The Baltimore Blast open Major Arena Soccer League playoff competition Saturday, hosting Utica City FC at 6 p.m. at Towson University’s SECU Arena. The Blast (17-7), who are bidding for their fourth straight MASL title, went 3-3 against Utica City FC (17-7) this season.
Blast midfielder Jonatas Melo is coming off of his best regular season with Baltimore, recording a career high in points (41), goals (19), and assists (22). Vini Dantas will return to the field after missing the past three games. Despite his limited action this season, Dantas leads the Blast in goals with a career-high 23 goals and has recorded 1.9 points per game this season. Veteran midfielder Tony Donatelli ranks third on the Blast in points with 29 (15 goals and 14 assists).
Blast defenders Mike Deasel and Jereme Raley posted career-bests and lead the team in blocked shots with eighteen in the regular season. Defender Adriano Dos Santos has played all over the field this season and recorded his best point-scoring season (23) since the 2013-14 season. Goalkeeper William Vanzela enters the postseason with the best save percentage in the MASL (75.3%) and the third best goals against average (4.09). Vanzela has posted career highs in minutes played and saves in a regular season. The Blast defense has allowed only 2.5 goals per game over their last six regular season games, which is the best in the MASL over that period.
This is the Blast’s 12th consecutive postseason appearance, dating back to their days in the MISL.
Utica City has won four of its last five games. The trio of Slavisa Ubiparipovic, Joey Tavernese and Bo Jelovac have combined for a total of 106 points this season, with Ubiparipovic leading the way with a career-high 40 points. Ubiparipovic has also posted career-bests in assists (21) and points per game (2.1), both of which lead the team. Forwards Joey Tavernese and Bo Jelovac share the team lead in goals scored with 20. Nate Bordeau has tied a career high in assists with 13 on the season.
Horse racing: The 2019 MATCH Series kicks off today on the Spring Stakes Spectacular program at Laurel Park with a quartet of $100,000 stakes, the first four in a 20-race series that moves on to tracks in Pennsylvania and Delaware leading up to its Sept. 28 conclusion at Monmouth Park.
A total of 104 nominations were made to the four races – the 6-furlong Primonetta on dirt and one-mile Dahlia on turf for fillies and mares 3 and older, and the six-furlong Frank Whiteley Jr. on dirt and inaugural 5 ½-furlong King T. Leatherbury on the grass for 3-year-olds and up.
Men’s college lacrosse: Stevenson junior goalie Marc Poust made 17 saves in the Mustangs’ 17-11 loss to No. 7 Cabrini (14-2) on Friday afternoon.The setback ended a seven-game win streak for Stevenson (8-7).
Women’s college lacrosse: Natalie Sulmonte had five goals for Towson in a 13-12 loss to Hofstra.
College baseball: Patrick Causa's second home run of the game walked it off for the Mount St. Mary's baseball team over Wagner 9-8 on Friday that evened the series at one win each. Freshman Thomas Bramley led the Mount offense after he went 2-for-4 with six RBI, two home runs, and two runs scored in the win.
College softball: Mount St. Mary's swept a doubleheader against visiting Bryant on Friday. The Mount edged the Bulldogs, 4-3, in 10 innings in the opening game before posting a 6-2 win in five innings in a rain-shortened game in the night cap. Jessica Nines went 4-for-5 with a home run in the doubleheader to lead the Mount offense while Amanda Berkley picked up the victory in each game.
-- From Sun staff and news services