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U.S. women beats Mexico for soccer gold

No nerve-fraying penalty kicks or shirt-stripping celebrations this time. This was another women's soccer team from the United States, doing things its own way and enjoying it just as much.

And now the 18-and-under U.S. team has something in common with its contemporaries from the Women's World Cup: a championship.

Catherine Reddick scored after a series of magnificent moves in the first half as the United States edged Mexico 1-0 in the Pan American Games final Thursday.

"The World Cup team was pressing on for the gold, and they got it. You set your standards so high to be like them," Reddick said.

"Hopefully, the World Cup is in my future. It's my goal right now. The Pan Ams is the biggest game of all of our lives right now. It's so special, right after the World Cup to live up to what they did. It's such a great experience."

Reddick, a 17-year-old high school senior from Birmingham, Ala., chest-trapped the ball near midfield, dribbled about 40 yards, juked two defenders in front of the penalty area and drove a right-footed shot high over goalie Linny Quinones in the 26th minute.

"I saw I had a shot and said, "Please go in.' And it went in," Reddick said.

Goalie Hope Solo and the American defense made it last. Solo, who plays at the University of Washington, was unscored upon in the three matches she started. Her fully extended block of a shot by Iris Mora in the 53rd minute and her diving stop of a shot in the penalty area by Fatima Leyva in the 87th preserved the victory.

The Americans bowed in a chorus line after their victory and took a lap around the field after getting the gold medals. The United States, tied by Mexico 1-1 in the preliminary round for its only blemish, outscored its opponents 22-2.

"We had our own expectations, because we are a different team," Solo said. "We are not the USA team, not the World Cup team. So we had to establish our own expectations and distinguish ourselves. And it wasn't just because they won.

"But they intrigued us, and they inspired us."

TENNIS: Paul Goldstein beat fellow American Cecil Mamiit 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 for the gold. Maria Vento of Venezuela defeated American Tara Snyder for the women's crown 7-6 (7-3), 6-1. American Tara Snyder lost the final to Vento 7-6 (7-3), 6-1.

BASKETBALL: The U.S. women can do no better than a bronze medal after falling to Cuba for the second time 87-78. It was an improvement from a 95-64 loss in the preliminary round. "They've come a million miles," U.S. coach Nell Fortner said of her team, which was put together two weeks before the Games. "I just wish we could have hit a few more shots against that zone defense and maybe it's a different outcome." Cuba plays Canada for the gold. The host team upset Brazil 56-54.

SWIMMING: Staciana Stitts and Karen Campbell gave the beleaguered U.S. women's team a major boost. Stitts smashed the Pan Am record in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 9.16 seconds, bettering 1:10.30 by American Tierney Dorsay in 1991. Campbell broke the record in the 100 butterfly in the preliminaries in 59.70, bettering the 1:00.53 set in 1979 by Jill Sterkel, then won the final in 1:00.05. Brazil, which has dominated the men's races, added two more golds for a total of five, and Canada won the other men's final. University of Florida swimmer Alex Lopez, representing Puerto Rico, took first place in the consolation final of the 200-meter breaststroke.

BOXING: Two Americans won and three lost in the semifinals. Super-heavyweight Davin King moved into the final against Cuba's Alexis Rubalcaba by shutting out Argentina's Manuel Azar 4-0. Jose Navarro won his flyweight bout when he outpointed Daniel Ponce of Mexico 12-8. Featherweight Aaron Torres lost to Zayas Younan of Canada 2-1. Light welterweight Corey Bernard was beaten 10-4 by Kleson Pinto of Brazil. Darnell Wilson lost 9-8 to Cuban star Jorge Gutierrez.

WEIGHTLIFTING: Hidalberto Aranda of Cuba set the world record in the clean and jerk for the 169{-pound division. Aranda lifted 453 pounds for the gold to break the record of 452 pounds set by Armenian Khachatur Kyapanaktsyan on Jan. 1, 1998 in La Coruna, Spain.

TEAM HANDBALL: In men's play, Cuba beat the United States 38-20, costing the Americans a shot at qualifying for the Olympics. In women's play, Cuba downed the United States 25-22.

JUDO: American Celita Shutz lost to Brazilian Vania Ishii in the final of the half-middleweight division.

FENCING: American Akhnaten Spencer-El lost to Cuban Candido Maya Camejo 15-10 in the saber final.