Pro Hockey News

Monday, November 30, 2015

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UNCG escapes with 71-69 win over Jacksonville

GREENSBORO, N.C. - UNCG rallied from a 10-point, second-half deficit to defeat Jacksonville, 71-69, in men's basketball action on Sunday in the final game of the Spartan Showcase inside Greensboro Coliseum. The Spartans end the tournament 2-2, while the Dolphins fall to 1-3.

Jacksonville (2-5) was looking to secure its first triumph against a Southern Conference opponent since a 65-53 win over Furman on Dec. 22, 2012, and appeared to be on its way after a Marcel White floater in the paint 17 seconds into the second half pushed the Dolphins edge to 10, but UNCG (3-3) hit 50 percent from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes to cut into the double-digit deficit and eventually lead 56-54. Seven of UNCG's first eight makes after intermission were from deep.

Despite giving up an average of two inches and 55 pounds per man on the front line, Jacksonville out rebounded UNCG, 40-34. The Dolphins were 43.9 percent from the floor Sunday. The Spartans shot 42.4 percent.

Trailing by 10, UNCG hit two threes in the first four minutes to cut the deficit to three points. After a Josh Adeyeye layup pushed Jacksonville's upper hand back to eight, 47-39, the Spartans countered with a 17-7 push in a 5:04 span, as consecutive 3-pointers by Clay Byrd gave UNCG its first lead since the 17:57 mark of the first half. 

The Dolphins trailed by one four times over the next four minutes and eventually tied the game at 62 after Darien Fernandez made both free throws of a double bonus, but Kayle Locke made back-to-back left-handed jumpers in the paint to push the margin back to two possessions and give the home team the lead for good.

A Darius Dawkins 3-point shot from the corner with 7.3 seconds left cut the margin to two. After a Dolphins timeout, UNCG's Diante Baldwin appeared to step out of bounds on the baseline after receiving the inbounds pass, but the play was not reviewed, and the Spartans passed the ball into the frontcourt as time expired before Jacksonville was able to foul.

Locke led all scorers with 19 points on an 8-of-14 effort from the field. Marvin Smith tallied a double-double with 10 points and as many rebounds.

Kori Babineaux scored 12 of the Dolphins first 14 points and finished with 17. Jacksonville was 8-of-16 shooting to start the game, while the Spartans were just 5-of-12 and 1-of-8 from distance.
White finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Fernandez added 12 points, five assists and three steals.

A Dawkins'  trey gave the Dolphins their first double-digit lead, 31-21, at the 6:30 mark in the first period. The Dolphins drilled 50 percent from deep in the first 20 minutes, including five of their first nine attempts, and shot nearly 52 percent to lead 38-30 at the break. Babineaux led all scorers at intermission with 17 on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor, including a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range.
Jacksonville falls to 2-1 this season when leading at halftime.

The Dolphins return to Historic Swisher Gymnasium on Wednesday, Dec. 2, to host NAIA Division II member Florida Memorial at 7 p.m. ET.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

NFL: Chargers 31, Jaguars 25

( The San Diego Chargers walked out of EverBank Field with a 31-25 NFL victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) on Sunday.  

Jacksonville made it 6-0 quickly after two field goals from kicker Jason Myers. 

But after forcing the Jaguars to their first punt of the game, San Diego QB Philip Rivers took his team downfield and connected with Dontrelle Inman for a 15-yard score making it 7-6, Chargers.  

After Jacksonville regained the lead with another field goal, the Bolts scored two touchdowns, in just over a minute, from Rivers to Antonio Gates.  

After the pair connected for a nine-yard touchdown, Manti Te’o picked off QB Blake Bortles and took the ball back to Jacksonville’s 22 for an 11-yard return.

Bortles was 30 of 49 for 329 yards with two TDs and an interception.

Three plays later, Rivers and Gates were good for six after a 12-yard score and took a 21-9 lead heading into halftime.  Rivers finished 29 of 43 for 300 yards and four touchdowns.

After the Chargers punted off their first possession of the second half, the Jaguars’ red zone woes continued and had to settle for another field goal making it 21-12.  

With just under half the third quarter left, Rivers took the team deep into Jacksonville territory but had to settle for a 28-yard field goal extending their lead 24-12.  The Jaguars cut San Diego’s lead to only five after Bortles and Julius Thomas connected for a 21-yard touchdown on fourth down.  

Thomas led all receivers with nine receptions for 116 yards.

