Most people won’t hear about it on the local news but the more obscure sports in the Music City has lost one franchise but gained another recently.
The Nashville Nightwatch professional ultimate frisbee team announced this week that they will no longer field a team in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The Nightwatch played four seasons in the AUDL’s Southern Division but never had a winning season. They showed a lot of promise at times but could only post an 8-44 record and finished last place each season. In their Facebook announcement this week the team posted:
“We would like to thank our players and supporters from the last 4 years. Going forward we will not be playing in the AUDL. We are going to turn our efforts into building our community through club efforts and focusing on our Professional Women’s team, Nashville NightShade. We will be forming a club team with the goal of competing at the highest level. Our experiences learned in the AUDL will allow us to give our club team a pro experience and grow with our community. More information to come, and thank you for your support.”
The Nightwatch organization has been one of the more influential franchises in promoting women’s ultimate so it appears that the Nightwatch could live on through their female counterparts. I’m not sure how the club team will work out and competing at the “highest level” will look like but with the AUDL being the only professional ultimate league, this announcement will leave a void.
The Nightwatch could never get the following necessary to sustain a start-up professional franchise, especially in a non-major sport. The press never really helped the Nightwatch plus the fact that they could not field a competitive team on the field. The team also could never find a good home as they began at Tennessee State University in their inaugural season then moved to Overton High School in their second season and then a terrible move to Hunter’s Lane High School in North Nashville the following season and finally to an awkward field at Vanderbilt University. The move to the Vanderbilt area was one I thought would help but the home field was not really a spectator-friendly venue.
With the demise of the Nightwatch, another team has moved into the void as the Nashville Power brings the city their first indoor football team since the Nashville Venom played in 2014-2015 at the Municipal City Auditorium. The Power will also call the Auditorium home when they kick off their season in the spring of 2019. The Power will play in the Elite Indoor Football League which is basically a semi-pro type league in comparison to the bigger leagues. The Power will join 12 other teams located throughout the East and Southeast.
Although they are playing in an obscure league, they will have a local favorite involved. One of the greatest arena league players of all-time, Cory Fleming, is the Power’s defensive coordinator. Fleming played for the Kats (1997-2001, 2006), Carolina (2002) and Orlando (2003-05). The former Stratford and Tennessee star was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
Will this new indoor team make it? I doubt it. The league looks pretty weak. There had been rumors of the return of the Nashville Kats franchise in the National Arena League (NAL) or even a new team in the Arena Football League (AFL) but nothing has been made public.
Don’t be surprised if the Power doesn’t last any longer than the Nightwatch.
The Radicals have always been the bridesmaid but never the bride when it came to the championship in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) but yesterday they celebrated their first title in franchise history as they defeated the Dallas Roughnecks 20-16 on their home field.
The Radicals (15-2) took an early lead when Peter Graffy scored off of an assist from Colin Camp. Madison and Dallas (15-2) went back-and-forth throughout the rest of the first, finishing the quarter tied at 6, before the Radicals opened up a 10-8 lead heading into the halftime break. With the lead still at two late in the third quarter, Kevin Pettit-Scantling caught a deep pass to score as time expired to hand the Radicals a 15-12 advantage. Madison pulled away in the fourth quarter, taking a 19-13 lead with 3 minutes left and holding on to seal the victory.
Kevin Brown had three assists and Andrew Meshnick and Thomas Coolidge each had two blocks for the Radicals. Brown also led the team with 22 completions.
The Radicals, which were formed in 2013 and have advanced out of the Midwest Division every season of their existence, were making their third appearance in the title game after downing Los Angeles 24-19 in the semifinals Saturday night. The Radicals showed their experience, proving far more prepared for the intensity of the moment from the opening pull. They leaped out to score the first four goals. The four straight defensive breaks were all created by incredible Madison blocks instead of simple Los Angeles miscues from the Aviators. By the time the first quarter ended, the Radicals had blitzed the Aviators to a lead of 9-3. Pat Shriwise was especially impressive with his throws, and he finished the game with a team-high five assists on 39-of-40 throws.
Madison lost the 2013 and 2015 finals and have made five final four appearances.
The Dallas Roughnecks were making their third straight appearance in the AUDL final four having won the title in their first season in 2016 and losing to the Toronto Rush in the semifinals last season.
In their semifinal win over the New York Empire, Dallas opened the third quarter with continued pressure, forcing a Harper Garvey throwaway. The Roughnecks offense cleanly converted once again, as Dillon Larberg led the charge. He finished the game with five assists. The pace finally slowed, as both teams settled into more effective defenses. Offences held up, throwing clean points, but taking longer to score. The third quarter finished with only one turnover – ending in a Dallas break – as the Roughnecks received in the final quarter, leading 25-23. Jay Froude led Dallas in the third quarter, beating Beau Kittredge at will to pace the offense. The fourth quarter began with Dallas again throwing to Froude deep, but Kittredge caught up and tipped the disc. It was a sign of Dallas’ impending win when Froude still easily tracked down the score. A Dallas break pushed them ahead by four points following an Empire turf.
The future of the AUDL looks to be bright as the league is on their way to raising $450,000 to take the league to a higher level to become a professional league in North America. The AUDL currently has 150 investors to date on their effort. The AUDL has experienced consistent growth in its first six years and hopes to expand exposure of the sport beyond the Ultimate community to include a broader sports audience and fan base, which has created the opportunity to partner with us at a very unique time.
