Friday Flashback: International Volleyball Association (IVA)

IVA2Volleyball has always been one sport that I thought could be a professional sport during the summer months while the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) were in hibernation.  Over the years, the beach version has overshadowed the indoor game.  During the 1970s there was an attempt to create a major league with the International Volleyball Association (IVA).

The IVA was a co-ed professional league which lasted from 1975 to 1980.  Most of the team were located in the western United States.  Teams in the league were:  Santa Barbara Spikers (1975-1979), El Paso-Juarez Sol (1975-1977), Los Angeles/Orange County Stars (1975-1978), San Diego Breakers (1975-1978), Southern California Bangers (1975), Tucson Turquoise (1976), Tucson Sky (1977-1979), Phoenix Heat (1976-1977), Denver Comets (1976-1977), Seattle Smashers (1978-1979), Albuquerque Lasers (1979), Salt Lake City Stingers (1979) and San Jose Diablos (1979).

The most notable player was former NBA great Wilt Chamberlain who played with the Seattle Smashers in 1977.   Chamberlain also played in the IVA’s All-Star Game which was televised on CBS.  He also played in three games for the Albuquerque Lasers in 1979.  Chamberlain was involved with the league from the beginning serving as the Commissioner during the late 1970s.

League champions were:

  • 1975 – Los Angeles Stars
  • 1976 – San Diego Breakers
  • 1977 – Orange County Stars
  • 1978 – Santa Barbara Spikers
  • 1979 – Tucson Sky

The IVA featured two women and four men on the court at all times.  The league did manage to attract the world’s top volleyball talent during its existence.  Mary Jo Peppler, Lino De Gama and Ed Skorek were just a few of the international players that appeared on team rosters.

The Denver Comets  were one of the league’s most stable franchises.  However, in July 1979 government agents raided the offices of the team and arrested team owners along with other team employees on charges of running a multi-state cocaine and marijuana trafficking operation.

The Salt Lake City Stingers had relativity strong fan support with an average of 2,000 per game and nearly 400 season ticket holders.  While most IVA teams played in small high school arenas, the Stingers played their home matches in the Salt Palace which was also home to the Utah Jazz of the NBA.

Most accounts claim that the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics was the final blow to the league.  The league had hoped the exposure of featured Olympians would help them with an expected television contract with ESPN.  The boycott forced many teams to fold.

 

 

 

Obscure Sports Page

The Obscure Sports Page is a weekly report of sports leagues in the United States that are unique or get little coverage from the sports media.

American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The league will get national exposure on ELEVEN Sports Network on Sunday, July 9th for the A7FL Championship Game.  The league’s third championship game will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park.   NJ Paterson U, NJ Savage, PA Immortalz, NJ BIC, NJ Chiefs, Baltimore Kings, Baltimore Gators and PA Dynasty will begin the playoffs this weekend.

American Flag Football League (AFFL) – The league’s inaugural “test” game will be played on Tuesday, June 27th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.  The game will feature Michael Vick, Chad Ochocinco and Justin Forsett.   The league has advertised to be a modern version of flag football and will feature several technical innovations to the game.

American Hockey League (AHL) – Martin Frk scored the winning goal with 7:19 left in regulation to give the Grand Rapids Griffins a 4-3 win in Game 6 of the Calder Cup finals to defeat the Syracuse Crunch.  This is the Griffins’ second Calder Cup title in five years.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league’s “Cross Coast Challenge” concluded last weekend with a high scoring game in Toronto.  The Rush overcame an early three goal deficit for a 33-27 win over San Francisco.  After trailing 16-15 at halftime, the Rush went on a 5-1 run to start the second half and never looked back.  The current division leaders are:  South-Raleigh (10-1), East-Toronto (8-3), Midwest-Minnesota (8-1) and West-San Francisco (7-3)

Arena Football League (AFL) – Philadelphia Soul running back, Mykel Benson, became the fifth player to rush for 100 touchdowns in league history.  He joined the elite group on his second touchdown in the win over Tampa Bay.   The Soul remain undefeated and on top of the league at 9-0 followed by Tampa Bay (7-2), Cleveland (3-7), Baltimore (2-6) and Washington (1-7).

roughriders
Richmond Roughriders win the APF title over the Florida Tarpons

 

