The No. 4-ranked University of Tampa Spartans scored a three-set victory against No. 17 Florida Southern College, 25-20, 25-17, 25-18, in college volleyball on Wednesday night. UT (14-1, 5-0) was led by junior Melissa Vanderhall, who had 15 kills and hit .520 for the match. The Spartans host No. 23 Saint Leo (14-2, 5-0) on Saturday afternoon at 4 in another Sunshine State Conference match. UT's only loss this season came in four sets to No. 1-ranked Concordia, St. Paul during the Sept. 5 Colorado Premier Tournament.
Well, so much for easing into the college-basketball scene. University of North Carolina freshman John Henson (Sickles) is listed as the nation's fifth-best small forward, according to rankings by Lindy's College Basketball. Hey, just wait until he actually plays a game! Henson, a 6-foot-10 prep All-American selection, wasn't exactly anonymous. But with terms such as "future NBA lottery pick" and "the latest Tar Heel All-American-in-waiting" floating around, the expectations are especially high. Here are the top five small forwards, according to Lindy's: 1. Tasmin Mitchel, 6-7, Sr., LSU. 2. Tyler Smith, 6-7, Sr., Tennessee. 3. James Anderson, 6-6, Jr., Oklahoma State. 4. Devin Ebanks, 6-9, So., West Virginia. 5. John Henson, 6-10, Fr., North Carolina. When the Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 on Wednesday night for the team's 82nd victory - clinching the franchise's second winning record - Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon had a classic remark during the postgame Sun Sports interview with Todd Kalas: "The fans should be charging the field right about now, huh?" Then Maddon got the obligatory shaving-cream-pie smashed into his ear by catcher Dioner Navarro. Before last season's American League championship, what would Rays fans have given for a winning record? But with higher expectations, a winning record will go relatively unnoticed. Florida Marlins left fielder Chris Coghlan (East Lake) went 1-for-5 in Wednesday night's 5-4 victory against the Atlanta Braves, giving him 47 hits in September, which tied his own franchise record (Coghlan also had 47 hits in August). Coghlan, batting .318 overall, has twice compiled the most hits in a month by a National League rookie since Wally Moon of the St. Louis Cardinals had 52 in July 1954.
Tickets for the Outback Bowl, the Jan. 1 game matching teams from the SEC and Big Ten, go on sale today. They are $70 (plus a Ticketmaster service charge). For information, call (813) 287-8844 or (727) 898-2100. Six of the previous nine Outback Bowl games have been advance sellouts. For information on Outback Bowl priority membership, call (813) 874-BOWL or visit www.outbackbowl.com.
You won't hear any talk of television blackouts with the Washington Redskins. Sunday's game against the Bucs will be the franchise's 329th consecutive sellout - an NFL record that dates to 1966. The Philadelphia Eagles signed linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who played three games with the Bucs in 2007 and was inactive last season. He also spent parts of seven previous seasons with Philadelphia. In turn, the Eagles released quarterback Jeff Garcia, the former Tampa Bay starter. The Bucs play at Philadelphia on Oct. 11. Happy birthday to Lee McGriff, the former Plant High School and University of Florida wide receiver who started three games for the 1976 expansion Bucs. McGriff, now an insurance man in Gainesville, serves as analyst on the UF football radio network. Saturday, McGriff turns 56. Here's the answer to Wednesday's trivia question: Bucs quarterback Josh Johnson, heading into Sunday's game at Washington, will become the eighth player from a California college to start a regular-season game at quarterback for the Bucs. The California Eight: Mike Boryla (Stanford), Mike Rae (USC), Steve DeBerg (San Jose State), Jim Zorn (Cal Poly Pomona), Trent Dilfer (Fresno State), Rob Johnson (USC), Jeff Garcia (San Jose State) and Josh Johnson (San Diego). Here's our daily sports trivia question, featuring a Tampa Bay/Florida spin. Try your luck by commenting below. Who is the only Syracuse University football player from a Tampa Bay area high school to be selected first-team All-Big East Conference? Check for the answer in Friday's Wake-Up Call.