In a busy time of the sports calendar, it was at team facing tragedy that won the week. The Los Angeles Angels faced the worst thing possible as a team. Losing a player. Tyler Skaggs passed away on July 1 from unknown cause. On the road in Arlington, TX, the team had a day off to mourn, but trudged through the rest of the road trip into the All-Star break. It was the first game after the break that was legendary. At home with every player wearing Tyler Skaggs #45, Taylor Cole and Felix Pena faced 28 batters, retiring 27. The one that wasn't retired? Walked. That means no hits. It was a game designed for Cole to get through the first part, then have Pena take over. And both executed perfectly. The game was never in doubt as the Angels beat the Mariners 13-0, but after a rough week, the Los Angeles Angels are the first Sportsteam of the Week!
Another week, and another woman takes center stage. The United States Women's National Team (USWNT) lived up to the billing by winning their fourth World Cup over the Netherlands 2-0, the second Cup in as many tournaments, but perhaps never facing stiffer competition. The USWNT stormed through all the best European teams on European soil. In order: Sweden, Spain, France, England, Netherlands. Outside of their matches against the United States, they were a combined 20-2-1, with only Netherlands beating Sweden, and Spain going 1-1-1 in pool play as the losses. Against the USWNT? 0-5. Led by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who was able to stymie opponents to only 3 goals throughout their 7 games (0.4 goal average). In the finals she could not be scored upon, but really saved the team in their semifinal battle against a resilient English team that controlled the ball 58% of the time and matched the US with 4 shots on goal. Naeher stopped them all and is a worthy Sportswoman of the Week!
Round of 16 and Quarterfinals. Two goals apiece and the United States Women's National Team is moving on to the Women's World Cup (WWC) semifinal [editors note, at time of publication they won that too]. But our Sportswoman of the week has used her veteran savvy and extreme skill to score all the teams' goals in defeat of Spain and France (2-1). The first two were on Penalty Kicks, the latter two from the field. And against France, against a hostile environment. In what may have been the most highly anticipated women's soccer game in history, Rapinoe struck early on a brilliant free kick, and late on a hard counter attack. Both were needed and Rapinoe earns the Longhorndave Sportswoman of the Week!