Monthly Archives: March 2006
Brooklyn, New York, June 3, 2006
Like their namesake, the New York Sharks must like the water. On a very soggy day in the Big Apple, the Sharks (5-0) hosted the Delaware Griffins (1-3)in Brooklyn. Before the game started the skies had opened up with a downpour, but during the game the teams played in a light rain.
Starting the day off, singer James “D-Train” Williams gave a stirring rendition of the National Anthem.
Though it rained, it didn’t stop the parade as the Sharks honored their public address announcer Tom Willms for his voluntary service with the team for the past 3 years. He and his fiancee Rochelle Sawello were given a few gifts and Tom performed the coin toss. It must have worked as the Sharks won the toss but as usual, Coach Vance chose to kick-off instead of receive the ball.
The Delaware Griffins came in knowing that if they had any hope of going to the playoffs this season, this was their elimination game. Due to IWFL tie-breaking rules, the Griffins not only had to beat the Sharks to remain alive in the playoff picture, they had to win by at least 48 points. As daunting a task as that was, to make matters worse Delaware was woefully undermanned bringing only 13 players to Brooklyn.
The game quickly got out of a hand as New York stopped the Griffins on their first series of downs. After the punt, the Sharks started their first drive on the Delaware 37-yard line. A handoff to Mandy Oppel produced a nifty 7-yard run to take the ball down to the Griffin 30-yard line. Then a pitch-out to Yumi Warner produced a 13-yard gain. The Sharks then went to the air as quarterback Karen Mulligan threw a pass into the endzone but it was batted away by a Griffin defender. That only delayed a touchdown until the next play as Mulligan hit receiver Janice Daniell for a score. Sharks place kicker Emily Pelletier could not make the game and so New York went for the 2-point conversion. Delaware pulled out a nice stop to keep the score 6-0 with 11:38 to go in the first quarter.
Linebacker Amber Knighten who usually punishes opposing linemen, punished the ball on the kick-off as she literally boomed the ball into the Griffins endzone for a touchback. The Sharks were getting ready for another feast as Delaware fumbled the ball back to New York as Christine Pagan recovered the ball for New York. After an incomplete pass, Mulligan tossed the ball back to Warner who scampered over the right side for a 14-yard touchdown run. It was the first of many for the rookie running back. Again the Sharks went for the 2-point conversion and again they were thwarted by Delaware.
It didn’t take long for the Sharks tried to make up for the missed points as they recovered another Griffin fumble. Lynn Trautz fell on the fumble to recover the ball for New York at the Delaware 45-yard line. This drive started with a rumble by Warner for 17 yards. Fullback Blessing Withers then blasted through for a short 3-yard gain. The Sharks then started to go backwards a bit after a quarterback sack and a penalty that pushed the New Yorkers back to the Delaware 37-yard line. After an incomplete pass it was now fourth down and a long way to go. Instead of bringing in the punting team, coach Vance let the offense stay on the field and Mulligan completed a pass to Tanida who was tackled at the Griffin 2-yard line for a 35-yard gain. The Sharks were probably getting anxious to score again as they got called for an off-sides penalty on the very next play. They were now 7-yards from paydirt instead of 2, but that didn’t matter as they gave the ball to Warner who promptly picked up her second touchdown of the day. Again going for the 2-point conversion, Mulligan noticed that no one was covering receiver Tanida and she quickly threw the ball over to her for the points. New York was very much in command with a 20-0 lead with 5:57 left in the first quarter.
The Sharks scored one more time in the first quarter after another nice defensive stop by the defense. The Griffins were forced to punt from their own 3-yard line and got a short kick that was caught by Adrienne Smith. Rookie Smith is quickly becoming one of the most feared punt returners in the league and she showed off why as she caught the ball at the Delaware 28-yard line and ran straight for the endzone for a score. It was the third punt returned for a touchdown by Smith and it extended the Sharks lead to 27-0.
New York’s first score in the second quarter came after a fumble recovery by Oppel. This gave the ball to the Sharks on the Delaware 30-yard line. Mulligan then connected with Tanida for a 22 yard gain. It was a nice diving catch by the veteran receiver. The Griffins tried to pull off a gallant goal line stand and had denied the Sharks on 3 tries and actually pushed them back to the 11-yard line. But on fourth down and no kicker, the Sharks went for it and handed the ball to Warner. She quickly scampered around the right corner and picked up her third touchdown of the day. That put her one behind the Sharks’ team record of 4 touchdowns scored in a game held by Virginia “Cha Chi” Leon, Lakisha Grant, and Teresa Schirrippa. This time, New York tried out a new kicker Tiffany Robinson but her first attempt as the team’s place kicker went wide.
Late in the third quarter, Warner got her chance to tie the team record. After a nice 22-yard run to place the ball at the Griffins’ 11-yard line, Mulligan again gave her the ball to finish the job. She turned the right corner and went in for her record tying fourth touchdown of the game. Robinson then came on and kicked the first extra point in her career.
With the victory the Sharks have clinched their fifth straight IWFL division title and will be heading to the playoffs. Tanida was given the offensive game ball while Pagan received the defensive game ball. It was a game of many highs as Warner tied a team record for touchdowns in a game and Smith added another punt returned for a touchdown, but there was a big loss as Daniell was hurt during a punt play and will probably miss a few games at best.
The Sharks next game will be next week on Saturday, June 10th at Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island. They will be playing the Montreal Blitz. Game time is 4:00pm (EDT). If you can’t join us at the ballpark, you can still follow all of the action as Pat Brown and Dave Maxwell will describe all of the action on our flagship radio station WFN Radio – the Women’s Football Network.
|New York Sharks||26||12||7||2||47|
NY – (11:38) Daniell 17 yard pass from Mulligan (run failed)
NY – (10:59) Warner 14 yard run (run failed)
NY – (05:57) Warner 7 yard run (Tanida pass from Mulligan)
NY – (00:06) Smith 28 yard punt return (run failed)
NY – (06:27) Warner 11 yard run (kick failed)
NY – (01:30) Blum 39 yard pass from Mulligan (kick failed)
NY – (06:30) Warner 11 yard run (Robinson kick)
NY – (02:59) Oppel tackles running back in endzone