It was 31-19 after Rivers hit Stevie Johnson, seven catches for 92 yards, in the back of the end zone coming off a 14-play 80-yard drive that included a key conversion by a running Rivers on fourth down.  Jacksonville tried their best to surmount a comeback, but turned the ball over on downs.  

The Chargers then were forced to punt, which was blocked and recovered by Jacksonville.  Two plays later, Bortles connected with Allen Robinson, five catches for 56 yards, for a touchdown cutting San Diego’s lead to 31-25 after a missed extra point. 

The Jaguars’ onside kick attempt went out of bounds and the Bolts (3-8) clinched their first win since Week 4. Jacksonville visits AFC South Division rival Tennessee Sunday. San Diego hosts Denver.

Friday, November 27, 2015

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: USF Rolls To 8-4 Record With Rout Of UCF, 44-3

ORLANDO, FLA. – USF scored 44 or more points for the third straight game and stayed in the East Division title hunt in emphatic fashion by demolishing rival UCF, 44-3, at Bright House Networks Stadium on Thursday night.

USF (8-4, 6-2) posted its first eight-win season since 2010 and will play for its first conference championship if UConn defeats first-place Temple on Saturday night. The American Athletic Conference title game will take place Saturday, Dec. 5 at Navy or Houston.

The Bulls set a new school record with six conference victories by scoring 44 unanswered points. USF finished the regular season with four consecutive wins, its longest win streak since 2011, and seven victories in the final eight games, its best eight-game stretch since 2002.

“We came out with a business attitude. All week we’ve been focusing on us,” senior left guard Thor Jozwiak said. “We didn’t worry about what they were going to do. It’s about what the Bulls do and that’s something we’ve instilled this entire season.”

Quinton Flowers broke the program’s single-season touchdown pass record with three TD tosses to bring his total up to 21. Flowers also rushed for two touchdowns to match USF’s single-season quarterback record of 10 scores set by Matt Grothe in 2007.

Flowers finished 14-of-21 for 176 yards and now owns the USF record for total touchdowns accounted for in a season with 31 (21 pass, 10 rush). Two of Flowers’ touchdown passes went to senior tight end Sean Price, who finished the regular season with consecutive multiple touchdown games.
USF outgained UCF, 455-203, in total yards and diced the Knights’ defense with 281 rushing yards. Marlon Mack registered his school record eighth 100-yard rushing game this season with 102 yards on 18 carries. Mack moved up to second on USF’s all-time rushing list with 2,314 yards.

“Our guys did a good job of maintaining those blocks on the perimeter,” Taggart said. “It allowed us to get outside sometimes and Quinton made some plays with his feet to extend some drives.”

Tom Allen’s “Bull Sharks” defense dominated with two takeaways while UCF went just 2-for-12 on third down.  With a team-high eight stops, Auggie Sanchez became the 10th USF player to register 100 tackles in a season and the first Bull to accomplish the feat since Kion Wilson in 2009. His 106 tackles on the year are tied with Kawika Mitchell (2001) for the sixth-best season total at USF.

“They come out with a workman mentality and they make sure that they’re competing day-in and day-out,” said Taggart of his defense.

UCF grabbed a 3-0 lead on the opening drive of the game, but the Bulls ended up owning the first quarter and led, 24-3, at halftime.

USF marched 75 yards to the end zone on its first drive that was capped off by Flowers’ 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris Barr on a receiver screen play. The Bulls scored one play after converting on fourth-and-8 with D’Ernest Johnson’s 28-yard reception up the middle.

USF outgained UCF, 112-63, in the first quarter that included two three-and-outs by the Knights.

The Bulls extended their lead to 14-3 on the opening drive of the second quarter. Flowers matched the single-season program TD pass record by finding Price from 1 yard out with 12:07 to go before halftime. The first Bull to throw 20 touchdown passes in a season was Marquel Blackwell back in 2001.

The “Bull Sharks” put USF’s potent “Gulf Coast Offense” in position for another score when Devin Abraham stepped in front of Justin Holman’s pass and returned his third-career interception 12 yards to the UCF 49.

Flowers helped pump USF’s lead up to 21-3 with a touchdown run from 3 yards out with 4:42 remaining in the first half. Johnson kept the drive going with a 13-yard run on a third-and-12 and Mack got the Bulls near the goal line with a 27-yard run on a sweep to the UCF 2.

USF snuck in one more score before halftime after the Knights failed to convert on fourth down from the Bulls’ 28 thanks to pressure by defensive end Eric Lee. USF went 49 yards downfield on three plays and Nadelman nailed a 44-yard field goal as time expired.