Bulldawgs Win, Washington Wins ArenaBowl, Final Four set in AUDL
This isn’t a “false start” on the college football season and I’m not talking about THOSE Dawgs. I am talking about the lesser known Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs who have advanced to the championship game of the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) after defeating the Erie Express 14-7 on Saturday. Never heard of these Bulldawgs? I haven’t heard much about them except for an occasional post on my Facebook feed. Rahim Muhhamed scored from nine yards out with 1:05 left to break open a 7-7 tie to give the Bulldawgs the winning score. They will now face the Oklahoma Thunder in Birmingham on August 11th for the title. The Bulldawgs are made up of many players from the previous Nashville Storm semi-pro team that played in Nashville for many seasons and were one of the top teams in semi-pro football. I also did not know that the Bulldawgs were playing their home games at Ensworth which is probably the closest high school to me. Gridiron Bowl IX will be the third in a row for the Oklahoma Thunder who defeated the OKC Outlaws 20-0. The Thunder will be going for their third straight Gridiron Bowl championship. With the Bulldawgs victory, this makes it the third year that the Thunder will take on a team from Tennessee in this game. In 2016, they defeated the Nashville Storm at home. Last year it was the Chattanooga Eagles that fell victim. Now the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will try to make the third time a charm.
The indoor football version of the Super Bowl was played this past weekend as the four-team league crowned the Washington Valor as ArenaBowl XXXI champions when they beat the Baltimore Brigade 69-55. The Valor had only won two games during the regular season and was the last place team entering the postseason. The league REALLY needs some more teams or a better playoff format. Washington quarterback Arvell Nelson put the Valor on the board first with a touchdown during the second quarter. Nelson had a record-setting game with 223 yards passing and five touchdowns.
MVP: QB Arvell Nelson – 23/33 passing, 223 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, ArenaBowl-record 15 rushing attempts, 42 rushing yards and an ArenaBowl-record five rushing touchdowns
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WR Doug McNeil III – eight receptions, 95 receiving yards and four total touchdowns
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: DB Svante Davenport – 2.5 total tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery
Championship weekend is set in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) as the Dallas Roughnecks, New York Empire, Madison Radicals and Los Angeles Aviators won their division title games to advance. Dallas edged the Raleigh Flyers 20-19, the New York Empire upset the Toronto Rush 18-17 and Madison topped the Indianapolis Alley Cats 27-18. The Los Angeles Aviators clinched their division title last week against San Diego. Dallas is the only participant which has won a title (2016). Madison, which is hosting Championship Weekend, has been runner-up in two final fours (2013 & 2015).
The post-season of the 2018 American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) season takes off this weekend with 11 teams entering July Madness as they hope to make it to the final four in Madison during the weekend of August 11-12.
Let’s take a look at this year’s playoff teams:
Dallas Roughnecks (13-1) – The Roughnecks won the title in 2016. They hope to add yet a second title having won the South Division title and a first-round bye.
Toronto Rush (13-1) – Their only loss of the season came against DC on June 9. The Rush will have a bye this weekend awaiting the winner of DC-New York. The Rush have ruled the East Division having won each season since they began play in 2013.
Madison Radicals (12-2) – The Radicals have always been the bridegroom and never the bride in the postseason. They are making their fifth straight playoff appearance but have yet to win the title having lost in the 2013 and 2015 finals. They will have a bye this week as they await the Indy-Minnesota winner.
Los Angeles Aviators (11-3) – The league’s top scorer, Sean McDougall (58 goals) leads the Aviators as they won their first division title. Their only loss in the division was to the San Diego Growlers.
Indianapolis AlleyCats (11-3) – The Cats were a hot team this season in the AUDL with their best regular season ever. Rick Gross (56 goals) and Cameron Brock (56 goals) lead the attack for Indy.
Raleigh Flyers (10-4) – The Flyers host Austin in the playoffs this weekend. They won a thrilling 25-23 overtime game at Austin in their last meeting. Reigning league MVP Jonathan Nethercutt and teammate Jack Williams leads the Flyers.
DC Breeze (8-5) – Rowan McDonnel leads the Breeze as they hope to repeat their 10-goal win against the New York Empire in their last meeting. The Breeze won the regular season series against the Empire 2-1.
New York Empire (8-6) – The Empire battled through a roller coaster season lead by Ben Jagt (51 assists) and Harper Garvey.
Minnesota Wind Chill (8-6) – No stranger to the postseason making their third-straight appearance. They will travel to Indianapolis this weekend. They tied the regular season meeting 1-1.
San Diego Growlers (7-7) – San Diego qualifies for the postseason for the first time in their four-year history. Should they win against L.A. they would have their first winning season.
Austin Sol (7-7) – The Sol are also making their first postseason appearance in franchise history. They will play the Raleigh Flyers in the division semifinal round. The Sol squeaked into the playoffs as a result of a forfeited win over the Tampa Bay Cannons in Week 15.
This weekend’s playoff schedule:
Saturday, July 21
Minnesota at Indianapolis
San Diego at Los Angeles
New York at DC
To save on travel, the Raleigh Flyers play at Austin Sol on Saturday, July 27th with the winner playing at Dallas on July 28th.
With only five teams in the West Division this year, only two teams qualified for the playoffs scrapping the divisional semifinal round.
Last year’s champion, San Francisco FlameThrowers, failed to make the playoffs.
The Stadium Network will broadcast the following games:
July 21 – New York at DC (7 pm ET)
July 28 – Raleigh-Austin winner at Dallas (8 pm ET)
Seattle Seawolves win MLR title, USA wins Quidditch World Cup and National Marbles Tournament crowns champions
American Arena League (AAL) – After shocking the Richmond Roughriders last week to win the championship, the Atlanta Havoc’s future appears to be in doubt. The team is facing some uncertainty with ownership and arena issues. The Havoc played in Buford, Georgia and may be looking for another location.
