Pro Hockey News

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

GOLF NOTEBOOK: South Georgia Tournament Undergoes Some Changes

Jax Golf News

Probably will be some confusion about this fall's PGA Tour stop in Sea Island because of the corporate name change of the sponsor. 

It's still The McGladrey Classic, even though the financial services company will be renamed RSM by that time (Nov. 19-22) and the tournament will be rebranded the RSM Classic.

We all probably can live with that because it's generally called the “Sea Island Tournament” anyway.

A few comments about the event:

• It has the best field of the pack of events which now make the PGA Tour a year-round affair, rather than shutting down from October until January.

Tournament founder Davis Love III cashes a lot of chips out there, plus he would have a strong field if he only invited Sea Island residents (Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, etc.)

• They'll use both the Seaside and Plantation courses for the first two rounds, which makes for a much better fan and player experience. No more dawn-to-dusk.

• Not many spectators, so it has the feel of the old GJO days. Hard work by the staff is obvious; they have numerous sponsors, enough at least to get almost a million bucks last year for charity.

• It's too bad that such a good tournament on such wonderful courses is relegated to football season but that's the price of admission to get on the PGA Tour. I'm not sure anyone (other than the players, who like all the $5 million-plus purses) really likes it, but there's nothing that can be done. Too many tournaments, not enough weeks.

• Moving it a month back to mid-November is a big deal for those of us around here because it now is well away from the Web.Com final here at the TPC's Valley course, which will be in early October. Neither tournament is cluttered with all sorts of tents, both provide very close viewing to the players.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

GOLF NOTES: 115th US Open - Gone and, let's hope, forgotten


Gone and, let's hope, forgotten. The 115th U.S. Open was a debacle, from its
$17 million cost overrun to its three-putt ending, with unwatchable television and bad spectator sightlines in between.

You have to go back to 1970, when a prominent USGA member pulled the strings to get the event at his home course in Minnesota — Hazeltine, the “cow pasture” — to find such a mess. 

But this couldn't have been backscratching: Chambers Bay is a muny, owned by the county. Any other ownership and it would have smacked of FIFA-like payouts.

The course was hokey, and every aerial shot showed exactly that. It looked as if it had been dropped in from space. The surrounding land looked nothing like the golf course. 

It was contrived, and it was an insult to every golfer who treasures the traditions of the game.

It was also in awful shape. I can't speak to growing seasons in the Pacific Northwest, but obviously it isn't June. 

It was torturous to watch putts skitter back and forth as they bounced along. The fairways were so hard that they literally felt like walking on a cart path.

The television coverage was weird, too. Does it take a dozen or so people to analyze anything, other than perhaps a nuclear treaty? 

The hosts were okay and Fox finally figured that out, as we got mostly Joe Buck and Greg Norman on Sunday. 

The rest was just noise, starting with ill-informed Tom Weiskopf and finishing with hottie Holly Sonders, whose questioning had all the impact of a halftime airhead talking to Nick Saban.

There's an old U.S.Open saw: it's the same for everyone. 

No, it isn't. 

It may be the same for the players, and that's their problem, but those of us who invest our time (most of us, watching on TV) and money 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

CWS: Virginia Edges No. 4 Florida, 5-4, To Advance To Finals

OMAHA, Neb. – A bases-loaded sacrifice fly by senior Kenny Towns snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning and brought home freshman Ernie Clement with what proved to be the winning run as Virginia (42-23) defeated No. 4 Florida (52-18), 5-4, on Saturday night at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. 

With the victory, the Cavaliers advance to the best-of-three CWS Finals, where they will face defending national champion Vanderbilt in a rematch of last season’s title series.

Junior Josh Sborz (6-2) provided four innings of scoreless relief to collect the win, Towns drove in three runs and sophomore Matt Thaiss was 2-for-3 with two runs and a homer. Leading the Gators offensively, junior Harrison Bader was 4-for-5 with a solo homer and sophomore Peter Alonso cranked a two-run shot in the second inning that was longest in the stadium’s existence.

Thaiss had given the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out homer to right field off of sophomore righty Dane Dunning. It was his 10th round-tripper of the season.

Alonso provided Florida with a 2-1 advantage in the second inning with a monstrous two-run blast to straightaway center field after freshman JJ Schwarz had drawn a leadoff walk from junior left-hander Brandon Waddell. Alonso’s fifth homer of the year was the longest in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha history at 429 feet, surpassing the 421-foot shot that he delivered against Miami on Wednesday.

The Gators put their first two runners aboard in the third but were held at bay. Sophomore Ryan Larson opened the frame with a base-hit into right field and Bader followed by smashing a hard single into left field. Waddell struck out junior Richie Martin and Bader was thrown out trying to swipe second before senior Josh Tobias earned a free pass for runners on the corners. With two down, Waddell had Schwarz fly out to right center field.

Virginia knotted the game at 2-2 in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by junior Joe McCarthy. Freshman Pavin Smith had a one-out triple to center field and junior Robbie Coman drew a walk before McCarthy’s fly ball into center brought home Smith with the tying run.

Bader put the Gators back on top, 3-2, with his 17th homer of the campaign, a one-out dinger to left center in the fifth. It was his second big fly of the CWS and his team-leading fifth jack of the postseason.

In the bottom of the inning, the Cavaliers used a two-out rally and a two-run double down the left-field line by Towns to grab a 4-3 advantage. A single with two down by sophomore Daniel Pinero (2-for-3) brought sophomore southpaw Kirby Snead in for Dunning (4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R). Thaiss roped a single into right center to push Pinero to third base and Towns helped UVa regain the lead with a two-bagger to left field.

Florida answered in the sixth for a 4-4 score on a game-tying RBI single by freshman Mike Rivera (2-for-4). Schwarz started things off with a single into center field, bringing Sborz in from the bullpen for Waddell (5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K). Alonso earned a walk and a grounder by sophomore Buddy Reed gave the Gators a couple of runners in scoring position. After Rivera singled into right center to bring home Schwarz and move Alonso to third base, Sborz struck out freshman Dalton Guthrie and had Larson ground out to keep the contest tied.

After junior Taylor Lewis (6-2) retired the side in order in the sixth, Bader collected his third hit of the night to start the seventh and stole second with two down. However, Sborz struck out Schwarz to complete the frame.

