Pro Hockey News

Sunday, May 31, 2015

NASL: RailHawks Down Armada FC, 4-0

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Carolina RailHawks four first-half goals propelled them to a 4-0 victory Saturday night, spoiling the Armada's first-ever sell-out at Community First Park (8,573 fans), snapping their perfect home record and ending their slim hopes of a North American Soccer League Spring Season title.

Now, their path to the league playoffs hinges on either winning the Fall Season or finishing with one of the top-two best overall records among the rest of the field.

But that seems a long way off now. With two games remaining before the summer break - including one against the likely Spring Season Champions New York Cosmos - the focus is just to stop leaking goals after consecutive losses of 3-2, 3-0 and 4-0.

Against Carolina, three of those goals came in an eight-minute stretch near the end of the first half, when the Armada were pushing ahead for an equalizer.

"When we started losing 1-0 we went into a little bit of a desperate mode trying to recover," said head coach Guillermo Hoyos. "They caught us unguarded."

A mid-week loss in the U.S. Open Cup could have left Jacksonville a bit below full strength, and they were also without injured star striker Alhassane Keita, but the RailHawks were in the same boat having also played Wednesday and with co-leading scorer Nacho Novo on the bench.

The Armada will take the field next on Sunday, June 7, hosting the Ottawa Fury at 4 p.m. Tickets, starting at $10, are available by calling 1.844.2.Armada or visiting

Saturday, May 30, 2015

NASL: Armada FC Returns Home to Host Carolina RailHawks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  The Jacksonville Armada FC will return home tonight after a long road swing to host the Carolina RailHawks at 7:30 p.m. ET at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The match will be presented by Brumos Automotive.

The Armada FC, currently fourth in the NASL Spring Standings and still alive in the race, should be happy to return to Jacksonville, a place they have not lost in the regular season with wins over FC Edmonton, 2014 NASL Champions San Antonio Scorpions and Indy Eleven. It is Jacksonville's first home match since May 9.

The RailHawks, currently fifth in the NASL Spring Standings, are playing their second-straight league match in Florida after a 1-0 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers last Saturday at Lockhart Stadium.

NBA: Magic Name Scott Skiles Head Coach

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic have named Scott Skiles head coach, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.  Skiles becomes the 12th head coach in franchise history.

Skiles, 51, has an overall NBA regular season record of 443-433 (.506) as head coach with Phoenix, Chicago and Milwaukee.  During his 13 seasons as a head coach, his teams have reached the NBA Playoffs six times.

“Scott (Skiles) clearly distinguished himself as a tremendous fit,” said Hennigan. “Our young roster will benefit greatly from Scott’s extensive head coaching experience and commitment to teaching smart, physical, unselfish basketball. We believe in Scott’s ability to establish a culture of winning habits and accountability that will help guide our team in a positive direction.”

“As we began our search, our internal discussions centered on finding a head coach with a solid resume of NBA head coaching experience, great  leadership qualities, a motivating communication style,  and someone with a strong strategic acumen,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “We feel Scott (Skiles) brings a balanced approach in all those qualities and we look forward, with great confidence, to him leading our young men in helping us reach our collective goal of sustainable success.”

Skiles’ coaching career began in 1996-97 when he served as head coach of PAOK in Greece.  He was hired as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns in 1997 and served in that capacity for two-plus seasons, before taking over for Danny Ainge 20 games into the 1999-2000 campaign.  Skiles guided the Suns to a 40-22 mark the remainder of the season and his team went on to upset the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs during the first round of the 2000 NBA Playoffs.  In 2000-01, he guided the Suns to a 51-31 record and again reached the postseason.

On November 28, 2003, Skiles was hired as head coach of the Chicago Bulls, inheriting a 4-12 team. Following that, he went on to guide the Bulls to three consecutive .500-or-better seasons (an average of 45.7 wins per season) and three straight playoff appearances, which ended a six-year postseason drought for Chicago. The Bulls won 49 games in 2006-07, their most since 1997-98, and swept the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat, 4-0, during the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs.

On April 21, 2008, Skiles was named head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.  In 2008-09, he led the Bucks to an eight-game improvement, then in 2009-10, Milwaukee improved by 12 games, posting a 46-36 mark and earned a playoff berth.

As a player, Skiles appeared in 600 career NBA games (371 starts) during ten seasons with Milwaukee, Indiana, Orlando, Washington and Philadelphia, averaging 11.1 ppg., 6.5 apg. and 2.5 rpg. in 28.0 minpg.  He also shot .889 (1,548-1,741) from the free throw line during his career, which ranks as the eighth-best in NBA history.  Skiles was originally selected by Milwaukee in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1986 NBA Draft.

Skiles was an original member of the Magic and played in 384 games (285 starts) during five seasons with Orlando from 1989-94.  He averaged 12.9 ppg., 7.2 apg. and 2.9 rpg. in 31.1 minpg., while shooting .380 (384-1,010) from three-point range and .892 (1,176-1,319) from the free throw line with the Magic.  On December 30, 1990 vs. Denver, Skiles set a team-record and NBA single-game record when he dished out 30 assists.  His record still stands to this day.  He was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player following the 1990-91 campaign, when he averaged a career-high 17.2 ppg. and 8.4 apg.  Skiles still ranks among the Magic’s all-time leaders in assists (second, 2,776), free throws made (seventh, 1,176), free throws attempted (eighth, 1,319), minutes played (ninth, 11,940), three-pointers made (tenth, 384) and points scored (tenth, 4,996).

Skiles was an All-American at Michigan State University under legendary coach Jud Heathcote. He left as MSU’s all-time leading scorer when he graduated in 1986 (2,145 points, currently ranked 3rd), has had his No. 4 jersey retired, and was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in September of 2007.

A native of Plymouth, Ind., Skiles was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on March 25, 2009, and had his No. 22 jersey retired at Plymouth High School (Indiana) in 1992.  As a senior (1981-82), he scored 39 points in the state finals to lead Plymouth to the 1982 Indiana State Championship.  Skiles is married to his wife, Kim.  He has two sons, Scott and Sean, and one daughter, Shelby.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Strong Defensive Showing From Richmond Stifles Armada FC, 3-0

RICHMOND, Va.  - Despite facing opportune moments to take control of their match on Wednesday night, the Jacksonville Armada FC had a tough time overcoming the stingy defense of the Richmond Kickers and fell 3-0 in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Richmond City Stadium.

In its inaugural U.S. Open Cup competition, Jacksonville seemingly got off to a strong start as it held the possession advantage early. But the Armada FC soon ran into what could be described as a brick wall for the Kickers, holding Jacksonville to zero shots on goal in the first half. Richmond converted its strong defensive showing into offensive output and benefitted from three key mistakes by the Armada FC.

After a tussle with Armada FC defender Shawn Nicklaw deep in Jacksonville's corner, Richmond's Owusu Sekyere earned a corner kick and launched it to Brian Ownby, who smashed it home in the 20th minute.

In the 38th minute, Kickers forward Jason Yeisley lifted a pass at midfield and created a three-on-one breakaway. Instead of passing it off, he fired it past Gallardo from the right side 14 yards out in the 38th minute.

Shortly after the start of the second half, Richmond's George Davis IV was awarded a penalty kick after being tripped up in the box in the 49th minute. He took full advantage of the opportunity and slid the attempt by a diving Gallardo to give the Kickers a 3-0 lead.

The Armada FC's best scoring chance came in the 84th minute when forward Akeil Barrett and midfielder Jaime Castrillon fired two consecutive shots off the post deep in the box. Richmond goalkeeper Ryan Taylor finally pounced on the ball to stifle the attack.

Barrett led the Armada FC with three shots, while Gallardo faced 11 shots from the Kickers and recorded four saves.