The Bulls got back to business after the break and Flowers’ 5-yard touchdown run on the opening drive helped extend the lead to 31-3. It marked Flowers’ 10th rushing touchdown of the season, which tied the sophomore for fourth place on USF’s single-season list with Grothe (2007).

Flowers called the program’s single-season touchdown pass record all his own by connecting on a 26-yard scoring strike with Price with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter. Price ended the regular season with consecutive multiple touchdown games after hauling in two touchdown passes in last week’s 65-27 rout of Cincinnati.

Nadelman’s 41-yard field goal extended the USF lead to 41-3 in the fourth quarter following the second interception of Ronnie Hoggins’ career. The Bulls’ 15 interceptions are the third-highest single-season total in school history.

Nadelman continued his hot streak by capping off the scoring with a 43-yard field goal with 4:58 remaining. The sophomore has made nine consecutive field goals, five from 40-plus yards out, which is the third-longest streak in USF history.

Now the Bulls turn their attention to the UConn-Temple game that’s set for Saturday at 7 p.m. (TV: ESPNU). Whether it’s the conference championship game or a bowl game experience, the Bulls promise they’ll be ready to put the finishing touches on a season to remember.

The Bulls made things extra special by ensuring UCF (0-12, 0-8) of its second winless season in 11 years.

“That’s big-time for us seniors to go out like that and I appreciate every single person on our team this year. It’s my favorite team that I’ve played with,” Jozwiak said. “Everyone is still hungry and still working. It’s a great experience.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Cold-Shooting Plagues UNF in 70-57 Loss at Saint Louis

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The North Florida basketball team struggled offensively in a tough 70-57 loss to Saint Louis on Tuesday night in Chaifetz Arena.

The Ospreys (3-2) dropped their second consecutive game after shooting a season low 36 percent from the floor including making just 5 of 20 three-point attempts (25 percent). The Billikens (4-0) also earned a 46-28 advantage in rebounding that resulted in 15 second chance points, while also tallying 21 points off of 14 UNF miscues.

Junior Dallas Moore led the way for UNF nearly posting a triple-double after finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Senior Beau Beech added 11 points as the only other Osprey in double figures. 

Ash Yacoubou paced the Billikens with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Saint Louis connected on eight three-pointers in the game after netting just 10 in their previous three games combined.

"I thought we did a good job of getting shots we just had some guys uncharacteristically miss some they normally make,' said head coach Matthew Driscoll. "One thing we have to get better at is rebounding the ball. I felt like we gave up too many second chance opportunities and that was a big difference in the game. We will get back to work and make the adjustments we need to make to continue improving as a team."

Early in the game the two squads both took turns with the lead with UNF eventually grabbing a 19-14 lead. The Billikens took advantage of a four minute scoring drought by the Ospreys and built a seven-point margin following a 17-5 spurt.

Moore sparked a late first half rally for the Ospreys scoring six consecutive points as part of a closing 8-2 surge that trimmed the Saint Louis lead to 33-32 at the break.

The Ospreys extended their lead early in the second half to 40-37 but 10 straight SLU points gave them the lead for good. UNF battled back and pulled to within one, 49-48, with just over nine minutes to play.

From there, Saint Louis closed out the game on a 21-9 run including a stretch of 12 straight points to earn the victory.

North Florida concludes its current four-game road trip with a pair of games in Hartford, Conn. The Ospreys face Hartford on Friday night before meeting St. Francis Brooklyn on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NASL: Hall of Fame Goalkeeper Meola Named Armada Head Coach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Armada FC owner and CEO Mark Frisch announced on Tuesday the hiring of legendary former U.S. Men’s National Team and MLS goalkeeper Tony Meola as the club’s new head coach and technical director.

Meola, who was inducted in the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012, takes over an Armada FC club that finished 8-7-15 (W-D-L) overall in its inaugural season in the North American Soccer League, good for an 11th-place combined finish.

“In speaking with Tony, it became clear he knows what it will take for our team to become an elite competitor in the NASL and U.S. Open Cup,” Frisch said. “His vision and approach to style of play align perfectly with mine. Tony is a great student of the game and has played at a very high level.”

Meola has been a prominent figure in U.S. Soccer since he stormed onto the scene in 1987 when he helped lead the U-20 National Team at the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in goal.

 Following a two-year college career at the University of Virginia, where he was a two-time All-American under the guidance of U.S. Soccer icon Bruce Arena, Meola embarked on an illustrious international career in 1988 with the U.S. Men’s National Team. 

The Kearny, N.J., native earned 100 caps for the USMNT, which is tied for 14th all-time overall and third among goalkeepers, and was on the squad for the 1990, 1994 and 2002 FIFA World Cups. His 37 wins and 32 clean sheets rank third all-time in U.S. Soccer history.

