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Pittsburgh Passion Vs. D.C. Divas: 2017 WFA Game Preview

Coming off their 33-28 loss to the Renegades in Boston two weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Passion (5-1) return to the road after their bye-week to take on the defending 2016 National Champion D.C. Divas (3-3) at Lee High School in Springfield, Virginia. The two enduring adversaries line up for the opening kickoff at 6:00 p.m.

Last June, the Women of Steel and the Women of the Beltway met in the Women’s Football Alliance National Conference Semifinal, and the Divas claimed at 47-29 victory in Landover, Maryland. This matchup is the 16th time these two squads have met on the field since 2003.

This week, the Massey Ratings places both teams in the Top 10 with the Passion at No. 3 and the Divas just one behind at No. 4. A defeat for either team could put their playoff aspirations on hold this season.


Janice Masters took on a tough Renegades defense and threw 12-of-23 passes for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the close loss. The 5-foot-8 quarterback has 97 consecutive passes without an interception in 2017.

Angela Baker hauled in five passes for 62 yards and one two-point conversion. Lisa Horton contributed three catches for 27 yards. It was running back Gabrielle O’Neil and tight end Laura Baden who came down with one touchdown reception apiece.

O’Neil led the ground attack with 66 yards on nine carries to go along with one touchdown and one two-point conversion. Tara Catone hit the score sheet for 52 yards on just nine carries. Kia Foster chipped 11 carries for 40 yards.

Credit is due to the offensive line unit of Kaitlain Niedermeyer, Lauren Ferragonio, Samantha Simeone, Kate Sullivan, and Kim Zubovic in helping special teams put up 22 two-point conversions, so far this season.

Third-year inside linebacker Hannah Daman led the charge against Boston with 12 tackles. Free safety Kimberly Beaver, linebacker Tia Montgomery, and defensive end Chelsea Zahn did not back down from the Renegade’s offense and combined for five tackles for a loss.

Kudos to rookie defensive back Jana Meister, who came thru with her first career interception late in the fourth quarter.


Head coach and offensive coordinator Greg Gaskins saw his crew snap a three-game losing streak at home last week with their 41-22 victory over the Carolina Phoenix. This season the Divas’ offense has 133 points over six contests while permitting 128 on defense.

With the departure of Allyson Hamlin at quarterback, former wide receiver Amanda Congialdi is handling the signal-calling chores. The native of Laurel, Maryland has completed 61 of 123 pass attempts for 812 yards, three interceptions, and seven touchdowns. When she tucks the ball under her arm, she is averaging 3.7 yards-per-carry rushing.

Congialdi’s favorite down-field threat is Kentrina Wilson. The 6-foot wide out has 31 receptions for 426 yards and seven touchdowns. Shaquanda Gainey owns 12 catches and two trips to the end zone.

Okiima Pickett is the leading rusher with 225 yards on 72 carries and one touchdown. D’Ajah Scott added 192 yards on 24 carries to the box score.

DC’s leading tacklers are linebackers Trigger McNair and Tia Watkins. Linebackers Safiatu Mojidi and McNair watch the quarterback’s eyes and have three interceptions apiece. Defensive back Genaya Davis helps to keep the opposition’s passing attack off balance with three pass deflections.

My Prediction: The Black and Gold come out of our Nation’s Capital with a 26-21 victory and improve to 6-1.

Next Up: The Passion finish the season on the road against the Columbus Comets (4-3) Saturday, June 3 at the Huffaker Community Sports Complex in Grove City, Ohio. The long-time foes meet on the gridiron at 8:00 p.m.

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