Recap vs. Tennessee Venom – May 18, 2002

Divas Immune to Tennessee’s Venom
DC 53, Tennessee 0
By Leah Fahringer

Recap • Statistics

Washington, DC – The Tennessee Venom came to Eastern High School in Washington, DC, seeking revenge for last year’s 52-0 defeat at the hands of the D.C. Divas. Instead, the Divas gave them a sense of déjà vu. On a cold, cloudy day, the Divas dominated the Venom in a nearly-identical fashion as last season, ultimately coming away with a 53-0 victory.

The Divas (4-1) came out on fire in the first half, scoring on their first six offensive drives. After a long return of the opening kickoff by Ivy Tillman, the Divas’ offense reached the end zone on five plays. Quarterback Deb Troell hit wide receiver Cori Carson for a 10-yard touchdown pass, and the Divas took a quick 6-0 lead. Carson led the Divas with 55 receiving yards and a touchdown catch.

The Venom (0-4) were forced to punt on their first offensive drive, but a nice kick pinned the Divas inside their own 20-yard line. Undaunted, the Divas put together an 81-yard drive for another touchdown. Two long runs by Amy Stenson brought the ball across midfield; Stenson would end the game with 65 yards on six carries and add a touchdown receiving. Monica Livingston capped off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run, and while her run for a two-point conversion was stopped short, the Divas had a 12-0 advantage on the scoreboard.

Donna Wilkinson made her presence felt on both sides of the ball in the first half. Her eight-yard sack on defense halted the next Venom drive, and the Divas were threatening inside the Tennessee red zone as the first quarter expired. On the first play of the second quarter, Wilkinson raced 19 yards for a Divas touchdown to put the Divas on top, 18-0.

Things continued to get worse for the Venom. Tennessee went three and out on their next drive, and their punt snap was bobbled, forcing their punter to throw incomplete on fourth down at their own 28-yard line. On the very next play, Tara Kallal made a spectacular catch in double coverage in the end zone for the Divas’ fourth touchdown of the game. Troell ended the game completing four of five passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns, and Stacy Palmer kicked the extra point as the Divas went ahead by a 25-0 score.

A ten-yard sack by Kristen Atwood killed the next Tennessee drive, and the Divas took over near midfield on their next possession. On the Divas’ first offensive play of the drive, a 49-yard touchdown pass from Troell to Carson was called back by a penalty. But the Divas simply made another explosive play when Monica Livingston took the handoff and scampered 49 yards on a touchdown run. Livingston led the Divas with 145 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the game, and the Divas had a 32-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Divas continued their impressive first-half defensive performance, forcing yet another Venom punt. Ivy Tillman led the Divas with six tackles for the evening, and Amy Juang and Lisa Hill each added 3.5 tackles as well.

Backup quarterback Allyson Hamlin took over for Deb Troell late in the second quarter and piloted the team for the rest of the first half. A nice 24-yard pass from Hamlin to Stenson set up Donna Wilkinson’s second touchdown run of the game, a 31-yard jaunt that made the score 39-0. The Divas scored touchdowns on their first six possessions of the game and went into the halftime break holding a 39-0 lead.

A long Tennessee drive to open the second half was thwarted when Divas defensive lineman Tessa Nelson intercepted a Venom pass and returned it 45 yards into Divas territory. Troell re-entered the game at quarterback and was victimized by penalties when back-to-back touchdown passes to Kelly Akins and Cori Carson were waved off by penalty. Troell’s next pass was then intercepted by the Venom for her only incompletion of the entire contest, and Hamlin came in to replace her for the remainder of the game.

Hamlin looked impressive on her only drive of the third quarter. She completed all four of her pass attempts on the drive, including a five-yard touchdown toss to Donna Wilkinson that put the Divas ahead after three quarters, 46-0. Wilkinson finished the night with 111 yards rushing and three touchdowns, two on the ground and one through the air.

The Divas’ defense made sure the shutout would stand in the fourth quarter, coming up with two turnovers in the period. Lisa Hill recovered a Venom fumble, and Tessa Nelson intercepted her second pass of the contest. Late in the fourth quarter, Hamlin put a final stamp on the scoring with a ten-yard scoring toss to Amy Stenson. Hamlin ended the contest by completing eight of 12 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns, and her second touchdown throw gave the Divas their final 53-0 margin of victory.

The victory over the Tennessee Venom gave the D.C. Divas their first three-game winning streak in franchise history. The Divas will look to make it four in a row next weekend at home against the Asheville Assault.

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