Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sports Seen

Steve Tucker's inside look at various professional and amateur sports

Coing in March: "Octavarius: Battle for the Belt"

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From a recent e-mail:

Octavarius, a Chicago comedy group, hosts a special series of shows titled "Octavarius: Battle for the Belt," with guest Colt Cabana, former WWE and current Ring of Honor superstar, on Sunday, March 13, 20 and 27 at 7pm at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Full release follows.

Chicago Riot signs Anthony Maher

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A release from Charlie Corr of the Chicago Riot:

The Chicago Riot of the Major Indoor Soccer League announced the signing of target forward Anthony Maher. He will be available for Friday's game in Nebraska against the Omaha Vipers, Saturday's game at Milwaukee and the Riot's next home match at 6 p.m. Sunday against the Missouri Comets.

"Anthony is a proven player who is a big, strong target," Riot Head Coach Jeff Kraft said, in a release. "He is a guy who is going to get in there and fight to get goals for us."

Maher has scored 117 goals in 177 games during his nine-year MISL career. In 2009-2010, Maher tallied 11 goals and three assists with the Philadelphia KiXX.

The Cape May, N.J., native played two seasons with the KiXX, scoring 26 goals in 26 games. Maher also has played for the Milwaukee Wave, California Cougars, Chicago Storm, Kansas City Comets and Cleveland Force.

The veteran forward scored a career-best 28 goals in the 2003-2004 season with Kansas City, which named him its Newcomer of the Year. He also was the Cleveland Force Rookie of the Year in 2002-2003 after posting eight goals and seven assists in 35 games.

"I am extremely excited to represent the Chicago Riot in their inaugural season," Maher said. "I firmly believe the players, Coach Kraft and the front office staff are committed to making this season a special one. I look forward to bringing my work ethic and passion for the game to the Chicago Riot."

Maher also is an accomplished outdoor player, starting his professional soccer career with the Wilmington Hammerheads of the USL Second Division in 2002 and also playing one season with Milwaukee Wave United in the USL A-League for the 2004-2005 season. He signed with the Syracuse Salty Dogs in 2006, where he scored nine goals in 26 games and was named the team's Offensive Player of the Year.

In 2007, Maher signed with the Carolina RailHawks of the USL First Division and scored the team's lone goal in an overtime semifinal loss to Major League Soccer's New England Revolution in the 2007 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Maher is a graduate of Mercyhurst College, where he was an NCAA Division II All-American in 2001, as well as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2001.

Women's Professional Soccer set for 2011

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A Women's Professional Soccer release from Charlie Corr of the Chicago Red Stars

 Women's Professional Soccer announced the calendar for its 2011 WPS Season, the league's third year of play featuring the top players from around the world. In 2010, over 20 countries were represented in WPS.

Next season, WPS teams will play an 18-game schedule, comprised of nine home games and nine away matches from April through August. The league's Board of Governors also voted to retain the existing playoff format used during the first two seasons.

Opening weekend has been set for April 9-10, with the 2011 WPS Championship presented by Citi scheduled for the weekend of August 27-28. Similar to the past two years, preseason will begin no earlier than March 1; retaining the playoff format will continue to see four teams qualify for the postseason. The last two regular seasons have seen exciting down-to-the-wire finishes with teams securing their playoff berths on the final weekend of the regular season.

The winner of the regular season earns an automatic berth into the WPS Championship presented by Citi and the regular-season runner-up will host the WPS Super Semifinal against the winner of the No. 3 vs. No. 4 in the WPS First Round.

With the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup™ scheduled for June 26-July 17, WPS will take the first two weeks of the tournament off from league play and thus will not schedule a 2011 WPS All-Star Game.

"Going into year three, we are refining and adjusting our schedule to put in place what works best for our teams, fans and national television," WPS CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas said in the release. "We are returning to our timeline from the inaugural season, which will accommodate the World Cup and hopefully boost average team attendance."

The 2011 regular-season schedule and national television schedule for "WPS Sunday on FSC" will be announced in February. Kick-off times for the WPS Playoffs will also be announced together with the league's national television partner, Fox Soccer Channel, next year.

Baylor women's point guard Griffin quits

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From Baylor sports information --

WACO, Texas -  Baylor's Kelli Griffin, starting point guard on the second-ranked Lady Bears'  team, has quit the team. The 5-8 Houston native was one of four returning starters off last season's Final Four team that finished the season at 27-10.