Richmond will now move on to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup, hosting Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew SC on June 17.

Jacksonville will return to North American Soccer League action at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday when it hosts the Carolina RailHawks at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Match tickets, starting at $10, and parking, starting at $5, can be purchased by calling 1.844.2.Armada or visiting

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Collects Second Victory All-Time at Rickwood Classic, Adams 5-for-5 in Victory

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Jacksonville Suns (18-27) topped the Birmingham Barons (21-25) 8-2 in the 20th annual Rickwood Classic Wednesday afternoon from Rickwood Field.

Suns starter Kendry Flores (W, 3-3) earned the victory tossing six innings allowing two runs (all earned) on four hits while walking two and striking out three. Myles Jaye (L, 2-3) generated four and two-thirds frames surrendering five runs (three earned) on seven hits while walking one and striking out a solo batter in his start for the Barons.

The scoring would begin in the top of the second, after a two-out single by David Adams set the table for Terrance Dayleg’s RBI double leaping the Suns out to a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third the Barons tied the score at one. Adrian Nieto blasted a lead off double, and subsequently moved to third after a wild pitch from Flores. Next batter Jeremy Farrell, cashed in with a RBI sacrifice fly to knot the score through three innings at Rickwood Field.

In the first of the fifth inning the Suns created separation on the scoreboard. First Danny Black, in his first game back in Jacksonville in 2015, lined a RBI single to put the Suns in front 2-1. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Kenny Wilson reached courtesy of a fielding error by Barons third baseman Jeremy Farrell, that scored Black and Sharif Othman to make the tally 4-1. Now two runners on for Austin Nola, he would provide a productive groundout to shortstop that brought home Othman and completed the five-run rally, setting the score at 5-1.

To the bottom of fifth and Birmingham tacked on a run after Nieto’s (HR, 3) solo blast crept the Barons to within three runs, now trailing 5-2.

In the eighth, against Barons reliever Kyle Hansen, Matt Juengel (HR, 5) delivered a solo home run over the left field wall to swell the Suns edge to 6-2.

Flashing to the first of the eighth frame Danny Black added a pair of runs on one swing courtesy of his two-run single that put Jacksonville in front 8-2.

Out of the Suns bullpen Brian Ellington worked a pair of scoreless frames while relinquishing two hits. Juancito Martinez hurled a scoreless ninth in his double-A debut.

The Suns and Barons will shift their series to Regions Field for game two with a first pitch set for 8:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out righty Jake Esch (3-3, 2.83 ERA) while the Barons will counter with right-hander Mark Blackmar (0-3, 4.30 ERA).

Monday, May 25, 2015

COLLEGE BASEBALL: UF, FSU, Miami Selected to Host NCAA Baseball Regionals

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee announced 16 regional sites for the 69th annual NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. Florida State University was selected as a regional host for the 32nd time in school history. The four-team regional will begin on Friday, May 29 on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.

The 16 regional sites, with host institutions and records are as follows: Baton Rouge, Louisiana - LSU (48-10); Champaign, Illinois – Illinois (47-8-1); College Station, Texas – Texas A&M (45-11); Coral Gables, Florida – Miami (Fla.) (44-14); Dallas, Texas – Dallas Baptist (43-13); Fort Worth, Texas – TCU (43-11); Fullerton, California – Cal State Fullerton (34-22); Gainesville, Florida – Florida (43-16); Houston, Texas – Houston (42-18); Lake Elsinore, California – UC Santa Barbara (40-15-1); Los Angeles, California – UCLA (42-14); Louisville, Kentucky - Louisville (43-16); Nashville, Tennessee - Vanderbilt (42-18); Springfield, Missouri – Missouri State (45-10); Stillwater, Oklahoma – Oklahoma State (37-18); Tallahassee, Florida - Florida State (41-19).

By virtue of being awarded a regional, all 16 host institutions have also been selected to the 64-team field. Each regional field features four teams, playing in a double-elimination format. 

All 16 regionals will be played from Friday, May 29 to Monday, June 1.

Three institutions are hosting for the 20th time or more as Florida State leads the list of schools with 32, Miami (Florida) with 26 and LSU with 23. Florida is hosting for the 13th time, while Cal State Fullerton and Oklahoma State are hosting for the 12th time since the NCAA went to the regional format in 1975.

Texas A&M is hosting for the 10th time, while UCLA is hosting a regional for the sixth time. Hosting for the fifth time include Louisville, TCU and Vanderbilt, with Houston hosting for the third time.

Rounding out the list and hosting for the first time are Dallas Baptist, Illinois, Missouri State and UC Santa Barbara.

The regional hosted by UC Santa Barbara will be played at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore, California. Eight institutions [Florida, Florida State, LSU, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma State, TCU and Vanderbilt] also hosted in 2014.

There are 31 Division I conferences which will receive an automatic berth in the field of 64, along with 33 at-large selections. The 69th Men’s College World Series begins play Saturday, June 13, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska.

Regional tournament passes begin at $55 for reserved seats and $40 for general admission seats. Individual game tickets will go on-sale beginning Friday, May 29. Individual game prices are $18 for reserved (if available) and $12 for adult general admission and $8 for youth general admission (ages 5-18). Children aged 4 and under are free with a paying adult.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ninth-Inning Homer Carries No. 7 Florida Over No. 1 LSU, 2-1, Into SEC Tourney Final

HOOVER, Ala. – Freshman Mike Rivera snapped a 1-1 tie with a leadoff homer in the ninth inning as fourth-seeded Florida (43-16) defeated top-seeded and top-ranked LSU (48-11), 2-1, on Saturday afternoon in the second semifinal of the 2015 SEC Tournament.

 In halting the Tigers’ 13-game SEC Tournament winning streak, the Gators will face second-seeded Vanderbilt (42-18) tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN2 seeking their seventh SEC Tournament crown.

After Florida tied the game at a run apiece in the eighth on an RBI double by freshman JJ Schwarz (2-for-4) that scored senior Josh Tobias, junior right-hander Taylor Lewis (6-1) came through with a shutdown inning. Rivera stepped to the plate in the ninth and launched a 1-2 offering from sophomore righty Jesse Stallings (1-2) to left field for his third round-tripper of the season. Lewis went back out for the home part of the inning and set down the Tigers 1-2-3 to complete a 4.1-inning stint in which he permitted one hit and zero runs to the 14 batters he faced.

In the first inning, Florida mounted a two-out rally but was unable to score, as junior Richie Martin walked and stole second base, Tobias was hit by a pitch and sophomore Peter Alonso earned a free pass from Alex Lange, the SEC’s Freshman of the Year. However, the righty had Schwarz fly out to left field.

LSU broke the ice in the second inning on a two-out RBI single by senior Jared Foster. Senior Kade Scivicque (2-for-4) opened the frame by doubling down the left-field line against freshman starter Alex Faedo and junior Andrew Stevenson (2-for-4) singled through the left side for runners on the corners with none out. Faedo responded by having both junior Chris Chinea and senior Chris Sciambra pop up to Martin before Foster sliced a base-knock into left field to plate Scivicque. Faedo escaped further trouble with a strikeout of junior Mark Laird.

Sophomore Jake Fraley reached on an error by Martin to start the Tigers’ third and stole second base before Faedo had junior Alex Bregman fly out. The right-hander picked Fraley off of second base and yielded back-to-back singles to senior Conner Hale (2-for-4) and Scivicque. Sophomore left-hander Kirby Snead replaced Faedo (2.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R) and stranded the runners by striking out Stevenson.
The Gators loaded the bases for the second time in the fourth inning but kept at bay by Lange. Alonso drew a leadoff walk and junior Harrison Bader (3-for-4) collected his second hit of the day with a single before being erased on a fielder’s choice by freshman Jeremy Vasquez. Rivera walked to fill the bags and Lange struck out freshman Dalton Guthrie.

