By Larry Snyder
Maple Heights, Ohio – The Pittsburgh Passion (4-1) collected not only their third win in a row but their third consecutive shutout Saturday, May 11, with their 40-0 victory over the Cleveland Fusion (2-3) at Maple Heights High School.
Head Coach Teresa Conn’s defensive unit has 12 straight quarters under their belt of not letting the opposition into the end zone, matching the team record. The athletes making authentic and reliable efforts include Hannah Daman, Kaitlain Niedermeyer, Kim Zubovic, Amanda Coles, Ashley DiCicco, Rebecca Ehrgood, Devon Conner, Kellie Bell, Julie Ionta, Tenisha Spencer, Lizz Costanzo, and Diamond Rodriguez. This shutout was significant as it was the 50th in team history.
Cleveland kept the Black and Gold off the score sheet through the first quarter. Pittsburgh’s offense found its traction halfway through the second when starting quarterback Angela Baker scampered in from 4 yards out for six points. She added an eight-yard scoring pass to favorite wide receiver Krystal Cozzo to construct a 14-0 lead at halftime. Cozzo owns at least a touchdown in each of the Passion’s five contests.
Offensive Coordinator Lisa Horton’s crew, opened the throttle in the second half behind the blocking of Sam Simeone, Morgan Cross, Erica Shoecraft, Zubovic, and Niedermeyer along the line of scrimmage.
Getting the assault of the box score rolling was Baker who delivered a one-yard scoring plunge. Devon Conner claimed her first rushing touchdown this season on a 75-yard dash. Baker wrapped up the evening with a 12 yard strike to third-year wideout Jana Meister in the end zone. The final tally came from Arielle Smith who is in her a second campaign at running back and put up a touchdown on an eight-yard run.
The next challenge for the Women of Steel comes in their final home matchup of the regular season Saturday, May 18, when they face the DC Divas (2-1) in a rematch from their Week 2 encounter at the St. James Sports Complex in Springfield, Virginia. The Burgundy, Gold, and White won the match on Saturday, April 13, 54-22 and are the last squad to get into the end zone against Pittsburgh at 8:45 in the fourth quarter.
Divas’ head coach Greg Gaskins, who played as an offensive lineman for the Pitt Panthers, gives the keys to his offense to quarterback Amanda Congialdi and she has supplied 10 scores through the air and no interceptions. Rookie Lexie Floor and six-year veteran Kasee Hilliard are dependable receivers with a trio of touchdowns apiece.
When it comes to the running option, D’Ajah Scott is averaging 8.7 yards per carry after three games and has seven touchdowns. The Women of the Beltway are averaging 52.3 points every time they take the field and on Saturday, May 4, defeated the Tampa Bay Inferno 71-30.
On the defense, Jessica Johnson is the leader from her linebacker position with 20 tackles and three interceptions. Another member of the linebacking corps, Whitney Simms, is second with 15 stops.
Other Voices: This week the pigskin observers at Massey Ratings lists the Divas at No. 2 and ranks the Passion at No. 6 in their survey. They see a high-scoring game with the Burgundy, Gold, and White leaving the Keystone State with a 42-28 triumph.
Weather: The wind watchers at weather.com are projecting clear skies with a day time high of 79 degrees and a low of 63 overnight. Winds should come out of the south to southwest at six mph.
Gridiron Clipboard: You can find your seat for this heated rivalry in the Women’s Football Alliance on the Passion website. The clash gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at Joe P. DeMichela Stadium, West Allegheny High School.
Pittsburgh travels to the Great Lakes State Saturday, May 25, to face the Detroit Dark Angels (4-0) at Southfield Lathrup High School in Lathrup Village, MI.