Washington, DC – The second half of the D.C. Divas’ historic 15th season is set to begin, and the challenges are getting bigger as the season moves along.

The D.C. Divas will make their home debut on Saturday, May 16, at 6 PM against the Columbus Comets at the Prince George’s Sports Complex in Landover. The D.C. Divas are undefeated at the midway point of the regular season and are ranked #1 in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) for the first time since 2011.

The Divas (4-0) claimed a statement victory the last time they took the field, going on the road to defeat the Boston Renegades, 32-27. The Renegades’ roster was stocked with players and coaches that won last year’s WFA championship, but the Divas went into a hostile environment and became the first team to win a game in Boston in six years. The victory in Boston stamped the Divas as legitimate national championship contenders at the halfway mark of the 2015 season and handed them the #1 ranking in the sport.

The second half of the season, however, will present even bigger obstacles for the Divas. Although the Divas have claimed hard-fought victories over the Columbus Comets and Boston Renegades so far this season, the back half of the Divas’ schedule includes rematches with both of those teams as well as contests against two more strong opponents, the Atlanta Phoenix and the Cleveland Fusion. Moreover, the Divas now have a target squarely placed on their backs; the Divas’ strong start and high ranking ensures that all of their opponents for the rest of the year will be appropriately motivated when the Divas line up against them.

The D.C. Divas will square off against the fearless Columbus Comets Saturday in the Divas’ 2015 home opener. The Comets (0-4) are winless on the season so far, but this is not reflective of their talent; it is largely due to their incredibly tough strength of schedule so far this season. Despite their overall record, the Comets are currently ranked #13 in the WFA and remain a strong contender to qualify for the WFA playoffs, thanks largely to their willingness to play one of the toughest schedules in women’s football.

The Divas defeated the Comets in the 2015 season opener, a 40-6 victory in Columbus on April 11. The Divas played a strong first half before struggling with penalties after intermission.

“It felt good to get the win,” Divas head coach Alison Fischer remarked. “I thought we started off pretty well overall in the first half, and then in the second half, we seemed to lose focus a bit, played sloppy, and made more mistakes. We have to clean that up going into this game.”

The Divas were led offensively in the first Columbus contest by Kentrina Wilson, who caught seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Ashley Whisonant also added two touchdown receptions against the Comets.

“I thought we moved the ball pretty well offensively in the first half. But we had a couple of drops and penalties that called some plays back, so we definitely have some things to work on,” Fischer cautioned.

Defensively, the Divas put together an excellent team effort, with 20 different players registering tackles. Trigger McNair (8.5) and Tia Watkins (seven) led the team in tackles, while Cherre Marshall (four tackles for loss) and DeVon Goldsmith (three TFL) provided constant pressure. “On the defensive side, I think we played pretty well,” Coach Fischer said. “We made some mistakes on that side of the ball too, but they overcame it because they showed so much hustle in getting to the ball. When we play with that kind of effort, we can make up for some of those mistakes.”

“We need some work on special teams, too,” Fischer added. “We have a lot of new folks playing on special teams, and we need to teach them the rules a little bit better and get them up to speed so that we can eliminate some of the penalties and other mistakes we made in the first game against Columbus.”

But overall, Coach Fischer is hoping to see similar energy from her team in their rematch against Columbus. “I was pleased with the effort. We showed a lot of hustle, so we were pleased with that,” she said.

Because the Central Maryland Seahawks forfeited a scheduled home-and-home series with the Divas, the Divas are making their latest home debut in franchise history on May 16. The team hopes to make up for lost time by putting on a good display of football. “It’s always good to be home. We are looking forward to being there,” Coach Fischer said. “We have some great fans, so it should be a terrific night of football all around.”

The Divas’ 2015 home opener is tomorrow night, Saturday, May 16, against the Columbus Comets. Kickoff will be at 6 PM at Prince George’s Sports Complex in Landover. The Divas are offering a special three-game season ticket package, but it is only available until kickoff tomorrow night. This is your last chance to purchase season tickets for the 2015 D.C. Divas, so make sure to reserve your season or single-game tickets today.