LSU had a pair of runners aboard and two down in the fifth, when Lewis was summoned from the bullpen for Snead. The righty had a grounder by Scivicque force Hale at second base to keep the Gators down a run.

Vasquez began Florida’s seventh with a single into right field and moved to second on a wild pitch when Rivera struck out. After Guthrie walked, Lange countered with consecutive strikeouts of sophomore Buddy Reed and Martin.

Schwarz tied the game in the eighth with a double to bring home Tobias. Freshman Zac Person replaced Lange (7.0 IP, 5 H, 6 BB, 7 K) at the start of the frame and surrendered a single to Tobias and a walk to Alonso before freshman Hunter Newman was called upon. Schwarz belted a double off the wall in left field but the Tigers were able to turn a double play by throwing out Alonso at third base and Schwarz at second base on the play.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Villarreal to Depart Armada FC at End of NASL Spring Season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (May 22, 2015) - José Luis Villarreal, who was named as the first coach of the Jacksonville Armada FC in June 2014, and has served as co-head coach for the team since January, will leave the Armada at the end of the current North American Soccer League spring season for family reasons, and to pursue a number of other coaching opportunities in his home country of Argentina.

Guillermo Hoyos will assume full head coaching responsibilities for the Armada FC going forward.

Armada FC General Manager, Dario Sala, commented on the amicable, and mutually-agreed departure, saying: "José's work in establishing our first roster and preparing our team alongside Guillermo to get ready for the inaugural season in the NASL was greatly appreciated and instrumental to our early success. This was a very difficult decision for Jose to make, but has been made in his, and his family's best interests. We want to thank José for everything he has done for the Armada, and wish him and his family all the very best for the future."

Friday, May 22, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Falls Short to Mississippi in 10th

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (15-25) used a three-run ninth inning rally to tie the score but fell short in extras to the Mississippi Braves (22-18) 8-7 Thursday night from Bragan Field.

Francisco Rondon (W, 2-0) earned the victory in relief for Mississippi in one inning of work allowing three runs (none earned) on two hits while walking a batter and striking out one. Sean Donatello (L, 0-2) took the loss out of the bullpen for the Suns generating two innings allowing five runs (three earned) on five hits while walking a pair of batters.

The scoring would begin in the bottom of the first when the Suns had runners on the corners with nobody out courtesy of a Carlos Lopez lead off double, and Kenny Wilson reaching on an error by the first baseman Kevin Aherns. Next batter Austin Nola, would scratch across the first run on a double play ball giving Jacksonville a 1-0 lead through one frame.

In the third the Braves tied the score after Mallex Smith worked a two-out walk to then move into scoring position after a Kendry Flores throwing error. Next batter Corban Joesph brought him home on a run-scoring base hit.

In the last of the third Nola put the Suns on top via a RBI base hit plating Carlos Lopez who lead off the frame with a double. Jacksonville would lead 2-1 through three innings of play at Bragan Field.

The Suns lead would not last long, as in the top of the fifth Mallex Smith ripped a RBI double to score Matt Kennelly and knot up the contest at a 2-2 score.

The Braves broke the tie in the eighth frame after Smith reached first on a bunt single to then steal second and set up KD Kong for the go-ahead RBI single giving Mississippi the slim 3-2 advantage.

In the bottom of the eighth, against Braves reliever Bryton Trepagnier, Matt Juengel would ground into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded in a pinch hit appearance to end any further threat with the Suns still trailing by one.

In the ninth with the bases loaded Corban Joesph provided insurance for Mississippi off of Suns reliever Sean Donatello with a two RBI single to give the Braves 5-2 lead.

In the bottom half of the frame the Suns tied the score after generating the bases loaded. A fielding error by Braves centerfielder Mallex Smith, on a Ryan Rieger fly ball, cleared the bases and tied the score at five.

Moving to the 10th, Emerson Landoni put Mississippi back in front with a run-scoring single to put his squad up 6-5. The critical hit came from Eric Garcia in the same stanza when his two-run double gave the Braves the necessary insurance and a 8-5 lead.

Jacksonville would not go quietly in the bottom of the 10th after Nola’s two RBI double trimmed the deficit to a run in the 8-7 Jacksonville loss.

Suns starter Kendry Flores lasted seven innings allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits while walking two and striking out a pair of batters.

The Suns and Braves will continue their series Friday night with a first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET from Bragan Field. The Suns will send out right-hander Jake Esch (3-2, 2.55 ERA) while the Braves will counter with righty Tyrell Jenkins (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Fall in Series Finale to Shuckers 7-6

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Jacksonville Suns (15-24) had a comeback effort fall short in a 7-6 loss to the Biloxi Shuckers (24-16) Tuesday night from Joe Davis Stadium.

Jaye Chapman (W, 3-2) (BS, 1) while allowing a game tying grand slam to Ryan Rieger, earned the win tossing 1 and 1/3 innings surrendering one earned run on one hit while walking a batter and striking a solo man. Lay Batista (L, 0-1) took the loss in relief for Jacksonville, working in a pair of innings allowing one earned run on two hits, including the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth while walking two and not striking out a batter.

The scoring would begin in the bottom of the first when Biloxi put up a four spot in the frame. First a Nick Ramirez sac fly earned the Shuckers a 1-0 lead. Next batter Michael Reed, then followed that up with a two run double to left field to push the Suns deficit to 3-0. To finish the scoring Brandon Macias provided a RBI base knock to score Reed and set the tally at 4-0.

In the last of the third Nathan Orf bashed a two RBI triple that sent home Adam Weisenberger and Hobbs Johnson, to extend the Biloxi advantage to 6-0 through three innings at Joe Davis Stadium.

Jacksonville got on the board in the fourth after Zack Cox reached via a single to then be brought in courtesy of a David Adams (HR, 1) no-doubter over the left field wall bringing the Suns to within 6-2.

Against Shuckers reliever Jaye Chapman the Suns generated the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the eighth. A pair of walks to Cox and Adams followed by a single off the bat of Viosergy Rosa set the table for Ryan Rieger’s (HR, 1) grand slam home run to tie the score at six apiece in Huntsville.

Biloxi wouldn’t trail for long after Tyrone Taylor drove in Michael Reed from second on a run scoring single to put the Shuckers up 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth frame.

Suns starter Chipper Smith worked four innings surrendering six earned runs on 10 hits while walking one and striking out four. Craig Stem saw action out of the Suns bullpen tossing a scoreless fifth inning.

The Suns will head back home to start a five-game series against the Mississippi Braves Thursday night with a first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET from Bragan Field. The Suns will send out right-hander Kendry Flores (2-3, 2.06 ERA) while the Braves have yet to announce their starter.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Knock Philly from Unbeaten Ranks

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks defense stood tall on Saturday night, forcing several key stops throughout the course of the game, including a turnover on downs in the final minute to seal a 55-47 victory over the Philadelphia Soul on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Jacksonville (3-5) led by a 45-40 count when quarterback Tommy Grady fired a 28-yard touchdown strike to an open Prechae Rodriguez, putting the Sharks up by two scores. But Philadelphia (7-1) answered in just three plays, as Dan Raudabaugh connected with Shaun Kauleinamoku for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:26 left in the game. Nursing a five-point lead, the Sharks got a big boost courtesy of Joe Hills, who high-pointed Philadelphia’s ensuing onside kick, making a recovery that gave Jacksonville the ball with 58 seconds left.

