Last Week around the Leagues
by Fran Stuchbury
September 20, 2022 - Premier Lacrosse League (PLL)
This past week the Las Vegas Aces won their first WNBA Championship, the Waterdogs won their first Premier Lacrosse League Championship, San Diego Wave FC set a NWSL home attendance record with 32,000 fans, and Minor League Baseball players decided to unionize. Highlights from this week come from the Women's National Basketball Association, NBA G League, Canadian Elite Basketball League, Premier Lacrosse League, National Women's Soccer League, Major League Soccer, United Soccer League Championship, United Soccer League One, Major League Indoor Soccer, International League, North American Hockey League, Canadian Football League, Indoor Football League, and North American Hockey League.
Women's National Basketball Association
Behind a game-high 20 points from Finals MVP Chelsea Gray, another double-double from A'ja Wilson, and the clutch shooting of Riquna Williams with 17 points off the bench, the Las Vegas Aces earned a 78-71 road win over the Sun to win the best-of-five championship series three games to one. The championship was the first for one of the WNBA's original eight franchises - the team began as the Utah Starzz from 1997-2002, then relocated to San Antonio as the Silver Stars (and later just Stars) from 2003-2017, before relocating to Las Vegas ahead of the 2018 season.
The moment the Las Vegas Aces defeated the Connecticut Sun to win their first WNBA Finals Championship.
A'ja Wilson joins Holly Rowe to react to the Las Vegas Aces defeating the Connecticut Sun, 78-71, to win their first WNBA Finals championship and the first title to Las Vegas professional sports.
Las Vegas Aces arrive home as WNBA champions
NBA G League
The Birmingham Squadron announced the promotion of T.J. Saint as Head Coach and Billy Campbell to General Manager of Basketball Operations. Saint is joined on the Squadron's coaching staff by Mery Andrade, Perry Huang, and Jodie Meeks. Saint enters his first season as head coach after spending the previous three seasons with the Pelicans' G League affiliate teams as associate head coach (2020-22) and as an assistant coach (2019-20).
Check this out! Some of the GDA squad try out for the Birmingham Squadron with new Head Coach T.J. Saint!
Canadian Elite Basketball League
The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced that the Fraser Valley Bandits have been purchased by local business leaders Kevin Dhaliwal and Bryan Slusarchuk and will be rebranded as the Vancouver Bandits. The team will continue to play at Langley Events Centre (LEC), where the Bandits played the 2022 season following three seasons in Abbotsford. Following its most successful season at the box office to date, the club is currently on sale with season ticket deposits for its 2023 campaign at LEC.
Introducing your Vancouver Bandits. A new energy, fueled by the west.
Premier Lacrosse League
It was a victory 991 days in the making for the Waterdogs Lacrosse Club. After being announced as the Premier Lacrosse League's first expansion club back in 2020, the 'Dogs had to build from the ground up, and after coming up short in the playoffs the previous two years, they took home their first title in Philadelphia, beating Chaos 11-9 at Subaru Park. Dresher, PA native Michael Sowers took home Championship MVP honors with a two-goal, three-point performance in the victory. Kieran McArdle led the way once again for his team, adding two goals and four points of his own. Jake Withers had a big game from the stripe once again in these playoffs, winning 57 percent of his draws while scooping up 11 ground balls and causing a turnover. Dillon Ward turned away 13 shots while adding more hardware to his trophy case.
National Women's Soccer League
San Diego Wave Fútbol Club overturned their Los Angeles rivals, Angel City FC, 1-0 tonight in front of a sold-out crowd of 32,000 at their historic opening of the new Snapdragon Stadium. Tonight marked the largest crowd to ever attend an NWSL match in the league's 10 years of existence.
Here are the highlights.
Angel City FC defender Madison Hammond is an inspirational example of how being true to who you are can make a difference.
Budweiser Player of the Week - Amber Brooks, Washington Spirit - Week 17
Major League Soccer
Moussa Djitté entered the match in the 58th minute. By the 80th, he had scored the first hat trick in Austin FC history.
United Soccer League Championship
Orange County Soccer Club secured one of the most important victories in club history - the right to stay at Championship Soccer Stadium for the 2023 season. The news was delivered after a unanimous vote that gives OCSC the certainty it needs to plan for next season. We want to thank the Councilmembers and City staff for their work to get to this point - all we ever wanted was certainty for 2023 and now we have it.
The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week for Week 27 of the 2022 regular season with Memphis 901 FC forward Phillip Goodrum voted the Championship Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball for the second time this season after recording his first professional hat trick in a victory against Atlanta United 2 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
United Soccer League One
Fastest goal in league history! 7 seconds in. FC Tucson's Tarn Weir waited long enough after the weather delay and decided to strike like lightning for the USL League One fan voted Goal of the Week for week 24.
