SCORESHEET/It took pluck for Oregon Ducks women to pull off their 'Triple Crown'/Two former UO volleyball players may be getting their big shot with Team USA

COURTESY: PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS - Rendering of proposed new skating facility for Portland Winterhawks.Negotiations continue on a contract between the Portland Winterhawks and the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District to build a two-sheet ice rink at the THPRD's Howard M. Terpenning Complex in Beaverton.

Winterhawks President Doug Piper says the club hopes to break ground in about a year, with a target opening of fall 2019.

The facility would include two ice rinks at Southwest 158th Avenue near Walker Road.

Construction costs are expected to be $10 million. Winterhawks owner Bill Gallacher would help fund the project, but Piper declines to say how much Gallacher would contribute.

The Western Hockey League team would run the new facility. The club has been operating the Winterhawks Skating Center, which it has leased since 2010. In 2013, with an eye toward campus expansion, Jesuit High bought the Valley Plaza property that includes the center.

Piper says demand for ice in Portland is high and the club turns away customers at the Winterhawks Skating Center.

The new facility would serve as the alternate practice site for the Winterhawks when there is no ice at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The facility also would house the Junior Winterhawks youth hockey teams, adult leagues and other skating programs.

Plucky Ducks

The Oregon Ducks overcame some major adversity — including a fall from 200-meter favorite Deajah Stevens — to complete the "Triple Crown" in college women's track and field.

Oregon did it in most dramatic fashion, too, with Stevens returning as part of a 4x400 relay team that had to win — and did — to give the Ducks the NCAA outdoor championship over runner-up Georgia. Amid huge pressure, the foursome anchored by Raevyn Rogers edged USC, both beating the collegiate record.

Oregon also had won the NCAA cross-country and indoor track and field titles this school year. Cross-country came in an equally tense finish, with Oregon's sixth and final scorer, senior Maggie Schmaedick, surging past a Michigan runner by one-tenth of a second at the finish to placed 64th — and give the Ducks a one-point win over the Wolverines.

Volleyball shot

Two former Ducks — 6-1 outside Sonja Newcombe and recent graduate and 5-7 libero Amanda Benson — are in camp with coach Karch Kiraly and the No. 2-ranked U.S. national team program, vying for spots in various major tournaments this year.

They could see action as soon as Tuesday against Canada in San Juan Capistrano, California. The big upcoming events are the Pan American Cup, June 17-25 at Lima, Peru; the FIVB World Grand Prix in various cities, July 7-Aug. 6; Brazil-Team USA matches Aug. 27 and 29 at Anaheim, California; and the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup, Sept. 5-10, in Japan.

Most of the U.S. mainstays are getting some rest this go-around. That includes Kim Hill, MVP of the 2014 world championships and a former star at Portland Christian High. Hill's international club season just ended, and it came on the heels of a demanding Olympic year.

Newcombe has been in the national team gym before but has never been on the roster for international competition. This looks to be her big chance.

And the libero position is wide open due to the retirement of starter Kayla Banwarth (who will be an assistant coach with the Nebraska Cornhuskers), and backup Natalie Hagglund's decision not to return (she could go to beach volleyball). Benson and two other liberos are battling for Kiraly's attention.

"It's a really good time for them to get playing time," says Bill Kauffman of USA Volleyball. "We'll travel with two of them each week. Which two go may or may not change from week to week, but I'd imagine is going to test all his liberos as much as we can."

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