Monthly Archives: August 2002
Wakefield, Massachusetts, June 8, 2002
Saturday was a very busy sports day. There was a heavyweight title bout in Memphis, Tennessee, World Cup soccer in Seoul, Korea, Stanley Cup hockey finals in Raleigh, North Carolina, Triple Crown racing of the Belmont Stakes in New York city, and the French Open Tenniswomen’s final in Paris, France.
And in Wakefield, Massachusetts the New York Sharks (6-0) were looking to get a step closer to winning the IWFL Eastern division by taking on the Bay State Warriors (4-3). The Sharks magic number to clinch the division was 2 over the Montreal Blitz and 1 over the Bay State Warriors. A win by the Sharks today would knock Bay State out and if the Blitz lost to the Albany Night-Mares in Albany, the Sharks would be the Eastern division champions.
It was a beautiful day in Massachusetts with the sun shining and game time temperature around 65 degrees. The game was hosted by the Bay State Warriors in Wakefield, Massachusetts. The Warriors ususally play in Revere, Massachusetts but due to their field being re-seeded, Bay State had to scramble to find another field to play on.
Things started off well for New York, this time they did not get lost travelling by bus, arriving in plenty of time for the 3:30 scheduled kickoff. Good luck continued at the beginning of the game too when the Sharks got a rare win of the coin toss. For the statistic officiandos, New York is 2-4 on the coin toss. Thankfully it is the game score that counts.
The Sharks started the game with the ball on their own 30 yard line. At first the Sharks kept the ball on the ground. Running the ball up the middle, the Sharks moved the ball to Bay State’s 38 yard line. Then New York switched gears and went to the air. With catches by Val “Peanut” Monaco and Monica Marsh the Sharks were at Bay State’s 18 yard line. Going back to the ground, Courtney Eaton picked up 3 yards and another 5 yards was added for a face mask penalty. With a first down on the Warrior’s 10 yard line, it looked like the Sharks were going to draw first blood.
On a play action, Val Halesworth faked the handoff and then started to roll towards her left. The fake didn’t fool Bay State as two Warriors started chasing the quarterback. Halesworth was able to scramble to her right and got a quick toss off to Missy Marmorale who ran the ball in for an apparent touchdown. The play was called back as the Sharks had an ineligible woman downfield putting the ball back to the 15 yard line. With the reprieve, the Warrior defense rose to the occassion. Including a 7 yard loss due to a quarterback sack, the Sharks were pushed back to the 32 yard line. On fourth down they were forced to punt. The Sharks had missed a golden opportunity to score and came up with nothing this time, but their defense helped them get another one.
Maybe the Warriors were confident or maybe they thought to have a chance to win the game they would have to score first. Either way, on their first series they took a big gamble by going on a fourth down and short yardage situation from their own 40 yard line. Bay State lost the gamble as the Sharks stuffed the Warrior runner at the line of scrimmage and New York took possession of the ball. New York did not let this opportunity get away.
On the first play, Halesworth hit Monaco for a 15 yard toss to the Warrior’s 33 yard line. Eaton then rushed the ball three times to move the ball down to the 15. A run by Virginia “Cha Chi” Leon moved the ball to the 13 yard line, but then the Sharks got hit with an off-sides penalty. The ball was now on the 18 yard line with a fourth down and 7 yards to go situation. Halesworth rolled to her right and hit Monaco for a clutch 9 yard gain and most importantly a first down.
That play ended the quarter and for the first time all season, the Sharks had failed to score in the first quarter. New York had the ball on Bay State’s 9 yard line and after 3 plays had moved it down to the 1. It was another tough situation as the Warrior’s were bending but not yet breaking. On the fourth down play, Halesworth called her own number and punched it in on a quarterback sneak to finally get the Sharks on the board. The Sharks failed to score on the 2-point conversion so the score was 6-0, New York.
The Sharks defense continued to remain strong as they stopped Bay State on 3 plays and this time they punted the ball. Starting on their own 40 yard line, New York was able to move the ball all the way down to the Bay State 9 yard line. But the Warrior’s defense again rose to the occassion and stopped the Sharks from going any further.
With less than 2 minutes left, and the ball on Bay State’s 9 yard line, the Warriors again gambled and lost. Instead of running the clock out and being down by only 6 points at the half, they played on. Looking for the pass, the Sharks blitzed Marsh and she sacked Warrior quarterback Deb Larson for a 6 yard loss. The best Bay State could do was move the ball up to their own 10 yard line before having to punt. On the punt play, the Sharks broke through the offensive line and was able to tackle the punter Larsen at the 2 yard line. From here it was a quick and easy score as Eaton followed her offensive line into the endzone. Halesworth then scored on the 2-point conversion on a quarterback keeper. This made the score New York 14, Bay State 0 as the first half soon ended.
