SEC again honors ex-Wildcat Speese

Florida women’s soccer player and former Westminster standout Annie Speese was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week.

It’s the second time in the past month that she has received the honor.

Speese scored Florida’s final two goals versus Kentucky for her second double-goal match of the season and second of the past six matches.

She is second among the Gators in goals (5) and points (14) and shares second in assists (4).


Crosby to open year on injured reserve

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby’s return to the ice will have to wait a little longer.

The team placed the former MVP on the injured list Monday, meaning he’ll have to miss at least the first week of the season.

Crosby is continuing to recover from concussion-like symptoms sustained last January. He has been skating with the Penguins since training camp opened but has not yet been cleared for contact.

The Penguins open the season on Thursday at Vancouver.

Under the rules the earliest Crosby could be activated is Oct. 13, when Pittsburgh hosts Washington.

Alex Ovechkin is leaving the Washington Capitals for a few days following a death in his family.

The Capitals said Monday that Ovechkin would be traveling to his home in Moscow after learning of the death of a close relative.

Team spokesman Sergey Kocharov says the Capitals are hopeful the two-time league MVP will be back in time for the regular season opener Saturday against Carolina.

Washington wrapped up its exhibition schedule Sunday.

• The San Jose Sharks signed left wing Brad Winchester to a one-year contract.

Winchester split time last season between St. Louis and Anaheim. He had 10 goals, six assists and 114 penalty minutes in 76 games.

Winchester has played seven years in the NHL with Edmonton, Dallas, St. Louis and Anaheim.


Roddick calls early exit ‘unacceptable’

In Beijing, Andy Roddick lost to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 4-6, 5-7 in the first round of the China Open on Monday, a defeat the sixth-seeded American called “unacceptable.”

On the women’s side, top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki rallied from a set down to beat Lucie Hradecka 3-6, 6-0, 7-5.

Third-seeded Klara Zakopalova defeated Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-1, while Maria Kirilenko beat Julia Goerges 7-6 (9), 6-3.

Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic downed Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-2, 6-3, and Flavia Pennetta defeated Peng Shuai, 7-6 (6), 7-5.

Among the men, Marin Cilic defeated Chinese wild card Di Wu 6-2, 6-0; Feliciano Lopez beat Marsel Ilhan 6-2, 7-6 (6); and Fernando Verdasco topped Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-4.

• In Tokyo, fourth-seeded Mardy Fish beat fellow American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the first round at the Japan Open.

Top seed Rafael Nadal, the defending champion in the $1.2 million event, will take on wild card Go Soeda in the first round today. Also on court will be second seed Andy Murray, who will meet Marcos Baghdatis.


Atlanta firm to aid in Rome’s 2020 bid

The leaders of Rome’s bid for the 2020 Olympics have selected the American sports marketing company Helios Partners as its top consultant.

Atlanta-based Helios has already worked on four winning Olympic bids – Beijing in 2008, Vancouver in 2010, Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang in 2018. It also aided Russia’s successful candidacy for the 2018 World Cup.

Rome bid CEO Ernesto Albanese says Helios will assist in “brand positioning and messaging” and in all presentations.

Also competing for 2020 Games are Madrid; Tokyo; Istanbul; Doha, Qatar; and Baku, Azerbaijan.

The 2020 Olympic host city will be selected in September 2013.