Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Sports

Rowdies close in on playoff spot

ST. PETERSBURG — It went beyond physical to one of their key players getting injured and possibly out for the season due to the aggressiveness of the opponent's tackles.

The Rowdies' 2-2 draw at Bethlehem on Wednesday was the kind of game that would invoke easy recall of bad feelings, even if a rematch was not for another six months.

Conveniently enough, it will end up being just three days.

Tampa Bay plays the Steel tonight. And the Rowdies will have more than just the motivation of having lost midfielder Michael Nanchoff to a nasty ankle injury.

A win clinches a playoff spot, something Tampa Bay hasn't done in five years.

"That's what we're aiming for. We want to get that playoff spot," defender Darnell King said. "We know what this team (Bethlehem) is about now, and we're coming in to expect to win."

Bethlehem committed 20 fouls Wednesday, compared to 11 for Tampa Bay. The one that has Nanchoff officially "week-to-week" required an air cast to be applied on the field: Bethlehem's Cory Burke charged full speed into Nanchoff, whose legs buckled from the impact.

Burke, who received a yellow card, stayed in the game to score Bethlehem's first goal early in the second half. Tampa Bay went back on top as Hunter Gorskie, a defender acquired a month after the Rowdies lost standout Damian Lowe to a Norwegian team, continued his scoring prowess with a finish off Marcel Schafer's free kick.

Gorskie had also scored in his home debut last Saturday, and it stood up as the lone goal of a 1-0 win over Charlotte that has a top-two finish still possible for the Rowdies. He has three goals in four matches.

Bethlehem's Seku Conneh scored the tying goal late giving both teams one point.

The inability to hold on for the three points in Pennsylvania means the Rowdies can pretty much forget catching first-place Louisville (55 points), even though it was upset by Toronto 1-0 Wednesday. Fourth-place Tampa Bay (12-7-9, 45 points) still has the No. 2 spot — and potential homefield through the USL's Eastern Conference semifinals — in its sights. The Rowdies have at least a game in hand on the other teams in front of them (Charlotte 48, Charleston 47).

Only fifth-place Rochester (43) could knock the Rowdies out of the top four and a first-round playoff game at home.

That will all get sorted out across the final four regular-season games. For now, Tampa Bay is happy with the chance to clinch a spot in the field, especially at home. More than 7,000 attended last week's victory at Al Lang Stadium.

"I've been here a long time, and to see that type of crowd for a regular-season game and generate that atmosphere, really was priceless to the players," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said.

"And (tonight's) an even bigger game. I know for a fact the fans are going to be right up for it. It's a big opportunity to clinch a place in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. We're really looking forward to it."

Comments
Tyler Johnson hat trick sends Lightning past Hurricanes

Tyler Johnson hat trick sends Lightning past Hurricanes

TAMPA — Fans who attended Tuesday's Lightning-Hurricanes game heard more than their fair share of Chuck Berry's song Johnny B. Goode.Center Tyler Johnson's goal song, with its signature line Go go, go Johnny go, blared over the loudspeakers not...
Updated: 4 hours ago
How the Lightning beat the Hurricanes 4-2

How the Lightning beat the Hurricanes 4-2

Louis Domingue couldn't turn his head well, but he wasn't going to let that keep him from his first start in 19 days.The Lightning goalie tweaked his neck playing basketball, warming up before the game, and still couldn't turn his head after the game...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Beloved wife of Tarpon Springs football coach dies

Beloved wife of Tarpon Springs football coach dies

Artemis Kotis, the widely admired wife of Tarpon Springs High football coach George Kotis, died after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 49."She is a much bigger name than me in this community," George Kotis said of his wife. "She helped ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
District volleyball: Holy Names moves on, Berkeley Prep bows out

District volleyball: Holy Names moves on, Berkeley Prep bows out

CLEARWATER — Academy of the Holy Names advanced to the Class 5A, District 9 final after a thrilling 25-17, 15-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-11 win over No. 2 seed Clearwater Central Catholic on Tuesday night. The win guarantees the Jaguars (18-8) a regi...
Updated: 4 hours ago

District volleyball: No easy path to final for Sunlake, Mitchell

LAND O' LAKES — Regarded all season as possibly the most competitive volleyball district in Tampa Bay, the 7A-8 semifinals promised to be pretty dramatic. And although the top two seeds eventually prevailed, did they ever have to sweat it out.T...
Updated: 5 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Tuesday, October 16

Tuesday’s scoreboardBoys swimmingShorecrest 177, Northside Chr. 127Girls swimmingShorecrest 188, Northside Chr. 110
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, October 17

TODAYBaseball playoffsNLCS: Brewers at Dodgers5 p.m.FS1ALCS: Red Sox at Astros8:30 p.m.TBS; 620-AMCollege volleyballMississippi State at Alabama7 p.m.ESPNUSouth Carolina at Arkansas8 p.m.SECKansas at Kansas State9 p.m.ESPNUGolfLPGA Senior Championshi...
Updated: 5 hours ago

District volleyball: St. Petersburg pulls out a five-setter vs. East Lake

ST. PETERSBURG — Three quality candidates but only two spaces available in the next round, a shot at a state title on the line.The elevated stakes showed in Tuesday's opening Class 8A-10 district semifinal as host St. Petersburg and East Lake l...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays’ Rocco Baldelli reportedly a finalist for Toronto job

Rays’ Rocco Baldelli reportedly a finalist for Toronto job

Rays coach Rocco Baldelli is one of five finalists for the Blue Jays manager's job, Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reported.Three other finalists were said to be Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Giants farm director David Bell and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Captain’s Corner: We need cooler water, and fast

Warm waters in the gulf remain a nuisance for anglers. We are ready for cooler temperatures. Normally, the high is 81 degrees at this time. Even with shorter days, revealing less hours of sunlight, it’s not the case. This is probably one of the worst...
Updated: 8 hours ago