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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Division title on the line Saturday night

Division Title on the Line When Divas Collide with Pittsburgh 
Neal Rozendaal

Washington, DC – A tenth division championship, a first round bye in the playoffs, and a piece of women’s football history…it’s all at stake for the DC Divas as they prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Passion Saturday night in Landover.

If the Divas (4-2) can come away with a win over the Passion, they would claim their tenth division title, which would tie them for the most division championships in the history of the sport.  Standing in their way is a tough Pittsburgh squad that would like to avenge a season-opening 42-31 loss to DC.

Divas head coach Alison Fischer knows that despite the Divas’ victory over Pittsburgh earlier this season, Saturday’s matchup will involve two entirely different teams.  “We’ve both progressed,” Fischer said.  “In our last meeting, Pittsburgh didn’t have [wide receiver Rachel] Wojdowski, who has been very productive for them.  They’ve had time to develop more plays, and I know they’re going to pull out all the stops.”

The Divas are coming off of possibly the highest-scoring game in women’s pro football history, an 81-54 loss to the Boston Militia.  Pittsburgh’s high-powered passing offense, led by Wojdowski and quarterback Lisa Horton, will present a difficult challenge for a Divas defense that was gashed by Boston. 

“They like to throw the ball around and show different looks,” Fischer remarked.  “They’re not afraid to be bold and try some things, so we just need to be prepared.  Our defense really needs to step up this week.  We’ve got to play better on defense, and we know that.  A lot of our problems have been fundamental, so we’re working on correcting that.”

On the other hand, the 54 points DC scored two weeks ago were the most by a wide margin that the Militia have ever surrendered, so the Divas’ offense has some momentum.  Now they face a Passion defense ranked #1 in the entire WFA.

“Pittsburgh has always played us tough, and it’s a huge game,” Fischer concluded.  “It’s like a playoff game for us.  That’s how important it is, so it’s really nice to have it at home in front of our fans.”

The Divas can capture the division crown with a win over the Passion, while Pittsburgh would clinch the division if they beat the Divas by more than 11 points.  If Pittsburgh triumphs by 11 points or less, the division title would be decided next week when the Divas square off with the Columbus Comets in their regular season finale.  The division champion automatically makes the WFA playoffs and receives a bye in the opening round.

With a win Saturday, the Divas would secure their tenth division title in franchise history, joining the Sacramento Sirens as just the second team in women’s football to claim ten division crowns.  The Sirens won their tenth division title last year and could add an eleventh this season, but they currently trail the undefeated Central Cal War Angels in their division race.

Most Division Championships in Women’s Professional Football, All-Time

1.  Sacramento Sirens – 10
2.  DC DIVAS* – 9
2.  Dallas Diamonds** – 9
4.  Pensacola Power/Gulf Coast Riptide (Defunct) – 8
5.  Jacksonville Dixie Blues – 7
5.  Seattle Majestics* – 7
7.  New York Sharks – 6
7.  Chicago Force** – 6 
7.  Houston Energy (IWFL)* – 6
7.  Detroit Demolition (Defunct) – 6

*Currently leading division
**Total includes 2013 division championship

Around the WFA – In the Boston game recap, it was noted that the Divas’ 54 points in their 81-54 loss to the Militia were the most ever scored by a WFA team in defeat.  That record was short-lived, as just a few hours later, the Derby City Dynamite reported a 58-56 victory over the Cincinnati Sizzle…The New York Sharks held off the Central Maryland Seahawks, 28-20, denying the Seahawks their first non-forfeit victory…The Kansas City Titans easily dispatched the Nebraska Stampede, 51-6. That sets up a terrific showdown this week between the 5-0 Titans and the 6-0 Chicago Force in the Windy City…The Titans-Force game is the final scheduled matchup between any of the league’s nine remaining unbeaten teams.
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