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league enters into the final weekend of the regular season. Teams will be fighting for playoff berths or positions this week. The Midwest Division is the only division with all three spots secured as the Madison Radicals will win the division with the Indianapolis AlleyCats and Minnesota Wind Chill taking the 2nd and 3rd places. The Los Angeles Aviators will be the top-seed in the West with the San Diego Growlers, San Francisco FlameThrowers and San Jose Spiders competing for the other two playoff spots. The Toronto Rush is the top team in the East with the New York Empire and DC Breeze game this weekend determining who finishes second. A loss by New York will force them to play a must-win game Sunday against the Philadelphia Phoenix as the Montreal Royal will be cheering for Philadelphia. The Dallas Roughnecks and Raleigh Flyers have clinched the top spots in the South. Austin and Atlanta will be fighting for the final spot.
Arena Football League (AFL) – The AFL will start their unique playoff format this weekend as all of its’ four teams will be in the playoffs as they will be a two-game series where the aggregate score will determine the winner. If teams are tied after the two games, they will play overtime to determine the winner. Strange but something different this year in the AFL. The Albany Empire will play at the Washington Valor and the Baltimore Brigade will travel to Philadelphia to play the Soul.
Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The teams will take the court in Detroit this weekend for Week 4 of the season. Former Detroit Piston great Rick Mahorn will try to get his team, Triology in the win column for the first time this season. Triology won the title in the league’s inaugural season last year but have struggled so far this season. Tri-State and the 3-Headed Monsters are currently at the top of the league at 3-0.
Gridiron Development Football League (GDFL) – It’s playoff time in the GDFL this weekend as 12 teams strive for Gridiron Bowl IX. The Lexington Red Dragons host the Buffalo Spartans. The winner will advance to play at the Erie Express in the second round. The Huntsville Rockets play at the Georgia Crush in Macon, Georgia this weekend. The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will host the winner next weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. The Alabama Sabers host the East Alabama Predators. The Mississippi Road Warriors await the winner. In the final first round matchup, the Oklahoma Thunder will try to defend their title when they travel to play the Tri-City Outlaws. The Oklahoma Outlawz will host the winner.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – After a 14-9 home win over the Charlotte Hounds, the Dallas Rattlers became the first team to clinch a spot in the Major League Lacrosse playoffs. The Rattlers are at 9-2 followed by the Chesapeake Bayhawks (8-2) and Denver Outlaws (7-4).
Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – The league and the Boise Grays have arrived at the mutual decision to disband the franchise for the remainder of the 2018 season. Following reports of both player and referee misconduct at the Boise Grays vs. Salt Lake City series on June 16, MLQ launched an investigation. In addition to collecting statements from various parties in attendance at the series, MLQ and Grays leadership engaged in a series of discussions to determine the fate of the squad. MLQ and the Grays leadership determined the best option for both parties would be to disband the Boise Grays for the remainder of the 2018 season.
[Also, you folks at MLQ need to do a better job of updating your website and standings.]
Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Seattle Seawolves defeated the Glendale Raptors, 23-19, to win the inaugural MLR Championship and claim America’s Championship Shield at Torero Stadium in San Diego. Outside centre William Rasileka and eight-man Riekert Hattingh put together consecutive tries for a one-point lead, 20-19. A penalty kick for good measure was all the Seawolves needed to upset the top-ranked Raptors.
Major League Soccer (MLS) – The Atlanta United leads the Eastern Conference with 40 points while FC Dallas leads the Western Conference with 35 points.
National Arena League (NAL) – Their is a logjam at the top of the league’s standings with the Columbus Lions (8-3), Massachusetts Pirates (9-4), Carolina Cobras (7-4) and Jacksonville Sharks (8-5) with four weeks remaining in the regular season.
National Marbles Tournament – Madison Johnson of Allegheny County, PA and Joshua Johnston of Ambler, PA are this year’s 2018 National Champions.
National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) – The Chicago Bandits scored 21 runs in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Beijing Eagles to break the franchise’s single-game record and polished off a six-game sweep with a comeback win in the nightcap Thursday at Parkway Bank Sports Complex. Emily Carosone, Gwen Svekis and Sammy Marshall launched home runs in the 21-0 rout as part of a 23-hit attack. The Bandits maintained their lead in the standings at 36-12 and stayed two games ahead of USSSA Pride.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Thanks to goals by Debinha and Jessica McDonald, the NWSL North Carolina Courage defeated the Washington Spirit 2-0 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary on Wednesday evening. The Courage have won all three meetings against the Spirit, with a 4-2 victory at Washington on April 14th and a 1-0 victory at home on May 12th. The Courage improved to 13-1-3 with 42 points on the National Women’s Soccer League season, 13 points ahead of second place Seattle Reign FC in the standings. The attendance was 3,409 for the midweek game.
Quidditch World Cup – The United States defeated Belgium 120-70 to win the 2018 World Cup played in Florence, Italy. It was the fourth appearance in the final for the USA team and their first title since 2014. The USA topped Britain in the semifinals while Belgium advanced to their first cup final after defeating Turkey in their semifinal match.
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Atlanta Dream (10-9) return to action this weekend after a franchise record-setting 106-89 victory over the Washington Mystics Wednesday in D.C. Atlanta set a new WNBA Record when four players notched 20+ points and at least five assists in a game (Angel McCoughtry – 24 PTS, 6 AST, Jessica Breland – 23 PTS, 7 AST, Tiffany Hayes – 21 PTS, 5 AST, Renee Montgomery – 21 PTS, 5 AST).
World Team Tennis (WTT) – The six-time WTT champion Washington Kastles will open the 2018 season this weekend at the New York Empire. The WTT will have six teams this season with the Orange County Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators and Springfield Lasers joining Washington and New York.
