Recap vs. Massachusetts Mutiny – May 5, 2001

Late Divas Rally Falls Short in 15-8 Defeat
Massachusetts 15, DC 8
By Neal Rozendaal

Boston, MA – It was a step in the right direction.

One week after getting blown out in their season opener, 40-0, the D.C. Divas battled the Massachusetts Mutiny down to the wire before losing, 15-8. The Divas (0-2) displayed a much improved defense and nearly came away with the first win in franchise history.

The Mutiny (2-0) jumped out to an early lead and took a 9-0 advantage into the fourth quarter. But the Divas’ defense, which had surrendered 40 points in the team’s opener, kept the Divas in the game. In fact, the defense also contributed some points of its own, the first points in Divas history.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Mutiny had the ball in D.C. territory with a nine-point lead. The Mutiny quarterback tried to pitch the ball to a Massachusetts back, but Divas defensive end Donna Wilkinson read the play, picked off the pass, and raced 63 yards for a Divas touchdown. Wilkinson, who also plays fullback, then finished off the feat by rushing for a two-point conversion, the first points tallied by the Divas’ special teams. Wilkinson’s efforts cut the Mutiny lead to a single point, 9-8.

The Divas defense then stopped the Mutiny on their ensuing possession. When Massachusetts went back to punt, Divas defensive lineman Jamie Nicholas broke through the Mutiny blockers and blocked the punt, giving the Divas the ball with great field position. The Divas had momentum and appeared poised to possibly pull off a stunning comeback.

But on the Divas’ next play from scrimmage, a fumble on the snap gave the ball right back to the Mutiny. The home team cashed in by driving down the field for the decisive touchdown with minutes remaining on the clock. The Mutiny touchdown extended their lead to 15-8. Ultimately, the Divas’ offense was held scoreless for the second consecutive week, and the Divas’ furious rally came up seven points short.

With the Divas’ improved play against the Mutiny, excitement is running high for the first ever women’s football game held in Washington, DC. Next weekend, the Divas will make their home debut at Eastern High School in DC against the Connecticut Crush. Like the Divas, the Crush have an 0-2 record on the year with losses to the Philadelphia Liberty Belles and the Massachusetts Mutiny. The Divas are hoping that their improved defensive play against the Mutiny will give the team momentum heading into a competitive matchup with Connecticut.

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