D.C. Divas Announce Formation of Divas Hall of Fame

Washington, DC – In conjunction with the team’s historic 15th season, the D.C. Divas are proud to announce the formation of the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame. This new Hall of Fame will showcase the best and brightest players, coaches, and staff members who have contributed to the D.C. Divas organization throughout the team’s history.

Four new members will be inducted annually into the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame. Most importantly, like any true Hall of Fame, members of the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame will be selected through a voting process, and Divas fans and alumni will be the ones casting the votes!

D.C. Divas Hall of Famers will be elected through a two-tiered voting process. Current and former players, coaches, and staff members of the D.C. Divas in good standing will conduct a separate alumni voting process and elect three individuals into the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame. However, one member of this year’s D.C. Divas Hall of Fame class will be chosen by you…the fans!

Over the next month, we will announce the 20 finalists for the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame fan vote. These finalists have been selected by the D.C. Divas front office and represent some of the best eligible players, coaches, and staff members in Divas history. After the 20 finalists have been announced, fans will be given an opportunity to vote for the one finalist they think should be elected to the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame. The finalist who gathers the most votes will be introduced as the Divas’ newest Hall of Fame inductee!

For more information about the eligibility requirements and voting process of the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame, please visit the Hall of Fame page here on DCDivas.com. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we reveal the 20 fan finalists for the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame!

D.C. Divas Release 2015 League Schedule

Washington, DC – The D.C. Divas announced their 2015 league schedule today, and as usual, it features some of the strongest competition in women’s football. The Divas traditionally play a very challenging schedule, ranking first or second in overall strength of schedule each of the last six seasons, and the 2015 schedule once again brings some of the best teams in women’s football to D.C. to face the Divas.

The Divas’ home opener will take place on April 25 when they host the Central Maryland Seahawks. It will be the Seahawks’ first trip to the nation’s capital. The Divas faced the Seahawks in Baltimore in 2013 and triumphed in a hard-fought contest. After a one-year hiatus, Central Maryland will return to the field for another regional matchup with the Divas.

On May 16, the Divas will host their long-time rivals, the Columbus Comets. The Comets are one of the strongest teams in women’s football, finishing the 2014 season ranked #7 in the sport. It was Columbus’ second straight top ten finish in the national rankings; the Comets ended the 2013 season ranked at #10.

The Divas’ regular season schedule concludes with two home games in June. On June 6, the Cleveland Fusion will come to D.C., the first meeting between the Divas and Fusion in a decade. Cleveland and D.C. have only met once previously, when the Divas narrowly edged the Fusion in the team’s 2005 season opener. Cleveland finished last season ranked #5 in the nation, their second straight top ten finish after ending the 2013 season ranked at #9.

One week later, the Divas’ 2015 regular season schedule concludes with a June 13 home game against Boston. This offseason, the Boston Militia organization was discontinued, but the Militia players quickly rallied together to start a new team and are eager to defend their national championship. For the second straight season, the Divas will end their regular season with a home game against a Boston club, and this new team promises step right into the Militia’s shoes as one of the top teams in women’s football and the Divas’ biggest archrival.

The Divas will open their historic 15th season on the road in Columbus on April 11. The Divas will also travel to Boston and Central Maryland on consecutive weekends on May 2 and May 9. Finally, the Divas will head south on May 30 for a contest against the powerful Atlanta Phoenix. It will be the Divas’ first appearance in Atlanta since facing the Atlanta Xplosion in a playoff game in 2007.

Season tickets for the D.C. Divas’ 2015 campaign are now available for purchase online. The Divas offer affordable prices with discounts for seniors, students, and service members. With one of the most talented teams in women’s football playing top-flight competition, it’s an opportunity no D.C. sports fan will want to miss!