Virginia took a 5-4 advantage in the seventh on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Towns. Clement had led off with a single into left field and Haseley drew a four-pitch walk before Pinero laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance his teammates. Thaiss was walked intentionally to load the bases with one down and Towns’ fly into right field scored Clement with the go-ahead run. It was the first run surrendered by Lewis since April 19 at Mississippi State. Junior Danny Young came in for Lewis (1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R) and had Smith ground out to hold the deficit at a run.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Southside Tennis Complex in City of Jacksonville Receives National USTA Facility Award

Jacksonville, Fla., was one of 13 winners in the 34th annual USTA (United States Tennis Association) Facility Awards Program, which recognizes excellence in the construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country.

Representatives from the Southside Tennis Complex will be honored at the USTA Semi-annual Meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Sept. 6, 2015.

“Tennis is a big here in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, as evident by the strong support for Team USA in their Davis Cup tie against Brazil in 2013,” said Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. “The sport’s popularity is also bolstered by the more than 10,000 players who play at the Southside Tennis Complex every year. I am proud of the players and staff at Southside and congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition.”

The City of Jacksonville’s Southside Tennis Complex is home to approximately 10,000 tennis players each year. Approximately 20 teams per year participate in USTA-sanctioned leagues, comprised of approximately 1,000 players participating on USTA League teams.

“Congratulations to our Parks Department, Coach Thomas, his staff and the many players and volunteers that contribute to the success of Southside Tennis every day, on receipt of this prestigious award,” said City Council Vice President-Elect Lori Boyer. “USTA recognized what we have known for many years — this facility, and the people who work and play there, are truly outstanding.”

Tennis professional Harrell Thomas has served as the lead pro at Southside Tennis Complex for 29 years. During his time at the facility, he has established a citywide junior tennis program open to children regardless of financial abilities. Coach Thomas is a member of the USTA, Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and the USTA National Junior Tennis League. For the past three years, Southside Tennis Complex has been home to a 65-and-over 6.0 team that has won sectionals in each of those years and finished third in the nation in 2014-15.

“Great tennis facilities like the Southside Tennis Complex help us to grow the game at the grass-roots level, and we are proud to recognize them for their ongoing impact on the sport of tennis,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “The Southside Tennis Complex has embraced many of our tennis initiatives and kept the sport at the forefront of their community each year.”

To be considered for an award, facilities must be under the jurisdiction of a parks and recreation department, an educational institution, a non-profit corporation, or be a private or commercially owned and operated facility that offer both USTA and public programming designed to help grow tennis. All 2015 award winners receive a wall plaque and an all-weather sign to be mounted at the facility, and a one-year complimentary membership as a USTA member organization.

Suns Fall Short in 3-2 Loss to Lookouts

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Jacksonville Suns (29-38) mustered up a mini two-run rally in the ninth but fell short 3-2 to the Chattanooga Lookouts (41-25) Friday night from AT&T Field.

Alex Wimmers (W, 5-1) twirled a gem in his start for Chattanooga lasting seven scoreless frames allowing three hits while walking two and striking out a career-high 11 batters. 

Suns starter Austin Brice (L, 2-6) worked four and two-thirds innings surrendering two runs (both earned) on four hits while walking five and striking out six. Madison Boer (S, 1) earned the save for the Lookouts in two innings of work relinquishing two runs (both earned) on three hits while not walking a batter and striking out one.

The scoring would begin in the bottom of the third for Chattanooga, after Niko Goodrum worked a lead off walk to then move down to second with a stolen base. Next batter Levi Michael then laced a RBI single to push his squad in front 1-0. After a Michael stolen base, Jorge Polanco ripped a run scoring single to double up the Lookouts advantage to 2-0 through three innings of play.

In the fifth, Chattanooga would load the bases after a pair of walks and a hit by pitch offered up by Suns starter Brice. Raudel Lazo now out of the bullpen for Jacksonville, would strike out Mike Gonzalez to strand the bases full of Lookouts.

Onto the seventh, and a walk to Austin Nola, and a single by Michael Morse put runners on the corners with one out for Jacksonville.  Matt Juengel with a chance to cash in would ground into an inning ending double play to work Lookouts right-handed starter Wimmers out of the jam.

Flashing to the bottom of the seventh Max Kepler’s RBI triple, subsequent to a Miguel Sano double, moved the Lookouts in front 3-0 through seven innings of play. For Kepler it was his fifth triple against Jacksonville in this their eighth meeting of 2015.

In the ninth the Suns got a single from Chadd Krist then a RBI triple from Ryan Rieger to make it a 3-1 game. Next batter Austin Nola would arch a sacrifice fly to bring Jacksonville to within a 3-2 deficit.

Raudel Lazo generated two and one third frames out of the bullpen for the Suns surrendering a solo run (earned) on two hits while walking one and striking out two. Fabian Williamson entered in the eighth and hurled a scoreless frame for Jacksonville.

Major league rehabbing Michael Morse finished the ballgame 2-for-3 at the plate with a strikeout.

The Suns and Lookouts will square off once again Saturday night from AT&T Field with a first pitch slated for 7:15 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out righty Trevor Williams (3-7, 4.27 ERA) while the Lookouts will counter with right-hander Jose Berrios (7-3, 3.09 ERA).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Cruises Past Lookouts 8-4

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Jacksonville Suns (29-36) generated an eight-run seventh to help top the Chattanooga Lookouts (39-25) 8-4 Wednesday night from AT&T Field.

Blake Logan (W, 3-1) twirled a scoreless and hitless one and two-thirds innings while not walking a batter and striking out two out of the bullpen for Jacksonville. 

Nick Burdi (BS, 2) (L, 3-4) did not retire a Sun allowing five runs (all earned) on three hits while walking two and not striking out a batter in the loss for Chattanooga.

Suns starter Matt Tomshaw lasted five and one-third innings allowing surrendering three runs (all earned) on seven hits while walking one and striking out four in a no decision. 

Out of the bullpen Craig Stem worked a scoreless eighth for Jacksonville. Juancito Martinez hurled a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation for the Suns.

The Suns and Lookouts will square off once again Thursday night from AT&T Field with a first pitch slated for 7:15 p.m. ET. 

The Suns will send out righty Jake Esch (5-3, 2.71 ERA) while the Lookouts will counter with left-hander David Hurlbut (2-2, 5.14 ERA).

