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TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 1998 s c SECTION C INSIDE LACROSSE Lacrosse may be expanding its goals John I. Leonard was first to field a girl's team in a Palm Beach County public school, but others may follow. PAGE 5C nn f sean Gilbert's francnise lag siays Ruling may end Dolphins' attempt at acquiring free agent. PAGE 2C CLASSIFIED: Pages 9-17 The Palm Beach Post QUI AD Dtlgd r Top seed Sampras makes another early exit By Elizabeth Clarke Palm Beach Post Staff Writer KEY BISCAYNE Scratch that oh-so-attractive prospect of a Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi semifinal at the Lipton Championships, because it won't be happening. And for once, it's not because Agassi stumbled along the way. Top-seeded Sampras lost Monday afternoon to South African Wayne Ferreira 0-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, a sign that Sampras has wandered off his path of domination this year. "I do think he's going through a bit of a slump," said Ferriera, who is ranked 36. "He has lost UPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS Panthers flirt with " ' historic futility Florida falls to Carolina in its last ijest chance to end what's now a :3-game losing streak, and appears poised to challenge the all-time ineptitude mark of 17. By Brian Biggane f aim Beach Post Staff Writer ; MIAMI It's starting to look as if the Florida Panthers could have a date with history. :j The Carolina Hurricanes, the last non-playoff team on the Panthers' schedule until Toronto visits April 7, held off a third-period Florida rally for a 5-3 victory that extended the Panthers' losing streak to 13 games in front of 14,511 Monday night at Miami : The game was the first non-sellout since late in the 1995-96 season, a streak of 90 games including playoffs. : ' The 13 straight losses match the longest streak In the NHL this year Tampa Bay also lost 13 in a row and left Florida four losses from the league record of 17 straight. The Panthers play Montreal twice, Boston and Chicago in their next four games. Florida (18-39-12), winless in its last 15 games (0-14-1), has allowed four or more goals in 10 straight games. Carolina (27-34-7), which had been 0-3 against Florida this season, pulled within five points of Ottawa for the eighth Eastern Conference playoff spot. . "We'd had success against them, but tonight they did to us what we'd done against them," right winger Ray Sheppard said. "That's the way things have been going." . "It's a tough one to swallow, no question, goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck said. "The guys showed a lot of heart coming back." . Carolina took a 2-0 lead on goals by Martin Gelinas and Keith Primeau in the first period. Steve Washburn cut the lead to 2-1 with a low, hard Shot past goaltender Trevor Kidd and off the right post at 1:27 of the second, but Sami Kapanen (2:43) and Stu Grimson (6:30) stretched the lead to 4-1 going to the third. m Ed Jovanovski, whose inconsistent play has been a key factor in the slump, played a role in both second-period goals. First his roughing penalty gave Carolina a 4-on-3 power play that Kapanen capitalized on, using a Primeau screen to drive a shot into the upper right corner. Then, Kapanen's pass intended for Grimson appeared to bank off Jovanovski's skate and past Please see PANTHERS6C 11 W W V -ZP C h .. ) V v ; matches that he normally wins, so I guess he is struggling quite a lot." Uncharacteristic mistakes plagued the seemingly distracted Sampras in his third straight loss to Ferreira. Even Sampras doesn't know what went wrong in a match he felt he should have won. "I'm just kind of sitting TV: 1 p.m., ESPN; 9:30 p.m. (taped), ESPN2 INSIDE: Serena Williams plays Martina Hingis today, while Venus Williams faces No. 29 Silvia Farina. 