2015 D.C. Divas WFA Schedule
April 11 – @Columbus Comets
April 25 – Central Maryland Seahawks
May 2 – @Boston TBA
May 9 – @Central Maryland Seahawks
May 16 – Columbus Comets
May 30 – @Atlanta Phoenix
June 6 – Cleveland Fusion
June 13 – Boston TBA
June 27 – National Conference Quarterfinal Round
July 11 – National Conference Semifinal Round
July 25 – National Conference Championship Game
August 8 – WFA National Championship Game

Bennett, Evans, and Gaskins to Serve As Coordinators in 2015

Washington, DC – Willie Bennett, Eric Evans, and Greg Gaskins have been named as coordinators on the D.C. Divas 2015 coaching staff, the team announced today. The announcement was made by Divas head coach Alison Fischer. Bennett, Evans, and Gaskins have all served on Coach Fischer’s staff in previous years, and all three have outstanding track records in women’s football.

Willie Bennett has agreed to return for his second season as the defensive coordinator of the D.C. Divas. Bennett played college football at Hampton University before embarking on his coaching career. He coached college football for 12 seasons at Alabama A&M and North Carolina A&T. While at Alabama A&M, Bennett coached Robert Mathis, the NFL’s 2013 AFC Defensive Player of the Year and the all-time career sack leader for the Indianapolis Colts.

Last season, the D.C. Divas defense improved greatly under Coach Bennett’s tutelage. The Divas surrendered fewer than 24 points per game last season after giving up 32 points per game the year before Bennett’s arrival. Coach Bennett is currently an assistant athletic director for the D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) system.

“Coach Bennett has a history of building and implementing successful defenses everywhere he has coached, and his defensive system is a perfect fit for the D.C. Divas,” Coach Fischer said. “I look forward to working with Coach Bennett again this year and expect our defense to thrive under his leadership.”

On the offensive side of the football, Coach Eric Evans and Coach Greg Gaskins will be co-offensive coordinators for the Divas this season. “We are very fortunate to have these two outstanding coaches leading our potent offense in 2015,” Fischer noted.

Eric Evans played quarterback at Morgan State University. He was the Divas’ quarterbacks coach in 2009 and 2011 before serving as offensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013. The Divas’ offense exploded during Evans’ two-year, 20-game stint as coordinator; the offense topped 34 points in 17 of those contests and surpassed 40 points 13 times. After a one-year hiatus, Evans has agreed to return to the Divas as a co-coordinator in 2015, his fifth season with the team.

Greg Gaskins has also earned a promotion to the co-coordinator role after coaching the Divas’ offensive line the past two seasons. Coach Gaskins played on the offensive line at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a teammate of future Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. Under Coach Gaskins’ leadership, the Divas’ offensive line has played an integral role in the team’s offensive success the past two seasons. He currently coaches at Gonzaga College High School in northwest DC.

Coach Alison Fischer to Again Lead Divas in 2015

Washington, DC – The D.C. Divas announced today that Alison Fischer will return as their head coach for the 2015 season. It will be Fischer’s fourth season as the team’s head coach and her 14th season overall with the Divas as both a coach and a player.

Alison Fischer first joined the Divas in the team’s inaugural season in 2001, earning praise as a standout defensive back for ten seasons. She was recognized as a leader on the field by her teammates and was a three-time team captain. After her retirement, Fischer was hired in 2012 as the head coach of the D.C. Divas, becoming one of the few female head coaches in women’s football.

“I’m thrilled that Alison Fischer has agreed to continue as the head coach for the D.C. Divas,” said D.C. Divas owner Paul Hamlin. “As a former top player for the Divas, she brings skill, knowledge, and enthusiasm for women’s football that is unparalleled.”

Fischer has already experienced remarkable success as the head coach of the Divas from 2012-2014. She ranks second in team history in wins as a head coach, behind only legendary former Divas coach Ezra Cooper. In her first three seasons on the Divas’ sidelines, Coach Fischer has led the Divas to three division titles and three top-five finishes in the final women’s football national rankings.

“I am honored and humbled to continue to serve as head coach of the D.C. Divas,” Fischer said. “The 2015 season promises to be an exciting year, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this storied franchise.”

The D.C. Divas Partner With Holiday For Hope 2014

This holiday season, the D.C. Divas are partnering with Holiday For Hope 2014, the largest holiday celebration for homeless and underprivileged children in the DC metro area. The Holiday For Hope celebration provides a day of food and entertainment for some of the neediest members of our community. Several Divas players and staff will be volunteering to help serve at this fun-filled event for over 800 homeless and underprivileged children and their family members.