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

AFL: SaberCats hang on to No. 1 spot for fifth straight week

LAS VEGAS – The three-time defending ArenaBowl champions are within striking distance of the top spot in the AFL Media Poll, as the Arizona Rattlers (9-2) leapfrogged the Philadelphia Soul (10-2) to move up to No. 2 in this week’s voting.

The Rattlers picked up three first place votes after manhandling the Portland Thunder (3-8), 69-42, on the road for their fifth straight win in Week 12. J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week, AJ Cruz, stole the show, scoring touchdowns as a runner, receiver, and return man, in addition to starting at Jack linebacker. Arizona hosts the South Division-leading Orlando Predators (7-5) – who came in at No. 4 in this week’s Media Poll – Saturday night on CBS Sports Network. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.

The San Jose SaberCats (11-1) maintained the No. 1 spot in the AFL Media Poll for the fifth consecutive week, despite suffering a shocking overtime defeat at the hands of the LA KISS (2-9) in Week 12. The SaberCats will look to get back on track and once again become the unanimous No. 1 in the Poll in Week 13, when they travel to Las Vegas in hopes of completing a season sweep of the 4-7 Outlaws. Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m. ET Sunday on ESPN3.

A 42-45 loss to the Orlando Predators in Week 12 dropped the Philadelphia Soul from second to third in the latest AFL Media Poll. Orlando, meanwhile, moved back up one spot to No. 4 in this week’s Poll after reclaiming the South Division lead with the win. While the Predators head to Phoenix for a matchup with the Arizona Rattlers, the Soul will look to get back on track when they travel across the country to square off with the LA KISS for the first time ever. Kickoff is set for 11:00 p.m. ET Saturday night on ESPN2.

The Cleveland Gladiators (7-5) snuck back into the Top 5 of the latest AFL Media Poll following a 51-34 thumping of the New Orleans VooDoo (2-10) last week. Cleveland will host the Tampa Bay Storm (5-6) in the third and final regular season meeting between the two clubs this season. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET Friday night on ESPN3.

The AFL Media Poll consists of voters from television, radio, and newspaper outlets who regularly cover the League in their respective markets, along with national personalities from ESPN and CBS Sports, who provide game and studio commentary about the Arena Football League.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks' Joe Hills Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week

LAS VEGAS – Jacksonville Sharks wide receiver Joe Hills has been awarded Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week, while LA KISS defensive back Rayshaun Kizer has been awarded Riddell Defensive Player of the Week, and Arizona Rattlers Jack linebacker AJ Cruz has been awarded J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week for Week 12 of the 2015 Arena Football League season.

In addition to these awards, the AFL is also awarding the Cutters Catch of the Week and AFL Highlight of the Week. The Cutters Catch of the Week has been awarded to Tampa Bay Storm wide receiver Julius Gregory, while the AFL Highlight of the Week has been awarded to LA KISS wide receiver DeMarco Sampson.

Hills (6-5, 215, Tennessee State) tied the Jacksonville Sharks’ franchise record for receiving touchdowns in a game with six in the team’s 56-63 loss to the Tampa Bay Storm in Week 12. He has caught a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games, the longest active streak in Arena Football and fourth-longest streak in League history. Hills leads the Sharks with 28 receiving touchdowns this season.

Kizer (5-10, 195, Walsh) led the KISS with nine tackles and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, in LA’s 48-42 overtime win against the San Jose SaberCats in Week 12. The four-time All-Arena defensive back has recorded multiple interceptions and a pick-six in back-to-back games, becoming LA’s single-season and career leader in interceptions with four to his name. Kizer also became just the third player in AFL history to record at least 60 career interceptions, raising his personal total to 61 and moving into third place in League history with 11 career pick-sixes.

Cruz (5-9, 195, Brown) put his versatility on full display in Week 12, recording a tackle and pass breakup on defense to go along with touchdowns as a runner, receiver, and returner in Arizona’s 69-42 victory over the Portland Thunder. The former Ivy Leaguer has rushed for a touchdown in each of the last two games and leads the League with an average of 24.8 yards per kickoff return this season.

Gregory (6-4, 225, Shaw) found himself in the No. 2 spot of ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays by flipping over the wall in the back corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown in Tampa Bay’s 63-56 victory over the Jacksonville Sharks in Week 12. The rookie receiver finished the game with a team-high nine receptions for 89 yards and three touchdowns. He will receive a Cutters hat and shirt in recognition of the catch.

Sampson (6-3, 200, San Diego State) hauled in the game-winning touchdown pass in LA’s 48-42 overtime upset of the previously undefeated San Jose SaberCats in Week 12. From 16 yards out, KISS quarterback Danny Southwick found Sampson in the back of the end zone and the rookie wideout made an acrobatic play to drag his toe near the end line while being pushed out of bounds by a defender. Sampson, who has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games, finished Week 12 with eight catches for 106 yards and a score.

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Week candidates included: Cleveland’s Dominick Goodman, Las Vegas’ Sean Brackett, Orlando’s Bernard Morris, Portland’s Jared Perry, and San Jose’s Jeremy Kelley.

Riddell Defensive Player of the Week candidates included: Arizona’s Jeremy Kellem, Las Vegas’ Eddie Moten, New Orleans’ Cortez Stubbs, Orlando’s Rod Issac, and Tampa Bay’s Al Phillips.

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Week candidates included: LA’s Laron Scott, New Orleans’ Charles McClain, Orlando’s Brandon Thompkins, Spokane’s Anthony Amos, and Tampa Bay’s Kendrick Ings.

The Arena Football League is also awarding the MVP of the Week, where fans are given the opportunity to select the winner. Candidates include Cleveland Gladiators wide receiver Dominick Goodman, Las Vegas Outlaws defensive back Eddie Moten, and Tampa Bay Storm defensive back Al Phillips.

Fans will have 24 hours to vote on beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 17. The winner will be announced on Thursday, June 18.

Monday, June 15, 2015

GOLF NOTES: Future of Private Clubs

Jax Golf News

Gerry James is a frequent competitor in North Florida Chapter events and you may know him as a Senior long-drive champion, but what you don't know is that he once was a professional wrestler. 

Wearing the bad guy's mask, he toured Europe with Andre the Giant.

• A lot of guys thought they had a chance to succeed Tim Finchem as PGA Tour commissioner and one was David Pillsbury, who headed the TPC club division. 

