This weekend will be the final four in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) as the New York Empire, Indianapolis Alley Cats, Dallas Roughnecks and San Diego Growlers play for the championship at San Jose, California.
The champions of the Midwest and South will join the New York Empire and San Diego Growlers in San Jose on August 10-11 weekend. The teams have been re-seeded as follows: New York Empire (1), San Diego Growlers (2), Dallas Roughnecks (3), Indianapolis AlleyCats (4).
The Empire and AlleyCats will go head to head in the first semifinal game on Saturday, August 10 at 4:00 PM/PT. Then the Roughnecks will take on the Growlers immediately following the first game at 7:00 PM/PT. The championship game will be played by the two semifinal winners on Sunday, August 11 at 12:00 PM/PT.
San Diego defeated Los Angeles 25-21 for the West Division title to make their first appearance in the final four. San Diego is led by Travis Dunn who is a five-year veteran who notched 33 goals this season along with 48 assists.
New York, the only undefeated team in the finals, edged the Toronto Rush 19-16 for the East Division title. This is New York’s second trip to championship weekend. The Empire lost to Toronto in the 2014 semifinals. The key player for New York is Ben Jagt. In 12 regular season games, he has scored 54 goals with 54 assists and an average of nine goals per game.
Dallas advanced to their fourth straight finals with a 21-17 win over the Raleigh Flyers in the South Division final. The Roughnecks lost to Madison in last year’s championship game. They last won the title in 2016. Jay Froude leads Dallas with 18 blocks in 12 career playoff games. Froude is the only player at the 2019 final four who will be competing in his fifth consecutive Championship Weekend, the first two of which came as a member of the Madison Radicals.
Indianapolis punched their ticket to the finals after defeating the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds 23-17 to represent the Midwest Division. The Alley Cats are in the finals for the first time since the AUDL’s first season in 2012. They lost to the Philadelphia Spinners 29-22 in the championship game. Indy will look to Keegan North and Travis Carpenter to lead them to the title. Carpenter led the Alley Cats with 56 assists.
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)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Nightwatch closed out their 2017 season with a 33-24 loss to the Jacksonville Cannons on Saturday in Jacksonville.
At the end of last season, the Nashville Nightwatch rallied to win their final two games as well as their best performance in team history when they topped Jacksonville in their regular season finale 30-26 and scored the most goals in team history. The future looked bright.
Then came the 2017 season. A new home field. A slow start.
The Nightwatch finished their third season at 0-14 and had -141 in goal differential which was the worst in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). In three seasons, the Nightwatch is 5-37.
I would be surprised to see the Nightwatch return next season. When a team shows no signs of improvement, it is very difficult to keep a team. The surprising thing is the Nightwatch gets hundreds of players at their tryouts every year but they never seem to be able to get the right mix of talent to be truly competitive in the AUDL. There may need to be some coaching changes in order to put a better team on the field.
Speaking of the field…..
Worst decision ever to move home games from Overton High School in Franklin to Hunter Lane High School in North Nashville. The field is terrible. For day games, the sun is shining directly into the fans’ eyes and just not a good game experience. Obviously, the team isn’t going to play in Nissan Stadium but a location closer to more fans would be ideal such as closer to Vanderbilt. A practice field at Vanderbilt? Find a better location that’s CLOSER to Nashville. I have always told my wife that if we were to ever win the lottery that we would buy the team and build them a stadium.
I’m not going to be down on the players. They played hard this season. It is frustrating for them as well to play an uphill battle the entire season. The closest game was a 14-11 loss to Jacksonville on April 23rd.
I didn’t cover much of the Nightwatch this season because, well, there wasn’t much to cover. When you are going through a winless season, it is difficult to write positive things. The excitement over the Nashville Predators’ Stanley Cup playoff run was a difficult shadow to play in. The Nightwatch is already invisible to the media. No coverage. No support. That makes a winless season even more difficult.
Ultimate Frisbee is an exciting game to watch and lots of action. If you have never been to a game, you need to make the effort to go to one if you have an AUDL team near you. There are some very talented players.
I really hope the Nightwatch will return but if they don’t improve their quality of play on the field – on a good home field – I don’t know how much longer they can survive.
The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) defending champions remain undefeated so far in the 2017 season. The Dallas Roughnecks are 6-0 and alone at the top of the Southern Division. This past weekend they beat the Nashville Nightwatch 32-23. Jay Froude had eight goals in the game followed by Dylan Freechild with six. The Nightwatch had a rough Texas two-step this weekend. After losing to the Roughnecks on Saturday, they were soundly defeated by the Austin Sol 31-11 on Sunday to drop to 0-6.
The DC Breeze, Toronto Rush, New York Empire and Montreal Royals are all crowding the top of the East Division. The Breeze cling to a slight lead at 3-1 after a thrilling 22-21 over New York on Saturday.
The Minnesota Wind Chill are 3-0 and lead the Midwest Division. The Wind Chill defeated the Indianapolis Alley Cats on Saturday, 28-25.
The West Division has four teams tied for first place and all have only one loss so far. The San Francisco Flamethrowers, San Jose Spiders, Seattle Cascades and Los Angeles Aviators are fighting for control of the division. Seattle won a cross-country matchup with the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds, 26-24. The Los Angeles Aviators topped the Vancouver Riptide 23-18 on Sunday.
The Nashville Nightwatch hosted the Atlanta Hustle in their American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) home opener on Saturday night at Hunter Lane High School in front of over 175 fans. After playing even in the first quarter, 9-9, the Nightwatch had some key turnovers to allow the Hustle to open up an 18-14 lead at halftime which the Nightwatch could never overcome. The Nightwatch fall to 0-2 on the season.
The Nightwatch looked promising in the first quarter with some tight play but was unable to sustain it throughout all four quarters in the loss. The team also looked out-of-synch at times and not the fluid play they had at the end of the 2016 season.
The Nightwatch will host the Jacksonville Cannons next Sunday at noon.
I’m not really a fan of the move to Hunter Lane High School in North Nashville. The field is awful and the home side must deal with looking directly into the sun until the sun sets. We ended up moving over to the shade on the visitors side. It also seems a lot further away from downtown. Last years’ Overton High School location was better but still too close to the interstate. Let’s just say that I am glad I didn’t get season tickets.
Also, I was totally not a fan of the announcer and the music. The music was almost unbearable and a terrible selection to play. The Mario Brothers and Simpsons sound effects are totally outdated and would do better to calm it down. Honestly, I almost left before the game even started because of the annoying loudness of the music.
My observation after the first home game is that much improvement is needed on and off the field.
The Nashville Nightwatch will be back for the 2017 season in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The Nightwatch will open their third season at Jacksonville then opens at home two weeks later against Atlanta. The defending AUDL champions, Dallas Roughnecks, will come to Nashville on April 29th. Here is the complete schedule (home games in bold):
April 1 – at Jacksonville
April 15 – Atlanta
April 23 – Jacksonville
April 29 – Dallas
May 6 – at Dallas
May 7 – at Austin
May 13 – at Atlanta
June 3 – Austin
June 10 – at Raleigh
June 18 – Raleigh
July 1 – Austin
July 8 – Raleigh
July 14 – at Atlanta
July 15 – at Jacksonville
The Nightwatch finished 3-11 last season to exceed their win total from 2015. They closed out the season with an impressive 30-26 win over the Jacksonville Cannons. They scored a franchise-high with 30 goals in the game.
If you have not attended a Nightwatch game and live in the Nashville area, please mark your calendar and at least try one game. The sport is very exciting to watch and usually lots of scoring. This could be a break-out year for the team.