Recap vs. Tennessee Venom – June 15, 2002

Divas Neutralize Tennessee Venom Again, 60-0
DC 60, Tennessee 0
By Neal Rozendaal

Church Hill, TN – The D.C. Divas have their first ever playoff bid clearly in their sights, and they weren’t about to let the winless Tennessee Venom stand in their way.

The Divas dominated the Venom for the third straight meeting, 60-0. And for the third straight time, the Divas’ game against the Venom ended with the Divas setting a new franchise record for points scored in a game, topping the sixty-point mark for the first time in team history.

The Divas (6-2) jumped out to an early 14-0 lead. Near the end of the first half, the Divas were driving for a decisive third touchdown when the Venom made a goal line stand. Divas quarterback Deb Troell was intercepted deep in Tennessee territory to give the ball back to the Venom.

Just as the Venom (0-7) thought they might be able to take momentum into the halftime locker room, Divas linebacker Tessa Nelson intercepted a Tennessee pass and returned it into Venom territory. Nelson would intercept a second Venom pass in the second half.

On the next offensive play, Tara Kallal took a reverse handoff and raced 34 yards for a back-breaking Divas touchdown right before halftime. Kallal’s run handed the Divas a 21-0 lead at intermission.

The Divas broke the game wide open in the third quarter, scoring five touchdowns in the frame. Kallal scored on her second touchdown run of the game, while Nikki Williams reached the end zone on a sparkling 78-yard punt return. Monica Livingston also added 54 yards rushing in the win.

Reserve quarterback Allyson Hamlin had another outstanding performance in relief of Troell. The rookie Hamlin completed four passes in four attempts for 107 yards and three touchdowns. Not to be lost in the offensive explosion was the play of the Divas defense, which limited the Venom to just four first downs in the game.

The Divas return home next week for their regular season finale, without a doubt the biggest game in Divas history. The 6-2 Divas will face their archrivals, the 8-1 Baltimore Burn, and the Divas’ first playoff berth and division title will be there for the taking.

With a narrow win over Baltimore in their regular season finale, the Divas would qualify for the NWFL playoffs as a wild card and would travel to Boston to play the Massachusetts Mutiny in the league quarterfinals. If the Divas can defeat Baltimore by ten points or more, however, the Divas would clinch the Mid-Atlantic division championship and host the Philadelphia Liberty Belles in the first round of the NWFL playoffs.

The Divas and Burn have met three times so far this season, with each game coming down to the final possession. The Divas are 1-2 against the Burn this year, and they’ll need a second win over their rivals to secure the first playoff berth in team history.

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