But on the ensuing drive, Tommy Grady took a big loss on a sack, bringing the ball back to midfield for a third and 23 situation. After an incompletion, Julian Rauch took the field and drilled a 40-yard field goal, his second of the game, giving Jacksonville an eight-point lead with 31 ticks left.

Because of that field goal, Philadelphia could only tie after the got the ball back for one final drive. Needing a stop to seal the win, the Sharks defense stood tall, as tight coverage led to incompletions on first and second down. After a pass from Raudabaugh to Marco Thomas made it fourth and one, the Sharks covered well on fourth down, leading to an incompletion and a turnover on downs. The Jacksonville offense ran down the final 11 seconds to seal the team’s second straight victory.

That final defensive stop was the Sharks’ fifth of the game – and it was the first one that allowed Jacksonville to take an early advantage. After the two teams traded touchdowns to open the game, Joe Sykes’ sack of Raudabaugh keyed a turnover on downs on Philadelphia’s second possession. The short field led to Rauch’s first field goal of the game, a 28-yarder that put the Sharks on top by a 10-7 count.

The two teams exchanged two scores apiece in the second quarter, as Grady hit Hills from three yards out and then tossed a screen pass to offensive lineman Moqut Ruffins for a 12-yard touchdown with one minute remaining in the half, while Raudabaugh connected with Tommy Taggart and Thomas for Soul scores. The final minute of the first half featured a total of five drives and zero points, as the Sharks were unable to capitalize on an Xavier Brewer fumble recovery and a LaRoche Jackson interception. Rauch’s field goal attempt on the final play of the half missed wide right, as the Sharks headed to the locker room with a 24-20 advantage.

After that sloppy final minute of the second quarter, both offenses got hot after halftime, as each team scored touchdowns on their first four drives of the second half. The Sharks got the opening kickoff of the third quarter and took advantage, as Grady hit Rodriguez on a quick pass for an 11-yard touchdown as Jacksonville built its first two-score lead of the game, 31-20.

From there, the Soul stayed close thanks to Raudabaugh’s efficient play under center, but the Sharks answered every time. Derrick Ross took it in from six yards out with six minutes left in the third, while Hills made a one-handed catch down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown early in the fourth that gave Jacksonville a 45-33 advantage. Ryan McDaniel’s ensuing Soul touchdown catch set up the situation that unfolded over the final minute of the fourth.

For the Sharks, Grady went 18-of-35, throwing for a total of 187 yards and six touchdowns without an interception. Hills led the Sharks with nine receptions for 96 yards and two scores, while Rodriguez caught five passes for 63 yards en route to his two scores. On the ground, Ross carried the ball five times for 13 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, Sykes’ first-quarter sack extended his franchise-record streak to seven consecutive games with at least one quarterback takedown. Jackson led all players with nine total tackles, adding a forced fumble and an interception, while Greg Reid notched 8.5 tackles, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery. On special teams, Rauch’s 40-yarder was the longest regular-season field goal in franchise history.

For Philadelphia, Raudabaugh went 29-of-43 for 294 yards and seven touchdowns against one pick. Thomas and McDaniel each caught 11 passes, while Kauleinamoku added six catches for 84 yards and two scores. Kent Richardson led Philadelphia with 5.5 tackles and a pass breakup, while Curtis Young recorded the Soul’s lone sack.

Having now won three of its last four games, Jacksonville will look for another victory next Saturday night, as the Sharks travel to face the New Orleans VooDoo on May 23. Kickoff from Smoothie King Center in New Orleans is set for 8 p.m.

Friday, May 15, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Downed by Wahoos 5-2; Homestand Finale Tonight

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (14-19) dropped the series decider to the Penascola Blue Wahoos (14-20) 5-2 Thursday night from Bragan Field.

Daniel Wright (W, 1-4) worked six frames surrendering two runs (one earned) while walking a pair of batters and fanning five. Suns starter Chipper Smith (L, 2-1) lasted six innings allowing three earned runs on seven hits while walking a batter and striking out two. Kyle McMyne (S, 1) nailed down his first save of the year for Pensacola after tossing two scoreless innings allowing one hit while striking out two.

The scoring would begin in the bottom of the first when David Adams lined a RBI single to center sending home Kenny Wilson who lead off the frame with a double. A throwing error by Wahoos shortstop Zach Vincej, after a Ryan Rieger groundball, brought in Zack Cox to double up the Suns lead to 2-0 through one inning.

In the second frame Kyle Waldrop (HR, 5) blasted a solo home run, his second in as many days, to trim the Suns lead in half at 2-1.

Flashing ahead to the fifth Pensacola tied the score after a Zach Vincey walk, followed by a Daniel Wright sacrifice bunt, that set the table for Beau Amaral’s run-scoring single tying the score at two.

In the sixth Pensacola tacked on a solo run courtesy of Seth Mejias-Brean’s RBI single to take their first lead at 3-2 through six frames.

Onto the seventh and the Wahoos doubled up their advantage after Wright’s RBI base hit plated Vincey from second, to provide his squad with a 4-2 scoreboard advantage. Pensacola tacked on one more run with Suns reliever Craig Stem on the mound. An error by the Suns’ third-baseman Cox, on a groundball off the bat of Marquez Smith, scratched across a run creating a 5-2 deficit for Jacksonville through seven frames at Bragan Field.

Lay Batista churned out a pair of scoreless innings while striking out one in relief for Jacksonville.

The Suns and Blue Wahoos will square off once again on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. ET from Bragan Field. The Suns will send out right-hander Kendry Flores (2-3, 2.45 ERA) while the Wahoos will counter with lefty Wandy Peralta (2-3, 4.85 ERA).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Suns Dropped by Wahoos 5-1

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (14-18) were downed by the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (13-20) 5-1 in Wednesday afternoon’s contest from Bragan Field.

Robert Stephenson (W, 1-4) worked five innings allowing one unearned run on two hits while walking four and striking out four in his start for Pensacola. Suns starter Trevor Williams (L, 0-5) manufactured four innings surrendering five earned runs on eight hits while walking a batter and striking out three.

The scoring would begin for Pensacola in the top of the first when Ryan Wright’s one-out double set the table for Kyle Waldrop’s RBI single providing the Wahoos with 1-0 lead. A few batters later, former Sun Kyle Skipworth, laced a two-run double off the right centerfield wall leaping the Wahoos to a 3-0 advantage.

Moving to the top of the third, Ryan Wright would lead off the frame with a double, to then be driven in two batters later by Waldrop’s (HR, 4) two-run blast giving Pensacola a 5-0 lead.

The Suns got on the board in the third courtesy of a David Adams RBI groundout trimming the Wahoos lead to 5-1 through three innings at Bragan Field.

The Suns bullpen was active as Brian Ellington worked three scoreless innings while striking out five. Left-hander Greg Nappo tossed a scoreless frame while Craig Stem pitched a scoreless inning of his own in the ninth.

Suns pitching would retire 19 batters in a row going back to the final out of the third. Offensively Jacksonville left 10 men on-base while batting 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

The Suns and Blue Wahoos will square off once again on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. ET from Bragan Field. The Suns will send out left-hander Chipper Smith (2-0, 3.55 ERA) while the Wahoos will counter with righty Daniel Wright (0-4, 7.24 ERA).

SUNS: Jacksonville Leaves Nine on Base in Loss

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (14-17) were shutout in a 5-0 loss at the hands of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (12-20) Tuesday night from Bragan Field.

Tim Adleman (W, 1-3) lasted six scoreless innings allowing six hits while walking a batter and striking out two in his first win of the year for Pensacola. Suns starter Jake Esch (L, 3-2) tossed seven frames surrendering four earned runs on four hits while walking three and fanning four batters.