18C here just in . shock that I lost this match," he said. Sampras breezed through the first set, winning in 22 minutes with three aces and just six unforced errors. But early in the second set, Ferreira said, the performance from the five-time No. 1 world champion began cracking. "He started getting a little bit upset with the line calls, a little bit mad at himself, which is sort of unusual for him at a stage where he was winning that easily," Ferreira said. "It's not like him at all." But Sampras said he felt fine until the second-set tiebreaker. Please see LIPTONiSC THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Pete Sampras, who dropped a 0-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 two match points in the second set, is in danger of decision to Wayne Ferreira on Monday after holding losing his No. 1 ranking. "WEST' Sign of apocalypse: Pete looks kaput ... and the streak hits I 7 HMt. " '- .... Greg Stoda KEY BISCAYNE There was always Pete Sampras. He was the one through the Where's Boris? and Where's Steffi? stories, through the ongoing psychological rehabilitation of Monica Seles, through the meteoric rise of the new Martina (Hingis), through the soap opera of Andre Agassi's life, through the development of the Williams Sisters, through the emergence of heartthrobs Anna Kournikova and Patrick Rafter, through all the wonder and all the nonsense who provided professional tennis with some stability. And he did it by simply being great Quiet and great. Now, though, there are whispers. Is the recent on-court vulnerability demonstrated by Sampras merely a slump? Or is it the signal of the beginning - THE NHL RECORD IS FIVE GAMES AWAY: Monday's loss puts Florida within four ; losses of tying the NHL record of 17 straight : set by the Washington Capitals in 1974-75. -: WHEN COULD FLORIDA SET THE RECORD? April 4 In Philadelphia. ; THE NEXT CHANCE TO STOP THE STREAK: ' Thursday, when Florida plays Montreal at ; Miami Arena. TV: SportsChannel, 7:30 p.m. .' DIN0 CICCARELU MAY NOT SEE IT END: The veteran winger - not goaltender John '" Vanbiesbrouck - is considered the most ; likely Panther to be dealt before today's ; trading deadline. 5C of a precipitous decline? Another element was added to the debate Monday afternoon when Wayne Ferriera defeated Sampras in the third round of the Lipton Championships by the improbable count of 0-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3. It wasn't that Sampras lost to Ferriera; it was how he went to defeat Please see ST0DAAISC . 1 ' L ' ...I . --3 AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE Wayne Ferreira obliges the fans by signing autographs following his upset of top-ranked Pete Sampras on Monday. N.C. State sends Connecticut home 323 mm p- T ' " " r ' ; . 5 ' y f ' . " f " ' f , -sue- "They started to make their run, and for some reason that shocked us and we lost our composure," guard Amy Duran said. "We just needed to be a lot more aggressive than we were in the end." Chasity Melvin scored eight of her 18 points during the 14-0 run that brought the Wolfpack (25-6) back into the game. The Huskies (34-3) took a 36-26 lead three minutes into the second half on a three-pointer by Duran, and appeared to have the game under control. But then Melvin scored underneath, Ly-Schale Jones hit a basket Tynesha Lewis scored off a steal and Melvin hit three more baskets. Jones scored again to give the Wolfpack a 40-36 lead. Connecticut tied the game twice after that run, but was clearly rattled. North Carolina State scored its last eight points on free throws, as the Huskies were forced to foul repeatedly. 7W ste W0MEN6C The Wolfpack advance to their first Final Four with the 60-52 upset of the Huskies. Tkt Associated Press DAYTON, Ohio Connecticut tried hard not to believe its title hopes ended when Nykesha Sales ruptured an Achilles' tendon last month. Monday night the Huskies could deny it no more. "Tonight all of the things I worry about came true," said Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma. "A lot of it had to do with N.C. State's post players, who thoroughly outplayed ours." North Carolina State pulled off its second straight upset knocking Connecticut out of the NCAA tournament 60-52 and advancing to the women's Final Four for the first time. Without its star, the Huskies had relied on balance to win all seven games since losing Sales. They could have used a star against N.C. State. MONDAY'S SCORES N.C. State 60, UConn 52 Louisiana Tech 72, Purdue 65 Tennessee 76, N. Carolina 70 Arkansas vs. Duke, late FRIDAY'S GAMES Louisiana Tech vs. N.C. State Tennessee vs. West champion SUNDAY'S TTLE GAME .T Semifinal winners, 8:30 p.m. THE ASSOCIATED PBSS N C State's Tynesha Lewis right) and Connecticut's Amy Duran chase after a loose ball Monday in the first half of the Wotfpack's 60-52 win.