Meola will assume his role immediately and begin preseason training with players in January. The Armada’s first scheduled preseason friendly is in February with MLS’ Philadelphia Union at Community First Park.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ACC Football Championship Game Sold Out

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The 2015 Dr Pepper Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship Game is sold out.

This year’s game is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, Dec. 5 at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium. The top-ranked and undefeated Clemson Tigers are the Atlantic Division Champion and will face the Coastal Division Champion and 11th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels.

Kickoff is set for 7:45 p.m. or 8 p.m. on Dec. 5, and ABC or ESPN will televise the game nationally. The 2014 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game achieved a 6.2 TV rating on ABC, making it the most-viewed ACC title game in history with 10,145,671 viewers.

“We look forward to having a full house in Charlotte for this year’s ACC Football Championship game, and we appreciate our partnership with the entire city,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “Our event continues to gain excellent momentum in Bank of America Stadium and it’s a win-win that Charlotte and the ACC Football Championship are becoming synonymous.”

This will mark the third time that the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship has sold out at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium since the venue began hosting the event five years ago. The 2010 Virginia Tech-Florida State game drew a capacity crowd, as did the 2011 Clemson-Virginia Tech meeting. 

Overall, the five ACC title games held in Charlotte prior to this year have attracted a total of 343,334 fans for an average attendance of 68,667. Since 2010, the ACC ranks second among all conferences in total attendance and average attendance at its football championship game. 

This year’s game will follow a banner ACC regular season in which three conference teams hold spots in the College Football Playoff rankings (Clemson No. 1, Florida State No. 14 and North Carolina No. 17 – as of Tuesday, November 17) and eight league teams thus far have earned bowl game eligibility.

The ACC tied an NCAA record for the most bowl teams over a two-year span in 2013 and 2014, with 22 conference teams enjoying postseason trips.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Vermeer Named Top Male Player of the Year at the 66th USTA Florida Annual Tennis Awards

ORLANDO, Fla. – The 66th edition of the USTA Florida (United States Tennis Association-Florida Section) Annual Awards & Volunteer Celebration Weekend honored Florida’s top tennis volunteers on Nov. 21-22, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla.

The USTA Florida Male Player of the Year was Frank Vermeer of Jacksonville.

When last year’s ITF Seniors World Individual Championships were held in Palm Beach Gardens, the event kick-started results for Frank Vermeer, who reached the final before losing a tight three-setter. Since then the Jacksonville resident has been on a tear at USPTA, ITF and USTA League events.

The director of tennis at Deerwood Country Club finished 2014 at No. 2 in the USPTA Grand Prix Men’s 45 rankings. This year he sits at No. 1 after winning the USPTA Clay Court Championships in May in singles, doubles and mixed; and in September finishing runner-up to doubles partner Jeff Cohen, and winning the doubles, at the inaugural USPTA Masters Invitational.

Last year and in 2012 he represented the USTA Florida Section with his team at the USTA League Men’s 5.0 Nationals. His wife, he says, also keeps him on point as a former professional player, and they have won two Husband-Wife Gold Balls. He is also been active as a local USPTA president, is a USPTA Florida board member for 2015, and is active assisting local charity organizations such as the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation.

The weekend also included educational sessions, an XGLOsive black light tennis mixer, the Ironman Tennis Challenge, the Starry Night Awards Dinner & Dancing, and the Sunday Breakfast with the Stars awards among other activities for the more than 200 tennis volunteers in attendance.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Second Half Surges Pushes Louisville Past Ospreys 89-61

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The North Florida basketball team made 11 three-pointers and got 21 points from junior Dallas Moore, but were unable to overcome a second half surge by Louisville in a hard fought, 89-61, loss Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center.

The loss was the first of the season for the Ospreys, who fall to 3-1, while the Cardinals remained undefeated at 3-0. 

Louisville outscored UNF, 46-20, in the second half and capitalized on a size advantage in the paint to post a 53-22 rebounding margin including 22-6 on the offensive end.

Moore collected his fourth consecutive 20-plus point performance, making four three-pointers for the Ospreys, while senior Beau Beech hit four treys of his own en route to 18 points.  UNF shot 47 percent from long distance highlighted by a 9-for-16 effort (56 percent) in the first half, but were hindered by 15 turnovers that UL converted into 23 points.