Holiday for Hope is made possible through the work of philanthropic individuals and organizations in the national capital area who are passionate about giving back and being involved in their community. Holiday For Hope has developed relationships with many organizations and shelters in the D.C. metro area that serve homeless and underprivileged youth to ensure that the participants at Holiday For Hope are those who need it most.

The Divas would like to invite our fans to join us in volunteering for Holiday For Hope. Volunteers will receive a full day of entertainment, a holiday feast, and a bag of gifts. Most importantly, they will have an opportunity to make the holiday season a little brighter for those in need.

Holiday For Hope 2014 will be held on Sunday, December 14, from 8 AM to 5 PM. The event will be held at Delta Produce, 1617 Eckington Place NE, Washington, DC.  For more information, please contact Tiffany Nickerson at fnewine@gmail.com.

The D.C. Divas are proud to support Holiday For Hope 2014 and their efforts to help needy children this holiday season. Please consider joining us at the Holiday For Hope event on December 14!

Washington, DC – You may have heard this story before. The Divas’ season, it seems, always comes down to this.

When the D.C. Divas (5-3) travel to Boston Saturday to face their archrivals, the Boston Militia (8-0), it will mark the sixth consecutive season that these two teams have faced each other in the playoffs. It will break the record for most playoff meetings between any pair of teams in women’s football history, currently shared by the Sacramento Sirens and Seattle Majestics (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2012).

What’s incredible about the Divas’ and Militia’s rivalry, however, is that these two teams have clashed in the postseason six years in a row. The D.C. Divas and Boston Militia have met in the playoffs every season since 2009. Other than the Divas and Militia, no two teams in women’s football history have ever met in the playoffs more than three seasons in a row.

The D.C. Divas qualified for the conference semifinal round with a convincing 69-8 victory over the Columbus Comets. “It was probably the best all-around performance we’ve ever had against Columbus,” Divas head coach Alison Fischer remarked. “We have a lot of respect for the Comets. They have some great athletes and they’re very physical, so to have that kind of performance against a team like Columbus feels pretty good.”

In their regular season finale, the Divas fell behind against the Boston Militia, 21-0, a deficit that largely contributed to the Divas’ 29-28 defeat. Fischer was particularly pleased with how the Divas were ready to play from the opening whistle against Columbus.

“We challenged the team to get off to a faster start, and I think they did that on both sides of the ball. That was very good to see,” Fischer said. “You like to see the offense and the defense clicking at the right time and building as the season goes on, and I think we definitely responded and rebounded against Columbus.”

Now the Divas must hit the road to face a team that has beaten them twice this season by a combined five points. Both regular season contests against Boston came down to the final minute, and while the Divas have improved enough to challenge the Militia until the final whistle, they know that the final step – actually triumphing over Boston – is the most difficult one.

“Both of our games against Boston were really close and tough losses,” Coach Fischer confirmed. “They’ve beaten us several years in a row, and we’re still continuing our climb. But our players are excited to get one more shot to try to beat them, so we’re looking forward to it.”

The winner of the Divas-Militia contest advances to the Eastern Conference championship game. The Divas have never made it to the conference title game since joining the WFA in 2011, because they have bumped heads against the Militia before reaching the conference championship each time. Although it’s just a conference semifinal matchup, playoff games between the Militia and Divas have so much intensity and high-quality play that they take on the feel of championship-level contests.

Fischer feels that the Divas’ tough schedule has prepared them for this moment. “Even our regular season meetings with Boston feel like playoff games,” Fischer said. “Whenever we play Boston, there’s a lot riding on the outcome because of the quality of the two teams and the nature of our rivalry.”

