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.