Arena Pro Football (APF) –  The Richmond Roughriders won the championship over the Florida Tarpons 74-61.  On the game’s final play, Tarpons’ quarterback Chris Wallace rolled to his left looking for a receiver.  Two Roughrider defenders closed in on Wallace as he hurried the pass which was intercepted by linebacker Malique Johnson who returned it for a touchdown to end the game and give the Roughriders the title. Richmond (8-0) completed an undefeated season.  Although the Roughriders claimed the first title in the APF, it will be their last in the league as it is set to merge with the CAN-AM Indoor Football League to form the American Arena League but Roughriders’ owner isn’t sure about following the rest of the league into the merger.  Owner Gregg Fornario is considering other options including the National Arena League (NAL) and Indoor Football League (IFL).

Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The inaugural season of the 3-on-3 basketball league tips off this weekend in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center.   The league was created by Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz.  The league will feature eight teams with former NBA players.

Champions Indoor Football League (CIF) –  The Omaha Beef will face the Texas Revolution on Friday for the CIF title.  Omaha defeated the Sioux City Bandits 55-45 and Texas got past the Amarillo Venom 77-71 in the semifinals.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) –  Here are the current Top 10 rankings in the GDFL:

  1. Oklahoma Thunder
  2. Alabama Sabers
  3. Chattanooga Eagles
  4. Missouri Cyclones
  5. Huntsville Rockets
  6. North Mississippi Road Warriors
  7. Starkville Steeldogs
  8. River City Pythons
  9. Tri-City Outlaws
  10. Georgia Crush

Indoor Football League (IFL) – Nebraska Danger quarterback Drew Powell was named the league’s offensive player of the week after leading his team to a 59-44 win over the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.  Powell completed 17 of 23 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown.  He also rushed for 71 yards.  Sioux Falls Storm defensive back Rashard Smith was the defensive player of the week as he helped his team end the Iowa Barnstormers’ 11-game winning streak returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Storm a 21-point lead with less than five minutes left.

Major League Futsal (MLF) –  Diablos Ensenda MX leads the Men’s Pro Division with 18 points.  The Women’s Pro Division is led by Alianza F.C. with 3 points.  Futsal is the official version indoor soccer which played without dasher boards.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) –  Davey Emala and Will Manny combined for eight goals in Boston’s 16-9 win over the Outlaws in Denver on Saturday night. The win avenged Boston’s loss to Denver two weeks ago.  Boston goalie Tyler Fiorito earned the Coca-Cola Player of the Game after stopping 20 of the 29 shots against him. He made eight saves and did not allow a goal in the fourth quarter.  The teams were within a goal of each other at the end of the first quarter and within two goals after the second quarter, but Boston pulled away by outscoring Denver by a 7-2 margin in the second half.   The loss drops Denver into a first place tie with the Ohio Machine (5-2).

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) –  Boston (3-0), Rochester (3-0), Austin (3-0) and Los Angeles (3-0) continue to lead their respective divisions early in the season.  Austin’s Monroe Augustine leads the Individual Quaffle Stats with 12 goals and nine assists.    This weekend’s matches will feature Boston hosting Ottawa and Phoenix at San Francisco.

National Arena League (NAL) – The playoffs are set for this weekend’s league semifinal games.  The Columbus Lions (9-3) will travel to play the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) while the Jacksonville Sharks (11-1) will host the Monterrey Steel (7-4).   The Steel upset the Sharks in the final regular season game last weekend 44-37.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Here are the current standings for the league:

  1. USSSA Pride (8-2)
  2. Scrap Yard Dawgs (7-5)
  3. Chicago Bandits (9-7)
  4. Texas Charge (7-6)
  5. Akron Racers (5-7)
  6. Beijing Eagles (0-9)

North American Soccer League (NASL) –  Week 14 of the NASL Spring Season comes with another stern test of Miami FC’s title-winning credentials. Miami faces the New York Cosmos, who sit seven points behind along with the San Francisco Deltas in the table, on Saturday night. A win at Riccardo Silva Stadium would move Miami closer to gaining the Spring Championship. A loss, of course, would bring the rest of the pack a little closer.  The Deltas head north to take on FC Edmonton and the club has yet to lose on the road in league play. The other Saturday night kickoff gets underway in Cary as North Carolina FC squares off with Indy Eleven.  On Sunday, Jacksonville Armada FC hosts Puerto Rico FC as both sides look to rebound from conceding four goals apiece a weekend ago.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The North Carolina Charge are still on top of the league with 21 points.  The Charge will play Boston this weekend.  Boston is in 9th place in the standings.

Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – The Cape Fear Heroes had little trouble with the Cap City Bulls in the first round of the league playoffs.  The Heroes ran away with the game 63-14.  Unfortunately, there appears to be no information about the next round this weekend.

United Soccer League (USL) – Trevin Caesar had a hat trick and a highlight-reel assist to lead Sacramento Republic FC to a 6-2 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday night.

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) –  In the second round of the playoffs:

  • St. Louis Slam 69, Madison Blaze 8
  • Orlando Anarchy 57, Cincinnati Sizzle 6
  • Arkansas Wildcats 36, Austin Outlaws 6
  • Southern Oregon Lady Renegades 46, Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz 6
  • Toledo Reign 22, Maine Mayhem 7
  • Boston Renegades 27, DC Divas 24
  • Chicago Force 45, Pittsburgh Passion 0
  • Dallas Elite 53, Minnesota Vixen 0
  • Montreal Blitz 49, New York Sharks 27
  • Tampa Bay Inferno 35, Carolina Phoenix 26
  • San Diego Surge 35, Central California War Angels 34
  • Mile High Blaze 28, Sin City Trojans 14

This week’s schedule for the third round:

  • Chicago at Boston
  • San Diego at Dallas
  • Tampa Bay at Montreal
  • Mile High at St. Louis
  • Orlando at Toledo
  • Arkansas at S. Oregon

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) –  Glory Johnson recorded her fourth 20-point game of the season to help the Wings get their second consecutive win over the Stars, 81-78. Johnson ended the day recording her sixth double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Throughout the game, the Wings found themselves down by as much as 14, then were lifted back up when Skylar Diggins-Smith drove it up the lane late in the fourth quarter sinking a layup and a chance to make the 3-point play, when a foul was also called on San Antonio’s Erica deSouza. At the line, Diggins-Smith completed the play to give the Wings a one point lead over the Stars 79-78. The team sealed the win, when Karima Christmas-Kelly was sent to the foul line and sunk one to put the Wings up 81-78.  Three Wings players recorded double figures for the day. Diggins-Smith and Christmas-Kelly scored 16 points, with Diggins-Smith leading the team in assists dishing out six.

Will NHL Predators’ Success Help Nashville’s MLS Bid?

preds-mls

During the Stanley Cup playoffs, the hockey world took notice of Nashville’s support for the Nashville Predators.  When fans couldn’t get tickets to the game, they filled the streets of Lower Broadway, Walk of Fame Park and other locations downtown painting the town gold.  Yes, Nashville embraced hockey.  Watching and being a part of the Predators’ amazing journey this season, I wondered if what happened here could help Nashville’s quest for a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team.

Nashville is one of 12 cities on the list for four slots that the league plans to expand to take the league to 28 teams.  Nashville joins Sacramento, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Antonio, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, San Diego and Detroit.

I  would think that the city of Nashville only helped their cause with the success of the Predators’ and a sport which people probably never thought would take in the Music City.  One thing that helps Nashville is that there is no other professional sports teams that would compete with MLS in the bulk of the regular season.  They would compete with the Predators in the first 1/3 of the season and then the Titans in the last 1/3.  There is definitely a big gap where a team would get the support since the city does not have a Major League Baseball team.  In fact, six of the 12 on the list would not have competition with baseball.  They all have minor league teams but I don’t see that as real competition with professional soccer.

The United States national teams have done well with matches here.  The four games between 2006 and 2015 averaged 31,998 fans, which was something that attracted CONCACAF Gold Cup to have matches in Nashville this summer.  On July 8th, the United States will play Panama and Martinique will play Nicaragua.  Also, more than 40,000 filled Nissan Stadium in October for a match between Mexico and New Zealand.

Even Nashville Mayor Megan Barry expressed her thoughts about how the Predators’ success should help the city’s bid.

“I have to tell you if you were an MLS official and you watched any fan participation for the Predators, I can’t believe you wouldn’t think this is a place that would be supportive of a soccer team.”

Most soccer experts list Nashville as 7th on their list of the 12 cities.  One thing that might detract from Nashville is that the city is an unknown as far as a soccer fan base.  Sure, the Predators had incredible support but would that translate to support for an MLS franchise?  Unfortunately, I think cities with past professional soccer teams in the old NASL (St. Louis, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Detroit) seem to be sentimental favorites.  Personally, I think I would mix it up if I were MLS officials.  Maybe include two old favorites and two cities who have never had a team.

