The University of Southern Maine softball team earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Division III softball championship tournament, reaching the tournament for the first time since 1999.

The Huskies, who finished 31-4-1, will face Linfield College (of McMinnville, Oregon) at 2 p.m. Friday at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Southern Maine is one of just seven at-large teams to make the 48-team tournament. The Huskies won the Little East Conference regular-season title before losing to Eastern Connecticut State University in the conference championship. Eastern Connecticut earned the conference’s automatic bid into the tournament.


EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN: Serena Williams earned her first victory in more than three months by beating 17-year-old qualifier Lisa Pigato 6-3, 6-2 Monday in the first round of the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, Italy.

Williams, who accepted a wild-card invitation for the Parma tournament after losing her opening match at the Italian Open last week, dominated after dropping her serve in the opening game.

“I’m just starting to feel more comfortable. I’ve always felt super comfortable on the clay and this year has been a little more difficult than normal,” said Williams, who served six aces. “I think it was because of the long hiatus I’ve had (from) the clay.”

Williams hadn’t won since beating Simona Halep in the Australian Open quarterfinals in February. She was eliminated from the year’s first Grand Slam tournament by Naomi Osaka in the semifinals.


NYC MARATHON: The New York Road Runners announced that the 50th running of the New York City Marathon will be staged on Nov. 7.

NYRR says a modified field size of 33,000 runners was determined after consulting with state and city officials.

Race Director Ted Metellus says the return of the race after a one-year hiatus “will showcase our great city’s strength, inspiration, and determination.”

The race was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Runners registered for last year’s marathon were provided the option to receive a full refund of their entry fee or a guaranteed complimentary entry for the 2021, 2022, or 2023 New York City Marathon. This year’s race will accommodate all runners who chose to run in 2021.

Among the more than 30,000 runners who were registered prior to the cancellation last year, NYRR said 54% chose to run this year.


BEIJING OLYMPICS: Groups alleging human-rights abuses against minorities in China are calling for a full-blown boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, a move likely to ratchet up pressure on the International Olympic Committee, athletes, sponsors and sports federations.

A coalition representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others issued a statement calling for the boycott, eschewing lesser measures that had been floated like “diplomatic boycotts” and further negotiations with the IOC or China.

“The time for talking with the IOC is over,” Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press. “This cannot be games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community.”

The Beijing Games are set to open on Feb. 4, 2022, just six months after the postponed Summer Olympics in Tokyo are to end.


GIRO d’ITALIA: Peter Sagan won the 10th stage of the Giro d’Italia in a sprint, in Foligno, Italy, while Egan Bernal had one second shaved off his overall lead.

Remco Evenepoel earned one second more than Bernal in an intermediate sprint and is now 14 seconds behind the Ineos Grenadiers rider.

Sagan surged ahead of Fernando Gaviria in sight of the finish line after the undulating 86-mile route from L’Aquila to Foligno.

Gaviria crossed second and Davide Cimolai was third, all with the same time of 3 hours, 10 minutes.


VIOLENCE: Police in the German city of Dresden said that 185 of their officers were hurt in clashes with fans celebrating third-tier soccer club Dynamo Dresden being promoted.

Large numbers of fans gathered near Dynamo’s stadium on Sunday as the team won 4-0 against Türkgücü Munich to secure promotion to the second division for next season. As it became clear Dynamo was going to win, fans began to confront police and throw projectiles.

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