Recap vs. Baltimore Burn – May 4, 2002

Divas Improve to 3-1 With Thrilling 7-6 Victory
DC 7, Baltimore 6
By Neal Rozendaal

Baltimore, MD – And just like that, the Divas are back in the race for the NWFL’s Mid-Atlantic Division title.

In danger of losing their second straight contest to their heated rivals from Baltimore, the D.C. Divas used a touchdown pass in the final two minutes of regulation to topple the Baltimore Burn, 7-6. The exciting come-from-behind victory evens the Divas’ season series with the Burn at one victory apiece and locks them into a virtual tie atop the Mid-Atlantic Division standings.

The Divas and Burn feature two of the best defenses in women’s football this season. Their previous meeting was a defensive slugfest where the Divas (3-1) suffered their only loss of the year, a 7-2 setback.

The Baltimore Burn (4-1) had every intention of handing the Divas a similar low-scoring defeat in this game. The Burn took a 6-0 lead after breaking off a long run in the second quarter. Although they missed the extra point, Baltimore took a 6-0 advantage into halftime.

For most of the game, it looked like those six points might be more than enough for victory. All game long, both offenses struggled to gain any momentum at all. With just under two minutes left in the contest, the Divas had the ball around midfield, but their six-point deficit loomed large given the defensive nature of the contest to that point.

But Divas quarterback Deb Troell spotted wide receiver Kelly Akins along the sideline and rifled a pass over to her. Akins outran the Baltimore defense and knotted the game, 6-6. An ecstatic Divas sideline scrambled to prepare for the all-important extra point attempt.

The Divas considered going for two points, but given how strong both defenses had been throughout the game, they turned to the kicking leg of Stacy Palmer. Palmer has begun to stamp herself as one of the great kickers in the game, as she withstood a heavy Baltimore rush and booted a critical kick through the uprights for a 7-6 Divas lead.

At that point, all the Divas needed to win the game was one final defensive stop. The D.C. defense sealed the game with an interception to hand Baltimore its first loss of the year.

The Divas and Burn will play two more times this season, and those games will almost certainly go on to decide the Mid-Atlantic Division championship. The two teams return to Baltimore for their third meeting of the season on June 1.

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