The scoring would begin in the top of the first, when Kyle Waldrop blasted a two-run triple into the right centerfield gap that drove home Beau Amaral and Jesse Winker to give the Wahoos a 2-0 lead. Next batter, Seth Mejias-Brean followed it up with a RBI groundout that extended the lead to 3-0 through one inning of play.

Flashing ahead to the sixth inning, Pensacola added a solo run on a sac fly from Mejias-Brean that scratched across Jesse Winker, extending the Wahoos scoreboard advantage to 4-0 through six frames at Bragan Field.

The eighth saw Waldrop provide his third RBI, this time on a run-scoring single to balloon the Pensacola lead to 5-0.

Casey McCarthy tossed a pair of innings in relief after entering in the eighth for Jacksonville, surrendering one earned run on two hits while not walking a batter and striking out three.

The Suns and Blue Wahoos will square off once again on Wednesday morning at 11:05 a.m. ET from Bragan Field. The Suns will send out right-hander Trevor Williams (0-4, 5.46 ERA) while the Wahoos will counter with righty Robert Stephenson (0-4, 6.85 ERA).

Wednesday is Celebration of Reading Day #2!  This 11:05am late morning game welcomes school kids from across the area for a day of baseball plus a special banner contest and no beer will be sold.

Monday, May 11, 2015

THE PLAYERS: Fowler Shuts Up Critics, Wins Playoff

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Rickie Fowler's second birdie in a playoff at the island green 17th Sunday gave him the title at The Players Championship.

Fowler, who was recently voted by his peers as one of the most overrated players on tour, played the final six holes of regulation in 6-under par to close out a 5-under 67. That run got him in the clubhouse first at 12-under- par 276.

Sergio Garcia (68) and Kevin Kisner (69) birdied the 16th and 17th to join Fowler at minus-12.

The trio returned to the 16th tee on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for a three-hole aggregate playoff. All three missed the fairway at the par-5 and laid up with their second shots.

After reaching the green in three, they all 2-putted for par. The group shifted to the 17th, where all three players hit the green with their tee shots.

Garcia putted from a similar spot than he did in regulation, but missed left. Kisner drained his birdie chance from just inside 10 feet, then Fowler answered from just over six feet out.

At the 18th, all three players hit the fairway off the tee. Garcia dropped his approach just over 15 feet from the hole, while Kisner and Fowler came up short. They both 2-putted for par from the fairway.

Garcia needed to make his birdie try to stay in the extra session, but failed to do so. He made par for a total of 12 in the playoff. Fowler and Kisner posted a score of 11 for the three holes, and they returned to the 17th.

Kisner's tee shot stopped 12 feet past the hole. Fowler then stuffed his tee ball inside five feet. Kisner missed his birdie putt on the left.

Fowler drained his putt for birdie and his second PGA Tour title.

"I've been waiting a long time for this. Back in the winner's circle," said Fowler at the trophy presentation. "That finish was pretty fun. I went up against two great guys in the playoff, obviously two great players.

"I was quite a ways out of it going to No. 12. That was the biggest turning point. I had an awkward lie in a fairway bunker at 14 and just tried to hit a shot and it worked out, and I made par. I really got moving from there."

Kisner lost a playoff for the second time in four PGA Tour events.

"You've got birdie holes coming in. Sixteen and 17 is just a sand-wedge today, so you've got a chance. Early in the round, I gave myself some chances, but didn't hole anything. I had a great day though," said Kisner, who lost to Jim Furyk in a playoff at the Heritage. "I don't think I was really looking back at that (Heritage loss), but the calmness I had all day I'm sure was from the experience I had. So, I probably relied on it without knowing."

Ben Martin bogeyed the last for a 70. Bill Haas had a chance to get into the extra session, but failed to birdie the last. He also closed with a 70. Martin and Haas shared fourth place at 11-under-par 277.

Rory Sabbatini (69) and Kevin Na (71) tied for sixth at minus-9, while world No. 1 Rory McIlroy closed with a 70 of his own to end in a share of eighth at 8-under-par 280.

Fowler, who teed off seven groups ahead of the leaders, was three back to start the day. He bogeyed the first, but erased that mistake with a birdie on the seventh. Fowler parred the other seven holes on the front side. He dropped another stroke at the 10th to dip to 6-under, where he trailed by five.

With Fowler well off the pace, there was plenty of drama on the front nine. Third-round leader Chris Kirk opened with a par to remain at 10-under. Martin and Kisner birdied the second, while Haas made birdie at No. 3 to create a 4- way tie atop the leaderboard.

Garcia birdied the fifth and there were five leaders. Kirk and Kisner bogeyed four and five to fall two behind the Spaniard. Garcia birdied the sixth for his fourth birdie in five holes to climb to 11-under, where he led by two. Martin closed the gap to one with a gain at 11.

Fowler moved into the mix at that point. After birdies at 13 and 15, he stuffed his second to the par-5 16th to two feet. He kicked in the eagle effort and was suddenly one back and tied for second.

A two-shot swing gave Fowler the lead. He birdied the 17th from seven feet out, while Garcia made bogey at 14 from the trees.

Fowler rolled in a 17-footer for birdie at 18 to post 12-under. He walked off the course two shots clear of the field, but there were seven groups left to finish. The 11 strokes Fowler needed to play the final four holes, set a new tournament record.

Garcia birdied the 16th to get within one. Haas and Martin did the same. At the 17th, Garcia poured in a 44-footer birdie and a share of the lead. He had a look at birdie on 18, but his putt missed on the right.

"I think it was a solid week. I putted nicely today, but the way I putted the first three days, to even have a chance was a big effort," Garcia admitted. "I felt like I played nicely. I thought I hit a nice putt there at 18, thought it was going to break a little bit more."

Kisner birdied 16 and 17 to forge a 3-way tie at 12-under.

Haas left his birdie putt on the lip at 17, then missed another birdie try at the last to end one back. Martin birdied the 17th for his third straight gain, but a drive into the trees at 18 led to a closing bogey, which left him one shot short of the playoff.

NOTES: Fowler, who's other tour win was at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship, earned $1.8 million for the victory ... Garcia is the first player to post five top-5 finishes since this event moved to the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass ... This was the fifth playoff in event history, and first since 2011 ... Last year's winner Martin Kaymer stumbled to a 4-over 76 and dropped into a tie for 56th at even-par 288 ... Two-time winner Tiger Woods had his round derailed by a triple-bogey at 14. He closed with an even-par 72 to end at plus-3 for the week ... J.B. Holmes will defend his title next week as the tour moves to North Carolina for the Wells Fargo Championship.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Hold Off Gladiators, 46-43

CLEVELAND -- Facing the defending American Conference champions on Saturday night, the Jacksonville Sharks ( 2-5  OVERALL, 1-4   CONFERENCE) forced four turnovers, built a three-score lead in the third quarter and withstood a late rally en route to a 46-43 victory over the Cleveland Gladiators at Quicken Loans Arena.

On offense, QB Tommy Grady completed 20 of his 31 pass attempts, throwing for a total of 191 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Ross set season highs with 13 carries for 54 yards, and in the process became the first player in AFL history to notch 2,500 career rushing yards. 

At receiver, Rodriguez caught eight passes for 75 yards and two scores, Joe Hills led the team with 10 receptions for 92 yards and added a touchdown, while Jones totaled two reception for 24 yards and a score.

Defensively, Smith led all players with 10 total tackles, while Xavier Brewer notched four solo tackles, broke up a pass and forced a fumble. 

Up front Sykes extended his streak to six consecutive games with a quarterback sack and forced his team-leading fourth fumble of the season. Jerry Turner recorded his first sack of the season as well.