Nashville already has support from the local community to build a stadium for an MLS team.  That is always a huge hurdle for a city to strengthen their position for an expansion team.

Here is my personal (non-soccer expert) ranking of the list of cities.  The numbers indicate professional sports teams:

  1. Tampa Bay (3)
  2. Phoenix (4)
  3. San Diego (1)  – Remember the Chargers have moved to LA
  4. Nashville (2)
  5. St. Louis (2)
  6. Charlotte (2)
  7. Cincinnati (2)
  8. San Antonio (1)
  9. Raleigh (1)
  10. Indianapolis (2)
  11. Sacramento (1)
  12. Detroit (4)

The Predators’ success certainly helped Nashville’s chances but is it enough to put them in the top four?  Another factor in the process is Miami’s on/off bid for an MLS team.  Who knows how that situation will work out?  Miami could be the factor that bumps Nashville out.  Of course, both Miami and Tampa had MLS franchises but lost them.

The next two expansion teams are planned to join the league in 2020.  With the length of time between now and the next decision for the next two teams, you also wonder how long the Predators’ success this season will stay in the minds of those on the MLS expansion committee.  But, the Music City will have several opportunities to show their support for soccer on their own with the upcoming Gold Cup games and other friendlies being hosted at Nissan Stadium.

Honky Tonkin and Corner Kicks in the Music City?  It isn’t so far-fetched.

 

Friday Flashback:  Father-Son Sports Teams

Silhouette of Father and Son Playing Baseball Outside

With Father’s Day happening this weekend, let’s take a look at some of the most famous father-son sports duos.  This list isn’t ranked in any way.

Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning

It is rare enough that a father and one son make it big in sports but to have two sons to do well in professional sports is a rarity.  The Mannings have been one of the few to accomplish this feat.  Archie played most of his career when the New Orleans Saints were frequent losers in the National Football League (NFL).  He started 139 games and finished with a record of 35-101-3.  Archie was never fortunate to participate in the postseason.   On the other hand, his two sons exceeded that by both winning Super Bowls.  Peyton won with Indianapolis and Denver while Eli won with the New York Giants.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. was known as “The Intimidator” with his driving. He won 76 races in his career, achieving perhaps his most elusive victory at the 1998 Daytona 500.  Tragically, he perished on the final-lap wreck at Daytona in 2001. Dale Earnhardt Jr., then age 26, finished second in that race. In the traumatic aftermath of his father’s passing, Earnhardt Jr. won the Pepsi 400 that year in the first race held on the Daytona track since the tragedy.  A visible and charismatic figure, Earnhardt Jr. was named NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for 11 consecutive seasons. After winning the Daytona 500 in 2004, he thrilled fans by taking the checkered flag there in 2014 at age 39, his 20th career win.  They are the only father and son who ever competed directly against each other.  Dale was still racing at a high level when his son came onto the scene.  Junior was unfortunately in the race where his father was fatally killed in a crash.

Bobby and Brett Hull

Bobby Hull—nicknamed “The Golden Jet”—collected the Hart Trophy twice as the league’s MVP and led in points three times. His statue now stands outside the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Brett Hull had a very high standard to aim for, and he drastically outperformed his two brothers to earn the honorific of “The Golden Brett.” He joined dad in the Hall of Fame in 2009, the first father-son duo ever enshrined. While Brett won “only” one MVP award, he doubled up his father in Stanley Cups and scored more often; they tallied 1,351 career goals between them.  Brett currently serves in the front office for the St. Louis Blues.

Bobby and Barry Bonds

They are the greatest father-son duo in baseball history. Bobby hit 332 career home runs and stole 461 bases.  He played for eight teams in 14 seasons with three All-Star appearances. Barry’s career is questioned amid the BALCO scandal, but his on-field production is legendary. The infamous steroid allegations has meant four years of Hall of Fame voting and no entrance for Bonds, but he finished his career with the records for home runs in a season (73) and career (763).