Third NLL Title for Saskatchewan Rush in Four Years
The Saskatchewan Rush won their third National Lacrosse League (NLL) title in Game 3 of the championship series against the Rochester Knighthawks. Jeff Shattler scored four goals in the series-deciding game in the 15-10 win. For the Rush, the win was particularly sweet redemption after having their two-year reign atop the NLL come to a gut-wrenching conclusion last year as they lost the final to the Georgia Swarm especially losing the deciding Game 2 at home in overtime. But the Rush were determined to get back to the top and they rumbled through the regular season with a 14-4 record which earned them home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs. They wound up needing it and using it to their full advantage with a raucous crowd of 13,645 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon watching the Rush hoist the newly minted NLL Cup.
The American Arena League (AAL) wrapped up their regular season but the playoff schedule is a little blurry. The Georgia Doom defeated the Atlanta Havoc on Saturday, 48-42, to clinch a playoff berth but the Doom owners decided not to participate in the playoffs. Don’t expect the league’s website to be much help either. According to the standings, the top teams are: Richmond Roughriders (10-1), Atlanta Havoc (9-2), Georgia Doom (6-2) and Carolina Energy (6-3).
Washington Valor defensive back Fred Obi has been named the Arena Football League (AFL) Week 9’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Philadelphia Soul. In his first game with the Valor, Obi recorded three solo tackles, one pass break-up and a pair of interceptions, the second of which occurred with just 18 seconds left in the game and sealed the Washington win.
The Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league begins their playoffs this weekend with eight teams entering the postseason.
Duke City Gladiators vs. Wichita Force
Amarillo Venom vs. Texas Revolution
Salina Liberty vs. Bismarck Bucks
Sioux City Bandits vs. Quad Cities Steamwheelers
Champions Bowl IV will be played the weekend of June 30th, with the location of the game to be determined during the playoffs.
The Sioux Falls Storm stunned the Iowa Barnstormers in a week 16 Indoor Football League (IFL) showdown. The Storm would begin the third quarter with a 25-yard field goal by Miles Bergner, cutting the Barnstormers lead to 35-31. The Barnstormers would extend their lead to 49-31 after scoring on back to back drives. The first score was a 21-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Skyler Scott and then a 29-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Brady Roland. The Storm would end the third quarter with a team safety, trailing 49-33. The Sioux Falls Storm would be the only team to score in the fourth quarter to earn their tenth win of the season with a 51-49 victory. The first score was a one-yard rushing touchdown by Lorenzo Brown along with a successful two-point conversion where Lorenzo Brown found Damond Powell, next Lorenzo Brown would get a two-yard rushing touchdown with a successful two-point conversion after Lorenzo Brown hit Damian Ford and then the Thunder Defense would block the game winning field and earn a safety from it.
The Columbus Lions defeated the Maine Mammoths 55-34 on Saturday night in the National Arena League (NAL). The Lions held off a late charge from the Mammoths to improve their record to 5-2 on the season. This loss drops the Mammoths to 1-7 on the year. Quayvon Hicks led the offense on Saturday. Hicks rushed for three touchdowns, with his final touchdown sealing the game for the Lions. Quarterback Mason Espinosa had another efficient day throwing for over 250 yards and five touchdowns. Triston Purifoy had a monster game for the Lions. Purify hauled in 11 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Durron Neal contributed with 84 yards on four catches and two touchdowns. The Lions offense totaled 281 yards on the day and averaged 5.9 yards per play.
In the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), the DC Breeze had a thrilling 25-24 overtime win over the Toronto Rush to hand the Rush their first loss of the season. Toronto had the disc with 38 seconds remaining in overtime with a chance to send the contest to the sudden death 2nd OT; however, the DC defense held on and frustrated Toronto’s offensive push.
The revival of the XFL, which plans to start in 2020 with eight teams is considering St. Louis, Houston, San Antonio and Los Angeles.
The BIG3 Basketball League is coming back again this summer and the 3-on-3 league starts on June 22nd with live streaming the league’s game for a nine-week period with one game being shown each Friday.
Major League Quidditch (MLQ) has begun its fourth season with 16 teams. The Austin Outlaws are the defending champions.
Women’s Professional Lacrosse League Begins Play With 5 Teams
Alliance of American Football (AAF): The proposed new springtime AAF officially announced San Diego and Birmingham will be its sixth and seventh team locations. The AAF plans to start play with eight teams in February 2019 and previously announced teams for the markets of Atlanta, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.
American Arena League (AAL): The Richmond Roughriders defeated the Jersey Flight 74-65 on Saturday night at the Richmond Coliseum, advancing their record to 9-1. By defeating Jersey, Richmond ensured itself the Northern Division title in the AAL with one game remaining in the season, a home game next Saturday against the High Country Grizzlies. The game marked the indoor football debut for new receiver Robert Meachem, who was a Super Bowl champion in the NFL. Meachem was eased into the action, though, with Rashaad Carter continuing to take the bulk of the catches for the Roughriders.
Arena Football League (AFL): The Albany Empire (5-2) won their fifth consecutive game on Saturday night in a back and forth battle against the Baltimore Brigade (5-2) at the Times Union Center by a score of 61-53 in front of a crowd of 8,057. The game was even throughout, but thanks to a late defensive touchdown by the Empire, Albany took the lead and momentum and never looked back. Albany maintained its third quarter dominance by allowing just 7 points. So far on the season, the Empire has outscored opponents by 61 total points in the third quarter.