For Cleveland, Austin went 21-of-32 for 288 yards and six touchdowns against three interceptions. Amarri Jackson led the Gladiators with nine catches for 135 yards and three touchdowns, while Dominick Goodman added seven receptions for 78 yards and a score.  Justin Hannah led the Gladiators with eight solo tackles.

The Sharks will return to Jacksonville and prepare to face the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday, May 16. Kickoff from Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game -- Jacksonville WR Prechae Rodriguez
Riddell Defensive Player of the Game -- Jacksonville JLB Alvin Ray Jackson
J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game -- Cleveland WR Amarri Jackson
Cutters Catch of the Game -- Cleveland WR Collin Taylor's 24-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the fourth quarter
AFL Highlight of the Game -- Cleveland WR Dominick Goodman's over-the-wall two-point conversion reception with 7:36 remaining in the fourth quarter

NASL: First Shutout In Club History Catapults Armada FC Into Second Place

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An hour after the Jacksonville Armada FC's 1-0 win over Indy Eleven, the grounds crew peeled back the two-week-old sod that covered the infield of a baseball diamond, officially signifying the end of the club's first homestand.

And you couldn't call it anything other than a resounding success.

For the second week in a row, the Armada FC played and won in front of more than 8,000 fans at Community First Park, this time thanks to a headed goal by midfielder Bochy Hoyos in the 50th minute that gave the team its first win streak and put an end to Indy's nine-game unbeaten run that stretched back to last season.

After two losses on the road, these two wins have been an immense confidence boost, and the North American Soccer League's newest team now stands in second place (3W-0D-2L, nine points).

"The first few games we felt maybe a little unlucky, but they say you make your own luck," said defender Matt Bahner, who assisted on Hoyos' goal. "We wanted to turn things around, and this home stretch we thought was a great time for that. The game last week was really a breakthrough for us."

The Armada FC will take their winning streak on the road next week, traveling to face the Atlanta Silverbacks next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

NFL NOTEBOOK: Jaguars rookie Fowler tears ACL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- No. 3 overall draft pick Dante Fowler, Jr. tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the first day of practice at the Jacksonville Jaguars rookie minicamp.

The Jaguars confirmed the severity of the injury, which was initially reported by ESPN, on Friday. Fowler will undergo surgery in the coming weeks and is expected to miss the entire 2015 season.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end went down during a drill when his left leg buckled as he rushed the passer. He was helped off the field by trainers.

Fowler was drafted third overall last week after racking up 14 1/2 sacks in three seasons at Florida.

Dolphins sign entire draft class
The Miami Dolphins have signed wide receiver DeVante Parker, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, offensive lineman Jamil Douglas, cornerback Bobby McCain, running back Jay Ajayi, safety Cedric Thompson and cornerback Tony Lippett.

Parker, the 14th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Louisville, played in 42 career games with 18 starts while with the Cardinals and recorded 156 receptions for 2,775 yards and 33 touchdowns. His 33 touchdowns tied a school record and he earned second-team All-ACC honors as a senior in 2014 despite playing in only six games.

Phillips was Miami's second-round selection (52nd overall) in last weekend's draft. He played in 28 career games with 17 starts at Oklahoma and recorded 57 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Jacksonville Opens NCAA Tournament Against UMass

The Jacksonville University women’s lacrosse team heads to the University of Maryland campus, where they will take on UMass in the opening round of the NCAA tournament at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex at 4 p.m. on Friday.

The Dolphins earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year after defeating Detroit, 15-5 in the Atlantic Sun tournament. Along with the win, Jacksonville landed five players on the All-Tournament Team, including Kristin Ridenour, Ashtyn Hiron, Asia Moore, Danielle Della Rocca and Brittney Orashen who was named tournament MVP. 

The team leads the nation in ground balls with 24.58 a contest and a scoring margin at +8.95, The Dolphins rank third with 10.26 caused turnovers per game and second averaging 8.0 assists a contest.  Jacksonville is fourth in the country in draw controls with 15.47. Danielle Della Rocca ranks ninth in points, while Asia Moore has a country-wide eighth best goals against average. The Dolphins have only allowed 133 goals this season, but net an average of 15.95 goals per game giving them a third-place ranking in the nation.

In the Minutewomen’s last outing, they defeated Richmond 8-4 to clinch the Atlantic 10 championship, which gave them an automatic berth into the tournament.  This is their seventh-straight conference championship, and eighth NCAA appearance. Last season, UMass dropped a 10-4 decision against #12 Loyola Maryland.

Currently, the Minutewomen lead the country with a top scoring defense, as well as leading in caused turnovers, saves, and win percentage.  Goalie, Rachel Vallarelli leads the nation in goals against average and save percentage.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gators Hire Michael White as Head Men’s Basketball Coach

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida has hired Michael White as head men’s basketball coach, director of athletics Jeremy Foley announced on Thursday.

White, the 2014-15 Conference USA Coach of the Year, comes to the Gators after leading Louisiana Tech to a 101-40 record (.716) over the past four seasons, including three straight conference championships. Born in Dunedin, Fla., White brings a wealth of SEC experience to the Gators, as a four-year starter at Ole Miss and later an assistant coach for seven seasons under two different head coaches on the Rebels’ bench.

“I have an incredible amount of respect for the University of Florida, and I am so excited to be a Gator,” White said. “Not only is Florida home for me, but the tradition and success that the Gators have built make this an incredible opportunity. I know about the great home court advantage in the O’Connell Center, which is a testament to the fans and the Rowdy Reptiles. There’s an unbelievable commitment to excellence athletically and academically at UF, and it starts with the leadership of Dr. Fuchs and Jeremy Foley. I look forward to returning to the SEC where I have a lot of great memories, and I can’t wait to create many more alongside The Gator Nation.”

White has agreed in principle to a six-year deal at an average of $2 million per year.

“Michael White is someone who came to the top of our list very quickly and he checks all of the boxes we were looking for,” Foley said. “He is a winner who has a high level of integrity, plays an up-tempo style of play and has the respect of his peers and the basketball community. He has experience in coaching, recruiting and playing in the Southeastern Conference and has a strong pedigree. He has a certain authenticity with people and is not afraid of challenges.”

“Coach White brings with him a distinguished career and an extraordinary record of success,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “I have no doubt he will uphold high standards on and off the court, and am delighted to welcome him to the Gator Nation.”

Robustelli and Thomas Headed to NFL Rookie Camps

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Former Jacksonville University standouts Andrew Robustelli and Schon Thomas are off to begin the next stage of their football careers this weekend. Both Robustelli and Thomas have been invited to attend NFL rookie camps this weekend with Robustelli heading to the New York Giants May 8-9 and Thomas off to the Denver Broncos May 8-10.

A wideout from Sarasota, Fla., Robustelli was a First Team All-Pioneer Football League selection each of the past two years. In 2014 he caught 39 passes for 660 yards and nine touchdowns. Robustelli first caught attention from scouts following a stellar junior campaign in which he was named to several all-american teams. Over the course of the breakout year he had 51 receptions for a school record 1,063 yards (20.8 yards per catch) and 11 receiving touchdowns. This past December he was named his team's Most Valuable Player at the FCS National Bowl.

Thomas, a defensive back from Fort Myers, Fla., was named honorable mention All-PFL this past season. He started all 11 games for a defensive secondary that led the nation in interceptions. He totaled 39 tackles (28 solo, 11 assists), had 4.5 tackles for losses and six passes defended with five breakups and one interception.

Thomas will not be the only former Dolphin with ties to the Denver Broncos organization. In March kicker/punter Karl Schmitz, signed a free agent deal with the team. He was a kick off specialist for Jacksonville in the 2008 season.

