Obscure Sports Report (6/13/18)

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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.

 

 

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Obscure Sports News (6/4/18)

 

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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:

  1. Baltimore Brigade (5-2)
  2. Albany Empire (5-2)
  3. Philadelphia Soul (4-3)
  4. 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.

Division Leaders:

  • 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:

  1. North Carolina Courage (30 pts)
  2. Seattle Reign FC (18)
  3. Orlando Pride (16)
  4. Portland Thorns FC (15)
  5. Chicago Red Stars (15)
  6. Utah Royals FC (14)
  7. Houston Dash (14)
  8. Washington Spirit (8)
  9. 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:

Eastern Conference

  1. Connecticut Sun (5-0)
  2. Washington Mystics (5-3)
  3. Chicago Sky (3-3)
  4. New York Liberty (2-2)
  5. Atlanta Dream (2-3)
  6. Indiana Fever (0-6)

Western Conference

  1. Los Angeles Sparks (4-1)
  2. Seattle Storm (5-2)
  3. Phoenix Mercury (4-3)
  4. Dallas Wings (3-3)
  5. Minnesota Lynx (2-5)
  6. 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.

Obscure Sports News (5/9/18)

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Nightwatch win first game since 2016

 

AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL)

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.

Other scores:

  • 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.

Current Standings:

  • North Division
    • 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)
  • South Division
    • 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.

Other scores:

  • 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.

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Massachusetts Pirates celebrate big win over Columbus Lions

Other scores:

  • 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.

Professional Disc League Opens 6th Season

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Raleigh Opens With Win Over Tampa Bay

 

The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) had the opening pull of their sixth season this weekend with two games on the schedule.

Indianapolis AlleyCats 24, Detroit Mechanix 12

The AlleyCats (1-0) are coming off an 8-6 record from last season and got off to a good start with a convincing win over the Mechanix (0-1).  Detroit is hoping to improve of last seasons’ 4-10 record.

Raleigh Flyers 27, Tampa Bay Cannons 22

The Cannons (0-1) challenged the Flyers (1-0) for the first three quarters before the home team Flyers pulled away at the end to win 27-22 in their opening night matchup. The Flyers have won five straight against their divisional rivals dating back to 2016.  Jacob Fairfax had eight goals in the game for the Flyers which was the second highest single-game total of his career.

The league begins the 2018 season with 23 teams divided into four geographic regions (East, Midwest, South and West).  The league lost the Charlotte Express and Cincinnati Revolution, the Jacksonville Cannons initially moved to Orlando and then landed in Tampa.  The Vancouver Riptide moved to Portland and will play in 2019.   The Nashville Nightwatch are under new ownership.

According to the AUDL website’s “Tuesday Toss”, here are the top five places to watch an AUDL game:

Austin
Long considered a great ultimate town, the Sol have quickly built up a loyal following of fans, making their home atmosphere among the best in the league. Plus, the Sol’d Out crew has officially become the greatest unofficial media outlet in AUDL history.

Washington DC
The Breeze have a new home in 2018, moving about four miles north from Gallaudet University to Catholic University. It’s reasonable to expect the fans to follow, considering that DC has steadily supported its team over the past couple seasons, in which the team has gone 20-8. Pregame concerts and lucrative halftime promotions have become commonplace for the Breeze, who count DC Mayor Muriel Bowser as a fan.

Los Angeles
Three words: Ace the Aviator. Without question, LA has the league’s best mascot. Ace is the perfect mix of entertainment and engagement, without overshadowing the game. Aviators ownership deserves a lot of credit for building a brand in a town that is overflowing with activity.

Madison
Speaking of building a brand, no team in the league has done so like the Radicals. Often, they are featured on local news alongside the Wisconsin Badgers or Green Bay Packers. As a result, Radicals players now get recognized more and more frequently around town. With a great home stadium, excellent concessions, passionate fans, and a fun and convenient postgame hangout destination, it makes all the sense in the world for Championship Weekend to return to Madison for the second time in three years.

Montreal 
Last year’s Final Four destination is certainly worthy of hosting another Championship Weekend down the road. Since the team’s inception in 2014, the Royal have delivered an exemplary gameday product, attracting fans and building a grand ultimate atmosphere. Their loyal followers are devoted to the home team, but appreciate of brilliant ultimate from either side. And their fans’ love can be attracted via great marketing, like when the Toronto Rush took the field wearing old-school Expos t-shirts last August.

This weekend’s games:

  • Saturday, April 7
    • Minnesota at Seattle
    • San Diego at Los Angeles
    • Detroit at Pittsburgh
    • Montreal at DC
    • San Jose at San Francisco
    • Atlanta at Tampa Bay
    • Dallas at Raleigh
    • Madison at Indianapolis
  • Sunday, April 8
    • Montreal at Philadelphia

Obscure Sports Report (1/31/18)

yu-yangyi
Yu Yangyi Leads The PRO Chess League

XFL TO RETURN IN 2020

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:

  1. Metropolitan Riveters (11-0-0)
  2. Buffalo Beauts (7-4-0)
  3. Boston Pride (2-6-3)
  4. 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, and Paul’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.