MLS NEXT Pro
MLS NEXT Pro announced the format and schedule for the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs. Following a dynamic first season in 2022, eight of the League's 21 clubs will qualify for the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs - four each from the Eastern and Western Conferences. Within each conference, the two Division Champions plus the two teams with the next-highest point totals will qualify. The 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs will consist of seven single-elimination matches hosted by the higher-seeded club across three consecutive weekends. Following MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day this Sunday, September 18, the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs will begin the weekend of September 23 and culminate with MLS NEXT Pro Cup on October 8.
Major League Indoor Soccer
Rapid City Football Club is a new indoor team that will play under Major League Indoor Soccer at MSA Sports Spot in Kentwood.
Minor League Baseball players will Unionize
Minor League Baseball Plays of the Week
Rehabbing Mets hurler Max Scherzer made his Syracuse Mets debut with 7 K's in 3.2 IP!
Pacifc Coast League
The Reno Aces (77-62) claimed the 2022 Pacific Coast League West Division Crown and earned its first post-season birth since 2017 following a 7-4 series finale defeat to the Sacramento River Cats (62-77) in front of 6,356 fans at Greater Nevada Field. Reno cemented its ticket to the post-season by seizing the franchise's fifth division title thanks in part to a 19-9 Las Vegas Aviators loss to the Tacoma Rainiers.
The Eugene Emeralds finished off the sweep of the Vancouver Canadians to take home the Northwest League Championship. The back-to-back titles in the first two years at the High-A level give the Emeralds four championships in the last six years. For the Emeralds, this was the eighth championship in the 68-year history of the franchise (1955, 1974, 1975, 1980, 2016, 2018, 2021, 2022). Eugene becomes the eighth team in Northwest League history to win consecutive championship and it's the second time the Emeralds have won back-to-back titles after also accomplishing the feat in the 1974-75 seasons.
Canadian Football League
The 2022 class of inductees was welcomed into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
The XFL announced it has finalized coaching staff and other key positions for its eight teams ahead of the League's kickoff in February 2023. The coaching staff will continue to actively scout potential players in preparation of the XFL Draft in November 2022 and begin game planning for the 2023 season. The XFL will kick off on February 18, 2023 in partnership with its exclusive broadcast partner, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN.
United States Football League
The USFL announced 7 of the 8 coaches are returning for Season 2, with New Orleans Breakers Coach Larry Fedora stepping away from football to spend more time with his family. He will stay until the USFL completes search for his replacement.
Indoor Football League
Tulsa Oilers Football, proud member of the IFL, announced on Wednesday that Marvin Jones is the team's inaugural Head Coach and Director of Football Operations. Jones brings a history of success as a player and coach to his role in Tulsa, entering his fifth-overall season as a professional head coach and joining the third IFL team in his coaching career. The former Omaha Beef head coach comes to Tulsa, having posted an 18-8 record with Omaha, winning a championship in 2021 and making it to the championship in 2022.
It's official!!! Meet our first ever head coach Marvin Jones! Catch the full press conference below and learn more about the man leading our team!
National Arena League
The Orlando Predators Ownership Group announced the new head coach of the Orlando Predators. The Predators selected former NFL athlete and AFL Hall of Fame player Herkie Walls. Coach Walls was a star athlete at the University of Texas and was drafted in 1983 by the Houston Oilers where he went on to have a successful career in the NFL between the Oilers and Buccaneers. Walls became a legendary arena football and iconic Orlando Predator player in the 1990s where he played for Orlando from 1991-1996.
The Carolina Cobras announce that offensive coordinator James Fuller has officially been promoted to Head Coach. Fuller became the third head coach in Carolina Cobras history and recently served the team as the offensive coordinator in 2022 where the Cobras became the highest scoring NAL team during the regular season.
The Columbus Lions introduced their new head coach Chris McKinney to further showcase the teams new direction for 2023 and beyond. Coach McKinney becomes the second head coach in Columbus Lions history and previously served as the defensive backs coach to the Albany Empire. McKinney also served as the Offensive Coordinator for the Jersey Flight (2021) and head coach of the Cape Fear Heroes of the American Arena League (AAL) in 2019.
Premier Hockey Federation
The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) in association with the expansion Montreal Force have announced the team's inaugural coaching staff for the 2022-23 season. Head coach Peter Smith will lead the historic group, supported by associate coach Pierre Alain, and assistant coach Katia Clement-Heydra. The trio from Quebec brings a wealth of leadership experience and success at all levels of women's hockey to the PHF and the Force. Smith spent 20 seasons behind the bench for the McGill University Martlets from 1999-2020, becoming the winningest women's hockey coach in program history with an overall record of 534-229-33.
North American Hockey League
The Minnesota Wilderness have announced that Brett Skinner has been promoted to become the team's new head coach. David Boitz announced that he is officially stepping down as head coach to focus solely on being the team's GM, and is elevating Skinner from associate head coach to become the 5th head coach in the franchise's NAHL history.
NAHL Top Plays - September 5-11, 2022
Did we miss anything newsworthy or downright fun? Have a nomination for next week's column? Contact us today and let us know.
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Premier Lacrosse League Stories from September 20, 2022
- Last Week around the Leagues - OSC Original by Fran Stuchbury
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.