Afternoon State Sports Briefs: U.S. Women's hockey team wins opener at 12-Nations tourneyWisconsin Sports
-- The U.S. women’s hockey team won its opener today at the Twelve Nations’ tournament in Finland.
HELSINKI, Finland - The U.S. women’s hockey team won its opener today at the Twelve Nations’ tournament in Finland.
The Americans crushed Russia 12-0, with the help of four players with Wisconsin ties. The Badgers’ Hilary Knight scored a hat track. Verona native Amanda Kessel, who plays for the University of Minnesota, had two goals. Brianna Decker of Wisconsin had one goal and three assists. And former Badgers’ goal-tender Jessie Vetter had 11 saves. The U.S. will play Japan tomorrow.
Match play is getting underway this afternoon at the U.S. Amateur golf tournament northwest of Milwaukee. The field was cut from 312 players to 64 after two rounds of rain-delayed stroke play ended earlier today. Gregor Main of Danville, California has the top seed in the overall bracket, after he won the stroke play rounds at 10-under-par 132 for 36 holes. Blake Biddle of Saint Charles, Illinois finished second at eight-under. Former Milwaukee Brewers’ pitcher Mike Ignasiak of Saline, Michigan finished in a tie for 61st at even-par 142. But it was not immediately known if he’d be in the match play bracket. The final spots were still being determined as of early afternoon. None of the Wisconsin players made the match play round. Jack Schultz of Whitefish Bay came the closest. He ended up at four-over-146, in a tie for 131st place. David Christian of Oconomowoc and former UW-Green Bay standout Adam Austreng were both at 12-over, in a tie for 271st.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will open a home series tonight against Kane County. The Cougars dropped out of a tie for first place in the Western Division after losing at Clinton 4-2 last night. Wisconsin is coming off an 8-4 victory at Burlington, and the Timber Rattlers are now sixth in the West at 24-and-33 for the second half. The Beloit Snappers are back home to host Burlington, after Beloit got crushed at Quad Cities last night 11-3. It gave Quad Cities sole possession of first in the West, one game ahead of both Kane County and Clinton. Beloit is seven games back in fourth place, with a record of 26-31. Quad Cities also won the first half title. They’ll open a series at Peoria this evening. Clinton is at Cedar Rapids. East leader Dayton plays at Great Lakes. Fort Wayne is at South Bend. West Michigan hosts Lake County. And Lansing entertains Bowling Green.
UW-Whitewater is the pre-season favorite to win the WIAC volleyball title. That’s according to a poll of the league’s sports information directors. Whitewater is ranked 24th in the national coaches’ poll, but the Warhawks have not won the league crown since 2007. Oshkosh is projected to finish second, and Eau Claire third. Those two schools shared the league title a year ago. Platteville, which is ranked ninth in the country, is projected to take fourth in the conference.
Carroll University of Waukesha is the pre-season favorite to win the Midwest Conference men’s soccer title. The league’s coaches picked Carroll for the fourth straight year, after the Pioneer won two-of-the-last-three league crowns. Ripon, last season’s champion, is projected to take second this time around. Lake Forest is picked for third, and Grinnell fourth.
Dominican is the coaches’ choice to win the Northern Athletics Conference volleyball championship. The Stars finished a game out of first in the regular season last year – but they had one of their most successful years ever with a 26-10 record and first-place in the conference tourney. Concordia-Mequon and Edgewood College are picked to tie for second. Wisconsin Lutheran and Benedictine are projected to finish in a tie for fourth.
Dominican is also the coaches’ favorite to win its sixth straight men’s soccer title. Concordia-Mequon is second in the poll, followed by Aurora and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. In women’s soccer, five-time defending champion Aurora is the pre-season favorite for a sixth title. Dominican is second, and Edgewood third.