He didn't make the cut (Jay Monahan is the chosen one) so he's now with a company in the health care industry.

• Monahan must be secure in his future: he's torn down a Ponte Vedra home and a new one is under construction.

• Add another good golf name to Northeast Florida. We've had Craig Shankland around for quite a while; now we have Ryan Parr. He's head pro at The Palencia Club in St. Augustine.

• Yes, the PGA is going back to Kiawah Island but there's some good news, too. The only road in and out will be expanded by tournament time in 2021. 

The timeline of South Carolina road expansions often change from announcement to completion but this promise comes from the folks who represent the Goodwin family, which bought the resort in 2013. 

• Recently visited with a consultant from a company that advises private clubs and he says the worst may be yet to come … for some. 

Only what he terms the “A-list” private clubs have had the resources to keep their infrastructure in reasonable shape since the financial downturn which started around 2006. 

The others deferred maintenance: the B list is at risk, but should be able to play catch-up, but the C-list — you know who you are — is in danger because they haven't had the money to keep their facilities in shape.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

NASL: Comeback Earns Armada FC 3-3 Draw With Cosmos

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - As the Jacksonville Armada FC wrapped up their inaugural North American Soccer League Spring Season on Saturday evening at James M. Shuart Stadium, they gave Spring Season champions New York Cosmos all they could handle in a 3-3 draw.

Even after falling behind 2-0 in the first half and again 3-2 in the 86th minute, the Armada FC (3W-3D-4L, 12 points) showed they were not intimidated by the flash of a storied Cosmos club stocked with legendary names. 

Haitian forward Pascal Millien, who is expected to get the call up to play for his country for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, played a part in all three Armada FC goals, scoring the first two and assisting on the third. He became the first player in club history to score multiple goals in one game.

Although New York ended up clinching the spring title with the draw, Jacksonville did what it came to do: show the league they could go toe-to-toe with its top team. The Armada FC scored the most goals of any team against the Cosmos this season, and it was the most allowed by New York since a 5-4 loss to Carolina on Sept. 20, 2014.

Jemal Johnson also returned to a place he called home for nearly two seasons and shined, posing a threat for most of the match and getting the assist on Jacksonville's first goal of the night.

Although New York (5W-5D-0L, 20 points) came into the match with a seemingly insurmountable goal differential advantage over the second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies, that did not stop the Cosmos from conducting business as usual with their high-pressure attack.

Raul hit a picture-perfect long volley in the 6th minute that caught Armada FC goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo off guard, first going over his head, then hitting the crossbar and deflecting straight off Gallardo's foot and into the goal.

The Cosmos did not let up with the pressure and upped their lead to 2-0 when Hagop Chirishian banged it home in the 26th minute with an assist from Daniel Szetela.

With a two-goal deficit on the road against a talented Cosmos squad, Millien lifted his team to a furious comeback.  He ended the Armada FC's 335-minute scoreless streak when he found the upper left back of the net in the 59th minute on a feed from Johnson and cut New York's lead to 2-1.

Millien scored again in the 73rd minute when he fired a laser past Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer from 13-yards out to knot the match at two apiece.

New York struck again in the 86th minute when Lucky Mkosana was sent a through-ball from 79th minute sub David Diosa and slid the ball past a diving Gallardo.

Then 69th minute sub Joseph Toby, who seemed like the unlikeliest of scorers because of his sparing use this season and defensive mentality, sent the Armada FC bench into a frenzy when he blasted the ball past an outstretched Maurer in the 89th minute off an assist from Millien.

Jacksonville ended the Spring Season in sixth place on the table and will start the fall on a two-game undefeated streak.

The Armada FC will return to action after a week off at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 27 at EverBank Field when they host world-renowned Argentinian side Boca Juniors. Tickets, starting at $14, are on sale now by calling 1.844.2.Armada or visiting

Saturday, June 13, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Blanks Smokies 2-0

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (28-33) used an efficient one-hit performance achieved by four different pitchers to defeat the Tennessee Smokies (32-29) 2-0 Friday night from Bragan Field.

Jake Esch (W, 5-3) in his start for Jacksonville worked six scoreless innings allowing only a solo hit while walking one and striking out six in a winning decision. 

Smokies starter Frank Batista (L, 6-2) hurled seven frames surrendering two runs (both earned) on a pair of walks and four strikeouts. Steve Cishek (S, 2) collected his second save with Jacksonville after providing a perfect ninth inning that was accompanied with a strikeout.

In this pitcher’s duel, the scoring would begin in the bottom of sixth, after Viosergy Rosa worked a lead off walk, to then get driven in by Matt Juengel’s RBI triple to leap the Suns in front 1-0. 

Next batter Terrance Dayleg, subsequently grounded a RBI infield single to shortstop that sent home Juengel and doubled up Jacksonville’s lead to 2-0 through six innings of play.

Out of the bullpen for the Suns Frankie Reed tossed a scoreless seventh inning while Craig Stem provided a perfect 1-2-3 eighth.

The Suns and Smokies will continue their series Saturday afternoon from Bragan Field with a first pitch slated for 12:05 p.m. ET. 

The Suns will send out righty Austin Brice (2-4, 6.57 ERA) while the Smokies will counter with right-hander Ivan Pineyro (4-3, 3.61 ERA). 

Armada FC Announces International Friendly Match Against Argentinian Club Boca Juniors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.  - The Jacksonville Armada FC will host their first-ever international friendly match at EverBank Field at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 27 against world-renowned Argentinian soccer club Boca Juniors.

"We are thrilled and excited to be able to announce this match with a team of Boca Juniors' caliber and history," said Armada FC owner and CEO Mark Frisch. "This will not only be a great opportunity for Jacksonville fans to see our Armada matched up against one of the best club teams in the world but also a significant opportunity for us to showcase our beautiful city to millions around the world through the television broadcast."

Tickets for the prestigious matchup, co-produced by Onside Entertainment, will start at $14 per seat and are available beginning today by contacting the Armada FC ticket office at 1-844-2-Armada and on the Armada FC website at

The Armada FC have a strong Argentinian connection with Boca in head coach Guillermo Hoyos, who played for Boca Juniors from 1986-1989. With six Argentinian players on the Armada squad - Marcos Flores, Bochy Hoyos, Fabricio Ortiz, Lucas Rodriguez, Lucas Scaglia and Lucas Trejo - the friendly international presents an ideal fit for the Armada's mid-season international matchup.

