of the Oregon women’s soccer team are saying they received harsh treatment and even verbal abuse from head coach and former USWNT assistant Graeme Abel. 

During the 2023 season, the team had zero wins, and upon its conclusion a total of 12 of the team’s 29 players departed the team. Former players told The Oregonian that Abel would verbally attack them, threaten to kick them off the team and at times would even throw objects.

"When I’d make a mistake at practice, it felt like he made it a job to embarrass you to the point where you just wanted to walk off the field,” one player said. “He’d stop the practice – and I know it’s college soccer, it’s very competitive — but he’d stop practice and just keep going nonstop on this one thing."

In total, the Oregonian spoke with 14 former players – including 12 who agreed to be interviewed in depth. All said that they experienced verbal abuse. Six of the players were among those who transferred following the season. 

One instance of Abel’s tirades included him throwing a water bottle that narrowly missed players’ heads. 

“He kicked all of our staff out of the locker room, kicked a trash can, threw a white board, sat on the trash can and started screaming,” one player recounted. “He wanted us to tell him what we thought went wrong in the game. Me and another player spoke up, and he said, ‘You’re just (expletive) wrong.’ And that if we didn’t want to be in this program, we could all quit, and he’d sign our release paperwork tomorrow.”

While Abel was not made available for an interview, he did say in a statement that “at no point have I used threatening statements or financial repercussions as a part of coaching.”

Instances of emotional distress stemming from Abel’s alleged harsh treatment date back to 2021 – his first full year leading the team following an abbreviated 2020 campaign.

Other former players contacted by The Oregonian detailed positive overall experiences, and described his style as “normal coaching.”

Others, like USWNT players Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan, did not respond to requests for comment, although Sauerbrunn wrote in 2019 that she had a “great relationship” with Abel. 

Still, multiple players interviewed had similar stories, with one saying that girls would be “crying in the locker room” after practice because of what he would tell players. Attempts to speak with the administration about his behavior, players say, was “discouraging.”

“His office is like the scariest place,” one player said. “You’d have to sit there while he’d belittle you and say all these nasty things, and gaslight you into believing you’re not good enough. ... Our team fell apart because of the environment he created. We were just trying to get through the day. There was no way we could focus on soccer.”

Multiple players said they experienced suicidal ideation while playing at Oregon. In part of his statement, Abel wrote that “at no time do we put our student-athletes in any danger.”

Abel is currently in his fifth and final year of his contract at Oregon.

Gotham FC unveil Championship rings ahead of banner reveal

Gotham FC players celebrate Lynn Williams' goal in the first half of the 2023 NWSL Championship. (Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC has unveiled their 2023 NWSL championship rings — and safe to say, they deliver.

The reveal has led to a little bit of trash talk ahead of the team’s matchup with Kansas City this weekend, as both teams have NFL owners. While the Current are co-owned by Patrick and Brittany Mahomes, former Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a co-owner of Gotham. 

On Wednesday, Manning took to Sportscenter to give Mahomes a bit of a hard time.

“He may have one more Super Bowl ring than me, but he does not have a NWSL championship ring like I do,” Manning joked.

“Come Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, April 14th, we’re dropping the banner on Kansas City. We got the ring ceremony, the players get their rings and their championship afterwards. This is it, I’ve got something to talk a little trash to him about because I can’t do it about football anymore, I gotta find something else.”

The appearance came after Manning posted to social media, inviting Mahomes to “come see [the championship ring] up close this Sunday.”

Mahomes responded in kind, writing that “we’ll see y’all Sunday!”

Gotham takes on current league-leaders Kansas City on Sunday at 6pm ET. The game is available on NWSL+.

Oregon State hit by transfer portal again as Raegan Beers departs

ALBANY, NEW YORK - MARCH 31: Raegan Beers #15 of the Oregon State Beavers shoots a free throw during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 31, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Oregon State leading scorer and rebounder Raegan Beers announced on Thursday that she is entering the transfer portal. 

"Thank you for all of your endless love and support these past two years," she posted on social media. "I will never forget my time at OSU and I am thankful for the opportunity I had to meet and play with incredible people. My journey as a Beav was a special one and I am grateful for my teammates, coaches, fans, and friends who have changed my life throughout my time here."

A sophomore forward, Beers is a two-time All-Pac-12 selection who averaged 17.5 points per game last season while shooting 66.4 percent from the field. She also added 10.3 rebounds en route to earning third-team All-American honors from the AP. 

She’s the fourth Oregon State starter – and seventh player overall – to hit the portal this offseason. She joins Talia von Oelhoggen and Timea Gardiner in the transfer portal, as well as starting freshman Donovyn Hunter. 

Beers and Gardiner were both top-10 recruits in ESPN rankings coming out of high school. 

With the dissolution of the Pac-12, the program will join the WCC next season and no longer be a part of the Power 5.

Conference realignment is hitting the team hard, with coach Scott Rueck saying during the tournament that he knew it could seriously affect his team moving forward. 

"That's reality," Rueck said. "I can't control that, other than just keep doing what I'm doing. I think the opportunity within that for a leader provides a discipline that you'd better be on your A-game all the time. You'd better take care of people, and you'd better provide a great experience. That's the approach going forward and what happens, happens. We'll find a way."

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