Current League Standings:
Baltimore Brigade (5-2)
Albany Empire (5-2)
Philadelphia Soul (4-3)
Washington Valor (0-7)
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL): The Minnesota Wind Chill secured a 22-18 victory over the Indianapolis Alleycats at home on Saturday. The Alleycats, now 7-2 had their six-game win streak snapped by the Wind Chill. The first place Alleycats fell to second place in the division while the Wind Chill remain in third.
South: Dallas Roughnecks (7-1)
West: Los Angeles Aviators (7-2)
East: Toronto Rush (8-0)
Midwest: Madison Radicals (6-1)
Champions Indoor Football (CIF): Mario Esparza kicked a 19-yard field goal in overtime as Bismarck Bucks erased a 25-point deficit to beat the Omaha Beef 41-38 and eliminate the Beef from playoff contention. The Beef (4-8) led 38-13 in the second quarter after a 1-yard touchdown run by John Gibbs. But Tray Boone answered with a 50-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and the Bucks (5-6) slowly chipped away at the lead. Esparza kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie the game as time expired in regulation.
Indoor Football League (IFL): The Iowa Barnstormers (10-2) beat the Arizona Rattlers (10-3) 41-38 Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, sweeping the 3-1 series. At the start of the third quarter Drew Powell marched the ball in for an Iowa touchdown, 34-28. Iowa’s wide receiver Skyler Scott ran the ball 7-yards for the touchdown, 41-31. Jeff Ziemba completed a pass to Jamal Miles for the Arizona touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead and the Barnstormers won 41-38. With the win, the Iowa Barnstormers have swept their three game regular season series against the Arizona Rattlers, being the only team in the IFL to give Arizona a loss so far this season.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL): The Denver Outlaws handed the Charlotte Hounds their first home loss of the season, and completed a season sweep against them, in a 16-13 win on Saturday night. Denver scored five of the first six goals of the game and Wes Berg had two goals in a 30-second span in the first quarter. Ryan Brown scored with just under six minutes left in regulation to cut Charlotte’s deficit to 14-13. The Outlaws would answer with goals from Eric Law and Chris Cloutier to close out the game. The Hounds started the season 4-0, but have now lost two of their last three, with both losses coming at the hands of the Outlaws.
Major League Rugby (MLR): The Glendale Raptors remained as the only undefeated team in the league with a 47-10 win over NOLA Gold in a steamy game played in New Orleans. Temps were over 90 degrees but the Raptors jumped out to a 19-0 lead and never were threatened. With seven tries on the day, Glendale trails Seattle by just one point in the league standings while remaining the only unbeaten side in MLR. The Raptors have two remaining home games, hosting the Houston Sabercats on June 8 after a quick turnaround from this weekend’s play, then the Seattle Seawolves on June 16. Glendale’s final regular season match is on the road, the team traveling to California to tackle San Diego Legion. Glendale will play host to the league semifinals on June 30, with matches at Infinity Park deciding which of America’s professional rugby teams will compete for their first championship title. The top four teams in the league will gather in Glendale, competing in a double header that kicks off at 5pm Mountain Time. Winners of each match will then travel to San Diego on July 7 for the first ever, American professional rugby championship.
National Arena League (NAL): The Jacksonville Sharks (6-3) took down the Columbus Lions (4-2) in a back and forth second-half battle with a score of 67-65. This is the second time Jacksonville has faced the Lions this season. Sharks Quarterback Adrian McPherson had his best game as a Shark tonight, and is rapidly improving. His 26-of-37 for 327 yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception performance helped the Sharks take the lead multiple times this game. Leading receiver, Antonio Vaughan had a 100-yard performance with eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns. McPherson used his targets wisely, as Chris Gilchrist finished the night with 90 yards and three touchdowns, Cody Saul had 55 receiving yards with one touchdown, and Tom Gilson had a game that helped the team out tremendously by having four receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
The league has also registered the “Nashville Kats” as the potential name of a future team to be announced. A Nashville-based team was reported to be close to playing in the 2018 season of the NAL but decided to wait another season. The original Arena Football League had two versions (1997-2001 and 2005-07) of teams called the Nashville Kats. More recently, a team called the Nashville Venom played two seasons (2014-15) in the former Professional Indoor Football League.
National Lacrosse League (NLL): Goalie Matt Vinc of the Rochester Knighthawks forced a third and deciding game in the NLL Cup Final. Vinc finished with 47 saves and the Knighthawks used a four-goal run in the second quarter to catapult them to a 13-8 victory over the Saskatchewan Rush in Game 2 of the best-of-three final on Saturday night. Game 3 will go down on June 9th back at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon where the Rush earned a 16-9 win in the series opener.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF):Shellie Robinson and Alexa Peterson both hit home runs but it wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Comets to avoid a sweep at Chicago as the Bandits collected six extra base hits on the way to a 12-5 win on Sunday at the Ballpark at Rosemont. The Bandits used a pair of walks and two singles to score two runs off Cleveland rookie Devin Brown in the top of the first. Jiang Xinyue drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third and scored on Robinson’s opposite field homer, the first four-bag hit in Cleveland Comets history.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL): The North Carolina Courage fought to draw the Houston Dash in their fourth consecutive road game. After finding themselves trailing by one early in the second half, the Courage turned to a new face to provide the late-game heroics as rookie Frannie Crouse netted the equalizer to earn the point.
Current League Standings:
North Carolina Courage (30 pts)
Seattle Reign FC (18)
Orlando Pride (16)
Portland Thorns FC (15)
Chicago Red Stars (15)
Utah Royals FC (14)
Houston Dash (14)
Washington Spirit (8)
Sky Blue FC (1)
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA): The Las Vegas Aces got a 26-point, 12-rebound double-double from rookie of the year candidate A’ja Wilson, and season-scoring-highs off the bench from Dearica Hamby (14 points) and Kelsey Bone (10) en route to an 85-73 victory over the Washington Mystics (5-2). It was the Aces’ (1-4) first win since relocating from San Antonio last fall.
