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Blast to host Comets tonight in opener of MASL Eastern Conference finals

The Blast learns its opponent for the MASL Eastern Conference championship series.

Vahid Assadpour had three goals and one assist as the host Missouri Comets earned a 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Wave in the Major Arena Soccer League Central Division final Thursday night. Missouri will open the Eastern Conference championship series tonight at 7:35 against the Eastern Division champion Blast at Royal Farms Arena. Game 2 and 3 (if needed) will be played Sunday at 4:05 p.m. at the Independence Events Center.

More MASL: Several Blast players are among finalists for major year-end awards: Goalkeeper of the Year, William Vanzela (14-2, 2.83 goals-against average, four shutouts); Defender of the Year, Pat Healey (seven goals, 22 assists, 53 blocked shots); Rookie of the Year, Onua Obasi (nine goals, 10 assists).

More soccer: Baltimore will host a pair of CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal matches July 18, and if the United States finishes in the top two spots of its round-robin group, the men's national team will play at M&T Bank Stadium for the second straight tournament. M&T Bank Stadium had previously been named as a knockout-round site for the tournament, but the round and date hadn't been announced until Thursday. Every two years, the top teams from North and Central America compete for the regional title. The United States or Mexico has won every Gold Cup competition since 2000. CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North and Central America, announced Thursday that Haiti, Panama and the winner of a two-leg playoff between Honduras and French Guiana are in Group A with the United States.

For more of Jon Meoli's blog post on the Gold Cup, go to baltimoresun.com/blitz.

Women's college basketball: LaTorri Hines-Allen had 26 points and 11 rebounds to lead the eighth-seeded Towson women's basketball team to a 79-70 victory over ninth-seeded College of Charleston in the opening round of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. The Tigers (11-20), who earned their first postseason win since 2009, will face top-seeded and defending champion James Madison in today's quarterfinals at noon. The Cougars finished 5-25.

Men's college basketball: Deron Powers scored 23 points and sixth-seeded Hampton (14-17) earned a 76-71 victory over third-seeded UMES (18-14) to advance to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference semifinals in Norfolk, Va. The Pirates (14-17) will face second-seeded Norfolk State (20-12) in the semifinals today. Hampton led by eight with 3:31 to go, but the Hawks' Ishaq Pitt made a pair of layups and a jumper and UMES drew to within 72-71 with 48 seconds left. But Pitt missed a pair from the line and after Powers hit two free throws, Pitt missed a layup and fouled Reginald Johnson (15 points, nine rebounds) on the rebound. Johnson made one of two, but the Pirates' Brian Darden collected the rebound off the miss and Hampton held on. Pitt led the Hawks (18-14) with 19 points, and Mark Blackmon added 14.

Varsity boys lacrosse: North Carolina-bound Timmy Kelly scored the game-winner with 51 seconds left in overtime as host Calvert Hall (3-0) won, 11-10, over Malvern Prep (0-1). The Cardinals' Jacob Kelly tied the score at 10 with four seconds left in regulation.

NFL: Two people familiar with the deal say the New Orleans Saints have traded starting left guard Ben Grubbs, a former Raven, to the Kansas City Chiefs for a fifth-round draft choice. Grubbs, an eight-year veteran, made the Pro Bowl in 2011 as a Raven and 2013 as a Saint. ... The Carolina Panthers said they've re-signed backup tight end Ed Dickson, a former Raven, to a three-year contract. He had 10 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown last season. ... Ravens coach John Harbaugh will be the keynote speaker for commencement ceremonies at Stevenson on May 21.

Horse racing: Trevor McCarthy, Maryland's leading jockey in 2014, returned to the irons with three mounts on Thursday's card at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., while eyeing a Saturday return to Laurel Park. It was the first race action for the 20-year-old Delaware native since breaking his right wrist in a Dec. 20 spill at Laurel. "I feels good. It was a little weird, the first one, because I hadn't done it in three months," said McCarthy, who had mounts in the fourth, fifth and 11th races Thursday. "But, it felt good. My legs are good and my wrist is good, so everything is great from that part. All we can do now is be hopeful." McCarthy will have mounts in five of 10 races Saturday at Laurel.

College baseball: Senior left fielder Tim Lewis had two doubles and two RBIs as No. 16 Maryland (9-4) earned an 8-3 victory over Richmond (6-6) on Wednesday at the Harford Sports Complex in Bel Air.

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