Griffin leaves the program ranked No. 7 on the Lady Bears' career assist chart with 362. She needed only 132 to become the program's all-time assist leader. The honorable mention 2010 coaches All-Big 12 selection had started in 50 consecutive games coming into this season. She averaged 6.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 26.3 minutes a game during her three-year career.

Chicago Riot indoor soccer set for Dec. 5 debut

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From Charlie Corr ...

Chicago's Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) team, the Chicago Riot Soccer Club, today unveiled its logo, colors, website and ticket pricing information at a ceremony on the field at the Odeum Sports and Expo Center, which will serve as the home of the Riot for all home games starting on December 5. The press conference was followed by the Riot's first training session and an open tryout.

The Riot also announced that tickets went on sale Wednesday. Fans interested in purchasing Riot tickets should contact 630.708.6284 or visit

The MISL last week approved the addition of the Chicago Riot for the 2010-11 season. Peter Wilt, who has previously led successful Chicago soccer teams in the National Professional Soccer League (Power), Major League Soccer (Fire) and Women's Professional Soccer (Red Stars), is a part owner of the Riot and will serve as the team's President, CEO and official spokesperson. Wilt has won championships in four professional soccer leagues, is a member of the Chicago Fire Ring of Fire and is a former MLS Executive of the Year. Jeff Kraft, the former head coach of the Rockford Rampage, will serve as Chicago's Director of Team Operations and Head Coach.

"I'm really excited to be back in Chicago and working with a great group of people to put together the Chicago Riot. It's a tight timeline, but I'm confident we'll have an exciting team and a great atmosphere for Riot fans at the Odeum," Wilt said. "The seating is extremely limited and we're offering really affordable tickets starting at $10 for individual seats and $72 for a full season ticket and parking is free. This is going to be the best value for sports fans in Chicagoland."

Jeff Kraft, the Riot's Head Coach, said he expected to see intense soccer all season long.

"Every Riot game will be action packed, and our team is going to have a blue collar ethic," Kraft said. "We are putting together a young and hungry roster, and we will play with toughness every night."

Name: The team is named after the numerous landmark riots in Chicago history that have defined the city since its incorporation in 1837.

"It was important to select a name that both connects with the history of the city and reflects the passion and spirit of our team and fans," said Riot President and CEO Peter Wilt. "Chicago Riot is a historical reference to the city's famous civil unrests - including the Chicago Lager Beer Riot of 1855, the Haymarket Square Riot of 1886 and the Grant Park Democratic National Convention Riot in 1968. While polarizing at the time, the famous Chicago riots all led to a better place to live for all Chicagoans."
From DePaul sports' information's Bob Sakamoto

The Blue Demons' 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh was the school's first-ever BIG EAST Conference Championship tournament win---courtesy of Michelle Scandora's penalty-kick goal in the 39th minute.

DePaul (11-8-2) advances to the BIG EAST quarterfinals and a 1 p.m. game on Sunday at No. 13/12 Marquette (14-3-2).

There was Arianna Foster in the 39th minute making a surgery-precise pass through the narrowest of openings between two Panther defenders to Natasa Radosavljevic.

"I made my move on the right and Ari had two players on her, so I yelled to her, Radosavljevic said. "She slipped it right through. I saw the keeper coming out and took a touch.


        Picture (Device Independent Bitmap)       

"The keeper clipped my foot and I rolled over, and we got a penalty kick."

The whistle in the box handed DePaul a golden opportunity.

"I kind of got excited because I anticipated taking it," Scandora said. "I was telling myself to relax, focus on the shot and don't over-think it."

Scandora fired her shot into the lower left corner as Pittsburgh goalkeeper Morie Kephart moved in the other direction.

"I was real excited," Scandora said about her second goal of the season. "I turned around and looked at my teammates and thought it would help us get the momentum back."

DePaul goalkeeper Kelsey Hoinkes and a back line of Casey Mercurio, Kylie Nordness, Rebekah Roller and Beth Perry with help from Janina Locascio combined for the team's eighth shutout of the season.

Hoinkes made two huge saves in the second half.

The first one was a diving stop, and the second one she leaped and deflected a Pittsburgh shot headed towards the upper portion of the DePaul net.

"There were a lot of legs in front of me, and I just reacted to the shot," Hoinkes said abut the first dramatic stop. "I guess you could say I made the right move at the right time.

"The other shot, those are the scariest. It's up in the air and with all the wind, you never know. I was able to get enough fingers on it to push it high.

"It's awesome to get this first BIG EAST playoff win. I'm a senior, and all of us just won our last game at Wish Field. Now, we want to keep on going."