Damion Lee paced the UL offense with 24 points while Ray Spalding chipped in a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

"I was proud of the fight our guys played with today," said head coach Matthew Driscoll. "I felt like when we played our style we were able to compete with a very talented Louisville squad. Unfortunately, the way they play forced us to play faster than we wanted to at times and that hurt us some. They have some relentless rebounders and they killed us on the glass. Give them credit for taking it to us in the second half. We just need to wash this game out of our minds and get better as we prepare for our next game."

The opening half saw the lead change nine times as the two squads battled back and forth. The Ospreys kept things close early thanks to hot long range shooting as Trent Mackey, Beech and Demarcus Daniels each hit a three to keep score knotted at nine.

UNF then scored seven straight points including five from Moore to take their first lead of the game. The Cardinals rallied minutes later using a 21-5 run to build a 30-21 advantage with just under six minutes left in the half.

Moore hit another trey sparking a 13-1 surge that featured a run of 10 consecutive points. He added two more threes in the spurt that also included free throws from Mackey and a dunk by Demarcus Daniels, putting the Ospreys up 34-32 with 2:45 remaining.

The Cardinals scored eight straight points in the closing minutes before a long distance three-pointer by Beech at the buzzer sent UNF into the break down, 43-41. 

A 19-6 start to the second half by Louisville seized the momentum and opened up a 20-point margin the Cardinals would keep the rest of the game.

North Florida is in the midst of a four-game road swing with the next game coming Tuesday at Saint Louis.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Dolphins Cruise Past Florida College 81-63

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville turned 21 Florida College turnovers into 28 points on Friday evening, leading to an 81-63 win inside Historic Swisher Gymnasium in the first game of the Spartan Showcase. The Dolphins generated 14 steals in their home opener this season.

Seventeen of the Jacksonville (1-2) points off turnovers came via the fastbreak. The Green and Gold posted five dunks on the night, three by Antwon Clayton, and dominated the paint, outscoring Florida College (3-6) 30-12. Fourteen Dolphin offensive rebounds led to as many second chance points over the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division I member.

"Our guys did a good job of chasing some balls that got us some extra possessions," Jacksonville Head Coach Tony Jasick said. "We were able to capitalize on that."

The Dolphins, who never led by less than double digits beginning midway through the first period, shot 57.7 percent from the field and hit 46.2 percent from deep in the first 20 minutes to lead by as much as 23 with 3:47 to go before intermission. Jasick's squad led 41-25 at the break on the strength of 12 first half points each by Darius Dawkins and Marcel White.

Jacksonville's upper hand never dipped below 11 after halftime, as the Dolphins improved to 2-0 all-time against the Falcons.

White led all scorers, finishing with 19 points, including a 10-of-12 effort at the charity stripe, the most made free throws by a Dolphin since Keith McDougald's 11 against Kennesaw State on Jan. 10, 2013. 
Kori Babineaux recorded 18 points, with 12 coming after halftime. He was 8-of-16 from the field. Dawkins added 14 points in the win, including a 4-of-8 effort from behind the arc. Each player was a perfect 2-of-2 from the free throw line, as the Dolphins shot 21-of-31.

Jacksonville outrebounded the Falcons, 46-34. Thirteen Dolphins saw action in the 18-point victory.
The Dolphins hosts Thomas (Ga.), a NAIA Division II university, on Monday, Nov. 23. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Florida Men’s Golf Signs Andy Zhang

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Second-year head coach JC Deacon announced the signing of Andy Zhang, one of the top golfers in the 2016 recruiting class, to a National Letter of Intent. Zhang will join the University of Florida men’s golf team beginning in the 2016-17 season.

Zhang was No. 1 in Golfweek’s Class of 2016 rankings when he committed to become a Gator in January. He is the youngest golfer ever to compete in the U.S. Open, playing in the 2012 event at the age of 14.

“It is an absolute honor to officially add Andy Zhang to our program,” Deacon said. “Andy represents everything we look for in a student-athlete. He's hard-working, disciplined, loves the game of golf and most importantly, he is going to be a phenomenal teammate. Andy brings with him a boatload of tournament experience, including a U.S. Open. We are all extremely excited to help Andy reach his lofty goals in Gainesville and beyond.”

Monday, November 16, 2015

NASL: Cellerino Hat Trick Ends Raul, Senna Careers with Cosmos’ 7th NASL Title

The New York Cosmos’ first home championship match since their inaugural one more than three decades earlier was billed as a going away party to send retiring Spanish soccer legends Raul and Marcos Sennna out on top.

While the 38-year-old Raul and 39-year-old Senna successfully finished as champions, it was an emerging star of the present and future that stole the show.

