Monthly Archives: July 2001
Secaucus, New Jersey, October 7, 2001
Playing for the first time in a month, the New York Sharks (6-1) hosted the New England Storm (2-5) at Kane Stadium in New Jersey. It was the second time they faced each other this season, with the Sharks winning the first time 20-0. The Sharks were also putting their 4 game winning streak on the line.
Before the singing of the National Anthem, the Sharks honored 7 of their players who have participated in the rescue effort at the World Trade Center. There was also a moment of silence to honor those who perished in the national tragedy on September 11th. It was a very poignant moment with the New York City skyline in the background.
It was a nice autumn day at kickoff time. It was blustery but the skies were clear and blue. The temperature was in the low 60’s and dropped to the low 50’s by the end of the game.
The game started with the Sharks kicking off to New England. The Storm started the game in a very aggressive mode from their own 35 yard line. For their first possession they lined up in the shotgun formation. But it was a quick 3 downs and out.
The Sharks got on the board first with a touchdown in the first quarter. New York quarterback Jen Lueck handed the ball off to Raven Marshall who ran off-tackle and bulldozed her way to a 6 yard touchdown run. Val Monaco kicked the extra point to give New York a 7-0 lead.
As the first quarter ended, the Storm threatened to tie the game. On a punt return, the Sharks fumbled the ball and New England recovered it on the Sharks’ 5 yard line. After switching sides for the second quarter, the Sharks’ defense rose to the occassion. They were able to stop New England from scoring by forcing a fumble with the ball being recovered by free safety Val Halesworth.
Before the second quarter was over, the Sharks scored again. This time on the play of the day. Lueck handed the ball off to halfback Courtney Eaton who ran to her right and then stopped to toss the ball to wide receiver Chris Aigotti on the halfback option play. Aigotti caught the ball and ran to the endzone for a 30 yard touchdown reception. The point after touchdown attempt was blocked, but the score was now New York 13, New England 0.
The second half didn’t seem to get better for the Storm as New York quickly moved the ball to New England’s 1 yard line. But the Storm defense stopped the Sharks 3 times. On fourth down, the Sharks decided to go for it but were stopped on a running play. It was a nice play by the New England defense but they were deep in their own territory. Things got worse when the Storm fumbled the ball and the Sharks recovered on the New England 5 yard line.
With their second goal line stance in less than 2 minutes, the Storm defense came up big again for 3 downs. After moving the ball only 1 yard on three running tries, the Sharks gambled on fourth down to go for the touchdown on the 4 yard line. This time, Lueck threw a short pass to running back Wanda Williams who caught the ball on the 1 yard line and was quickly tackled by the Storm. But with a second effort, Williams was able to move the ball just over the goal line to give the Sharks a commanding 19 point lead.
For the second straight time, the Storm blocked the point after touchdown kick. There seemed to be some confusion after the kick as the Storm quickly picked up the ball and ran down the field to the Sharks’ endzone. It was only after the play was over that the referees made the call that the ball was whistled dead at the line of scrimmage.
That score was the last one in the game as the Sharks won by the final score of 19-0. This was the second straight shutout by New York over New England and it was New York’s 4th shutout for the season. The Sharks also extended their winning streak to 5 games.
Overall a good day for New York City football, the Giants, Jets, and the Sharks – all winners on Sunday.
The New York Shark’s last game took place on a surprisingly chilly night in Syracuse. It was perfect football weather. It was also the Sting’s home opener and they were looking for payback. The Sharks had beaten Syracuse 34 -6 in New York just three weeks earlier. To top it off the Sharks just rode on a bus for 8 hours. The stage was set.
The first half provided the entertainment. Both team’s offenses, defenses, and special teams played hard-nosed, disciplined football. Theyplayed so equally well that the score was nearly deadlocked at 15 – 14, in favor of the Sharks, at halftime.
The second half provided the drama. The Sharks were shorthanded, injured, and fatiguing. They were also versatile. The entire team rose to theoccasion, including several players who played offense, defense, and special teams. Wanda Williams, normally a running back, played the entire game at middle linebacker. Due to injuries, she resumed her duties at running backwhile continuing to play linebacker and special teams.
With less than two minutes left in the game Wanda walked into the end zone through a monstrous hole created by the Shark’s dominant offensive line.This touchdown put the Sharks ahead 21 – 14. Undeterred, the Sting took the ball and promptly marched down to the New York 15 yard line. The Sharks defense bent but did not break, thwarting Syracuse’s attempts for the end zone. With 30 seconds remaining on the clock running back Courtney Eaton, filling in at linebacker, picked off a pass over the middle. The outcome ofthe game was no longer in doubt. The Sharks had beaten the Sting 21 – 14.
As a coach this game was a nail biting, heart racer. As a football fan I can say that it was one of the most exciting I have seen. I commend the Sting for their talent, effort and, professionalism. Good luck the rest of the way ladies, see you soon.
As for the Sharks, well they continue to amaze me. They made their fans,coaches, and staff very happy and proud with this victory. Why? Because theydid it with teamwork, desire, unselfishness, and relentlessness.