BEAT ILLUSION IN FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS
. The offense displayed some fireworks as they accumulated 238 yards through the air and 250 yards on the ground. #14 Lisa Horton displayed great poise and precision, completing 7 passes for 210 yards and 5 touchdowns. Having standout games at receiver for the Passion were #1 Wil Walton and #84 Lori Johnson. They combined for 156 receiving yards and had a pair of touchdowns apiece. Leading all ball carriers was Torina Henley #12. She broke the plane twice while carrying the rock for 131 yards on 6 carries. #9 Cristy Laudadio also chipped in by going 9 for 9 on extra points.
The Passion wasted no time getting onto the scoreboard, as #14 Horton connected with #1 Walton for a 73-yard bomb on the first play from scrimmage. Lisa Horton continued her aerial assault, adding 2 more touchdown tosses to cap off a 28-0 1st quarter lead. After the Illusion managed to convert a 3rd and 1 at the end of the 1st quarter, #38 Beth Amato delivered a big play recovering a fumble at the Illusion 31-yard line. The Passion quickly took advantage of the turnover, as #14 Lisa Horton showed some mobility scrambling into the end zone from 5-yards out. Taking a 49-0 lead into half-time, the Passion's offense added two more scores in the 2nd half, capped off by a 5-yard gallop from #47 Laurie Roberts.
Defensively, the Passion limited the Illusion's offense to a dwindling 65 yards of total offense and only 1 score. #20 Rodgers was all over the field, accounting for 14 tackles, 3 of which went for a loss. #38 Amato also turned in a big game, collecting 8 tackles, a fumble recovery, and one sack which setting the Illusion back 7-yards. Amato's sack was only 1 of 3 on the day for the Passion, as #45 Byers and #95 Reblock each took down the Illusion quarterback once in the game.
With this victory, the Pittsburgh Passion go to 9-0 overall on the season and will advance into the 2nd round of the Playoffs to be played at Cupples Stadium on Carson St. on the South Side, this coming Sat. June 30th at 7PM.
Cleveland Fusion victorious in Connecticut, 53-0.
The Cleveland Fusion started their playoff run Saturday night in Connecticut, with a forceful 53-0 victory over the #4 seeded Connecticut Crush. The Fusion (seeded 5th) exploded on offense, totaling 602 yards;180 passing and 422 rushing. Martina Latessa was the leading rusher with 166 yards on 26 carries and 4 touchdowns. Erica Ware and Danielle Lurry added to the ground attack with one touchdown each. Ware accumulated 162 yards, while Lurry added 87 yards.
The Fusion's quarterback, Mary Deitrick, completed 9 of 12 passes for 180 yards. Shauna Nevel was the leading receiver with 95 yards on four catches, with Shannon Anderson adding 85 yards on 5 catches.
For the defense, Mary Erne Jr. lead the strong effort with five tackles, two of which were sacks, and one forced fumble. Peru Barber added another forced fumble, a fumble recovery, three solo tackles and four assists; Jackie Tadych had two solo tackles, an assist and an interception. Marie Spencer ended the game with two interceptions, returning one for 40 yards.
This weekend, the Fusion travel to Boston to take on the number one seed in the Northern Conference, the Massachusetts Mutiny on Saturday, June 30th at 7:00 pm. For more information on the Cleveland Fusion, to order tickets or to find out how to support the Fusion on their playoff run, go to ClevelandFusion.com or call 419-271-4278.
-- Kelly Ferjutz--Staff Writer--Cleveland Fusion
OKC LIGHTNING ENDS A GOOD
NEW ORLEANS BLAZE SEASON
By Patrick McGuigan
Taft Stadium; OKC, OK – The OKC Lightning beat the New Orleans Blaze decisively to earn a second home playoff game this Saturday against the St. Louis Slam at home in Taft Stadium.
As the sun set and darkness came to the MidCity Saturday night, frequent lightning strikes could be seen on the far northern horizon. Combined with occasional sprinkles and dramatic layers of clouds directly overhead, everyone at Taft Stadium expected a torrential downpour any second.
But as it turned out the only “Lightning” that evening was an apt metaphor for the Oklahoma City women’s football squad in its latest crucial victory, and the fireworks stayed on the field. The Lightning defense was able to bend, but not break, in a tough contest with the New Orleans Blaze.
Timely defensive heroics combined with the speedy runs of Iliana Calderon (who ended the game with over 190 yards), and deft passing from quarterbacks Tammy Raiber and Lindsey Belcher, proved too much for the feisty Blaze, as the Lightning Ladies ground out a solid 42-12 victory.