The teams will use the match as a warm-up to the second half of their current seasons in the Argentinian Primera League and NASL, which both begin in July.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Four Suns Named S.L. All-Star Game Starters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Southern League announced that four Jacksonville Suns have been named to the league’s South Division starting lineup for the 2015 Southern League All-Star Game on Tuesday June 23 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Suns have more starters than any other South Division club, with Matt Juengel, Zack Cox, Sharif Othman, and Jake Esch all a part of South Division (and Suns) manager David Berg’s lineup.

Juengel will bat seventh and will be the designated hitter for the South Division. Juengel has led Jacksonville in power hitting all season, and he is currently hitting .277 with 10 homers and 33 RBI in 55 games played for the Suns. 

His 10 homers are tied for fourth-most in the league, and he also averages a home run every 20.0 at-bats, which is fourth best in the Southern League. Juengel was named on Monday as the Southern League Player of the Week for June 1-7. 

Over that week Juengel hit .391 (9-for-23) with six extra-base hits, 21 total bases, three doubles, three home runs and seven runs batted in. He also led the league with a .913 slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.353, and the six extra-base hits and three homers were also best in the Southern League. 

This is the second All-Star selection of Juengel’s career, after he was a 2014 Florida State League Midseason All-Star during his time with the Jupiter Hammerheads. Juengel was selected by the Marlins in the 24th round of the 2012 draft out of Texas A&M.

Cox will bat eighth and play at third base for the South Division. Cox, who previously played with the Suns in 2012 and 2013, came back to Jacksonville this season and has consistently had one of the Southern League’s best batting averages. 

Cox is currently hitting .312, which is seventh-best in the league, to go along with his three home runs and 11 RBI. Cox also has the fifth-best on-base percentage at .400. While this is his first All-Star selection, Cox was a 2010 Arizona Fall League Rising Star selection. 

Cox, originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 2010 draft out of Arkansas, was acquired by the Marlins in a trade with the Cardinals in 2012.

Othman will round out the lineup by batting ninth and catching for the South Division. Othman has been the primary catcher all season for the Suns, and in 42 games is hitting .294 with a homer and 16 RBI. This is the first All-Star selection of Othman’s career. Othman was selected by the Marlins in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft out of California Baptist University.

And the starting pitcher for the South Division All-Stars will be Suns right-hander Jake Esch. Esch is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 starts for Jacksonville this year in his first season pitching at the Double-A level. This is the first All-Star selection of Esch’s career. Esch was selected by the Marlins in the 11th round of the 2011 draft out of Georgia Tech.

Additionally, Jacksonville’s David Adams was replaced on the All-Star roster by Pensacola second baseman Ryan Wright, and Suns pitcher Kendry Flores, currently in the majors with the Miami Marlins, was replaced by Biloxi’s Jorge Lopez.

The 2015 All-Star Game will be played on June 23 at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Montgomery Biscuits at 8:20 p.m. ET.

The Suns and Smokies will continue their series Friday night from Bragan Field with a first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out righty Jake Esch (4-3, 2.98 ERA) while the Smokies will counter with right-hander Frank Batista (6-1, 1.49 ERA).

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Suns Face 7-6 Walk Off Defeat to Wahoos

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (26-33) fell 7-6 in walk off fashion to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (23-35) Wednesday night from Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

The scoring would begin in the bottom of the second frame, after the bases were worked full by the Wahoos courtesy of a Juan Perez walk, and a pair of singles by Sean Buckley and Lou Marson, setting the table for Beau Amaral’s two RBI single. 

Two batters later, Jesse Winker looped a run-scoring single into center to move Pensacola’s advantage to 3-0.  Ray Chang continued the second inning rally with a two-run triple that provided the Wahoos with a 5-0 edge. Then a wild pitch from Lyman, scored Chang, and completed the six-run second for Pensacola. Suns would face a daunting 6-0 deficit through just two innings of play.

To the top of the fourth, and the Suns got on the board after one swing of the bat by Matt Juengel (HR, 10), who would send a two-run blast over the left field wall to trim the Suns deficit to 6-2. 

Against Wahoos reliever Carlos Gonzalez, Kenny Wilson would deposit a two RBI single in the same frame to bring Jacksonville to within a 6-4 deficit.

To the first of the seventh in the frame, Danny Black provided a one out single to then force Pensacola to go to Kevin Shackleford out of the bullpen. The righty Shackleford, then offered up a two out single to Kenny Wilson, who would go on to steal second. 

With runners at second and third, Carlos Lopez bounced a groundball to Wahoos third baseman Ray Chang, who threw it wide to first, to bring in a pair of runs to tie the game at six.

Moving to the top of the sixth, Juengel led off the frame with a double, that was followed by a pair of walks offered up by Wahoos starter Wright to load the bases with two outs.

In the bottom of the ninth with Suns reliever Blake Logan on the mound, Marquez Smith led off with a single to move down to second on a passed ball. After an intentional walk to Winker, Chang would lace a walk-off RBI double to defeat the Suns 7-6.

Suns starter Scott Lyman worked five innings allowing six runs (all earned) on eight hits while walking three and striking out a pair of batters. Chipper Smith entered in the sixth and worked a pair of scoreless innings in relief for the Suns.

The Suns will open up a five-game series with the Tennessee Smokies Thursday night from Bragan Field with a first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out lefty Matt Tomshaw (2-4, 3.00 ERA) while the Smokies have yet to announce their starter.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

AFL NOTEBOOK: Jacksonville Sharks Jump to No. 4 in AFL Power Rankings

CHICAGO – The Jacksonville Sharks (6-5) jumped up two spots to No. 4 in the latest AFL Power Rankings, the League office announced on Monday.

Jacksonville defeated the Orlando Predators (6-5), 66-51, to take the head-to-head point differential tiebreaker for the lead in the American Conference South Division in Week 11. Joe Sykes, who earned Riddell Defensive Player of the Game honors, set the single-season franchise record for sacks by recording his 14th of the season in the contest. 

