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.