Forward Gaston Cellerino’s hat trick — with Raul assisting on what proved to be the game-winning goal — provided all the scoring the Cosmos would need to hold off the determined Ottawa Fury, 3-2, and capture their North American Soccer League record seventh title before a modern-day NASL record-crowd of 10,166 fans at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium on Sunday night.

Reflecting on the way Cellerino (who ironically made his first NASL start in New York’s loss to Ottawa) significantly improved in a relatively short period of time, head coach Giovanni Savaraese said, “We needed a striker with [Cellerino’s] characteristics, a strong forward that makes good runs inside the box, and we knew that he needed work… little by little, he started to find his way, and today, he was fantastic.”

After staking the top-seeded, 2015 Spring and Combined Season champion Cosmos to a 1-0 halftime lead on a goal which came the same number of minutes into the game that matched his uniform number, New York’s No. 8 added two second-half scores just seven minutes apart to offset the second-half brace tallied by forward Tom Heinemann.

Back on September 22, Heinemann’s shot which led to a Cosmos own-goal, before the striker scored directly, finished New York’s worst loss of the season (4-1).

“I think it’s a good game for us to learn a lot of things and be prepared for what is coming in the postseason,” Savarese prophetically said at the time.

Apparently, his team learned a lot, especially Cellerino, who joined the Cosmos late in the season, on August 17.

“I’m looking forward to getting to New York and starting training and doing whatever it takes to help this team win another championship,” Cellerino said then.

Entering the postseason with a lone goal in eight regular season appearances, Cellerino similarly put the Cosmos up, 1-0 (off of a Senna free kick), before Raul broke a tie with a score in the Cosmos’ 2-1 NASL semi-final victory at MCU Park in Brooklyn last week.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UNF Hit 17 Threes in 93-81 Win Over Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The North Florida basketball team made a program record 17 three-pointers en route to a wire-to-wire 93-81 victory over Illinois in the team's season opener Friday night at the Prairie Capital Conference Center.

The Ospreys (1-0) got 26 points from junior Dallas Moore and 25 by senior Beau Beech in earning the opening game victory over the Illini (0-1). As a team, UNF made 17 of 33 attempts from long distance led by Beech, who went 7 of 8 from the arc. Six of the seven Osprey players in the game connected on a three-pointer.

In addition to their strong outside shooting, North Florida had 20 assists on its 35 baskets while committing just six turnovers. Moore ended the game with a double-double after collecting 10 assists with no turnovers. 

Mike Thorne Jr., scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to pace Illinois while Malcolm Hill added 20 points and 10 boards.

"Really proud of the guy's effort tonight," said head coach Matthew Driscoll. "I thought they played humble and hungry. We know that we got guys who can shoot it and we just wanted the guys to play freely and in a flow. It was great to see how unselfish the team was by having 20 assists on 35 baskets with only six turnovers. The guys really played with great poise tonight."

Moore got the Ospreys rolling early scoring eight of the team's first 11 points. After just five minutes of play, UNF had built an 18-9 lead over the Illini.

Midway through the first half, UNF hit three consecutive treys to open a double-digit lead, 35-21, and extended it to an 18-point edge. The Illini made a late push trimming the Osprey lead to just, 47-39, at the break.

North Florida raced out the blocks in the second half pushing their lead to a game high 23 points, 68-45, just five minutes into play. Beech and Chris Davenport both picked up their fourth fouls and had to spend some time on the bench. 

With the Osprey duo off the floor, Illinois slowly began cutting into the margin eventually pulling to within nine, 74-67. Trent Mackey halted the rally with a four-point play to put UNF back ahead by double digits as UNF cruised to the final margin of victory.

North Florida now heads back to Jacksonville for Monday's home opener against UT Rio Grande Valley at  7 p.m. in UNF Arena.

Friday, November 13, 2015

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JU Faces Talented Campbell in Road Finale

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – The opponent this week brings a .500 record to Saturday’s 1 p.m. kickoff at Barker-Lane Stadium, but don’t let the record fool you, Campbell’s (5-5, 3-4) tool kit is filled with treacherous trappings. 

The Camels feature over a handful of FBS transfers, led by former Appalachian State quarterback Kameron Bryant, but have been hurt by the turnover bug…bad.

“They match up with us athletically as good as anybody in our league. They may have 10 or more FBS transfers so they are a good looking squad that has lost some tough games. They could easily be 8-2 or 9-1 right now. They are very athletic and dangerous,” said Head Coach Kerwin Bell.

