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NEWSWIRE

Flyers get a new coach

Peter Laviolette replaces John Stevens behind the bench in Philadelphia.

December 04, 2009

The Philadelphia Flyers replaced Coach John Stevens with Peter Laviolette on Friday after the team was shut out in consecutive games.

Laviolette led the Carolina Hurricanes to their only Stanley Cup title in 2006. He was fired in December 2008 and was still under contract.

Laviolette, who also coached the New York Islanders for two seasons, was 167-130-30 in his four-plus seasons with Carolina.

The Flyers were expected to contend in the Eastern Conference this season, but they were 13-11-1 for 27 points and out of the playoff picture entering today's game against Washington.

NCAA PLAYOFFS

UCLA women lose in soccer semifinal

Christen Press scored four minutes into overtime and undefeated Stanford advanced to its first NCAA Women's College Cup final with a 2-1 victory over UCLA at College Station, Texas.

The Cardinal (25-0) will face 21-time champion North Carolina, a 1-0 winner over Notre Dame in the other semifinal, for the title Sunday.

UCLA (21-3-1), making its seventh consecutive appearance in the College Cup, lost in the semifinals for the fourth time in a row.

Men's soccer playoffs are in the quarterfinal rounds, and UCLA meets Wake Forest today at Winston Salem, N.C., with the winner advancing to the College Cup next weekend in Cary, N.C.

UCLA and Loyola Marymount will meet today in a semifinal of the men's water polo championships at Princeton, N.J.

TENNIS

Spain closes in on Davis Cup title

Defending champion Spain took a 2-0 lead over the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup final after David Ferrer rallied for a 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 8-6 victory over Radek Stepanek at Barcelona.

Earlier, Rafael Nadal relied on his usual dogged determination and timely shot-making to beat Tomas Berdych, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2, in the first singles match on the clay court at the Palau Sant Jordi.

Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco can clinch Spain's fourth title today with a doubles win over Lukas Dlouhy and Jan Hajek in the best-of-five finals format.

BASEBALL

Red Sox, Scutaro agree to a deal

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a two-year deal with shortstop Marco Scutaro with a club option for the 2012 season.

Scutaro reached career highs with a .282 average, 12 homers and 60 runs batted in for Toronto last year. He has also played for the New York Mets and Oakland Athletics in his eight-year career.

The Texas Rangers have pulled catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia out of winter ball in the Dominican Republic because of discomfort in his surgically repaired right shoulder. . . . Right-hander Brad Penny and infielder Juan Uribe have turned down one-year contract offers to return to the San Francisco Giants.

GOLF

Hayes leads in qualifying event

J.P. Hayes shot a nine-under-par 63 to grab the lead in the PGA Tour qualifying tournament at West Palm Beach, Fla., before thunderstorms forced the suspension of third-round play.

Hayes' bogey-free round on the Links Course at Bear Lakes Country Club left him at 12-under 204, a stroke ahead of Graham Delaet (64) and Brenden Pappas (65).

Australia's Nikki Garrett was at six under overall after three holes when third-round play in the 90-hole LPGA Tour qualifying tournament was suspended for the day because of rain at Daytona Beach, Fla.

ETC.

Vonn wins another downhill event

Skier Lindsey Vonn was in command again at Lake Louise, Canada, winning a downhill in falling snow and arriving at the finish line with a bloody mouth. It was her sixth win in six years on that course in a World Cup downhill. Vonn, winner of the last two overall World Cup titles, was leaking blood from her mouth after apparently biting her tongue or the inside of her cheek.

The 25-year-old American finished in 1 minute 26.13 seconds and was followed by Canada's Emily Brydon in 1:26.65.

Carlo Janka won a World Cup super combined event, leading a 1-2 Swiss finish in an event at Beaver Creek, Colo., that top Americans Bode Miller and Ted Ligety failed to complete. Janka had a total time of 2:32.26 for the downhill and slalom runs, nearly half a second better than countryman Didier Defago. . . . Chad Hedrick edged U.S. teammate Shani Davis to win the men's 1,500 meters at a World Cup long-track speedskating event in Calgary, Canada. Hedrick finished in 1:42.14, with Davis only 0.05 of a second behind. . . . Herschel Walker will make his mixed martial arts debut next month. The 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and Pro Bowl running back will face an opponent to be announced as part of a fight card Jan. 30 in Sunrise, Fla.

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