NOTES: The 11th win of the season is the second-highest total in the 15-year history of DePaul women's soccer... the 2003 Blue Demons went 14-7-2 en route to a Conference USA tournament title and NCAA tournament appearance... the victory over Pittsburgh snapped a four-game losing streak for the Blue Demons... it's appropriate that DePaul wins its first BIG EAST playoff game in the first season of the new Wish Field at Cacciatore Stadium... Marquette is riding an 11-game winning streak and hasn't loss since Sept. at then-No. 10 Brigham Young... Pittsburgh outshot DePaul 11-9 on Thursday and had a 5-3 edge in shots on goal... Tara Strickland took two shots for the Blue Demons while Scandora, Lauren Pagone, Callie Hemming, Roller, Kelly Blumberg, Ashleigh Goddard and Erin Pekovitch each had one... Hoinkes made five saves in recording her first shutout of the season... Pagone leads DePaul with six goals and one assist for 13 points, followed by Strickland (three goals, six assists) with 12 points and Hemming (fur goals, three assists) with 11... Strickland tops the team in shots with 54 and shots on goal with 19... the Screamin' Demons Band that fired up the Wish Field at Cacciatore Stadium crowd on Thursday was under the direction of Jeff Livursi.

From Arlington Park's David Zenner


Arlington Park again proved to be a stepping-stone for the Breeders' Cup World Championships with three Breeders' Cup Challenge winners, three additional 2010 Arlington stakes winners, 10 other Arlington Park '10 participants and six additional horses who raced at Arlington in past seasons listed among the 184 horses pre-entered for this year's event to be run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6.


Leading the way among 2010 Arlington stakes winners pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup is Éclair de Lune, who earned a berth into the Grade I $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf by virtue of winning the Grade I Beverly D. on Aug. 21.  The Beverly D. was part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" format, which automatically places the winners of selected major stakes races at racetracks worldwide including Arlington Park into a corresponding divisional race.


            Joining Éclair de Lune in the Filly and Mare Turf are Beverly D. runner-up Hot Cha Cha who previously won the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes here in 2009; the 2008 Filly and Mare Turf champion Forever Together, who made her turf debut that year by taking the Reluctant Guest Stakes here; and Keertana, who broke her maiden at Arlington Park in Sept. 2008.


            Also taking advantage of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" format is Grade I Arlington Million hero Debussy who has been pre-entered in the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf. 


            Among the other horses pre-entered for the Turf are 2008 Secretariat Stakes (Grade I) winner Winchester; the one-time Arlington-based Telling, a regular performer over the Arlington turf in 2008-09; and 2010 Secretariat victor Paddy O'Prado, who has also been pre-entered for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic.


            The third Arlington Park Breeders' Cup Challenge winner to take advantage of the "Win and You're In" provision is Chamberlain Bridge, who captured the Arlington Sprint here on June 26 and is one of 18 horses pre-entered for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.


            Two other horses with Arlington running lines have been pre-entered for the Turf Sprint - Stadivinsky, who won a $35,000 claiming race here in May before being claimed in his next start at Churchill Downs; and Due Date, who finished off the board in an allowance race here in 2008.


            Informed Decision, winner of the $1 million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last year, will attempt to defend her title in that race.  The Jonathan Sheppard-trained mare has won back to back editions of the Grade III Chicago Handicap over the Arlington Polytrack.


            Rinterval, who finished second to Informed Decision in the Chicago 'Cap, has also been pre-entered for the Filly & Mare Sprint.


            Arlington-Washington Futurity (Grade III) victor Major Gain is one of three horses with Arlington Park ties to be pre-entered in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.  The other two are Rough Sailing, a maiden winner here at first asking Aug. 8; and Willcox Inn, another first-asking maiden winner on Sept. 18.


            Gio Ponti, the 2009 Million winner who was second to Debussy in this year's renewal, has been pre-entered in both the Classic and the $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Mile.


            Acoma, seventh in this year's Beverly D., will return to dirt racing as one of a dozen distaffers pre-entered for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.


            The locally based Mad Flatter, third in the Grade III Washington Park Handicap after winning an allowance race at a one-turn flat mile, is the lone Arlington Park representative in the $1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.


            Jordy Y, runner-up in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie after two wins here, has been pre-entered in both the $2 million Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies and the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.


            Giant Oak, winner of the 2009 Arlington Classic and more recently runner-up in this year's Grade III Washington Park Handicap, has been pre-entered in the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon as has Gabriel's Hill, who shows an off-the-board finish in a 2007 allowance race here.


