The United States drew the toughest group for the Women's World Cup next year in Canada, and will face Australia in its opening match in Winnipeg on June 8.
In addition to 10th-ranked Australia, the Group D included No. 5 Sweden, led by former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, and No. 35 Nigeria, winners of nine African women's soccer championships.
"I'm extremely excited that the groups have been set," midfielder Carli Lloyd said. "We know that our group is not easy by any means, but the most important thing is that we focus on ourselves and do what we need to do.
"I love a challenge and wouldn't want it any other way," the Delran native added.
The top-ranked U.S. women are making their seventh World Cup appearance. The World Cup, which features an expanded field of 24 teams, will be played in six Canadian cities from June 6 through July 5.
Midfielder Lauren Holiday is the U.S. women's player of the year. Holiday, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who played at UCLA, also won U.S. Soccer's young player of the year award in 2007. She is the first woman to win both awards. Other candidates included Abby Wambach, Sydney Leroux and Christen Press and Lloyd.
HORSE RACING Nasa, the son of Smarty Jones, won the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at Parx Racing in 1 minute, 24.67 seconds.
GOLF Former Delaware County resident Ginger Howard and Brittany Benvenuto of Langhorne both missed the 72-hole cut at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Finals in Daytona Beach, Fla. Howard shot a 71 and missed the cut figure of 2-over-par 290 by 4 strokes. Benvenuto had a 75 and wrapped up her tournament at 295.
A chip and a putt was all Jordan Spieth needed to complete his 5-under 67 and maintain a 2-shot lead in the Hero World Challenge in Florida. Spieth and Steve Stricker were the only players who chose not to finish the rain-delayed second round because of darkness. Tiger Woods was in last place, 14 shots out of the lead.
WINTER SPORTS Lindsey Vonn won her first race in nearly two years as she led an American podium sweep in a World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta. Stacey Cook took second and Julia Mancuso was third.
Brittany Bowe led a 1-2 finish for the United States in the women's 1,000-meter race at a speedskating World Cup meet in Berlin. Bowe beat Heather Richardson by 0.33.
Germany's Natalie Geisenberger won yet another women's World Cup luge race in Lake Placid, N.Y., while Erin Hamlin of the United States captured an individual silver medal on the circuit for the first time.
- Staff and wire reports