Most Playoff Meetings in Women’s Football – All-Time
6 – D.C. DIVAS & BOSTON MILITIA (2009-2014)
5 – Sacramento Sirens & Seattle Majestics (2003-2005, 2007, 2012)
3 – D.C. DIVAS & COLUMBUS COMETS (2006, 2013, 2014)
3 – Boston Militia & Chicago Force (2011-2013)
3 – Chicago Force & Dallas Diamonds (2008, 2010, 2013)
3 – Columbus Comets & West Michigan Mayhem (2005, 2006, 2009)
3 – New York Sharks & Atlanta Xplosion (2005-2007)
3 – Oklahoma City Lightning & Pensacola Power (2003-2005)
3 – Detroit Demolition & Pensacola Power (2002, 2003, 2005)

Around the WFA – The winner of the Divas-Militia game will advance to the National Conference championship game against the winner of the Chicago Force and Miami Fury. The reigning WFA champion Chicago Force (7-1) began their title defense with a dominating 66-0 victory over the West Michigan Mayhem. The Force are making their 11th playoff appearance, tied with the Divas for the most playoff appearances in women’s football history…The Miami Fury (7-2), on the other hand, won the southeast region championship by going on the road and upsetting the reigning southeast champion Atlanta Phoenix, 9-7. It was the first non-forfeit playoff victory in the Fury’s franchise history, which dates back to 2000.

In the Midwest Region championship, the Austin Outlaws will travel to take on the Kansas City Titans. The Austin Outlaws (8-1) narrowly held off the Minnesota Machine in the previous round, 14-3. The Outlaws are one win away from qualifying for their first conference championship game since 2002, when they advanced to their only national championship game in team history…Standing in their way are the Kansas City Titans (9-0), who easily handled the WFA’s other Texas team, the Houston Power, in the previous round. It was the first official playoff victory for the Titans, a team that was formed in 2013 from a merger of the Kansas City Spartans and Kansas City Tribe. The Titans hope to be the first Kansas City team to advance to a conference championship game since the Tribe captured the national title in 2009.

In the Pacific region, the Seattle Majestics (8-1) pulled off the upset of the conference quarterfinal round, traveling to Fresno and toppling the Central Cal War Angels, 13-12. Seattle is attempting to move on to the conference championship game for the first time since 2008, when they fell to the eventual national champion Dallas Diamonds…Seattle will host the San Diego Surge (9-0), who advanced to the conference semifinals by downing a stubborn Las Vegas Showgirlz squad, 48-16. The Surge, who have a 41-3 record since 2011, are looking to get back to the national title game for the third time in four years and add another trophy to the national championship they won in 2012.

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.”

Ten Divas Honored as WFA All-Americans

Washington, DC – Earlier this week, the Women’s Football Alliance announced their 2014 All-American selections, and ten members of the D.C. Divas were chosen as WFA All-Americans for their performances in the 2014 season. Seven Divas were recognized as first team All-Americans and three Divas made the second team. It is the first time the Divas have had ten All-Americans, including seven on the first team, since the 2007 season.

The seven D.C. Divas recognized as 2014 WFA first team All-Americans are:

Jennifer Gray (OL) – Gray, the Divas’ starting right tackle, is the Divas’ only offensive line representative on the 2014 All-American team. Gray is a third-year member of the Divas and is a powerful blocker on the line. This is the first All-American selection of her career.

Kenyetta Grigsby (RB) – The spectacular Grigsby earned her fifth straight first team All-American selection with the Divas in 2014. One of the most dependable running backs in the sport, Grigsby is averaging over 100 rushing yards a game and has scored a touchdown on the ground in all but one contest this season.

Eleni Kotsis (DB) – Last season, Kotsis became the first Divas defensive back to earn first team All-American honors since Vickie Lucas in 2007. Kotsis repeated the feat in 2014, receiving first team All-American honors for the second straight season. Kotsis led the Divas in tackles against Atlanta and recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff for a touchdown against Chicago.

Cherre Marshall (LB) – Marshall garnered the first All-American honors of her seven-year career with the Divas in 2014, and it is an honor well-deserved. Marshall led Divas in tackles in two games this season (Boston and Chicago) and has recorded a tackle for loss in every game in 2014.