Sykes is now just two sacks shy of his own AFL single-season record of 16, which he set in 2012. Sykes, who has gotten to the quarterback in 10 consecutive games, will have the opportunity to make history in front of a national audience again in Week 12, as the Sharks travel to Tampa Bay on Friday night for a matchup with the 4-6 Storm. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

The San Jose SaberCats (11-0) remain atop the latest AFL Power Rankings after securing their second consecutive Pacific Division championship in Week 11. The playoff-bound SaberCats defeated the Spokane Shock (3-7), 55-26, last weekend. San Jose will look to match its best start in franchise history as they go for 12 wins to start the season this Saturday against the LA KISS (1-9). Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3.

At 10-1, the No. 2-ranked Philadelphia Soul are off to their best start ever with no signs of slowing down after handing the New Orleans VooDoo (2-9) a 62-41 loss in Week 11. AFL MVP contender Dan Raudabaugh and the high-powered Soul offense will look to complete the season sweep of the Orlando Predators (6-5) this Saturday in Orlando. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN3.

The Arizona Rattlers (8-2) came in at No. 3 once again in the latest AFL Power Rankings after knocking off the Tampa Bay Storm (4-6), 69-46, in Week 11. The three-time defending ArenaBowl champions look to be firing on all cylinders after the return of Nick Davila, who passed for nine touchdowns in his first action since going down with an injury in Week 5. The Rattlers hit the road in Week 12 for a National Conference matchup with the Portland Thunder (3-7). Kickoff is set for 10:00 p.m. ET Friday night on ESPN3.

Finishing off the Top 5, the Cleveland Gladiators (6-5) got back in the win column on Sunday, besting the Las Vegas Outlaws (3-7) in the Gladiators’ first game back in Las Vegas since 2007. The defending American Conference champions will look to make it two in a row this weekend when they square off with the New Orleans VooDoo Friday night on ESPN3. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.

Monday, June 8, 2015

NASL: Armada FC Plays To Scoreless Draw With Ottawa

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With one team in a scoring drought and the other on a shutout streak, the Jacksonville Armada FC and Ottawa Fury FC produced just about what you'd expect on Sunday afternoon: a scoreless draw.

But it wasn't the kind of yawn-inducing, energy-sapping 0-0 game that every soccer fan dreads. Rather, this one featured shots from seemingly every angle and plenty of attacking play - just not the goal that the 7,586 fans at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville so desperately wanted.

It was the team's first clean sheet since May 9th and the 39th of Gallardo's career, a positive step ahead of next weekend's clash with the high-powered, league-leading New York Cosmos.

With just two points from their last four NASL games, the Armada will hope to finish the NASL Spring Season on a high note in that one, which kicks off Saturday at 7 p.m. in New York.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

AFL: Monster Second Half Leads Sharks Past Predators, 66-51

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sharks scored 50 second-half points on Saturday night, as the team erased a seven-point halftime deficit en route to a 66-51 victory over the Orlando Predators in front of 10,217 on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Jacksonville (6-5) turned the tide by forcing a pair of turnovers in the third quarter. With his team down by a 30-22 count Tommy Grady hit Jeron Harvey on a 10-yard touchdown pass to bring the Sharks within a point.

With their fifth straight win, the Sharks have now moved into first place in the South Division for the first time this season. Jacksonville currently owns the second tiebreaker over Orlando based on point differential in head-to-head games.

In the victory, Grady completed 26 of his 36 pass attempts for 275 yards and six touchdowns against two interceptions. After throwing both of those picks in the first half, Grady went 13-for-14 with five touchdown passes over the game's final two quarters. On the ground Derrick Ross carried the ball a season-high 15 times, totaling 32 yards and three touchdowns. 

At receiver, Tiger Jones recorded his ninth 100-yard game in 11 weeks, racking up 136 yards and three touchdowns on his 10 receptions. Joe Hills caught seven passes for 60 yards and two touchdowns, while Jeron Harvey added seven catches for 49 yards and a score.

 Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game -- Jacksonville WR Tiger Jones
 Riddell Defensive Player of the Game -- Jacksonville DL Joe Sykes
 J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game -- Orlando WR Brandon Thompkins
 Cutters Catch of the Game -- Jacksonville WR Tiger Jones' over-the-shoulder diving catch for a 27-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter
 AFL Highlight of the Game -- Jacksonville DL Joe Sykes' strip-sack in the third quarter, forcing a fumble recovered by DL Jerry Turner

Saturday, June 6, 2015

NASL: Tampa Bay, Minnesota Face Must-Win Matches In Week 10

NEW YORK - The North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season is heading down the final stretch, and depending on a pair of Week 10 results, the league could have its newest Spring Season Champion as early as Saturday night.

While the league-leading New York Cosmos are off this weekend, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and/or Minnesota United FC must win in order to delay the Cosmos' celebrations for at least one more week.

As part of a Saturday night slate that features four 7:30 p.m. ET kickoffs, United visits the Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park, while the Rowdies host FC Edmonton at Al Lang Stadium.

The Atlanta Silverbacks and Fort Lauderdale Strikers also play at home on Saturday night, with Jacksonville Armada FC hosting the league's lone Sunday match.

Here is a look at all of the Week 10 matchups:

Atlanta Silverbacks vs. San Antonio Scorpions
7: 30 p.m. ET | Saturday, June 6
Atlanta Silverbacks Park | Atlanta, Ga.
Watch | ESPN3 (National - U.S.), KSAT 12.2 MeTV (Local - San Antonio)

The Scorpions (2W-2D-4L, 8 points) have had their fair share of success against the Silverbacks in recent meetings. In fact, the Scorpions have won four in a row against Atlanta and forward Cesar Elizondo has scored in the last two. Both sides currently sit on eight points, but have a chance to jump several spots in the standings with a win. Good results in the next few weeks could help generate important momentum going into Fall Season play.

The Silverbacks (1-5-2, 8) recorded their lone win in league play on April 18, and will need to find the back of the net more regularly if they are hoping to add to the win column. Although it came in a loss, scoring twice against FC Edmonton could be a foreshadowing of better things to come in front of goal.

Carolina RailHawks vs. Minnesota United
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, June 6
WakeMed Soccer Park | Cary, N.C.
Watch | ESPN3 (National - U.S.), KSTC45-TV (Local - Minneapolis/St. Paul)

The RailHawks (3-4-2, 1) are brimming with confidence after going on the road two weekends in a row and securing wins both times. Carolina's most recent triumph came in a convincing 4-0 victory over Jacksonville Armada FC. The midfield has been the RailHawks' driving force in recent weeks, and they will need another big performance from that unit if they are to get a result against a solid Loons side.