Other notable father-son teams:

  • Buddy, Rex and Rob Ryan (football)
  • Prince and Cecil Fielder (baseball)
  • Felipe and Moises Alou (baseball)
  • Cal Ripken, Sr. and Cal Ripken, Jr. (baseball)
  • Kellen Winslow, Sr. and Kellen Winslow, Jr. (football)
  • Clay Matthews, Sr. and Clay Matthews, Jr. (football)
  • Ken Norton, Sr. (boxing) and Ken Norton, Jr. (football)
  • Calvin Hill (football) and Grant Hill (basketball)
  • Brett and Bob Boone (baseball)

 

2016-2017 Hockey Champions

hockey champs 2

It is the middle of June and the ice has finally melted on the 2016-2017 hockey season.  Here is a recap on the champions of each league:

National Hockey League (NHL):  Pittsburgh Penguins

  • The Penguins are the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998.  The Penguins defeated Columbus (4-1), Washington (4-3), Ottawa (4-3) and Nashville (4-2) to win their 5th cup in franchise history.  Sidney Crosby was named the MVP.

American Hockey League (AHL):  Grand Rapids Griffins

  • The Griffins defeated the Syracuse Crunch in six games to win their second Calder Cup.  They defeated Milwaukee (3-0), Chicago (4-1) and San Jose (4-1) on their way to the Cup final.    Griffins’ forward Tyler Bertuzzi was named the finals MVP.  The Griffins are the top farm team for the Detroit Red Wings.

ECHL:  Colorado Eagles

  • The Eagles won their first Kelly Cup championship in team history.  Defenseman Matt Register was named the MVP to become the first defenseman in the ECHL’s 29-year history to receive the award.   The Eagles defeated Idaho (4-1), Allen (4-2), Toledo (4-1) and South Carolina (4-0) to win the Cup.  The Eagles are affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche.

Federal Hockey League (FHL):  Danville Dashers

  •  The Dashers completed the best season in Danville history by winning the Commissioner’s Cup after setting a new league record with 129 points in the regular season.  The Dashers defeated Watertown (2-1) and Berlin (3-2) to win their first championship.  Danville forward Gehrett Sargis was named the MVP of the Commissioner Cup playoffs with four goals and four assists.

Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL):  Macon Mayhem

  • The Mayhem won their first President’s Cup title in just their second season.  They defeated Columbus (2-1), Pensacola (2-0) and Peoria (2-0).  Goalie Jordan Ruby was named the MVP.

North American Hockey League (NAHL):  Lone Star Brahmas

  • The Brahmas were crowned Robertson Cup National Champions.  Drake Glover was named the tournament MVP to lead the Brahmas their first title.   Lone Star defeated Wichita Falls (3-0), Corpus Christi (3-2), Janesville (2-0) and Aston (1-0) on their way to the Robertson Cup.

United States Hockey League (USHL):  Chicago Steel

  • The Steel won the Clark Cup Championship beating the Sioux City Musketeers 3 games to 2 for their first title.  Eduards Tralmaks was the MVP with 10 goals and two assists in the playoffs.    His 10 goals are tied for the most in USHL playoff history.  Chicago defeated Youngstown (3-2) and Dubuque (3-1) in the playoffs.

Western Hockey League (WHL):  Seattle Thunderbirds

  • The Thunderbirds captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup for the first time in the team’s 40-year history.  Mathew Barzal was named the MVP.   Seattle defeated Tri-City (4-0), Everett (4-0), Kelowna (4-2) and Regina (4-2).    The Thunderbirds won a dramatic Game 6 at Regina in overtime to win the cup.

National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL):  Buffalo Beauts

  • The Beauts stunned heavily favored Boston Pride to win the Isobel Cup.  Despite a third place finish in the regular season, Buffalo defeated the Pride 3-2 to win the title.  Buffalo goalie Brianne McLaughlin was named MVP with 60 saves in the game.  The Beauts defeated New York (4-2) and Boston (3-2) in the playoffs.

Obscure Sports Report

The Obscure Sports Report is a weekly report of obscure sports leagues in the United States.  An obscure sport/league is one that gets little or no attention from the media.  Here is this week’s report:

American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The 2017 Championship Bracket is set.  The Round 1 matchups will be:  New Jersey Paterson U vs. New Jersey Savage, Pennsylvania Immortalz vs. New Jersey BIC, New Jersey Chiefs vs. Baltimore Kings and Baltimore Gators vs. Pennsylvania Dynasty.  The games will be played on June 25th.

