There was a time when the Baltimore Blast could not seem to break through in the early days of their franchise. Each time they faced the New York Arrows they would come up short but the times have changed and now the Blast are the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) dynasty.
BALTIMORE BLAST 10, MILWAUKEE WAVE 6
In the Eastern Conference final, the Blast jumped out to a commanding 7-3 lead at halftime as Tony Donatelli, Daniel Peruzzi and Adriano Dos Santos scored goals in the second period against the Milwaukee Wave. The Wave stormed back in the third period to close within 7-6. Baltimore’s Vini Dantas took back the momentum as he jumped in front of a Wave clearance attempt and headed a ball past a surprised Josh Lemos into an open goal a minute into the fourth quarter. The Blast scored twice more to seal the win and their fourth trip to the championship game.
MONTERREY FLASH 6, SAN DIEGO SOCKERS 4
The Monterrey Flash broke open a 3-3 game in the Western Conference final against the San Diego Sockers in front of a home crowd of 6,086 fans with goals from Edgar González and Omar Santillan to put the Flash up 5-3. The Sockers outshot Monterrey 8-3 in the fourth period but the Flash weathered the storm and capitalized on some crucial defensive breakdowns to wrap up the win.
The Ron Newman Cup final will be played in Monterrey on March 25th in a rematch of the 2015 final won by the Flash in a thrilling two games to one series. The Flash won the series deciding game 4-3 in overtime. The 2018 final will be a one-game final.
Monterrey posted a league-leading 20-2 record in the regular season. They have outscored their playoff opponents 23-16. The Flash sat out the last two seasons before re-entering the league this season.
Baltimore is seeking their third straight championship. The Blast defeated Sonora Soles in the last two finals winning both deciding games in overtime. Baltimore finished the regular season 17-5. All five losses have been on the road.
The Ron Newman Cup kicked off the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) postseason with four division titles on the line. Here is how they fared:
Eastern Division: Baltimore defeated Syracuse 2 games to 0.
The two-time defending champs didn’t exactly breeze through their divisional series with Syracuse. The Blast edged the Silver Knights 7-6 and 5-4 to sweep the series. Baltimore took a commanding 5-1 lead into the final quarter of the opener of the series and held off the Silver Knights as they were outscored 5-2 in the final quarter. Baltimore built yet another lead in game two with a 4-1 lead in the third but Syracuse stormed back to make it 4-3 early in the fourth. Baltimore’s Daniel Peruzzi scored with less than four minutes left to give the Blast an insurance goal which stood up in the end after another Syracuse goal with seconds left.
Central Division: Milwaukee defeated Cedar Rapids 2 games to 0.
Max Ferdinand scored the game winning and series winning goal with 10:24 left in the fourth quarter then the Milwaukee Wave held on 9-8 to advance to the semifinals. Ian Bennett scored Milwaukee’s game winner 44 seconds into overtime for an 8-7 win.
Southwest Division: Monterrey defeated Sonora 2 games to 0.
Brayan Aguilar had a hat-trick for the Monterrey Flash in game two to clinch the series 9-5 after winning the series opener 8-7. The teams were tied 5-5 in the third quarter of game one when until Carlos Farias scored back-to-back goals to take a 7-5 lead. Monterrey held onto the lead to take the opener on Sonora’s home turf. Franck Tayou had a hat trick for Sonora.
Pacific Division: San Diego defeated Tacoma 2 games to 1.
The San Diego-Tacoma series was the only division final that went to a tie-breaker game. Tacoma opened the series with a 5-2 win at Tacoma. The Sockers rallied to win game two at home by routing the Stars 9-3 to force a mini-game. The Sockers stormed out to a 5-0 lead in the first five minutes to cruise to the series-clinching win. Five different players scored for San Diego.
The division winners will now advance to play in a one-game semifinal match. The Baltimore Blast will play the Milwaukee Wave in one semifinal game and the Monterrey Flash will face the San Diego Sockers in the other semifinal. The Blast edged the Wave in last year’s semifinal game while the Sockers lost to Sonora
It’s playoff time in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) as eight teams qualified for this year’s Ron Newman Cup. The Baltimore Blast (17-5) will attempt to go for the three-peat and will begin with their divisional series against the Sycracuse Silver Knights (13-9). In the other divisional series, the Milwakuee Wave (17-5) takes on the Cedar Rapids Rampage (11-11) for the Central Division title. In the Southwest Division it will be a Mexican showdown between Monterrey Flash (20-2) and Sonora Soles (15-7). The San Diego Sockers (19-3) and Tacoma Stars (11-11) will play for the Pacific Division crown.