This marks the third straight season the Jacksonville University Football program has had a player draw interest from the NFL ranks. Last season kicker/punter Dylan Lynch was invited by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while defensive back/return specialist Colby Walden attended the Washington Redskins' rookie camp in May of 2013.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

JU Walks Away with Sweep of ASun Women's Weekly Honors

MACON, Ga. - Strong performances by Courtney Walker and Shanique Walker at the UCF helped Jacksonville sweep this week's Atlantic Sun Women's Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week awards, announced Wednesday by the conference office. 

Shanique posted top performances at the UCF Twilight last Thursday in Orlando, Fla. In the 400-meter hurdles, Shanique took first place with a time of 58.55 and now ranks 22nd in the East Region and is best in the A-Sun. 

The San Jose, Calif. native also placed third in the 100-meter hurdles, but was the top collegiate finisher for the event at 13.34. Despite missing her season-best by .03 seconds, Shanique still sits 16th in the East Region for the 100-meter hurdles. Shanique added a win in the 4x400 relay for Jacksonville with a time of 3:39.77.

Courtney joined Shanique on the winning 4x400 relay team that recorded an A-Sun best time at UCF. In addition to the relay, she took part in the long jump and 200-meter events at the UCF Twilight. The JU senior shined in the long jump with a personal best of 6.34 meters in her first attempt. 

She would go on to win the event with that jump, outjumping nine other competitors. Courtney currently ranks eighth in the East Region and 10th nationally in the event. The Jacksonville, Fla. native added a first-place finish in the 200-meter at 23.75.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Orange Park Team Captures State Title, Advances to Nationals at 2015 USTA Florida 55 & Over Tennis Championships

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The women’s team from Indian River/Manatee/St. Lucie counties (Stuart, Fla.) won the 3.5 level for the second year in a row, and squads from Broward (Weston), Duval (Orange Park) and Sarasota (City of Sarasota) counties were also winners over the weekend at the 2015 USTA Florida Adult 55 & Over 3.5/4.5 League 

Sectional Championships, held May 1-3 at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

The Marion County men (Hernando) at the 3.5 level came within a match of repeating as state champions, losing in the final to Duval County. The Broward women won the 4.5 level over Duval County (Jacksonville), and the Sarasota men stopped Pinellas County (St. Petersburg) in the men’s 4.5 final.
Teams consisting of three doubles lines competed in a non-elimination round-robin format. The winner of each flight/level was determined by team matches won, and for levels with multiple flights the winner of each flight advanced into a single-elimination semifinal followed by the final. NTRP levels of play were at the 3.5 and 4.5 levels. For more information on NTRP levels go
The men’s and women’s winning teams now advance to the USTA League Adult 55 & Over National Championships on Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2015 in Surprise, Ariz., at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Club.
Here are the championship results:
Women’s 3.5 Level
Final: Indian River/Manatee/St. Lucie counties (Buttonwood Tennis Club, Stuart) d. Volusia County (Victoria Commons, Deland) 2-1
Championship Match:No. 1 Doubles: Ida Burgos/Terri Bahr (Volusia) d. Sue Denault/Lynne Glasrud 7-5, 6-1
No. 2 Doubles: Sandra Watson/Sandra Rae (IR) d. Judy Snure/Nancy McLarnon 3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
No. 3 Doubles: Brenda Evans/Sandra Chapin (IR) d. Ria Voss/Susan Uhrig 6-4, 6-3
Indian River Season Roster: Brenda Evans (captain), Anna Haman, Carol Rozzi, Lynne Glasrud, Doris Popson, Jeri Hirsch, Sue Denault, Sandra Chapin, Sandra Rae, Sandra Watson
Women’s 4.5 Level
Final: Broward County (Weston Tennis Center) finished ahead of Duval County (Deerwood Country Club, Jacksonville) 4-0 to 3-1 in round robin play
Broward v. Duval RR Match:No. 1 Doubles: Cheryl Porter/Kelly Mulligan (Broward) d. Grace Costello/Janet Wells 6-4, 6-2
No. 2 Doubles: Hilary Landorf/Jodi Appelbaum-Steinbauer (Broward) d. Rebecca Sejeck/Patricia Livesay 7-5, 6-4
No. 3 Doubles: Sheri Adler/Rose Haney (Broward) d. Helen Ciesla/Maryse Hotchkiss 6-3, 6-1
Broward Season Roster: Rose Haney (captain), Hilary Landorf, Kelly Mulligan, Donna Ganz, Cheryl Porter, Sheri Adler, Debby Lichtner, Jodi Appelbaum-Steinbauer, Claire Lardner, Amanda Mejia
Men’s 3.5 Level
Final: Duval County (Eagle Harbor Tennis Park, Orange Park) d. Marion County (Citrus Hills Tennis Club, Hernando) 2-1
Championship Match:No. 1 Doubles: Jim Pinkerman/Joseph Kelly (Duval) d. William Baker/William Manley 6-2, 6-2
No. 2 Doubles: John Carpenter/Ron David (Marion) d. Richard Sulzer/B. Craig Price 4-6, 7-6, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
No. 3 Doubles: Brad Robinson/Steve Andersen (Duval) d. Louis DeMartino/Frank McStay 6-1, 6-2
Duval Season Roster: Jim Pinkerman (captain), Joseph Kelly, Herbert Quinones, Joseph Thomas, David Schilkofski, Steve Andersen, Glenn Nergard, Brad Robinson, James Lyon, Larry Hanks, Richard Sulzer, B. Craig Price
Men’s 4.5 Level
Final: Sarasota County (Palm-Aire Racquet Club, Sarasota) finished ahead of Pinellas County (St. Petersburg Tennis Center) 5-0 to 3-2 in round robin play
Sarasota v. Pinellas RR Match:No. 1 Doubles: Jeff Gartman/Edmund Sanford (Sarasota) d. Randall Meisner/William Christensen 6-2, 6-4
No. 2 Doubles: Marc Mazo/Vijay Paul (Pinellas) d. Dan McClure/Greg High 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
No. 3 Doubles: Ed Cunningham/Mark Anderson (Sarasota) d. Dale Alford/Grahame Bell 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
Sarasota Season Roster: Robert Taylor (captain), Ed Cunningham, Steven Carter, Edmund Sanford, Mark Anderson, Jeff Gartman, Richard Rosenberg, Dan McClure, Greg High, Walter Jones
1. Duval County (3) — 65 & Over W6.0, 55 & Over W4.0, 55 & Over M3.5
2T. Indian River/Manatee/St. Lucie counties (2) — 65 & Over W7.0, 55 & Over W3.5
2T. Pinellas County (2) — 65 & Over M8.0, W8.0
4T. Broward County (1) — 55 & Over W4.5
4T. Collier County (1) — 55 & Over W3.0
4T. Hillsborough County (1) — 55 & Over M4.0
4T. Lee/Chalotte counties (1) — 65 & Over M7.0
4T. Sarasota County (1) — 55 & Over M4.5
Next USTA Florida League Championship: May 15-17, 2015 Mixed 40 & Over League Sectional Championship

Monday, May 4, 2015

NASL: Keita Earns First Player of the Week Honor In Armada History

NEW YORK (May 4, 2015) - Jacksonville Armada FC forward Alhassane Keita has been named North American Soccer League (NASL) Player of the Week after scoring a dramatic game-winner in the team's 2-1 win over the San Antonio Scorpions at Community First Park on Saturday night.

Deep into second-half stoppage time, the Guinea international ran onto a pass from teammate Akeil Barrett and fired a perfectly placed shot into the far corner to send the 8,147 fans into a frenzy in Jacksonville.

"It was a very exciting moment to score that goal," Keita said. "Our team has been training hard, and it was amazing to see it pay off in that fashion. I am honored to win this award, but it is really a great testament to the hard work of my teammates."