In the third quarter, the Shark’s defense continued to show why they have given up the fewest points in women’s football. Bay State had the ball on the fifty yard line when Marsh picked off a Larsen pass at the New York 48 yard line. She ran to her right and was quickly met by cornerback Vela Simanova who grabbed an arm but could not tackle Marsh before she handed the ball off to Halesworth who ran an additional 5 yards putting the ball at the Bay State 41 yard line. The Sharks moved the ball to the 37 yard line before they capitalized on the turnover. Halesworth ran a quarterback option as she ran to her right. She then lateralled to Marsh who was trailing the play and ran 37 yards in for the third New York touchdown of the day. The 2-point conversion was not converted and the score was now 20-0.
Just as the third quarter came to a close, the Shark’s defense created another turnover. This time Halesworth playing defense intercepted a pass at the New York 25 yard line and returned it for 17 yards. Starting at their own 42 yard line, New York mixed their play selection up quite nicely as they continuously moved the ball downfield. They got the ball down to the 10 yard line before the Warrior defense started to stiffen. But on a fourth down play, Bay State got hit with a pass interference penalty in the endzone, giving the Sharks the ball on the 1 yard line. From there Eaton was able to run the ball in for the Shark’s final touchdown of the day. The extra point try was blocked and the score was now 26-0. It was a very nice series for the Sharks as they mixed up the play calling with passes to Marsh and Monaco, and runs by Eaton, Halesworth, and Leon. In all it was a grind ’em out series taking 16 plays to score the touchdown.
When the game was over, the Sharks have recorded their fourth shutout of the season, tying last year’s mark. Most importanly, the win clinches a tie of the Eastern Divison title. The Sharks did not clinch the title as the Montreal Blitz made a stunning comeback to defeat the Albany Night-Mares. The Blitz scored 3 times with less than 4 minutes left in that game to win 21-13. New York celebrated by opening a bottle of grape juice on the field. What they celebrated with on the bus ride back home was a different matter.
After three straight games on the road, the Sharks are looking forward to coming back home to New York city. The Sharks sometimes looked rough around the edges in their games on the road but were able to put it all together to beat their opponents. A victory next week over the visiting New Hampshire Freedom and the Sharks will be going to the IWFL Championship game in Oregon. Come join us celebrate a coronation in Queens!
n Saturday, the NY Sharks braintrust tried to answer the question of could they turn 41 young girls into hard nosed football players. Well, the answer was no, but then again, what can you expect in one day. Instead everyone had a great time while picking up a few pointers on how to play football.
The day started early for the young football hopefuls. Mini-camp started at 9am at Cow Meadow Park on Long Island. Car loads of girls came with their parents and even a bus load from Mount Vernon came to the camp. The weather was cold and windy and there were even a few snow flakes in the air.
The girl’s mini-camp was named after popular Sharks player Sharon Pascale who died in an automobile accident on Christmas Day. The girls arriving at the mini-camp ranged in age from 9 to 18 years of age. They each received a Sharks t-shirt as well as a free pass to a Sharks home game.
At 9am, mini-camp started by having the girls go through the same warm-up exercises that the Sharks go through. Led by over a dozen Shark players, the girls did stretching exercises as well as jumping jacks. Next were the obstacle course where each girl ran through a few times.
The girls were then divided into groups depending on their age. With each group being led by a different Shark player, the girls were taught the finer parts of football. They learning blocking techniques, how to throw a football, the proper way to catch a pass, and even the different stances a player goes into when they step up to the line of scrimmage.
At noon time, everyone took a break. Pizza and juice were served as the girls and the Shark players ate lunch together. Joining the lunch crowd was the New York Sharks team mascot, who seemed to attract the younger set.
Another New York area football team helped out with the mini-camp. Personnel from the arena football team, the New York Dragons came by to lend a hand. Coach John Gregory stopped by as well as kicker Bruce Rienecker. Bruce provided tips on place kicking and then gave an impressive demonstration, booming the ball across the field.
To practice what they had just learned, the girls then played a little flag football. Sharks head coach Nick Giannatasio helped out and in this picture is calling a play for his team.
After the game, a passing contest was held. Each girl would get 6 chances to throw a football at a target. The target was a board with the Sharks logo on it but with the mouth cut-out. Prizes were awarded for the girls who got the most through the Shark’s mouth.
By 3pm, the mini-camp was over. Many girls went over to the Sharks players and had their t-shirts autographed or just to talk with their favorite player. The girls went home happy but the Sharks had to stick around as the start of football practice for them was just beginning.
If you missed this girl’s mini-camp, the Sharks are planning on holding another one in August. Just add your name to our e-mail list and you will be notified when we have more information. Or you can contact Sharks general manager Crystal Turpin by e-mail at: email@example.com by phone at: 646-552-5798.