Recap vs. New York Sharks – June 16, 2007

Divas Complete Sweep of Sharks, 22-0
DC 22, New York 0
By Rich Daniel

Landover, MD – The undefeated D.C. Divas continued their winning ways with a hard-fought 22-0 victory over the visiting New York Sharks.  The Divas have now won their last 30 regular season contests.

The Divas (6-0) got an early jump on the Sharks, returning the opening kickoff 72 yards to set up the first score of the game. Rachelle Pecovsky rammed it home from one-yard out and LaShawn Foust added the two-point conversion to give the Divas a lead they would not relinquish.

The Sharks (4-2) stiffened on defense for the rest of the half, and the Divas carried that 8-0 lead all the way to the halftime locker room. But offensive MVP Allyson Hamlin threw for 141 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown strike which made it 14-0 in the third quarter.

“We were able to open it up a bit when the Sharks tried to stuff the run,” said Hamlin. “It was nice to spread it around. I’m blessed with a great receiving corps and a tremendous offensive line.”

Pecovsky totaled 45 yards on 19 tough carries against an experienced and well-coached New York team. Nikki Williams, the Divas’ all-time leading receiver, had four catches for 49 yards, while Tara Stephenson added three catches for 52 yards on the night.

The Divas’ defense dominated once again, recording their fourth shutout this season and their 12th in their last 17 games. Defensive back Kathryn Hemlock continued her impressive season with three of the Divas’ four interceptions on the night, taking home defensive MVP honors. Her 21-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, coupled with Pecovsky’s two-point conversion, sealed the victory. Hemlock was also instrumental in Divas’ victory at New York earlier in the season, when she recorded two interceptions and had a punt return for a touchdown to spark a comeback win. “I seem to like playing the Sharks, but I get ready for them just as I do any other opponent,” said Hemlock. “They are very good and that certainly motivates me to meet the challenge.”

The Divas’ linebackers, known as the “Bombsquad,” were led by Drea Major with seven solo tackles and “Poison” Ivy Tillman with four solo tackles and eight assisted tackles. The linebackers executed extremely well against the Sharks, with a big hand from an ever-improving defensive line.

“We were able to grind it out on offense and go to the air when we needed to. And our defense continues to get better as a unit,” said a jubilant Coach Ezra Cooper. “We finished our regular season at home the way we wanted. Now we go on the road to finish the rest of the mission.”

On Saturday, June 23, the Divas travel north to face the New England Intensity.

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