Of Campbell’s four Pioneer Football League losses, the combined point difference is 12. A third of that total happened in last week’s 31-27 setback when the Camels faced first and goal with under a minute remaining and two timeouts in their pocket, but forgot to pack the turnover bug spray. An endzone interception sealed another tough loss and put Campbell -14 in the turnover margin.

A forced turnover would be a welcome sight for Jacksonville (7-2, 4-2). The Dolphins are second in the nation with 15 picks and amongst the nation’s leaders with 23 forced turnovers, but the defense has gone without a momentum-changer for the last two weeks. A few forced fumbles at Dayton ended up in Flyer hands on a Halloween day when the ball factually was not bouncing Jacksonville’s way. In last week’s win over Davidson, the defense was good with seven forced punts and a fourth down stop, but missed instigating a fumble or pick.

Bell is not only hoping for an opportunistic defense to corral a few turnovers, but also wants his team to win the battle of field position.

“We’ve got to make sure that we give them the long field. I think that if we do that our defense will have a really good day,” said Bell. “We’ve got to make sure we keep them backed up and play field position the way that we are capable of doing with our punter and kicker. Offensively and defensively we need to understand that part of the game.”

He’s also looking for a spirited start from his team.

“We’ve got to make sure that we match their intensity on the road, start fast, and play smart football. We need to play with a lot of emotion, passion, and play very smart. If we do those three things I feel very good about the outcome,” said Bell.

The Dolphins did that last week with five first half touchdowns in a 42-12 win against Davidson. The 42-point outburst last week was a welcomed sight and came in large part thanks to the hot streaks of receivers Andy Jones and Damien Strange. The duo crossed the century mark in receiving yardage for the second consecutive game. At Dayton, Jones had 133 yards and Strange brought in 124 yards. Against Davidson, Jones barely missed his career-best with 133 yards while Strange had 105 yards on only three catches.

Jones is starting to come back around to his early season form after being slowed by injury. He’s second in the PFL with 780 receiving yards, 97.5 receiving yards per game, and 6.6 receptions per game.

Monday, November 9, 2015

NASL: New York Cosmos To Host Ottawa Fury FC In Title Game

NEW YORK (November 8, 2015) - Two goals by Tom Heinemann, the second in the 108th minute of The Championship Semifinal against Minnesota United FC, sent Ottawa Fury FC to the NASL title game after its 2-1 victory at TD Place on Sunday afternoon. The match was played in front of a crowd of 9,346 - a postseason record in the league's Modern Era. 

Fury FC will face the New York Cosmos, who defeated the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday also by a 2-1 scoreline. The Cosmos, who will be seeking their record seventh NASL title, will host The Championship Final at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y., on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.

The game in New York will match the top two teams in the NASL this season: The Cosmos won the Spring Season title and finished first in the Combined Standings on the second tie breaker (most goals scored over 30 games) over Ottawa; while Fury FC finished in first place in the Fall Season. The final will be the first time since 1984 that the NASL championship will be contested between a team from the United States and one from Canada.

The Cosmos and Fury FC played three times in the regular season, with each team winning once and one game, at TD Place on Aug. 26, ending in a 0-0 draw. The Cosmos won the first match between the clubs, at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., by 1-0 on May 2; Fury FC made the trip again to New York, downing the Cosmos, 4-1, at Shuart Stadium on Sept. 22.

The Championship Final will be the last professional game for the Cosmos' two Spanish stars, Raúl and Marcos Senna, who earlier announced that they would retire after the 2015 NASL season.

The Championship Final will be carried live on and ONE World Sports in the U.S. and in Canada. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

THE PLAYERS Giving Back Month Continued at Angelwood

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. - THE PLAYERS volunteer leadership – the Red Coats – accompanied by Tour player Jeff Klauk continued THE PLAYERS Giving Back Month with a special visit to Angelwood, an organization that assists families in caring for the special needs of their loved ones across their lifespan. 

Angelwood received a $10,000 grant from the Red Coats this year. At the visit, Klauk and the Red Coats took a tour of the facility, interacted with the participants in the programs and presented a surprise, much need, 15-passenger van to Angelwood.

“I cannot thank THE PLAYERS Championship and the Red Coats enough for this amazing donation,” said Diane Tuttle, executive director of Angelwood. “This van will enable our staff to transport the program participants to and from our facility safely.”

Angelwood cares for families through a variety of programs suited to each person’s individual goals. They help children and adults with developmental disabilities such as autism; cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, Prader-Willi syndrome and spina bifida. 

“Giving back to local Northeast Florida charities is what makes our years of volunteering at the tournament so meaningful,” said Theresa Greene-Hazel, captain of THE PLAYERS Championship Past Chairmen.  “This donation allows Angelwood the opportunity to operate efficiently with one less worry.”

