UW-L volleyball snaps losing streak

The UW-La Crosse volleyball team split a pair of matches at its own quadrangular Saturday at Mitchell Hall, losing to Wartburg 25-12, 22-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-12, then bouncing back to snap a three-match losing streak with a 20-25, 25-27, 25-18, 25-21, 15-13 win over St. Norbert. The Eagles are 7-4 on the season.

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Cassie Handrick scored both goals for the Eagles in a 2-1 nonconference victory over Carthage in Kenosha, Wis.

Handrick scored the winner off an assist from Kaitlyn Villars in the 75th minute as UW-L improved its record to 3-2-1.

CROSS COUNTRY: UW-La Crosse’s third-ranked men’s team won the Augsburg University Invitational in Bloomington, Minn.

The Eagles ran to a team score of 43 to hold off second-place St. Olaf (49) and were led by Josh Schraeder, who won the 8,000-meter race in 26:48.8.

The 13th-ranked UW-La Crosse women were second and led by ninth-place Hannah Beilke (24:38.2) on the 6,000-meter course.


Las Vegas sets the stage

LAS VEGAS — Seven months into the NASCAR Cup series season, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are dead-even atop the standings. Defending champion Martin Truex Jr. is right behind them, and the other 13 drivers in the playoff field are desperate just to keep up.

Even after the occasional predictability of a regular season dominated by the Big Three drivers, the stage is set for an intriguing playoff push. It all starts Sunday in the 98-degree heat of Las Vegas, where every event just seems bigger.

“You can feel the energy from the teams and the drivers before this playoff, even more so than you have in years past,” said Kurt Busch, a Las Vegas native.

“There’s so much energy and so much attention with it being in Vegas for the first time. It just makes everything more exciting.”

NASCAR’s playoff stretch is kicking off for the first time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which also got a second race for the first time this season after years of strong public support for the sport.

While the temperatures on the slick track will bear constant monitoring, most drivers aren’t as worried about the heat as the stakes when this season hits the home stretch.

The playoffs add another element to the season-long rivalry among Harvick, Truex and Kyle Busch. Those three drivers’ joint dominance — they’ve combined for 17 victories and 51 top-five finishes while leading more than 42 percent of the laps over the entire season — has been the overriding theme of the season.

With 10 races still to go, the front-runners are eyeing each other warily. Nothing will be decided in Vegas, but a major mistake — particularly by Truex, whose playoff points cushion isn’t as big as his fellow leaders — could change the championship chase.

“My favorite part about where we’re at is that I feel we’ve been in championship form all year,” said Harvick, who won on this track in March.

“I don’t feel like there is a switch we have to go flip. We’ve been in the middle of the headlines and noise and all the things that come with the success we’ve had this year. The moment is not going to surprise anybody on my team. It should be business as usual as you start this weekend, and the goal is to win. Win the race in Las Vegas and go from there.”


On again? Mayweather says he and Pacquiao will fight

LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he’s coming out of retirement again to fight Manny Pacquiao for a second time in December.

Mayweather posted a video on Instagram early Saturday that showed him and Pacquiao together, reportedly in Japan, jawing at each other over a possible second fight.

“I’m coming back to fight Manny Pacquiao this year,” Mayweather said. “Another nine-figure pay day on the way.”

Whether the fight actually happens remains to be seen. There are no promotional barriers between the two men, because Mayweather promotes himself and Pacquiao is a boxing free agent. Oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook immediately made Mayweather a 2-1 favorite.

Mayweather defeated Pacquiao in May 2015 in a massively hyped fight that was largely panned by most boxing fans. The bout delivered a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys, and Pacquiao blamed an injured shoulder for landing only 81 punches in the fight.

Mayweather, who has won all 50 of his fights, last fought a year ago when he stopped Conor McGregor, the UFC star who was in his first professional boxing match.

The 41-year-old Mayweather reportedly made more than $200 million for that fight, on top of a reported $300 million for his win over Pacquiao.


Indians win division crown

CLEVELAND — Unchallenged for months, the Cleveland Indians clinched their third straight AL Central title with a 15-0 blowout on Saturday of the Detroit Tigers, who made four errors and managed only two hits.

Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley connected for back-to-back homers in the first inning off Michael Fulmer (3-12), Jose Ramirez had three hits and the Indians built an 11-0 lead after two on the way to becoming the first team to clinch a division championship.

Mike Clevinger (12-8) allowed one hit in six innings, and Yonder Alonso added a two-run homer as Cleveland’s offense awakened from a late-season slump.


Browns to release WR Gordon

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns are going to release troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon.

The stunning news came Saturday, just hours after the team announced that Gordon would miss Sunday’s game in New Orleans with a hamstring injury. Gordon has been suspended for most of the past four seasons because of multiple drug violations.

The 27-year-old missed training camp to undergo counseling and treatment. He played in the season opener last week, his first Week 1 game since 2012.

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