American Hockey League (AHL) –  After an ugly 5-1 loss in Game Five, the Grand Rapids Griffins will attempt to clinch the Calder Cup at home in Game Six.  Griffins goalie Jared Coreau gave up five goals in the first period.  The third-year veteran will try to regroup this week against the Syracuse Crunch.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – Scores from last weekend:

  • Jacksonville 27, Atlanta 23
  • Raleigh 32, Nashville 20
  • San Diego 21, Seattle 20
  • Los Angeles 25, Seattle 20
  • San Francisco 27, San Jose 19
  • Madison 23, Minnesota 22
  • Montreal 16, Ottawa 13
  • Toronto 35, Philadelphia 28
  • DC 25, Toronto 17

Arena Football League (AFL) –  Philadelphia Soul Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh became the youngest in AFL history to pass for 30,00o yards in his career.  Raudabaugh now has 667 touchdowns and has a career record of 85-31.   The Soul defeated the Cleveland Gladiators, 59-49, to stay undefeated on the season at 8-0.

CAN-AM Indoor Football League (CAN AM) – The Vermont Bucks defeated the Rochester Kings, 61-41, to win the title.  Quarterback Steffen Colon threw for three touchdowns and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.  Cabrinni Goncalves ran for over 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.  The Bucks’ defense picked off the Kings several times in the rout and returned one for a touchdown.

vbucks
Vermont Bucks defeat the Rochester Kings, 61-41, for their first indoor title.

 

Champions Indoor Football League (CIFL) –  In the final weekend of the regular season, the Amarillo Venom demolished the Duke City Gladiators 70-41 and the Sioux City Bandits took care of the Bismarck Bucks 82-43.   In other games:  Omaha 43, Bloomington 30; Texas 63, Dodge city 59.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) – The Missouri Cyclones (4-0) remained unbeaten as they edged the Missouri Valley Pitbulls (2-2), 19-17.  Impact East Division leaders, Tri-City Outlaws (2-1) had no trouble with the Gateway Spartans (0-4), 54-0.  The Chattanooga Eagles (4-0) rolled past the Georgia Knights (0-3), 64-6.   The Huntsville Rockets (3-0) blasted the Nashville Storm (0-2), 63-6.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The Arizona Rattlers (11-4) knocked off the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-14) by a score of 56-24 in their final home game of the regular season in front of 13,251 fans.  With the win, the Rattlers extended their winning streak to seven games.  Arizona’s offense was led by RB Ketrich Harmon who ran for 73 yards on 12 attempts and scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Cody Sokol went five-for-nine with 43 yards and two touchdowns.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – Chesapeake Bayhawks attackman Josh Byrne was named the Cascade Rookie of the Week for Week 8. The Bayhawks fell to the Rattlers in overtime on Saturday night, 17-16.  Byrne, 23, scored seven goals for the Bayhawks in his first game as a professional, the most goals in a pro debut since at least 2010. The Hofstra product sparked a comeback for the Bayhawks after a 21-minute scoreless drought by scoring his first goal on the man advantage. Byrne also had a highlight-reel goal as he successfully scored a one-handed shot while falling to the turf off of an illegal check. Chesapeake selected Byrne with the No. 19 pick in the 2017 MLL Collegiate Draft.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – Yes, believe it or not there is a major league for this sport and I found the information on the season.  Scores from last weekend:  Boston Night Raiders defeated New York Titans 130-40, 190-70 and 201-90.  Austin Outlaws over Kansas City Stampede 190-20, 200-20, 220-60.  Los Angeles Guardians topped Phoenix Sol 180-80, 170-90, 150-50.

Major League Soccer (MLS) – Aaron Kovar scored in the third minute and Zach Mathers added a second-half penalty kick, leading the Seattle Sounders  to a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday.  Seattle jumped on top off a finish from Kovar that was set up by a pinpoint cross from left back Nouhou. Portland’s Augustine Williams would equalize with a headed finish in the 38th, but Mathers’ PK after a handball in the box in the 54th would prove to be the dagger, sending the Sounders through to the Open Cup quarterfinals.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) rallied in the second half to finish off the regular season with a win against the Georgia Firebirds Saturday night. The team hit the road and found a way to win as they defeated the Georgia Firebirds (2-7), 51-26.  The Steelhawks sit in second place behind the undefeated Jacksonville Sharks (11-0).

