He spoke briefly Tuesday, thanking family and friends for their support and then offering an apology. “I am very sorry to everyone for any pain and suffering you’ve endured. My hopes and prayers are to Mr. Mendoza and his family that they don’t suffer anymore as a result of this ordeal,” he said. At the trial, Mendoza testified he could not see who attacked him in the dimly lighted parking lot. The assailant was dressed in black from head to toe and had a hood cinched up so only the eyes were visible. Mendoza said he was convinced Cozad wanted to kill him. “Even though he wasn’t convicted of it, his intentions were clear,” Mendoza said, fighting tears. “I’ll never forget that. I’ve spent long nights since then waking up in a cold sweat, having nightmares, thinking I was going through that again.” ETC.: Pitt basketball player Levance Fields will spend nine months on probation in a special program for first-time offenders to settle criminal charges stemming from a scuffle with police, his attorney said. Fields, a junior point guard, was charged with aggravated assault, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and other counts after the Sept. 16 altercation outside a nightclub. Authorities dropped all the charges, except for simple assault. Motorsports Dario Franchitti’s much-anticipated move to stock cars will begin Friday with an ARCA race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The 2007 Indy 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion has agreed to a multiyear deal to replace David Stremme in the No. 40 Dodge for NASCAR’s Chip Ganassi Racing. ETC.: The Indianapolis 500 purse will be at least $13.4 million next year, an increase of $2.7 million from this year’s record payout and the biggest one-year jump in the race’s 91-year history. The winner also will receive at least $2.5 million, some 42 percent more than the record $1.76 million paid to Buddy Rice in 2004. Tennis Serena Williams overwhelmed Zuzana Ondruska, 6-0, 6-0, in the first round of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany. Also, 18-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli, 0-6, 6-2, 6-1. Defending champion Nadia Petrova beat German wild card Tatjana Malek, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1. ETC.: Top-seeded Venus Williams coasted to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Jill Craybas in the first round, then overpowered Long Beach’s Vania King, 6-0, 6-4, today to advance to the quarterfinals of the Japan Open in Tokyo. In men’s first-round matches, American Justin Gimelstob advanced with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Lukasz Kubot of Poland, while Vincent Spadea downed fellow American Amer Delic, 6-3, 6-1. … Qualifier Evgeny Korolev upset fifth-seeded Potito Starace of Italy, 6-3, 6-3, in the first round of the Open de Moselle in Metz, France. Boxing Middleweight boxer Joey Gilbert was “shocked” by a report he tested positive for a combination of illegal substances and will launch an independent probe to clear his name before the Nevada Athletic Commission, his publicist said. Gilbert has been temporarily suspended pending his appearance before the five-member commission to answer for the positive tests, including a steroid, methamphetamine and amphetamine, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported on its Web site. Gilbert, 31, gained international attention on the NBC reality series “The Contender,” which aired in 2005. A licensed lawyer who was a three-time national collegiate champion at Nevada, he has a 16-1 record with 12 knockouts as a professional. Basketball The Washington Mystics removed the interim tag from Coach Tree Rollins’ title after he led the team into playoff contention after Richie Adubato resigned in June following an 0-4 start. Soccer American midfielder DaMarcus Beasley became the first American to score for different teams in the European Champions League and assisted on another goal, helping Glasgow Rangers to a 3-0 upset victory at Lyon in the first round of the European Champions League. Manchester United, Arsenal and Internazionale of Milan also won in their second games of the opening round. Beasley scored three goals for PSV Eindhoven during the 2004-05 Champions League. ETC.: Ramon Morales scored a goal as Chivas de Guadalajara advanced to the Copa Sudamericana quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory against DC United in Guadalajara, Mexico. College sports Jessica Gysin racked up 19 kills and 19 digs as the No. 4-ranked USC women’s volleyball team rallied to defeat visiting UC Irvine, 27-30, 28-30, 30-26, 30-26, 15-5. Asia Kaczor added 20 kills for the Trojans (14-1), while Taylor Carico (Mira Costa High) piled up 57 assists, six kills and seven digs. Kari Pestolesi had 22 kills and 18 digs for the Anteaters (12-6). ETC.: David Estrada scored in the 37th minute to lead the UCLA men’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory over visiting San Diego. Brian Perk had four saves for the Bruins (4-4-1). … Yvonne Vasquez scored in the 79th minute to lead the host Cal State Dominguez Hills women’s soccer team over Western Washington, 2-1. Corrie Horikawa (North Torrance) scored for the Toros (8-1-3) in the 31st minute. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! From news services Former Northern Colorado backup punter Mitch Cozad was sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday in Greeley, Colo., for stabbing a rival in what prosecutors said was a brutal attempt to take over the starter’s role. Prosecutors said Cozad ambushed starting punter Rafael Mendoza on the night of Sept. 11, 2006. Mendoza was left with a deep gash in his kicking leg but later returned to the team. Cozad was convicted in August of second-degree assault but acquitted of the more serious charge of attempted first-degree murder. The 22-year-old Cozad, of Wheatland, Wyo., faced up to 16 years in prison on the assault conviction.