Minnesota is coming off a draw that undoubtedly felt like a loss. As the team that controlled play for large stretches of the match against the first-place New York Cosmos, United (3-4-1, 13) looked destined for a win. That was until Spanish great Raúl netted a 90th-minute equalizer to rescue a point for New York. For the Loons, this Saturday's clash can be filed under the "must-win" category if they have any hopes of catching the Cosmos in the Spring Season standings. To make things even more difficult this weekend, Minnesota will be without Miguel Ibarra, who is on international duty with the U.S. men's national team.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Indy Eleven7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, June 6
Lockhart Stadium | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Watch | ESPN3 (National - U.S.)

Fort Lauderdale ended their goalscoring drought when Stefano Pinho notched his first Strikers (2-2-4, 8) goal just before halftime in a 2014 NASL Championship Final rematch against the Scorpions last week. A draw on the road should be a confidence booster for a side that lost its last two league matches.

After starting the Spring Season with a four-match unbeaten streak, Indy Eleven (1-4-3, 9) has trended in a negative direction. With the club currently in last place, head coach Juergen Sommer and assistant coach Paul Telfer were relieved of their coaching duties earlier this week. Assistant Tim Regan has taken over as the club's interim head coach, while midfielder Kleberson has taken on assistant coaching responsibilities while he recovers from an Achilles injury. Kyle Hyland's first professional goal in the 98th minute against the Rowdies last week should have brought some positivity to the team, but the players will need to step it up to ensure they start the Regan Era off on the right foot.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. FC Edmonton7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, June 6
Al Lang Stadium | St. Petersburg, Fla.
Watch | ESPN3 (National - U.S.), TSN Go (National - Canada), Great 38 (Local - Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg) 

Like United, the Rowdies (3-4-1, 13) are in a must-win situation to keep any shot at the Spring Season crown on the table, and the club will need to do so shorthanded. Maicon Santos, the club's leading scorer, Georgi Hristov, the league leader in assists, and defensive stalwart Stefan Antonijevic will all miss out after picking up red cards against Indy. Richard Menjivar will also be unavailable as he is away on international duty with El Salvador. 

The Eddies (2-3-3, 9) are coming off a hard-fought draw with their Canadian rivals, Ottawa Fury FC. While it was the first time Edmonton didn't score in a match, it was also their first clean sheet of the year. Goalkeeper John Smits has made a number of fantastic saves since returning to the starting lineup two weeks ago, and it's likely that he will get the starting nod once again against the Rowdies. It will also mark the last match of the Spring Season for Lance Laing, who will join the Jamaican national team in Chile for Copa América.

Jacksonville Armada FC vs. Ottawa Fury FC
4 p.m. ET | Sunday, June 7
Community First Park | Jacksonville, Fla.
Watch | ESPN3 (National - U.S.), TSN Go (National - Canada), (National - Canada/U.S.), CW17 (Local - Jacksonville), Rogers TV (Local - Ottawa)

It has been a rough few weeks for Armada FC, which lost its Spring Season Championship hopes after dropping its last two league matches. The expansion side, however, has a lot to be proud of in its inaugural campaign so far and will want to reverse the momentum in its final two matches. Sunday's home match against Ottawa gives them a good place to start. Armada FC (3-1-4, 10) will be looking to erase its memory from last week's 4-0 loss to the RailHawks. Jacksonville has been strong throughout the spring and the club will want to give its fans another thing to cheer about in its final home match before the Fall Season begins in July.

Ottawa (2-3-3, 9) is trending in the right direction as the Spring Season comes to a close. A win and a draw in its last two matches, by way of strong performances, will give Fury FC some confidence heading on the road. While dealing with some injury issues, Ottawa will still need to find someone to capitalize in front of goal. If they can do so, they will have a chance for another positive result, as the Armada FC have been no strangers to conceding multiple goals in a match. 

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks Return Home to Face Orlando

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After two consecutive road games, the Jacksonville Sharks return to their home turf this weekend, as the team hosts the Orlando Predators. Kickoff on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena is set for 7 p.m. tonight.

Jacksonville (5-5) enters this week just one game behind Orlando (6-4) in the South Division Standings, as each team has eight regular-season games remaining. 

This is the second of three matchups between the two teams, as the Predators topped the Sharks, 55-54, on Sea Best Field in Week 2. Jacksonville will head down to Orlando for the third matchup in Week 19.

The Sharks will take the field on Saturday as winners of four consecutive games, as Jacksonville extended its win streak with a 41-35 victory over the Los Angeles KISS this past Sunday. 

In that game, the Sharks raced out to a 21-0 lead, thanks in large part to Alvin Ray Jackson’s interception return for a touchdown on Los Angeles’ second snap. 

But the KISS battled back, as Los Angeles ultimately had possession of the ball in the final minute with a chance to win the game. The Sharks’ defense stood strong, as Greg Reid intercepted Danny Southwick as time expired to seal the victory.

 Tickets for “Pirates and Princesses Night” are still available, and may be purchased by visiting or calling 904-621-0700.

Friday, June 5, 2015

SUNS: Jacksonville Powers Two HR’s Against Snell, Suns Earn First Series Victory Since Early May

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (22-31) picked up their first series victory since early May after a 5-1 win over the Montgomery Biscuits (24-29) Thursday night from Bragan Field.

Trevor Williams (W, 2-6) manufactured his longest start of the year for the Suns lasting seven scoreless frames relinquishing seven hits while not walking a batter and striking out four in the win. Biscuits starter Blake Snell (L, 3-1) worked five innings surrendering four runs (all earned) on seven hits while walking four and striking out six in a losing decision.

The scoring would begin in the top of the third, after Kenny Wilson led off with a single, to then get knocked in by Carlos Lopez (HR, 1) who blasted his first double-A home run. With that hit, Lopez provided the first knock Biscuits’ starter Snell would offer up against a lefty in the Southern League, snapping a 0-for-38 stretch for left-handed batters against the Washington native. Suns now led 2-0 through three frames at Bragan Field.

To start off the last of the fourth Matt Juengel (HR, 8) blasted his second home run in as many days over the left field wall to put Jacksonville up 3-0. Still in the fourth, and after a pair of walks to David Adams and Chadd Krist, Kenny Wilson would rip a RBI double that extended the Suns advantage to 4-0.