D’Ajah Scott (DB/RB) – Scott is an electrifying two-way player and one of the few members of the Divas to play on offense, defense, and special teams. A shutdown defensive back and a running back on offense, Scott earned WFA Player of the Week honors by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns against Boston in Week 1. Her versatility was most clearly on display against Columbus, when she placed third on the team with four tackles defensively (including a tackle for loss with an interception), while gaining 53 rushing yards and a touchdown on offense.

Ashley Whisonant (WR) – Whisonant, a dynamic wide receiver, has expanded her offensive game this season by taking occasional snaps under center as the quarterback of the Divas’ Wildcat offensive package. Whisonant has scored touchdowns three ways this season – rushing, receiving, and by kickoff return. This is her third straight first team All-American selection.

Kentrina Wilson (WR) – Wilson has taken the WFA by storm in her first season in a Divas uniform, making several spectacular catches. Despite playing in only five contests, Wilson has nine receiving touchdowns so far this season, a mark which currently leads the WFA. She received WFA Player of the Week honors in Week 4 after her performance against Columbus (seven receptions for 169 yards and three touchdowns).

The Divas also had three players recognized as second team All-Americans in 2014:

Desiree Abrams (DL) – Abrams made history just by playing her second season with the Divas. After first suiting up for the team in 2007, Abrams returned to the Divas in 2014 following a seven-year absence; her seven years away was the longest absence by any Divas player before returning to active membership. Yet Abrams has shown a knack for making big plays this season on defense, recording five tackles for loss in 2014 and recovering a fumble against Boston.

Trigger McNair (LB) – The timeless McNair earned second team All-American honors in her 16th season playing women’s football, and she is still one of the most feared defenders in the game. McNair recorded nine tackles against Columbus, the most by any Diva in a single game this season, and she terrorized Atlanta with six tackles (including four tackles for loss and a sack) to go along with a safety.

Jimmien Strong (DL) – Strong received her first All-American recognition since joining the Divas six years ago. Strong led the Divas in tackles for loss in 2013 with 5.5, and despite playing in only five games this season, she has improved on that statistic by recording 6.5 tackles for loss so far in 2014.

Washington, DC – In a game with major playoff implications on the line, the D.C. Divas host their archrivals, the undefeated Boston Militia, Saturday. The contest pits two of the very best teams in the sport against one another and renews a rivalry that ranks as one of the best in all of women’s football.

The D.C. Divas (4-2) will come into the game riding a four-game winning streak after two losses to start the 2014 season. The Divas most recently took the field against the Atlanta Phoenix and captured a 44-0 victory in the first ever meeting between the two teams.

“It was really good to play them,” Divas head coach Alison Fischer remarked. “It’s not a team that we had played before. It was good to see a different offense and defense and to see a team that plays at a very fast speed. I thought our team responded well to the challenge.”

In particular, the defense pitched its third consecutive shutout victory and has played 13 consecutive quarters without surrendering a point. The Divas haven’t allowed an opponent to score since the Chicago Force notched a touchdown in the third quarter when the two teams met on April 19.

“The defense is coming around and getting better each and every week,” Fischer said. “They continue to improve and gel and get more confidence in the scheme. They’ve been playing with more confidence as the season has gone on. That’s what’s really important for us – that we get better every single week. I think we did against Atlanta, so I was pleased with that.”

Offensively, the Divas were sparked by the return of quarterback Allyson Hamlin, who had missed the previous three games with an injury. Hamlin threw three touchdowns in half of one quarter to ignite the Divas’ passing attack.

“It was good to get her in the Atlanta game. We didn’t want to push her too much because she’s just getting back, but she came in and set the tone. Ally really got things going for our offense. It was good to see her get back in the saddle, so to speak,” Coach Fischer observed.

The Divas close up the 2014 regular season with their biggest test of the year – a visit from the undefeated Boston Militia (6-0). The Militia come into the game sporting a #1 ranking in the WFA, while the Divas are ranked fourth in the league. The Divas lost to Boston in the teams’ season opener, 36-32, and every time these two teams collide, it showcases women’s football at its highest level.

“I expect another great game,” Fischer remarked. “It’s one of the best rivalries – if not the best – in women’s football. They’re a great team; we’re a great team. I expect another hard-fought, good, solid football game from both sides.”