The playoffs for the Isobel Cup are set in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) at the Buffalo Beauts (11-4) will host the Boston Pride (4-7-4) in one of the semifinal games on March 17th. The top-seeded Metropolitan Riveters (12-3) will play the Connecticut Whale (3-10-2) in the other semifinal on March 18th. The Cup final will be played the following weekend.
The Saskatchewan Rush (10-2) have clinched a playoff spot in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). A crowd of 14,057 watched as the Rush shutdown the Vancouver Stealth 16-10. The Stealth jumped out to a 3-1 lead early but the Rush stormed back with a 9-1 run led by three goals from Robert Church and three assists form Mark Matthews. Here are the current standings in the NLL: Eastern Division – New England (5-4), Buffalo (6-5), Toronto (5-5), Georgia (5-6), Rochester (5-6). Western Division – Saskatchewan (10-2), Colorado (7-3), Calgary (4-6), Vancouver (1-11).
The final four teams in the PRO Chess League will be played in San Francisco. The world’s best chess players will travel to San Francisco to compete in a live championship organized by Chess.com and Twitch, the companies announced today. This epic event will be the culmination of Chess.com’s Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League, a groundbreaking, season-long competition with the world’s top chess players representing international regions. The two-day event kicks off at 10 a.m. on April 7 at the Folsom Street Foundry and will also be live-broadcast exclusively on Chess.com’s Twitch channel (twitch.tv/chess).
Salina Liberty kicker Michael Pursley booted a 19-yard field goal with 1:27 left in the game gave the Liberty the lead and the defense held the Wichita Force on downs for a 17-15 win in the season opener of the Champions Indoor Football League. In other games, Dallas edged the Texas Revolution 38-37 in overtime, the Omaha Beef routed the Texas Power 71-6.
Iowa Barnstormers’ QB Drew Powell was named the offensive player of the week in the IndoorFootball League (IFL). The Iowa Barnstormers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to put away the Green Bay Blizzard 41-20 during opening weekend of the 2018 season. Picking up where he left off at the end of the 2017 season, QB Drew Powell (6’3,220, Livingstone College) again showed why he is one of the most exciting players in the IFL. Against one of the top pass defenses from last season, Powell completed 20 of 26 passes for a league-high 208 yards and four touchdowns. After posting 13 rushing touchdowns in the last four games of 2017, Powell continued to show that he is a threat on the ground as he added 48 rushing yards as well. The Iowa Barnstormers enjoy a Week 2 bye before hosting the Arizona Rattlers on March 10.
Here are the top teams in each league according to Developmental Football USA:
National Developmental Football League: Georgia Wolves
Coastal Football Alliance: North Carolina Rebels
Premier Amateur Football Alliance: Joplin Crusaders
Xtreme South Football League: Panhandle Crusaders
Arizona Gridiron Football League: Phoenix Phantoms
New Mexico Independent Football League: New Mexico Titans
Gulf States Football League: Louisiana Bayou Hurricanes
Independent American Football League: Dalton Danger
Universal Football League: Tri-County Steelers
Texas Football League: Texas Xtreme
Amateur to Professional Developmental League: Mississippi Dynasty
Tennessee Football Alliance: Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs
United Football Federation of America: Orlando Phantoms
The reports are true. The XFL is planning to make a return in 2020 with eight teams to play a 10-game schedule in the spring. The original XFL appeared in 1999 only to last one season before folding. The original league also had eight teams: New York-New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Chicago Enforcers, Memphis Maniax, Birmingham Thunderbolts, Los Angeles Xtreme, San Francisco Demons and Las Vegas Outlaws. There is no word if the same teams will return in the XFL reboot. XFL boss Vince McMahon is hoping to give fans a better quality of football.
