By Larry Snyder
Landover, Md. – This week the Pittsburgh Passion (6-0) travels to Maryland Saturday, May 26, for a rematch with the DC Divas (3-2) at the Prince Georges Sports and Learning Complex. These two long-time Women’s Football Alliance combatants come together for the coin toss at 6:00 p.m.
Fans of high-octane offense saw a total of 59 points hit the scoreboard back on Saturday, April 21, as the Black and Gold downed Burgundy, Gold, and White at Joe P. DeMichela Stadium, 32-27. I believe it could come down again to who makes it into the end zone last in the fourth quarter, in this next match-up.
The Passion’s offense was shining bright last week as the Women of Steel vanquished the Reign 54-7 in Toledo, despite a 30-minute plus lightning delay. Pittsburgh is 3-0 so far against teams from the Buckeye State.
Ebony Montgomery started at quarterback and quickly inserted her name in the team’s record books with an 85-yard strike to wide receiver Angela Baker. She wrapped up the evening with a total of three touchdown passes while using her legs to run in one score.
Sharon Vasquez contributed a touchdown reception in the first half while Baker picked up another touchdown pass to begin the second half. Rookie running back Arielle Smith kept the ground game running smoothly with a pair of rushing touchdowns by halftime and adding one with 4:15 left in the fourth.
Central to the success of the offense is the line of Kim Zubovic, Kaitlain Niedermeyer, Samantha Simeone , Lauren Ferragonio , Dawn Pederson, and Veronica Burress. They helped Pittsburgh make 29 touchdowns this season, 10 rushing and 19 through the air.
Niedermeyer tallied a team-leading nine tackles against Toledo. Linebacker Hannah Daman forced a fumble in the fourth and second-year safety Tenisha Spencer picked up the ball and returned 30 yards for a touchdown. The Women of Steel own 270 tackles as a unit so far this season.
First-year placekicker Kirsten Green is 20-of-32 in point-after attempts and has a 30-yard field goal. Jana Meister is averaging 28 yards-per-punt for the Black and Gold.
Since their loss in Pittsburgh, the Divas offense owns a total of 101 points in the two games against the Richmond Black Widows (61-12) and the Boston Renegades (40-35). The Burgundy, Gold, and White average 38.8 points per contest this season.
Amanda Congialdi has 13 passing touchdowns against four interceptions this season. She has rushed for three scores from the quarterback spot. Kentrina Wilson is responsible for hauling in eight touchdown passes while Shaqanda Gainey brings three touchdowns to the box score.
Dajah Scott is the leading rusher with 320 yards on 33 attempts and five touchdowns. She has nine receptions and a score to help the passing attack. Shelly Freeman is on the scoresheet with four rushing touchdowns in five meetings.
Trigger McNair and Miteka Trueheart are at the heart of the Divas defense. McNair has put up 33 total tackles to Trueheart’s 32. Defensive lineman Kianna Murphy gets after the opposing quarterback and leads the unit with four sacks.
My Prediction: As I looked up and saw my bowling ball rolling off the top shelf in the closet, I was struck with the vision of a 42-38 victory for head coach Teresa Conn’s Black and Gold crew.
Other Voices: Checking in with the gang at Massey Ratings, the Divas moved into second place this week in the survey while Pittsburgh remains at the top in the No. 1 slot. The Massey bunch thinks DC claims a 42-40 triumph at home with the total points at 81.5.
Ernst Zermelo also has the Passion atop his WFA Division 1 rankings, but the Capital Women arrive in sixth place. I am sure the Divas’ fans prefer the Massey review.
Weather: The radar watchers at weather.com expect mostly cloudy skies with 87 degrees the daytime high and a low of 72 overnight. Winds are coming out of the south to southwest at four to nine mph with a five to 25 percent chance of rain.
Next Up: After a bye week, the Women of Steel close out the regular season at home Saturday, June 9 against turnpike rival, the Cleveland Fusion (1-4). This matchup at Joe P. DeMichela Stadium, part of the West Allegheny High School, gets underway at 6:30 p.m.
Photo Courtesy Of Pittsburgh Passion Facebook Page