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – Lyle Thompson’s pass to brother Miles gave the Georgia Swarm a 15-14 win in overtime against the Saskatchewan Rush to clinch the National Lacrosse League Champion’s Cup at Sasktel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.   The win gives the Swarm their first title.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Nine different players scored for USSSA on Monday night as the Pride dominated the Chicago Bandits (6-3) by a score of 11-1 in game two of the series at JoAnne Graf Field. The Pride won their fourth game in a row and improved to 4-1 on the year.  Chicago used a trio of singles in the first inning, including an RBI base hit up the middle by Sahvanna Jaquish, to jump out to an early 1-0 lead.

North American Soccer League (NASL) – Zach Steinberger of the Jacksonville Armada currently leads the league with six goals.  The Armada has 19 points and in second place in the Spring Season standings.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The league is currently on an international break but will resume the season on June 17.

Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – This weekend the Cap City Bulls (1-5) from Austin, Texas will face the Cape Fear Heroes (4-2) in Fayetteville, North Carolina.    The winner will play the Triangle Torch (6-0) for the league title on June 24th.

United Soccer League (USL) –  The league hopes to have a team in Baltimore approved by the end of the year.  USL president Jake Edwards told The Baltimore Sun that the second-tier professional league hopes to have the city’s prospective ownership group finalized by August and the construction plan for a new venue in place by 2018, with the team’s launch targeted for the 2020 season.

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) – The Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz will be in the playoffs for the first time in the team’s 7-year history.  The team finished 5-1 in the Mountain West Division.  They will face the South Oregon Lady Gades in the first round of the Division III playoffs.  Here some of the other matchups for the first round:

  • Maine Mayhem at New York Knockout
  • New England Nightmare at Connecticut Hawks
  • Atlanta Phoenix at Pittsburgh Passion
  • Cleveland Fusion at D.C. Divas
  • Kansas City Titans at Minnesota Vixens
  • San Diego Surge at Los Angeles Warriors
  • New York Sharks at Philadelphia Phantoms
  • Miami Fury at Tampa Bay Inferno
  • Everett Reign at Sin City Trojans

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) –Chelsea Gray scored 24 points, Nneka Ogwumike added 21 and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Dallas Wings 97-87 on Tuesday night.Gray and Ogwumike combined to make 10 of 11 shots in the first half for 24 points. They finished 15 of 18 from the field as the Sparks shot 57 percent. Candace Parker had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Los Angeles (6-3), which avenged a 96-90 loss at Dallas last Friday. Los Angeles raced out to a 23-6 lead as Dallas went scoreless for nearly five minutes in the first quarter. The Wings were just 4-of-17 shooting in the quarter. Dallas rookie Allisha Gray hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to pull to 36-28 and Kayla Thornton made the Wings’ fifth 3 of the second to get within five points, but Seattle closed on an 8-0 run.  Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 28 points for Dallas (4-7), which has lost five of six.

 

Georgia Swarm Buzzes To NLL Title

The Georgia Swarm completed a sweep of the Sasakatchewan Rush to claim the National Lacrosse League Champions Cup.  The title is the first professional sports title for an Atlanta team since the Atlanta Braves won the 1995 World Series

Okay, maybe indoor (or box lacrosse) isn’t a major sport but at least the Georgia Swarm held onto their lead to win a championship.

Miles Thompson scored the game-winner, taking a one-handed pass from brother Lyle Thompson after he drew a defensive double-team and whipping a shot past Rush goalie Aaron Bold under two minutes into overtime for a 15-14 win.

Adam Jones put the Rush up 14-13 late in the fourth quarter.  With 42 seconds remaining, the Swarm pulled goalie Mike Poulin for an extra attacker. The Rush regained possession and pulled Bold, hoping an extra man would help them keep the ball but the decision came back to haunt Saskatchewan in front of over 14,000 Rush fans.

The Swarm took possession on a errant pass. Joel White passed to Lyle for the winning attempt and then rebounded Lyle’s miss for the game-tying goal with three seconds left.

NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz announced postgame that Lyle Thompson was voted Champion’s Cup MVP. Thompson scored 12 points in two games.

The Swarm won Game One 18-14 on June 4th in Duluth, Georgia.   They finished the season at 17-5.

The franchise, which was in its second season in Atlanta, was founded as the Minnesota Swarm, playing in St. Paul from 2004-2015. It’s the team’s first title in 13 years.