            This year's two-day Breeders' Cup format has all of the races restricted to fillies and mares plus the Marathon run on Friday, Nov. 5, and the remaining championship races contested Saturday, Nov. 6. 


The 14-race Breeders' Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing's richest program with $25.5 million in total purses, will be simulcast to Arlington Park and its network of Trackside off-track wagering facilities.


On Friday, first post at Churchill Downs is 1 p.m. Central time with the first of six Breeders' Cup races slated to go to the post at 3:10 p.m.  The last of Friday's Breeders' Cup races, the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic will be run under the lights at 6:45 p.m.  Illinois Thoroughbred racing at Hawthorne will start at 1:45 p.m.  The following day's action from Churchill Downs begins at 11:05 a.m. with the first of eight Breeders' Cup events scheduled for 12:50 p.m. while the first local race from Hawthorne is set for 12:35 p.m.  The final Breeders' Cup race, the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, will be run at 5:45 p.m.


Arlington Park will open its Million Room restaurant for a special Breeders' Cup package on Saturday, Nov. 6.  For $42 per person, fans will receive admission, program, a continental breakfast and a special lunch buffet. Reservations are required for this package and can be secured by calling (847) 870-6943 or by purchasing tickets online at


In addition, Mr. D.'s Sports Bar located on the east end of the apron level of the grandstand will be open both Friday and Saturday.  On Friday, the popular sports bar will be open from noon until 7 p.m. while on Saturday it will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.


Illinois Trackside locations will open early both days and each location will offer food and beverage specials throughout the day.  For more information regarding Breeders' Cup events at Trackside locations, visit


Arena Rush signs WR Robert Quiroga

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A release from the Rush ...

The Chicago Rush has signed wide receiver Robert Quiroga for the 2011 season.  Quiroga is entering his fifth season in the AFL and his first with the Chicago Rush.


"Q (Robert Quiroga) is a great addition to the Rush," said Rush head coach Bob McMIllen. "He can help us in all three phases of the game.  We see Q becoming an elite receiver in this league."


Quiroga spent the 2010 AFL season with the Orlando Predators, where he amassed 59 receptions for 635 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Though primarily a wide receiver, he also made his presence felt on defense by tallying 14 tackles and 4 assists.  Prior to his time in Orlando, Quiroga spent three seasons with the Los Angeles Avengers showcasing his versatility with a strong presence on both offense and defense.

Red Stars protected list

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The Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer announced their 10-player protected list in conjunction with the Nov. 4 WPS Expansion Draft.

The following players from the Red Stars' 2010 roster have been protected:

Goalkeeper: Karina LeBlanc, Jillian Loyden
Defenders: Marian Dalmy, Whitney Engen, Natalie Spilger
Midfielders: Karen Carney, Megan Rapinoe
Forwards: Veronica Boquete, Ella Masar, Casey Nogueira

Super Six Series women's basketball challenge

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From the Big Ten ...

Six conferences have joined forces to create the Super Six Series women's basketball challenge. Conferences participating are the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Southeastern and Pacific-10.

Michigan State and Minnesota will represent the Big Ten in the inaugural Super Six Series. The Spartans will travel to Baylor on Nov. 19, while the Gophers will host Pittsburgh on Nov. 17, the opening matchup of the Super Six Series which will be broadcast nationally on


"The initiation of the Super Six Series is an outstanding opportunity for our coaches and student-athletes to compete against some of the best competition in the country," Big Ten Associate Commissioner Andrea Williams said. "With compelling matchups and top players, we anticipate this series will provide the participating teams with a unique and competitive preseason experience."


Michigan State finished last season second in the Big Ten at 12-6, with a 23-10 overall record. The Spartans advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago and finished with 11 wins in their last 14 games of the 2009-10 season. The Bears and Spartans have met once previously, facing off in the 2005 NCAA Championship game, won by Baylor.


Minnesota returns three starters from the 2009-10 squad that finished 13-17 overall and 6-12 in conference play. In addition to welcoming back three of their top four scorers from last year, the Gophers will receive an influx of young talent off the strength of one of the nation's premier recruiting classes. The meeting between Minnesota and Pittsburgh will be the first between the two programs.


Matchups for the 2010-11 Super Six Series can be found below.


2010-11 Super Six Series Matchups

All times are ET


November 17   

Pittsburgh at Minnesota, 8 p.m.


November 18   

UCLA at Notre Dame, 7 p.m.

Duke at Auburn, 7 p.m.


November 19   

Michigan State at Baylor, 8 p.m.


November 21   

Vanderbilt at Florida State, 2 p.m.


November 22

Nebraska at Washington State, 10 p.m.