By Larry Snyder
Revere, Massachusetts – The Pittsburgh Passion (5-2-0) return to New England Saturday, June 25, for a semifinal playoff contest against the Boston Renegades (7-0-0) at Harry Della Russo Stadium. These Women’s Football Alliance adversaries flip the coin at 6:00 p.m. EDT.
For the Passion, they needed overtime Saturday, June 11, to finish the Inferno in Tampa Bay 27-21 so they could move on to face Boston. Pittsburgh’s defense stood firm in stopping Tampa’s first possession of extra time. The Black and Gold reached the end zone on a 16-yard reverse run by Marcelina Chavez, with quarterback Alyssa George throwing a fundamental block so Chavez could score. The last time the Women of Steel claimed a WFA Playoff victory was in June 2019, when they tamed the New York Wolves 41-6 in the opening round.
Both squads fought hard in the first quarter as they were tied 7-7 going into the second. The Women of the Sunshine State collected a 14-7 advantage early but could not contain the Passion’s offense as just before halftime Brandy Polinick concluded a drive with a two-yard touchdown run. The box score showed a 14-13 lead for the Inferno.
When Pittsburgh got the ball in the third, George threw a 67-yard scoring strike to Chavez, and she tossed the two-point conversion to Jana C Meister in the right corner of the end zone. The Black and Gold led the contest 21-14. Tampa tied the matchup at 21 at the three-minute mark in the fourth on a warm and humid evening.
The rushing charge of Maria Fautali, Arielle Smith, Chavez, and George kept Passion drives alive and consumed valuable time off the clock. Helping to open holes on the line of scrimmage was Sophia Pagan, Emalee Tunney, Jacqueline Cook, Kimberly Zubovic, and Kaitlain Niedermeyer.
Pittsburgh’s defense also played a critical part in the victory with excellent execution from Hannah Daman, Chelsea Biggers, LaKeitha Barrett, Rebecca Ehrgood, Jasmin Jones, Katelyn Polenik, Lawanda Pearson, Niedermeyer, and Zubovic.
In their opening round of the playoffs on Saturday, June 11, Boston took down the D.C.Divas 69-32. Throughout the regular season, the Renegades defeated the Burgundy, Gold, and White 69-28 on Saturday, April 16, and at home on Saturday, May 23, 60-28.
Quarterback Allison Cahill connected on a touchdown pass to Stephanie Pascual, Chanté Bonds, and Tytti Kuusinen in the playoff triumph over the Divas. Kuusinen added two more scores rushing as she ran for 179 yards on 17 carries. Ruth Matta contributed 160 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Defensive linemen Danielle Fournier, Erin Diette, and linebacker Shannon Singletary had a sack against the Women of the District. Another linebacker, Spring Gamble, owned six solo and five assisted tackles for 11 stops.
Looking back, the Renegades beat the Passion 46-8 Saturday, May 7, at home during the regular season. Going over the 2022 box scores, the Women of Beantown racked up 320 points on offense and surrendered just 85.
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NEXT UP: The winner of this matchup confronts the winner of the Cali War Vs. Minnesota Vixen meeting for the WFA Pro National Championship Sunday, July 10, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The combatants come together at 2:00 p.m. EDT. You can watch every tackle on ESPN2.