SOCCER

A school board in northern Michigan plans to send a protest letter over sportsmanship following a soccer player’s 16-goal record-setting game against a winless team.

The backlash over Kevin Hubbell’s performance continued Monday night at a meeting of the Kingsley board. Members didn’t take a formal vote, but there was clear support for sending a letter to the Benzie Central school board, the superintendent said.

Hubbell, one of the best players in Michigan, scored 16 goals in a 17-0 victory by Benzie Central on Sept. 29, setting state and national records for most goals in a high school game.

“He was firing them off like a rocket,” said Heather Bartelmay, a Kingsley school board member whose son was goalkeeper for part of the game. “We went over and hugged our boys. That’s what was needed. Their hearts were bleeding.”

Superintendent Keith Smith, who will draft the board’s letter, told The Associated Press that it was a “cheap shot.”

“They set out to do it, and they did it,” Smith said Tuesday. “It has no place in high school athletics. … Moving forward from getting knocked on your face is a great life lesson. But our soccer program is a fledgling program. We only have so many kids.”

Kingsley is 0-16 and has scored only seven goals all season, according to game results posted online.

Benzie Central Coach Chris Batchelder has told local news media that he knew records were possible against the struggling Stags. But in a Sept. 30 letter to Kingsley officials, he said he didn’t intend to “humiliate your players or your program” and apologized for some remarks.

“It was a player getting hot and I got lost in the opportunity the kid had in front of him,” Batchelder said.

TENNIS

BNP PARIBAS OPEN: Upsets dominated the fourth round at Indian Wells, California, with three top-five seeds getting dismissed in straight sets.

No. 2 Iga Swiatek, the highest remaining women’s seed, lost to No. 24 Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-3. Top-seeded Karolina Pliskova was upset a day earlier, when she lost to Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 7-5.

American Jessica Pegula routed No. 5 Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-1.

U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez had five double faults in losing to Shelby Rogers 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4). Rogers knocked out world No. 1 Ash Barty in the third round at last month’s Open before falling to eventual champion Emma Raducanu in the fourth round.

On the men’s side, American Taylor Fritz beat No. 5 Matteo Berretini 6-4, 6-3. Karen Khachanov defeated No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta 6-0, 6-4.

No. 6 Casper Ruud survived the onslaught of upsets, outlasting Lloyd Harris 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4.

Jannick Sinner advanced via walkover against American John Isner.

GOLF

RULES: Golf’s governing bodies announced a new “model local rule” available Jan. 1 that would limit the maximum length of all clubs except the putter to 46 inches.

Phil Mickelson uses a 47.5-inch driver – it was 47.9 inches at Kiawah Island when at age 50 he became golf’s oldest major champion – and Lefty was not pleased in August when he heard this limit was close to being announced, calling it “pathetic.”

Mickelson argued that restricted length of a driver would promote a shorter and more violent swing, which would be injury prone, and doesn’t allow for the length of arc in the swing to create speed. He also said the “amateur” governing bodies were trying to make golf less fun.

A model local rule gives a tour or any other golf organization the right to apply the rule to specific tournaments. Given that the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient are in charge of the rules worldwide, the driver limit will be in effect at the U.S. Opens, British Opens and their other championships.

The PGA Tour also said it will go along, which was not a surprise. The major tours have been working with the governing bodies on rules in recent years, including the overhaul of the Rules of Golf that took effect in 2019.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: The Atlanta Dream hired longtime WNBA player Tanisha Wright as its new head coach, looking to bring stability to a team that struggled under two interim coaches this past season.

The 37-year-old Wright played 14 seasons with the Seattle Storm, New York Liberty and Minnesota Lynx.

She retired after the 2019 season and spent the last two years as an assistant for the Las Vegas Aces. She also had been a college assistant with Charlotte since 2017.


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