Riise, Courage salvage 1-1 tie with Spirit

Hege Riise scored in the 75th minute to lift

Carolina into a 1-1 tie with the San Diego Spirit on Sunday night,

clinching first place in the WUSA for the Courage.

The tie completed a worst-to-first turnaround for the Courage

(12-5-4), who will play host to a semifinal playoff game next

Saturday against Atlanta.

Riise's tying goal from 13 yards came on passes from Birgit

Prinz and Danielle Fotopoulos.

Shannon Boxx scored from 5 yards out at the 10-minute mark for

San Diego (5-12-4), which finished in seventh place in the

eight-team league. On the goal, Shannon MacMillan set a franchise

record with her eighth assist of the season.

A loss would have left the Courage tied with Philadelphia for

first place and the Freedom would have prevailed on a tiebreaker.