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Loss knocks Storm out of Arena League playoffs

Shortly after Saturday's crushing 73-70 loss at San Jose, Storm coach Tim Marcum said he believed there remained a sliver of hope to make the playoffs.

"I'm not quite sure with all the scenarios, but I still think there's an outside chance," said Marcum, whose team fell to 7-8.

But the Arena League's Web site says the loss means the Storm will miss the playoffs for the second time in its 18-year history (though second time in three seasons).

Entering the season's final week, only one of four National Conference wild-card berths have been clinched (Dallas or Philadelphia, who are tied for the Eastern Division lead at 12-3.) Orlando, 9-7 and with a bye this week, is in prime position to earn one.

And there are three 8-7 teams: New York, New Orleans and Cleveland. And even if it beats Los Angeles on Saturday and all three lose for a four-way tie at 8-8, the Storm is out. New York holds the tiebreaker on the rest (including a victory over the Storm). And New Orleans, with which the Storm split, won its game by a larger margin, the first tiebreaker.

The Storm has only itself to blame. Saturday, it committed three turnovers.

The most crucial, arguably, was a first-quarter interception by Brett Dietz, who also threw a career-high 10 touchdowns. With the Storm up 14-7, it recovered a fumbled kickoff return at the SaberCats 6. But with a chance to pull ahead by two scores, Dietz was picked off in the end zone on the first play.

San Jose scored to tie it. Then on the first play of the ensuing series, Dietz fumbled while being sacked. San Jose recovered in the end zone to take a 21-14 lead.

Dietz also threw an interception in the fourth. And two plays later, San Jose led 66-49.

"We had a chance but gave it right back to them," Marcum said. "We had our opportunities and didn't take advantage of them. This (loss) is terribly disappointing."

Loss knocks Storm out of Arena League playoffs 06/15/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2008 11:49am]
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