AFL UNVEILS NAME OF NEW ALBANY TEAM
The Empire strikes back in Albany, New York to join the Philadelphia Soul, Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor in the dwindling Arena Football League. Albany originally played as the Firebirds in the AFL from 1990-2000. The Firebirds were very successful during their first time in the AFL winning six division titles and won the 1999 ArenaBowl title. The Empire will begin play this season.
TAYOU LEADS MASL IN GOALS
Sonora Forward Franck Tayou leads the Major Arena Soccer League with 47 goals. Sonora is currently 10-6 and in second place behind Monterrey in the Southwest Division. Monterrey remains the league’s only undefeated team at 15-0 and the first team to clinch a playoff spot.
GEORGIA SWARM STING VANCOUVER
The defending National Lacrosse League champs broke up a close game against the Vancouver Stealth to notch a 16-12 win last week. The Swarm scored five goals in a span of 6:11 in the fourth quarter. Georgia now improves to 3-3 and dropped the Stealth to 1-6. Toronto and Saskatchewan continue to lead their divisions.
TWO GOALIES ARE NWHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Amanda Leveille (Buffalo Beauts) and Brittany Ott (Boston Pride) were named the National Women’s Hockey League’s players of the week because of their performances in goal when Buffalo played Boston. The Beauts beat the Pride 1-0 after ten rounds of the shootout. Leveille got the win stopping all 25 shots she faced. She is 7-4-0 with a 2.77 GAA and .911 save percentage. Here are the current NWHL standings:
Metropolitan Riveters (11-0-0)
Buffalo Beauts (7-4-0)
Boston Pride (2-6-3)
Connecticut Whale (2-7-2)
PRO CHESS LEAGUE EARLY DIVISION LEADERS
The Estonia Horses (East), Stockhold Snowballs (Central), Minnesota Blizzard (Atlantic) and Chengdu Pandas (Pacific) are off to an early lead in their divisions. Round 3 of the season is this week. Yu Yangyi (Chengdu) is the leading player with 7.5 points and a rating of 2750.
NBA’S CHRIS PAUL TO HEADLINE NINTH STATE FARM BOWLING TOURNAMENT
Houston Rockets All-Star guard and tournament host Chris Paul will try to defend his doubles title with a new partner in the ninth State Farm®CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by Go Bowling! Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN from Bowlero The Woodlands in the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas.
Paul will be joined by several celebrities and PBA Tour stars who will compete in the multi-format event which benefits the Chris Paul Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth, education, health, sports and social responsibility.
In addition to Paul, who is the defending champion of the doubles event (with PBA partner Chris Barnes), other participating celebrities include former NFL All Pro and former Celebrity Invitational winner Terrell Owens, Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts, andPaul’s All-Star Rockets teammate James Harden.
NEW MIXED-GENDER ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE PLANNED
The new semi-pro mixed-gender United Ultimate Disc League (UUL) plans to start play in April 2019 with eight teams and will be competition for the more-established American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The UUL will feature six-on-six competition (three men and three women per team) on a smaller field rather than the traditional seven-on-seven style and larger field used by the AUDL. The mixed-gender aspect of the league is a new and timely concept, as the AUDL recently faced a boycott by players due to its lack of female representation. The first-year teams are listed in a North Division with the Boston Whalers, New York Kraken, Philadelphia Pride and Washington Generals, and a South Division with the Carolina Cutlass (Raleigh, NC), Nashville Tristars, Atlanta Hounds and Florida Gulls (Jacksonville). The UUL season is short (three games per team) with each team playing the other teams in its division only once. The UUL will operate all teams and it plans to add four additional regional divisions of teams over the next few years.
Let’s take a look at some alternative sports leagues that you won’t see in your local sports pages:
AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL) – The only professional ultimate disc league is going through some growing pains as teams have moved or folded during the offseason. The latest move involved the Jacksonville Cannons who have moved to Tampa and will begin play there in the upcoming 2018 season. The Nashville Nightwatch changed ownership in the offseason and plans to make some significant changes in the 2018 season. A new franchise will be added in Portland, Oregon to play in the West Division.
MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE (MASL) – Here are the current league standings:
Cedar Rapids 6-8
Kansas City 4-8
St. Louis 2-11
El Paso 5-7
Rio Grande Valley 2-10
San Diego 10-0
AMERICAN BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (ABA) – The Richmond (VA) Elite are atop the ABA Power Rankings with a record of 10-0. They are followed by the Kentucky Enforcers (11-0), South Florida Gold (12-1), Jacksonville Giants (9-1) and Worcester 78s (10-1).
NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE (NLL) – The Saskatchewan Rush won the battle of the unbeatens when they defeated the Colorado Mammoths 17-12 in Denver. The Rush took over sole possession of first place in the West at 4-0 while the New England Black Wolves lead the East at 3-1.
NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE (NWHL) – In their third meeting of the season, the Buffalo Beauts edged the Connecticut Whale 4-3 at a game played in Pittsburgh. Buffalo’s Lisa Chesson scored her first goal of the season and the game winner with less than four minutes remaining. The Beauts are now 5-4 and currently in second place behind the Metropolitan Riveters at 8-0. With the loss, Connecticut drops to 2-7.
Trailing 6-3 in the third quarter of Game Two of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) championship and already trailing the series 1-0 playing on Soles de Sonora’s home turf, the Blast made an amazing comeback when Adriano Dos Santos tied the game with 11 seconds left. Juan Pereira scored the game-winning goal in overtime, 9-8, to tie the series.
The teams then played the series-deciding 15-minute mini-game where Vini Dantas clinched the winner in front of over 8,000 fans at El Centro de Usos Multiples in Mexico.
Goalkeeper William Vanzela was tough for the Blast in both games and made a huge save in the mini-game on a shot from Sole de Sonora’s Gustavo Rosales with 1:08 left.
With their second consecutive MASL title, the Blast have now won nine championships in franchise history. After losing to Harrisburg at home in the first game of the playoffs, they went to Harrisburg and rallied from a 3-0 deficit in Game Two before winning in a mini-game. Against the Milwaukee Wave in the Eastern Conference final, the Blast also won in a mini-game to advance to the Ron Newman Cup final.
Baltimore Blast Championships:
1984: Defeated St. Louis Steamers, 4 games to 1.
2003: Defeated Milwaukee Wave 2 games to 1
2004: Defeated Milwaukee Wave 3 games to 0
2006: Defeated St. Louis Steamers 2 games to 1
2008: Defeated Monterrey La Raza 14-11 (One-game final)
The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) took flight for its’ sixth season with 24 teams. The Dallas Roughnecks began their title defense on Saturday when they opened with a 21-17 win over their in-state rivals, Austin Sol. The Jacksonville Cannons scored 40 goals in their 40-23 win over the Nashville Nightwatch. The Nightwatch made history in the game as Jesse Shofner became the first woman to score a goal in the AUDL.
Game one of the Ron Newman Cup Championship in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) will be played on Friday night at Royal Farms Arena when the Baltimore Blast will host Soles de Sonora. The series will shift to Hermosillo, Mexico on Sunday. The Blast will be gunning for their second consecutive title.
Here are the current standings of the Indoor Football League (IFL):
Sioux Falls Storm (5-0)
Wichita Falls Nighthawks (5-1)
Iowa Barnstormers (3-2)
Green Bay Blizzard (2-4)
Cedar Rapids Titans (1-5)
Nebraska Danger (4-2)
Spokane Empire (4-2)
Arizona Rattlers (2-3)
Salt Lake Screaming Eagles (1-4)
Colorado Crush (1-5)
The Florida Tarpons are 2-0 in the Arena Pro Football (APF) league after defeating the Coastal Outlaws, 70-26. They will travel to St. Louis this weekend to play the River City Raiders.
Stephen Panasuk (High Country) leads the National Arena League (NAL) in total offense with 19 touchdowns scored in three games. The Grizzlies destroyed the Dayton Wolfpack 94-6 last weekend. High Country (2-1) will host the Jacksonville Sharks (3-0) this Sunday.
The Fort Wayne Flite leads the Central Basketball Association (CBA) standings with a 2-0 record. The Flite are led by Ronald Lucas III who is averaging 16 points per game. They will host the Middle Tennessee Storm (1-2) this Sunday.
Tyler Poythress from Wilson, North Carolina is the Top Ranked Cornhole player in the world. He finished first with 25 points in the American Cornhole Organization (ACO) Cornhole Madness tournament in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Poythress has won 23 and lost 9 games in Cornhole Singles.