The Boston Militia have a record of 49-1 over their last fifty regular season contests. Their only regular season defeat over the past six years was a 35-20 setback to the Divas on April 2, 2011.

Yet the Divas fell to the Militia by just four points earlier this season, which gives Saturday’s contest enormous importance in the playoff race. If the Divas can hand Boston a rare defeat – and beat the Militia by five points or more in the process – the Divas would secure home field against Boston should the two teams meet in the WFA playoffs. Otherwise, the Militia will have effectively clinched home field advantage all the way through the National Conference playoffs.

To secure a home field advantage against Boston in the WFA playoffs, the Divas will need to pull the upset in their final regular season game of the year. That means relying on the home crowd Saturday as well.

“It’s good that we have this game at home,” Coach Fischer declared. “We love to play in front of our home crowd; they’re a tremendous help to us. This game does have some big playoff implications, but we’re going to concentrate solely on this game and try to play our best football. We’ll wait and see what happens after that.”

Get your tickets today for the D.C. Divas’ final regular season home game of the 2014 season on Saturday, June 7, against the undefeated Boston Militia. Kickoff for Saturday’s game is at 6 PM at Prince George’s Sports Complex in Landover.

Around the WFA

The D.C. Divas-Boston Militia game is one of several contests being held Saturday that could have an impact on the WFA playoffs. Eight teams – the Chicago Force, Boston Militia, D.C. Divas, Toledo Reign, Atlanta Phoenix, San Diego Surge, Central Cal War Angels, and Seattle Majestics – have clinched division championships and automatic playoff berths. The other four division championships will be decided in games Saturday.

The only division championship still up for grabs in the National Conference is in the South Atlantic, where the Tampa Bay Inferno (7-0) will try to close out an undefeated regular season by holding off the Miami Fury (5-2). The Fury can squash those dreams and capture the South Atlantic Division championship by erasing a 14-13 defeat they suffered against Tampa Bay two weeks ago.

In the Midwest region, none of the three divisions have been conclusively decided. Like Tampa Bay, the Kansas City Titans (7-0) are chasing an undefeated regular season record. To do it, they will need to hold off the Nebraska Stampede (6-1) Saturday. The Stampede can claim a Midwest Division championship by winning by 20 or more points to overcome their only loss, a 33-14 setback to the Titans on May 10.

The Austin Outlaws (6-1) are in the driver’s seat in the Southwest Division, thanks to a 17-8 victory over the Houston Power (5-2) in the first game of the season. But Houston can snatch the division title away with a victory of at least ten points when the Power travel to Austin Saturday.

Finally, the Tulsa Threat (3-4) hold an edge over the Acadiana Zydeco (2-5) on the basis of a 30-8 victory earlier this season. The Zydeco will need at least a 22-point win Saturday when they host the Threat to capture the Gulf Coast Division crown.

In addition to their six division champions, both conferences will have six wild card teams that qualify for the WFA playoffs. Several teams have effectively clinched a wild card playoff berth, while the final spots will be determined by the outcomes of this weekend’s contests.

In the National Conference, the Cleveland Fusion (5-2), Indy Crash (4-3), and Columbus Comets (4-3) have all secured their places in the WFA playoffs. The runner-up in the South Atlantic Division, either the Tampa Bay Inferno or the Miami Fury, will also qualify as a wild card team. The final two National Conference playoff spots are currently held by the Detroit Dark Angels and West Michigan Mayhem, but the Jacksonville Dixie Blues and Derby City Dynamite are still in contention as well.

Out west, the Las Vegas Showgirlz (5-2) and Portland Shockwave (5-2) have secured two of the American Conference’s six wild card entries. The two teams that fall short in the Kansas City Titans-Nebraska Stampede and the Austin Outlaws-Houston Power matchups Saturday will still claim wild card spots as well. The final two playoff spots in the American Conference are currently held by the Everett Reign and Minnesota Machine, but the Portland Fighting Fillies, Utah Blitz, and Tulsa-Acadiana loser this weekend could all find their way into the playoffs as well, depending on the outcomes of contests Saturday.

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