Washington, DC – The D.C. Divas will celebrate their record-setting 11th playoff appearance in franchise history by bringing women’s football to Northern Virginia for the first time Saturday.
The D.C. Divas finished the 2014 regular season with a 4-3 record, but that mark is somewhat misleading, as the Divas are ranked #4 in all of women’s football. D.C.’s three losses this season include a defeat at the hands of the #2 Chicago Force and two extremely close losses to the #1-ranked Boston Militia.
The Divas ended the regular season with a heartbreaking 29-28 loss to the Boston Militia on June 7. The Divas fell behind, 21-0, before rallying in the second half, a rally that came up one point short of victory.
“It was a tough loss,” Divas head coach Alison Fischer admitted. “We dug ourselves a deep hole, and we really hurt ourselves with such a slow start in the first half. Getting off to slow starts seems to be an issue with us. Although we played much better on both sides of the ball in the second half, it just wasn’t enough in the end.”
While Fischer was frustrated with the team’s poor first half, she praised the players for never giving up. “To their credit, the players kept fighting, and we did come from behind and outscore them in the second half. We played much better and gave a great effort,” Fischer said. “It was good to see that the players never quit.”
The D.C. Divas now turn their attention to the playoffs. The Divas will be making their 11th postseason appearance, the most in the history of women’s football, when they take on the Columbus Comets (5-4) in a conference quarterfinal matchup Saturday.
If the Divas defeat the Comets, they will play the winner of a Boston Militia-Cleveland Fusion game in the next round. Coach Fischer knows that the Divas’ players will be challenged to put the recent loss to Boston – and the prospect of a possible rematch with them – out of their minds.
“We have to make sure we are prepared to play against Columbus,” Coach Fischer warned. “Because we did have a hard loss against Boston, we need to recover from that and get into playoff mode. We need to make sure we handle our business against Columbus, because they’re a tough, tough team, and there’s no room for error in the playoffs.”
The Columbus Comets are no strangers to playoff football themselves. They are making their ninth postseason appearance in franchise history in 2014, and like the Divas, the Comets have played in two national championship games. The Comets and Divas twice met in the playoffs before, including a victory for the Divas in the 2006 NWFA Northern Conference championship game by a 32-7 score. The Divas went on to capture the NWFA national championship that season.
Coach Fischer knows the Comets well, and she knows the challenge that they pose. “We’ve played Columbus several times the last couple years. They always play hard the whole game, and they have some real athletes. They’re just a very solid all-around team.”
The D.C. Divas represent the entire national capital region, known as the DMV – the District, Maryland, and Virginia. The Divas traditionally play home games at Prince George’s Sports Complex in Landover, Maryland. But the team maintains close ties to the District, practicing two to three times weekly at D.C. high schools and staging occasional contests there, most recently in 2013 when they played the New York Sharks at Coolidge High School.
However, Saturday’s playoff contest marks the first time in their 14-year history that the D.C. Divas will play a game in northern Virginia. The June 21 matchup against the Columbus Comets will be played at Falls Church High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 PM, and tickets are on sale for $15, with discounts for service members, seniors, and students.
Coach Alison Fischer is excited to showcase Divas football in northern Virginia and give the area a taste of women’s playoff football. “We have never played a game in Virginia, but there are a lot of fans from Virginia that travel to our games when we play in Landover,” Fischer remarked. “Hopefully this game will introduce us to some new fans over in Virginia, and we know that our loyal fans in D.C., Maryland, and Baltimore will still come out to see us in our first appearance in Virginia.”