By Larry Snyder
Imperial, PA – Returning to the gridiron after a bye week, the Pittsburgh Passion (2-1) claimed their 48th shutout in team history with their 53-0 victory on Saturday, April 27, against the Grand Rapids Tidal Waves (0-4) at West Allegheny High School.
For Grand Rapids, it was the first trip to the Keystone State, as well as their inaugural meeting with the Black and Gold at Joe P. Demichela Stadium. Head coach Teresa Conn’s crew took over the score sheet and owned a 39-0 lead by halftime. Let’s take a look back at the four essential players who helped the Passion collect their second triumph this spring.
1) Quarterback Angela Baker unleashed a blistering passing attack, cranking out a total of five touchdown strikes to keep the scoreboard operator busy. She connected with Krystal Cozzo on two trips to the end zone, Ellie Mularski with a pair, and Jana Meister with one. Baker added a 51-yard touchdown run to wrap up her stellar performance in the first half.
2) Helping to lead the defense against the Tidal Waves was rookie Diamond Rodriquez who took the first fumble recovery of her career 48-yards for a touchdown in the second half. The 5-4 defensive back contributed eight tackles and an interception.
3) Kaitlain Niedermeyer added seven tackles and two sacks from her defensive tackle position to keep the pressure on Grand Rapids for all four quarters.
4) I have a three-way tie for the final slot as Cozzo, Mularski, and Meister combined for 11 receptions for 165 yards in addition to their five scores. Cozzo has found her way to the end zone in all three contests this season with a total of four touchdowns.
Offense Honorable Mentions: The hard-working offensive line of Lauren Ferragonio, Samantha Simeone, Erica Shoecraft, Kim Zubovic, and Niedermeyer won the battle along the line of scrimmage. They created the openings for rookie running back Brandy Polinick to put up a one-yard touchdown run in the second half.
Defense Honorable Mentions: Linebacker Hannah Daman recorded her fourth career interception while defensive back Tenisha Spencer picked up her third career interception.
It is just the second season of competition for the Tidal Waves as they wrapped up their inaugural 2018 campaign with a 3-5 record, just missing the Women’s Football Alliance Division III playoffs. Head coach Troy Johnson’s squad experienced a difficult time as quarterback Pamela Blazo and running back Kayla Gehrcke could not get their offense on track. Defensive leaders Dessiree Trevino and Lyndsey Hitsman fought hard, but were unable to disperse the firepower of Pittsburgh.
GAME DAY CLIPBOARD: Brandon Rossi took over as the new public address announcer for the Passion in their matchup with Grand Rapids. The West Allegheny alumnus is graduating from Waynesburg University. He has developed his talents at the Waynesburg’s radio and television stations, along with ESPN Pittsburgh 970 AM and 106.3 FM, WJPA 1450 AM and 95.3 FM, and the TribLive High School Sports Network on WCJY-FM.
Rossi spoke about his position on the team’s website, “It’s funny that I would end up with the Passion as that is the best word I would use to describe how I feel about this opportunity. I’m very passionate about broadcasting and I am ready and willing to help the Passion take their game to the next level.”
NEXT UP: The Women of Steel welcome the undefeated Baltimore Nighthawks (3-0) Saturday, May 4, at Adamson Stadium on the campus of the California University of Pennsylvania. The two combatants come together for the opening kickoff at 6:30 p.m.
Shayna Fitzgerald leads the ground attack for Baltimore with 321 yards on 36-carries and five touchdowns. Jasime Ward, Rashida Ford, and Ariana Vaccaro anchor the defense with 10 solo tackles apiece. Get your tickets here.
Women’s Football Alliance 2019 Season Preview On YouTube…
Top Of The Article Photo Courtesy Of The Pittsburgh Passion Facebook Page