 

Obscure Sports News

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Portland Thorns defeat North Carolina Courage for NWSL Title

 

Portland Thorns Win National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)

The Thorns won their second NWSL Championship title Saturday night, beating the North Carolina Courage 1-0 in the NWSL Championship in front of 8,124 fans. It was Portland’s first championship since beating the Western New York Flash to win the league’s inaugural title in 2013.  Lindsey Horan broke the tie for the Thorns in the 50th minute when she finished a free kick from Emily Sonnett.  The free kick deflected off Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper’s head. Horan put the ball in the net to give Portland the critical 1-0 lead.

Miami FC Clinches Top Seed In Postseason After Week 12 Results

Miami FC and the San Francisco Deltas already clinched berths for the 2017 North American Soccer League (NASL) postseason, but now seeding is starting to take shape. Miami, after a big win on the road over Indy Eleven on Saturday afternoon, will have the top seed in The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament, and will have home-field advantage throughout November.

United Soccer League Season Ends

The regular season is over, which make this the final edition of the USLSoccer.com Power Rankings of the season. Now, it’s all about who advances over the next four weeks to claim the USL Cup on November 13 on ESPNU.

Here are the top 10 teams in the USL Power Rankings:

  1. Real Monarchs SLC (50 points)
  2. Louisville City FC (40 points)
  3. San Antonio FC (38 points)
  4. Phoenix Rising FC (37 points)
  5. Tampa Bay Rowdies (25 points)
  6. Reno 1868 FC (24 points)
  7. Charleston Battery (16 points)
  8. Swope Park Rangers (16 points)
  9. OKC Energy FC (14 points)
  10. Rochester Rhinos (10 points)

Matt O’Grady and Dick Allen Earn Return Trips to Professional Bowler’s Association (PBA) Regional Challenge In Reno

Matt O’Grady of Matawan, N.J., representing the PBA East Region, and Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C., representing the South Region, have earned return trips to the PBA Regional Challenge in Reno where O’Grady is the defending champion and Allen was runner-up in 2016.

The PBA Regional and PBA50 Tour Challenge events will kick off the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Reno Properties, at the National Bowling Stadium, on Tuesday, Nov. 7. WSOB IX kicks off the Go Bowling! PBA Tour series for 2017-18.

Victorian Roller Derby Is The Top-Ranked Team in Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby

Here are the current top ten teams in Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association (WFTDA):

  1. Victorian Roller Derby League
  2. Rose City Rollers
  3. Gotham Girls Roller Derby
  4. Angel City Derby
  5. Denver Roller Derby
  6. Texas Rollergirls
  7. Arch Rival Roller Derby
  8. London Rollergirls
  9. Montreal Roller Derby
  10. Jacksonville Rollergirls

Are You Ready For Some Quidditch?

mlq1

Believe it or not this is an actual sport.  No, really.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) is a professional quidditch league based in the United States and Canada.  The 16 teams play from June to August with each team playing nine games.  The current list of teams are:

East Division:  Boston Night Riders, New York Titans, Ottawa Black Bears, Washington Admirals

North Division:  Cleveland Riff, Detroit Innovators, Indianapolis Intensity, Rochester Whiteout

South Division:  Austin Outlaws, Kansas City Stampede, League City Legends, New Orleans Curse

West Division:  Los Angeles Guardians, Phoenix Sol, Salt Lake City Hive, San Francisco Argonauts

Major League Quidditch was founded in 2014 by Ethan Sturm, who joined with Amanda Dallas in hopes of developing quidditch further.  Sturm and Dallas currently co-commission the league.  The first season took place in 2015 with eight teams. MLQ had an extremely successful first season, picking up a sponsorship with SAVAGE The Ultimate Apparel Company, hosting twelve regular season 3 game series, and putting together a Championship Weekend.

Let me say that I have yet to read the first Harry Potter book or watch a Harry Potter movie but I think I can safely say that the players do NOT actually fly on brooms in this league.    The game incorporates a gender-integrated contact sport with elements of rugby, dodgeball, wrestling, flag football and other sports.  Each team is made up of at least seven players who play with brooms between their legs at all times.  Well, not actually the entire broom.  Mostly a stick without the broom.  Each team has three chasers, two beaters and one keeper in play at all times.  Each team also sends one seeker into the game at the end of the seeker floor.  Chasers and keepers – also known as quaffle players, attempt to score goals and prevent the other team from scoring goals with the quaffle (ball).  Goals are worth ten points.  The seekers try to remove the snitch ball from the snitch to score 30 points and end the period.

mlq2Don’t worry.  You really need to watch a game on YouTube or on the league’s website:  http://www.mlquidditch.com.   Trust me.  You will need to see it to believe it.  I was cringing while watching them play and holding a stick between their legs to play the game.   Honestly it looks like total chaos but somehow these dedicated athletes have made it a sport.   You won’t see the games played in major league stadiums but you can stay informed about the teams and the league on just about any social media network.

The 2017 MLQ Championship will be played this weekend in League City, Texas.  The weekend will feature 12 teams that have qualified after regular season play.  In the first round it will be:  Rochester vs. Salt Lake City, the winner to play Austin.  New Orleans plays San Francisco with the winner playing Boston.  League City faces New York and the winner will advance to play Indianapolis.  Finally, Detroit will take on Washington with the winner moving on to play Los Angeles.  Boston is the defending MLQ champions.

If you’re good with a broom, there may be hope for you to make it to the major leagues.