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Sunday, April 21, 2013

D.C. Divas go 3-0

DC Divas Blank Central Maryland, 40-0
Neal Rozendaal

Baltimore, MD – So far this season, the DC Divas have felt right at home on the road.

The Divas defense recovered five Seahawks fumbles – including two in the end zone for touchdowns – and DC defeated Central Maryland, 40-0, on Saturday.  The Divas (3-0) won their third straight game on the road and pitched their first shutout of the year.

Fumble recoveries were responsible for all of the scoring in the first quarter.  Pinned deep in their own territory, the Seahawks (1-2) were forced to punt.  The punter fumbled the snap, and Jimmien Strong recovered the ball in the end zone to get DC on the board first.

Two minutes later, Central Maryland was backed deep in their own territory again.  This time, the quarterback fumbled the snap, and Alicia Hopkins came away with possession in the end zone for another Divas score.  DC held a 13-0 lead after one quarter.

Fumbles continued to plague the Seahawks in the second period.  Allyson Swailes came up with DC’s third fumble recovery of the game, which gave the Divas great field position at the Seahawks’ 40-yard line.  The DC offense took advantage, capping a forty-yard drive with a touchdown pass from Allyson Hamlin to Juliette Baker-Brice.  The Divas’ first offensive score of the contest handed the visitors a 20-0 lead.

Controversy struck at the end of the first half.  Central Maryland’s first ever home game came with one major complication: the scoreboard game clock malfunctioned, forcing the referees to keep time on the field.

Hopkins made her second fumble recovery of the game late in the first half, giving the Divas possession near midfield.  Hamlin rapidly completed two passes to the sidelines, putting the Divas near the Central Maryland goal line in mere seconds. However, the referees then signaled that the half was over, abruptly ending the scoring threat.

Nevertheless, the Divas continued their offensive momentum in the second half, and they did so by calling on their most experienced player.  Donna Wilkinson – the only remaining member of the team who played for the Divas’ inaugural squad in 2001 – ran for a seven-yard touchdown to stake DC to a 27-0 advantage.

Alicia Hopkins continued her stellar play on the next Central Maryland possession.  The Seahawks were forced to punt, and when their punter dropped the snap, Hopkins snared the ball again for her third fumble recovery of the game at the Seahawks’ 10-yard line.  The Divas capitalized on their excellent field position when Hamlin scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak on fourth and goal.

Allyson Hamlin added a sixth DC touchdown to the scoreboard by completing a 16-yard touchdown pass to Baker-Brice midway through the fourth quarter.  Hamlin put together a solid day’s work, accounting for three touchdowns – two through the air and one on the ground.

The Divas defense preserved their shutout in dramatic fashion.  On the game’s final play, a Seahawk ballcarrier scampered down the field for Central Maryland’s longest gain of the day.  After traveling over sixty yards, Raquel Williams dragged the Seahawk runner down from behind inside the five-yard line, ending the contest with DC’s goal line still uncrossed.

The victory gave DC their third straight win to start the season, all of them on the road.  As a result, the Divas play four of their final five regular season games at home, beginning next Saturday with their home opener against the Boston Militia.

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