Still aiming to make the trip to Nashville and next month’s national championship game, Oklahoma City solidified its reputation as one of the stalwart franchises in the National Women’s Football Association. In the friendly environs of historic Taft Stadium on May Ave. in the MidCity, the 8-1 Lightning host a second-round playoff game this Saturday, June 30, at 7 p.m. against the 8-1 St. Louis Slam.
They face the St. Louis Slam for the third time this year, having split the two previous contests by winning at home and losing the final regular season game in St. Louis.
Halftime at the Lightning game featured a nostalgic recognition for several retired players of the current team, as well as special recognition for a group of older women who had played for the Oklahoma City Dolls, the original women’s football team in the MidCity. Many of the honorees wore newly printed T-shirts declaring the Lightning the 2007 NWFA Southwestern Division champions.
Iliana Calderon, dubbed “E” by fans, continued to perform as likely the best runner in women’s football. By half-time, the Lightning had a 22-6 lead over the Blaze, who came onto the field for the second half kickoff full of enthusiasm.
On the first play from scrimmage, with the ball on their own 20, the Lightning offensive line blew open a gaping hole on the right side. Calderon blew through, turned slightly to her left and ran the length of the field for the touchdown. With holder/wide Lisa Rorick her usual competent self, place-kicker Lacey Schultz put the ball cleanly through the uprights and the Lightning lead had grown to 29-6. It seemed a rout might be in the offing.
But the second half actually developed into a methodical struggle, highlighted by a few big plays to seal the Lightning victory. Blaze quarterback Christy Boyles, usually lining up in a shotgun formation, proved herself an accurate passer, throwing with a unique sidearm style with great precision. The Blaze had several sustained drives but only got a one more touchdown. The Lightning defense repeatedly gave up chunks of yards, only to shut things down when necessary.
Second-string quarterback Lindsey Belcher had a rough start under center, giving star signal-caller Tammy Raiber a second half break. Belcher fumbled the ball early in the second half, but then she settled down to secure the Lightning victory.
High drama came late in the 3rd Quarter, when safety Melinda Malone intercepted Boyles’ pass at the 1-yard line. Belcher guided what turned into a 99-yard 5 play drive marked by two huge plays. Facing a second down and nine at the Lightning 2, Belcher handed the ball to Calderon, who flew down the left side for a 24-yard gain.
After a facemask penalty advanced the ball, Belcher dropped back with strong protection from the Lightning offensive line. She found near the left sideline Christy Williams at the Blaze 40. Williams caught the ball in stride, moved to the middle of the field and a few yards back up field to gain blockers. Williams then turned down the right sideline and went into the end zone for another score. Schultz kicked perfectly again and the score was 36-6.
Williams later scored the final Lightning touchdown, as well.
OKC LIGHTNING TO FACE ST. LOUIS SLAM IN REMATCH FOR SECOND ROUND OF PLAYOFFS
The 8-1 Oklahoma City Lightning will play its second round game in the NWFA playoffs against the 8-1 St. Louis Slam at home in Taft Stadium on Saturday, June 30th with the kickoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Oklahoma City, coming off of a tough 7-0 road loss against the same St. Louis Slam two weeks ago, will host the Missouri women in a grudge rematch that should prove to be one of the best games of the week. Look for the Lightning to want some payback for the 7-0 loss they suffered at the hands of the Slam in St. Louis. This match-up is the third game between the two teams and should provide quite a showdown between them, who both suffered their only losses from each other (OKC against St. Louis and the Slam against the Lighting).
For OKC, they feature 2006 NWFA Rusher and Scorer of the Year, RB Iliana Calderon. Look for the Lightning defense to be stingy on the St. Louis team and the offense to resume their productive pace. Calderon, dubbed “E” by fans, amassed over 190 yards in rushing against a very good New Orleans Blaze team. The passing game effectively rotated quarterbacks Lindsey Belcher and Tammy Raiber to accumulate passing yardage on numerous plays.
This tough third match-up with the Slam will surely be an interesting offensive and defensive performance for Oklahoma City as well as for St. Louis. The Slam features 2006 NWFA Leading Tackler of the Year, Kelly Kozlen. St. Louis beat a good Phoenix Prowlers team last week by a score of 33-29 in what was the closest game of the night in their first round game. The winner of the Slam/Lightning game advances to the Southern Conference champion game against either the winner of #1 seed 8-0 Chattanooga Locomotion or the #5 seed 8-1 Columbus Comets, who beat a good Pensacola Power team last week in the playoffs 10-0 to advance. The winner of this game will go to the 2007 NWFA National Championship game to be held in Nashville, TN.