Upcoming Giving Back Month events include the annual charity announcement at TPC Sawgrass on November 11 and a visit to K9s for Warriors on November 16. The money generated by THE PLAYERS each year benefits more than 300 charities throughout Northeast Florida, totaling approximately $67.5 million in charitable giving since the event moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Suns Release 2016 Schedule

The Jacksonville Suns have released the schedule for the 2016 season. The 14th season of Suns baseball at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville will see the standard lot of 70 home games and feature reduced ticket prices both for individual games and all ticket packages.

Fans won’t want to miss the excitement and fanfare of Opening Night (April 7) and the Independence Day celebration (July 3) in addition to a full slate of opportunities to enjoy the affordable family fun that is Suns Baseball. The schedule concludes September 5th and keeps the Suns at home for 11 weekends, featuring Firework Fridays, Giveaway Saturdays and Family Sundays.  Fans will also be happy to see 13 Thirsty Thursday home games.
”Our schedule shapes up nicely this season,” said General Manager Harold Craw.  “We’ve got a great mix of weekends and prime dates and are working tirelessly to come up with exciting new promotions and shaping our overhauled concessions offerings so we are ready to welcome fans to the Baseball Grounds on April 7.”
In keeping with the theme of affordable family fun at the Baseball Grounds, the club has simplified the seating chart to three price areas.  Pricing for individual games are: General Admission (right field bleachers, left field berm) $5, Reserved (Sections 101-120) $9, and Dugout Box (D1-D4 with wait service) $18.
”From day one our stated goal was to provide affordable family fun so by reducing ticket prices we want to stay true to that mantra,” Craw added.  “We want Suns baseball to be accessible to as many people as possible and we want them to make the Baseball Grounds their number one destination for fun.”
Pricing for season ticket packages have also been reduced.  Pricing for full season tickets (all 70 home games) is $450 for Reserved seats while Dugout Box are $750.  Season ticket holders enjoy a per game savings over the individual game price as well as discounted parking pass option, pre- and post-season parties, and guaranteed giveaways.
Additionally, the Suns offer discounted mini-plan ticket packages to provide fans more opportunities to be a part of the action. 
The Weekender, which includes all Friday, Saturday, Sunday games and Opening Night, is perfect for those who want a guaranteed seat for the biggest games.  The 34-game package is $425 for Dugout Box and $235 for Reserved seats.
Enjoy the big bang? The Suns’ Fireworks pack includes tickets to all 13 fireworks games- all 11 Fridays, the Sunday July 3rd Independence Day Celebration, and the Sunday September 4th Labor Day Eve Celebration.  The cost is $275 for Dugout Box and $120 for Reserved seats.
Fans who wish to create a ticket package with their own dates can do so with the Pick 20 Plan.  For $180 fans can select 20 Reserved seats to games of their choosing.  Don’t want to commit to dates right off the bat? Then the Flex Plan, which features 12 undated Reserved vouchers for $108, is the perfect way to enjoy Suns baseball on your own schedule!

Monday, November 2, 2015

NASL: Armada's Season Ends with 1-0 loss to Strikers

The inaugural season came to an end for the Jacksonville Armada FC on Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 home loss to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Jacksonville (5-4-11, 8-8-14) dominated possession by a margin of 57-43 percent and also had an advantage in shots (10-7) and corners (6-3).

Jacksonville goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo had a three-save performance.

Fort Lauderdale’s (8W-6D-6L NASL Fall, 11W-8D-11L Combined) scored on an 87th minute goal by Marlon Freitas.

BIG CROWD: An announced crowd of 9,083 showed up to Community First Park, which was a new facility record for soccer. Add two other attendance records – 13,934 against the Philadelphia Union on Feb. 7 at EverBank Field to set a North American Soccer League preseason record and an NASL regular season record crowd of 16,134 on April 4 against FC Edmonton – also at EverBank Field.

MATCH HONORS: Midfielder Lucas Scaglia, a scrappy, bulldoggish Argentinian that has been the Armada’s unsung hero all year, was named Man of the Match after frustrating the Fort Lauderdale attack most of the night while also being active in feeding Armada forwards and getting a couple of looks at the goal himself. 

PLAYOFF BOUND: The Strikers came into the match needing at least a draw to grab the final spot in The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament, with Tampa Bay’s 2-0 loss to New York on Saturday. With its win, Fort Lauderdale will head to New York this Saturday to take on the top-seeded Cosmos in the semifinals.