Current League Standings:
Connecticut Sun (5-0)
Washington Mystics (5-3)
Chicago Sky (3-3)
New York Liberty (2-2)
Atlanta Dream (2-3)
Indiana Fever (0-6)
Los Angeles Sparks (4-1)
Seattle Storm (5-2)
Phoenix Mercury (4-3)
Dallas Wings (3-3)
Minnesota Lynx (2-5)
Las Vegas Aces (1-5)
Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL): The new WPLL started its inaugural 2018 season this weekend with five teams called Baltimore Brave, New England Command, New York Fight, Philadelphia Fire and Upstate Pride (Albany, NY). The league will play a total of nine regular-season games with playoffs starting in mid-July. The former commissioner of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX), which started play in 2016, is the organizer of the WPLL.
You won’t see it on the local sports news or the Tennessean but the Nashville Nightwatch (3-3) stunned the Austin Sol (4-4) on Saturday 27-21 for their third straight win. If I’m not mistaken this is the first time the team has won three straight games in their four-year history. The Nightwatch have climbed out of the South Division cellar in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The Nightwatch had an amazing 95% completion rate in the game and took advantage of 21 turnovers by the Sol. The next home game is this Saturday at 7 p.m. when the Nightwatch host division-leading Dallas (5-1). If you haven’t seen this sport of ultimate Frisbee, you really need to try it.
I never thought it would be such a task to purchase luggage for an upcoming trip. My wife and I know a lot more about luggage now than we did before. Part of the task was finding the appropriate luggage that meets carry-on requirements so that we won’t have to check a bag. The magic number this weekend was 45″ linear inches which is the carry-on limitations for Delta. Now I know the terms such as “spinner” and “retractable handles”. Just because they say the luggage is carry-on doesn’t exactly mean it meets requirements. I’m learning a lot on how to be a minimal packer. I don’t like it. I tend to carry lots of stuff with me. This will be an adventure for sure.
My wife and I love pizza. We will often try different pizza places. This weekend we tried a new Five Points Pizza which opened in West Nashville. I took one bite and waited for my wife to take hers and we both agreed that we loved it. It was the perfect blend of sauce and cheese. Too many places just blob the cheese on top. Not a fan of that. Five Points was a hit with us. We usually base our pizza on a place we loved when we lived in Tampa, Florida. There was a place we loved called “Flippers” in St. Petersburg. When we tasted the one this weekend, we both said it reminded us of Flippers. I still haven’t found a pizza that compares to Ingleside Pizza in Macon, Georgia. That one is my favorite so far.
President Trump is in Nashville today for a rally to support a local politician running for office. If you have ever had a President visit your city, you can’t fully understand what a pain in the arse it can be. It doesn’t matter if you like the President or not. When he visits, it disrupts traffic and the entire infrastructure around where he’s visiting. Several streets are already closed and many others will be closed temporarily around the time he rolls into downtown. Probably right around the time for the evening rush hour. We also have some storms headed our way about the same time. The commute home may take a while.
We visited a couple of new places over the Memorial Day weekend which popped up on Facebook lately as places to visit. The first one was Dunbar Cave State Park near Clarkesville, Tennessee. Dunbar Cave is the 280th largest cave complex in the world. During the Big Band era they used to have dances, concerts and festivals that cave’s entrance where they constructed a bandstand and dance floor. They say it stays a constant 58 degrees year-round. The park offers tours in the cave but we didn’t join in because we aren’t big fans of tight places. The other place we visited was Marrowbone Lake near Joelton, Tennessee which had a large lake and featured a dam with some falls. If you like fishing, it might be the place for you but not exactly a place to relax and enjoy the lake. I’m not so sure I didn’t hear banjos playing in the distance. We drove down a road and saw a Pirate’s Ship and some sort of resort complex which was gated. Over the gate it advised that they do not call 911 they shoot. We immediately turned around and got out of there.
For the fourth straight year, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will meet in the NBA Finals. I read an article that says this is the first championship series in North America to repeat four straight years. Other than Cleveland and San Francisco Bay area, will anyone be watching? Will viewers be burnt out on this matchup? Most people give Golden State the overwhelming nod to win the title but Cleveland has Lebron James. Anything is possible. I think people will watch because this is going to be a classic rivalry that people will look back on.
In the Stanley Cup final, it’s hard to watch without the Nashville Predators being there. I find myself pulling for Vegas. After watching Game 1 last night, it looks like it’s going to be an exciting series.
Rochester Knighthawks edge Georgia Swarm 9-8 to advance to National Lacrosse League final
Alliance of American Football (AAF) – Announced that they will place a team in Salt Lake City, Utah when they begin play next spring. Salt Lake City joins Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis and will play at Rice Eccles Stadium, which is the home field for the University of Utah. The Memphis team has announced that former Chicago Bears’ great Mike Singletary will be their head coach.
AmericanArena League (AAL) – The Georgia Doom upset the Richmond Roughriders 56-44 in Macon, Georgia after the Doom replaced head coach Derek Stingley with Defensive Coordinator Gerald Dockery.
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The Toronto Rush (4-0) held on to defeat the Montreal Royal 21-18 to stay undefeated and atop the East Division standings. Montreal drops to 2-3. In other divisions, the surprising Atlanta Hustle are tied with the Dallas Roughnecks at 4-1 in the South. Madison is 5-0 in the Midwest but Indianapolis (6-1) is right on their heels. The West seems to be wide open as 2.5 games separate the first and last place teams. The Los Angeles Aviators and San Diego Growlers are tied for first with 4-2 records.