In the bottom of the seventh, against Biscuits reliever Colton Reavis, Jacksonville had runners on the corners for Juengel who grounded a run-scoring single into left to create a cushion of 5-0.

To the eighth, with Suns reliever Frankie Reed on the mound, Montgomery got a pair of singles with Cameron Seitzer coming to the plate. Seitzer then arched a fly ball deep into left centerfield gap that was dropped by Juengel for an error, allowing a run to score and trim Jacksonville’s advantage to 5-1.

Frankie Reed saw action in the eighth relinquishing a pair of hits and an unearned run in relief for Jacksonville. Sean Donatello worked a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation for the Suns out of the bullpen.

The Suns and Biscuits will square off in the series finale Friday night from Bragan Field with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Suns will send out lefty Chipper Smith (2-1, 4.56 ERA) while the Biscuits will counter with right-hander Ryne Stanek (0-0, 4.05 ERA).

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dolphins Sweep A-Sun Student-Athlete of the Year Honors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A banner and well decorated season full of accomplishments continued on Wednesday night for the Jacksonville University Athletics Department. The Dolphins swept the Atlantic Sun Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year awards with Garrett Ruckel (baseball) and Sammie Strausbaugh (volleyball) receiving the league’s top honors. The awards were handed out in conjunction with the A-Sun Annual Spring Meetings Banquet.

Ruckel, who is also one of 18 finalist for the 2015 TD Ameritrade Fan’s Choice Award, is a recent a recent Magna cum Laude graduate and was Jacksonville University’s 2015 President’s Award winner for Outstanding Leadership. A member of the Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society as well he posted his best statistical year batting .324 with five doubles while posting a team-best on-base percentage of .442. Ruckel also notched a career-best nine RBI, scored 17 runs and struck out just four times in 71 at bats.

Off the field, the Jacksonville native and Stanton Prep product stays active in the community. He was the student-athlete representative on the JU Board of Trustee’s Athletic Committee, President of the Green Key Leadership Society awarded to the top one-percent of students and served on JU’s Presidential Leadership Advisory Council. Devout in his faith, Ruckel has served as President of Campus Outreach in Christian Ministry and is a Volunteer Leader of Northeast Florida Young Life for the last three years.

Strausbaugh graduated in three years with a perfect 4.0 GPA in exercise science. The 2014 A-Sun Player of the Year, she led the Dolphins to back-to-back A-Sun Championship titles and NCAA appearances in 2013 and 2014. In her three seasons with the Dolphins she was a 1000 kill and 1000 dig club member becoming the all-time kills leader in program history with 1366.

This year she was voted to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team while recording 20 or more kills in 10 matches and a double-double in 25 of 34 matches. Strausbaugh ranked 10th nationally with 567 kills, 17th nationally with 4.50 kills per set and 19th with 4.99 points per set while leading the A-Sun in all three categories. She also had a league best 0.37 aces per set.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

NFL: Jaguars Awarded QB Jeff Tuel Off Waivers

The Jacksonville Jaguars were awarded second-year quarterback Jeff Tuel off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.  Rookie quarterback Jake Waters was waived from the roster.  

Tuel, 6-3, 221, was signed as an undrafted rookie by Buffalo in 2013 and played in two games with one start for the Bills over the past two seasons.  

He spent his entire rookie season on the 53-man roster and made his only career start on Nov. 3, 2013 against Kansas City.  He served on the Bills practice squad for the majority of the 2014 season.

Tuel, who was born in Boca Raton, Florida, played collegiately at Washington State where he saw action in 31 games and made 26 starts.  He finished his career with 5,936 passing yards and 33 touchdowns on 531 of 865 passing.  

He left as the school’s all-time leader in completion percentage (61.4), fifth in completions, sixth in passing attempts and seventh in passing yards.  He was only the second quarterback in school history to start as a true freshman, joining former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe. 

Tuel moved from Tuscon, Arizona to Fresno, California following his freshman season of high school.  He attended Clovis West High School where he played wide receiver as a junior and quarterback as a senior. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

AFL: Final Play of Game Seals Jacksonville Sharks' 41-35 victory

ANAHEIM, CA – Holding a six-point lead in the final minute on Sunday, the Jacksonville Sharks needed one final stop and the defense delivered just that, as Greg Reid hauled in an interception on the final play of the game to seal Jacksonville’s 41-35 victory at Honda Center.

Jacksonville (5-5) had the ball in Los Angeles (0-9) territory at the one-minute timeout, as the Shark offense had an opportunity to either run out the clock or take a two-touchdown lead. But after an offensive penalty backed the Sharks up to 4th and 16 from the KISS’ 21, Julian Rauch’s field goal attempt missed wide right. A Los Angeles defender fell on the rebound, giving the KISS a chance to march down the field with 37 seconds left.

In the victory, QB Tommy Grady completed 20 of his 33 pass attempts, throwing for 223 yards and two touchdowns against one interception. Derrick Ross ran 11 times for 61 yards and three touchdowns. At receiver, Tiger Jones led the Sharks with nine receptions for 122 yards and a score, while Joe Hills caught seven passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, Reid led all players with 8.5 total tackles and five pass breakups, recorded a tackle for loss and snared the game-ending interception. Terrance Smith and LaRoche Jackson added three and two pass breakups, respectively. Up front, Joe Sykes notched a pair of sacks, extending his franchise-record streak to nine consecutive games with at least one sack.

For the KISS, Southwick went 27-of-46 for 245 yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions. DeMarco Sampson led Los Angeles with 11 receptions for 104 yards, while Morgan caught 10 passes for 90 yards and two scores. On defense, Rayshaun Kizer made an impact in his first game with the KISS, recording team-high totals of eight tackles and two pass breakups.

Victory in hand, the Sharks will return to Jacksonville, preparing to host the Orlando Predators on Saturday, June 6. Kickoff on Sea Best Field is set for 7 p.m.

Game Awards

Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the Game – Los Angeles WR DeMarco Sampson

Riddell Defensive Player of the Game – Jacksonville DB Greg Reid

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game – Jacksonville WR Tiger Jones

Cutters Catch of the Game – Los Angeles WR Donovan Morgan’s one-handed touchdown catch in the third quarter

AFL Highlight of the Game – Jacksonville DB Terrance Smith’s pass breakup while leaping over the wall