Come support the Lightning during this important game in their quest for a trip for Nashville for the 2007 NWFA National Championship. Hope to see you there!!!
Last year, the OKC Lightning won the Southwest Division, the Southern Conference and ended up NWFA League Runners-up against the D.C. Divas in the 2006 NWFA National Championship in Pittsburgh, PA, closing the season with a 10-1 record (the lone loss in the national championship).
For information on the OKC Lightning, please visit okclightning.com or call (405) 760-1406
IT'S THE BATTLE OF THE BEST
FOR WOMEN'S PRO FOOTBALL!
Nashville, Tennessee - The National Women's Football Association has announced the Women's Football Team Challenge. The event will be held Saturday, July 21st in conjunction with the 7th Annual Championship of Women's Football.
The event is open to all players and teams from all of the leagues in women's pro football. "All of the leagues think they have the best players and there's a lot of trash talk between them. We think that by hosting this event, everyone will be able to see who really has the best players and teams," states league CEO, Catherine Masters.
Masters, of course, feels her league has the best players. "You never know though, until they get out on the field, who the real winners are. If someone is better than us, we'll applaud them. If they aren't, then we'll prove to the rest of the world what we already know, "she states. She further believes that this WOMEN'S FOOTBALL TEAM CHALLENGE is the first step towards having the top two teams in all of the leagues, play in a national championship.
"This isn't the year for a national championship between the leagues but 2008 will be. Our staff is already planning it and will announce the date for the National Championship soon. Hopefully, the other leagues will see the value and participate at both events," states VP Debby Lening.
The WOMEN'S FOOTBALL TEAM CHALLENGE will include challenges for just about every position on the teams and winners of each event will be awarded points and prizes. There is no registration fee but all participants must have a valid ticket to the championship game and register before July 10th.
Stefani Godsey has been appointed the Director of the event. For additional information or to register, please call (615) 860-4084.
SMASH HITS COMING TO NASHVILLE!
On July 21st, five thousand music and sports fans will come to Nashville for the first annual SMASH HITS FESTIVAL. The festival is the brainchild of music and sports entrepreneur, Catherine Masters and will combine a singer/songwriter festival with a world championship football game.
Masters who is well known for her success in the sports world and her efforts on behalf of independent artists, left the music industry seven years ago to start a women's professional football league, the National Women's Football Association. The NWFA now has over 32 teams around the country and this July, the top two teams in the league will come to Nashville for the 7th World Championship Game.
This year, since the game is being held in Music City, Masters decided to join music and sports together in one event. Now, fans will be able to attend a huge singer/songwriter festival prior to the game.
"I know first hand that there are a lot of talented singer/songwriters who need to get in front of a large crowd. I also know that this game will bring in between 5,000 - 6,000 fans who like to come to Nashville and who love music. To me, it's a no brainer. We provide the space and promotion for the artists and they can perform, generate more fans, and sell their CD's and merchandise," she states. "Smash Hits is a great name for this event since it's about helping the music artists get some hits and of course, our football players getting hits as well," says league VP, Debby Lening.
There is a $50.00 fee for the space and all artists must bring their own tents, table and chairs. Only acoustic artists will be accepted. There is a limited number of spaces and they are being offered on a first come, first serve basis. The event will run from 2:00pm to 6:00pm.
For more information, please call (615) 860-4084. You may also email Debby at firstname.lastname@example.org
TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR
The National Women's Football Association has announced that tickets for the 2007 FOOTBALL PALLOOZA are now on sale. The tickets are on sale through ticketmaster and are $15.00 if ordered prior to the game on Saturday, July 21st. At the gate, tickets are $20.00.
In addition to the 7th Annual World Championship Game on July 21st, there will also be a Player's Reception on Friday, July 20th at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. The event is open to the public and tickets are $20.00. These tickets are available by calling (615) 860-4084. There is a limited number of tickets available for this event.
MYSPACE MEMBERS TO MEET AT
Nashville, TN - The organizers of Football Pallooza, the world championship of women's professional football, have announced that there will be a special section in the stadium designated for MySpace members.
"We know that lots of people in Nashville are members of MySpace and thought this might be a great way for all of them to meet in a safe and fun way," states league CEO, Catherine Masters. All MySpace members who attend the game will be seated in a section reserved just for them and given name tags so that they can meet and greet one another.
Football Pallooza will be held on Saturday, July 21st at White's Creek High School with kick off at 7:00pm. Thousands of women's football fans will be attending from around the country and Nashville. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.
For additional information on the National Women's Football Association, please visit WomensFootballCentral.com or call (615) 860-4084.
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photo Getty Images