Arena Football League (AFL) – The Albany Empire (2-2) defeated the Washington Valor (0-4) 53-42 on Friday night at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in front of a crowd of 9,036. Empire quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 257 yards and seven touchdowns earning himself the game MVP award. Empire receiver Malachi Jones had six receptions for 120 yards and three receiving touchdowns, while chipping one rushing touchdown and earning himself Offensive Player of the Game. Terence Moore was named Defensive Player of the Game with six total tackles and a fumble recovery.
Champions Indoor Football (CIF) -The Omaha Beef made just enough plays to edge out the Bismarck Bucks in an offensive explosion 79-78. After a tough game last week against Sioux City, John Gibbs showed what he can potentially be for Omaha. A week ago, Gibbs had one touchdown in the air and two on the ground, but it was the three interceptions that hurt the Beef the most. Saturday night, Gibbs had eight total touchdowns (7-passing/1-rushing) and most importantly, no interceptions. Gibbs found receivers Daniel Mckinney, Brandlynn Clark and Jerimiah Eaton open all game. Mckinney lead the receivers in receptions (6) and total touchdowns (5), Clark added two touchdowns, and so did Eaton, with one of his touchdown catches coming with under 10-seconds left in the game.
Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) – The online, fan-involved indoor football league has delayed their start date to the summer of 2019.
Indoor Football League (IFL) – The six-time world champion league leading Arizona Rattlers (9-1) defeated the Green Bay Blizzard (1-8) by a score of 62-26 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Rattlers have extended their current win streak to eight.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – The Denver Outlaws fell 24-22 in a back-and-forth, high-scoring game to the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Despite scoring a season-high 22 goals and rallying from a five-score fourth-quarter deficit, Denver was never able to overcome a Chesapeake 13-point third quarter and four two-goal tallies. Midfielder Drew Snider led all scorers with a career-high six goals-representing only the 20th six-goal game in Outlaws history.
Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Glendale Raptors were named the Major League Rugby Team of the Week the league announced today. The Raptors have jumped out to a perfect 4-0 start after a 31-27 win against the San Diego Legion. Facing a 21-10 deficit in the second half, Glendale used strong defensive pressure paired with timely stops to swing the momentum of the match. Down three with under 10 minutes to play, Raptors’ flanker Zach Fenoglio finished off a sequence of phase play with a try and the ensuing conversion proved to be enough for Glendale.
National Arena League (NAL) – The Columbus Lions stunned the Carolina Cobras 55-54 when Columbus quarterback Mason Espinosa found Durron Neal for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired then kicker Lindsey Wolfe made the extra point for the win.
National Lacrosse League (NLL) – The Rochester Knighthawks edged the Georgia Swarm 9-8 in the Eastern Division final while the Saskatchewan Rush knocked off the Calgary Roughnecks in the West final. Rochester and Saskatchewan will faceoff for the NLL title with Game 1 at Saskatchewan on May 26th.
National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) – Added the Minnesota Whitecaps to the league as their fifth team joining Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and Metropolitan in 2018-2019. The Whitecaps were already an independent team which started in 2004 and played in the short-lived Western Women’s Hockey League in 2010-2011.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The Orlando Pride (3-2-3, 12 points) earned a 2-1 win over Portland Thorns FC on Saturday afternoon, defeating the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions in front of over 17,000 fans at Providence Park. The match not only marked the Pride’s first win over Portland in Club history, but extended the team’s unbeaten streak to five straight games. Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Christine Nairn got on the score sheet for the Pride, both putting in their first goals of the 2018 season.
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Los Angeles Sparks and defending champion Minnesota Lynx will tip-off the league’s 21st season on May 20th. The league will again have 12 teams with the only relocation being the Las Vegas Aces which moved from San Antonio.
They finally did it. The Nashville Nightwatch of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) shocked the Austin Sol 22-20 on Sunday to win their first game since 2016. The Sol rallied from a 13-11 halftime deficit to lead 16-15 through three quarters, but the NightWatch were better down the stretch. Nashville opened the final quarter on a 4-1 run and never trailed again in their 22-20 triumph. The last win for the Nightwatch was a 30-26 win against Jacksonville on July 9, 2016. I was at the game and it was the highest offensive output for the team in its history and looked promising for 2017. The Nightwatch went winless the next season.
ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL)
Albany Empire’s quarterback Tommy Grady and defensive back Marrio Norman have been named as the offensive and defensive players of the week for Week 4, respectively. Grady (6’7, 245, Utah) led the Empire to their first win in team history on 20-of-29 passes for 221 yards and 5 touchdowns. The former Ute currently is second in the League in pass completion percentage (67.0%) and third in passing yards (733) and passing touchdowns (16). Norman (6’1, 205, Coastal Carolina) had a dominant defensive game in the Empire’s 47-23 win over the Washington Valor. The six-year veteran recorded 10.0 total tackles, two interceptions for 32 yards, while returning one of those interceptions for a 12-yard touchdown. Norman ranks second in total tackles with 20.5.
Last week’s scores:
Albany Empire 47, Washington Valor 23
Baltimore Brigade 31, Philadelphia Soul 21
ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL (AAF)
The proposed new springtime AAF has announced Memphis as its third franchise when the league starts play in February 2019. The Atlanta and Orlando markets were previously announced as franchise locations. The AAF is reported to be in discussions with Arizona State University (Tempe) for use of its Sun Devil Stadium as home to a possible Phoenix area AAF franchise.
AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE (AAL)
John Banks caught three touchdown passes, and George Jenkins graduate Reggie Ellis contributed his second spectacular touchdown catch in as many weeks as the Florida Tarpons tamed the Austin Wild, 50-30, for their first win of the 2018 season Sunday afternoon at the RP Funding Center.
Richmond Roughriders 82, Peach State Cats 22
Atlanta Havoc 74, High Country Grizzlies 32
Carolina Energy 98, Savannah Coastal Outlaws 13
Jersey flight 70, Upstate Dragons 6
CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL (CIF)
Shannon Winesberry’s victory-sealing, 33-yard interception return in overtime Saturday night proved to be the difference as the Quad-City Steamwheelers won at Bismarck 45-32. Bismarck got half of their four touchdowns in the final 56 seconds, taking advantage of two Quad-City field-goal misses to rally from a 32-17 deficit to force overtime. The Steamwheelers scored on the first possession of the extra session, with a 22-yard reception from Davenport’s Keyvan Rudd setting up a short Tyler Williams TD run. The game ended on the next step, thanks to Winesberry and a defense that forced four turnovers and kept Bismarck from scoring on eight of 13 possessions.
Sioux City Bandits (5-3)
Salina Liberty (6-2)
Quad Cities Steamwheelers (4-3)
Bismarck Bucks (4-4)
Omaha Beef (3-5)
Kansas City Phantoms (2-6)
Duke City Gladiators (7-1)
Amarillo Venom (6-1)
Texas Revolution (2-5)
Wichita Force (3-5)
Dallas Marshals (1-8)
INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE (IFL)
The six-time world champion and first place Arizona Rattlers (8-1) defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-8) by a score of 57-42 at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Rattlers have now won their seventh straight game.The two teams would trade punches early, but a dominant third quarter by the Rattlers would prove to be too much for the Titans. Offensively for Arizona, Quarterback Jeff Ziemba completed 12 of his 20 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Ziemba also had a rushing touchdown. RB Darrell Monroe rushed the ball 20 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns.
Iowa Barnstormers 49, Sioux Falls Storm 42
Green Bay Blizzard 47, Nebraska Danger 25
MAJOR LACROSS LEAGUE (MLL)
The Florida Launch dominated the Denver Outlaws 16-7 at FAU Stadium on May 6 to improve their record to 3-1. With the return of Kieran McArdle, the Launch led an assertive offensive attack against that Outlaws. Dylan Molloy, Mike Tagliaferri, and McArdle led the team in goals, with each player putting up a hat trick. Tagliaferri posted his first MLL goal as well as his first MLL hat trick. On defense, Alec Tulett led the team, causing four turnovers and collecting four ground balls. In the cage, Austin Kaut stopped 21 of the 28 shots he faced for an impressive .750 save-percentage.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY (MLR)
In a match that featured a little bit of everything, the Legion (2-1) knocked off the SaberCats (1-2) 35-32 on the back of outside centre Anthony Salaber’s three-try performance. Both teams came out of the gate playing extremely fast, and it paid off for the SaberCats rather quickly. They struck first when scrum half Connor Murphy kicked to some space behind San Diego’s back line. A favorable bounce ended up in the hands of wing Alex Elkins who produced the ball to outside centre Osea Kolinisau. Kolinisau used his one move to ground the ball on the goal line and was awarded the first try of the match. Fly-half Sam Windsor nailed the conversion and the SaberCats were out to an early 7-0 lead.
The SaberCats, with only four minutes to play, had their chances to put the match away. Murphy attempted to pin San Diego deep with a box kick, but he didn’t get all of the ball and Audsley scooped it up off the ground to give San Diego a chance to win it with a try.
Houston forced San Diego’s attack into touch and had one more chance to finish the game with a successful lineout. The ensuing lineout was not thrown straight, and the Legion would have an opportunity at a lineout of their own. The phase play that stemmed from that lineout was extended when an errant pass that went out of bounds in stoppage time was brought back to the spot of a penalty, and Tony Purpura finally put a stamp on the game with a try on the goal line.
Audsley kicked the conversion and the Legion escaped with a 35-32 win.
NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE (NAL)
The Massachusetts Pirates trailed the Columbus Lions by 15 points early in the third quarter of their National Arena League marquee matchup Sunday when quarterback Sean Brackett threw his second interception. The defense took the field and proceeded to make the first of three straight stops, all of which the offense turned into touchdowns as the Pirates outscored the Lions, 29-7, over the final 25 minutes to post a 44-37, last-second victory.
Massachusetts Pirates celebrate big win over Columbus Lions
Jacksonville Sharks 48, Maine Mammoths 31
Carolina Cobras 65, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 3
NATIONAL LACROSS LEAGUE (NLL)
The Calgary Roughnecks extend their post-season winning streak against their Colorado to 8-0 with a 15-12 win. With the win, the Roughnecks will advance to face the Saskatchewan Rush in the West Division on Sunday, May 13, at 5:00 p.m. The Mammoths controlled the first half, going on a six goal run en route to a 7-3 advantage heading into the break. Although Colorado outshot the Roughnecks 50-46, Calgary dominated the second half outscoring the home team 12-5 including two empty net goals to conclude the night.
In the East, the Rochester Knighthawks eliminated the New England Black Wolves 15-11 to advance to the East final against the Georgia Swarm on Saturday.
SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (SPHL)
The Huntsville Havoc won the SPHL title by defeating the Peoria Rivermen 4-2 to win the series 2 games to 1. Huntsville knocked off the Mississippi Riverkings 1-4, 4-3 (ot) and 5-2 in the first round and then dethroned the defending champions, Macon Mayhem, 4-6, 8-2, 3-2 (ot) in the semifinals.