The Future Starts Here: Charlottesville is becoming known as a training hotspot for world-class women's athletes. Just two weeks after the U.S women's lacrosse team paid a visit to prepare for their summer international competition, the national women's soccer team journeyed to Hooville.
Having just lost beloved 1999 World Cup veterans Mia Hamm, Brandi "shirt ripper" Chastain, Julie Foudy, and Joy Fawcett to retirement, the ladies have their work cut out for them as they begin organizing the 2007 team.
Coach Greg Ryan is facing a new challenge in his first year at the international helm (he had coached the Wisconsin Badgers before recently joining Team USA), but he believes his squads can continue the recent American international powerhouse play despite their inexperience.
"Individually, we're an incredible team," Ryan told The Daily Progress following last week's 2-0 exhibition victory over Canada. "But right now we haven't really figured everything out about playing together." Ryan may have high expectations while preaching fundamentals, but the team appears to be on track thus far. The U.S. swept through three teams ranked in FIFA's International top 10 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal earlier this month.
Worst Luck on the Thirteenth: After 12 straight wins at RFK Stadium, the Washington Nationals' (44-31) bid for a three-game series sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays (38-38) falls short. "I don't pay attention to that. Each time you go out, you focus on the game you're playing," Nationals manager Frank Robinson tells MLB.com. "You don't say, 'Wow, we have a 12-game winning streak at home.' It's nice that we had the streak." Washington nevertheless posts another solid week of baseball, closing the long road trip by winning two of three games in Pittsburgh (34-40) to maintain a 2.5 game lead over the red-hot Atlanta Braves (42-34), winners of the past 13 division titles in the NL East.
Best Bets on the Basketball Bench: Even shy of 100 days in office, UVA men's basketball coach Dave Leitao officially announces his coaching staff Tuesday, June 21. The final two additions are assistant coach Steve Seymour and director of basketball operations Drew Diener. "I'm extremely pleased to have completed our staff with two high quality people," Leitao tells the Progress. "We set out to get great chemistry within our office, and I think we will more than have that." Having Division I head coaching experience at all three major positions sets the program apart.
Toughest Hump to Climb: After a shaky 3-6 start, the Washington Mystics women's basketball team (6-7) string together their first winning streak of the season to reach an even .500 mark before their surge finally runs out of steam against the Western conference-leading Sacramento Monarchs (9-3) Sunday, June 26 at the MCI Center. The Mystics wouldn't go without a fight, though, as they rallied from an 18-point deficit to draw even with two minutes remaining. But Sacramento managed to make the clutch plays down the stretch to prevail, 62-57.
The Week Ahead:
Baseball and fireworks go hand in hand on the Fourth of July. Old-timers say whoever's in first place on Independence Day will win the division. Good news for the Nationals, bad news for the Richmond Braves.
vs. New York Mets (37-38)
Monday, July 4 @ 1:05pm
Tuesday, July 5 @ 7:05pm
Wednesday, July 6 @ 7:05pm
Thursday, July 7 @ 1:05pm
Limited tickets available: $7-55
RICHMOND BRAVES (28-51)
vs. Columbus Clippers
Monday, July 4 @7pm
Tuesday, July 5 @ 7pm
vs. Toledo Mud Hens
Wednesday, July 6 @ 7pm
Thursday, July 7 @ 7pm
Friday, July 8 @ 7pm
Many tickets available: $3-9