The Arizona Caliente have much to prove on Saturday, September 11, when the Women's Professional Football League team takes on its nemesis from last year's Western Conference title game, the Long Beach Aftershock, in a match-up of division leaders at Washington High School, 2217 West Glendale Avenue in Phoenix. "The talent level of these women definitely exceeds expectations," says Caliente general manager Jennifer Cada, who says most fans come out for the novelty of women's football. "This Aftershock game is important, as every game is, but it's definitely going to put a lot of pressure on us in terms of what we need to accomplish before we play Texas."
Chicago-born linebacker Lorna Barker (5-foot-3, 260 pounds) says she brings her "A" game regardless of the adversary. "As a team," she says, "we want to win, and we want to win fairly."
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students with ID. Kids under 10 get in free. Call 602-212-4688 or visit www.arizonacaliente.com. --Jonathan WInters
Watch the players get dirty while livin' large
Football's best viewed from a worn-in La-Z-Boy in a tank top and boxers, right? Au contraire, armchair quarterback. Leave it to the Ritz-Carlton, 24th Street and Camelback, to redefine Saturdays and Sundays this fall with its Executive Football Club. The EFC combines the winning ingredients of college and pro gridiron battles on plasma screen televisions, laptop computers with online access for fantasy football geeks, an all-you-can-eat "tailgate" menu, and complimentary drinks during the first quarter of every game. Admission is $20 per game, or $500 for "season tickets." Call 602-522-6632. --Joe Watson
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Nothing but net? We hope not
Interest in women's volleyball spikes during the Summer Olympics. Several, uh, proportions are involved, one of them inverse: The less coverage beach volleyball players get from their uniforms, the more coverage they get from the TV networks.
Let's give the athletes the respect -- and the fabric -- they deserve. Applaud ASU's volleyball team as it makes its home debut at this weekend's Arizona State/Tempe Buttes Invitational. Ranked seventh by the Pac-10 coaches in the league's preseason volleyball poll, the Sun Devils -- having lost five of last season's starters -- face the season with eight newcomers on the roster. Looking to improve 2003's 9-18 record, ASU meets Fordham at 7 p.m. Friday, September 10; Pacific at 7 p.m. Saturday, September 11; and Tulane at noon Sunday, September 12. Tickets are $5 at Wells Fargo Arena, Sixth Street and Packard in Tempe. See www.thesundevils.com. --Jill Koch