Keita's second goal of the year helped the Armada snap a two-game losing streak and move into the top half of the NASL Spring Season standings. Jacksonville has now won both of its home games this year, and Keita has found the net in each victory.

"I always knew Keita had the ability to finish games like he did this weekend," said Armada FC general manager Dario Sala. "We brought him in because of his experience, and now we all have the pleasure of seeing his skill go to work just when the team needs him."

The 31-year-old veteran signed with the Armada prior to the season following a stint with Swiss side St. Gallen. Keita started his professional career in the Moroccan ranks before moving to FC Zurich in Switzerland. It was in Zurich where he would go onto be the top scorer in the country's first division. The Conakry, Guinea native eventually made his way to La Liga, featuring for well-known Spanish sides Mallorca and Real Valladolid.

The Armada FC return home to take on Indy Eleven at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1.844.2.Armada or going to

SUNS: Jacksonville Falls 14-13 in Walk Off Loss

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Jacksonville Suns (10-13) would fall victim to a 14-13 walk-off defeat at the hands of the Chattanooga Lookouts (12-11) thanks to Levi Michael’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth Sunday afternoon from AT&T Field.

Nick Burdi (W, 2-3) earned the victory for Chattanooga out of the bullpen although he would allow go-ahead run in the ninth. Sean Donatello (L, 0-1) (BS, 1) tried to nail down the save in the bottom of the ninth, but instead allowed the game-winning single to Levi Michael. Donatello would surrender two earned runs on three hits while walking two and not striking out a batter.

The Suns would get on the board first after David Adams ripped a RBI single to right field bringing home Viosergy Rosa to leap his squad in front 1-0 in the top of the second.

In the third Kenny Wilson (HR, 2) would push Jacksonville out to a 2-0 lead courtesy of his solo home run to center. The Suns were not done, tacking on one more run after Adams lined his second run-scoring base knock to extend the scoreboard advantage to 3-0.

Chattanooga got in the scoring column in the last of the third. First a fielding error by Suns first baseman Rosa on a Stuart Turner groundball, a Byron Buxton two-run triple, a Dalton Hicks RBI single, and Miguel Sano’s (HR, 5) second home run of the series, a two-run shot all helped manufacture the six run frame. Chattanooga would now posses a 6-3 lead through three innings at AT&T Field.

Jacksonville wouldn’t trail for long when the offense took front and center with two outs in the top of the fourth. With two men on, Matt Juengel would provide a RBI single to bring the Suns deficit to within two runs. Rosa then knotted the score at six, when he mashed a double that brought home a pair of baserunners. Adams finished off the frame putting the Suns back on top after mashing a two RBI double to create a 8-6 cushion over the Lookouts.

This seesaw affair continued with more offense in the bottom the fourth. First a Hicks run producing single brought the Lookouts to within a run. Next man to the plate D.J. Hicks would tie the score at eight apiece, via a sacrifice fly that plated Turner.

In the last of the seventh, facing Suns reliever Lay Batista, Adam Walker II (HR, 6) put Chattanooga back in front with a solo blast over the left field wall that gave his team a 9-8 lead.

The top of the eighth would see Jacksonville put together a four spot to take the lead. Rosa got it started with a RBI single that tied that tied the score at nine. Next batter Zack Cox provided an encore with a RBI single of his own to put the Suns up 10-9. Carlos Lopez manufactured the big blow when he ripped a two-run double to provide a pair of insurance runs and a 12-8 scoreboard advantage.

In the bottom of the frame Chattanooga would tie the score. First Michael’s two-run triple brought his team to within one then Sano’s sac fly bringing in Michael would bring the tally to 12-12 through eight innings.

In ninth the Suns would once again take the lead after Austin Nola’s sacrifice fly sent home Wilson from third after is one out triple. Jacksonville now would lead 13-12.

Chattanooga would rally working the bases loaded against Suns closer Sean Donatello, and Heiker Meneses would work a walk to knot up the scoring. Bases still full, Michael would end the game with his walk-off single that earned the Lookouts a 14-13 victory.

The Suns starter Chipper Smith lasted 4 and 1/3 innings allowing five earned runs on six hits while walking three and striking out five. Greg Peavey manufactured 3 and 2/3 frames surrendering seven earned on 10 hits while not walking a batter and striking out four.

The Suns and Lookouts will square off again Monday night in the series finale from AT&T Field with a first pitch slated for 7:15 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out right-hander Kendry Flores (1-3, 3.57ERA) while the Lookouts will throw righty D.J. Baxendale (2-0, 1.07 ERA).

Sunday, May 3, 2015

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Fall to Tampa Bay, 63-28

TAMPA, Fla. - Jacksonville gave up three touchdowns in the final 2:02 of the first half on Saturday night, and could not recover from that Tampa Bay Storm surge, as the Sharks fell by a 63-28 count at Amalie Arena.

The complexion of the game turned in the final minutes of the second quarter, following a touchdown pass from Tommy Grady to Joe Hills that put Jacksonville (1-5) ahead, 14-7. 

On the second play of the ensuing Tampa Bay (3-3) drive, T.T. Toliver got behind the Jacksonville defense, pulling in a 38-yard pass from Jason Boltus to tie the game at 14 with just over two minutes remaining in the half. 

The Sharks were unable to handle the ensuing kickoff, as the Storm’s Rick-J Hill recovered the loose ball in the end zone, giving Tampa Bay a 21-14 lead.

At that point, the Sharks still had a chance to stay in the game, as the offense had nearly a minute to work with before halftime and was set to get the ball to open the third quarter. 

But with 30 seconds remaining in the half, James Harrell intercepted a Grady pass and returned it into Shark territory. The Jacksonville defense made a stand, forcing Tampa Bay into a fourth and goal situation, but Boltus found Toliver on the final play of the first half to give the Storm a two-score lead at the break.

Beginning the third quarter with the football, Jacksonville had an opportunity to close the gap. But the Sharks were unable to convert in the red zone, as Tampa Bay flushed Grady from the pocket on fourth down, leading to a rushed throw that fell incomplete. The Storm took over and turned that stop into a score, as Boltus and Toliver connected for a third time, as the four-yard touchdown pass helped put Tampa Bay on top, 35-14.

For the Sharks, Grady completed 20 of his 36 pass attempts, throwing for 235 yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions. In a losing effort, Jones led Jacksonville with 122 yards and two scores on his eight receptions, extending his season-opening streak to six consecutive 100-yard games. Jeron Harvey totaled 10 catches for 104 yards, while Hills caught two passes for 17 yards before being ejected in the second quarter. On the ground, Derrick Ross carried the ball five times for 24 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Joe Sykes totaled two tackles for loss and a sack. Entering the game as the AFL leader in both categories, Sykes has now taken down the opposing quarterback in five straight games. Robinson totaled 5.5 tackles (five solo) in addition to his interception.

For Tampa Bay, Boltus went 22-of-41 for 240 yards and six touchdowns against one pick, adding three carries for two yards and a score. Toliver led Tampa Bay with nine receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown, while Ings, Julius Gregory and Jarvis Williams each caught one scoring pass. Alfred Phillips led all players with 6.5 tackles and added an interception, while Dexter Jackson recorded a sack for Tampa Bay.

The Sharks will head back out on the road next week, as the team travels to face the Cleveland Gladiators on Saturday, May 9. Kickoff from Quicken Loans Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Tampa Bay WR T.T. Toliver

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Tampa Bay DB James Harrell

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Tampa Bay DB James Harrell

Cutters Catch of the Game – Tampa Bay DB Alfred Phillips’ interception with 13:12 remaining in the second quarter

AFL Highlight of the Game – Tampa Bay DB Rick-J Hill’s net recovery touchdown with 1:00 remaining in the second quarter.